Joy Held's Writer Wellness

"Be well, write well."

Thursday Thot: Graduation Gifts

If you ask the graduate, the last thing they want is another book. After years of studying and taking tests, many graduates associate books with stress. But after the dust settles on the cap and gown and the tassel swings happily from the rear view mirror, the grad will appreciate having these books on the shelf when they look around for guidance and inspiration. Every graduate wants money, work, and fun while they follow their chosen path of endeavor. Here are three titles that would make great gifts for the new graduate.

Money

Product DetailsThe Prosperous Heart by Julia Cameron is her latest book meant to emphasize and streamline our relationships with money. We learn our money matters from the modeling we witness in family settings as we grow up. How our parents and siblings handled money has a great impact on the decisions we make about making, spending, and saving money as adults. It isn’t as simple as seeing a parent save money and then we in turn save money the same way. A lot of the time we act in reverse of what we experienced with money and family. Cameron’s book details a twelve step process to help anyone grow a new relationship with money. Simple practices such as writing down every single penny spent every single waking day for the duration of the twelve weeks demands discipline and the willingness to look back on what we spend our money on. It’s a step that indelibly engraves on one’s psyche the words, “Do I want this, or do I need this?” Knowing the answer can save a lot of money.

Work

The Mindful WriterThe Mindful Writer, Noble Truths of the Writing Life by Dinty W. Moore is a concise and wonderfully compact book that anybody can appreciate. Writers are everybody and everywhere. If the graduate is going into any professional setting for work they will eventually be asked to write something; a report, an email, a letter. This little book is inspiring and handy. It’s great for writers who will love the many quotes from other writers. Moore’s comments on each quote are centered around the sense that his study of Buddhism has influenced his writing more than his writing has influenced his study of Buddhism. The Noble Truths are a twist on Buddha’s principles aimed at the writing crowd. But who wouldn’t be better off taking the sound advice to avoid disappointment by grasping and being satisfied with what we have rather than what we don’t have? “Do I want this, or do I need this?” Knowing the answer can save a lot of stress.

Fun

Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity by yours truly has the disadvantage sometimes of having a title by my own design that makes the book appear limited in application. There is much in the book that anybody can enjoy and use to add creativity to life and work. Ideas about journaling, fitness, relaxation, nutrition, and creative play are good for the soul.  

Of course, it won’t hurt to slip a twenty dollar bill between the pages of the books before you gift the grad.

Did you get a book for graduation that has served you well? Please leave a comment and tell us about it.

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at

Cool Gus Publishing.

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well.

Joy E. Held

joyeheld@gmail.com

http://twitter.com/Joy_E_Held

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Thursday Thot: Triumph In Spite It All

Writers wrestle in solitary confinement to create work worthy of distribution to the masses.  We listen to our guts writhe and dare to write down the utterances.  We literally tap into the deepest seams of human components and release the secrets of the spirit in print for everyone to see.  Such creatures would be “pedastalized” in a truly free and creative world.  But we aren’t.

Writers are eccentric.  Writers are different.  You never know where a writer’s mind is even if you are standing in front of her looking into her eyes.  Significant others just get used to it. Even though the whole world relies on some aspect of a writer’s abilities, the writer is sectioned off “to work”, but really to put us where they can keep an eye on us!  Lest we indulge in daydreaming, talking to ourselves, or something worse like the historical bad writer habits of alcohol or drugs. 

Almost everyone knows of Hemingway’s alcohol problems or Poe’s drug abuse.  Why does the world have this negative image of writers?  Because history has a passion for emphasizing the foibles of the greats in an attempt to claim, “He was a great writer in spite of his flaws.” 

Flaws.  Imperfections.  Blemishes.  This is the stuff that makes us individuals, that makes us lovable, that gives writers a different perspective on the world.  A writer’s vantage point is precisely where her voice emanates.  What makes a writer is someone who notices that their voice and their turn of mind come from the same immeasurable place.  When I wrote my first short story in grade school from the outlook of two shoes talking to each other in a dark shoe box, I heard my voice for the first time.  Writers can see, feel, think, smell, and hear the worlds of other people and objects.  It’s what we do.

“I’m a writer.  I use everything,” said Truman Capote.  To truly be a writer, regardless of genre, you must ‘muse’ everything in your world and in your mind to the advantage of your craft.  It’s a task that comes easier for some writers than others.  It’s a question of listening and being open to what you hear.  How can you evolve into the grand writer you desire to be?  By leading a daily life devoted to expanding your body, mind, and spirit in every sense of the word.  By following the way of Writer Wellness.

