Meditation is like
You have to show up
or nothing happens.
I thought I’d start out with this short poem I wrote a while back. It’s a bit of advice I need to remind myself of often–both for meditation and for writing.
If we are going to succeed in any area of life, we have to be willing to devote time to perfecting our skill.
I’d like to entertain a dialogue on this subject, if you will indulge me.
- Do you have any techniques to assure that you are dedicating time to writing?
- Do you have proven cures to overcome laziness, avoidance, all those things we sometimes refer to in the mythical euphemism writer’s block?
These are a few of my thoughts:
- Dedicate a space for your writing. Create an ambience that will inspire–add music, candles, privacy, order (or chaos if you prefer). Try out coffee shops, libraries, nature or other venues that attract you, without distracting you.
- Schedule writing time that fits your lifestyle. For some this may be a daily affair, for others weekends, early mornings or late nights.
- Get the support you need from family members whether baby-sitting, assisting with household needs or privacy.
- Write an Rx for writer’s block. Here are a few of my favorite remedies:
- Take a walk in nature
- Grab a dictionary and randomly choose a dozen or so words. Use those words in a poem or flash fiction.
- Review and revise your work from your previous writing session.That often propels you forward.
- Retrieve work that you’ve edited out or rejected and use it to produce a new poem or short fiction piece.
- Visit a blog that offers prompts and go with it.
- Browse a newspaper for a potential story line
Okay, now it’s your turn. I’m asking you to help write this short article. In the comments section, please add some of your proven cures for writer’s block and what it is that makes you show up and write.
I do write daily, part of it is that I have to write, but I also have a little competition going with myself and keep track of how many consecutive days I’ve done at least some writing. Once that streak gets so long, I really , REALLY don’t want to break it just because I’m lazy, too busy, or whatever other excuse I might use. I also find myself living my characters…”How would so and so react in this situation?”, “What would this one say in response to what I just overheard?” Of course, non writers might say I’m crazy…ahh, what do they know? A little crazy is a good thing!
I think we should be grateful we’re a little crazy…it puts the edge in our writing. :0) Enjoy your writing–I look forward to seeing some of your work. Will visit your blog.
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Hello Victoria, I write every morning. I refer to my morning ritual as flow writing. I write what ever happens to find my pen, whether on paper or in my journal. Music, especially nature music acts as a conduit to my poetry Fae, lol! Like Brian, I am usually the first to awaken. I find it magical in the morning and when I look through what I have written, I am always amazed and sometimes question how certain words have found my hand. Thank you for the great ideas.
Thanks for sharing, Helena. This reminds me of Julia Cameron’s advice in “The Artist’s Way”–a read I strongly recommend to anyone who hasn’t spent time with it.
amen. i ascribe to the write anyway ‘method’ if you will….i write daily whether i feel like or not…whether it is good or not…it is a discipline…the fruit may take time to germinate…and later you may only salvage a line of what you wrote…i wake before anyone else in my house so i am undisturbed and write….
Your writing demonstrates that you show daily to write, Brian. I love what happens in early morning and even in the middle of the night, sleep-deprived as I am. Couldn’t let go of an idea last night till I hauled my weary butt out of bed and put it to paper. lol
I have spent my life people-watching; in my job, it was an occupational imperative. I never consciously filed them away into a retrievable memory bank, but it is there. Tiny incidents throughout the day will bring one of them to the fore. I find myself mentally saying, “That reminds me of _____,” and there is a story there. While I often have difficulty writing the personal descriptions others seem to do so easily, I can see them: how they’re dress, how they move and hear their speech patterns. I often use these real-life characters for a point of view in a poem. Perhaps I’m a freak, but I know their emotions, feel their pain or see through their eyes. There have been times when I couldn’t write, but that’s only after I withdrawal into myself to work something out, and consciously keep those others at bay.
