Year: 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers in the United States! To all of you, I’m passing on this wonderful Thanksgiving Reader from Seth Godin. Although I live in the Philippines, I will join you all in reading this heartening compilation of Thanksgiving reflections. “This is a holiday about gratitude, about family and about possibility. It brings people together to not only celebrate the end of the harvest, but to look one in another in the eye and share something magical. “I’m hoping that this year, you and your family will help us start a new holiday tradition.   “The idea is simple: At your Thanksgiving celebration (and yes, it’s okay to use it outside the US), consider going around the table and having each person read a section aloud.” -Seth Godin i   Download the Thanksgiving Reader    

To Memoir or Not to Memoir

A memoir is a series of moments. In order to bring these moments to life, it is necessary to create scenes that capture and communicate the physical reality of the chosen moments. — Mark Matousek   The online memoir class I attended ended a few weeks ago. Thankfully though, the teacher listened to our pleas and have set up a check-in webinar. I enrolled in the memoir class because the nagging book project has not materialized at all. A couple of years ago, I heard the call to write a book.  I told our teacher that I was literally dragging myself to memoir class because honestly, things are good in my life now and I see no need nor purpose to write a book. If I could just silence this calling… I was fortunate to have a very patient and astute teacher. Inspite of my reluctance, I am one of those who signed up for the check-in in early December. Which means that I have been trying to write the first drafts of a few life …

Great Resources for Writers (All Free!)

I am still in the process of redesigning my writing life which is a natural offshoot of the process of digging deep to discover my authentic self.  Along the way, I’ve found some great and free resources for writers – treasures discovered during the search for the components of a renewed writing life: a new writing path, a new writing routine and a writing community. I’m sharing these great finds with all of you: In a few days, on October 14, tweetspeak will launch its next book club discussion, which will focus on Kroeker and Craig’s On Being a Writer. A sustainable writing life is built from more than the construction of sentences and paragraphs; it emerges from the slow accumulation of days and years lived intentionally through the habits of the writer. —Kroeker and Craig, On Being a Writer You can either buy the book from Amazon or download a free copy so you can join in the discussion. To find out more about this and join the book club, visit tweetspeak. Writer and editor Andi Cumbo-Floyd runs a free writing community …

Crossing the Threshold: Embracing My Writing Niche

There are two sparrows preening as they perch on two small branches of the Malunggay tree that grows in our small backyard. I have a good view of  the two silent birds. There are few members of the avian family that visit the backyard now. Our country, the Philippines, is in the midst of the rainy season, and the European sparrows rarely visit and if they do, they come singly or in pairs. The birds had done their nesting work in the summer. I miss their lilting chatter that began when it was still dark, as they went about their work of collecting nesting materials. I feel a kinship with these avian friends. I too, went into hibernation after the summer. I had to break my commitment to blog daily this whole year. I’m just glad I made it half-way, through June. Breaking a commitment to myself was hard to do, but it had to be done. I was beyond exhausted from a year of heavy therapy work. I would have lightened my work load if I could, …

Pico Iyer on Writing

“To write is to step away from the clamor of the world, to take a deep breath and then, slowly and often with shaking heart, to try to make sense of the bombardment of feelings, impressions, and experiences that every day and lifetime brings. The very act of putting them down—getting them out of the beehive of the head and onto the objective reality of paper—is a form of clarification. And as the words begin to take shape and make pairings across the page, gradually you can see what you thought, or discern a pattern in the random responses, so that finally, if all goes well, you’re convinced you’ve got something out of your system and into a domain where it creates a kind of order. Random experience becomes teaching, cautionary tale, or even blessing.” _Pico Iyer

Stumped? Use An Epigraph

An epigraph is a tool that every writer can use when the creative muse refuses to appear.  It’s one of those things that can help us ward off the infamous writer’s block. What is an epigraph?  It has nothing to do with words you see on a gravestone — that’s an epitaph. An epigraph is a short quotation that is placed at the beginning of an article, a journal entry, or any writing piece. Why are they such great writing tools?  An epigraph can get the writer to start thinking – akin to a writing prompt. The difference is that the epigraph not only stimulates the writer to write, it also provides direction and insight: It is, after all,  the wise saying of another person.

