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Writing Down Your Soul: How to Activate and Listen to the Extraordinary Voice Within

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You could pray, or meditate, or dream, or visit a shaman, or a minister, or a hypnotherapist. With so many routes into inner consciousness, why write? Of all the ways to get in touch with God, as you understand God... to hear the small, still voice pointing you in the right direction... why take the time to write? One reason: it works. It works amazingly well. If you want to engage in a vibrant conversation with the wisdom that dwells just a hair below your conscious awareness, write. Write every day, at approximately the same time, with passion, honesty, and the intention of speaking with and listening to the voice within. Janet Conner was escaping a terrible situation of domestic abuse. While trying to figure out how she and her son could live and how they could eat, she realized she had hit rock bottom. With no other advisors, she listened to her own inner voice, which told her to start writing. As she did, Janet's inner voice gained clarity and strength, and she felt an incredible connection to the divine, and almost immediately miracles began to happen. Today, research scientists in psychology, physics, biochemistry, and neurology are providing peeks into what consciousness is and how it works. Their findings give us intriguing clues as to what is actually happening in and through our bodies, minds, and spirits as we roll pen across paper. Writing Down Your Soul explores some of this research and instructs readers how to access the power and beauty of their own deepest selves.

256 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2008

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About the author

Janet Conner

18 books49 followers
In Writing Down Your Soul: How to Activate and Listen to the Extraordinary Voice Within, Janet Conner tells a profound story of what actually happens in our hearts, minds, and souls when we write with the intention of accessing divine wisdom. Not content to have simply experienced the life-changing power of writing, Janet set out to uncover the science that explains why writing by hand is the single most effective vehicle into unconscious mind and beyond. Weaving together the most potent elements, Janet presents a simple, modern process that anyone can use to access the wisdom that waits just below the conscious surface. With this practical tool at your disposal, you'll know exactly how to ask for and receive the guidance you need to create the life you want. "

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5 stars
526 (39%)
4 stars
473 (35%)
3 stars
244 (18%)
2 stars
70 (5%)
1 star
34 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 128 reviews
Profile Image for Yelda Basar Moers.
185 reviews143 followers
January 22, 2012
Once in a while when sifting through an apple tree of books, you pine for a ripe one that has all the elements to satisfy, and hope you find it. That is how I felt about Writing Down Your Soul when I was looking for a book on spiritual writing. Janet Conner makes a convincing and inspirational case that writing can be just as powerful and effective as prayer or meditation to connect to a higher consciousness. Through journal writing, she shows us the path to the all-knowing voice within us. Her method is similar to Julia Cameron’s morning pages in The Artist’s Way, but even more defined, deeper and further involved. Conner’s writing style is also engaging, tight and stimulating, a major bonus, and the book is well edited. I’m surprised it’s not a bestseller and wholly recommend it to spiritual writers or anyone seeking guidance.
Profile Image for Tami.
Author 36 books69 followers
May 31, 2010
The method presented in Writing Down Your Soul is part journaling and part channeling. Essentially, you start off journaling. Not benign topics like the weather or your daily habits, more like dumping your truth onto the pages. All your frustration, all your deepest darkest secrets, and all your fears laid out without any reservations. Complete purging.

The key difference is that your writing is meant to be a conversation. A dialogue between you and God or your higher power (or whatever term you use to denote the sacred or divine). Yes, at first it is one sided, you spilling your guts. But after the emotion is spent, you begin to see answers and solutions.

It’s so very easy to get caught up in our own dramas. We are so sure that our secrets are unforgivable so we hold them in but it’s the denial that makes us sick. Writing Down Your Soul shows us a better way.
Profile Image for Tamara.
32 reviews
December 16, 2011
For me, this book has changed the way that I view writing and communicating with the Divine. It is actually taught me how to have a relationship with the Great Spirit and how to listen to the Voice when I ask for help. For many years, I didn't know know to communicate with the Voice and I often felt that I was being ignored or was not important enough to be heard. Ever since I read this book, I write in my journals (I have one at home, one in my car, one in purse, and one on each of my electronic reading devices) all day, every day. I love knowing that I am growing closer to God and don't need anyone to tell me what is right and what is wrong. I go straight to God and I immediately get answers. Wonderful book that I recommend to anyone that is new to journaling and in need of simple and easy-to-understand spiritual direction.
Profile Image for Kurt Anderson.
251 reviews4 followers
July 3, 2014
Meh. Don't waste your time.