So good to dip into memories for inspiration. I see how you do this and I do it as well. Much of what I write is something I’ve experienced through someone else. Thanks, Mike.
I like your opening poem, Victoria–that’s so true of course! Here are a few things that I thought of that could be helpful to jump start some writing:
1. I delve into my childhood. I think of happy, sad or downright ugly things that I experienced as a child.
2. Read. It seems when I start reading some material, be it a magazine, a book, other’s poems, it seems to trigger an idea for me.
3. Write about subject matter of a personal interest or importance–like a social issue that you feel strongly about. Are you a member of a club or group that promotes social change? Those are good subjects, I feel, because they’re usually things that you feel passionate about.
4. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel like writing for a day or two. Sometimes you have to “regroup” and need some breathing room. Don’t panic if you don’t adhere to a rigid writing schedule. Stressing over your lack of writing won’t help matters.
5. Dare to be silly! If you’re a “serious” writer. Try thinking outside of your box and write a limerick or something humorous and fun.
Great additions, Gayle. I especially like the 4th one…most of us are way too good at beating ourselves up!
One of the things that always inspires me is reading articles like yours. I think: I should be doing that! I can do that! Then I make plans, start a schedule, even try it out for a day or two or three. But. . . life always seems to get in the way — I’ve got so much else going on in my life that when I think of sitting down to write, much as I may want to, I just don’t have the energy. It’s a cop-out, I know, because, if I really WANTED to write, I would. For now, I’ll just keep reading wonderful articles like yours. Thank you.
Your story is like most of us. Don’t be too hard on yourself because that really kills the creative muse, but having a plan does increase the odds that you’ll write a bit more than you would without one!
Regarding your question about the challenge, my post will be something like a list of all favorite things I mentioned there- word, quote,poem,book, …etc. for each season, with little introductions and an image. You decide how would you like to form your post … it can be in the form of a poem or short story, it’s all up to you, as long as it is related to the season of each post! Have a nice day!
Thanks, Blaga. I’m getting ideas!
thanks a million times victoria, the suggestions you gave at the end are fantastic. i am trying to train myself to write daily. its a good habit. i have plenty of time and plenty of energy so why not utilize it to create something 🙂
I agree that writing daily is optimal but not always realistic. I think it’s important to know your own limitations and what works best…I’m thinking of people with difficult work schedules and family obligations. The key is to be honest and not waste time when it could be spent writing…like I do sometimes with solitaire. I suppose I could do another post just on how to avoid writing…I’m so good at that, too. :0)
Thanks for the tips and insight.
Two things which I’ve learned on my journey:
1) Go to an art gallery or photo gallery. It helps to see things from a different point of view, see what fascinates others enough for them to frame it in a picture.
2) tell yourself it’s ok to write something that’s awful. I think sometimes in trying to do well, I become too self critical and writing becomes a chore and full of negativity. Not fun at all.
You make some really good points, here, Ravenblack. When I was more active at the museum I found an enormous amount of inspiration. I need to remember that. And, you’re right. Trying to be perfect is so paralysing. Thanks so much for sharing these.
This piece is magical…yes it is!
I feel you covered all of the necessary aspects of getting down to business.
All, I could add is “away time.” When you are away from the computer, your mind is free to see your story from the outside.
I don’t know how much dialogue I created between characters, sitting in D. Donuts and just imagining them sitting across from me. I have created beautiful, explosive scenes while riding in a car, and looking out the window. I was not driving…lol
I thought of some beautiful love scenes while walking along a little pond near my home.
Great post–loved it and needed it
You share some magical moments here, Jaye. I love sitting in a restaurant listening in to conversations. Wrote an entire short story based on one of those. It was published years ago but maybe I’ll try to put it out there on Kindle Singles or Smashwords.
Victoria—send me information in e mail—or here. I would love to get it..can’t wait—no kidding
Still trying to figure out the tech part of converting files for publications. When I do, you’ll be the first to know!!!