Not writing? Stop the fingerpointing.

MacBook coffee mug and tablet
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

My last post dealt with blaming others for my not writing.

Hey, whatever gets me generating text…»

But on a more serious note, I ran across Steven Kotler, who has a popular course called Flow for Writers.

So I looked further into the topic and ran across this informative interview. Compare your strategies to his.

https://www.writingroutines.com/steven-kotler/

Highlights:

Do you listen to music when you write, or do you prefer silence, or something else on in the background?

“…70 percent of the time I will listen to music with headphones so it’s right up in my ear. I will usually make one or two playlists for a book and I will listen to the same playlist over and over and over again…if I find a playlist that I kicked into a flow state with really early on in my process and was very successful I will keep using it because it will keep driving that flow.”

When you’re staring at the screen at 4:00 AM, do you just start clicking away? What’s going through your head at that initial moment? 

“Even if the day before was a terrible writing day, I am so fired up to go at it again. I can be an absolutely miserable writer sometimes, but I wake up every day so fired up to do this.”

And finally, to put me to shame with all my finger pointing…

“When I wrote West of Jesus I had spent three years in bed with Lyme disease and I needed to tell that story to open the book, but I thought, ‘I spent three years in bed with Lyme but who cares? Compared to getting cancer or losing a limb, so what?’”

***

What’s your favorite music to carry you through your writing sessions?

What do you do to help you get into ‘flow’?

Writers, raise your voice!

You can't find your voice if you don't use it.

A few valuable posts on author’s voice…

Reclaiming My Writer’s Voice
by Kay Bolden

My favorite lines from the post:

The keyboard and the screen made it far too easy to distance myself from my words. To sink into sales mode or trope mode or campaign mode. When I write by hand, I lead with my body, not my brain.

How I Found My Writing Voice and How You Can Find Yours:
A Metaphor Involving Sandwiches
by Carly Mae

Some favorite lines from this post:

Our writing is not genuine, we don’t feel like ourselves, or it’s stilted and mechanical — feeling more like a “I have to write” versus “I want to write.”

If you feel that way, you might be lacking your voice.

***

The biggest reason your writing feels mechanical and stilted is because it is. It’s not you. So when you read it, it probably sounds fake.

Your audience reads it that way it too.

View at Medium.com

Words of inspiration from Jill Badonsky

I have two of Jill Badonsky’s books: The Awe-manac and The Muse Is In

Until tonight, I had not opened this newsletter forwarded to me by my wife the same month I left my job almost two years ago. Just one of those emails that slipped by…
I hope the quote nudges you forward in your creative pursuits…

jill badonsky quote with background

If you believe it’s time to give that creative calling inside of you a shot, honor it in some really small way today.

Start by asking “What do I love about my creative passion?” and “What one really small thing I can do to get started?”

Just asking these questions, even without having an answer, will begin to shift your energy toward the thoughts and actions that make it easier to get to your passion.

Once you light that fire, you will shine so brightly, there’s a chance one or two souls will stop their bickering and be inspired to do the same–you will be a catalyst of creative passion. — Jill Badonsky

Excerpts from an interview with writer Joan Wickersham

I came across this interview on one of my favorite writing websites. A few of the lines spoke clearly to me…

Enjoy.

  • “When I am home I tend to become preoccupied with laundry.”
  • “But that boggy, ploddy, stage of blah writing or no writing is just about unbearable while it’s going on.”
  • What’s your advice to new writers?
    “Keep going, and one day you’ll be an old writer.”

http://www.advicetowriters.com/interviews/2015/3/17/joan-wickersham.html

If you were your character…

people-43575_640

Today, I will address rule #15 of Emma Coats’ 22 Rules of Storytelling.

If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

In Something Different This Year, I would feel disregarded and disrespected. I would feel like directing loyalty toward myself and my teaching approach, rather than the school system’s. And I would, in my perfect world, want to do just what the teacher is planning to do— undermine ‘conventional wisdom’. To that character, wisdom comes from knowing her students and what she thinks they need and what she thinks would keep them engaged and interested and willing to invest themselves in their own learning, rather than play the role of robots.