The idea of Writer Wellness happened to me because of a hectic schedule and the natural instinct to “use everything” around me to create my writing.  When I was expecting my first baby, I published a magazine article about continuing to run a dance studio while pregnant.  When a guest artist taught classes at our local community theatre, I published an article about his career on Broadway.  When my life got wonderfully full of children, a household, work, and writing deadlines, I organized a system that would allow me to listen to my inner and outer worlds and maintain my writing voice.

Writer Wellness is composed of regular practices of journal writing, exercise, relaxation, nutrition, and creative play.  For example, depending on my schedule, my daily journal entry may be three pages long or just the front of an index card.  Exercise is either walking the dog, yoga practice, cardio equipment, or walking.  I ALWAYS find at least five minutes a day to close my eyes and meditate.  The food I eat is simple and grown as locally as possible.

Writer Wellness evolved from a personal habit to a community program and then into a book.  I follow the principles and guide others to do the same.  It’s a simple, developmental approach that any writer can try in any degree.  The results are tumultuous productivity and long term good health.  And triumph over flaws by using what you know as a writer to make your life and writing better.

How did you triumph over some imperfections to become who you are today?

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

Be well, write well.

Joy E. Held

 

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Thursday Thot: Matches

 

“Women with clean houses do not have finished books.” ~Me

There is a wonderful chapter in the classic writing text by Brenda Ueland titled “Why Women Who Do Too Much Housework Should Neglect It for Their Writing.” The title is enough to liberate me from the toils of the home but others may need a bit more convincing. Before I encourage you, male or female, to reduce the amount of housework you do so you have more writing time, I will qualify my remarks with saying that complete abandonment of the necessary tasks to keep a dwelling sanitary is not what I’m advocating. It’s a matter of accepting other people’s help.

Ueland’s chapter is in her inspirational book If You Want To Write, A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit first published in 1938. The copy I never let get too far away is a 1987 edition, and even though she was a turn-of-the-century woman, her advice is applicable to anyone who wants to write today. Her ideas have influenced my belief that everyone is a writer to some degree. Some take it farther than others. In this clever chapter, Ueland presents the work of former writing students from her classes and shows how as women they are quite talented writers but the demands of being mothers and wives seems to prohibit them from knowing the satisfaction of publication.

Online chats and luncheon table conversations at writing conferences never fail to spend some time bemoaning the fact that women have too many household responsibilities and civic chores to get any writing done. Whooey seems to be my word of choice this week, and I repeat it here. I homeschooled my two daughters for 18 years and published a non-fiction book, finished a historical romance novel, wrote weekly columns for three regional newspapers, published many poems, published book reviews online, and wrote 1-4 articles monthly for a trade magazine all while they were sitting at their desks beside me doing social studies and English. When it was time to focus on work where I couldn’t be interrupted, I made sure they were safely ensconced and closed the office door. The sign read “Do not disturb unless it’s bleeding, broken, or on fire. Love, Mommy.”

Ueland’s advice is similar: “If you would shut your door against the children for an hour a day and say: ‘Mother is working on her five-act tragedy in blank verse!’ you would be surprised how they would respect you. They would probably all become playwrights.”

What strikes me the most honestly about her comment is that my daughters reacted this very way to this very practice. My oldest called me this week to tell me she has arranged for me to speak to the undergraduate playwriting group in her college theatre department to talk about Writer Wellness and how it applies to their future careers as writers. I didn’t intentionally set out to raise more writers. Both daughters write really well. I set out to respect myself and model what a woman with a passion for something looks like so that when they find their passions they’ll know it.

If they grow up to be writers, I won’t be disappointed. I just hope I still have their rooms relatively “clean”. It’s a feast or famine career but one that even a mother can be proud of doing.

Of course, there’s the story where one day I heard the youngest child saying, “I don’t think Mommy likes matches,” and I flung the office door open pretty quickly.

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey

http://amyshojai.com Amy Shojai

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well

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Thursday Thot: Guest Claudia Taller

xxx

 

Thursday Thot:

 

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

 

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

 

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

 

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

 

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

 

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

 

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

 

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey

 

http://amyshojai.com Amy Shojai

 

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

 

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

 

 

 

Be well, write well

 

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Thursday Thought: Inspiration Inclination

Look around. Is your work…well, is it ‘work’ and not one exciting, innovative creation after another? Could your material be so predictable that you are in what dancer/choreographer Twyla Tharp calls “a false start?” Tharp defines a “false start,” or a creative rut as different from being blocked and most definitely different from being in a good groove. “A rut is the part of the journey where you’re spinning your wheels, spitting out mud behind you, splattering other people, and not going anywhere. You know you’re in a rut when you annoy other people, bore your collaborators and supporters, fail to challenge yourself, and get the feeling that the world is moving on while you’re standing still. You may also feel that you’ve been here before; déjà vu, with some flop sweat on the side, is a sure sign of a rut. Perhaps the surest sign is a feeling of frustration and relief when you’re done (“Boy, I’m glad that’s over!”) rather than anticipatory pleasure (“I can’t wait to get back here tomorrow.”) Call it consistency, following a syllabus, or teaching a “graded system,” you know when your work is dry and uninspired. It happens to everyone. Don’t worry. There are some simple ideas to help refresh your artistry and renew the feeling of, “I love being me!” that every creative person knows.

