All posts tagged: writers

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

What Writers Should Look for

In his article Writers Should Look for What Others Don’t See, Joe Fassler highlights key points in his interview with the Serbian-born poet Charles Simic: “To me, the ideal poem is one a person can read and understand on the first level of meaning after one reading. An accessible quality, I think, is important. Give them something to begin with. Something that seems plain and simple but has something strange—something about it that’s not quite ordinary, that will cause them to do repeated readings or to think about it. The ambition is that, each time they read, they will get to another level of the poem. This fearsome little 10- to 15-line poem becomes something like this poem of Whitman’s, which the reader wants to read over and over again.” – Charles Simic   A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim by Walt Whitman A sight in camp in the daybreak gray and dim, As from my tent I emerge so early sleepless, As slow I walk in the cool fresh air the …

Pssssst! Do You Want to Receive Free Author Coaching for One Week?

Ever heard of Compose, A Journal of Simply Good Writing? I’ve been a subscriber since its inception. It’s a great online magazine that features good writing and accepts submissions. I still have to summon up the courage to submit my work though. But that’s not what this post is all about. This post is about freebies now being offered by Compose to its readers. There are a couple of freebies right now:The first is a free download of their No Excuses Book Map.  The second freebie is courtesy of Jennie Nash who was once a features editor for Compose. The current issue features an article by Nash: A Lesson on Procrastination and Doubt. Certainly a good read if you have these two nemeses as bedfellows Aside from this, Nash also offers Compose readers one week free trial of her Author Accelerator program. If you sign up, you will receive sample emails for one week which will offer lessons, insights and inspiration. On the 7th day, you have the option to send up to 10 pages …

Introducing…the Judge

As writers, we’re all so familiar with the Muse, and the nemesis called the Critic.  Jack Heffron, in his book The Writer’s Idea Book, introduced another nemesis – the Judge. Who is the Judge and what does he do to writers?  Hefron attributes a number of the “dark” strategies we usually blame on the Critic to  that aspect of ourselves that he calls the Judge. The Judge instills guilt. It’s that voice from within that tells us how inconsiderate we are for sitting in front of our desks all morning when there are many chores to be done. The Judge is especially harsh on women Heffron says, because from the time they can walk, women are instilled with the concept of sacrifice, of ignoring their needs.  Men also wrangle with the Judge, but not as much as women do. The Judge does not spare any writer – published or not, it wields its power. Listen to  fiction writer Gish Jen, who was  interviewed by Publishers Weekly: “Even today, I think my family would be more relived than dismayed if I were …

Establishing a Daily Writing Routine

I’ve been blogging about my on and off romance with early morning writing for sometime now. Every time I think I’ve established the daily routine and raise both arms in triumphant celebration, something just pops in my brain and pretty soon I’m not doing early morning writing again. I think that on an unconscious level, this is why I committed to daily blogging this year. It’s a public commitment that would not be so hard to put off. So far I’ve been consistently posting everyday – including Monday reblogs – which equates to time off for good behavior during the past week. I write and post my blogs whenever I have the time. But it hasn’t been an antidote for my failed attempts to keep a daily early morning date with the Muse. But the commitment to blog daily at least forces me to write everyday. I know the reason is neither laziness nor procrastination. Ok, so now I’m giving myself a nice excuse, because according to neuroscience, research indicates that creative personality types and habit/routine simply don’t go together. …

Writing as a Healing Tool

Whether or not you hope to publish a book, if you want to write, you should keep on writing. Here’s why: Writing to express one’s self helps improve one’s mood Expressive writing helps us resolve psychological trauma Research indicates that writing about our deepest thoughts and feelings is beneficial to physical well-being Writing about what bothers us reduces stress Writing improves sleep …and all these are backed up by research. I want to assure you with all earnestness that no writing is a waste of time–no creative work where the feelings, the imagination, the intelligence must work. With every sentence you write, you have learned something. It has done you good. It has stretched your understanding. I know that. Even if I knew for certain that I would never have anything published again, and would never make another cent from it, I would still keep on writing. -Brenda Ueland in If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit   photo credit: [Poems], [ca. 1620-1640] via photopin (license)

