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Posts tagged ‘Writers Resources’

Water for Writing — My 5 Writing Practices

I was asked, once again, if I had any tips for beginning writers. In thinking of this, I realized that no matter how long we have been writing, each of us is a beginner at some point in our writer’s journey. We are always learning and relearning, as long as we are alive.

Just now I am beginning with a new transition in my journey. Forced into. I have never been very good at transitions, either in writing or in life. I tend to freeze, my mind refuses to go forward, and I end up rewriting previous passages–going around the mountain like the Israelites on their 40 years in the desert.

I finally decided that if I can’t go to the promised land, I can move on closer to it with other projects. I set aside my fiction project for now Read more

November, the Month of Creative Abandon

So how are you doing on the fourth day of the ‘thirty days and nights of literary abandon’– National Novel Writing Month?

And so what if it is not a novel. Maybe it is the story of your life, or an article on tea, or one hundred ways to cook chicken (not me). Maybe it is carving a giant turkey to grace the family table. Whatever it is, give yourself permission to go at it with abandonment this month of November.

Just to give you an example, my first three days have largely been taken up with a difficult eye appointment for my mother (remember Tim Conway and the little old man?), chiropractor appointment for myself, Halloween stuff, a grumpy cold (mine), and all the regular everyday that does get daily. I’ve still written each day, and oh, the fun I’ve had! And today, day four, I feel energy coming at an encouraging rate. It’s accumulating. Ideas are gelling.

For me this month is about focus on creative abandon. It is learning to focus on process, not product. All the interruptions are no more noise than I allow them to be.

I received this message from friend and fellow writer, Carolyn M:

“I just had to share an update with you and let you know what a spark your challenge created. This is only day 3 of the month, I have cleaned up, fixed, edited and putzed with the first five chapters to the point that I can honestly set them aside and call therm finished! The only thing missing is the decorative parapraph seperators that I will insert later, all at one time. (when I take the time to find them!) I have 42 pages and 12,424 words. Ready to move on to the next 5 chapters. Thank you friend, for that little extra nudge!

What could this month be for you? You make your own rules. I’d love to hear how everyone is doing. Your sparks kindle my own flames of abandon.


Letting Go of Shoulds

I’m writing this in the sanctity of my office, in the comfy chair in the nook of my narrow dormer. My door is open, and voices float up from below–five-year-old grandson and husband in conversation. They are discussing the weighty matter of former pre-school friends going to their respective schools just as grandson is going to his.

I have always written with my office door open wide. “Mom!” “Nana!” come the cries from downstairs, wanting to know how, what, when, where. Countless times over the years my son has come into this room, moved whatever was draped in my grandfather’s antique rocker and plopped into it, spending a few minutes chatting. Grandson likes to sneak in as quietly as a small boy is capable, and throw himself at me. Granddaughter comes silently and stands, patiently waiting for me to look at her, and then she will smile.

Agatha Christie’s son-in-law, Anthony Hicks, once said, “You never saw her writing, she never shut herself away, like other writers do.”

I have always harbored a deep envy of Christie for this ability. My heaven, what a mind she must have had to be able to construct her characters and plots with family life going on around her. Then, too, she did not have the distractions of our modern era: twenty-four hour television of every imaginable subject, internet surfing, e-mail. As I write that, I think: Dame Agatha had books; they go twenty-four hours, radio programs, and surely stacks of letters. She had friends, family, straying husbands, responsibilities, an entire World War, for heavensake! How did she focus on writing and continue to write regularly amidst all of that?

What Christie also had was the excellent ability to choose. She knew what was most important to her, what was right for her, what enabled her to not only get through life but have enthusiasm, and she chose it. Reminds me of the Mary and Martha story in the Bible. Jesus said, “Mary has chosen the best part, and I won’t take it from her.” Mary knew what was right for her and followed that.

Lately I’ve been looking closely at all the things I want to do, need to do, and must do. Those are what make my life, after all.

One of the largest lessons is to discern what I truly want to do–what builds me up and makes my heart sing–from what I feel I should do.

The world shouts so loudly about what we should do and be. Any ten minutes of television commercials give testament to that fact. (Dame Christie came up in an age without television commercials. This no doubt gave rise to her strong ability to make good choices for herself.)

Shoulds are not real wants and needs. Shoulds are not the still small voice, but the voices of other people and other lives. Shoulds are other people’s agendas and expectations that have flown over and gotten stuck with me. They are not even honest motivations. They are from fears, the largest of those being: “What will people think? What if that person gets mad? What if I miss out on something?”

I am in the process of letting go of shoulds. The quote, “If not now, when?” comes to mind. I’m choosing to leave my office door open, and welcome my grandchildren always. I also sometimes send them away with a hug. I frequently hide myself away these days, because I have the need for quiet and space to think. I said “no” the other day to an opportunity to do something for my church. Yes, a good deed. But it wasn’t good for me. It wasn’t even good for my family, because it took energy of which I have precious little.

More often these days I’m saying no to a host of activities, everything from watching a television show to reading very worthy articles online, and even at times to a grandson who wants me to play Candyland. In this way, I’m learning to say yes to what I really want, to what I made to do and be, to the best part.


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