In Stealth Students, if I were to witness the same loss of teaching and learning time, I would be just as frustrated as they were. Would I be taking those steps that they were taking? Probably not, because as a student, I tended to try to work within the system. In a way, that is what they are doing, at least to the point of still completing their assignments, but when given the chance, they work outside the system and bend school rules. Not in a hostile or malicious way, but in a way that feeds their need to maximize their time at school.

I would want to join these students. I would follow them to see what they were up to. I would see that they were on to something interesting and valuable and so if I were excluded, I would at least follow their example. If I were included, t’s possible I might be a little annoying to them. I would be supportive of all that they were doing. And I would ask a lot of questions.

In my foreign student story, I would at first feel intimidated. As a newcomer both socially and culturally, I would want to get a lay of the land. I would probably be overly vigilant about what I said and did, especially if I faced the bigotry that Anand faces. In a more perfect world, he would ‘play within himself’ and deflect the hatred and bias directed toward him, and lump the teacher’s childish bigotry in with the bullies.

In my Lisa G story, if I were her, I would probably, as in Stealth Students, try to stay below the radar. But I guess I’m discovering that half the fun of writing the stories is letting the characters pull off what I probably never would have pulled off.

I like her independence and her ability to shut out all the distractions, preferring to remain in her own little bubble of curiosity and creativity. She doesn’t seem fazed by the disapproval and, at times, even toys with characters like Mrs. B and Heather.

In Zucchini, I would probably react like Beth and I’m not sure if I would ever come around, despite the obvious enjoyment and fun her dad is gaining from their adventure. I would possibly be too self-conscious and too wary of being discovered by the other kids in the neighborhood.

In Bubbe and Bubba, I would, like the main character, enjoy serving as a bit of a promoter, especially considering there was good cooking involved.

Curation Saturday: Gems from other blogs

1. Alex Markovich shares the products of his photography skills.

alex markovich

https://illustration.art.blog/2018/06/19/illustration-1/
https://illustration.art.blog/2018/06/21/illustration-2/
https://illustration.art.blog/2018/06/30/illustration-3/

2. Virginia puts life in perspective with her Roses in the Rubble.
Quote: “What does it take to stop you? There are all sorts of crutches that keep us from moving forward after our spills (splat) on the pavement of life: bruised egos and empty pockets, tears and fears, maybe sprained hearts too hurt to love anew.”

https://rosesintherubble.com/2018/07/19/character-muscles-crutches/

3. Shape Shifter Fitness keeps me on the culinary straight-and-narrow. Well, he tries to.
Quote [about turmeric]: “The difference it’s made in the quality of Stella’s life by adding it to her dog food has been amazing, and I’ll always be a huge proponent of its benefits for that alone.”

https://shapeshiftpt.wordpress.com/2018/03/21/top-5-new-eat-clean-foods/

4. Cristian Mihai shares his views and expertise on blogging.
Quote: “Accept that you have to add value.”

https://artofblogging.net/2018/07/20/how-to-stop-being-the-invisible-blogger/

Curation Tuesday: More from Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing

From Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You

  • “Do not, for money, turn away from all the stuff have collected in a lifetime.” [For many of us, it’s time to put all we’ve amassed to us.]
  • “Do not, for the vanity of intellectual publications, turn away from what you are—the material within you which makes you individual, and therefore indispensable to others.”  [For me, this requires a daily pep talk. Sometimes, I’m all in. Other times, out of resistance, I drift toward other projects.]
  • “To feed your Muse, then, you should always have been hungry about life since you were a child. If not, it is a little late to start. Better late than never, of course. Do you feel up to it?” [I think Ray would suggest you dive into your closet of notebooks and half-finished works and see what is inches away from being revived.]

I hope a few of Ray Bradbury’s thoughts speak to you as a writer/creator.

Added on September 4, 2018:

Here is blackwings666’s post about Ray Bradbury.

Be open to inspiration. Write on!