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.”
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!
Do you doodle?
Are you a simpleton? A fool? Perhaps you swindle or ridicule? Or maybe you’re a corrupt politician?
Creative genius and visual entrepreneur Sunni Brown shares what it means to doodle in this 6 minute video. What does doodling have to do with writing?
Watch the video, then continue reading below.
What does doodling have to do with writing? As creative artists, writers need to practice “thinking” via various modalities. If a picture is worth 1000 words, then perhaps it’s a visual representation that’s the gateway to the words.
Some ways doodling may lead to heightened creativity:
- Map out characters in a setting as a way to develop a scene. That will lead you to choreographing character movements as well as setting details.
- Use doodles to get inside your protagonist’s head; what would he/she draw? and why? That will lead you to their motivations
- Create a set of doodle icons as you edit your work; for instance, a swirly “G” might mean “check grammar.” A stick man “I” might mean indent or insert more content.
- Choose doodling over dawdling. When you’re stuck for what’s next, just doodle. As Brown points out, making spontaneous marks helps us think. Doodling could be the answer to what’s right around the corner for your next sentence, paragraph or scene.
Writers and bloggers, if you’re not reading your works aloud before publishing or posting them, you’ll never be a great writer.
Your writer eyes are blind to seeing the flaws in whatever you write until you take it away from the computer and read it aloud.
To edit your own work, do this:
1. Always print your works-in-process often. Author Anne Lamott says, “Don’t be afraid to kill a few trees. Just recycle.” (I turn the pages over and put them back through the printer so both sides are used.)
2. Read your writing with fresh eyes. Take it away from the computer. Change seats, go outside in the sun or to the living room couch. Just get away from the desk in order to re-see what you have written with fresh eyes.
3. Grab a highlighter before you go. Why? See #5.
4. Read your writing aloud. Stand up. Face a window or sliding glass door. Imagine the entire world is your audience, out beyond the glass. Read in your big oratory voice as though you’re at the front of a huge audience.
5. Whenever you stumble, tick the words or line with a highlighter. Rework those passages when you return to your writing desk.
6. Allow your writing to grow cold. Leave it alone. Don’t read it for at least a week, longer if possible. Return to it with fresh eyes. Read aloud again, and listen for what needs changed.
Reading one’s own stuff aloud can really highlight mistakes, not just typos but pace, rhythm, and flow.
Do you read your work aloud?
Please a comment at the bottom of the blog post.
Today’s article comes to us from guest author Vicky White of Life Design Strategies.
Is it time to step more fully into your power?
Two of your divine feminine gifts will help you do just that. Here they are and you’ll find a powerful mindset shift to make for each.
First: Owning your own authority. Instead of trusting ourselves, we’ve been conditioned to question our own judgment. This is a huge energy drain. When you trust yourself you don’t need to look outside of yourself for validation.
When you do not trust yourself you start to question everything you do. You make yourself vulnerable. You cannot move forward without friction.
As humans we are wired to look outside ourselves and base our behavior on what others are doing. To trust yourself you are going against societal conditioning, and you are going against your own wiring. But it’s so worth it!
When you trust your own authority, when you trust yourself, you know you can make the best decisions for YOU. This is a gift you give yourself.
Here is a belief you can embrace that will support you: There is no such thing as a mistake. And there is nothing you can do that you can’t find the gift in and turn into the positive.
So, if you knew you couldn’t make a mistake what would that allow you to do?
Trusting your own authority puts you in a place of power. You can take risks. You get to say “yes” to yourself.
Power Question: As a woman (or powerful creative) who owns her own authority and trusts herself, what do I know to be true?
Second: Embracing your creativity. No matter what business you are in, creativity is your business. ALL of your income comes from your creativity. Whether you work for yourself or someone else, this is true. Money is another form of creative energy.
How would your business shift if you valued your creativity? Really valued it?
What would you do more of, what would you do less of? Who would you BE?
There is a big difference between creativity and VALUING your creativity. How do you create an environment that supports your creativity? How do YOU create the container that makes space for your creative process? Where does inspiration pop for you?
Here are some ways you might do it, or do it more often!
Being in nature, taking a nap, going on retreat, doing nothing, books, connecting with others, dancing, exercising, walking, meditating, journaling, travel, playing with animals, self-care, soulcollage®, clearing your clutter! It’s all about creating space for inspiration and creativity, and usually this does not from being busy, busy, busy!
If you are in business you might have heard it recommended to focus on the income producing activities first.
What if you did the creative activities first? They are income producing activities – they are one and the same. When you shift your focus in this way it makes all the other activities easier. When you look at list building, marketing, putting a program together, or any of the activities in YOUR business as creative activities, you see them differently. So you come to them with a different energy – which brings different results.
Your divine feminine mindset shift: Creativity is a money making activity.
I invite you to be curious. Take these beliefs on and play with them. See what happens next!