- Sift 'the Artist's Way,' meditation, and 'the Secret'
- Sprinkle anecdotes from the author's life
- Pepper with passing references to some psychological studies
et voila

It's a heartfelt, sincere, entirely superfluous book. Unless you're specifically going through or trying to deal with something traumatic or if you've never before encountered the concept of writing as a tool of self-discovery, your time is better spent reading something else.
Profile Image for Chris Burd.
333 reviews5 followers
September 14, 2015
There are a few things that I wish I had known about this book before I picked it up. 1.) It is written with the expectation that the reader believes in God or some sort of omnipotent higher being (preferably through the Christian faith), and 2.) it is expected that the reader is unhappy in his or her current life. With neither of those things being true for me, I was not the target audience and that heavily influenced my enjoyment of the book.

(I picked this book up in a bookstore while traveling and had done no prior research into it other than what I read on the cover.)

There are concepts in this book that are universal and healthy - ways to gain a better understanding of yourself and to help you to make decisions based on that understanding. While the author focuses on the supernatural or religious explanations of the activity, you can just as easily think of it as simply being a way to better connect with yourself. When you write things down, ask hard questions and let yourself listen for answers, you have a way of connecting with the truth in your own brain that you would otherwise suppress.

The part that really caused me to give this book a lower rating was not the religious framing of that, because I can see how there is a big audience who can use that understanding. I rated it with just two stars because of the assumption that you are coming to the practice from a very negative place. The author starts early in the book to talk about her own very difficult past - and assumes that the reason that someone might want tough answers is because they are extremely unhappy or have a lot of pain. For me, that was an unfortunate leap - and limit the audience who can really get something out of this book.

I would recommend this book to someone with a strong Christian faith and a lot of pain in their life. But otherwise, I would suggest that you steer clear.
Profile Image for Crystal.
Author 1 book26 followers
July 24, 2014
This is more of a spiritual book than a writing book. At first I thought it might be a bit more “out there” than I might enjoy but I liked this book more than I expected to. She extracts from several different spiritual traditions and yet, all of the “exercises” can fit into the reader’s own personal tradition/myth. The second half of the book was more in-depth and I liked the lists of questions and techniques she suggested using when writing to “the Voice” or as I choice to do – God. Writing can be very helpful in the healing process both spiritually and physically. I believe anyone who is looking for some type of spiritual connection through writing could benefit from some portion or this entire book.
Profile Image for Mary Radmacher.
Author 32 books210 followers
March 24, 2009
is janet your best friend? sitting across the table from you helping you sort
the complexities of your life with her gentle, yet pointed guidance?

it might feel that way.

don't let soul or spirit references (if you're resistant to that sort of thing) keep you from this
book... you can fill in the blank _______ for soul and G#* any way you wish. the writing
structures are invaluable practice for writers and for deep seekers.
Profile Image for Laura Summers.
6 reviews2 followers
March 22, 2013
A friend of mine was going through a life-changing, challenging experience, and I didn't seem to have any words that would comfort her. I told her that I was there for her and that I wanted to listen... but she needed an internal solution. After reading this book for myself, I bought her a copy. In less than a week, she felt so much better because Janet's book gave her the tools that allowed her to start to process through everything she was feeling without dismissing the pain and hurt she was feeling. I am so thankful that this resource was out there to make a difference in my friend's life.
717 reviews4 followers
March 8, 2014
Dreadfully boring and basic rambling. This book was not for me. I'm ranking it 2 stars because I can see somebody else connecting with it. If, however, I had to spend any more time with it myself, it would have received 1 star. Ugh. Next.
Profile Image for Stephanie Barko.
188 reviews127 followers
December 18, 2012
This is a book I use every day to get my head started in the right place. That way, my heart has a chance at following a good lead. There are too many ways this book has helped. You just have to read it, use it, and benefit from it yourself. It's a hands-on experience, and it was very kind of Janet to come all the way from Florida to speak to my book group this year about her book.
Profile Image for Renee.
50 reviews5 followers
June 10, 2022
Last school year, I had every class start with journal time for about ten minutes. One of my fellow yoga teachers has been doing this for several years and talks about how much it engages her students and sets the tone for the class. She is absolutely right. It surprised me how it quickly became something that students in general looked forward to doing.

