Joy Held's Writer Wellness

"Be well, write well."

Online Workshop: Writer Wellness

“Be well, write well.”

WRITER WELLNESS ONLINE WORKSHOP

STARTS: Monday, October 4

ENDS: Friday, October 29

COST: $29.00

DETAILS: Lessons, activities, and discussion covering the five key WW concepts

*Journaling

*Fitness

*Relaxation

*Nutrition

*Creative play

Taught in private Groups.io forum

12 lessons

REGISTER: Email writerwellness at gmail dot com

WRITER WELLNESS & FIVE THINGS FOR YOUR WRITING

By Joy E. Held

The idea for my book and workshop Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity (Headline Books, Inc., 2020) came to me when some of my critique partners asked how they could be my clones. They wanted to shadow me for a week to see what I did every day that led to my prolific publishing (over 500 articles and counting,) life as a homeschooling mom, and part-time hatha yoga teacher. Up to that point, I hadn’t done any self-examination of my processes, but when they asked, I stepped back and watched myself for a month while documenting my doings and beings in a journal. This article is a peek into what I learned.

Please take out a pen and paper (or your phone or computer) and list five things you’ve done in the last thirty days to promote/support your writing.

Now list five challenges or obstacles that you believe are standing in the way of accomplishing your writing goals.

Next, list five writing wishes or desires you want to come true.

Following the Writer Wellness plan will help you to always have five things on those lists.  It will also allow you to maintain a level of health and creativity that some writers are missing.

Are you happy with your writing in general?

Are you happy with your health?

Do you ever notice a direct relationship to the productivity and quality of your writing and quality of your life?

A physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy individual is by far a more productive, creative, and pleasant person.  This is evidenced by the fact that many corporations have implemented programs to keep employees happy and healthy.  Programs range from day care centers in the workplace to personal trainers for every ten employees.  A healthy, happy employee is more productive, misses less work, and is a more cost-effective employee.

As a writer, you are the employer and the employed.  Happiness, productivity, and health are definite factors in the quality of work you produce.  It is therefore in your best interest as a writer to do everything you can to stay healthy and be the best writer you can be.

But where are you supposed to get the time?  Let’s not jump ahead of ourselves to the time factor.  Hopefully, you will instinctively see that working these ideas into your life will make positive use of your time while adding to the quality of your life and the productivity of your work.

The whole premise of Writer Wellness is that creativity and productivity are crucially dependent upon an overall quality of life.  This includes the physical, mental, emotional, communal, and spiritual aspects of life.

To serve the purposes of Writer Wellness, I’ve broken down a writer’s quality of life into five interdependent components necessary to sustain a healthful, creative life. 

The five key concepts of Writer Wellness are JOURNALING, EXERCISE, RELAXATION, PROPER NUTRITION, AND CREATIVE PLAY.  These areas contribute to an overall wellness way of living and working.

I was raised in my mother’s dancing school.  Before she retired after 52 years, she kept the books, wrote the grants and publicity announcements, directed weekly rehearsals, and taught five ballet classes a week. Thanks to her excellent example, the principles of physical fitness and eating right were pounded into me from an early age.  At age fourteen, I began the Writer Wellness life (even though I hadn’t labeled it yet,) when a local newspaper carried a weekly column I wrote about my junior high school.  I saw my name in print.  I was hooked. From then on, I was a dancer and a writer. 

I discovered yoga, meditation, and modern dance in college, and everything fell into place for me.  Thirty plus years later, I still journal almost daily unless I’m working intensely on a writing project, exercise five to six times a week, follow a strict eating plan with supplements, practice daily meditation, and engage in creative play through art journaling, crafting, and scrapbooking.

When other writers in my critique group asked me how I published so much, I reviewed my life and named the process “Writer Wellness.”  Now I teach other writers the basic principles and encourage them to find their own versions of the five concepts.

Today I maintain myself as a writer by incorporating each of the five key concepts of Writer Wellness into my day. Depending on obligations and scheduling, I’m able to journal, exercise, follow a prescribed food program, and meditate seven days a week. The creative play happens more on the weekends when I’m not writing, editing, promoting, or teaching online. I have two new book releases in 2020,  a two-book contract with an independent publisher, teach college English composition online, teach hatha yoga three times a week, and run online workshops for various writing associations. I’m also on the board of directors for my RWA chapters.

You can do this as well.

Looking back to the lists of five things you made at the beginning of this article, make a pact with yourself to create a new way of life that will support your goals as a writer and a healthy, productive person. My book and workshop will show you the way so that you’ll always have five things done every month to help you live the writing dream.

The workshop I’m leading October 4-29, 2021 is a detailed look at the five key concepts of Writer Wellness and an exploration of how you can incorporate the practice into your life. With Writer Wellness as the foundation, you can achieve the writing dreams and personal goals you desire.

