Four Reasons Your Writing Life May Be Dried Up

1. You feel like an impostor

Your not letting the writer within you speak.

You’ve put tape over the mouth of your authentic voice, telling yourself that you’re not good enough.

Peel the tape off and listen.

Hear anything?

Write it down.

Don’t judge, just write.

 

2. The writing habit vs. writing a bestseller 

The towering image of writing a bestseller is the reason many of us do not write.

If you’re not writing on a regular basis, the goal is just to write.

Write about your best friend or the beautiful sunset.

Write about your thoughts on a book you just read.

Write something, anything.

No one needs to see it and it doesn’t have to be grand.

The only requirement is words on a page.

This is the writing habit.

Fifteen minutes a day.

Try it out.

 

3. “I’m too busy”

This is a code word for ‘I’m too afraid.’

If you learn to enjoy the writing process, you will probably not work so hard to avoid it.

Do you have five minutes while you’re waiting for dinner to be ready?

Do you have ten minutes while you’re waiting for that phone call?

Do you have twenty minutes on a Saturday morning to sit down and write your thoughts?

Start small and you will find that you do have time.

If you think you don’t have time, it’s all in your head.

The way you talk to yourself is absolutely crucial.

In your heart do you know that you want to write?

If the answer is yes, then you know what it is that your heart wants most.

All that’s left is to write the words.

Tell yourself that you have time and the open spaces of time will arise throughout your day.

 

4. Writer’s block

You tell yourself on a daily basis “I don’t feel like writing.”

Maybe the problem is, is that you don’t feel like you. 

The writer inside you is buried beneath the tasks of modern society

and weighted down by the patterns of failed writing attempts.

It’s time for a resurrection.

Begin to write a little every day.

Find writing prompts that get your thoughts moving.

Even if you write without a specific purpose or clear direction,

all that matters is that you make the choice to write a little bit every day.

Soon, you won’t be able to stop writing.

Then story ideas will come, poems will fly out onto the page, and characters will begin to talk before

you even had a chance to grab the morning coffee.

Just wait and see.

Magical things happen when you put even just a small effort into your writing.

 

Resource:

DeMarco-Barrett, B. (2004). Pen on fire: a busy woman’s guide to igniting the writer within. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, Inc.

 

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Finding Kindness Outside of Survival Mode

Kindness Blog

Finding Kindness Outside of Survival Mode

by Kylie Riordan

kindness

Kindness goes beyond the act; there is sacredness to it. When performing an act of kindness you are admitting that you are one with another soul. In that moment you are putting someone else first. You are thinking with your heart and soul. Kindness helps you to remember that essence of love that you were inherently built from and connects you to the divine.

Looking back on your life you may remember a time where you felt connected, where you felt at peace. Kindness tends to come naturally at these times.

Sometimes kindness doesn’t come so easy. Human life is built on survival. A need to make sure we make enough money to fit into society, to live. Living in the survival mode doesn’t allow much room for acts of kindness to grace life. When living in the survival mode there…

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Novel Writing: That Grueling First Draft

The other day I went to a National Novel Writing Month Workshop. Here’s the advice that I got out of it for aspiring and current writers about writing your first draft:

Allow your work to align with your personality

One of the authors at the workshop expressed that she liked to make charts, draw out story boards, and write outlines before starting her novel. Another author presenting said that she typically gets a flash of insight for a story idea and runs with it. She laughed as she explained that her notes are a disaster of marks, highlights, and scribbles. Decide what works for you and make it a point to believe in your process, there are no wrong answers.

First drafts are supposed to be crappy, that doesn’t mean your idea is crappy 

This is one of the key points that hit me very strongly. I’ve got story ideas that I absolutely love, but I don’t like my writing style. It’s important to keep writing even if your wording makes you want to vomit. Maybe your idea is epic, but your writing needs some work. Take advise from the experts: write the crappy first draft, the okay second draft, and the awesome final draft; remember it’s a process and an ever changing development, be patient and persistent.

Is editing your first draft keeping you from writing your first draft? 