It’s a Privilege

Originally posted on BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog:
Hananah Zaheer weighs in on the recent discussion in Salon, Dame, Missouri Review, Bustle, Medium and on various personal blogs, about writers, money, privilege and support. (Gentle Readers, we’ll do a round-up on those posts later this week). It’s a privilege. I often joke that I wish I was a writer in the old days. Non-specific, old days where artists had patrons who took care of their expenses and living, and all they were responsible for was writing, creating, painting. My husband likes to remind me that I do: him. This is true. Much like Ann Bauer admits in her Salon piece I, too, must confess that I do not have the pressures that come from having difficult financial circumstances. I live in Dubai in a nice neighborhood. I have help at home, I drive a nice car; I had never considered the word exactly, but I fit the description of being “sponsored.” I work, too, but it has been mostly as an adjunct and let’s face it, that…

Writers on Writing : Rejection

  “Writers have a little holy light within, like a pilot light which fear is always blowing out. When a writer brings a manuscript fresh from the making, at the moment of greatest vulnerability, that’s the moment for friends to help get the holy light lit again.” –Cynthia Ozick “I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, ‘To hell with you.’ ” –Saul Bellow “In every real sense, the writer writes in order to teach himself; the publishing of his ideas is a curious anticlimax.” –Alfred Kazin “I know of potential writers ruined by the harshness of a teacher, the thoughtlessness, or even malice, of a fellow student. And I know of works stopped dead by showing it off too soon. “What’s the solution? “Write. Read. Practice. Find a support group if you wish. But if you want to write, just write.” –Sophy Burnham   photo credit: 004 via photopin (license) 

An Afternoon with Hemingway

In 1964 Edward Stafford wrote about the unforgettable afternoon that he spent with Ernest Hemingway. Here are some quotes from Hemingway, from the article written by Stafford: The hardest trade in the world is the writing of straight, honest prose about human beings. The important thing is to work everyday. I work from about seven until about noon. Then I go fishing or swimming – whatever I want. The best way is always to stop when you’re going good. If  you do that, you’ll never be stuck. And don’t worry about it until you start to write again the next day.  That way your subconscious will be working on it all the time. But if you worry about it, your brain will get tired even before you start to write again the next day. But work everyday.  No matter what happened the day or night before, get up and bite on the nail. Watch people, observe, try to put yourself in somebody else’s head.  If two men argue, don’t just think about who is right and who …

Writing with Integrity

  You cannot write with the conviction that your work will be one day reprinted to the extent that Hemingway’s has, but you ought to write in such a fashion that if it is, you will have no apologies for it.  Nothing is as destructive to a writer’s self-esteem– and, ultimately, his ability– as shoddy craftsmanship.  Make it well.  Whether or not the thing lasts, the care you have taken will be the measure not only of your talent, but of your integrity.      -William Ruehlmann  in Stalking the Feature Story

Reflections on Daily Blogging

I know, it’s too early to tell. Almost 14 days through daily blogging, I am still at it, and it hasn’t been hard at all.  I began early morning writing again before 2014 ended, so writing has once more become a vital part of my life. It takes time and effort, but the more often I blog, the easier it gets. In the past two years, I’ve joined several blogathons but it was quite stressful. I guess it had to do with the added responsibility of visiting other blogs and back then I wasn’t so used to blogging – I must have stressed over it needlessly. I squeeze in writing the blog posts usually in the evenings after coming home from work and after I’ve fed all 22 animals in our tiny shelter. It’s my nightcap on most days, but today I have a very light workload so I’m taking a few minutes to write this post before I leave for work. I’ve enjoyed the past 14 days so far – maybe writing is becoming fun! I could focus on …

Turning Aside

All monastic life centers around silence and solitude. These twin blessings are also the essence of a writer’s life. Writers need silence and solitude in huge chunks.  However, in an increasingly noisy world dominated by cell phones, mp3s, tablets and social media, we are barraged by constant stimulation. The renowned psychologist Wayne Edward Oates developed a technique called turning aside, which helps one find silence within even in the midst of turbulence. Turning aside means removing your focus from the chaos around you and shifting your focus upon a small object. Giving the small object your hundred percent attention trains the mind to shut off all the noise and chaos around you, and in time all that will matter to you will be the object of your focus. It is as though the noisy world simply recedes into the background. This exercise can be done anywhere and at anytime. It’s a great exercise for writers. I’ve practiced turning aside for many years. My brother taught me how to shut off the noise around me and fully focus on my intention or …

