Some Motivation Required

What motivates you to write? Some would say the need for money. But, you could do something else and make more money, likely easier too. Money is a motivator, sure. But, what keeps you from giving up? What gets you typing on your keyboard (or picking up a pen) even on days you could be doing something else, like procrastinating?

Knowing your motivation makes it a lot easier to find on the days you need it.
exercise1 exercise2 exercise3Source: Some Motivation Required Shark Remix – Shirt.Woot

The shark is my favourite. All the designs were sold out when I found the site. But, they are likely to have more when sales are going well.

Ever Wonder What Happens to your Old Reviews?

I found this online tonight while looking for myself online. I looked up my married name which I didn’t keep for very long. But, I had forgotten I published using it. It was very nice to find my review of this book saved on the author’s site, no less!

myoldreview

 

I don’t know what my original headline would have been. I am quite sure I did save all my old content from the HerCorner site so it will be reposted on this site somewhere. But, here is the text form of the review for those who can’t see the image I took as a screenshot above.

Laura Tripp, hercorner.com
The hardest part of being a freelance writer is finding the courage to put your neck on the line. First, when you open yourself up to write, whether its fiction, non-fiction or a letter to your best friend, you have to open up about yourself to bring life to the writing. Secondly, writers need the courage to publish their writing. If you keep it in a box under your bed, safe from the world, its less scary but you are also stifling your voice. As a writer your voice is a treasure to share. Its a shame to keep it locked away, silent.

That’s why I bought the book The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear by Ralph Keyes. The purpose of the book is to encourage writers to reach out past their fears. However, the first half of the book describes the fears of other, already famous writers. Although these are stories of success meant to encourage its not really that helpful. I came looking for ways to help myself. That’s when I read far enough to get to the second half of the book. Its here the real advice and suggestions start.

One of my favourites is writing before you’re ready. Just start, don’t wait for everything to fall into place surprise yourself into writing. This is something that does work for me. How about using your fear. All that energy generated by your fear of failure, fear of being exposed as a fraud, etc., take it and use it as energy for writing. Get yourself charged up and then pick up a pen, turn on the computer and pour it all out into words. This is something that would take a little mental work but it could work. Could you write in your car, while waiting for your kids at the dentist, in the middle of a packed shopping mall or while sipping a coffee after dinner at your kitchen table. A change of place could bring you a change of pace if you’re feeling trapped by your surroundings, your mood or your fears.

Many other suggestions come up in the book. Each writer needs to read it to find what works for them and which appeals to them personally. There is a lot here for writers of all genres, personalities and skill levels. Here and there are writing tips, for the actual writing. I found this a good experience but I never really found what I was looking for on a personal level. I think my answers might be in a different book, one that covers self-esteem a little deeper. But its a good start at figuring myself out as a writer and it did make me feel inspired to write, create and most of all get my stuff published.

Clear Your Head Before Writing?

CaptureI flushed this as a spam comment because it was on an old post which had nothing at all to do with the question asked in the comment. But, just before I clicked the magic button… I cut the actual question so I could paste it in here. See below:

I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head before writing. I’ve had a tough time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin.

I don’t centre myself before I begin to write anything. That would not work for me at all. If I am at peace, confident and comfortable I’d never get anywhere.

Writing has to have some discontent behind it. You can be right pissed off or just mildly bothered, but there has to be some disturbance in your force to get your words started.

If I write when I am content I will think too much. I’ll think about what a loser I am in many assorted ways. I knock myself down, run over myself a few times and then think someone else would be a much smarter choice to write about whatever I was set to write about. A writer full of self-confidence is probably the world’s biggest fraud.

Instead it is all of us who feel like frauds even as we put the pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard. That’s just the way it needs to be. A content writer who really believes he or she is great will not be someone with human empathy and failings.

So, no, right from the start, getting centred is just not the way to go.

I try to trick myself into writing. That works.

Start writing before you’re ready, before you have a plan or know how you want to start. Just start.