Be well, write well. See you in workshop!

All good things,

Joy

WRITER WELLNESS ONLINE WORKSHOP

STARTS: Monday, October 4

ENDS: Friday, October 29

COST: $29.00

DETAILS: Lessons, activities, and discussion covering the five key WW concepts

*Journaling

*Fitness

*Relaxation

*Nutrition

*Creative play

Taught in private Groups.io forum

12 lessons

REGISTER: Email writerwellness at gmail dot com

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Change your writing life for the better with this online workshop

Imagine being a creative, healthy, writing machine 365 days a year. Regardless of your genre, the tips in my online workshop Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity will guide you to realizing your potential as a creative person.

I have been sustaining good health and mountains of creative energy for many years by following this program, and I can help you learn the tricks then customize the program to suit your needs.

Writer Wellness centers around five fundamental practices:

  • Journaling
  • Physical exercise
  • Relaxation/meditation
  • Sound nutritional choices
  • Creative play

These components are already helping hundreds of past students who learned the particulars then organized each one around their needs and lifestyles. You can do this as well!

For the first time ever, I’m leading small-group online workshops that include all of the following:

  • Private online forum in Groups.io
  • Self-paced lessons (12)
  • Live chats (weekly)
  • Discussions (online)
  • 24/7 access to the course and
  • One-year access to the online content
  • Print copy of the book* (signed 😊)
  • Bookmark
  • Membership in a private “graduates” forum when you finish the program
  • AND
  • Personal one-on-one 30-minute coaching session via Zoom with me at the conclusion of the course!

There are strict start dates for the upcoming Fall 2021 sessions. The next workshop begins on

13 September 2021

When you sign up, you’ll receive full access on the start date to the course content to read at your convenience. The workshop runs for four weeks with new lessons and suggested activities posted three times a week in one of the main areas (journaling, exercise, relaxation, nutrition, and creative play.)

This workshop has never been available to the public until now. Only private writing organizations and their members have experienced this course.

The special introductory price is $97.00 which covers the online course, a print copy of the companion book, everything listed above, and the private coaching session!

Registration is limited to 15 persons, and you can register by contacting me at writerwellness at gmail dot com. You will receive a response from me with instructions on how to pay for the course.

The price will go up after this session! Alert your creative friends.

It’s more important than ever to maintain sound physical, mental, and emotional health so that you can reap the rewards of good health and being able to write the stories you want to share with the world.

From the beginning of time, stories have served to bind us together. Your story matters. Tell it. But if you don’t feel good or your health isn’t what it should be, you don’t feel like putting words on the page. Writer Wellness is an individualized approach to keeping you happy, healthy, and creatively productive.

If you have any questions, send an email to writerwellness at gmail dot com, and I’ll respond as quickly as possible.

I look forward to opening the door to your better life and awesome writing.

Be well, write well,

Joy

P.S. This offer expires on Wednesday, September 8, 2021. Please register before that date and feel free to share this offer with friends.

*Currently available to ship in the continental US only.

https://headlinebooks.com/product/writer-wellness-a-writers-path-to-health-and-creativity/

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50 Ways to Leave Your Muse is about staying creative

I grew up in my mother’s ballet school, so, of course, I’m familiar with the image of the flowy, beautiful Terpsichore, the Greek muse of dance. I believe in the mythology of the muses, and I can easily play along with the notion when it comes to creativity, but if I sat around and waited on ideas to be gifted to me by some ethereal being, I wouldn’t have published as much or as long as I have.

From my love for studying history and literature, I have learned that the Greeks sought ways to explain their world and themselves. True, this ancient culture contributed a great deal to philosophy, government, education, and so on, but anything they couldn’t exactly touch, eat, or screw didn’t qualify to their norms of rationality and were obviously gifts from the gods who ruled their lives.

We’ve progressed a little farther from that perspective, but the image of the muse bestowing genius and inspiration upon a poet, writer, and others is still with us. For example, in between his writing advice to “work your ass off” and read, author Steven King claims that, “There is a muse*, but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer station. He lives in the ground.” (144-145)

As I see it, the problem with depending on a mythical character to do the grunt work is irrational and risky. And since my Scorpio roots ground me to at least listening to my intuition, I’m in between a rock and a hard place that are both falling in on me unless I take a pragmatic approach to things so I can get $h!t done. Because if I don’t, I don’t get paid, and I doubt if I need to explain the avalanche of problems that results from that precarious place. I actually have worked for food writing and posting social media for a local restaurant, so I know what it feels like to sell my ideas in exchange for a sandwich because that’s how they paid me—in calories.

