Wordsmith Wednesday–Show Up and Write!

Writing journal

Showing Up
A Poem

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.


A Week without the Internet

I’ve been without Internet access for a week and have come to realize that, although various social networking tools can erode time for writing, they also can contribute to creative inspiration. In a word, I haven’t written anything even though I have had plenty of time.

My blog encourages me to sit at my keyboard and put my brain in gear. This becomes a catalyst, providing me with some structure to immerse myself into my writing routine.

An interesting thing happened to me on my drive down to Palm Desert. I was cruising south on I-395, keeping close to the speed limit, not feeling compelled to get to my destination in a hurry. The temperature was 99 degrees and I was listening to CD’s on spirituality. I was in the zone. Suddenly, I felt a drag on my car and then the motor stopped. I eased onto the shoulder of the road, 2 miles north of Lone Pine, in the shadow of Mount Whitney. Without going into too many details, I ended up spending two days marooned in Independence, CA, a very small town in the middle of Owens Valley–a desert area replete with history and sacred space. (By the way, the picture I use on the header of this blog is Mount Whitney, in winter, taken from Lone Pine).

Now one of my fantasies has always been to rent a room in a small motel for a couple of days so I could write without interruption. Part of it came true. I ended up in the last available motel room in Independence, for one night. (The second night I spent on the couch of the landlady of the motel, since there were no openings anywhere.) Independence is about 16 miles north of Lone Pine and 60 miles south of Bishop…not much in between. It provides access to the Sierra Nevada for hikers, climbers and fishermen and this is the busy season for those activities.

As to my dream of writing, the second part of that motel fantasy, it proved to be a myth. All I had was time–time to wait as the mechanic diagnosed my Murano and sent to Victorville for a fuel pump. But when I tried to use that time to write, I came up empty. I suppose the concerns related to my vehicle, expenses and being stranded contributed to my inability to create.

Perhaps the lesson is this–put aside the notion of an ideal time and place to exercise your craft. Just write wherever you are, whenever you can. If you have a routine, a sacred space or anything else that lends to your writing experience, good. But when you get down to it, writing is about putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, whenever, wherever you can.