Joy Held's Writer Wellness

"Be well, write well."

Monday Meditation: No Blog Is An Island

A 2011 reflection for me includes a shout out of “thank you!” to the following cyber pals who made last year great for Writer Wellness.

 

Joanna Aislinn for hosting me as a guest blogger and always having interesting things on her blog that I like to read.

 

Miriam Allen for writing a great review of Writer Wellness.

 

Wendy Hines for writing a great review of Writer Wellness.

 

Paty Jager for writing a great review of Writer Wellness.

 

Kristin Lamb for her incredible non-stop blogging energy. I don’t know how she does it but her insight, humor, and support of WW are like treasures.

 

Natalie Markey for being another great reviewer of Writer Wellness and swapping guest posts with me.

 

Cat Masters for hosting me on her blog in 2011 with a very fun interview.

 

Bob Mayer for being a wizard with the vision to create Who Dares Wins Publishing and to believe that Writer Wellness was worth the second chance.

 

Linda Rettstatt for writing a great review of Writer Wellness.

 

Amy Shojai for being the most cheerful animal lover and blogging pal I have.

 

Jen Talty for ALWAYS being there no matter what. She’s amazing.

 

Beth Trissel for hosting Writer Wellness at her blog and getting an amazing number of hits that day!

 

Sandy Tritt for being my bestest buddy in the real world and the cyber village it takes to keep the Writer Wellness world afloat.

HUGS EVERYBODY AND HERE’S TO A GREAT NEW ERA IN WRITING, PUBLISHING, AND BEING.

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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Tuesday Tickle: Guest Bob Mayer on the unsensual art of writing

#Nanowrimo Writing as the only art form that isn’t sensual

by Bob Mayer

I’m still continuing posts for Nanowrimo, focused on craft, since it’s not over yet, is it?

Remember something about the art of writing: It is the only art form that is not sensual.  I’m not saying you can write sensual material, but rather the way the art impacts your senses.  You can see the colors and strokes that make a painting, feel a sculpture, and hear music.  The manner in which each individual piece in those fields impacts on the senses is different.  But every writer uses the same letters on a piece of paper.  You have twenty-six letters that combine to form words, which are the building blocks of your sentences and paragraphs.  Everyone has the same words, and when I write that word and you write it, that word goes into the senses of the reader in the same way.  It’s how we weave them together that impact the conscious and subconscious mind of the reader that makes all the difference in the world.

A book comes alive in the reader’s mind.  You use the sole medium of the printed word to get the story from your mind to the reader’s.  It is the wonder of writing to create something out of nothing.  Every book started with just an idea in someone’s head.  Isn’t that a fantastic concept?

Writers learn by writing.  And before that, by being voracious readers.

In essence, writing is no different from any other profession.  It’s a simple rule, but one that every one wants to ignore:  the more you write, the better you will become.  Practically every author I’ve ever talked to, or listened to, or read about in an interview, says the same thing.  I saw Stephen King on C-Span and he said the most important thing to do to become an author is to write a lot.  That is one of the reasons so many people are participating in this month’s Nanowrimo. One writing professor said you needed to write a million words before expecting to get published.  I’m currently around word five million and still learning so much.

Let’s look at the positive side:  The odds are strongly against getting published.  But simply by taking the time and the effort to learn from these words and participating in Nanowrimo, you are increasing your odds.  By continuing to write beyond your first manuscript, you vastly increase your odds.  Many writers gush over the amount of money John Grisham made for The Firm but they forget that A Time To Kill was published previously to lackluster sales and failed.  What is important to note about that was that Grisham realized he hadn’t done something right and worked hard to change.  Note that Grisham did not sit still and bemoan what his agent/editor/publisher etc. didn’t do to help the novel.  He didn’t complain that the reading public didn’t understand his brilliance.  He worked on the one person he knew he could change:  himself (a tenet of Write It Forward).

From talking with other published writers, I have found it is common that somewhere between manuscript numbers three and six, comes the breakthrough to publication.  How many people are willing to do that much work?  Not many, which is why not many succeed and how you can vastly increases your chances of beating the odds.  Publishers do not want to make a one-time investment in a writer.  When a publisher puts out a book, they are backing that writer’s name and normally want to have more than one book in the pipeline.  Multiple book contracts are very common; with their inherent advantages and disadvantages.  As soon as you type THE END on your first manuscript (and I mean THE END after numerous rewrites), the absolute first thing you must do is begin writing your second.  With self-publishing, I recommend having at l east three books before putting much time and effort into marketing, as I describe in this earlier blog post.

Publishing has changed drastically and there are new opportunities for writers to get their novels into the hands of their readers. Traditional publishing isn’t the only viable option for the 21st century author. Self-publishing is quickly becoming the new medium for mid-list authors, and new authors. Amanda Hocking self-published her way into a two-million dollar contract with St. Martins Press. Myself, Connie Brockway, Barry Eisler, LJ Sellers and JA Konrath have all either written ourselves out of NY contracts or turned down a NY contract and ventured out on our own and have been successful.

