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Affectionate writing: Writing to connect with others

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

Learn what "Affectionate Writing" is and how you can use it to understand your feelings and express them through writing.

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Ana Holanda is a journalist and writer, who works with writing conduction processes for people and companies. Her courses promote the so-called "Affectionate Writing", a way of writing that promotes warmth, exchange, and connection, with a more content-oriented look than a form-oriented one.

I met Ana in one of my college classes, when I read her book A Guide to Affectionate Writing for Times of Crisis, and I felt that in many ways, what Ana talks about in her books, even if with a more narrative-oriented look, fit very much into what I would like to promote with my writing. For this reason, I decided to bring you, dear reader, my vision of this work, in order to spread even more the beautiful work of Ana Holanda.

Writing helps us shed light within ourselves and understand that which, many times, we cannot name. - Ana Holanda

The Guide to Affectionate Writing for moments of crisis arose from the author's feeling that much was said about writing, but little was focused on what really matters, the content, and especially, the relationship of the author with the content of his text, because writing is much more than putting words next to each other, there needs to be a certain connection, a verisimilitude. What the author writes must be true in some way, not in the sense that our stories cannot be invented, but that they must start from a place that makes some sense within ourselves, because nobody likes to be deceived, not even readers.

And for the writing to be true, it must start from a place of warmth, where the author feels safe to talk about what is inside of him, and for him to be able to extend this feeling to the reader, creating a strong and true connection. That's why, Ana says, not always the phrase "you need to write about it" is true, because there are feelings that are very difficult to express, those that we don't feel safe to share, that's why it's important to know that we are not obliged to reveal everything in the form of writing.

Writing is not just about technique or about rules. It is about life. And this is something that is not told to us. Writing was born to be an encounter with the other, a bridge, a connection. And we only find the other when, first, we find ourselves again. - Ana Holanda

For this, it is necessary to change the word technique for relationship, seek, instead of following ready-made examples and molds, to recognize yourself as a writer and think about what you hope to provoke in the reader. The way we write says a lot about our relationships, the ways we tell stories also tell our story, and this is what your reader, in this world so full of people who write, will seek in you.

Another necessary point to practice Affectionate Writing is to lose the fear of exposing, and I understand that the first step is always the hardest, but to make this act of facing your inner self in search of inspiration easier, Ana's tip is fantastic: Start from a place of comfort, take hold of what is most comforting and welcoming in you and let it be your guide on this journey. Start with your surroundings, the space you know, the dishes in the sink, the food on the stove, the books on the shelf, get up from that space and tell the story of what is around you, the toothbrushes in the sink, the pictures on the shelves, anything that makes you feel welcome. Start anywhere, no matter how unusual, but start, and keep going in that direction, no matter how challenging it may seem, I promise you that the satisfaction of reclining in your chair as you finish a text makes it all worthwhile.

If you were to start practicing affective writing today, what would you write about first?

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