Then stop editing and continue writing. The need to edit may just be external evidence of an internal fear, you may just be too fearful to write the story. The goal in the first draft stage is simply to lay out your idea, the details can always be altered later. The most important part is that you have the courage to tell the story that’s burning inside you. Eventually, your writing will communicate the intended story in the way it needs to be told, but don’t carry that weight in the beginning stage of your draft.

Formula: nonexistent 

There’s no formula for writing a book, just write the story. However, your process does exist and the only way to find it is just to explore what’s in your mind by putting pen to paper. Use your imagination and have fun with it, this is your chance to be a kid smearing paint across the paper. Go nuts.

Is your brain feeling fried? 

Worrying about important aspects of your novel too soon such as, back story, pacing, dialogue, and punctuation will give you a bad case of writer’s block. In the first draft, pretend they don’t matter if it helps you to just write the story. For most writers, focusing on these additions to the story line while the story itself is being created, will leave their mind in a state of frenzy. To avoid frying your brain, set them aside until the editing stage of the book and simply allow your imagination to run wild. Try this, I bet you’ll feel more at ease and your stories will be filled with more brilliant ideas because you will be able to write with a clear mind. In turn, ignoring important and vital aspects of novel writing during the first draft can actually make you a better writer.

Put yourself in the zone 

There are a few techniques that the authors used to put themselves in story writing mode that really surprised me. They listed examples such as: creating a soundtrack geared to their story that draws them into the world of their characters, clipping pictures from magazines that stimulate their imagination and emotions to write the story well, and writing without access to the internet to minimize distractions.

Don’t seek feedback on an unfinished first draft

This point hit me as critical and something that many authors may not be aware of. If you are showing your unfinished draft to someone, then the writing may become what you think they want to read. With different opinions coming at you, it’s very possible that your brilliant idea may get lost in the sea of advise that is proving to be more harmful than helpful. This is your story, your idea, your inspiration so it’s best to write the first draft for you and not for others. When you think about it, this point actually makes a lot of sense. What if the people your showing your first draft to are not going to be your final audience? They will give you all sorts of advise on what makes a great story in their eyes, but never what you really need to hear. Think about this: your intended audience may be obsessed about your story, just the way it is. Guard your story and trust your intuition during the first drafting stage, once its finished you will know how to recognize the advise that aligns with the voice of your story.

 

For more information about National Novel Writing Month go to http://nanowrimo.org/

The authors presenting at the workshop were:

Susan Rae: http://susanrae.com/

Elizabeth Harmon: http://www.romancewriter-girl.com/

Caryl Dierksen: (no website listed, but here is a link to her Amazon.com page) http://www.amazon.com/Caryl-Dierksen/e/B003MWFMII/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars

Author: John Green

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Pages: 313

My Rating: 5/5 stars

I think this is one of those books that I can’t fully comprehend due to its sheer brilliance. From the metaphorical dance to the layers upon layers of depth, this book dives far beyond our humanness and into the uncharted waters of infinity and intelligent symbolic interaction.

Life, love, and death are beyond humanity’s scope of cognitive understanding, our books should follow in suit. Even when we experience these facets of life personally, we uncover layers that inevitably reach beyond ourselves and into the unknown. What I love about this book is that I felt blur between reality and fiction fading into nothingness until the story became so real for me, yet in many ways, incomprehensible like my own life often is.

I find some answers to life’s big questions, but most of the time I’m treading the waters of uncertainty. This book took me on the journey of Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters as we discovered some answers, but found that there are many more beyond this life that seem unanswerable.

This is one of the many books that I will always treasure in my heart. It made me laugh, cry, wonder, and feel the loss of two friends who are confined to a space in time that ends too quickly and cuts too deeply. It is truly an extraordinary work of fiction that deserves to be read and reread for years to come.

