WEDNESDAY WRITER WISDOM: Are you ever guilty of this? A major faux pas of writers who “know what they’re saying” but fail to tie pieces of info together. Think of this; when you read your in-process manuscript, consider why your details matter. Why are you telling me that? To you, there’s a significance in what you write. But until you make these details relevant to your story, the effect you want is lost on your reader. Make sure your “significance” is conjoined with its “relevance.”
Today’s journal prompt:
What would they say to you? Get busy? Start now? Finish something?
Inscribe what you hear in the pages of your journal.
What’s next for you this year?
Happy NaNoWriMo day to all writers who are participating in National Novel Writing Month during November.
What makes NaNoWriMo a huge success is the support and inspiration that comes with writing alongside 1000’s of others across all continents as people are putting pen to page, day by day, every day in November.
I believe in this process of writing every day. I support all those who sign up and do it. And even if you don’t sign up, you can commit to yourself (and to me) to become a steady writer during November too.
A few years ago, I participated in NaNoWriMo while co-writing a book for a client. Even though I wasn’t writing a novel, it was fun to check in on social media and post daily updates while hearing how others were doing too.
So you don’t have to be writing a novel. You can work on your memoir. Or write a few blog posts. Or create content for your next program, course or product. Or simply journal every day.
I enourage you to create a plan to write every day during November.
What if you wrote just 500 words every day (the length of a blog post, for instance). Imagine how great you’ll feel when December rolls around. Talk about a reason to celebrate!
I’d like to happy dance with you in celebration of your successes. Drop me a note now to let me know what you’re doing. I’d love to catch up.
What’s next for you? Have questions about where or how to begin? I’d love to help you.
It’s said that it takes 21 days to break an old habit, or better yet, to break in a new one. How about making Contemplation and Creativity YOUR new habit?
What if every day for the next 21 days you created something new? It might be something you write in your journal. It might be a collage you make, add a short message to, and post to Instagram. You might challenge yourself to write a new blog post or update your Facebook page.
So here are a few personal thoughts about creating a 21-day creativity challenge:
1. Everyone needs a can opener to start new writing. I’m an experienced writer. And even so, I need prompts and visuals to get me going. Otherwise, my writing tends to be unfocused and without purpose.
2. Visuals provide excellent starting points to open both your heart and your voice to put doodles (and words and sentences and phrases and lists) on the page. When I trust my heart, and just write to visuals and prompts, I don’t have to worry about where things go. It’s freewriting, something I talk about ALL the time. Sometimes what turns up is useful for my creative process. Sometimes, it turns into product.
3. Reflections on creativity are personal. They’re part of your inner work and journaling process that may or may not lead to other writings you do.
4. The practice of freewriting increases your confidence as a writer. Opening up to write whatever comes builds your writing muscles. Every time you show up to the page and write, it becomes easier.
5. Practicing writing for 21 days in a non-judgmental way invites the muse in and creates a consistent habit. Sneaking into the flow of writing like this keeps that sweet muse alert to visit you more often too.
6. At the end of the 21 days, you’ll be a stronger writer. At least that’s been my experience. I want to keep on keeping on, and write, write, write some more. I notice that it gets easier, day by day, and at 21 days, I’m eager to put pen to page EVERY day.
So what do you think? I’d love to see your name in the comments, or on Instagram, or your blog. Please share our writing experiences (not what you wrote, but about your experience of the highs and bumps, flaws and all, of having written). I’ve already attracted many writing friends and colleagues who’ve joined the challenge.
If any of the above resonates with you, then say YES to it. Take creative action. And let me know what you did. Onward!
I believe the well of creativity is always full — there for your taking, waiting patiently for you to dip in. Using writing prompts as mini-assignments gives you the dipper to draw your personal connections from the deep recesses of the well. If you’re looking for writing inspiration, trust the prompts to trigger fresh possibilities.
1. Read the writing prompts.
2. Quickly, write down anything that comes to mind for each. First thoughts… uncensored. (My recommendation: a writer’s notebook or journal as a tool you use consistently for recording these first thoughts. The writer’s journal becomes your personal written archive for more material and personalized writing prompts.)
3. If one of the prompts spurs you to write more, go for it! Don’t stall. The Muse is speaking now! Don’t let her get away.
4. Over the next few hours or days, allow the prompts to germinate. Revisit them daily. New thoughts may come. Through your reticular activating system (RAS) the prompts will attract new material for you. Allow the prompts to inspire your daily writing practice in unforeseen ways.
5. Find a quiet place (or if you prefer raucous, then turn on the stereo, way up loud). Practice a combination of: Breathing – Stillness – Listening.
6. Move. Go for a walk. Practice yoga. Leave your desk. Sit in a comfy chair. Go out on the porch. Take a drive. It’s often here where you’ll “hear” fresh ideas too.