If the inspiration inclination has temporarily slipped away and writing another page feels like pulling teeth (your own,) it could be a simple matter of needing to “fill the well” as writer Julia Cameron refers to in her book “The Artist’s Way.” Cameron says that the artist’s brain relies on images and that creativity is sometimes blocked or stymied by a lack of artistic brain food. Cameron recommends regular “artist dates” with yourself to “restock the pond” of artful ideas you seem to be lacking. For an artist date, you simply schedule yourself to attend a thought provoking artistic event like a gallery opening or orchestra concert and ingest the sensations all around to help replenish your own source of creative energy. Cameron suggests a habitual practice of artist dates until you understand the ebb and flow of your creativity and how to use the work of other inspired creators to support your own creations.

When I first tried the regular artist date, it annoyed me because I felt like I was being taken away from my own work. Cameron and Tharp both claim that resistance is a sure sign that a respite is most assuredly the best medicine. After a year of consistently attending art shows, poetry readings, and independent film showings, I noticed a rush of recurrent creativity to the point where I can hardly keep up with myself today! I heard a lecture by children’s author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor recently who summed up how I feel. Someone asked her what she did for writer’s block. “I don’t have writer’s block,” she said. “I have so many ideas floating around in my head all the time that I have writer’s diarrhea!” I now have a habit of enjoying the work of other artists and I’m positive it contributes to my never-ending flow of creativity and ideas.

 Inspiration is always available to the artist who understands that creativity is a process dependent on many details. Here are some ideas to consider.

Low budget

1) Read books and magazines on creativity.

2) Start a journal. You will be amazed at the creative freedom you can experience from a regular habit of journaling.

3) Find an online community of artists and communicate.

4) Attend free art events like gallery showings, outdoor concerts, and crafts fairs.

 

Medium budget

1) Take classes from another local teacher. Learning rejuvenates the creative spirit.

2) Analyze the work of other artists. Take pencil and paper and write down what you see or read in videos and books and dissect the creativity of others. Explain to yourself why they did what they did, and then how you would have done it differently and why.

3) Attend poetry readings, art shows, etc. at the local gallery or coffee shop.

4) Cruise through a history museum or see a local theatre production.

 

High budget

1) Travel to an artist’s retreat or big city where art is revered and the process is respected. Take part in performances, conferences, workshops, and activities that allow you to deeply experience the art.

2) Take college courses at home or far away that will expand your appreciation of creativity.

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

 

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

 

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

 

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

 

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

 

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

 

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

 Be well, write well.

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Thursday Thought: Guest Natalie Clark Doesn’t Believe In Writer’s Block

The Cure to the Dreaded Writers Block

A common stress for many writers is writers block. A great way to ease your stress, of course is through meditation as Joy E. Held discusses in her book, ‘Writer Wellness.’ I offer another solution that writers can implement in addition to meditation. First of all, let me tell you—THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS WRITER’S BLOCK! I do not believe in writer’s block. I believe in setting your mind to the task of writing and it will come. Whenever I am stumbling with a scene, I simply move on or switch projects. When I go back to the troublesome scene I see that it wasn’t the scene, just my mindset at the moment. Only you can find your own answer to curing “writer’s block.” Mine? Exercise. Yes, I have deadlines, a baby, a high maintenance dog and a husband who has a limited selection in his cooking repertoire BUT I schedule time for my fitness. It’s amazing what an hour in the gym can do to my mind. I also make time to laugh. Put something humorous around your workstation. The attached picture is something I found in my Grandfather’s office after he passed away. It never fails to make me laugh.

I also love to love on my dog, Oscar. Taking a few minutes off to hug and play with him is another great way that I clear my mind. Recently, fellow dog author, Amy Shojai wrote on the health benefits of having a dog. She focused on actual health conditions such as high blood pressure but I know that Oscar helps me with my stress. To read Amy’s article click here. I also encourage writers to experience with other genres. This is easy for me since I dabble in many writing areas such as my freelance work, non-fiction book series and my YA and MG fiction novels. By switching projects you will find that you never get bored or stuck on anything. If you only write in one area that is fine but try out another style of writing. You will be amazed at how you will grow as a writer. What do you do to limit your stress during a deadline rush? How do you battle with “writer’s block,” if you even believe it exists? Thank you, Joy for allowing me the opportunity to share this information with your readers.