 For more information on John Green go to: http://johngreenbooks.com/

The Writers’ Conundrum

Many of us who write also collect. In a sense we are writing curators. We collect books, quotes, ideas, inspiration, tips, and advise from great writers. We get lost in our search for the answers. We stare out the window thinking about anything and everything. We obsess over our favorite books and movies. All these things make us better writers because everything we encounter imposes a subtle change to our work. We are constantly being reshaped as our minds adapt to new information and experiences.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”

As we seek to become the students of life, changes in perspective are essential to moving forward. Our experiences are what teach us the most as we grow and change as individuals. The more we develop as unique persons, the more value we can offer to an audience looking for just the right mixture of what we’ve collected over the years. None of us have the same exact approach to writing because the collection in our minds, hearts, and personal spaces is different.

I think the hardest part for us writers is to set aside the desire to explore just long enough to write something. ‘Just write’ is one of the hardest lesson we have to learn. Many of us put off writing as long as possible. Maybe it’s because we find more security in the discovery of someone else’s great work than we do in the struggle of creating our own.

We collect as we prepare ourselves for the life of the writer, while remaining in the arena of a writing curator. Maybe we think that there’s so much to learn before we begin our career. Maybe we’re just unsure of where to start. Just write something, put your thoughts down and see where they take you.

We learn by doing, by making mistakes, and by continuing to persevere over a period of time. Yet those are the riskiest moves we can make especially if we’ve never taken the steps before. We feel so exposed and vulnerable. For the beginning writer, the only thing worse than sharing their work is being forced to get naked in public. Unless your a contestant on the show Naked and Afraid, I don’t know who would force you to get naked in the public eye, but that’s how much it hurts to take that step.

I’m totally there, it is one of my biggest struggles. However, taking that step is actually quite fun and I have to say I’m glad I did it. I can officially say “Hey, check out my blog” or  “I love to blog in my spare time.” I wouldn’t have said that a few weeks ago, not if I didn’t take that exhilarating, yet traumatizing step into the unknown.

Keep exploring, but don’t let it get in the way of your writing. Be a writing curator because it really does make you a better writer, but also take time to tap into your writing.

Identity

I know not who I am
Till I forget who they want me to be
Their words scream from all angles
I find some distance
The truth lifts out of me
Like a forgotten song
I say the words
Slowly at first
They grow louder
This is who I am
This is what I want
Why is it so hard to admit?
Confinement and labels
Press me into a box
Where I don’t belong
For how can a human soul
Be sized down to a single word?
If it were not for the dollar
What would become of my days?
Time is money they say
But I think not
If I am to create
Something truly worthwhile
I must ignore
The myth
That has them chained to the floor
Like a dystopian world
Of a favorite novel
We’ve made for ourselves
A maze we believe
Impossible to escape out of

Why Imperfect Journey?

The reason I chose to emphasize my journey as being imperfect is for the benefit of readers, but also for myself. For myself, it’s just a reminder to get myself into a routine of sharing my work and to be okay with imperfection. For readers, my hope is to break the romanticized misconception that writers have it all together and are in a sense, perfect.

Perfection is an unattainable bar that no one can reach, yet we live as though it’s possible. Perfection is the enemy of the great minds that could create something extraordinary, but resist in the name of attaining the unattainable. Mistakes and failure are the misnamed curses of our day. They are necessary for ultimate success, yet we drive ourselves mad to avoid them at all costs. This is not to our advantage, nor will it ever be.

Perfectionism has, for the most part, kept me from writing for years. Once in a while I would post something on Facebook and people would comment on how much they loved my writing. Even still, I just could not bring myself to write and share consistently. My fears paralyzed me and stunted my creativity.

We need to bring ourselves back to a time when we shared our creations fearlessly. Remember back in the first grade when you would bring home a coloring page or painting? Your mom probably put it on the fridge so everyone could see it. Maybe you didn’t color in the lines, maybe the giraffe had purple spots, and the sky was green but mommy still said: “Good job sweetie!” Why? Simply because you expressed yourself and she wanted to encourage you to not be ashamed to share your artwork.

I think this is a great way to think of our writing pieces. Think of your posts as sticking your work on the fridge. Regardless of what others think, post it fearlessly. Dare to be imperfect, it will make you a better writer.