Waking Up the Senses

I’m taking an online course on writing and today’s lesson is about writing with the senses. We are told that writers usually gravitate towards their most developed senses even in writing. I realized that, most of the time, I use the senses of sight and hearing when I write. Today’s exercise was to write about a family event. The aim is to focus on a small aspect of it, one that happened in a short time frame. But the catch is this: we are to write about the it only in terms of color, texture, sounds, and smells. Worth a try if your want to wake up your senses! Photo by Seemann via Morguefile

The Origins of the Term “Creative Nonfiction”

Originally posted on BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog:
Dinty W. Moore and his Polar Bear Friend This essay from our fearless editor Dinty W. Moore circulated earlier this week, but the Creative Nonfiction magazine website had a glitch denying anyone access to the comments thread, so here we go again.  You can now visit the comment thread and complain about the ambiguous term all you want now. The Origins of the Term “Creative Nonfiction”

The Self

Home in this world is my Self. The Self that houses the spark of God’s divinity. My Self, my Soul, where the Holy of Holies resides. It is that which is easily obscured from sight; that which is drowned in the din of materialism. But if I can see this sacred vessel within me I will be able to appreciate its presence in others, in animals, and in all things. And then I shall be free.                                                                                        -2014     The sea turned red with the blood of 250 pilot whales slaughtered in the Faroe Islands in Denmark…but the carnage continues and more whales will be slaughtered.

Friday Web Finds

It’s Friday once more…time to share some very interesting web finds: Do you know what happens When You Give a Tree an Email Address? You’ll be surprised! Learn Warren Buffet’s Best Kept Secret to Success: the art of reading, remembering, and retaining more books! Lastly, here’s Why Steve Jobs Took Long Walks and Why You Should Too!     Photo by scotsann via Morguefile

How to Find Your Writing Niche (5/5)

My explorations of writing niches led me to two final discoveries – a writing niche in my head, and another in my heart. We all face the resistance to write because of messages from our ego, which many writers call the inner critic. The ego says we’re not good enough; why write when no one will read what you write? The ego will remind us that there are so many, many good writers out there, what chance do you have of making it in the writing world? Zero. This is one of the biggest hurdles we as humans have to face: the ego’s control. Spiritual masters tell us we must conquer the ego and make it serve us instead of us being subservient to it. The ego’s propensity to dominate is not present only in aspiring writers – every human being is subjected to the ego’s desire to be in control. Exploring the concept of a writing niche made me realize that if I am to continue writing, I need to silence the voice in my …

How to Mix Things Up

It’s hard for me to understand why some writers consider writing to be a hard, lonely job. The more I study the craft, the more I feel blessed. Blogging about writing has helped improve my writing in so many ways. It has also encouraged me to explore the many facets of this dynamic craft. Blogging here has paved the way for a tremendous growth spurt in my writing life. But growth spurts require lots of energy and time. And sometimes, something just has to give…way… +++++ When I’m at a crossroads I like to mix things up a bit and inject some fun and play.  It makes the decision-making process easier. To lighten things up, I copied the text in the first part of this blog post and mixed them up with the Cut-Up Machine. Since there’s no way to highlight text in WordPress, I just changed the colors of the words and phrases that stood out. I can now use these colored texts as touch points and guideposts as I stand on the crossroads and make a decision. …

How to Find Your Niche (4)

The process of word play, or repeating and ruminating upon our chosen theme, writing niche, is a kind of mental mind mapping, clustering or webbing. I came up with this technique because although I understood the psychology behind mind mapping, clustering and webbing, I don’t particularly enjoy doing them.  Not wanting to lose out on the benefits of these techniques, I tried to do it verbally. It  felt more comfortable and I could do it anywhere and anytime – even if I had no pen and paper. Repeating the word or words in my head or aloud, several times during the day had the same effect as creating the maps, clusters or webs. Repeating or focusing on a word or concept verbally also enabled the mind to freely spin-off ideas associated with it. Let’s consider Elizabeth S Tyree’s response to the exercise. Focusing on the concept of writing niche, she associated it to: writing anywhere and everywhere, on a couch or over-sized ottoman, and YA fantasy. But in the end, she wonders, “Or maybe the only reason any of …

