Writing

Dressing for creativity

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You hear time and again that we are what we eat. Literally, physically. But are we also what we wear? How we dress and present ourselves to ourselves and the world? For me, if I go a number of days wearing only yoga clothes, I start feeling not so good about myself, mentally. Like, what is wrong with you girl, get yourself dressed like you care!

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Writing

The energy of ideas

Yesterday I had a bunch of ideas about topics to blog about. I didn’t write them down and they have vanished, vaporized, gone. Does that happen to you? You’re in a groove, ideas are flowing and you’re sure you’ll NEVER forget them? So noted.

On the tail of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Instagram post about writing I thought I’d pull out her 2015 book about creativity called Big Magic. I listened to the audiobook when it first came out and loved it so much I decided to pick up the hard cover edition to add to my writing inspiration library. She describes the magic of ideas: how they come to you and how they disappear if you don’t act on them. She illustrates it with an example from her life about a book idea she worked on until her personal life got in the way of her project and how she’d lost the passion for it when she tried to return to it. Poof, it had disappeared.

She talks about how ideas are energy and they are looking for a human to bring them to life but you have to be open to receiving them. And if you don’t take up this particular project, it will move on to someone else. Have you ever had an idea and saw it pop up somewhere else? Someone else brought your idea to life? This happened with that particular book project. Someone else wrote the book.

This got my attention. I decided I better start paying attention to my ideas. Write them down. Be open and see where they go.

MC

Writing

Liz Gilbert Writing Inspiration

Perusing through Instagram I was stopped short by the photo above. Sometimes I berate myself for scrolling through social media when I could be doing other, more useful things. But how would I stumble upon gems like this? I was instantly intrigued. Elizabeth Gilbert has the secret knowledge of how to be a successful writer (and in ten easy steps!). Success and ease are not guaranteed but she does share some ideas that work.

  1. Tell your story to 1 person using your own voice.
  2. Start at the beginng and tell the whole story.
  3. Use simple sentences.
  4. Don’t worry if it’s good, just finish.
  5. Don’t write to change anyone’s life.
  6. Tell stories instead of explaining stuff.
  7. It doesn’t have to be a particular length or geared to a specific audience.
  8. You have been doing research your whole life just by existing- use it.
  9. Day after day, keep going.
  10. Be willing to let it be easy.

I’ve chopped her advice into tiny nuggets here so if you want to read it in her own words, take a meander over to Instagram. She’s a voice I find inspirational to follow.

MC

Writing

Just keep writing

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For a moment I got sucked into the vortex of blog stats. How many people are reading this? How many visitors did I have last month? This year? Look at how many more I had last year. Gosh. Why did I even look at these stats? Why do I care? How can people read what I’m not writing? Write for yourself whispers my soul.

I’m not going to lie. It isn’t easy to stick to writing, especially when the inspiration isn’t there. I see how much I wrote last year, particularly February when I committed to blogging every day for that month. I had stats! I had likes and follows. I’m not going to lie. It felt easy and good. This year I’ve been adrift and honestly (why do I think I have to keep prefacing myself about honesty!) when I lost my job, I lost my mojo, even though it had been steadily seeping away for some time.

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Writing

Taking Action

You may have noticed I haven’t been writing. You may not even miss me but I miss you. Who is you? An anonymous reader? Me? The me who was writing for me. Does that make sense? When you want to write but you don’t and then day after day goes by and the more you don’t write, the less you write. I’ve picked up books on writing. I’ve done some exercises. But mostly I just haven’t been writing. Something finally sparked inside and said, “you have to write!”.

memoir

Most recently I picked up a small book I read (75% if you go by the bookmark tucked into the latter part of the book) during a writing course from a couple of years ago called The Memoir Project by a local writer, Marion Roach Smith. I had time between lacrosse games over the weekend so I thought I’d pick up where I left off but then since it’s been so long since I’d picked it up, I decided to start over. One of the very first things she recommends against is to do the writing exercises! She wants you to dive right in.

Maybe that’s the push I need to get me in front of my computer today. To open my blog pages and start writing. I decided I needed to give the desk a good clean since the only person using the computer as of late is my twelve-year-old who is usually eating snacks and putting fingerprints on the screen. It’s time to wrest control of the computer from him! Then, in cleaning the keyboard, I accidentally flipped the monitor orientation sideways (Ctrl/Alt and the arrow keys will fix that in case you ever need to know).

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Writing

What do you love?

