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

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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

Life

Help wanted: Dream job

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I have been dipping my toes in the waters of a job search for a few months now and scouring the listings of LinkedIn and Indeed have left me feeling a bit empty.  At this point in my life, I know more about what I don’t want than what I do which is something, I guess. On Thursdays I go to a job club which is an amalgamation of mid to late career adults who have also lost their jobs, and we are swimming the seas of unemployment together. Some are barely bobbing their heads above water and how longer tenured job seekers are describing their journey doesn’t fill the heart with hope.

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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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Life

From vision boarding to nostalgia

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During our yoga retreat a couple weeks ago, our instructor, Julie, talked about creating vision boards to set and guide our intentions. A few years ago I bought myself a small (12”x12”) bulletin board and clipped a few things that I wanted to see in my life. It was on my nightstand and then it slipped to the floor. I moved it to the office area and then when we renovated last year it got tucked away somewhere and I can no longer find it. What was on it? A house. I can’t remember what else.

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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

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

 

 

 

 

Writing

Coffee house writing

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Coming to you this morning from a new (to me) Starbucks. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve stopped into a coffee shop such as Starbucks, on my own, to sit down. I don’t know if this is a cliche but I feel like I’m always reading that this is where writers hang out to write and as I look around I don’t really see any writer types.

I wonder what everyone is doing here on a Friday morning during normal “working hours”. The comfy chairs are all taken (I was fortunate enough to nab the last one!) and the tables with singles here and there are all in use, laptops open. Free internet browsing? Something to pass the time? People watching (like me)?

I have to say, it’s quite loud here. I don’t know if that’s typical for Starbuck’s with high exposed ceilings or just this location. I’ve never looked up before. It’s a good sized location, about twice the size of the one near my house. It’s also in a strip mall twice the size of the one near me. I do a disservice, I guess, by calling them strip malls since the stores in these malls cater to the upscale shopper (fine dining, fur coats, fancy clothes and jewelry alongside a pharmacy, post office and dry cleaner). This particular shopping venue is near my doctor’s office where I just came from.

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Writing

Encrusted in Poetry

Today I poked around some blogs based on today’s prompt, encrusted, and happily found some new writers to follow.  I love seeing how everyone has used the word, especially in poems because of how succinct and powerful they can be. Poetry was once very important in my life and I’ve kind of gotten away from it lately. I have a book of poems I keep at my work desk when I look for something to take me away from the sometimes boring number crunching I do. I haven’t changed it out since I’ve been here (nearly eight years) and I think it’s time for a new volume.

At home, I mostly read poetry by Shel Silverstein with my son. One of my favorite poets I discovered in high school was Edna St. Vincent Millay and after my brother died, I turned to a few of her poems over and over (Renascence mostly). Awaiting me in Florida is a book of poetry by Mary Oliver and I’m looking forward to picking it up again. I also love to read poetry aloud (even if it’s just to myself) but I feel a bit conspicuous about it when others are around.

High school and college were when I did most of my poetry writing. It helped me make sense of so many situations including heartache, grief, confusion, injustices (rarely happy occasions!). I’ve thought of trying my hand at it again but it seems my poetry mind may have dried up. I may give it a try again while I’m away on vacation next week.

I didn’t find much inspiration for my own use of encrusted, but it got me thinking about poetry again so I can be thankful for that! Thanks to all of you who have inspired me today.

MC