Kimberly Snow on Writing

I have read and re-read this paragraph many times. It is one of the most eloquent and succinct piece on writing that I have read: “Writing releases us into a timeless world where all things are possible. Through the play of our imagination, we gain the power to expand our limits, to integrate change and to guide our personal growth. In this magical realm, we can reclaim past events, retrieve former selves, live out what almost was, what could have been. Through writing and visualization, we are able to develop a personal language that fills out the hollows and blank spaces in our lives, to make sense of and give reality to our experience. In this private arena where conscious and unconscious meet and interact, we are granted a unique opportunity to negotiate peace settlements between inner and outer, between self and other. In short, to create and maintain core happiness thorough a time-honored method that is not only free but non-caloric as well.” – Kimberly Snow in Writing Yourself Awake: Meditation and Creativity

Friday Web Finds: More Free Online Writing Courses

I’ve noticed that the posts featuring free online classes get a lot of hits from the readers of this blog – who doesn’t love freebies? Here are some more sites with listings of free online writing courses: Study.com offers a listing of 10 Universities Offering Free Writing Courses Online. The list includes online writing courses for credit and online non-credited writing courses. Class central offers 19 Free Online Courses to Improve Your Writing Skills. One of the biggest universities in the UK for undergraduate education, The Open University is a public research university.  It has a 10-page listing of free online writing courses. LearningPath.org’s Online Creative Writing Courses Offered Free by Top Universities and Educational Websites has an interesting list of online classes, as well as additional resources. And for those writers who are thinking of paying for online classes, read this first before you make any decision:A Short Note to My Fellow Writers: Be Careful by Shawn Smucker. He’s also offering a free download of his ebook, Building a Life Out of Words, which I am just beginning …

How to Find Your Writing Niche (3)

In one of his teleseminars, bestselling author Mark Matousek said that when he teaches people how to write, he doesn’t deal with grammar. What he does is help them get to the point where they are ready to write. How does one get to this place where one can write freely? You get there by finding your writing niches and then, by creating your writing niche. Elizabeth S Tyree has written nine books. When someone has written so many books, we always wonder how she or he does it. Elizabeth’s comment to the previous post about finding your writing niche gives us a peek into an author’s life. I asked her permission to publish the comment in this post and she graciously agreed. Maybe not all of us are meant to be or want to be authors. I myself have not decided if I really want to write a book. All I know is I want to write as freely and creatively as I can. Next week, we’ll discuss how we can arrive at a …

When the Muse is Absent

On those days when the muse doesn’t show up and you feel stumped (again), here’s a technique that will keep the pen moving: List your favorite things, your favorite activities, or your favorite places. In Word Painting, Rebecca McClanahan sites author Larry Brown’s list of things that firemen use in their work: …ladders, axes, forcible entry tools, rappelling gear, ropes, safety belts, breathing apparatus, nozzles, generators, a Hurst Tool (Jaws of Life), flashlights, pike poles, entry saws, bolt cutters, fire extinguishers… After listing things that you love, employ the “I love” technique Brown uses in his book, On Fire. Brown has three pages detailing the things he loves.  Here is a paragraph he wrote using some of the items from the list: “I love to go down on the floor and see the smoke over me, worm my way forward to the fire, the hose hard as a brick, the scuffed rubber on the end of the fog nozzle. I love the two-and-a-half-inch hoses and the big chrome nozzles that no man can hold, the red axes and the pry bars …

How to Find Your Writing Niche (2)

When I first explored the concept of a writing niche, I immediately thought: fiction or non-fiction. But when I began to play with the phrase, I realized that to me, it meant more than just deciding whether to write fiction or non-fiction. Pondering on the concept of a writing niche conjured images of me writing, comfortably ensconced in a place where all of my energies were focused on pen and paper. In real life, that wasn’t happening. I was writing either on a desk crowded with so many things, or in a restaurant. Not in my cozy writing niche. Playing around with the phrase also made me feel how I so wanted to write at a magical time, but I had no idea what time was magical for me. Creative non-fiction had been my genre since my short career as a freelance journalist many years ago, and I knew I wanted to stick to it. Non-fiction was also my writing niche. But before I could begin to truly write again, first I had to find that place that would be …