On Writing

A quote from Ralph Keyes: “Anxiety is not only an inevitable part of the writing process but a necessary part. If you’re not scared, you’re not writing.” Advice from Barbara Abercombie: “We’re so good with the negative voices: You idiot, what kind of an idea is that? Who do you think you are to be writing a book? Why are you sitting there in your bedroom slippers writing about your boring life? Who cares? When that voice starts chirping in your head and chipping away at your confidence, here’s what you do: Listen to another voice, the sweet, calm voice that’s saying, Just do the work. Tell your story; it’s important. Have faith. If you’re sitting at Starbucks or at the library, it’s probably best not to say this out loud, but if you’re home alone — say it loud. And often.” According to Eric Maisel, this will improve your writing life:  We make many kinds of spaces for ourselves: noisy spaces, busy spaces, unsettled spaces, and sometimes calm self-reflective spaces. Make a calm self-reflective …

Lessons from Rock Balancing

I’ve always had an affinity for stones and rocks. So, late last year when I heard about rock balancing, it was a no brainer – I simply had to learn how to do it! I took some small stones and a few rocks from the garden and brought them into my bedroom and in the evenings, I tried to learn how to balance stones and rocks. There’s a science to it, actually. You just have to “help” the rock find its center of gravity by “assisting it.” You let the rock fall and then slightly turn it away from the side where it falls. The rock falls and falls and falls, and each time it does, you turn it slightly, until finally the rock stops falling – it has found its center of gravity! I’ve spent many nights balancing rocks and stones. There’s a feeling of exhilaration each time the rocks find their center of gravity. I’ve done the same thing with my writing – I’ve set goals over and over. I’ve fallen time and time again. I’ve tried …

On Journaling

“I realize now that journaling has been the one consistent thing that I’ve done for myself. Through the days of serving and helping others, journaling has been my way of paying attention to me.” I wrote those words late last year, through the business of the holidays and work. It seemed like I was caught in a whirlpool of work, chores and social obligations. Nevertheless, I continued to journal and tried to do it during the first few hours of the day. My journal became my sanctuary, far and away from the crazy demands of the world. “The decision to write a journal has been the most important decision I have ever made because it has led to every other important decision I’ve ever made,” writes Christina Baldwin in her book, Life’s Companion, Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest.”  She continues, “The existence of the journal provides writers with confidence and courage that we can travel as far as the mind allows, and find our way home through the act of writing.” Journals have been my constant …

Writing and the Forgotten Art of Savoring

Jack Heffron tells writers to have fun with the writing process. I’m sure humor writers have lots of fun when they write, but I was absent when heaven showered writers with the gift of humor. I have the sneaky feeling though that two other bloggers, Pam and Susanne were in the front row when  it happened and I always grow green with envy after reading their blogs. To have fun during the writing process, I started a “fun journal.” That’s my best shot at having fun while writing. I love to write, but I cannot say it’s fun. How does one have fun while searching for the right words to express one’s feelings? English is my second language so when I’m writing, I’m regularly questioning whether this or that word is the right one and I Google the meaning of words when I am in doubt – which is quite often. No, writing isn’t fun for me yet, I haven’t found the path that leads to that state and I hope I’ll see the signposts that leads to that place – soon. But  writing does …

Writers on Writing

“Instinctively, years ago, I knew the part that Work must play in my life. More than twelve years ago I wrote in ink on my typing board at my right hand the words: DON’T THINK!…The time will come when your characters will write your stories for you, when your emotions, free of literary cant and commercial bias, will blast the page and tell the truth. Remember: Plot is no more than foot prints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations. Plot is observed after the fact rather than before. It cannot precede action. It is the chart that remains when an action is through. That is all Plot ever should be. It is human desire let run, running and searching a goal. It cannot b mechanical. It can only be dynamic. So, stand aside, forget targets, let the characters, your fingers, body, blood and heart do.” -Ray Bradbury in Zen in the Art of Writing   “I had learned long before, in my own writing life, …

Exercise Time!

