Do you have a pen and paper on hand, or are you sitting at your computer ready to type? Hold on a moment...there’s one thing to do before you start. Take a moment to clear your head, relax and turn off your phone. Great relaxation scripts come from clear, inspired, relaxed minds.
You have my permission to grab a nice warm cup of tea. Put on some soothing music and try to have some fun with this part of the process. Forget about deadlines and DEFINITELY forget about trying to get your script perfectly right the first time.
If you like, do some relaxation exercises to get yourself “in the zone”. This will not only help to get your creative juices flowing, it will also make it easier for you to visualise and attune yourself to the content that you are writing about. Even if you already have plenty of experience guiding clients through meditative or hypnotic journeys, I’m sure you’ll still find this step to be beneficial. You need to be able to immerse yourself visually and emotionally in the script as you write it. Remember, hypnosis, guided meditations and visualisations are not just an intellectual exercise, they are experiential. Do your best to experience what you are writing about, while you write it.
You will also find that your writing style and your choice of words will be influenced by your state of mind at the time of writing. If you take the time to slow down and relax before you write, you are more likely to end up with a meditation script that your listeners will relate to.
Planning your script
Different people take different approaches to writing their script. Some take a structured approach - planning everything in advance, starting with a bullet point list of all the themes and experiences that they wish to describe. They then begin building their script around these step by step points. Many experienced hypnotherapists take this approach. Script writing is simply a natural extension of the work they do with clients each day.
Other people prefer to get into a nice state of relaxation, and then allow the entire script to flow through them in one go. This free flowing style may result in more errors and unanticipated tangents, and will probably require more editing once you stop writing, but it can lead to unexpected and very welcome inspiration.
Many of the meditation teachers with whom I’ve discussed script writing describe an approach that leans toward the free-flowing style. They allow their scripts to gradually form in their mind for days, even weeks before they put pen to paper. Many reserve time during their own meditation practice to contemplate what their recording is going to be about and to visualise the journey they’ll be taking their listeners on. All sorts of symbolic imagery, meaningful phrases, imagined environments and creative inspiration can come to mind during these meditations. Taking mental notes along the way, the entire journey slowly develops in their mind in a very visual way, to the point where they can describe much of their meditation without referring to any notes at all.
The inspiring example of great speechmakers
I’m always impressed by people who can deliver speeches without referring to notes, not because they have a great memory, but because they are so familiar with their subject of discussion and so enthusiastic about their message that they can speak fluently from the heart without a script.
When I listen to someone like this, someone who trusts in their knowledge and passion enough to speak in an unscripted, spontaneous way, I always notice how much more engaging and affecting they are. I think that hypnosis and meditations can benefit from this kind of spontaneity too.
It might seem like I’ve gone off topic here, with all this talk of unscripted speeches. After all, this lesson is all about writing scripts, isn’t it? It’s all about sitting down in front of your computer, away from other people, and typing, typing, typing.
And besides, you already know how to write don’t you? So why on earth would you need any help in this area at all?
The problem is, you probably write quite differently to the way you speak. Most people do so without even realising it. That’s why so many speeches sound like…speeches. They sound rehearsed, like someone reading from an instruction manual. The best speeches, the ones that really grab people’s attention, are the ones in which the speaker has the ability to connect and engage with the audience. I think that the best way to make this happen is to be yourself.
This can be surprisingly hard to do when it comes to spoken word performances, whether they be a speech in front of a live audience or a studio recording.
99.9% of all the words that will ever come out of your mouth in your lifetime will do so in a relatively spontaneous way. But the process of putting one’s intended words into a written script – especially while staring at a computer screen - tends to switch on a part of the brain that can over-organise, over-structure and ultimately disconnect you from your listeners. Intimacy can be lost.
The point I wish to impress upon you is this: Try to write like you are speaking to a real person. Try to be the expressive, spontaneous, real, natural you and then put that on paper.
Your script will ultimately become a recording of you speaking. It’s a speech in the making, albeit one in which you don’t have to worry about stage-fright or large crowds. You’re safe. You can relax. There’s no pressure when it’s just you and a microphone. But remember that your job as the narrator is to connect with other people, even if they are not in your physical presence.
So when the time comes to read your script, keep in mind that you are not practicing dictation; you are simply having a very one-sided conversation with an imaginary person who really cares about what you have to say.
You may need to loosen up your language a little bit as you write. Be uniquely you and put your own distinctive mark on your script. Feel free to let your personality shine through in the words you use and in the way you express them. Some of the best recordings I’ve heard were narrated by people who had rather unusual ways of expressing themselves...some might even call them “quirky”. I call them “authentic” and “sincere”. They’re also the same people who know the theme and messages of their script well enough to go “off script” and improvise when appropriate.
You don’t have to be flamboyant about it, just be yourself. Aim for authenticity in your script and you’ll really endear yourself to your listeners.
Reviewing your script – the ‘human’ test
When you have finished writing your script, take the time to read it aloud, preferably to another human being. You might also like to record yourself reciting your script (the standard voice recorder in your smart phone will suffice for rehearsal purposes) and then play back the recording to experience how you sound. You might also like to practice looking away from your script from time to time and just letting your words flow on their own. Notice how you feel and sound subtly different in those moments.