7. Write. Write. Write. Return to the prompts and to your initial thoughts. Set a mini-goal to write 500 words on a selected prompt. Then another… Keep writing as long as you are inspired.
8. Add to, refine and polish those that seem to have promise for “product pieces.”
9. Trust the process.
10. Make writing for practice, for process, or for product a priority for every day.
11. Enjoy the journey!
I woke up this morning with a sudden urge to come clean with you.
I’m a procrastinator.
I have a difficult time making decisions.
Ask my sister. She’ll tell you.
And I’m a work in process.
I’m working on it.
It’s never too late to decide.
It’s never too late to decide to do things. Differently.
As a business owner, I must make decisions every day, difficult ones and sometimes easy ones. I like the easy ones, of course. Whether or not to have 1 bite of chocolate after lunch, for example. Easy. Yes. Thank you.
To be completely honest, I have to have helpers who hold me accountable, who ask me the right questions, and who challenge me to get out of my stuckness and keep things moving forward.
That’s why I’ve always worked with a coach. Someone I pay. Someone who let’s me bounce ideas around as part of the process of decision-making. My coach(es) – yes, it takes a village to raise me – and I have created amazing results together. I give them a lot of the credit because they deserve it.
Without coaches, procrastination, stuckness and failure to decide would always stand in the way of my successes. I’m totally convinced of that. So there’s the confession part.
Let’s face it: we all have great intentions. But of course, life gets in the way if we don’t have a structure and a plan. I know this is true because of how I’ve struggled.
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to writing, and getting it done, it’s always helped me to have a safe, supportive environment, accompanied with fellow-writers, writing alongside, sharing the ins and outs of the writing life. I’ve always appreciated having a mentor, a coach or other ally to be my guide along the way too.
My greatest achievements have been accomplished when these things were in place:
- I had a plan.
- I had a support system.
- I had a level of accountability I felt comfortable with.
- I had a coach, a mentor, or other creative cohorts to spur me on.
I’ve created a mentoring program that fits all those pieces together. And I invite you into this inner circle to join me and others as we create something extra spectacular together this summer.
It’s never too late to decide to do things differently.
The concept of freewriting is to allow your words to flow onto the page, uncensored. Read a prompt, put pen to page, and write. Don’t stop to think… just write what comes to mind based on the prompt. Allow whomever you draw your creativity from (the Universe, your Muse, God) to speak to you. Use the prompt to conjure up sensory details from all 6 senses (see, smell, touch, hear, taste and “feel” emotional connections). Be spontaneous, expansive, and fluid. Write first thoughts. Freudian slips are okay, even welcomed, as they often take us where we really need to go.
Writing Prompts (or Assignments)
Writing prompts are intended to trigger your mental archive. Use them as a springboard from your personal experience into writing. All of us carry around images, emotions, and feelings that connect to past experiences, current situations, and future dreams. Allow the prompt to “inform” your writing, but not “define” it. The prompt may tell you to write something a certain way, but what comes to mind for you is something different. Great! Fine! Write what your creative spirit tells you to write. Anything you write is wonderful-neither good nor bad, it just is.
Allow yourself to be surprised. Use the prompt to draw out your creative spirit and allow her writing to show up on the page in whatever form you choose. Welcome short bursts-small pieces of 100 words, for example, can always grow into big pieces too. Just get something, anything, written down.
Prompts as Writing Practice
I believe there are two kinds of writing: writing for process and writing for product. While the two go hand in hand, I believe what comes first is writing for process.
Consider: where do you get the seeds for a new piece of writing? how do you get from a series of thoughts to a fully polished piece that’s ready to send to a publisher?
In my experience, working with prompts and writing practice is a natural stepping stone on the path to publishable material. Our first step is to write based on inspiration triggered by a prompt, allowing our writing to flow with personalized intention.
I call this “writing for process.” You may not be able to see where this piece of writing is going, but what you’re doing is tapping into your mental and experiential archive. You’re getting thoughts and ideas down on paper. You’re strengthening your writing muscle. You’re acknowledging your writing voice and personal style.
I believe as writers we need to collect a good sampling of these “writing for process” pieces. They are the springboards for larger projects and help point us in directions we may not have seen or acknowledged before.
Once you have a collection of “process pieces” you can then begin to shape for publication the ones that interest you. Here’s where your “process pieces” turn into “product pieces.” These “product pieces” become the writings that you actively “work on” and polish. With the “product pieces,” you begin to look for suitable markets, honing and refining to publisher guidelines.
In order to get your writing practice started, or to stimulate your creativity further, I invite you to get a free copy of my ebook “99 Ways to Jumpstart Your Creative Writing.”