Here’s a great exercise that is simple yet amazing. Whether you’re a non-fiction writer like me, or someone who loves to write novels, this short exercise will help clarify issues, point you towards new directions, or show you something you missed in whatever it is you are writing. This is the first exercise in Andy Couturier’s Writing Open the Mind. The book’s subtitle is Tapping the Subconscious to Free the Writing and the Writer – and if you do this exercise from a perspective of play, you’ll see some amazing revelations pertaining to your writing project. To begin, keep in mind the writing project you want to focus on. It could be a book, a novel, an article or a simple blog post. Now get a sheet of large paper and make five columns with the following headings: Scenes, moods, questions, concepts and for the last column, faces. All you need now is seven minutes to write as fast as you can, anything that comes to mind pertaining to each column. Under the column “Scenes,” write about places – …

Writers on Writing

It’s been a while since I last featured quotable quotes from writers. Here are some words of wisdom from writing masters: “Writing, the creative effort, the use of the imagination, should come first–at least for some part of every day of your life. It is a wonderful blessing if you will use it. You will become happier, more enlightened, alive, impassioned, lighthearted, and generous to everybody else. Even your health will improve. Colds will disappear and all the other ailments of discouragement and boredom.”    – Brenda Ueland “Writers don’t have lifestyles. They just sit in little rooms and write.”   – Norman Mailer “Writing is a craft. You have to do the work, be willing to put scattered words down. The magic is in the commitment.”         — Jennifer Baszile “I am the only one who can tell the story of my life and say what it means.”    – Dorothy Allison  “The essential question is, “Have you found a space, that empty space, which should surround you when you write?” Into …

Falling

I’ve been enviously feasting on pictures of autumn featured in various blogs across the web. I love the splash of colors that autumn brings. We don’t have that kind of season here in the tropics – when leaves turn yellow or brown, they fall off and the trees go bald. Green leaves push their way through the branches just as the last dying leaves fall off. Tropical tress also have their own rhythms. We don’t have a season of falling leaves. Different species shed at different times of the year. The Talisay tree sheds twice a year: after summer and midway through the cooler months of the dry season.   Some trees shed completely and look like skeletons for a week or so, until the new leaves begin to dress up the trees again. Shedding is part of a tree’s life. It’s a dying of sorts that paves the way for new growth. People go through autumnal seasons as well, but the falling, the dying happens internally. Sometimes they manifest through the rituals in our lives. When the soul-based practices …

Writing through the Pain

“Rosanna, How are you even able to write and post? No matter how many pictures I see, I know I cannot fathom what you and your country are going through. I pray for you,” a fellow blogger, Nancy, commented after reading a blog post I wrote that was filled with pictures of the devastation that Typhoon Haiyan brought to the third biggest group of islands in the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan, a super typhoon and one of the strongest typhoons ever to hit land, devastated the Visayas last November 8, 2014. I was at that time participating in NaBloPoMo as part of the Yeah Write group and even I was surprised when I was able to pull through the blogging challenge. I never missed a post. Not only that, I wrote more posts about Haiyan in another blog and in social media. I could not stop writing – it was as though the death of more than 7,000 of my countrymen and the uncertain fate of thousands of people left homeless and traumatized by Haiyan ignited a flame in me …

What’s up for Non-Fiction Writers in November?

The blogosphere is abuzz with the upcoming NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November, and what a surprise – there were 609 novelists from the Philippines who joined this writing challenge last year. Since I am not a fiction writer, it makes me wonder how people can whip up thousands of words in a day while concocting plots and creating characters. An amazing feat indeed! There is also  a writing challenge for non-fiction writers every November. This lesser-known and less intense writing challenge for non-fiction writers is called WNFN/NaNonFiWriMo (Write Non-Fiction in November/National Non-Fiction Writing Month). WNFN/NaNonFiWriMo is the brainchild of  Nina Amir, who blogs at Write Non-fiction Now! Amir explains why she came up with this writing challenge:”In October 2007, a year after I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I asked myself, “What’s a nonfiction writer supposed to do during November?” Searching around in the NaNoWriMo forums, I discovered NaNoRebels. Participating as a rebel might be fine for some nonfiction writers, but not for me. Although I have a rebellious nature, I wanted to participate …

When the Writer in You Begins to Scream

I have not blogged for three weeks and have been bumping up old posts to keep this blog going. Although I stopped blogging for a while, I joined Wordprsess.com’s Blogging 101.  This post is my attempt at fulfilling one of the assignments: Today’s assignment: build your storyteller’s toolbox by publishing a post in another format or a style you’ve never used before. Most of my posts in this blog have been full of words. So, for a change, I will now use more images and less words to get my message across. The writer in me had been shouting lately, wanting to do more writing aside from the early morning journaling that I do everyday, the once a week blog post I write, and the daily attempts at writing a few pages for a book I intended to self-publish. My journalist persona put up a tantrum, demanding to write feature articles. I believe that when a part of you begins to demand attention, the best thing to do is But with a heavy workload, I couldn’t, for …

