Eight Learning Spirals for Writing and Life

What if our experience could be categorized into 8 learning spirals? We learn every day. We learn through every aspect of our lives. The Writing Spiral is about 8 spirals. Inspired by Fibonacci’s golden spiral, the concept demonstrates ways we grow and change using the metaphor of a Fibonacci spiral. I decided to use the spirals to organize content on this blog.

The order of the learning spirals is intentional but we are free to move among them without any rules. What if life and time were not linear? What if our days moved more like spirals?

A spiral can begin at a central point, at who I am, and progressively wind out around my emotions, experiences, and relationships. Or it can work the other way too, from my experiences, around and around the events and choices and reflections, in to the centre, to my source, my truth. It’s up to me—it’s my spiral.

And you can design your spirals too.

Spirals can become three-dimensional when we create with intention, when we reflect and act, and reflect and act. Just when we think we have arrived at the core, another layer reveals itself.

Here are my Spirals:

  1. The First Spiral: Creativity & Process
  2. The Second Spiral: Honesty & Courage
  3. The Third Spiral: Solitude & Self-Awareness
  4. The Fourth Spiral: Community & Connection
  5. The Fifth Spiral: Ambition & Audience
  6. The Sixth Spiral: Perseverance & Diligence
  7. The Seventh Spiral: Curiosity & Adventure
  8. The Eighth Spiral: Energy & Love

Sunflower: Writing Spiral

It’s about thinking about how we learn. When we become aware of how we learn, we are able to set up the conditions to learn any time. The more we learn (and the more aware we are of what we are learning and how we learn best) the more we will write.

Reflect: What would my writing spiral look like? How are learning and writing connected? What do I need to learn to become a writer? How will I engage readers in content that’s important to me?

Fingerprints: Creativity & Process Spiral

Our creativity and writing processes are unique to us, just like our fingerprints. Children are naturally creative. I connect to my inner child to remember.

Metaphors can be gateways to creative exploration and expression.

Consider the act of writing practice and the development of the craft of writing as separate processes. Nurture them both. Set learning goals.

The experiential learning cycle includes: an experience, reflection on the experience, consulting with experts/theories, and then acting. I encourage my writing to grow by engaging in writing practice, reflecting on my work, referring to elements of style and craft, and by using learning to write something new. Then, I repeat.

Reflect: How do I define creativity? Does creativity have a dark side? What is the secret to writing every day? Where should I store my writing? What does the writing process look like? How can I embrace the idea of play in my writing? How do learning goals support my process?

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Chambered Nautilus: Honesty & Courage Spiral

Lessons move through every aspect of our daily lives whether we want them to or not. The combination of lessons that life presents us with are unique, individualized.

Write the truth. “Tell the truth but tell it slant.” Writing is an act of courage. Waltz with vulnerability. I write like no one is watching, just for myself sometimes. Use words to heal, to find internal peace, to explore truth.

We learn through observation and reflection. To focus learning, I develop a strategy for analyzing observations and to gain a deeper understanding of my learning goals.

Reflect: What does it mean to be brave? How do I write my truth? How can writing practice nurture truth? When is it time to share my work? How can I learn from a mentor or writing partner?

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Labyrinth: Solitude & Self-Awareness Spiral

Discover a writer’s solitude. A writer’s solitude is the joy of being alone with creative expression in an ideal state of writing flow.

Connecting to my centre, I become an observer, noticing the interconnectedness of writing and life. Meditative writing practice assists in excavating the energy words and story have for us. I use meditation as a way to connect to my centre.

Why do I write?

We learn through multiple intelligences. Explore different ways of gaining knowledge and skills. To nurture the writer inside, I nurture the learner inside.

Reflect: What is a writer’s solitude? How can writing be transformational? How can I learn about myself from other writers? How do I “see” as a writer? Why do I write? How do I learn best?

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Galaxies: Community & Connection Spiral

Writing is about connection. We write to connect to ourselves and to each other. Mentors, learning partners, and writing groups can provide relationships that nurture and support writers in navigating the challenges of craft and the publishing industry.

Conflict helps us grow and change. Embrace the opportunities in conflict.

We write on the shoulders of giants, connected to all the writers who came before us and to all the writers who will come after us.

Writers are natural students and teachers. Courses and workshops offer rich opportunities for learning, for making new connections, and for developing community.

Reflect: How can I connect to a writing community? How do I get published? How does slow learning help me to make more connections? What can I learn from writing groups? Has someone else already written my book? How can teaching writing improve my craft?

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Da Vinci: Ambition & Audience Spiral

Befriend the dragon. Everything has two sides. Light and dark. Good and bad. Embrace both. Keep writing.

Learning can be transferrable. Learning can be unconscious.

Learn about ego, vulnerability, and shame. Decide how much of myself to share with my audience.

Write for me. Write for people I know. Write for people I don’t know. It’s up to me.

Play online. Embrace technology with the spirit of a young child and it will seem less overwhelming. We are connected to Da Vinci by our shared humanity.

Reflect: What makes audience and ambition scary sometimes?How can I slay my writing dragon? How much of myself should I share with an audience? Do I want to be a super famous writer? To become a writer do I need to be a social media whiz?

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Basket Weaving: Perseverance & Diligence Spiral

Creativity begets creativity. We need to learn our own working rhythms, conditions, and preferences. We need to set goals. We need to set boundaries. We need to find balance.

Feng shui my life. The impact will be worth the time. Attend to every area in life and my writing will be enriched. Maximize life for creative potential.

Set up the conditions and environment for optimal learning and writing. Find a writing space.

Writer’s block is a state of mind. Learn how to smash it.

We can learn from the flexibility of adaptation. Experiment with form to open up writing projects to new possibilities.

Reflect: How do I balance my writing and my life? How can I maximize my days for optimal creativity? Where is the best place to write? How can I cope with writer’s block? How will learning to adapt help me to do more work?

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Whirlpool: Curiosity & Adventure Spiral

We learn about the importance of inquiry, asking questions, and using curiosity as a way to dive into our writing.

Research offers possibilities, extends our understanding, and increases the chances of making something new.

We need to learn the rules, but then we need to learn how to break them. The best approach is through experimentation. Be an innovator. The more we practice making connections, the more amazing connections will appear on our pages. Look at the differences between doing and being.

Reflect: How does inquiry work? How can research support my process When is it okay to break the rules?

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DNA: Love & Energy Spiral

We write who we are—and we are love; this is the writer’s DNA.

All writing is rewriting.

It’s my writing spiral. Define it and explore it in my own way.

Reflect: How is creativity a source of energy? How do I know when the work is finished? What do I know about spirals now that I didn’t know before?

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