Category Archives: Inspiration

today i shall write

keep up

for my horoscope tells me so:

Thursday, August 16, 2012 – You may experience free-floating anxiety today as you’re feeling a combination of excitement and annoyance. Although others could seem overly stubborn, you might actually be the one most responsible for holding yourself back. Even if you feel trapped by the current circumstances, don’t focus on your limitations. Instead, allow your feelings to take you wherever they go without judging them. You can easily find your way back to a more productive place later on.

I will write utter crap and just let the words tumble from my mind to my fingers and sticky-up the keys. I Won’t focus on my limitations! I will go without judging. I will find a productive place later. After the crazy screwed up swirls of ideas and images tangle, twist and crash into one another, bulging at my temples, pulsing under my left eye.

Go! Write Crap!

*created to the tune of My Generation, The Who*

 

^^^Update: I just wrote 1,045 words of an intense scene. I think I used the word “pierced,” “Twitching” and some sort of bird metaphor like 18 times.  But I surpassed my goal of 700 words! Today’s crap session was inspired by Thrive, Switchfoot

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5 Things Writers can Learn from Teenagers

The need to be understood. Yep, isn’t this why we pick up the pen in the first place? We want to share our thoughts on life and emotions and feel the connection with the world. We want others to say  “yeah, I get you, I totally feel that way, too.”

The pursuit of being original. But, really, it’s scary. Which is why you can’t tell some teen girls or guys apart. The straight hair chalked in pink and blue, skinny jeans, obsession with piercings, nail art and all things skulls. We writers try to mimic what’s safe. What we know is the trend right now. But, that doesn’t work. If you’re the same as the masses, you’ll disappear.

Keep your posse close: We can all learn from the tight pack of teenagers. Despite the drama, teens band together to feed off of each other’s energy and humor and feeling of connection. Writers need their pack of other creatives, too. To encourage and push us on, to cheer our successes and keep us real when the blocks form and the rejection slips come back.

Be rebellious. OK, I would not encourage my own teenager to do this, but of course he will. Afterall, he’s my kid. And he has strong opinions on things. He makes them known. Writers need to make their opinions known, too. This is called our VOICE. Our style. Be honest in your writing. It doesn’t mean writing about the snotty Room Mother not using your craft idea for the classroom party, but going deeper and writing about the neglect she feels at home from her Very.Important.Big.Shot husband.

Be selfish. Again, not something I’d encourage in my son, but as writers, especially if we have kids, day jobs or spouses, our writing tends to drop off our radar. We become crabby, bratty, temperamental (like a teen?) So instead, be a little selfish and SCHEDULE  time for writing, even if it means missing one Sunday dinner a month at your in-laws. (you can thank me later!)

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Filed under Advice, Believe, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Voice, writers, writing inspiration, Young Adults

What the Farmers’ Market can Teach You About Writing

This little community of early-Saturday risers have known the delicious secret of our town’s Farmers’ Market for quite a long time. Since I’ve recently joined the community of early-Saturday risers, the Farmers’ Market has become a weekly morning date for my husband and me. With tasty, fresh results! Peaches, grapes, tomatoes, Door County Coffee (Mmmmm….)

But, it got me thinking, as most things do, about writing. Here are some ways The Farmers’ Market can teach us Writers:

