Word count for yesterday: 909
(906 for the blog, 3 novel - AGH!)
(906 for the blog, 3 novel - AGH!)
How's the writing going? Made your goal yesterday?
Not me. Oh wow, did I ever fall behind. I wrote my post to you all (900 words or so) but then was pulled in by the Day of the Dead festivities and didn't get anything done on my poor novel. It was such an amazing evening, filled with altars and candlelit processions and a delicious dinner at the Black Cat house in San Francisco. But, it didn't get me any closer to my writer's goal for the day or the week.
I did, however, get to sit down with one my favorite authors and dear friends, Starhawk. I asked her about writing her novel The 5th Sacred Thing -- which is kind of amazing, to think I've known her this long and never asked her about it -- and she gave me the counsel she gave to her brother when he was writing his book this year, which she said is one of the most important things to know if you want to write.
"The hardest thing about writing," she said, "is dealing with your own feelings, which the writing brings up."
It was like she voiced something that had been floating around in my mind for years, without knowing it. Anyway, I totally agree with her-- and see the emotional component of writing, in all its highs and lows, as one of the best reasons to write.
Synchronistically, this morning in my inbox I got an email from fellow writer and coach, Jackie Joh. It was too perfectly timed not to pass it on.
Today I'm going to lock myself away to work on the novel... I'll let you go how it's going tomorrow.
Tell us how you're doing! We have nearly 50 people in this writing challenge now, and it would be great to begin hearing some of your thoughts and struggles. You can post them below!
Happy writing today!
All writers get to a point when we look at what we have been creating and no longer see it's worth. We don't feel like moving forward because we feel our work is not good enough or it was not at all what we originally wanted it to be.
This is a normal part of the writing practice. The good news is there are ways to get back into the place of being excited about our writing.
This article is geared to help you move from the place of hating your writing to loving it.
Finish the project. When we look down at the page and realize we don't like anything we have written it is so tempting to quit and move on to the next project or idea. However, doing so tells our psyche that we are not committed and that decision makes it so we will be more likely to end up with a pile of unfinished projects.
Reaching the point of not wanting to go on is part of the writing process.
We must finish what we are working on--push though the discomfort and finish it anyway. What happens when we do this is we are able to see our work with more perspective. We will also have the sense of accomplishment that comes from finishing it.
We can see the work as a whole rather than parts we don't like and we will be able to more easily identify what is working.
Notice your trigger words. When you come to a section you hate, reread and find the moment when you start criticizing your work. This will be a word, a few words.
Take a piece of paper and write these down. Explore your associations, your feelings, your felt-senses that come up and reflect on what it is that makes you cringe. Maybe it is a worry, a memory, a negative association that puts your ego mind on full alert.
Now that you have explored your associations and internal triggers identify a positive association that fits the words or identify a potential that the word represents. Be kind to yourself here, take a deep breath and recognize this as just a trigger rather than your writing being less that you hoped for.
Tap into your body's wisdom . If we are struggling with language--either it is not coming easily or we dislike how it is coming forward--we can turn our focus to our bodies for a second opinion. Our bodies hold great wisdom and knowledge.
Reread your writing but instead of focusing on the words, have your inward eye focused on your body's reactions to the work. Maybe your breath quickens at certain points. Maybe your chest contracts or expands. Maybe you are tapping your leg anxiously at another point. This is all important information.
Take note that your writing does have power and you are experiencing that first hand. Notice where you contract--is this what you want or where you could bring in some of the language of the expansive sections here? If you are feeling anxious or contracted ask yourself--is this my "stuff" meaning my own psychology reacting, or is this feeling intended for the reader. Separating the two will make it easier to like the writing you are working on because it will become less emotionally charged.
Turn off the Internet. Find the airport button on your computer and turn it off. Put your phone in a drawer, on silent. Set a time frame that you are going to only focus on writing.
When we are feeling unsure about our writing it is often because our mind is being pulled in various directions. For example, when writing all of a sudden we write a word which reminds us to look something up online. Before we know it an hour has passed and we haven't been writing.
When we don't like our writing, or our process, we are not giving it enough care and attention. We need to nurture our writing. If we are flighty with our attention our writing will be flighty as well. Put your love and focus into your work, then explore the web.
Talk it out . Magic happens when we engage in conversation about an idea--things click for us, ideas fall into place, we may get jumbled but often what we are trying to figure out get's resolved.
If you are struggling to like your writing, talk with a friend about what this is like for you. Talk into a voice recorder, talk to your dog. When we move into our voice the voice on paper can become clearer.
Give yourself permission to play with the conversation--no pressure trust what comes up for you, allow the ideas to turn over and take new form. You will then be able to write with more vibrancy and pleasure.
Journal . Similar to talking, journaling can lead to new insights and perspective. It can help us clear through muddy spots, or places we are not comfortable emotionally and with our work.
When I write I often have a journal on hand to jot down ideas, thoughts reflections while I am working on something else. Doing so allows me to shift gears for a moment, while still writing, to re approach the project with new clarity and acceptance.
Envision the potential of what you are attempting to write. What got you started writing in the first place? What are your favorite words, ideas or phrases?
Put a heart, a star, a mark of some kind next to the sections of your writing that you do like.
Take rereading one word at a time rather than thinking about not liking the project as a whole. Remind yourself that you are writing for a purpose, that there is a part of you that is so strong and dedicated to your ideas that you started writing in the first place. Holding this perspective will make it easier to like what you are working towards and the progress you have already made.
Writing is not always easy and it is even easier to doubt ourselves. Writing can trigger comparing ourselves to others, or a perfectionism streak we may have. It can trigger our own self-limiting beliefs such as not being good enough, not creating worth-while work.
However, when we realize that these thoughts just manifestations of fear bubbling up because writing is actually bringing us closer to love--to our true selves--we can learn to love our selves and work more. Our writing will become more expansive and lovely to ourselves and others.