Writers and Their Journals

There are various ways to keep a journal, and a variety of reasons why a writer must keep one. Poet, essayist and playwright Shiela Bender poignantly remembers a day during Ron Carlson’s writer’s workshop in the summer of 1994. It was the day when Carlson went around the room and asked each person to describe the his/her writing journal. On her turn, Bender had to confess that she kept a box where “scraps of paper on which I have written things – bank deposit slips, napkins, other people’s business cards, other stuff.” When asked how she uses the box, Bender replied that she goes through it every now and then when she’s in between projects or when she’s stuck on something she’s doing.

The Nuances of Early Morning Writing

I missed posting last week because it was an exceptionally busy week. Robin Williams’ suicide put a spotlight on depression, which happens to be my specialty as an energy therapist (along with trauma resolution). I had more than the usual number of requests for one-on-one sessions and for a while until late last week, I switched back to all-giving mode. I kept up with early morning writing though but I missed a couple of days. I’ve slowed down since, after I caught myself reaching for a second cup of coffee so that I could see my way through the last client for the day. Gone, for the past two weeks though, were all the time I should have spent on what I call my book writing spree ( Dorothea Brande’s term, writing by prearrangement is simply too straightforward  – writing is fun for me). But I did manage a few haibuns, along with a few haikus and tankas. Even through the rush of the past two weeks, I noticed that early morning writing had resulted in  several surprising …

Web Finds

It’s been raining here in my part of the world – the kind of “rainy” that makes one want to cuddle up in bed and sleep all day. Nothing dramatic, just very cloudy days with intermittent rain and showers. Life somehow takes on a different hue when it’s raining – things just seem to be quieter, the days are cooler and the plants are so much greener. This week I’d like to share some web finds with all of you. A few free but great finds which I hope you will all enjoy. A really great find is Jill Jepson’s website where she offers to send weekly strategies for writers. I’ve been receiving her emails for sometime now and highly recommend you try it out. If you want to receive her weekly strategies for writers, please fill up this form. I’ve written several posts with reference to Mark Matousek. Aside from being a bestselling author, Mark is a very generous person. I attended one of his online courses and he continues to ask us, his ex-students …

Playtime!

The brain can keep developing long after we leave adolescence and play promotes that growth. We are designed to be lifelong players, built to benefit from play at any age. The human animal is shaped by evolution to be the most flexible of all animals: as we play, we continue to change and adapt into old age.       -Stuart Brown, M.D. with Christopher Vaughan in “play, How it shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul” We wake up earlier to do early morning writing. We journal. We write haiku, sonnets, haibun. We blog and participate in blog challenges. We work on our drafts. We work hard to improve our writing. The time comes when it’s time to stop taking writing so seriously… Now it’s time to play! Crazy wisdom means abandoning preconceived notions, seeing through surfaces, and moving beyond ordinary reason. It is wisdom built of multiple perspectives,  irreverence, paradox, and a love of the absurd.   -Jill Jepson in “Writing as a Sacred Path”    Jill Jepson says analogies are a …

Oh NO! I’m Growing a Monster!

But oh, that ever-present critic keeps getting in the way, producing and creating distractions. Such as a headache. Still the muse persists. It arrived on time this morning, at the appointed hour, even if I was not seated at my writing desk. Eventually, I sat and wrote the words that flowed.

Creating a Writing Life

Redesigning life to accommodate more writing time requires many adjustments and compromises. But all the efforts are well worth it.   Reorganizing my life around writing has brought a level of excitement that I have never experienced before. It’s like preparing for an adventure. There is a plethora of advice from popular writers and as always, they provide guideposts to help us along the writing path. As I’ve mentioned in another blog post, I never received formal training as a writer. Three months of writing classes during summer school was all the education I received. Everything else I learned from reading and sheer determination. I’ve written two books for children before: one was a retelling of Philippine folktales and legends, and the other one was a retelling of childhood incidents in the lives of five Filipino heroes.  It was a wonderful experience, but the books were written out of need: the company I was working for needed a product to sell and I delivered the goods. “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than …