  1. Fresh is Best.  the freshest ideas, like the freshest, in-season produce totally outweighs the mass-produced, convenience packaged ideas (and foods!) Fresh, as in, Do Not try to write the next Harry Potter or Twilight or even 50 Shades of Gray. If you’re quirky, run with it! If you’re a poet, a romantic, a sci-fi fanatic – write your freshest stuff, and rewrite it, caring for it until it’s ripe.
  2. Presentation is Everything: I kinda feel bad, but not really. Those wobbly folding tables displaying pitiful containers of blueberries, raspberries and a few bedraggled ears of corn. Looks skimpy, gives the feeling of picked over produce, not a lot of love. Present your best work. Don’t send it out or share it until it’s ready. Really ready. And LOVE your work or no one else will.
  3. No Preservatives: OK, this goes against lesson #2, but there is such a thing as holding on too long. Our stories should not sit and ferment while still in the drafting phase. I know this from experience. There are no preservatives in my novels. And unfortunately, because I lost faith in my first few attempts, when I go back to resurrect them, the tone has changed. I have changed. It’s no longer the same story. And my characters tap their feet, impatient with me.
  4. Being Outdoors makes EVERYTHING better: Shopping, eating, talking, walking, kissing. And Writing. Write outside a coffee shop. Write while sitting on a bench in the park. Write next to a gurgling water fountain. Write on the train platform. Write on a grassy slope just outside the tents of the Farmers’ Market.

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Filed under Advice, Inspiration, Uncategorized, writers, writing inspiration

write from here

pulled from my Pinterest Board “Inspiration for my Writing”

“jumping” photo by: Yaman Ibrahim

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great expectations – the gap between what we want to write and what we actually produce

Does the end result of your story stop you from even beginning? That seems to be my current problem…

“I dream of an Eagle, I give birth to a Hummingbird.” ~ Edith Wharton

There is a gap many writers experience. Between the expectation and the final product. In my head it’s a beautifully weaved quilt of literary genius. On paper (or screen) it’s a mess of my random connections between characters, inner intentions and very vague symbolism. An example is one scene I wrote in the Finding your Writer’s Voice Workshop… (can’t believe I’m sharing this; don’t stone me!)

Tiffany saw the way the Earth looked at dusk, but never from yards above the rooftops. She didn’t expect it to be so cold and wobbly. Though Gretchen did say there would be flashes of lightning.

“All the better to see you with, my dear,” she had said in her wicked witch voice. Complete with a cackle.

Tiffany couldn’t get used to that voice on Gretchen. But she really couldn’t get used to the energy that surged under her skin and lifted her feet from the ground.

“The umbrella is for effect?” She asked Gretchen.

“No, Mary Poppins, the umbrella is for control. The wind will carry your five foot frame wherever he wants, but at least you can guide the journey.”

 Journey. Exactly what Tiffany had wished for at the beginning of the summer. This is not what she had envisioned.

When Dad came home alone from the hospital last month, Tiffany just thought the baby needed more time to grow, develop, heal. And mom, too. But Dad’s face…

The image that prompted this rambling start of a YA story is pictured below (the girl holding the flying umbrella.)

top row, third from the left

Yes, this scene is very disconnected, riddled with grammatical errors and paced awkwardly. Given, it was written in Three Minutes. So, I need to forgive the drafting phase and remember…

“Value the process, not the product.” ~ Jane Yolen

How are you valuing your process? Do you have rituals? Ways to work through the doubt, through the Big Expectation?

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Filed under Advice, Believe, characters, Fiction, Inspiration, procrastination, Voice, writers, writing inspiration, Writing prompts, Year of Nurturing

Finding your Writer’s Voice

My NaNoWriMo group met at the library a few weeks ago to practice an exercise our liason learned in a workshop.

This is Intense. It WILL resurrect your creativity.

  1. You should have at least one partner, but a group of 3 or 4 works best.
  2. each writer brings 3 pictures to the workshop (cut from magazines, printed from online, taken from your own camera) images should be interesting because these will be used to prompt ideas
  3. everyone lays their pics onto one table and each writer selects 2-3 images that really pique their interest or speak to them
  4. back at your notebook or laptop, one person sets the timer for THREE MINUTES
  5. as a group, pile your pics together and choose one picture to start with, study it, let your mind churn out characters, settings, story lines or dialogue and get ready …
  6. Timer goes – Start writing! Write as fast as you can, no thinking, no plotting, No EDITING
  7. Time’s UP! Stop writing even if in the middle of a sentence.
  8. Flip to the next picture, look it over quickly – you should only have 60 seconds before starting the next round.
  9. Timer starts – Start Writing again! THREE MINUTES. This should be an independent scene or story idea from the first one you started, though if you’re an amazing prolific writer, you can connect the scenes….
  10. Repeat these writing sprints through your stack of images (should have 9 total).
  11. After the 9th scene is written, take turns READING aloud your story snippets to the group. You should read them straight through, pausing briefly between to give your partners time to jot down some thoughts on your work.
  12. After each writer has read aloud, offer your feedback. Feedback should remain positive  – think of it as writing a fan letter to your favorite author. These are all very rough drafts, remember.
  13. One more time, each writer reads aloud straight through all 9 snippets of their writing.
  14. This time, each writer will offer feedback based on:
  • How each scene made them feel
  • What genre they believe this scene would fall into
  • Ask what the author had in mind for the story plot and the ending
  • Which of the 9 was the strongest story