©2012 Vicky White, Inner Feng Shui Coach. Get Vicky White’s FREE ecourse “5 Juicy Secrets to Answering the Call of your Wise Woman” and her FREE articles to boost your passion, purpose and creativity at: : www.LifeDesignStrategies.com
We welcome Guest Blogger Heather Bestel to Your Write Life. Heather shares her personal approach to stress free writing. Learn how to make your ideas come more easily and watch your creativity flow.
From one writer to another, I’d like to offer you tools that have helped me be more creative and productive. They are very simple techniques that you can use every day. It’s something that I’ve been doing over the past twenty years and it has served me well.
Step One ~ Every day I take just ten minutes at the beginning of the day to meditate. This involves me sitting quietly and focusing on my gentle breathing for the first couple of minutes. I then start to clear my mind; I let thoughts float in and then float out again.
If there are any thoughts that just won’t go I acknowledge them and make a mental note that they need to be dealt with later and then I let them go. This simple process sets me up for the day ahead and helps keep my focus sharp.
Step Two ~ I take another ten minutes during the day to allow myself another moment of relaxation especially if I’m having challenging creative issues. It’s a time for me to settle my mind and let the creativity flow. This time, instead of clearing my mind, I allow myself to daydream.
Whenever I’ve interviewed other writers, daydreaming is something they all agree with. Even though it is discouraged throughout our schooling, it is one of the most powerful creative tools we have.
When I was writing Magical Meditations 4 Kids, I took this time every day to daydream and it made such a difference to my work. Waiting for the writing muse to hit is often very frustrating. Putting ourselves into a creative state is much more powerful.
Step Three ~ Whenever I feel overwhelmed, tired or stressed by sitting with my writing too long, I take a break. In this break time, I get away from my writing totally. I may go into the garden and just sit in the sunshine for ten minutes or I may take a shower (a lot of my creative ideas happen there).
You will be interested to know that this isn’t a new idea. Here’s a wonderful quote from a great creative who lived over 500 years ago.
Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer; since to remain constantly at work will cause you to lose power of judgment …. Go some distance away because the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance, and a lack of harmony or proportion is more readily seen.
Leonardo Da Vinci
So, before sitting down to write today (and every day), I encourage you to stop and take a moment to really clear your mind; let it wander to a place of pure tranquility and calm. And then let your creative ideas start to form and take shape. Allow yourself this time of relaxation and reflection and notice how differently you feel and how easily your ideas flow.
During your writing today, if at any time you feel stressed or tired, take a moment away from your work. Go and do something totally different so that you feel refreshed when you return. Taking time out helps our concentration and focus and means we work better, our ideas come easily and our creativity flows.
Heather Bestel is a therapist, writer, lecturer and award winning business coach. She is the published author of Magical Meditations 4 kids and the founder of: HeatherBestel.com MagicalMediations4Kids.com ALittleBitofMeTime.com and MumsGotABusiness.com
Whether you’re writing fiction or creative non-fiction (memoir or essays) your story will benefit from the use of struggle as part of the dramatic tension.
There are three basic types of struggle:
1. Man against self.
2. Man against others.
3. Man against nature.
What creates tension is man’s struggle against any or all of these elements. A writer uses some of all three, but maybe not all three at the same time, except toward the end when your protagonist (or narrator in memoir) has to fight against all the evils in order to win.
The struggle in the early chapters ought to be more about the protagonist/narrator struggling against others. The struggle against others works best during the chapters where you’re introducing the other characters and identifying them as either friend or foe.
While the protagonist struggles with others, add in the protagonist’s/narrator’s struggle against self. For example, the protagonist/narrator might be trying to fall in love again after a serious breakup. He questions every opportunity, worrying that he’ll fail again. His constant struggle with himself leads to bad decisions, worry, even disgust, that heightens the dramatic tension of your story.
Another example might be a protagonist, such as a detective, worrying if she still has it as a professional. Her worries cause her to make bad decisions, put herself in harm’s way, and lead her to self-doubt.
Worrying and self-doubt are especially useful when writing memoir to portray the type of dramatic tension that is characteristic in a real life struggle.
Throughout the beginning and middle chapters, the protagonist/narrator should be struggling primarily against self and others.
Then, include natural forces to add danger, to threaten the protagonist, or to aid the antagonist. Imagine what specific elements of nature will do to heighten the dramatic tension of your story.
Show the protag actually struggling with nature. Use the weather, for example, as a ticking clock. Write so the protag reacts to the forces of nature by worrying, fretting, taking chances, doing dumb things to beat the weather or other natural elements.
To create a stunning page turner, use variations of struggle to ratchet up the stakes in either your fiction or memoir stories. Blend the elements of struggle against self, others, and nature and you’ll have a winning resolve at the end of your short story, fiction or memoir, or full-length book.