The point is that inspiration most often comes from motivation. Even King explains that he wanted out of a distasteful, go-nowhere teaching job and that compelled him to write and submit until the strike hit the mark for him. He was motivated by survival despite his tongue-in-cheek nod to his muse which he describes as a “basement guy” who smokes cigars while admiring his bowling trophies but has wings and a bag of magic. The muse may have the magic, but the writer must have the motivation. Besides needing to pay bills, where do motivation and ideas come from?

The idea for my online workshop “50 Ways to Leave Your Muse: Creativity Hacks” was originally motivated by an assignment in graduate school. I was motivated by getting a grade and inspired by the work of college English teacher and author Wendy Bishop. Her book Released Into Language: Options for Teaching Creative Writing has a delicious chapter on how she teaches her students to always be inspired to write and not dependent on the muse. She calls it “getting in motion” to write. I like that imagery, not only because of my dance background but because I really do feel like whizzing, whirring, buzzing, clunking, clanking, cranking writing machine when I’m in the flow.

Bishop has students write to and about their personal muses. Those examples in Bishop’s book inspired me to make a list of all the things that can, do, and have contributed to my life as a writer. A writer who is constantly on the run from writer’s block because it doesn’t have a place at my writing table. There’s a place for my lovely muse who eats daintily and quietly with a constant twinkle in her eyes no matter what I’m serving. She’s polite and inspiring, but like King, I always do the dishes, which is the hard work of procuring, pounding out, and proofreading the sentences. We have a lovely relationship, my muse and I, because I stay open to EVERYTHING. That’s what the workshop “50 Ways to Leave Your Muse: Creativity Hacks” is about: staying open to the world so you never miss the whisper of the muse. And fun.

The next online workshop of “50 Ways to Leave Your Muse: Creativity Hacks for Writers” is a self-paced course hosted by Hearts Through History Romance Writers of America. It runs June 1-25, 2021. You can register here:

https://www.heartsthroughhistory.com/event/50-ways-to-leave-your-muse-creativity-hacks/#register

Be well, write well!

Joy

Bishop, Wendy. Released Into Language, 2nd ed. Portland, ME: Calendar Islands Publishers, 1998.

King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Scribner, 2000.

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GUEST POST: There Is Enough-For Everyone

Welcome KATHERINE DOWN, a fellow student at Seton Hill University. Katherine realized an uplifting moment during the recent January  2017 MFA residency. It falls right in line with the positivity ideal of Writer Wellness.

“There is Enough — For Everyone”

By: Katharine Dow

THE LAST BOOKSTORE riley-mccullough-152713

 

Bookstores are my favorite places in the world. Inside each new book is the promise of adventure, magic, and wonder. To quote C.S. Lewis, “You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

However, there are days when I blink, and the beauty of endless possibility disappears. Instead of a sacred space, the bookstore transforms into a nightmare in which the cacophony of millions of words written by superior writers drowns out my small, humble contribution to Story. In those moments, I remember the devastating suicide note in Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, “Done, because we are too menny.” In those moments, I feel that there are too many books in the world for my books to matter, and I am a fool to try.

During a recent class on Emotion, taught by Maria Snyder at Seton Hill University’s MFA in Popular Fiction Program, we were asked to write down a list of our protagonists greatest fears. As I created my list, I realized that the root cause of each of my protagonist’s fears is the belief that there is only so much good in the world, life is a zero-sum game, and that if she doesn’t achieve the goal, her future is grim.

I realized in that class that I have a choice. I can believe, as my protagonist believes for the majority of the book, that the world of story is like a pie, with only so many pieces to be had, and none left for me. Or, I can choose to believe, in the immortal words of the band Midnight Oil, that “there is enough—for everyone.”

According to quantum physics, reality occurs on two levels: possibility and actuality. It suggests that there exists an entire world of possibilities, material as well as in meaning, and in feeling. If so, life is a series of choices and possibilities that are deeply and fundamentally creative. There is no one option. There is no last piece of the pie. It’s a theory we would all do well to embrace.

KAT DOW HEADSHOT 1606924_10152596584703782_446171816_n

Katharine Dow is a global nomad who has lived in eight countries as a student, aid worker, and diplomat. In 2017, she set her passport aside and enrolled in the MFA in Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill University, a choice which has become the most unpredictable and challenging adventure of all. You can find her under the twitter handle @suggestionize.

Thanks, Katherine!

Be well, write well.

~hugs,

Joy

JoyHeldHeadshot3

Joy E. Held is the author of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity, a college educator, blogger, and yoga/meditation teacher. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Romance Writers Report, Dance Teacher Now, Yoga Journal, and Woman Engineer Magazine.