Nuggets of Wisdom from Writers: On Writing

Here are some quotes that I hope will inspire you or strike a chord and get you writing. My favorite is from Khaled Housseni, an Afghan-born American novelist and physician.   “You cannot write with the conviction that your work will be one day reprinted to the extent that Hemingway’s has, but you ought to write in such a fashion that if it is, you will have no apologies for it.  Nothing is as destructive to a writer’s self-esteem– and, ultimately, his ability– as shoddy craftsmanship.  Make it well.  Whether or not the thing lasts, the care you have taken will be the measure not only of your talent, but of your integrity.”  -William Ruehlmann  in Stalking the Feature Story   “People write because they need to. People make stories for themselves and others, to fight the bomb, or the war, or to fix the broken places. We electric socket into the full power of our Selves by scribbling into our interior hinterlands.” -Andy Couturier in Writing Open the Mind   “Writing is an act of hope. …

Besieged by Writing Ideas

Through the days since I first wrote about early morning writing and how to carve out more writing time, I had indeed been writing more. Early morning writing branched out to writing on a gratitude journal. Then I found my brain “itching” to write a haiku a day in a smaller notebook. For a few months last year, I tried to write a small stone a day, mainly because I felt incapable of writing a haiku a day. After a few weeks of writing a haiku a day, I read a tanka from a blog and I said to myself, “I want to write that too!” Then I encountered and fell in love with haibun, and my writing days have never been the same. Life literally changed for me when I began writing a haiku, a tanka and a haibun a day.  Throw in the six word memoir, which is like icing on the cake. Today’s six word memoir is: Writing has now become sheer joy. The first hour of my days are spent in …

A Comment for a Blog Post

One of the wonderful things that have come out of this blog is the online friends I have “met.”  These are people who regularly comment on my blog posts. One of these regular commenter is Cecil Barr, who is also a regular blogger. Cecil wrote a very lengthy and highly informative comment to my last blog post, “The Book that I am Already Writing.” His lengthy comment was packed with information which I want to share with all of you.  Here is Cecil’s comment:   Hi Rosanna, with your background I’m sure you’ll write a great book if you keep at it. As Woody Allen once remarked: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” I don’t, however, go along with Seth Godin’s assertion that books are more important than blogs (not that I think books are less important than blogs). The contention doesn’t seem to be supported by facts. Zen Habits, for instance, is daily required reading for hundreds of thousands of people. And Chinese blogger Han Han gets around a million visits every time …

The Book that I Am Already Writing

I woke up this morning with the answer to a question that I had been pondering upon since last month: Should I begin writing a first draft again? I had previously attempted to write a manuscript, but  had to give it up when life interrupted. I considered lack of time as the issue because my therapy work is on the upswing and most days I am simply too tired to do any more writing after work. Giving up therapy work is out of the question – I know that it is my right livelihood and it is as important to me as writing is. The words to this blog post came flooding  through my mind the minute I woke up. Nevertheless, I sat down and began my early morning writing. I stopped this practice for three days. I always stop writing when I am not clear about my writing life. Abstaining has its merits, and early morning writing today was an eye-opener – I found myself writing from a fresh perspective. More Writing Books are …

Why Write a Book?

It’s still on my mind. Should I write a book? I honestly cannot consider letting go of a once in a lifetime opportunity- in this case, experiencing a most powerful, profound vehicle for transformation. I have tried once to write a manuscript by joining a two-pages-a day writing challenge. I was doing quite well until the dam broke and I had to face the fact that I was using writing as a distraction to keep me from feeling the pain of losing a loved one. I had to give in to the grieving process, and I was not able to continue with the challenge. This month, the Spiritual Writers Network launched it’s book writing challenge again, but the goal this year is to write a page a day and finish a manuscript by the end of 2014. I was hoping to join this event but a heavy workload got in the way. Mark Matousek’s words,“Writing a book may be the most important commitment that you will ever make in your life,”  keep haunting me, and …

