IT CAN BE FUN!

This weekend I will be at an Autumn Arts Bazaar promoting my Mrs. Claus book.  Although this is not my favorite part of the writing process, I know it can be fun. I just have to follow my own advice that I tell myself or my class about get the writing done.  Just show up and have fun.

The possibilities are endless if I just show up and smile. I am not trying to impress anyone.

Having no expectations and being open to whatever happens makes this a win -win for me.

My husband follows the same philosophy. He doesn’t put a lot of thought  having into a good or bad day and he usually comes away having really good days when many would only see the negative. It’s all about attitude.

I get to share Mrs. Claus,  a book I enjoyed writing, and a book that is illustrated by a talented artist who spread the humor of my story of Mrs. Claus in a very effective way.

Imposter syndrome can affect us all if we let it. But the truth is if we write, we are writers.

And If I love what I do then why not share it?   The Edison Autumn Makers’ Fair is a  community event that supports    Edison High School where my son went to  high school. I will be among other creative people.

Giving back to my community while having fun and maybe even selling a couple of books makes it all worth it.

 

Oh and by the way, check out these freebies on my blog site and have some fun putting together gift boxes you can fill with treats for your loved ones!  HO! HO! HO!

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The Big White Open Page

“Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”  -Barbara Kingsolver

 

I just joined a health club and today I went in to do some of the things the personal trainer suggested. I told myself I didn’t need to do it all. I just needed to show up and do what I could.

Baby steps.

I got to the club early feeling a little out of place thinking everyone will be watching me.  The woman behind the desk took my photo because  I was new.  There were a few earlier risers there this morning. I knew they were regulars. They had their club designed workout clothes, sweaty towels, their wireless headphones. I was a newbie. I forgot my headphones and towel. I was still trying to figure out the equipment and how to lock my locker.   

But that’s ok.   Because I showed up. I know what I need to do.

With National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) coming up in November, I am in challenge mode. But it’s important for me to remember that I am not in competition with anyone. No one likes to be a beginner and with writing it feels like that almost all the time.  I am facing that bright white sheet of paper each time I sit down to write. How I get myself there is the trick. (Just like the health club). 

This year NaNoWriMo may be a good way to challenge myself and to recognize I am not alone in this journey.  But whatever I do or don’t do daily should never be because I am trying to compete with someone else.  

This writing thing.   I do it for me.

 

 

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Won’t You Be My Writing Neighbor?

 

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“You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices and hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are.”  –Mister Rogers

 

 In a couple of days it will be my birthday and I have been thinking about wishes.

To make wishes come true you have to act.    There has to be an intention.

Energy flows where attention goes.

Over the weekend I met with my writing group and I wrote for five hours on one of my stories.   It felt good and I felt like I broke down a barrier. Next month my group scheduled a write-a-thon and are planning to write for six hours at various locations followed by a celebratory dinner.  

One of my birthday wishes is that I use more of my time to put pen to  paper and write down some of the stories I’ve been putting off.

What are some of your stories that need to be written?

Won’t you be my writing neighbor?   Even if it isn’t your birthday, make your writing wishes come true. 

Join me

 Write.

Summer is for Adventures in Writing

 

 

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Last month my husband and I went up to Ely, MN to retrieve a canoe.

My 18-year old son came back from an adventure in the (BWCA) Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

He went with two canoes and three friends. He returned with one canoe but still three friends. It was the kind of trip that would always be memorable.

After swamping the canoe and unable to retrieve it, they left it. A passing fishing boat came by and brought my son’s stranded friends who were on an island back to shore.  All of them were safe and also full of smiles.  They all agreed they wanted to do a trip again.

When we picked up the canoe, my husband said looking at all the dents, “Those rocks did a real beating on them.”

My son will always have a story to tell and maybe even write about.

Summer is the time for adventures and for exploring new places.

It’s the time for wearing bright colors and painting toenails or spending time nose deep into books and hitching your mind up to a cloud to just daydream.

And it’s the perfect time for capturing those moments by writing.

So whether I am in a canoe fighting strong winds or  in a hammock daydreaming in my backyard,  I will have my journal ready.

Gretchen Rubin, Author of The Happiness Project, once said, “The days are long but the years are short.”

So true.

Just Write…

 

 

Word Care

 

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Words are not always cooperative.  Are they?   They remain invisible, unstable, uncooperative or stale.  My editor self says,  “you are so boring.”

Why do I write?

Author, Julia Cameron,  said in her book, The Right to Write that writers should write …  “because it is human nature to write.  Writing claims our world.”

She also said, to paraphrase,  that our own inspiration connects us to something larger than ourselves allowing ourselves to live with greater optimism.

As a writer, there is always something to do. Writing, editing, researching, learning Scrivener. 

Sometimes  my brain does not want to think about it anymore. If I show up regularly to write I know that some days are easier than others. I also know that NOT feeling like writing is no excuse to not writing.

Yet what can I do to keep the creative faucet open when things seem a little too dry?

Some days it could be just eating a lemon poppyseed muffin. Or walking my dog,  or maybe three pages of ranting on the way the words are not working today.

The thing about feeling stuck when writing is that it is only temporary.  The moment you think you will never be able to write another word is when the faucet starts running uncontrollably. Something that reminds me of a scene from a Supernatural episode.  Like when the bathtub water starts to boil.   Eerie but exciting.

That’s the thing about creativity. It appears when you least expect it. But It’s not like it went anywhere. It’s more that you finally allowed that time portal to open so you could jump in.

Sometimes opening that door to your muse is nothing more than allowing yourself the gifts of living and embracing the wonderful world you are writing about. 

Take a nice long walk, read a book,  taste a piece of dark chocolate and drink a cup of Chai, go to the art museum. Don’t feel guilty about it.  Because after a break, you will get back to the chair and write whatever you can – good or bad.

