Joy Held's Writer Wellness

"Be well, write well."

Monday Meditation: The Mindful Writer Is A Must Read

Summer is when I tackle the TBR (to be read) pile of books and magazines I’ve accumulated during the school year. My teaching schedule is lighter in the summer and like a lot of writers, I use the summer to catch up on my reading. And go to writing cons!

 

One book in particular has captivated my attention early, and even though I’ve read it twice already (it’s a small book,) I just keep coming back to it. The newest book from creative non-fiction writing professor Dinty W. Moore, THE MINDFUL WRITER, NOBLE TRUTHS OF THE WRITING LIFE, is a pocket-sized treasure full of good stuff I’ve found insightful, thought provoking, and entertaining. This is not a book review, by the way. It’s just a blog about what’s on my mind. And since books in many forms are usually always on my mind (a common writer’s affliction,) I’m tying Moore’s book in with today’s topic of meditation.

 

The Mindful WriterTHE MINDFUL WRITER is a clever weaving together of the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths with the writing life. Moore’s inventive perspective has created “The Four Noble Truths For Writers.” But first the Buddha’s list:

1.Life is dukkha (suffering, dissatisfaction.)

2.The cause of dukkha is our desire.

3.It is possible, however, to end this desire.

4.The way to end it is through the Eightfold Path: right views, right aim, right speech, right action, right living, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

 

Moore’s list (abbreviated because I highly recommend this book be read by all writers at any level):

1.The writing life is difficult,…

2.Much of this dissatisfaction comes from…

3.There is a way to lessen the disappointment…

4.The way to accomplish this is to make both the practice of writing and the work…

 

At first glance, many writers might pass over this small epistle in favor of something else more “relevant.” What is more relevant to a writer, or to anyone for that matter, than a manageable size helping of gentle guidance and goodwill written by a writer who knows what we all know. It’s a journey. Wear comfortable shoes and pause every once in a while to savor the moment.

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, http://www.coolguspublishing.com.

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.

 

http://www.joyeheld.com

joyeheld@gmail.com

Copyright Joy Held 2012. All rights reserved.

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Monday Meditation: National Library Week 2012

National Library Week, you belong at your library, April 8-14, 2012

“You belong at your library” is an appropriate slogan for this year’s National Library Week celebration. Honestly, go to the library and once you get past the humility of the massive collection of knowledge and ideas all in the same place, look around at everything available to everybody from the casual reader catching up on the daily news to the college professor checking on resources for a class he’s teaching next semester. The point is that EVERYBODY belongs at the library. Everybody, that is, who respects the principle of freedom to access information. Lack of respect for the contents, the people, the equipment, the facilities, or the ideas will get you rightfully tossed out the front door by the gatekeeper known as the Librarian. It’s a tough job monitoring knowledge, keeping it as safe as possible from abuse, staying on top of current information techniques, and exploding technology. But most librarians are fantastic people with a lot on their plates but always willing to help when asked a question. Granted, we’ve all run into the crusty book warden who is a bit ragged around the edges, but the librarian is a jewel and should be treated like the most precious brooch in the collection. After all, she opens the doors everyday and believes in the same thing writers do: knowledge and ideas are only valuable when they are shared.

 

I have soooo many great librarian stories to share that one week isn’t enough. So here is a brevity list of all the ways libraries and librarians have been a great help to my careers as teacher and writer.

 

#A librarian near my hometown helped me access a primary source that inspired my first romance novel. If it weren’t for this particular special collections and this wonderful woman who let me read “The Message to Garcia” by Elbert Hubbard (1899), my novel wouldn’t have the historical accuracies it does.

 

#When my children were young and learning to love reading and writing, a wonderful junior librarian named Brenda made a point to find out what interested them and ordered books year after year that kept them coming back until they moved away for college.

 

#My favorite aunt is a school librarian.

 

#Doug at the college library where I teach never fails to amaze me at how quickly and efficiently he responds to my requests for materials no matter where on Earth they’re located.