Photo: K. Held

Copyright 2018, Joy E. Held

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Creativity Activities To Begin the New Year

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Creativity Activities to Begin the New Year

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the

                intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity.

                The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.”

                                C.G. Jung

                                Psychiatrist

 

Creativity is effort applied to problem-solving resulting in something that didn’t exist before. Creative play is anything that constructively enlivens your spirit while challenging your mind. While the brain helps organize the materials and the process, the mind/spirit supplies the energy and the daring and the questions necessary to find new answers.

 

Hobbies are also known as creative play. Think you don’t have time for a hobby? Find activities that are creatively productive but that add dimension to your writing as well. However, it is advisable to engage in creative play outside the writing world. Perhaps you will see how writing is connected, even foundational, to all the arts in some way.

 

Creative Play Tips

 

  1. Collage: Spend no more than 3 hours creating a collage from magazine cut-outs that relates to some aspect of your current writing project.
  2. Letters: Write a letter, poem, or journal entry as one of the characters from your current work-in-progress.
  3. Positive Affirmations: Use index cards and create a set of positive affirmation cards for yourself that encourage you to stay on task, finish a certain number pages, send queries, etc. Carry one per day in your pocket.
  4. Scrapbook: Create a scrapbook page about some honor or goal for your writing. Put a picture of yourself writing on the page and state the honor/goal.
  5. Contact me: Write a letter to me.
  6. Connect: Attend a writing conference.
  7. View Art: See a play, art exhibit, or a movie.
  8. Exercise & Write: Take a walk with a small notepad and pen. Stop and make notes about anything that pops into your mind.
  9. Gaming the Old Fashioned Way: Play cards or a board game with family and friends.

10. Color: Color in a coloring book. Draw or paint.

What creative ideas are you planning for the new year?

Be well, write well.

~hugs,

Joy

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Tuesday Tickle: National Library Workers Day

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

National Library Week 2012

It’s National Library Workers Day. Be nice. Make them smile by returning your books on time and by clicking over to the archived site of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions for some really fun humor to share with your favorite library worker today!

***

Overheard from two library workers going into the library.

“Are you going out with the library staff tonight to celebrate the director’s birthday?”

“No. I’m going to book it home right after work.”

***

A chicken walks into the library. It goes up to the circulation desk and says: “book, bok, bok, boook”.

The librarian hands the chicken a book. It tucks it under his wing and runs out. A while later, the chicken runs back in, throws the first book into the return bin and goes back to the librarian saying: “book, bok, bok, bok, boook”. Again the librarian gives it a book, and the chicken runs out. The librarian shakes her head.

Within a few minutes, the chicken is back, returns the book and starts all over again: “boook, book, bok bok boook”. The librarian gives him yet a third book, but this time as the chicken is running out the door, she follows it.

The chicken runs down the street, through the park and down to the riverbank. There, sitting on a lily pad is a big, green frog. The chicken holds up the book and shows it to the frog, saying: “Book, bok, bok, boook”. The frog blinks, and croaks: “read-it, read-it, read-it”. 

Be well, write well!

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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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Tuesday Tickle: Brain Power From Puzzles

Creative people need brain power. Brain power brings the good ideas out in the open so we can shape and form them into novels, paintings, or whatever medium it is we work with. Besides inspiration and the right foods, our mental faculties need regular workouts to stay sharp and focused so we can recognize a good idea when we see it. Puzzles are a quick and easy way to keep our thinking powerful. 

How and why do puzzles help our brains stay alert and focused? The brain’s mini-computer runs on “software” much like our laptops and other digital thinking tools. Our brains require attention, processing, cognitive flexibility, the ability to retrieve stored information, and reasoning skills to get us through our basic day. These functions need regular challenge and are strengthened and more readily available to us if we remember to weave brain exercises into our lives.

Schedule creative play and work puzzles on a regular basis and your brain skills will remain sharp and intact for much longer. We all have so much on our plates these days that working a puzzle for brain training rarely crosses our fuzzy minds. Keep it simple and play games on your cell phone, carry around a small word puzzle book, and keep puzzles readily available in the house where it will allow you take just a few minutes on a regular basis and work it out.

Here’s an interactive word search puzzle using words from the Writer Wellness plan to get you started. It’s fun. Try it and then look for other puzzling ways to keep your brain humming. What is your favorite kind of puzzle and why?

Writer Wellness Interactive Word Search Puzzle

 http://www.wordsearchmaker.net/wordsearchplayer.aspx?puzzleid=42e906f1-39ae-431c-ba09-3847845e5b61

**

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: Filling the well

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 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. Online classes are getting better and better. Try one of the online workshops at Who Dares Wins Publishing www.whodareswinspublishing.com. 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.

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.

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.)

 

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: 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

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Be well, write well.

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