Creative Inspirational Wisdom: Proprioceptive Writing—A Communication Loop

In this final blog series entry, Bobbie Panek encourages writers to try a new kind of writing to fuel creativity.


“From a voice in your head, to your arm and hand as you write, to your voice as you read what you’ve written, to your ears as you hear what your voice has to say. It’s that simple.”


As a writer, poet, and author I enjoy being inspired and motivated, and I enjoy hanging out with like-minds. I look for writing workshops where I know I will work on my favorite skill while I’m with creative people. A recent writing retreat that I attended is one that I’d like to share with others. It was so incredibly wonderful, it’s actually hard to describe—but here goes.


I’d first heard about Proprioceptive Writing from my twin sister, Beckie, who lives in the Adirondacks. She’s friends with Ann Mullen, who is a Proprioceptive Writing (PW) Teacher. Beckie had attended one of Ann’s weekend workshops and relayed to me how it “works.” I then read the book, Writing the Mind Alive, written by Linda Trichter Metcalf, PhD. and Toby Simon, PhD.


The sub-title for Writing the Mind Alive, is “The Proprioceptive Method for Finding Your Authentic Voice.” Now, I know the word proprioceptive is odd. Who knows what it means, and how can it help you with your authentic voice?


According to the dictionary programmed onto my MacBook Air:


proprioceptive |prōprēəˈseptiv|

(adjective) Physiology – relating to stimuli that are produced and perceived within an organism, especially those connected with the position and movement of the body. Compare with exteroceptive and interoceptive.


There is no similar word according to the thesaurus (I told you this would be hard to describe). But here is how I learned:


  • I bought and reread the book, Writing the Mind Alive, “The Proprioceptive Method for Finding Your Authentic Voice”
  • I signed up for a 5-day Immersive PW writing retreat taught by Ann Mullen and Anne Bright
  • Seventeen of us showed up at this Retreat Center called Wisdom House in Litchfield, Connecticut. (Workshops are on both coasts of the United States and also in Holland.) Here is the website if you want to look for more:
  • I met many wonderfully creative people
  • I learned a skill which I’ll apply for the rest of my life
  • I can attest this method brings clarification and grace to my life
  • The grace happened in the room where personal writes were read aloud
  • The clarification occurs each time I write and apply the writing method, listen to each thought in my mind, write it down, question my thought when I feel the urge by asking myself, “What do I mean by…?” and then asking myself four questions at the end of each 25-minute write


Okay, now—you’re perhaps even more confused by this method of writing, but I assure you it works. I’m thrilled. I feel more grounded than ever before. I listen to my voice(s); I give them space and learn from myself what I need, want, think and truly care about.


Too often, our culture is chaotic with constant chatter on-line, at home, in the car, in our heads. It is such a balm to settle down, to slow down, to think clearly and to listen to my thoughts. Trying to describe the method is like trying to describe a “gut” feeling.


The main message I’d like to share is to try this technique. Buy the book or attend at least a weekend workshop, apply this practice to your creative life, and see what happens. It works wonders. Oh, and one more thing: I’d love to hear your feedback.


Bobbie Dumas Panek is the author of Nature Walks: Zen Meditations, short observations written while walking two miles to work during the four seasons, published by FootHills Publishing 2010 and Just Another Day, a series of 48 stories about raising four kids on a dairy farm in the 1980’s, published with CreateSpace in 2015. Her poems, articles, and short stories are in numerous publications. Bobbie is Poetry Editor for the National League of American Pen Women. Please check her out at and find her on Facebook: Bobbie Dumas Panek, author.


OUR GUEST BLOGGING SERIES HAS NOW ENDED. We thank all Pen Women who submitted work for our Creative Inspirational Wisdom and It’s A Creative Business guest blogger series. We look forward to giving an update on the status of Creative Genius at Work, an anthology that will include posts from these two series, soon.


  1. Sara Etgen-Baker says

    quite interesting…never heard of the technique but will check it out further. Glad it was refreshing and helpful for you. I agree, far too much chatter and too many distractions that suck us away from our inner voices and authentic selves. Thanks!