 

I’ll save more library/librarian kudos for the rest of the week. What’s your library story?

 

Happy National Library Week 2012. Hug a library every day.

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

1 Comment »

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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Tuesday Tickle: Whooey

“So you see, imagination needs moodling—long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.”

                ~Brenda Ueland, author If You Want to Write, A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit

Creative people are dependent on their imaginations. The perpetual answer to, “What if?” fuels the work of artists, choreographers, teachers, writers, and anybody who relies on ideas for sustenance. Ideas are generally responses to sensory input from the world we experience day in and day out. If all it takes is the world to stimulate creative ideas, where did the idea of “writer’s block” come from? How is it possible NOT to have something to write about if all we need is experience? Writers become too comfortable in their surroundings and what feels like consistency becomes boredom. Boredom becomes complacency. When the brain is bored it shuts down. When we stop feeding our brains a variety of sensory impulses, we go on autopilot for a while, then the ideas dry up.

In Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, she describes a process called “filling the well” as the work creative people require on a regular, ongoing basis in order to maintain “focused attention,” or what I call awareness. Many people think they are aware, but most people are secure in their situations because they have created and repeated them over and over until the sensory organs shut down and they think they are experiencing writer’s block. While it’s popular to say you have or have had writer’s block, I think it’s a bunch of whooey. Because if we journal often enough, read plenty, exercise regularly, avoid foods that cause us problems, and engage the world in new ways then writer’s block is a myth. A writer may not have the whole story plotted out or be writing on the work-in-progress every single day, but as long as that writer keeps the keyboard tapping or the pushing the pen or the body and the mind thinking and moving, they are not blocked. Ever. How does it work?

I was in the audience at a book fair several years ago and young adult bestselling author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor was answering questions. A  young man asked what she did when she had writer’s block. Ms. Naylor responded, “I never have writer’s block. I have writer’s diarrhea. I don’t have time to write all the stories I can think of.” A very prolific writer, Naylor knew that the more she wrote the more she had to write, but everyone gets tired. That’s when the brain needs entertaining and the chance to feed itself with sights, sounds, motions, smells, and feelings it hasn’t experienced recently to shake up the creative juices and get them spilling onto the page again. This is what I refer to as creative play. It’s when a writer takes a leap out into the world and thoughtfully fills her mind with the ideas, arts, and images of other creative people.

It’s more than reading a good book or going to the movies. It’s going to museums, taking walks, taking pictures, doodling in a journal, taking a class in ceramics or ballroom dance, and attending concerts and lectures that open your awareness to the possibilities out there. The practice of creative play or “filling the well” is the opposite of what most writers do all day in their jobs. That’s primarily why it’s such a challenge. Our writing is about us and just us. We manipulate fictional lives and imaginary settings, but creative play demands we go out in the world and gain a new awareness by appreciating the work of other artists. It’s that simple. Appreciate someone else’s work in a deep, thoughtful manner on a regular basis and you will never run out of anything to write.

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: 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

Leave a comment »

Monday Meditation: Quick and Tidy Way To Meditation

If someone were to ask me how after 35 years of meditation the practice has contributed to who I am today, I’m not sure I could answer succinctly. Just like there is nothing really quick and tidy about life, there is nothing quick or tidy about meditation including the results. Yes, we can sit down for a quick five minutes of peace and quiet four times a day to equal our goal of twenty minutes a day, but the results are scattered for the average person. Instead of cumulative, each session is beginning from the beginning each and every time. But that is the valuable trinket many people fail to recognize about meditation and that’s why some of them give up the practice. They don’t see any big changes. They don’t feel like they are progressing. They don’t know if they’re doing it right. They are tired of starting over the same way every practice. And they don’t see a tangible goal, something they can grab onto and work toward, a reason to meditate.

