What I had to unlearn about writing after being an English Major

Dec 29, 2019

Dear Writerly Woman,

When I was in college I was an English Major. I wrote paper after paper after paper. Being an English Major is like being a paper writing machine. One after the next is assigned, and you write each one as quickly as you can in order to get it in by the deadline.

I would stress and worry about each paper, but after I turned it in I would forget about it. I’d forget until I got it handed back to me, marked up in red pen, highlighting all the mistakes I had made.

This process certainly helped me with the technical aspects of writing. It taught me about grammar and sentence structure. It taught me about how to prove a point concisely and well. These are highly valuable skills, and I don’t regret being an English Major.

However, as a writer nowadays, I can see that my English Major education left out an essential aspect of the craft. It never included the joy of writing.

I never got good marks for getting so deeply into the creative flow while writing that it felt like my fingers were on fire as they typed.

I never got an A+ for enjoying the act of writing.

I never got positive feedback on being open-hearted and authentic in my work.

In college, I learned a craft of writing that was focused on striving for perfection under pressure. It was not focused on the love of creativity.

After I left college, I stopped writing for a long time, for years and years.

Even though I was a good writer when I was done with my education, my motivation to write was no longer there. The pressure around writing was too big. The need for perfection was too high. My relationship to writing was all about the grade, and this made me not want to write, even though writing was my dream.

A decade or so later I started writing again. In my thirties I found that my desire to fulfill my dreams started to outweigh the fear of negative feedback.

Slow, very slowly, I picked up my pen and paper and began to write again - short things, here and there. What I knew right away was that my journey into writing as an adult needed to include an unlearning of the intense pressure I had taken on in school.

All that pressure was like a big weight that stopped my creativity from flowing.

Each time I wrote I faced anxiety attacks, intense fears of vulnerability, and lots of critical voices in my head. These were the things that made writing feel painful instead of joyful.

After a lot of trial and error, I discovered the solution for these things was to create as much peace in my writing process as  possible.

I started meditating before writing - breathing deeply to settle my nerves. I started taking breaks in my writing days - going for walks and thinking about lovely things. I made myself as physically comfortable and cozy as I could when I wrote. I made wonderful hot drinks that soothed my soul to have by my side.

I created cocoons of safety and relaxation, so that when I wrote I could connect to the creative flow and find the courage to say the authentic, open-hearted things I wanted to say.

It has been peace, not pressure, that has both motivated me to write and also healed my relationship to writing. When I think about writing now, I feel love and tenderness for this craft that has freed my voice.


This is why I created my online course, Write In Peace, and why I love offering it to all of you.

Write In Peace is designed to help you do what I did. It is a course that teaches you, step by step, how to do a writing session that will relieve the pressure and add peace to your creative process, so you can:

  • Find the joy and beauty in writing
  • Experience the creative flow as you write
  • Start writing for you and not for the grade
  • Actually make your writing dreams come true

I’ve found this process to be the most delightful and satisfying way to write. I’ve also found it to be the most successful way to write as I have stopped focusing on my old professors and started focusing on a new, kind, wonderful audience of kindred spirits who actually want to hear what I have to say, for real.

If you think Write In Peace would be a supportive tool for you, then I invite you to sign up here.

I would love to support you on the journey of making your writing dream come true.


Emma Veritas is a writer, writing coach, and personal development teacher.

She's a committed blogger and is currently working on edits to her first novel. She graduated with her Bachelor's degree in English from the Honor's Program at the University of Massachusetts, where she wrote her thesis on the power of story during hard times. She has completed Martha Beck's Life Coach Training and is an endorsed Soul's Calling Coach. She is a life long learner in the craft of writing, most recently completing courses on fiction writing and plot development through WritersHQ. Her most recently completed writing project is her online course, Find Your True Self Again.

If you'd like to get to know Emma better you can: join her newsletter, read her blog, or join her Facebook Group, The Writing Dream Collective: for women who want to write.


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