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’?

Not writing? I’ll blame anybody.

I directed one of my morning pages blaming others for my not writing.

Sooo satisfying…

For starters, I blamed Hilary Mantel, who said,

“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie exclamations

, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.” [The Guardian, 25 February 2010]

One small segment of her message seemed to resonate…

I repeat…all her fault.

And I blame Trader Joe’s who is selling organic strawberries for $2.50 a pound. Let’s face it, most of those gorgeous ones in the supermarket have very little flavor and considering they are one of the dirty dozen, well, that doesn’t help in the ‘appeal’ category.

But back to my relentless search for scapegoats…let’s see…yes! Sam Merritt’s to blame for serving up this winning recipe for strawberry cream cheese pie.

strawberry cream pie with dog lying nearby
Always good to have a member of the quality control team nearby

My only complaint: “Return to refrigerator and allow to set at least 4 hours (preferably overnight) before slicing and serving.”

Okay, in what world do people actually wait that long?

 

Rants and Riffs Installment #9: Thoughts while eating za’atar popcorn…

popcorn seasoned with za'atar

I wonder if the result is better if I sprinkled the za’atar in warmed olive oil to allow the seasonings to bloom…Worth trying the next time out. I know readers are riveted.

***

By the way, my favorite popcorn maker is this easy-to-clean Likue [sounds Hawaiian, doesn’t it?] brand of microwave popper. [BTW: Not an affiliate link.] Drop in the butter [I use olive oil.] and about a quarter cup of popcorn. My microwave’s ideal settings are: Two minutes on high. I don’t use the ‘popcorn’ setting. Bit of advice: Start tuning in at about the 1:50 mark. If corn is still popping at faster than ‘pop per one second’, let’er run. If the pops are less frequent ‘shut’er down’. [Geez, that whole rural twangy terminology gives me such a rush.]

***

Answer me this: Why in the name of Arnold Palmer do I even listen to the Dennis Silvers’ Golf Minute? Maybe I’m just a captive audience between segments of other stuff, but really, what part of ‘positioning your club face’ keeps me listening? I haven’t picked up a club in over 40 years.
Note: I’m still haunted by a psyche-scarring event when I was 11 years old. I scuffed a drive over to an adjacent putting green and it found a woman’s left calf. She was writhing in agony. I guess I too have been writhing ever since. [Pssst…probably not. Small comfort>>My ill-targeted shot bounced at least five times before making contact. Still, it does cross my mind whenever I revisit the idea of my hitting the links.] Okay, confession is over. Not sure if my penance has ended, however…I guess St. Peter will let me know…assuming I’m sent to the ‘escalator-up’ line.

***

escalator
I’m not exactly comfortable with the deep red glow. I’d be hoping for a relaxing azure blue…

And yes…now you’re all wondering…what about our post-mortem transport mode? If we’re directed toward an up-escalator, is that sometimes painfully deliberate climb the equivalent of ‘purgatory’? As opposed to a high speed ‘blink-and-you’re-there’ up-elevator? And is there music involved? And is TSA involved at any point in our journey? Gotta tell ya, if I’m issued one of those flowing robes, I’m not cottoning to any security frisk.

Meanderings…

Chimpanzee
“Life can be so complex.”

Digital thoughts…

What the hey?! Even though they have backyards for convenient placement of those unsightly beasts-on-wheels, since when did homeowners find it attractive to leave their trash/recycling/yard waste barrels out for weeks on end? [Yeah, sounds ‘get off my lawn-ish’, doesn’t it?]

***

Which logically leads to my concerns about fortune cookies…

The other night, I had three of them lined up for late night consumption with [product placement alert!] Yogi ginger tea. Could I enjoy them? Nope. Haunted by the following…

  • Is it bad juju to break and eat the cookie before reading the fortune?
  • Am I doomed if the cookie breaks before I even remove it from the wrapper?
  • Does the exact opposite fate await me if I break protocol?
  • Worse yet, is it bad form to eat all three cookies and then read all three fortunes?
  • And should I read them in the same order as the order in which I ate the cookies?
  • Is there a proper technique to break open the cookie?
fortune cookies on a dish
Aren’t you wondering what the rest of that fortune says?

Image by Gundula Vogel from Pixabay

***

And speaking of questionable juju…

In Hallmark Channel’s Garage Sale Mysteries, Lori Laughlin has a daughter attending college. Did that fictional daughter also get accepted based on false pretenses?

bubble gum on sidewalk sticking to the sole of a boot
Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

***

 

Back to blogging…

newyear-3664197_1280

It’s been awhile.

I didn’t reach 50,000 words in National Novel Writing Month. I don’t care. It started me on a project that I’m sticking to.

I found the 50K goal to be more distracting that inspiring. And for some reason, it took me off my blogging game. Weird.

I won’t do another NANOWRIMO. This year’s effort took the fun out of writing. Kind of an opposite of the intended result. Shrug.

And part of me questioned the value of creating another tome that would–knowing me–just collect dust. [Maybe that was just a loser’s mentality…but it made sense to me.]

In the meantime, I’ll be revisiting some of my favorite blogs that I was following before. Hello, Virginia, Cristian, and Little Fears, among others.

But in the dark of winter, I might even stop in mid-sentence if I sense the approach of sunshine. Post-Christmas through mid-January…Not a favorite time, climate-wise.

Hey, I just hit over 110 words. Not bad. For me.

And over on retirerenew.com, I’m leaning on photos to build a little momentum.

Finally, I like this post entitled 5 Ways to Get Back to Blogging After a Long Break.

Nothing to write about? I don’t think soooooo….

One of my favorite pages from Austin Kleon‘s book Show Your Work ** encourages creators to become ‘documentarians of what you do’.

Whether you share it or not, documenting and recording your process as you go along has its own rewards: You’ll start to see the work you’re doing more clearly and feel like you’re making progress. And when you’re ready to share, you’ll have a surplus of material to choose from.

  1. Research
  2. Reference
  3. Drawings
  4. Plans
  5. Sketches
  6. Interviews
  7. Audio
  8. Photos
  9. Video
  10. Pinboards
  11. Journals
  12. Drafts
  13. Prototypes
  14. Demos
  15. Diagrams
  16. Notes
  17. Inspiration
  18. Scrapbooks
  19. Stories
  20. Collections

**Not an affiliate link. ;-]

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

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/