As someone who wants to be in the entertainment business, you have to study those who have succeeded and failed in that business.  Read interviews with people in the arts and entertainment industries and you will find a common theme:  a lot of years of sweat equity put in before the big “break” came.  I’ve read of and heard actors and comedians talk about spending decades working in the trenches before they became famous.  Musicians who sang back-up for years before becoming lead.  Painters who toiled in squalor (and often died) before their work was recognized.

Study the lives of writers.  Read interviews with authors and see what they say.  Go to conferences and talk to them.  Listen to them talk about several things:  how they became authors, how they live, how they feel about writing, how they write.  Many worked very strange jobs before getting published.  Almost all struggled and spent many years of suffering before they succeeded.  I say suffering in terms of financial or career terms, not in terms of the writing itself.  Most writers enjoy writing.

People seem to think that writers are different and, while in some highly publicized cases they are, most published writers have spent many years slugging away before even their first novel was published.

Simple perseverance counts for a lot.  I think many people with talent lack the drive and fall out of the picture and people with maybe not as much talent but more drive take their place.  It’s the difference between having a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.  People with talent often believe they know all they ever need to know, so therefore their mind is fixed.  Those who believe there is always something more to learn, have a growth mindset.

Let’s get back to where I talked about people in other professions doing a work practicum.  Besides writing novels and reading, the other advice I would give would be to attend conferences and workshops.  It is a worthwhile investment of your time and money to go to workshops and conferences.  Not just to learn, but also to network.  Because of that, the first Write It Forward ‘short’ my publishing company released is How To Get The Most Out Of Your Time And Money At A Writer’s Conference.

A college student once interviewed me and she asked me what she could do to become a better writer.  I replied with my usual “Write a lot,” then thought for a second, looking at this nineteen year old woman.  Then I said:  “Live a lot.  Experience life, because that is what you are eventually going to be writing about.”

What things do you suggest writers do in order to help themselves become better writers?

My thanks to Bob Mayer for permission to repost this insightful blog.

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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Monday Meditation: Time and Herding Cats

 

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.)

“Time management” is an oxymoron. We can’t possibly manage time. It does what it wants regardless of our efforts to wrangle it into submission. It marches on no matter what. Trying to manage time is frustrating because it’s a little like herding cats or nailing Jello (trademark) to a tree. Time has a mind and a mission of its own. Time cannot be told what to do and it cannot be beat into submission. But time rules the world and we will continue to know frustration until we develop a different relationship with time.

We can either work with time or we can compete against it. The competition idea is largely responsible for our feelings of frustration. “There is never enough time to get everything done,” we say out of habit. “I make lists, but there isn’t enough time to get it all done in a day.” While lists are a proactive method for dealing with our frustrations about not enough time, they too can cause us to “grrrrrr” at the end of the day’s allotted time when we realize how much of the list did not get accomplished.

Try feeling time instead. It’s a practice born of meditation’s ultimate lesson in patience. Begin by, and I hesitate to say it, setting a stop watch or timer when you practice meditation. Do not set the timer for ten minutes, close your eyes, and breathe until the timer goes off. With the timer at zero, first close your eyes, then push the button, and breathe. Meditate until the feeling arises that the session has come to an end. Open your eyes and see how long you have practiced. Regardless of how many minutes have passed, end the session. Do this daily and the time you meditate will gradually increase on its own in a natural way. Putting a time limit on your daily meditation practice is contradictory to the purpose. The purpose is to love your time here, not manage your time here. 

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.

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Thursday Thought: National Poem In Your Pocket 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.)

 Even if you aren’t much of a poet yourself, you can take part in the very civilized and very literary National Poem In Your Pocket day today (April 14, 2011.) The promotions explain it this way:

 The idea is simple: Select a poem, pocket it, carry it, and share it with family, friends, and coworkers throughout the day.

 The Academy of American Poets sponsors this activity and have free poems to download just for your pocket.

http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/406

 Here’s what I’m carrying in my pocket today:

“To Save The Glen”

How soft the morning mist of Glens,

How quiet the raging, howling winds.

The Id repose to praise and thanks,

But all are not amiss these ranks.

La Sola rise to mark the start,

In trade and deed to show our smart.

September 11 steals the stage,

The Universe convulsed with rage.

A mighty clash of dark and light,

The former struck, the latter fight.

Visions and words impart the horror,

Innocence and peace denied the Moor.

Thy sheath is bared; they steed is clothed,

Our light is set to right the loath.

The Glen erupts, the light blaze bright

Now Heavens ROAR with rockets might.

So, Id must choose twix light and dark—

To save the Glen or lose our mark.

~George A. Gunter, Jr. (1933-2007)

 What poem will you share today?

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

Be well, write well.

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Wednesday Workout: Yoga Is Accessible

 

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.)