The garden within us

“Each of us has a garden inside our hearts. We can cultivate this garden, deciding, selecting, filtering, pollinating and cross-pollinating. There is nothing more beautiful than a bee buzzing peacefully in God’s garden, transforming the ordinary pollen of thought and feeling into a new ambrosia for the human soul.” – Ruth Rimm in The Lost Spiritual World        

Oliver Sacks: Why I Write Journals

Two days ago, on July 9, Maria Popova of Brain Pickings wrote an impassioned introduction to her post: “As you might know, my heart holds immense love and respect for Dr. Oliver Sacks, one of the most luminous minds and exuberant spirits of our time. As you might also know, he is dying. Today is his eighty-second birthday – his last. To celebrate this bittersweet occasion, I decided to honor Dr. Sacks by dusting off one of his earliest works, which speaks to his remarkable personhood more vibrantly than any other, and writing this piece, into which I’ve poured more love than into any other since Brain Pickings began nine years ago.” I know of Oliver Sacks because of his book, Oaxaca Journal, where he writes of his adventures on a trip to Oaxaca in Mexico to explore ferns with his botanical friends. I love ferns and journaling, which is why I was drawn to the book. For this post, I too, would like to honor  neurologist and writer,  Dr. Oliver Sacks by featuring some quotes …

Friday Web Finds

A bit of whimsy for this Friday’s post…it always helps to stretch the mind… Here are  The 17 Most Intriguing Weddings of All Time. Did you know that China has many ghost cities?  China’s brand-new abandoned cities could be dystopian movie sets  and could probably solve the world’s homelessness problems. Nature can be both creepy and amazing! Soar! Photo by Rob Bye via Unsplash

How to Find Your Writing Niche (1)

It seems so basic, but the most logical thing to do when you’re looking for something is to have a good idea of what you are looking for. What is a “writing niche?” You could surf the web for the meaning. But what you read from someone else’s blog is someone else’s definition of the phrase. I could define it here, and that would be my definition. But I am from a different culture. Could my definition be what you are looking for? The internet is a wonderful thing. It widens our horizons, but it could also make our perspectives narrower. There seems to be so many experts on just about anything. Have a question? Google it and you’ll find the answer. We get answers quickly. The caveat though is that we hardly think for ourselves now. We give away our power, we rely on others to provide us with the answers. What does “writing niche” mean to you? Define it in your own words. But don’t write down the answer immediately. Think about it, …

How to Find Your Writing Niche

When I set up this blog two and a half years ago, there were many questions in my mind about writing. I used this blog to help me answer those questions. Many years ago I worked briefly  – for three years – as a feature writer for the magazines published by a huge publishing conglomerate in Hong Kong.  As a feature writer, I wrote about everything under the sun but I tended to lean more on conservation and culture. I gave up that writing career to hearken to a call to help other people heal. But the love for writing kept knocking on my door and finally, after 8 years of working as an energy therapist,I decided to to find time to do some writing. I ventured into content writing and blogging. Blogging has enabled me to clarify and resolve many writing issues and answer many of the questions that lingered in my mind. I was never educated as a writer – I studied political science – and I didn’t know there was such a thing as a “writing …

Favorite Books on Writing

Originally posted on Renee Johnson Writes:
Writers are foremost readers.  We consume words with voracious appetites.  Books line our walls, collect in corners in ramshackle towers, and cover the tops of our coffee tables. We just can’t get enough! Yet, ask any of us where to find our favorites, and there will be a sacred location with erect spines marching across a shelf.  Grabbing any one of the collection is an automatic response, little thought to its specific space given. That’s a clue we’ve reached for it on numerous occasions, and the reason it occupies a place of honor. So when another writing friend asked me which books on writing were my personal favorites, I didn’t have far to go to answer.  And while I was selecting my list for her, I thought I would share it with you as well. Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird has been a favorite of many writers since its publication.  It was the first one in my collection of books on writing.  Each reader will find a unique pearl…

