Burn After Writing: Let It All Go

Burn After Writing: Let It All Go
“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” – Twyla Tharp

Imagine holding in your hand the power to free your creative spirit, just for it to be consumed by flames moments later. No, this isn't the plot of a dystopian novel. Instead, it's an exercise that offers you the chance to confront and release your deepest fears, unlocking boundless artistic freedom.


Artists of all walks, from novelists to painters, are no strangers to the daunting weight of a blank canvas. The journey from conception to execution is often stymied by insecurities, limiting beliefs, and that ever-present critic within. But what if the key to your creative liberation was simply to… let go?

The Art of Letting Go: Why “Burn After Writing”?

Burning after writing is not about destruction; it's about rebirth, very much akin to the phoenix myth. By writing down our fears and anxieties, we externalize the very obstacles that hold us back. But the catharsis isn’t complete until those words, now symbolizing our barriers, are burnt away.

In our modern age, where everything seems permanent and easily retrievable from the cloud, there’s an undeniable power in the ephemeral. It brings to mind the art of creating mandalas, intricate designs made from coloured sand by Tibetan monks. Once their creation is complete, the mandalas, despite hours of meticulous work, are swept away. This act is not one of nihilism, but a profound statement on the impermanence of life and the infinite nature of our creative selves.

Similarly, burning after writing reminds us not to get attached. Not every word or brush stroke needs to be a magnum opus. Creativity is as infinite as the universe itself. By letting go, we affirm our faith in our ability to create, again and again.

Finding Your Fire: The Exercise

Start by setting aside 20 minutes. In a quiet space, pen down every fear, every anxiety, every self-doubt that has held you back from expressing your creative truth. Don’t judge or edit; let the words flow. Once done, it's time for the ritualistic burning. As the flames consume your paper, imagine them consuming your inhibitions, making space for newfound freedom. (Remember, safety first. Ensure you're in a well-ventilated area, have a fire extinguisher at hand, and avoid burning indoors.)

The Upside of Down: Benefits & Outcomes

As this exercise gains traction among wealthy enthusiasts (who, might I add, are always on the lookout for products and services that bolster their artistic pursuits), several benefits emerge:

  1. A Boost in Productivity: With each burning session, there's less baggage, leading to more consistent writing or art-making.
  2. Diminished Self-doubt: Regularly confronting fears reduces their potency over time.
  3. Enhanced Self-awareness: Recognizing and acknowledging one's fears is the first step to overcoming them.

In a world awash with products promising instant artistic prowess, the “burn after writing” exercise offers something far more valuable: a journey inward. By confronting and then physically letting go of our limiting beliefs, we make space for the limitless canvas of our imagination. So, light that match, and watch as your fears — and boundaries — go up in smoke. After all, it's not the flames that define us, but our ability to rise from the ashes.