Thirty-five years ago I was in love with my IBM Selectric electric typewriter  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Selectric. I could type like the wind and writing became even more of a compulsion when I found out how quickly and efficiently I could write and edit articles. Once I cracked open the seam of a story and had the Selectric turned on, the poems and columns poured out like water from a spigot. I was in a mental zone while writing, and nothing short of a child screaming, “Mommy, she has the matches again!” could break me out of the writing trance. Ideas, words, and fingers reaching frantically in every direction of the compass across the span of the keyboard, known lovingly to me then as “the keys” of the typewriter. They were the keys to finally getting all that stuff out of my head, onto paper, and into the hands of others. They were the keys to my deciding to become a writer, get a journalism degree, and publish as much as I could possibly pass from my brain to my hands to the keys to the printer to the reader. This was actually my first experience with meditation even though I didn’t realize it. I was intensely focused on the writing and the process. That’s what meditation is: focus. And writing is where I learned to focus and when introduced to meditation, the ground work was already in place because I had learned to focus on a story and stay dedicated to the idea until it was finished.

Sure the pure definitions of meditation say things like “calm tranquility,” “emotional detachment,” and “blissful state,” but I had already experienced those trance-like places of clarity as a writer. Learning to breathe and call it meditation was a “peace” of cake. Because writing requires awareness of detail, clear steps of organization, and the results are any number of acceptable variations, the similarities of writing to meditation are easy to recognize. All writers are practicing a state of focus while writing. The next logical step is to roll the office chair from the keyboard for five or ten minutes and sit in stillness with your breath. When you return to the craft of piecing together the twenty-six letters of the alphabet into words, ideas, sentences, and stories your perspective will be the fresh and new you’ve been hoping for.

So it is writing that led me to meditation and meditation that continues to lend it’s nothingness and its everything-ness to my writing. Did you know you are meditating when you write? Notice next time, simply notice.

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: “Words-day” Instead of Thursday

Although I am a fan of Thor, the god of Thunder and big biceps, I am proceeding with my revolt against the common names for the days of the week and renaming today “Words-day”. Good-bye Thursday, at least for the moment. My journaling thot for this “Words-day” is taken from an exercise courtesy of the amazing social media expert Kristen Lamb presented in her BLOGING FOR AUTHOR BRAND online workshop. She presents an interesting quandry for someone just starting out as a blog trekker when she assigns class members to describe themselves in 100 words.

“ASSIGNMENT: Write at least 100 individual words that describe you. If you were a jar of pasta sauce, these would be the ingredients. Memories, favorite bands, favorite movies, favorite songs, foods, etc.” (Kristen Lamb, 2012)

We’re all writers here in some form or another. What’s a hundred words? We can write a hundred words in our sleep and forget the most important parts unless we wake up in the middle of the night and write them down. What’s so difficult about one hundred individual words about ME? Try it. Post it here and let me know how it feels to go that deep.  Happy “Words-day”!

Joy: mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, care giver, maid, cook, bottle washer, laundress, driver, gardner, yogini, author, teacher, friend, lover, reader, pizza lover, entrepreneur, book reviewer, nurse, journal fanatic, Internet junkie, executrix, trustee, employee, boss, legal advisor, bill collector, bill payer, postal clerk, tweeter, scorpio, organizer, shopper, bling lover, blogger, email clerk, Pepsi addict, baggy eyed, long haired, big nosed, opinionated, moody, different, stubborn, competitive, football crazy, sports lover, spirit loving, traffic cop, paper grader, hugger, editor, submissions guru, romantic, germ-a-phobe, giving, funny, average, caring, systematic, lazy, insomniac, moon lover, cartwheeler, head stander champ, jewelry hog, black tights freak, neice, grand daughter, cousin, Facebooking, girl.

Show me yours!

Be well, write well.

http://www.joyeheld.com

 

 

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Wednesday Workout: Renaming Today “Pens-day”

Continuing with this week’s theme of world domination, instead of Wednesday, today is being renamed “Pens-day.” So far, the resistance has been futile. I renamed Monday “Fun-day” and Tuesday was officially changed to “Muse-day” and the response has been pretty ho-hum. That’s okay. Quite revolutions are the longest lasting.