This 4th of July

Happy 4th of July to all bloggers and readers in the United States! Our country, the Philippines, used to be a U.S. territory from 1898 to 1946 and for 48 years we celebrated with the United States every 4th of July! In another part of the world, the 4th of July is also significant. On July 4, 1862, an Oxford don who wrote under the pen name Lewis Carroll, began writing the story of a young girl who tumbles into a rabbit hole where she discovers another world – a wonderland.  One hundred fifty years later, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland continues to draw young readers into underground escapades. Here are some quotes from Lewis Carroll: “When you are describing a shape, a sound or tint, don’t state the matter plainly, but put it in a hint. And learn to look at all things with a sort of mental squint.” “Always speak the truth, think before you speak,  and write it down afterwards.” “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” “But I don’t …

Friday Web Finds

Last week, we learned how our bad sleeping habits are affecting our brains. This week, I’d like to share two more articles about sleep. It would be wonderful to experience the same quality of sleep our paleolithic ancestors enjoyed, but writers may find it difficult. This article from the Washington Post gives the perfect and easy solution if you Want to enjoy the deep, mystical sleep of our ancestors? Turn your lights off at dusk. But wait, this article from BBC News expounds on the The myth of the eight-hour sleep. Perhaps writers can squeeze in some work in between the first and second sleep? I love journaling and freebies. Here’s the link to a free download of Honor Your Body 30 Day Journal,  If you’re overwhelmed, Overcome the overwhelming stress of life is also free from Jack Hayes. Here’s to a happy Friday and deep weekend slumbers!         photo credit: The Sleeping Beauty ballet programme cover via photopin (license)

Blogging Daily for Six Months – the Statistics

I struggled with this blog post. I wasn’t sure if posting the statistics of this blog would be tantamount to boasting… …so I decided to be clear on why I want to show the statistics… …I’m thinking, maybe some of you are wondering if blogging daily makes a difference as far as readership is concerned… …the statistics show that it does… …and I hope that showing the graphs may inspire someone to try daily blogging… …because it can really be a blast… …so here goes…for whatever it’s worth… (you may have to click on the Ctrl and + button to enlarge the graph)   Comparison of views vs visitors for the past 2 years and six months   Comparison of number of visitors for the past 2 years and six months   …and now I’m wondering…can I really say I’ve been blogging daily? …you see, there are days in the week when my workload is heavy, so I write the posts in advance and use the WordPress scheduler. I suppose it’s debatable…but why waste time …

Discoveries along the Daily Blogging Path

I have been blogging (almost) daily for six months now. I missed posting for 2 days – one day in March and last week. I remember that day in March when I was so exhausted from work and gave myself a day off from blogging. Last week I missed a day again, on a day when I was so busy I totally forgot about posting. When I decided to blog daily, I had no idea if it was doable, considering that I have a day job. But six months later, here I am, still blogging daily. It was difficult at first to think of what to post, but as the days passed, daily blogging became easier and easier. Here are some of the things I have accomplished; a few realizations made; and wonderful discoveries I have stumbled upon after blogging daily for six months: I  am re-discovering my voice I found my niche…and my niche within the niche daily blogging has become a writing practice that helps me develop the discipline to write regularly it helps me develop confidence in …

What Lies in a Handshake

This was originally posted on QP and Eye: My father believed in the power of first impressions.  He accepted, that as he appraised someone for the first time, so they would similarly judge him. When I meet someone for the first time my father’s voice reminds me, “Always make eye contact, smile, dress smart and shake hands with firm enthusiasm.” A weak handshake was a symptom of insecurity and feebleness that would almost certainly be manifest in other aspects of a person’s personality, according to my father.  While I may not entirely agree with his view, I am put off by cold, weak or limp handshakes. read more  

William Zinsser on Writing Well

“There are many good reasons for writing that have nothing to do with being published. Writing is a powerful search mechanism, and one of its satisfactions is to come to terms with your life narrative. Another is to work through some of life’s hardest knocks—loss, grief, illness, addiction, disappointment, failure—and to find understanding and solace.”   “Less is more.”   “The only way to learn to write is to force yourself to produce a certain number of words on a regular basis.”   “Simplify, simplify.”     “The reader is someone with an attention span of about 30 seconds.”       – William Zinsser in On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction   