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Lately, I have been doing some fun writing exercises (exercise and fun in the same sentence!). One was to choose several books and copy the first lines. As I was looking around my house for various books to pull first lines from, I ended up in our loft which houses all the papers and stuff that has no particular home. I found some long lost (and beloved) books and after copying a few first sentences, I began to write about a particular memory of reading a book I hadn’t seen in many years. It was pretty cool.

Another exercise challenged me to come up with a list of 100 things I love and I almost skipped it. Do I love 100 things? It turns out I do and once I started, I couldn’t stop and I’m adding to it every day. It is somewhat akin to a gratitude list. Here it is: Continue reading “What do you love?”

Writing

A New Routine

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Today is day one of my new, unemployed life. What came before, these last two weeks was just the trial run. A period similar (but certainly not as devastating) to the events experienced after the death of a loved one. The period that is suspended in time where your tribe gathers around. Makes daily inquiries as to your well being. There is much to do in those first few days. Organize and prepare for what lies ahead. A pre-planned getaway to Florida followed my first week away from the job and there was a flurry of activity awaiting me there. But now I am home and everyone is back to work and school and I’m here to let the dust settle around me and find a new routine.

This is exactly what I have wanted for months on end. Time to write. Time to see if I have what it takes to birth a book. I’m hopeful because it is early days and I see nothing but time stretching ahead of me. I have a bit of money saved and with unemployment kicking in soon, I’ll have enough to get me through the next few months. I know how lucky I am. If I can’t make it work now, I don’t see how it’s going to happen for me. I know I have to sit my butt in front of my computer and let the words out, even if they are gibberish and nonsensical.

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Writing

Girl seeks inspiration

Lately I’ve been writing posts that may never make it out of the drafts folder. My thoughts seem so lackluster and a little hollow. Here’s what I did yesterday, blah, blah, blah. I’m trying to scrape meaning from something, anything, so I can turn it into a brilliant and soul crushing observation. Inspiration is just slightly out of reach, though. Well, maybe more than slightly.

I’m currently on my own for a few days at our home in Florida, getting it ready for renters who will arrive at the end of the month. There are still a couple days left and I want to use the time to really get started on writing something more than a blog post. I’ve got my legs draped over my favorite chair, alternating between The Alice Network and a Brene Brown book I picked up yesterday but I can’t stay focused and the task of writing morning pages holds no interest for me.

I’m content, though. It’s quiet and peaceful. I can just sit here pecking away at the keyboard on my phone, a cup of coffee by my side. No one to care if I shower and dress. My lovely journal is within reach and day is starting to dawn outside.

These are the kind of days I rarely get back home. I feel laying around, particularly now that I’m unemployed, will be unacceptable to me when I return. That I will feel the need to earn my keep by making things nice around the house. Being super mom and super wife. School volunteer and job seeker extraordinare. Right now is kind of a bubble. Anything and everything is possible if only I could hear what the universe is trying to tell me. I’m listening.

MC

Writing

Writing with pen

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For as long as I can remember I have always had preferences when it comes to pens. Fine tip. Blue ink. All pens are not created equal though and it took a while to settle on my implement of choice which is the Pentel R.S.V.P., blue ink, fine tip (of course) and I’ve used them for years. Unfortunately as things go with pens everywhere, they have a penchant to go missing often and sometimes second or third best will have to do.

I’ve decided to return to morning pages and a pen is required for this activity. I needed something strong and solid to capture the muddle of thoughts I have after being released from a job I’ve held for nearly nine years. I have never been quite in this position before. I am a long and loyal employee and only left my previous employer of 20 years after much hand-wringing and emotional cross-examination.

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Writing

Friday writing

Good morning from Friday morning. It has been ten months since I moved to a four day work week with Fridays off and you know how people who retire say they don’t know how they had time to work, that pretty much sums it up. The idea behind Fridays was to make time to write and I think it started out pretty good but then life crept in and took over my “day off”. Errands, exercise classes, cleaning, school holidays and other not so fun things.

A year ago I had just started an online fiction writing class that I squeezed in while working a full workweek. How is it I no longer have time/make time to write? What happened to my WIP? I abandoned it at the end of the six week writing workshop, that’s what happened. I still hold those characters in my heart though and maybe it’s time to revisit and dust them off. What have they been up to this past year?

Today I declare a day free of errands, meetings and obligations. Today I will write and maybe it will go poorly or maybe it will go great. Maybe I will write pages and pages of giberish. There will likely be guilt in the back of my mind for other things I should be doing but I’ll have to try to mute it. The house couldn’t be in any worse shape than it is now so another day isn’t going to hurt much, right?

Cue the ABBA soundtrack and happy writing.

MC