My book, ‘CARING FOR YOUR SPECIAL NEEDS DOG’ is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my publisher’s site, Who Dares Wins Publishing. A percentage of profits go to The Texas A&M Foundation to the benefit of the Neurology Section, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinarian Medicine.

 

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

 

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

 

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

 

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

 

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

 

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

 

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

 

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey

 

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well.

Leave a comment »

Free Introductory Session & Book Signing Event!

When: Friday, July 15, 2011

Where: Eldredge Public Library, 564 Main Street, Chatham, MA

Time: 3:00-4:00 p.m.

www.eldredgelibrary.org

 

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Thursday Thought: Stretch, Breathe, Write! by Lucie Simone

Thursday Thought: Guest Post From LUCIE SIMONE

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Thursday Thought: Stretch, Breathe, Write!

By Lucie Simone

If you’re a writer, you’re probably juggling a lot of responsibilities, and maybe even a day job, while managing to squeeze in a few hundred words in stolen moments. It can be a little overwhelming when you’re trying to bang out a first draft and keep up with your daily routine. And I know the last thing you want to do is add yet another activity to your regimen. But if you give yourself just a few minutes each day to relax and recharge, you might find that getting through the rest of your chores is a breeze. The next time you find yourself pushed beyond your limits, stop, sit, stretch and breathe. And within a matter of minutes you’ll be feeling brand new.

Here are a few simple stretches you can perform sitting right at your desk that will promote calm and clarity:

 

  • Sitting tall on the edge of your seat, take a deep inhale as you reach your arms overhead, spread your fingers wide and stretch through your fingertips. Exhale and lower your arms to your sides. Repeat five times.

 

  • Sitting tall on the edge of your seat, clasp the back of your chair with your hands and inhale deeply as you lift your chest, stretching your biceps and your pecs. Continue breathing deeply for five breaths.

 

  • Sitting tall on the edge of your seat, plant both feet firmly into the ground, place your right hand on your right hip, inhale and reach your left arm toward the sky. As you exhale, bend to your right, allowing for a nice stretch of your side ribs. Hold this position and breathe deeply for five breaths. Repeat on the other side.

 

  • Sitting tall on the edge of your seat, plant your left foot firmly into the ground and straighten your right leg, keeping the foot flexed. Place your hands on your hips and take a deep inhale. Exhale and fold forward, keeping your back straight and your chest lifted, allowing for a deep stretch of the back of the legs. Hold this position for five deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.

 

  • Sitting tall on the edge of your seat, cross your right ankle over your left thigh, just above the knee (not on the knee), flexing the foot. Take a deep inhale, and as you exhale, lean forward over your legs, hinging at the hips. Hold this position for five deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.

 

  • To finish, sit tall at the back of your seat with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Rest your hands on your thighs, palms facing up. Take five deep breaths as you close your eyes and allow the mind to open.

After just this short practice, you may feel a sense of inner peace and calm come over you. You may also have more energy and more clarity to get you through the rest of your day, maybe even get some great writing done!

Lucie Simone is both a yoga teacher and an author and has merged her two passions into her Yoga for Writers workshop. This class will be featured at the East Valley Authors Writers Retreat in Monrovia, CA August 14th and at the Emerald City Writers Conference in Seattle, WA October 29th. For more information, please visit her website at www.luciesimone.com.

#####

Happy Note: Book signing and hatha yoga demonstration Saturday, June 25 at Borders in Vienna, WV, 2-4 p.m. Will I see you there? Bring your yoga mat!

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well.

1 Comment »

Time To Leave Your Comments!

Arrived Friday afternoon. Four hours of car does awful things to my mood, energy, etc., but the hotel has a dynamite fitness room. I checked in and changed clothes to my workout duds. The recumbent bike and some Sun Salutations saved the day and the evening was great.

There are scads of bookmarks and other goodies that I’m collecting for the prize drawing. All you have to do is leave a comment once this weekend and you’re entered.

Book sale and signing in a few. Have to run.

Be well, write well.

Joy

8 Comments »

Lori Foster’s Reader & Author Get Together

I’m excited to be going to Lori Foster’s Reader & Author Get Together in Cincinnati, OH this weekend to meet readers, editors, and other authors. Will you be there?

http://www.lorifoster.com/community/readergettogether.php

I’ll be posting updates here over the weekend. Check in and find out how things go. And I’m holding a contest for those of you who can’t make the weekend with me! Leave a comment on at least one of this weekend’s blogs and you’ll be entered in a prize drawing for a Writer Wellness goodie bag. Can’t wait to hear from you! (US residents only.)

Be well, write well.

1 Comment »

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