Bach flower remedies for writers

The Bach flower remedies are intended for self-help at times of emotional imbalance or life stress. Although their mode of action is not understood, and sceptics claim that they are ‘only’ placebos, they have gained world-wide popularity since being discovered in the 1930s by a British doctor, Edward Bach. There are 38 individual flower essences in the system, five of which are included in the well-known Rescue Remedy for use in crisis.

Having trained as a Bach flower practitioner myself, and run a client practice for several years, I have been impressed with how well most people respond to this safe and pleasant form of therapy. I have written a number of posts about them on my other WordPress blog, and a short ebook on Smashwords. Fuller information can be found on the Bach Centre website.

Four (fictional) case vignettes illustrating how these remedies might be helpful for writers are presented below. These are of course just simplistic examples; each writer has a unique personality and circumstances and is subject to the same challenges in life as anyone else. Remedies should always be selected on an individual basis according to the person’s current state of mind.

‘Lyn’ is a housewife and mother and freelance journalist who works from home. She is very efficient, but has difficulty in finding time and space for writing amid the demands and distractions of domestic life. Walnut to help her focus on her work despite what is happening around her; Centaury to be able to say ‘no’ when family members make unreasonable requests; and Elm to relieve her sense of being overburdened with responsibility.

‘Peter’ is determined to publish an influential book about improving healthcare for disadvantaged groups. After getting home from his full-time job he spends several hours writing and gets to bed very late, but his mind is so active that he cannot get to sleep. He is also feeling despondent and frustrated after having early drafts rejected by several agents. Vervain to help him relax and to moderate his over-enthusiasm for good causes; White Chestnut to calm his repetitive thoughts; Impatiens to curb his hastiness in submitting manuscripts before they are finished; and Gentian for his disappointment.

‘Sandra’ dreams of becoming a famous author, and has lots of different ideas for novels, but has not actually done much writing and often feels tired and unmotivated when she sits down at her desk to make a start. Clematis for becoming more grounded and putting ideas into practice; Hornbeam for the ‘Monday morning feeling’.

‘Matt’ has spent ten years on his first novel, making continually revisions but never quite feeling satisfied that it is good enough. Besides having doubts about the quality of his writing, he feels anxious about having his work read by other people, and about various aspects of publication and marketing. Larch to boost his confidence in his abilities; Mimulus for his shyness and understandable fears; and Rock Water for his perfectionist nature.

I would be interested in comments from anyone who has used the Bach flower remedies to assist with their writing, or any other creative process.

 

 

 

 

Bach flowers for finishing a novel

Browsing through the search terms which have been used to find this blog, I recently noticed the unusual one ‘Bach flowers for finishing a novel’.  The person who wrote it probably didn’t find much help from the information which was here at the time, but I was intrigued by the question and will have a go at answering it now. A large number of different remedies, only some of which are mentioned below, could be indicated; please visit the Bach Centre website for further details. Up to six flowers can be combined in one course of treatment and, as always, the choice depends on the personality and current emotional state of the individual concerned.

After months or years of working on your manuscript, becoming deeply involved with the characters and their story, the prospect of finishing the actual writing and moving on to the publication stage can seem quite daunting. The final product, which whether you realise it or not is bound to reveal some personal aspects of your self, is soon going to be launched into to the outside world. It may be met with criticism and rejection. You will have to tackle the practical demands of publishing and marketing, which may be unfamiliar or uncongenial. Are you anxious and fearful about certain aspects of the process (Mimulus)? Lacking confidence in your abilities (Larch)? Do you set yourself such high standards that you are continually revising your manuscript in a quest for perfection (Rock water)? Or do you keep making revisions because you are being over-influenced by others’ opinions rather than staying true to your own ‘inner voice’ (Cerato, Walnut)? Perhaps, rather like a devoted mother whose young adult child is preparing to leave home, you have anticipatory feelings of grief and loss (Star of Bethlehem), want to hold on to the former pattern of life (Honeysuckle) or do not know what to do next after finishing your novel (Wild Oat).

Many states of mind would tend to hinder progress on a personal project of any kind besides finishing a novel. For example: feeling overwhelmed by other responsibilities (Elm), being so willing to help other people that you do not have enough time for yourself (Centaury), mental lethargy in relation to getting started on a task (Hornbeam), the tendency to daydream about your ideas rather than taking practical action (Clematis), being distracted by outside influences (Walnut), feeling negative and discouraged after a setback (Gentian) or generally laid-back and apathetic (Wild Rose).

Or perhaps you are simply feeling tired of the book on which you have spent so much time and effort, and the best plan is to take a break from it before completing the final draft.

Whether a book ever can be considered perfectly finished is another question ….

Simplify

One of the first topics covered on the life coaching course I took a few years back was ‘clearing the clutter’. Disposing of any excess ‘stuff’ in your physical environment, completing any half-finished tasks you have been putting off, and handling any chronic minor irritations, will help your daily life run more smoothly and leave more energy available for things you find enjoyable and worthwhile.


New Year is a good time to clear the clutter and to simplify. Buying myself a new bookcase this week gave me the impetus to reorganize the collection of books, journals and unpublished manuscripts which has accumulated in my office over the years. I must admit that I couldn’t bring myself to throw too many items away, but at least the ones I kept have been dusted and put in order. Maybe I will want to read them again one day, maybe not. Though it would be sad to see the end of printed documents, I am aware of the environmental advantages of e-publishing which is definitely the way I intend to go in future.


Bach flowers relevant to clearing the clutter include Hornbeam, for those who feel weary at the prospect of starting their daily work, and Honeysuckle for those who tend to cling to the past. Dr Edward Bach himself was an advocate of simplicity, and possibly took it too far by destroying many of the original papers which formed the basis of his published works. However the books themselves are still available and one of these, The Twelve Healers, can currently be downloaded free from  http://bit.ly/ozN5U6 .