For those of you from SITSGIRLS, yes, I am cheating. I am giving some preface to my “last year’s link.” I can’t help myself and I trust, no matter what, you will smile and shake your head and hopefully… read on.
It is so interesting that our assignment today is to share a blog post from a year ago, given what took place in my life fifty-one weeks ago… or fifty one weeks and five days ago to be exact.
I didn’t know when I wrote the post I am featuring all hell would break loose for me in less than 72 hours, I was just enjoying where I was, happy and productive and free.
That time of hell created a much different October than I had intended.
Nonetheless, we come through these times wiser – and chalk up more experience to fill our writing and our back o’ tricks when someone comes along who is going through a similar challenge. In the end “its all good!” as they say.
So now, here, I am republishing that How-to-Tuesday article which will be helpful to anyone who writes:
How to Tuesday: 10 Simple Steps to Creating an Effective, Inviting Writing PracticeMany creative people will suggest an ongoing writing practice of some form or function is essential to keep your ideas flowing. Some call this “automatic writing” or “morning pages” or “free writing” or even “journal writing”. I am among those folks who chronically harp on this idea of free flow writing daily in order not only to write better but also to live just this side of sane.
On some days my children might argue with you that I am not on the “better” side of sane at all, but I will tell you this: in the periods of my life when I write “without a purpose” every day, not only does my “real” writing flow better, the rest of my life does as well.
- Get rid of ruminating, block creating thought patterns. How often do the same thoughts play in our head day after day after day? Writing them down allows them to be heard and then, they stop monologuing in your mind. It feel s miraculous. Perhaps it is.
- Give space for “monkey mind” or whatever you call it, to play. Unlike monologuing, monkey mind is the constant chatter, sometimes by a whole tribe of monkeys. In daily writing practice, you can observe long enough to learn their patterns and put their patterns in perspective rather than letting them run your life.
- Open up ideas, flesh them out on the page before you speak them out – perhaps before they are ready to be heard and seen by others. One you temper the monologues and chatter, there is room in your mind for the good stuff. Flow begins when the rumination and constant swinging from the trees takes a break.
- Say what you can’t vocalize. As soon as I wrote this, I heard the John Mayer song in my mind, “Say what you need to say.”
- Create writing games: This is one of my favorites. I may take time to write letters to historical figures or practice internal rhyme or write on specific themes or quotes. When you make your writing practice fun, you are more likely to continue with it.
- Try on different forms of poetry or genre of writing. Who says free writing or writing practice must be like diary or personal narrative? Play with writing in a different character’s voice. Try writing in haiku or pantoum or sonnet. Use a different color pen. Try crayon.
- Morph, mingle and create writing miracles with your “practical” writing assignments. When I worked for the county, I used beautiful language even in legal briefs and court documents. People commented on how expressive my writing was so my words actually got read rather than overlooked. Double yay, all the way around. Create playful shopping or to-do lists. Write lesson plans as if the most important educator ever was going to use it to teach… because aren’t you the most important educator ever to the students in your classes?
- Learn the joy of writing VERY badly on purpose. This may be completely contrary and if so, let’s celebrate. How about writing badly just for fun. Overwrite, underwrite, write in text language, write in a single run on sentence. Write like a pompous, overinflated egotist. Write in the tiniest letters like a frightened sea-nymph on crack. You may find your best writing ever comes as a result.
- Use all the bad words you want and break ALL the grammar rules. I rarely use bad language. Well, in most contexts. There is a certain freedom, however, in occasionally letting it all out on the page. Give yourself permission to say bad words and break any rule you have yet to break. Like writing badly, it opens the doors for writing in ways you only hoped for in the past.
- Teach your loved ones YOU and your projects are important. If you are lucky – and patient- they will follow suit and declare themselves and THEIR projects are important. My children learned early to respect Mommy’s early morning time at the kitchen table and then, on the porch, with her notebook open and her head bowed as if in prayer. They somehow intuitively knew this was sacred time, not to be interrupted with patter and requests. I still don’t know exactly how it happened so I can’t give you a magical formula, but I can tell you this: when you respect yourself and your time, others will follow suit, whether you are writing, building a business or getting ready to entertain guests.
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Julie Jordan Scott has been a Life & Creativity Coach, Writer, Facilitator and Teleclass Leader since 1999. She is also an award winning Actor, Director, Artist and Mother Extraordinaire. She was twice the StoryTelling Slam champion in Bakersfield.
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Julie Jordan Scott