I have kept a journal in some form since I was a kid. In the past five years, however, it has become a necessary part of my practice. In my classes I realized how this had developed for me and was able to share my experience with my students.

So, I picked this up to see if it could be a good resource for anyone who wants to take up journaling as a practice of connecting with the Self. It certainly is. I also realized that I have been writing in the way that she is guiding in the book since I was in college.

I think this book is great for people who have not journaled much but want to start and for people who know that journaling is more than just itemizing your day but don’t know how to get around that mind frame.

Journaling is worth it and so is this manual.
Profile Image for Elena.
4 reviews
August 27, 2018
I would rename the title because there is no discussion of the "voice within" except of the "voice through God" or religion, or some other form of spiritual awakening of a "higher power".

While I am skeptical, I am curious as to try out the 'writing down your soul' exercises....maybe you have to be brain-washed in your religion to accept involuntarily how she discusses communication of your "voice" within. Am I being too harsh, or simply just a rational and logical human being? It is not the unconscious that I am skeptical of as I read and am a strong fan of Jung and sometimes (although grudgingly) Freud. The woman rants and her scientific and intellectual data mistakenly looks like fluff because she basis a lot of research from religion.

Although, I can't say that "writing down your soul" does or does not work as I feel simply asking "God" for money and receiving it in some form is a little on the pretentious and religious scam side.

Throughout the book she passionately discusses how this process is a walk with your soul rather than receiving concrete answers, but her examples of "writing down her soul" is literally asking for stuff and receiving it (which are not answers for solving her financial problems but just getting a call from a client or a friend that they just "feel" they should give her money). It might give the readers the expectation that they might get a "holy answer" with cash. The author is passionate about what she has found to work for her, but I feel that her passion hinders her viewpoint in realizing that the experience she had is very religious extreme.

I have only read through the text, highlighting and making notes to what I feel is relevant - keeping intact my intellectual mind and academic education. While she spoke often of "God", if you are interested in pursuing a nonreligious form, you are welcome to; I have decided to write to "Crow and Raven, Life Magic and Mysteries" as those two birds have always had a dark but spiritual connection for me. That said, if you are a not a religious or even spiritual person, I would maybe just read the text for entertainment sake.

To end, she provides some journal prompts to begin with -- and adds some science to "writing of the soul" -- if you are stuck in where to start as well, so this might be a great way to introduce yourself on how journaling can heal.
Profile Image for Maggie.
1,619 reviews38 followers
August 7, 2016
i've long valued the fact of writing, any type of writing. writing helps us think, work through buried emotions, and most of all i firmly believe in the power of every single person's story and how can we know your story (or you, mine) unless we write. and this book is another fair guide to writing down our thoughts, our feelings, our experiences, our world view. go for it.

the book seems to rely heavily on the current fad (meant technically not as a put-down) of manifestation, the prosperity gospel, and attraction thoughts. ms. conner never mentioned dr. wayne dyer but i had the sense that much of her thoughts on writing and her approaches to writing, were echoes of his empowering self-help books. these are popular and current topics and have a strong following. this book would fit in well with that mindset. undoubtedly.

i personally don't believe in a gimme-god who is interested in either maintaining or improving a privileged life style. i do believe in a god who cares deeply for us and who wants to walk our hard paths with us. and writing down our thoughts and experiences does help us to realize the fact of that trait of god. but the god who shows up in intimate ways during our search for our soul as we experience the harshness of life, that god cares more about clear thinking and love of neighbor and self than he does about my bank balance and living accommodations.