Nuggets of Wisdom from Writers: On Writing a Book

The two-week Transformational Author Experience is over and I am grateful that I was able to listen to several powerful and learned people who were willing to share their experiences. It left me with mixed feelings about becoming an author. I admired the great speakers, especially the writers who shared their wisdom about the craft of writing. But then it got all muddled up for me…and I don’t know if it’s because I have embraced a Zen-inspired life, or maybe I’m simply an introvert. But all the stuff about promoting and marketing, social media, building an author’s platform, and learning how to be a speaker, made me feel like crawling into a cocoon. It was great learning though, and I am grateful that I was able to listen to Christine Kloser, Panache Desai and Mark Matousek talk about the process of writing a book. Transmuting Writer’s Block Worth sharing with all of you are the thoughts of Christine Kloser on writer’s block. Kloser asked Matousek what his thoughts were on “That perceived thing called writer’s …

Of Podcasts and Writing

I’ve been learning so much about writing from the “4th Annual Transformational Author Experience.” It’s still ongoing, and I am trying to catch up because there are several podcasts in one day. The recordings are available only for 24 hours for the free membership plan – it’s like running a race. One big lesson I learned from this event is that listening to podcasts is a great way to learn from writers. I’ve shied away from podcasts  out of laziness, but now I am a fan. Mark Matousek has a podcast series which he offers for free, and among the people he interviewed for the series are writers including Julia Cameron and Natalie Goldberg. In his interview with Natalie Goldberg, the writer discusses her thoughts about various aspects of writing, memoir writing and teaching. If you want to listen to the 15-minute podcast, click here.      

Nuggets of Wisdom from Writers: On Freewriting

Free writing during the early hours of the morning has now become a wonderful way to start the day. Early morning writing has been a good way of telling my brain that writing is also a priority in my life. No matter how busy the day gets, I am comforted by the knowledge that I had at least done some writing for the day. Natalie Goldberg has another name for free writing: In her book, Writing Down the Bones,”she refers to it as writing “first thoughts.” Goldberg writes that”First thoughts have tremendous energy. It is the way the mind first flashes on something. The internal censor usually squelches them, so we live in the realm of second and third thoughts., thoughts on thought, twice and three times removed from the direct connection of the first fresh flash… “First thoughts are unencumbered by ego, by that mechanism in us that tries to be in control, tries to prove the world is permanent and solid, enduring and logical… “You must be a great warrior when you contact first …

Good News for Aspiring Authors

Christine Kloser is offering her 4th Annual Transformational Author Experience (TAE) from May 19-30, 2014. Every year since 2011, Kloser had been bringing together experts from different fields including best-selling authors, marketing experts, transformational leaders, and publishing industry experts to help aspiring authors understand the myriad possibilities in writing, publishing and marketing a book. Bestselling spiritual writer, teacher, and speaker Mark Matousek descirbes Kloser as “a one-woman empowerment network for people who feel that they have a book in them but don’t quite know what to do next.” Matousek will be conducting one of the teleseminars in TAE with Christine Kloser on “Writing Through Fear.” The best thing about this event is that it’s free. You can register here for the basic and free membership which gives you live access to all the classes, as well as a 24-hour window when you can listen to the tapes of the classes. The upgrades to Platinum and Diamond will give you the chance to participate in the 4th Transformational Author Writing Contest. Mark Matousek says, “There’s no …

Find Your Own Writing Rhythm

Two years ago, I decided that I wanted to learn more about creative non-fiction writing. With Amazon.com as my guide, I ordered ebooks and books on journaling, creative non-fiction writing, as well as books on writing exercises and writing techniques. For the first time in my life I had so many books on writing, and I explored the pages eagerly. I am still in the process of reading the books…there must have been quite a thirst in me at that time because I ordered quite a lot! I have learned and continue to learn from the books. There are many discoveries. For instance, I discovered that long before Julia Cameron wrote about morning pages, Dorothea Brande recommended early morning writing in 1934; before Tony Buzan surprised the world with mind-mapping, Gabrielle Lusser Rico wrote about clustering in 1983; and Eric Maisel’s recommendation to write a little every four hours during the day, “just like taking your medicine,” is very similar to Dorothea Brande’s writing by prearrangement. Setting aside my concerns about attribution, perhaps we can …

Becoming Your Own Critic and Teacher

As promised, here is the third installment of the series based upon Dorothea’s Brande’s recommendations on how writers can write effortlessly and how they can carve out more writing time for themselves. Her suggestions for writers include early morning writing and writing by prearrangement. After one has practiced both for some time, Brande assures the writer that s/he will reap many rewards from the faithful practice of writing first thing in the morning and making appointments with one’s self to write. When you have succeeded in establishing these two habits — early morning writing and writing by agreement with yourself — you have com a long way on the writer’s path. You have gained, on the one had, fluency, and on the other control, even though in an elementary way. You know a great deal more about yourself, in all likelihood, than you did when you embarked on the exercises. For one thing, you know whether it is easier to teach yourself to write on and on and on, or whether writing by prearrangement seemed …