Friday Web Finds

Sleep is one of the key ingredients to a healthy life. Needless to say, writers need sleep just like everyone else. If you’re suffering from writer’s block, examine your sleeping habits. We may not be aware of it, but Our poor sleeping habits are filling our brains with neurotoxins. If you’re one of those writers missing sleep because you want to finish writing a book in one year, listen to Louise Desalvo, author of the art of Slow Writing: she presents 10 Famous Authors Who Prove That Slowing Down Is Always Worthwhile. If memoir is your thing, William Zinsser writes on How to Write a Memoir. His advice: “Be yourself, speak freely, and think small.” Featured Photo: Punta Malabrigo by Elmer Nev Valenzuela

Free Writing in Different Genres

Many years ago, I came across Andy Couturier’s book, Writing Open the Mind: Tapping the Subconscious to Free the Writing and the Writer. It’s a book that I still open now and then, when I feel “cerebrally constipated,” and my writing feels constricted. Couturier’s book is unlike any other writing book I’ve read – it’s chock-full of  unusual writing exercises designed to unshackle the brain. Here is a free teleclass from Couturier, “Learn My Two Top Techniques for Really Loving Writing.”  The first thirty minutes is about free writing about your chosen topic in different genres. Loved ethis – there was time to write on the same topic in only 3 genres but sometime today, I intend to write about it in other genres. This exercise was both fun and fascinating. If you have thirty minutes that you can spend on this exercise, click here. The rest of the audio recording features sharing by the participants. Enjoy!

Unblocking

It’ s one  of those days when I don’t know what to write about. Even if I have been blogging daily for the past five and a half months, I haven’t yet gotten into the habit of creating an editorial plan. Which is ironic because when I worked as editor for a children’s magazine for five years, I always had an editorial plan. I surfed the web for some articles on blogging schedules and of course there were the usual “Top 5, “Top 10,” oh, but this time I didn’t find “the Ultimate Guide to Creating Blogging Schedules.” Have you noticed how so many blog posts have “the Top #” and “the Ultimate” in their blog titles? Those are among the posts I don’t read…at all. It makes me wonder how one person can decide what constitutes the “Top 5” or how something can be “the ultimate.” As I was writing the first paragraph of this post, I thought it best to create an editorial plan and avoid situations like this one. But now, as I end …

again and again, our hearts shattered by the echo of the gunshot

Originally posted on pull up a chair:
the morning light spilled across the front pages, across faces bowed and streaked in tears. it didn’t take long till my own tears were added to the morning’s misery. a “lone wolf,” a man who sat for an hour near a pastor leading bible study, in a historic charleston, south carolina church, pulled out a pistol, and, one by one, took aim and fired, riddled the prayerful, felled nine lives, including the church pastor, a revered state senator. i’d come downstairs in this quiet old house to write of something else, but i picked up the news pages off the stoop, and there it was in all three papers: “deadly church attack;” “scene of carnage has long history of pain, pride and dignity;” “loner held in church killings.” sadly, only in chicago was the story “below the fold,” meaning it got second billing to something else, and in this case the “else” was a silver trophy for men in ice skates. because i’ve spent more time away from…

Pope Francis Addresses Every Living Person on this Planet

Pope Francis in his Encyclical, “Laudato Si.” “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish. Industrial waste and chemical products utilized in cities and agricultural areas can lead to bioaccumulation in the organisms of the local population, even when levels of toxins in those places are low. Frequently no measures are taken until after people’s health has been irreversibly affected. “Now, faced as we are with global environmental deterioration, I wish to address every person living on this planet.”  read more Photo credit: zabmo via Morguefile

The Journal as a Valuable Tool in Writing a Book

In an essay that was published in the book Writers and Their Notebooks, (edited by Diana M. Raab)  Author Sue Grafton explains why the journal is an invaluable tool when she is working on book projects: “The most valuable tool I employ in the writing of a private eye novel is the working journal. This notebook (usually four times longer than the novel itself) is like a letter to myself, detailing every idea that occurs to me as I proceed. “The journal is a record of my imagination at work, from the first spark of inspiration to the final manuscript. One of my theories about writing is that the process involves an ongoing exchange between the Left Brain and Right. The journal involves a testing ground where the two can exchange. Left brain is analytical, linear, the timekeeper, the bean counter, the critic and editor, a valuable ally in the shaping of the mystery novel or any piece of writing for that matter. Right brain is creative, spatial, playful, disorganized, dazzling, nonlinear, the source of the Aha! …