at one point in the late summation part of the book, ms. conner suggested that getting a massage and even better having a massage practitioner come to your own house is a tool in this search for writing down our soul. really? i truly have no clue why a massage is recommended in a book about writing down our souls. way too much emphasis on material possessions or spa experiences to be a solid book on spiritual writing. nonetheless a decent book about writing and how to focus on our deepest desires. ignore the gimme-part and this book should work out well for an earnest seeker who is also writing down his/her soul.

on the other hand, one could try ignatian spiritual exercises. those jewels work supremely well in our search for our soul's deepest workings. well that and a good spiritual director.
Profile Image for Karen.
580 reviews1 follower
November 30, 2014
I used to journal every day as a way to savor the good and to transform the not so good. I picked up the audible.com version of Writing Down Your Soul to help remind me of the value of journaling, and found it very effective. There are some elements of the book that didn't resonate for me but like other reviewers, I recommend ignoring the elements that don't work for you and mining the gems that are useful. About halfway (or is it 3/4?) through the book, the author provides a long list of questions one can ask him/herself to trigger writing during a journaling session -- this list of questions is comprehensive and worth the price of the book alone.
Profile Image for Sandy.
15 reviews
August 24, 2011
Over the years I have read a number of books on journaling, however, Janet Conner has uncovered a number of techniques that make it possible to not only begin journaling, but to continue the practice well beyond the challenge of a 30-day commitment to writing. Her book is filled with her own experiences, but she also has sought out experts in various areas of personal development and the combination makes for a very readable book. This is a book you will read, underline and put to use before you turn the last page.
Profile Image for Claire Conner.
Author 1 book26 followers
April 10, 2013
Janet Conner (spoiler, she is my sister) has written a transformational "how to" for spiritual seekers. Carefully guiding a new reader through complex ideas about deep soul writing, Janet's book offers a refreshing look at what writing can be and how our spirit uses the written word to help us find answers. A must read.
Profile Image for Amanda.
146 reviews6 followers
November 8, 2013
I'm trying to find the right word to describe this book. Spritual doesn't seem right but neither does religious. For me there was way too much focus on God though. Didn't get anything from this book that I havne't gotten from other sources.
Profile Image for Jason.
20 reviews5 followers
August 26, 2011
Far beyond any expectation I had for this book. Insight and wisdom for a lifetime.
Profile Image for Autumn.
475 reviews13 followers
April 7, 2014
Did not finish. I loved the beginning of this but it quickly turned into filler material. I will probably look at it again later to see if I can glean more from it.
Profile Image for Tom Britz.
872 reviews10 followers
December 13, 2019
Writing Down Your Soul is a detailed mix of Law of Attraction and journaling. Janet Conner draws it out in a clear and helpful way. Recommended.
Profile Image for Allysia K.
196 reviews75 followers
March 30, 2019
This book has a lot of woo. Sometimes it was nice - I had moments while listening to the audiobook where I reconnected with my spiritual side - but sometimes it was just a lot.

The beginning was great. Her stories were fascinating (and horrifying), but I started to lose interest as the book wore on. A lot of words for one very simple idea - have conversations with God in writing.

I also acknowledge that I'm not the target audience. I'm not in need of major healing
I'm further along my emotional journey, and I've been journaling for years. I know the book's suggestions are different from standard journaling, so take my words with a grain of salt.

It was an okay book with a very simple but good idea. The giant list of questions is helpful as well.
Profile Image for Mai.
551 reviews127 followers
January 21, 2016
Writing down your soul is a special way of journaling that helps you connect with your soul and access that special voice and its wisdom that can guide you through the journey of your life
The author calls the power that can help her ,answer her prayers and solves her problems "The voice" but I call it "God"
Many spiritual gurus call it "the source" ,others call it "The field"
Whatever you call it,they all seem to agree that there is higher entity that can answer all our questions and help us if we just connect with it
This book is a very inspiring read .I used to use and still do that same technique without even knowing what is called and it helped me Alot on my spiritual journey.It amazed me every time I wrote to God "The Voice" ,How God responds to me every single time even if it took time but I always got an answer for all my questions
I recommend this technique of deep soul writing for everyone ,it will literally change your life and help you access a part of you ,you never knew that it exists! Besides you will gain a lot of insight into your own life and see everything from a higher different perspective .I highly recommend this book :)