Later you can muck around and perfect it. Don’t perfect the life out of it though. Don’t get lost in perfecting it and lose track of your deadline and the actual point of getting it done and letting it go.

If you are one of those writers who feels confident and content (bless you) put a tack on your chair, something to at least make you uncomfortable enough to write something.

I Used to Write on BackWash Kids

bwkids

If you also wrote for (with) the BackWash community network of writers/ columnists join us for a BackWash reunion.

Here is the content from the post above. In text for those who can’t read it from the screen captured image above.

Spin your Thoughts with a Journal

Do you keep a journal? Sometimes its called a diary, I think thats the old fashioned term. What you write in your journal is up to you. Be creative, rant about your family, chronicle your life, or just spin your thoughts on the web.

Keep your journal in a secret place if you don’t want anyone to read it. Or, if you feel like sharing you can read what you write to friends or even keep your journal online with sites like Blogger. Of course, you can do both. Have an online journal and another secret journal for just yourself.

Journals can be kept in plain notebooks or fancy lined paper books you buy in stationery stores like Hallmark. I like to write with a fine tip black pen but you can experiment with all kinds of pens and colours. Add stickers or stick in clippings from newspapers and magazines. If you really want to put in a lot of clippings have a look at scrapbooking. Thats another form of journaling but there tends to be less writing and more drawings.

There are lots of websites about journaling and scrapbooking. Have a look around and see which appeals to you.

Remembering BackWash

Listen to Your World

In a world of noise and bustle, we very often do not listen to it. Singers have often used city sounds as inspiration. Neil Diamond had a hit a number of years ago about the sounds of New York. As a writer you can listen to the sounds in your world and write about them.

Tonight, as I was arriving home, I heard a different sound in my parking garage. A lone cricket had found his way into the garage and the walls and cars worked to amplify his music. I started thinking about “a lone cricket, a lonely cricket, a lonely cricket attracting his mate… you get the idea. The “what ifs” led me to a poem.

Think about the sounds of your world.
What does your child sound like sleeping?
What are the sounds of your family dinners?
What is the sound of your morning? night?
What does the night outside sound like?
What is the sound of pen/pencil across paper?
What are the sounds of your neighborhood on a Saturday morning?
Listen to the park on a Sunday afternoon as the old couple shuffle hand in hand.
Hear the squeak of the swing.
Be very quiet and listen to the wind whisper in the trees.
Hear the waves on the lake…the roar of the jet ski… and the silence of the sail boat.
And what about the clatter of the diner?
Close your eyes, listen to your surroundings. Be sure to have your notebook with you. After all, you are a writer and I have to assume you have it with you all the time. Make quiet time for yourself. After about 20 minutes, write what you have heard. It will provide you with grist for your writer’s mill. What you write now may not have application, but you are training yourself to see. And those notes may just be the kernel of a story.

The post above comes from a friend I met while writing on BackWash.com. The network is now gone, just archives you can find with the Wayback Machine. The writer is gone too. Marcia was taken by cancer several years ago. I posted this because we are having a BackWash reunion. At first I thought it was ten years but it may be more than that. Anyway, it is at least ten years since the days I was a columnist on BackWash. If you wrote for the site take a look at the reunion site and add your update to the Personalities page. 

Does Penmanship Still Count?

We type on the keyboard and now and then pick up a pen for a quick note. Not so long ago we were more likely to hand write than pull out a typewriter to bang out a note on that keyboard. Older typewriters require some force behind fingers.

I miss hand writing. I keep noticing how much less controlled and sloppy looking my handwriting is becoming. Does handwriting still matter to anyone? Did you know schools are not teaching cursive writing any longer? My niece told me about this and asked me to teach her how to write. How strange will the world be when the generation of young people comes who are no longer taught how to write, or print, at all?

You may laugh and think this is silly… but in my generation I won penmanship awards for my cursive script writing. That wasn’t so long ago, considering I’m still far from being a century old.

Letter Writers Alliance: Penmanship Pointers

Paperpenalia: Tips to Improve your Handwriting

Daisy Yellow’s Creative Experiments

Daisy Yellow is an art journalist with regular posts with Creative Experiments, Kick Start your Art Journal and Art Journalling 101.