How to Carve Out More Writing Time

Dorothea Brande (1893 – 1948) was an American author, lecturer and magazine editor. Her book Becoming a Writer, was published in 1934. Brande says the book is about the writer’s magic. The book is actually a treasure trove, filled with suggestions on how a writer can get over his/herself and begin writing. In the previous post, we discussed Brande’s method that “teach the unconscious to flow into the channel of writing” through the practice of early morning writing. In this post, we outline the next steps which are geared towards helping writers carve out more writing time. Brande assures us that once the first two steps are practiced daily, there will be many discoveries: You will begin to express the day’s experiences into words You will tend to know ahead of time how you will be able to use an anecdote or episode You will be able to transform the rough material of life into fictional shape – and you will be able to do this more consistently than before After you have reached this …

How to Write Effortlessly

I’m still at it: Everyday I use rituals to provide me with the focus I need to write. It’s an exhilarating feeling to be able to write regularly for the first time in my writing life. Making a date with one’s self to write and using rituals to signal my brain that it’s time to write literally feels like carving out writing space in my life.  And I want more! As I explained in another blog post, I never attended writing school and my writing career was launched by chance. Now that I have decided to do more writing other than journal writing and blogging, I feel the need to study and learn more…oh, there are so many lovely books on writing waiting to be read! I want more writing time. I need more writing time. I also have to learn to write more freely. When I was a feature writer, our publisher used to tell me that I occasionally suffered from cerebral constipation – and I think I am suffering from that now, especially …

How to Begin a New Writing Habit

Last month, I decided it was time to start a new writing habit. In a blog post written last year, I explained why I write on my journal at various times of the day. It was a habit formed a long, long time ago, when I was working as a feature writer. I value the ability to write everywhere – even in the midst of a noisy and busy place, and it is one habit that I plan to continue as long as I want to write. I have been journaling since I was very young, and through the years, it had become a very therapeutic practice. But as I recounted in another blog post, I have been feeling that something was amiss – somehow journaling no longer seemed so enticing and fulfilling. Perhaps I had been doing it for so long? I was thus very grateful to have been given a  scholarship by Shift Network to Mark Matousek’s course, “Writing as a Spiritual Practice.” Mark is a generous teacher – the course materials were …

Own Your Story! Free E-course

Canvas Network is once again offering a host of e-courses. Two courses would be of interest to writers: Advancing Women’s Leadership: Own Your Story which starts on April 25, 2014; and Doing Journalism with Data: First Steps, Skills and Tools from May 19  to July 31, 2014 Here is the course description for Advancing Women’s Leadership: Own Your Story: We all have a story. No matter where we are in our life’s journey; no matter our circumstances; we have something to share that has made us who we are. Capturing and examining our life stories increases our resilience and clarifies our place in the world. Join eight leaders and authors in exploring the power of these stories in our lives. Together, we will share our stories of family and community, work and career, college or school, and the financial, physical, and spiritual triumphs and challenges we have faced. Together, we will acknowledge and embrace those stories using them to ground us and to help us shape our futures. Focused on adult women but open to …

Writers on Writing

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. -Mark Twain Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. -Maya Angelou You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.                                                                                                                                       -Neil Gaiman Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose… not the one you …

Drawing Inspiration from Followers and a Determined Writer

How time flies! It’s been a month since I last posted on this blog. Blogging took a backseat again when I was stopped for a couple of weeks by complaints from my body. There was a need to purge accumulated debris from unwise decisions I had made through the years – eating bad food, taking unhealthy drinks, and a lifestyle that focused on rushing instead of living. When life dishes out interruptions to routines, it is trying to say something to us humans who are forever running around in circles. My journal holds the details of my current trip down the slow lane of dis-ease, as well as the fine lessons learned during the down-time. But journaling too, took a back seat for many days, when the body simply refused to budge and hungrily took all the rest it had been starved of. During those days, I wondered if hard-core writers and bloggers – those who steadfastly keep a routine of daily writing – wrote during times of illness. Did they struggle against the already …