Quotes from the book

“Here's everything you need to do to set up a spiritual practice of writing that gets richer and deeper over time:
Create a schedule
Get a journal, notebook, or other paper
Pick a pen
Make yourself available
Create a sacred writing space
Secure your journals”

“There are four steps to writing down your soul and luckily they're easy to remember:
Show up
Open up
Listen up
Follow up”
Profile Image for Rebecca Tolley.
Author 5 books27 followers
January 17, 2013
I listened to this audio book version and sometimes zoned out due to multitasking --but that's my MO with audio books; I'm more attentive when reading rather than listening. Conner's approach to journaling is not so different, at least, her advice to journalers doesn't differ much from the standard bits doled out to would-be writers: pick a regular writing time, write everyday, write for a certain time. And while she covers basics like pen and journal selection and decorating or finding a peaceful space in which to write to a degree that will bore seasoned writers/journalers, if you can make it past all that, and you're at a point in your life where you're ready for reflection and inner work, then the rest of her suggestions about the process of how to write: what questions to ask and how to proceed from there will be beneficial. But, if you're not ready for what Conner has to offer, if your heart and mind are closed to this process or you believe it offers nothing new for your practice (without actually giving it a try), then good luck finding your answers elsewhere. I found her suggestions and examples provocative and I'm excited to begin. She frequently references the work of others and I loved that, so that I can follow up and read those books and topics in depth later.
Profile Image for Claudia Loureiro.
Author 4 books23 followers
September 30, 2014
The method presented by Janet in this book is part journaling and part channeling. Essentially, you start off journaling: dumping your truth onto the pages. You write about your frustrations, all your deepest darkest secrets, and all your fears are laid out without any reservations. It's all about purging because writing (down our souls) replaces those nagging internal negative thoughts. Those thoughts are replaced with wonderful insights and the internal negative chatter is slowly replaced with kind, loving and encouraging thoughts.

It's an extremely informative book and very well researched.

I would give more stars if I could.
Profile Image for Cassandra Carico.
210 reviews9 followers
December 11, 2012
I was not very inspired by this book. I may come back to it another day, but it just felt like the author was giving a personal testimony of how using other people's writing advice had helped her during a period in her life of extreme abuse. There was no new or exciting revelation here; she did the morning pages from the Artist's Way, and found that they worked for her. Then she gives writing prompts. That pretty much sums it up.
Profile Image for Liz.
1 review
June 28, 2014
What a beautiful time I had reading this book. I was so disappointed when it finished. I think I'll read it again. It's not only inspiring, but also practical and motivating.
I couldn't wait to start writing after each chapter, I knew exactly what to do. This is a solution-focused book and I highly recommend it to anyone as productive therapy, as well as a tool to help with writers block. Thank-you Janet.
Profile Image for Kat Skarbek.
154 reviews4 followers
August 3, 2014
Loved this book. Simple, beautiful and touching, this is part autobiography and part journey into the deepest part of ourselves and how that can turn our world around. Learning how to connect with and listen to that still small voice within, God, Great Spirit, Great Mystery, is demystified in this book and is made easy enough that anyone can do it.
Profile Image for Shavawn M..
Author 3 books1 follower
December 27, 2015
Although I've been doing this sort of 'soul writing' as Connor calls it, for fifteen years, I enjoyed reading of her experience with it, as well as the questions she poses for possible use in contacting spirit.

I think I will definitely start 2016 with a "Soul Day". It sounds like a fabulous way to celebrate the New Year and express gratitude for all that is blessed and good.
Profile Image for Barbara.
48 reviews1 follower
August 3, 2016
Loved this book with its methods for writing the questions in your life and then answering them.
Her explanations of "how to", "sample questions", and "understanding the process" are very good and invite someone to make changes using the journaling process. This is a great tool if you don't want to go to counseling but can honestly examine your life.
Profile Image for Leigh Kittell.
Author 2 books2 followers
December 2, 2019
My favorite part of Writing Down Your Soul was Conner's personal story at the beginning. Her life is proof that we can carve a tunnel through the dark. I recommend Writing Down Your Soul for anyone who is looking for an inspirational story combined with easy techniques for self-help and self-development.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 128 reviews

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