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 (more or less in a hissy fit of sizeble proportion.) The moving on is not easy for me. It’s learning a new skill. (If you see smoke coming from south Alabama, it’s my brain about to explode.)
~God bless, y’all, CurtissAnn
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First posted in 2011:
The past week I read several articles by writers offering their personal rules for writing. I decided to look at my own. I boiled them down to the following 5 practices that are essential to me, behaviors that ‘water’ me as a writer. I have to call them practices, because the word rules gives me the heebee-jeebees. And I have not perfected them; I’m still practicing.
- Commitment to my writing craft. Write every day, a scheduled focused time in the same place. This is sacred time, only a family crisis, or crisis in the garden, interferes with this schedule.
- Encourage myself. No criticism allowed, not only on first drafts, but also when revising and editing. Believe in my own process.
- Determine the theme of every piece, large or small. Write it down and refer to it often to keep on track, but change it when the writing reveals differently.
- Have weekly Creativity Time. This is a meeting with myself, informal and with refreshments, where I play with ideas and inventory work underway, and things I want to try.
- Read, read, read. Read only the highest quality to which I aspire, and that which sparks my imagination. Read some bit on the craft of writing weekly.
The above practices help me to do the work, and to enjoy it. After all, anything done without joy might as well not be done at all. Creativity, just like God, is found in the joy.
You will have your own personal needs for ‘watering’ your writer. Take time–have a meeting with yourself– and figure them out, and write them down.
PS: After you make out the list of 5 practices that work for you, the key is to DO THEM. Write them down, put them in front of your face, and practice, practice, practice!, says she firmly to herself.
8 thoughts on “Water for Writing — My 5 Writing Practices”
Love your practices! Also loving the line “anything done without joy might as well not be done at all” so much I may have to stitch it up and hang it on my wall!
It’s so comforting to read the words “hissy fit”. I’m glad to know I’m not the only person in the world who still uses those beautiful Southern words.
I’ve been away for a while and now find
myself in a new place, new home, NO
computer, and only a new iPhone to keep me in contact with my friends via the Internet. I,
too am being forced into making transitions.
Keep writing, hon, and keep watering the writer! I enjoy the blooms that spring forth I your garden of words!
(((HUGS))) from where the west begins ~ Nola
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My dear friend, Thank you for the kick in pants that I so desperatly needed!! I have lost my way in the last few weeks and I needed your encouraging words to set me straight again. I only need to do the final editing, and yet I am off doing other things every day. I have certainly developed a whole new respect for all writers, beginners or those beginning again, and again, and again. This career takes a lot of discipline as well as creativity. For me, when life happens, there goes the discipline and often the creativity too! I will take your advice and write my rules and post them where I can be reminded of what I am supposed to be doing. As for your current transitional journey,I detect an air of concern and tension. I hope it will bring you comfort and joy and that everything will turn out well. Wishing you many blessings and much love. Carolyn
Darling, it is the way of life for those of us who have family, and who are constantly torn between our dedication to our family/loved ones and our desire and need to write, create. The answer is the new beginning all the time. That’s life on life’s terms, accepting what we cannot change and going on. I’m excited about finishing an ongoing project of getting another book into Kindle, and starting a new non-fiction book. Life goes on. 🙂
Girlfriend!!! You Put Aside Your Fiction Project!!!!! What in the world! Do I need to come down there and light a fire under you???? Don’t make me come down there, don’t make me come down there – make me come down there! 🙂
I totally understand having to take a step back and regroup. I’ve been working on a stupid novel for about five years now – have five chapters left to edit – am I doing it – NOoooo! 🙂 So I understand!
Sigh, it’s spring fever, isn’t it?
Oh, Sharon, thank you for your ‘kick in the pants’ encouragement! I come up here to the computer, after a day– getting grandson off to school, taking my mother to the hair dresser, picking up Mom’s prescriptions and groceries, bit of housekeeping, finally got a few minutes to take a few steps to getting a revamped small novel into Kindle and bit of reading, then it was playing with grandson and homework and making supper. I need great swaths of time for writing a novel, and it’s not yet happening. I am going to move on to some projects that can be done in short bursts of focus. I hear God’s direction on this, and maybe I’m going to learn about letting go of forcing my will and listening to the Spirit in writing.
You go, girlfriend, on your book! You can do it! I can, too, when the time is right.
Big hugs, CurtissAnn
“The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”-Steve Jobs
Thinking of you and keeping you safely in my prayers.
Oh, dear one, what a gift you give me with this bit of wisdom. It is where I have just stepped into. I am a beginner, but with new confidence, trust, in the process. Thank you for the encouragement!