The physical component of yoga is called “hatha yoga.” The word “hatha” is Sanskrit for physical. There are essentially 24 basic poses in yoga and many, many variations on them thus creating hundreds of poses all together. There are also ways to modify the basic poses so anyone can participate in some level of hatha yoga. This is where yoga therapy comes into play. All yoga is therapeutic in a sense because of the breathing, stretching and mental practices, but the physical acts of the poses, also called asanas, can be changed up slightly to make them accessible to some persons with disabilities.

Disclaimer alert: this article is not meant to replace the guidance of your health care practitioner. Always consult such persons before engaging in activity to be sure your condition warrants participation in an organized exercise regime of any kind.

That said, besides talking with your doctor first, here are three books to give you an idea of what might be available to you.

Recovery Yoga, A Practical Guide for Chronically Ill, Injured, and Post-Operative People, Sam Dworkis, Three Rivers Press, New York, 1997. This book covers breathing and movements in a variety of positions. Once you have understood any limitations your doctor recommends, you can choose exercises done sitting, standing, lying down, and on the floor. Dworkis is an Iyengar trained yoga teacher and the B.K.S. Iyengar tradition of hatha yoga originated the practice of modifying yoga poses through the use of props such as chairs and bolsters. His program is called Extension Yoga.

http://www.extensionyoga.com/

Yoga As Medicine, The Yogic Prescription For Health and Healing, Timothy McCall, M.D., Bantam, New York, 2007. McCall is a doctor and a yoga practitioner and the medical consultant for Yoga Journal Magazine. It includes practice routines and advice on using yoga to help with several conditions such as back pain, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis.

http://www.drmccall.com/

Yoga for Movement Disorders, Rebuilding Strength, Balance and Flexibility for Parkinson’s Disease and Dystonia, Renee Le Verrier, BS, RYT, Merit Publishing International, Florida, 2009. The author of this book suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and practices what she preaches. Every pose is prop assisted and the system is explained very clearly. The photos are very clear and the poses are adaptable to more than Parkinson’s. Highly recommended.

http://meritpublishing.com/

My book Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity includes chapters on yoga for writers. Basic poses like Triangle are shown modified in Writer Wellness for use by persons other than writers. Best wishes to you for continued health through movement. Have you found an interesting way to keep physically active?

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

Be well, write well.

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Tuesday Tickle: Creative Play Date

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.)

Creative play is the focus of Tuesday Tickle here at Writer Wellness. It’s an intentionally vague topic to allow me lots of juicy wiggle room to explore whatever I want. And that’s exactly what creative play is all about. Exploring whatever we want that pumps up our creative salivary glands and gets us back in the groove of writing.

I call it creative play because I recommend messing around in fun stuff and each one of you gets to define what fun stuff means to you. Creative play is also the primary means of filling the well when it’s feeling dry. That’s of sign of the dreaded writer’s block creeping up behind us. And although the world acknowledges the existence of writer’s block, we don’t have to be hypochondriacal and sit around and wait to catch it. With regular experiences with creative play, writer’s block is completely avoidable, and no prescription drugs are required to bolster our immune systems (sorry.)

Creative play is a simple prescription: do something creative. That’s it. It must be creative and must be enjoyable and it counts as creative play if it is capable of filling your well and keeping you juicy and filled with ideas for writing. And less fear. How’s that? Writer’s block is fear based in my opinion. Expectations, deadlines, pressures, and bills to pay can sure wreak havoc on a writer’s psyche and cause us to feel overwhelmed and incapable of writing. Participating in creative play is a great medicine for alleviating the fear. But most of us need a permission slip to participate in creative play because we have gotten into the nasty habit of thinking that writing is work. It is, but it’s supposed to be work we love. We are one of the few professions that can genuinely claim that we work at something we love. Getting paid is a bonus.

So, here’s your permission slip:

I, Joy Held, give YOU permission to enjoy a regular creative play date to do something fun, crazy, enlightening, and relaxing. 

Here are some ideas from my own recent creative play dates:

I attended the local college student art show at the museum. Saw some really great beginning works that reminded me that we all start out the same way: with a crayon. Also discovered a new artist whose work is very powerful and I intend to look into more of her projects.

Woke up on Saturday and decided to paint every wooden clothes pin in the house. Spent a few minutes gathering them up and used assorted colors of spray paint to decorate a hundred clothes pins. Now when I’m hanging laundry or securing a bread bag, my colorful day of painting in the sunshine comes to mind and refreshes me.

I read and write reviews for a lot of young adult books. Just recently I read the latest collection of short stories from fantasy author Tamora Pierce TORTALL AND OTHER LANDS, A COLLECTION OF TALES. The stories included new and old characters and even a tale entitled “Huntress” that I heard Pierce read aloud at a convention in 2005 before it was published. Reading outside the genre I write keeps me honest and respectful of the craft. Here’s the link to the review:

http://teenreads.com/reviews/9780375866760.asp

What do you do to stay healthy and avoid writer’s block?

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

 Be well, write well.

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