Spring Into Action: 5 Tips to Jumpstart Your Creative Writing

Good news: Signs of spring are showing up almost everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere right now. Spring is a time of renewal and growth. It’s the perfect time to clean up, declutter, and refresh what’s gone stale sitting in a drawer or cupboard.

If you’re serious about your writing (and I know you are!), here are 5 things you can do during the next 5 days to re-jumpstart your writing:

1. Collect all your writings in one place. That might be in one file drawer, in a 3-ring binder, or in one folder on your computer titled “My Creative Writing.” It’s important to know what you have so you know where to begin.

2. Open up 3 of those half-started or almost complete documents and read them again.

3. What does the article, story, chapter, ebook or blog post need? Ask it what it needs. Listen. Then write down on a 3 x 5 card the next 3 steps you’ll take to work on 1 particular article, story, chapter, ebook or blog post. The act of writing down your next steps jumpstarts the process of continuing. When we KNOW what’s next, we attract exactly what we need through synchronicities.

4. Set aside 30 minutes on your calendar for the next 5 days. This is a time you’ll devote to writing. Don’t freak out! You don’t have to actually “write” during this 30 minute window. Depending on what you identified in #3 above, you may use this time for research, reflection, or reading. What matters is that you’re giving attention to your writing again.

5. Notice what you enjoyed about the process of 1-4 above. What was fun? What was difficult? What do you need to add or take away? Make a list. Journal about it.

And let me know what your results are.

Spring forward!!

I’ll be looking for your byline on an article somewhere soon.

 

Video Post – Do You Doodle?

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.

For more information on creative doodling, check out Sunni Brown’s book, Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers.

Great Writers Read Aloud

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.

During a recent #litchat on Twitter, author Maggie Dana, said it best:

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.

World Read Aloud Day: A Message for Writers and Readers

When I was growing up as a small tot, a visit to Grandma and Grandpa Hunt’s always meant read-aloud time. The first thing I did after taking off my coat, hat and mittens was run for the book basket, grab a favorite, then settle into the nest of Grandma’s lap. I never tired of the once upon a time stories. I may have selected Runaway Kitty, Tom and Jerry, Peter Pan or Heidi from the selection of children’s story books, GoldenBooks, cloth books, and board books.

I wasn’t the only one who loved the books at Grandma and Grandpa’s. My cousins each had their favorites as did my siblings too. When Grandma read to us, she added sweet commentary, asked us questions, and pointed to the illustrations to be sure we saw the minutest details. Sometimes those details foreshadowed something good (or bad) was coming on the next page.

Grandpa, on the other hand, was a straight-forward, no-nonsense reader who read every word with a soft gentleman’s voice. A lasting impression all cousins share is how he licked his index finger prior to turning each page, something that probably was more habit than absolutely necessary.

I realize now how much I took this act of reading aloud for granted. For me, reading at Grandma and Grandpa’s was something we always did, a way to stem the long hours of waiting in Grandma’s post-Victorian home to be picked up by Mom or Dad, who’d had grownup business to attend to.

Later, as I learned to read, Grandma and Grandpa encouraged me to bring out my reading books so I could read aloud to them. Even though I was shy about it, I felt safe tucked beside Grandma on her velveteen couch, or perched on the arm of Grandpa’s wing back chair.

I can’t imagine my life without words – a life without knowing how to read and write. Where, when and how we’re born into the world, and to whom, is such a crapshoot. It’s unimaginable – unforgivable, even – that children are born every day who don’t have access to books like I did.

Learn more about World Read Aloud Day.

To honor this day, and give tribute to the many authors who gift us with their books to read aloud, I join founder and executive director, LitWorld & LitLife; author; literacy and education expert and advocate, Pam Allyn who wrote:

 “On this day, on World Read Aloud Day, I honor the many authors who write for children, for their tender care of the precious lives and understandings of children. Of their fears, hopes and dreams. Of using language to say, beloved child, you are never alone.”

World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology. (source: http://www.litworld.org/wrad)

I encourage you to visit LitWorld and make a donation.
http://www.litworld.org/wrad

Why not celebrate and honor reading aloud all year long? Author Larry Ferlazzo offers The Best Resources For World Read Aloud Day here.

When you write, do you think about how your works will sound when read aloud?

Please leave a comment on my blog at:
https://www.yourwritelife.com/books/world-read-aloud-day-a-lesson-for-writers

Change Your World with Two Powerful Mindset Shifts

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

 

3 Easy Creativity Tips You Can Use Every Day

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. 

Happy Writing!

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

 

It’s True: I’m A Co-Author, The Gratitude Book Project: Celebrating 365 Days of Gratitude

It’s here!  As a proud co-author of The Gratitude Book Project: Celebrating 365 Days of Gratitude, I’m writing to share my appreciation and happiness for the opportunity to participate in The Gratitude Book Project® series.

This book is full of inspirational stories and appreciation, not only for the things and people we sometimes take for granted, but for challenging circumstances and often less than desirable events.

I have two entries in the book, and hope you enjoy them:

– WHY THE SKY DESERVES OUR GRATITUDE

– THE TYPING TEST 

The Gratitude Book Project: Celebrating 365 Days of Gratitude makes a great holiday gift for friends and family and is a book they can enjoy every day of the year. The 365 day layout is a perfect way to remember to count our blessings every day.

You can buy the book here: http://amzn.to/365dlm

We’re having a “Big Splash Day” on Amazon today, Wednesday, December 14.  All net proceeds from retail sales are proudly donated to:

  • Feeding America
  • Women for Women International
  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (A.S.P.C.A.)

Working together, we can generate much needed funds for these worthwhile charities. I would be delighted to have your support on today and for you to share this opportunity with your friends and family.  To help out, all you have to do is simply buy one or two copies of the book for yourself or others from Amazon.com today, Dec. 14.

To make it easy, here is a direct link to the book’s page on Amazon:

http://amzn.to/365dlm

Additionally, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to you for being who you are, for being a part of my life, and for supporting me in my quest to keep gratitude in motion for us all throughout the year.

For more information about The Gratitude Book Project®, visit the website at http://www.TheGratitudeBookProject.com.

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season!