Use familiar stuff in a new environment

This is easy. Take your show on the road. If you draw mandalas at night before bed, draw at a cafe. If you mostly shoot photos of your kids, photograph iron gates or weathered doors. If guitar is your thing, get friends together to play at your house.

Use new stuff in a familiar way

Build on something you know how to do. If you paint flowers with watercolors, paint the same subject with acrylics. Shoot a roll of black + white film instead of digitals. Sketch with thick markers rather than a black pen. Make orange-spiced pecan muffins instead of blueberry-walnut.

Use familiar stuff in a new way

This means playing with your materials! If you know do mono-printing with a rubber brayer, use a brayer to make an art journal background. If you embroider on aprons, try stitching on an art journal page.

Explore completely new stuff

What sparks your curiosity? What would you try if failure was irrelevant, just to try it? If knitting is your passion, experiment by making a bracelet with FIMO polymer clay. If you design digital graphics, try pottery or learn to knit a scarf. If you usually play guitar, try painting with watercolors. For me, freestyle embroidery was intriguing yet out of my comfort zone. You can also pursue this idea by taking a class ~ you can find a course (web or live) in hand dying fiber, photography, photoshop, watercolor, ceramics, jewelry making, sewing, guitar, sculpturing recycled junk, making bread.

Read all the posts from past Creative Experiments on Daisy Yellow.

How to Keep from Getting Bored with Your Diary

diaryIf you’ve been keeping a journal. or diary, for awhile it can become a little stale just talking to yourself, the same monologue. Here are some ways to perk your journal writing back up and make it something you can look forward to again.

Start with a diary you like. Shop for a pretty or interesting blank book or make a cover (and even pages) of your own. Or, you might use an online diary and begin on a site like Open Diary, LiveJournal or Blogger.

If you really want to write every day, do it. Keeping a writing schedule is a great way to boost your creativity and discipline yourself to write.

If you don’t want to be a disciplined writer versus a creative writer then don’t push yourself to write ever day.

Whether you write daily or not, don’t always write a long post. Give yourself quick days so you don’t feel chained to your diary. Then, when you have something to say and really do want to write about your feelings, thoughts, ideas and happenings in your life, do so. Give yourself all the space you want to explore your own self.

Have fun with your journal. Draw in it, sketch, stick souvenirs or stickers inside the pages, Turn each fresh page into something uniquely you and don’t be too timid about trying something new. This is your diary, your journal, all the rules are your own to set, or even ignore when you choose to.

Be emotional. In life we are told to be nice, not to be too sensitive and not to get so angry. However, in your diary you can vent, you can pour out sadness, grief, envy, anger, bitterness, jealousy, loneliness, hopeless feelings – any and all feelings can leak out from your fingers, into your pen or your keyboard and onto the fresh white page. This is your place to be emotional and not be judged or told what you should feel.

Always remember this is your adventure on paper. Write it your way.

Don’t always write in the same place or at the same time. Take your diary on the road. Go out to the coffee shop, the mall food court, anywhere you can find a decent place to write. Don’t always look for quiet and solitude. There’s something kind of special, romantic and even mysterious about being a writer right out there where everyone can see you.

You don’t have to use your best penmanship. As long as you can understand our own grammar, spelling and punctuation, that’s all that really matters. (Maybe some day your diary will become a big, best seller) but right now it’s all just your own message in a bottle to yourself. Make mistakes, get messy and don’t go back and fix everything.

If you write with paper and pen take some time to try a few different kinds of pens. Experiment with ink colours, thick or thin nibs and different kind of grips on the pen itself. It’s really nice to have a pen that completely suits your writing style.

Write with pencil if you find yourself wanting to sketch or go back and fix your spelling.

Not everything in your diary has to come from your own brain. If you come across a quote by someone else stick it in the pages too. Write about why you like it, what was special about it for you.

Inspiration, Prompts and Articles for Diary Writers

Diary Groups and Projects