Since this day at Writer Wellness is always about a fitness idea, the word is to get out your pens and write about exercise. Whether you consider yourself a writer or not, almost everyone has something to say about exercise.

“Whenever I feel the urge to exercise, I lie down.” Can’t pinpoint exactly who coined this one (feel free to help me out with proper citation,) but it encapsulates the way many people feel about exercise. They avoid it like the plague. On this momentous “Pens-day” instead of Wednesday, grab a writing implement in your hand (yes, we’ll count that as exercise move number one if you insist,) and write down what you think, feel, and smell about exercise. Simplify things and write a simple pros and cons list. If you like exercising, the pros list will be longer. If you don’t… (Yes, we’ll count the writing as exercise move number two if you insist.) But I insist that you take a good look at your exercise pro and con lists and make the commitment to add exercise to your DAILY list of things to do.

 

“I hate to exercise. I figure at my age, why bother? If God wanted me to bend over, he’d throw diamonds on the floor!”

                ~Joan Rivers

The image of something valuable in return for the effort of exercise is a great one to keep in mind as you put one foot in front of the other and pound a path on that treadmill until they have to call in a repairman to replace the tread!

Why don’t you post your exercise pros and cons list here today, right now on this first and important “Pens-day?”

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!

And hugs to my tweet friends who tweet this forward.

Be well, write well

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Tuesday Tickle: Renaming Today “Muse-day”

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

                ~Stephen King, On Writing

Waiting on inspiration? Really? That writer must not need the money or realize how important the process is. It’s just as important as the product when it comes to writing. Lots of us know we have a mysterious “writing muscle”, and true, it needs a kick in the thing we use to hold chairs down with but the process doesn’t require inspiration to be put into gear. The process requires perspiration. And since the advent of the psychological term “writer’s block”, the invention of a muse is popular when it comes to needing the proper impulse to write. What is a muse anyway? Is it the inner critic? Is it a secret font of ideas stored in our subconscious we just have to tap into for stuff to write about? Is it some guy sitting in the basement smoking cigars admiring his bowling trophies (more Stephen King) while we struggle for the stream of words that make us writers? Muse, inspiration, whatever, are all just another word for courage. Are we brave enough to be the writers we dream we are?

What the muse or the inspiration may actually be is the time it takes for our brains to sort through the muck of stimulations we absorb constantly and bring something cohesive to the surface. That’s why English professors have a far off look in their eyes all the time. It explains why novelists spill things. Brain work for writers is the equivalent of an intense cardio workout for not the recommended thirty-minute session with a cool-down afterward, but a continual mind boggling distraction until we figure it out. Then we have something to write. The muse is our minds organizing the clutter of the process until the words fall into place and we can fill the pages with them. There is no inspiration. There is only the process of thinking, connecting, writing drivel, and more thinking until it becomes the answer to the question we have asked with our stories. The muse is the imaginary delivery girl dressed or undressed in the costume of your own mental doing. She (or he or it) gives us somewhere to place the blame while we’re waiting on the brain to tidy up the mess of stuff we’ve fed it. But it’s the writing process that enables the brain to have what it needs. So keep the process going: journal, write ugly grammar, blog, and read, read, read until the muse is inspired enough to bless you with the story.

 

“Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite:

‘Fool!’ said my Muse to me, ‘look in thy heart and write.’”

                ~Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)

                Astrophel and Stella, Sonnet I

This inspiration-muse thing has been going on for quite a while. But notice the Muse says, “…and write.” She doesn’t say, “Take a seat, honey, and when I get this figured out for you, I’ll call.”

Will you take the process challenge this “Muse-day” and give her something, anything to work with?

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

Leave a comment »

Thursday Thot: Guest Jenni Talty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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