Friday Web Finds

Throughout this blog, I have been posting about writing -how to’s, what-not-to’s, discoveries, benefits… If you’re still not convinced that writing is good for you, this essay by Gregory Ciotti provides comprehensive data that supports the argument that life is so much better when writing is an integral part of it. In another essay, Ciotti explains The Under-appreciated Benefits of Creative Consistency, a good read if you are not yet clear on why writing regularly is good for writers. Jill Jepson writes,”Here is a tasting menu of the advice to writers I’ve read on blogs in the past few months: Write a minimum of 500 words every day. Spend at least ten hours a week on your author’s platform. Post to your blog at least once a week, on the same day and time… ….And there’s more!” No wonder writers and bloggers are pulling their hair. Jepson gives The One Piece of Advice You’re Probably Not Following: Relax. Please read it if you want to find the path that leads to blissful writing. Here’s to a blissful …

Time is My Friend (a Haibun)

In the past I viewed time from the same perspective as the rest of the world. I saw time as expendable, limited, and something to grab because it is fleeting. Things changed when I decided to look at time from a different perspective. When I decided not to hurry, I discovered an entirely different aspect of time. I saw that it is limitless. I realized that time is expandable – it can be stretched to infinity. I learned that we can dance with it. And time is always there – here, now. It will never disappear – time lasts forever. holding my breath I run after that which has no legs Time is of the essence, we are told. Time is essence, I now know. Time heals. Time allows us to unfold our wings. Time waits for us. Time is my friend now. Time indulges me. It waits for me. I see more clearly when I am not in a hurry. There are no more marathons for me to run. photo credit: clockwork gold via photopin …

How I Found My Niche

When I first set up this blog, I was at a loss as far as writing was concerned. This blog was my way of finding my writing self again, after almost a decade of being away from the real world of writing. I had no expectations when I began posting in this blog – I only knew that I needed to learn much about writing, and this blog would be my way of consolidating my “writing lessons.” I’ve been learning much, much more now that I’m blogging about what I learn.  Not only that, I have also found my niche – or should I say it found me, since  I didn’t even search for it? It just presented itself to me again and again until I finally recognized it and said “Yes, I have found my writing niche.” How did I find it? By writing, writing, and writing some more. Everyday, I write on my journals and/or on several private blogs. For the past 2 years I have also been writing for a London-based content …

Writing from the Silence

  I got fascinated by silence; by what happens to the human spirit, to identity and personality when the talking stops, when you press the off button, when you venture out into that enormous emptiness. -Sara Maitland in How to Be Alone Silence had been a constant companion since I was young. When this year began, silence beckoned me to depths of quietude that I had never experienced. Silence has a way of opening up all the senses. Hearkening to the call to more and deeper silence has been showing me a world I had not previously explored. I was worried that inviting more silence into my life would mean that I would stop writing. Ironically, it has birthed more writing moments. Photo credit: lukeok via Morguefile

Writer as Witness

Originally posted on Myths of the Mirror:
As storytellers, we create settings and characters with enough authenticity to entrap readers in our imaginations. The goal is to elicit feelings somewhere in the broad spectrum of human experience, to personally invest the reader in the outcome of our tales. A sense of reality and plausibility in our stories aids us in that task. External intricacy adds texture as it paints pictures in a reader’s mind. Our own emotional landscape is fodder for our characters’ souls. I love the idea of writers as witnesses. We are observers of details, the ones with personal knowledge of hidden imagery and feelings, which we attest to through our words. In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron encourages artists to become witnesses, to take time out of each day to observe our outer and inner worlds with curiosity, as a way of enriching our store of experience and ultimately our art. She suggests occasional artist’s vacations, to gather experiences foreign to our daily routines. I frequently wander about in zombie-like unconsciousness.…

Embracing the Shadows

“St. Teresa of Avila wrote: ‘All difficulties in prayer can be traced to one cause: praying as if God were absent.’ This is the conviction that we bring with us from early childhood and apply to everyday life and to our lives in general. It gets stronger as we grow up, unless we are touched by the Gospel and begin the spiritual journey. This journey is a process of dismantling the monumental illusion that God is distant or absent.” — Thomas Keating