At the end of this fun, fast workshop, you will each have 9 story starts, a full tank of confidence and a better idea of your writer’s voice and the genre that you write the best.

Here are the pics my group used:

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Filed under Advice, Fiction, Inspiration, NaNoWriMo, teaching, Voice, writers, Writing prompts

believe.

Writing is more than creativity. It’s confidence.

{from tumblr.}

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Filed under Advice, Believe, Inspiration, Perseverance, writers, writers block, Year of Nurturing

Resurrecting Creativity

We officially passed the mid-point of the year (June 25) and my Year of Nurturing is still in progress… (what was your theme??)

So, I naturally gravitate to words like Zen, Spirit, Peace, Calm. I clicked on a link from Pinterest that had Zen and Writing in the title and landed in an article titled: Zen Power Writing” 15 Tips on How to Generate Ideas and Write with Ease. The blog post features tips mainly for article- and blog-writing, but I found this tip handy for my procrastination on my novel…

9. Leave end and beginning to the last. We can get stuck if we start at the beginning. The beginning is supposed to introduce the theme. But at the start of a writing project we may not know exactly what we’re going to say. So, it’s best to write the introduction later on. Once you have completed your first draft, it’s time to add an introduction and a conclusion. The intro can be short but it needs to say why your theme is important, or to outline the benefits that follow from reading your piece. The conclusion should tie it all together.

Do you procrastinate on any particular part of your writing? Beginnings? *raises hand* Middles? Ends? Editing? Querying? Maybe just sitting down with a vague and clichéd idea?

I’ve been struggling with resurrecting and developing my creativity since New Year’s Day, (2011 was filled with family and job drama, leaving me in an artist’s drought.)

I’ve made some false starts and some interesting, helpful discoveries. Wanna go on the ride with me? Come back tomorrow…

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Filed under Inspiration, procrastination, writers block, writing inspiration, Year of Nurturing

How do you tap into your creativity?

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.

Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.

Concerning all acts of initiative there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and endless plans.

That the moment one definitely commits oneself then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never have otherwise occurred.

A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. *Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Begin it now. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Read how this creative spirit takes small steps (and takes other creatives with her!)

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A Pocketful of ideas

I finished reading The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood and sizzle with exhilaration for my writing again.

 

OK, so as I read this little pocket-full of inspiration, I took notes, wrote down quotes, writing prompts and exercises then let my own imagination move my pen across the page. I thought I’d share some of these snippets with you:

Some conflict ideas:

  • a mismatch between person and place: someone in the wrong house, wrong job, wrong school, wrong church, wrong club, wrong DIMENSION
  • trouble getting from Point A to Point B
  • trouble being understood
  • trouble having something done to you (or for you!)
  • trouble talking
  • trouble listening

“I really like dialogue between two people who aren’t listening to each other.” ~ Raymond Carver

  • winning something you don’t want (a pet aardvark; an outdated set of Encyclopedias…)
  • saying “yes” when you meant to say “no”
  • a family secret gets out
  • a noise – or a silence – that won’t go away

Add some more conflict ideas! I’d love to have an ongoing list…

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Filed under Advice, Believe, books, Inspiration, writers, writing inspiration, Writing prompts