Because that’s what you do.   You write.

Engaging in the world is  part of the process. 

Julia Cameron calls it a Writer’s Date. But for me it’s living a creative life. Engaging intimately in what I want to write about: my world.  It builds on the knowledge I’ve gathered already  and deepens what it means for me to be a human but also to be me.

Not Just Another Thing I Have To Do

 

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I think writer Brenda Ueland had it right.

She said, “The imagination needs moodling,–long, inefficient happy idling, dawdling and puttering. ”

It’s all about play and slowing down.

Writing is enjoyable. Even during a long dry spell. Even when the words feel heavy and meaningless.  Even during these times, it is important to remember that I do like to write. 

When I don’t rush.  When I slow down like I do for any mindful activity like walking or meditating. When I slow down to let the words fall good or bad on my page. 

Writing is joyful.

In my Developing a Writing Habit class, I tell students to think of writing as not just one more thing you have to do. It’s what you choose to do. It’s what you want to do.

Writing is about exploring, expressing and playing.  Writing is about making discoveries, solving problems, creating new worlds, and feeling a whole spectrum of emotions.

Never make it seem like it’s just a chore that you need to do or you’ll never do it.

Yes, there will be times when it’s frustrating and difficult and you won’t feel like doing it.

 But hang in there just a little longer and things will change.

They always do.  

And when it does the magic of writing will return.

As Sherlock Holmes once said to Watson, “The game is afoot.”

Write. Because That’s What You Do

 

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I am sitting at my desk with a large baked potato in front of my iPad. I am eating before writing or perhaps I am thinking and eating before I am writing. My back hurts. My brain is tired from working eight hours at my day job but I am here right now for a regular writing session.

I have projects to work on so I have no excuse not to write. And I know if I don’t make use of this time, it will be gone and I will have lost the opportunity to do what I enjoy: to write.

It doesn’t always come easily and I don’t always feel inspired. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do it. I can write the worst junk out there and it will be better than if I went and cleaned the bathroom. If I give myself a choice like that, writing wins out.

According to writer, Jennifer Egan:

“You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly. You can’t write regularly and well. One should accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.”

Well I’ve eaten my potato so it’s time to sit down and write whatever I can. The worst or the best. It doesn’t matter. It will pay off. I will feel good spending the time doing what I love And the words and ideas I am looking for will come either tonight or maybe while I am out walking or doing something else. That’s the thing about inspiration. It strikes at the oddest of times.

Whether it does now or later, I will show up to write now. Showing up to write is like stoking the fire.

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it. ” —Neil Gaiman

Now go write.

Don’t Want Everyone to Read It

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Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgement difficult.    

—Hippocrates (460-400 B.C.)

A woman in my class once told me that she was unhappy that her classmates. She said that they did not understand her writing.

“It never happened. It was fiction.  They just don’t get me,” she said.

It reminded me of my own critique classes where I got a whole gamut of different responses to a single piece of writing. Some people said a metaphor was great while others said it was cliche and I could do better.

Who do I believe?

A long time ago I came across some words of advice by a writer. It makes complete sense when dealing with a critique of your writing.

Essentially the writer advised , “don’t want everyone to read it.”

We are all from different backgrounds and have many different life experiences.

We also have different tastes.

What you write will not appeal to everyone. Not everyone who reads your work will understand it, and not everyone will like it.

But that’s OK.

Any comments made constructively and respectfully can be helpful to a writer. In the end, the writer gets to decide what to do with those comments.

It doesn’t mean that you should stop writing or that you are a bad writer.

The most important thing we can do is to be brave enough to write our stories and  to write what’s in our heart. The more we write,  the better we get.  That’s what counts.

Our words will also connect to someone.  But only if we write them.

Always believe that writing matters.

Writing Is Not Foolish

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I hear those voices in my head almost everyday. You don’t have time to write. There are more important things you need to do with your time. You are no good.  What do you have to say?

Why bother?

But today I decided that these words will have no effect on me.

Why?  Well, it’s April Fools Day!

When the words try to return tomorrow, I will remember what  my mother used to say, “April Fool’s past. You’re the biggest fool at last.”

Those negative voices do not serve me and are not real unless I let them in. They are truly the fool.

So I will continue to write and invite in my muse. Fill myself with what makes me creative and happy.

I hope you will also leave the fool behind when you write. There is no room for negative voices interrupting what you love to do, today or tomorrow.

But since it is April Fool’s Day, I cannot let the day go by without a good joke:

 

What do you have when you throw books into the ocean?

ANSWER:  A Title Wave

Write on!

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Open Mic Community

 

 

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I hosted an open mic last week for a friend. It was called Chalk Talk Narrative. The theme was family and the art of brevity.

First I read a few of my stories. Then I asked the group to compose their own six-word memoir after reading several examples from the book, Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Famous & Obscure Writers. Edited by Smith Magazine.

A group of about 10 people sat around a long table Everyone shared their six-word memoir and then read a few pieces of their own writing.

What was special about the evening was not that I was able to read a few of my pieces to an audience but that this small group of people, (some strangers) gathered together for an evening of listening to each other’s words.

A student of mine read a piece he wrote in class about his eyes. Initially he did not think the piece was good enough to read. Yet everyone loved it. His courage to read and the response was what he needed. Without each other, we can be our own harshest critic which can cause us to shut down our words for fear that it is just no good. The Open Mic gives the writer the encouragement to keep writing and that is worth it.

An Open Mic creates community. The people around the table that night were all different ages and from a wide variety of backgrounds, expressing their deepest self, but also willing to pause long enough in their busy lives to listen.

And perhaps make a small difference in one writer’s life.

It doesn’t get much better than that.