Sunday, February 23, 2014

Do you follow 'the rules'?

Every blog post, article and tweet I've read lately has focused on the 'Top Three, Five, Ten INFINITE Rules of Writing.'

AVOID prologues, cliches and exclamation marks like the plague!!! Use adverbs SPARINGLY. "ONLY use 'said' for dialogue tags," he SHOUTED adamantly. CUT DOWN on exposition and indulgent, rambling, over the top descriptions. The passive voice is NEVER used. KILL your darlings. DON'T use no double negatives. NO sentence fragments.

And the rules keep going and going and going... Sometimes to the point I end up censoring myself so much that I lose my voice. Not only what I'm trying to convey, but how I say it.

There's no doubt that I will continue to read up on writing, attend workshops and discuss what works--and what doesn't--with my colleagues. But when sitting down to write that first draft, I'll flush the rules from my mind and let the words flow on their own.

The only 3 rules to live by: READ, WRITE, REPEAT.

write on!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow

NW 22nd & Everett, Portland Christmas in February

Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the writing's so delightful
And since I've no place to go
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Oh, it doesn't show signs of stopping
And ideas keep on a popping
Distractions are turned down low
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Just kidding universe. I'm so over being held captive. Since Portland's not equipped with working shovels or plows, and slipping and sliding to my death is not an option: let it melt, let it melt, let it melt!

I'm grateful for experiencing long hours of creative fun, but I've learned my lesson. No more excuses, no more procrastination. My writing mojo is back, playing with a flexible routine and a promise to embrace my discipline. 

After discussing with my Vancouver author friend the reasons behind avoiding particular writing projects, I realize--and accept--that we all operate on different rhythms.

When I worked full-time, Sundays were my all-day writing hibernation. Now, the actual writing fluctuates. First draft dumps in pen and paper, then I revise on my laptop. Usually I focus on one main project with external and self-imposed deadlines, but I'll play with something else (another genre, audience, or even another creative outlet like doodling) when the main project goes stale. And although most my time is spent at home alone, it's critical that I have social contact in between. A critique group, writing partners, social media and workshops remind me I'm not alone.

And even when it appears that I'm being lazy on the couch, those usually end up being my A-HA moments. That solution to a perceived 'writer's block' that moves the story forward, saves a scene, fixes the plot.

It doesn't matter how you create.

What matters is embracing your own flow, recognizing that it changes depending on the circumstances, and never forcing yourself into someone else's 'way of doing things'. 

Some write alone, with friends, at home, or in the coffee shop. Some days the flow will glide with ease and calm, other days will be rough and bumpy. And that's okay. We can't always control the circumstances, but we can alter our reaction. 

Find your flow and keep moving.

let it flow, let it flow, let it flow!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What are your limits?

from Despair, Inc-Demotivators: says it all with gut busting laughs

We've all heard the expression "the sky's the limit" and even though it means there are no limits, our unconscious still registers that last word: limit.

Why end there? How about instead we say "abundant opportunities."

My light-hearted friend showed me last year how to redefine and reframe to see things anew and open up possibilities. Turns out I was putting myself in a tight box and restricting my capabilities. I don't only write for children and young adults, I write for children of all ages. I'm not only creative when I write or doodle, but I am creative in every new expression, from when I sing while I clean or how I greet strangers on the street.

Now I find myself on auto-pilot translating the meaning behind words spoken without thought. Whether common phrases, limiting beliefs or ingrained ideas.

War on terror; why not Peace with love?
Too good to be true; why not Too good to be false?
When pigs fly; why not When my heart believes?
I have too much on my plate; why not I dig in to a full-filling life?

Piece of cake; why not, well, I'm okay with cake.
Let's not do away with metaphors, idioms or hyperbole. What would be the fun in that? But be aware of what you say and believe to avoid self-imposed limits. Lead a life too damn good to be false.

this post was inspired by my friend & teacher, Kaitlyn Mirison
infinite love,