Posted in editing, inspiration, inspirational, publication, publishing, the writing journey, the writing process, writing, writing journey

A Writer’s Wings Cover Reveal!

I’ve been keeping mostly to myself this summer because it’s been an especially busy one this year. I’ve been packing to get ready for our move, which should happen in a few weeks. We are in closing stages now on our home in Florida. I’ve also been doing a lot of self-reflection work to help clear myself to be more beneficial as a Reiki healer and to be a more balanced person over all. The other major project I’ve been working on is a book that is near and dear to my heart, mostly because it is a large part of my heart–it is one of my very special journals that I’ve been writing in for quite some time.

A Writer’s Wings took years to write, but it was done little bits at a time as any journal is written. I spent a large part of April, May, and June of this year transferring my journal entries into a digital file. Then I spent July working on formatting, layout, and illustrations to place in the book to make it a little more eye-catching. I’ve been working on the cover off and on since April, but it’s only been the last week I’ve buckled down to get it finished.

I have a 11×17 image of the butterfly you see across the front of the cover hanging over my desk in my office. I created the graphic years ago, because I decided I needed something very personal and meaningful to inspire me as I wrote. In fact, as I was brainstorming cover ideas for Writer’s Wings I kept looking up at that image over my desk. After a while a light came on in my befuddled brain and I realized the image was exactly what I needed for the cover, since Writer’s Wings is all about inspiration.

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Posted in A Writer's Life, beginning, beginning writer, build confidence as a writer, grammar, great writing, how to write, inspiration, love of writing, researching, The Writer's Toolbox, write, writer, writing, writing advice, writing and thinking, writing better, writing journey, writing time

Writing, a Never Ending Journey of Exploration and Learning

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” — E.L. Doctorow

If someone told me as I first started writing about nine years ago that my writing would be a never ending journey, I’m not sure I would have set out on that particular path. Granted, most people start writing for a reason, which usually includes the buzzing of character voices and ideas that won’t shut up. That was my case, and even with that warning I probably wouldn’t have had a choice in the matter. I find writing to be the only way to get the voices to shut the hell up (yeah, that makes me sound pretty certifiable huh?). But it’s the idea of the never ending that might make most people bulk, though I have learned since then that never ending can be a good thing.

When I started writing, I didn’t even know how to put a decent sentence together. Of course back then, I thought I could do at least that much, but I was young, delusional, and a little stupid. I don’t even dare look back at my writing from the very beginning because I’d cringe way too much. It was embarrassing. Really it was.

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Posted in A Writer's Life, beginning writer, learning about writing, lots of writing, online writing classes, taking time to write, The Writer's Toolbox, the writing journey, the writing process, workshop, writer, writers, writing, writing advice, writing collaboration, writing journey, writing workshop

Writing Groups: Not for All Writers All of the Time

One of the first pieces advice I received as a young writer (about eight or nine years ago now) from multiple sources (mostly from writing books and sage advice from published authors) was that to be successful at writing one must join a writing group. I was told writing groups would make me a better writer by giving me a place to talk and learn about writing as well as put me around other like-minded individuals for the support I needed to keep writing.

I took that advice to heart and joined a writer’s group two years after I began my cool hobby of writing, because I wanted to take my cool hobby to the next level.

It was the best decision of my life.

Until that defining moment of joining my first writing group, writing was a fancy. Something I did in my spare time. I had big ideas of being published, but it was a pie in the sky kind of thing. Joining a writing group made me realize that writing isn’t as romantic as I first thought. It’s lot of hard work (and a building of strict discipline and great effort), but work that had a hell of a pay off in the end (and I’m not talking about being published).

Through the help of my new writing friends, I learned that writing was not just something to do or some passing fancy for me, it was a way of life… my new way of life. And for two years, I went to every single writing meeting religiously (every other Saturday afternoon). And no sickness or excuse would keep me from going (okay, so if I was running a fever I wouldn’t go, but you get the idea).

Then I started getting restless. Something was wrong, very wrong and I didn’t know what it was. The meetings weren’t as fulfilling anymore, and more times than not I would come home from a meeting totally frustrated, wondering why I’d wasted hours talking about writing and other things that had nothing to do with writing (because my writing group did love to get off topic a lot).

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Posted in procrastination, The Writer's Toolbox, writer's block, writing blues, writing discipline, writing everyday, writing journey, writing time

Writing Procrastination and What To Do About It

Procrastination plagues all writers at one time or another in the writing journey. It’s a barrier that must be broken through to be a writer, and separates the casual writer from the real writers. Procrastination a tricky beast that takes on the face of many problems like writer’s block, the missing muse, the “I don’t have time to write” excuse, or how about the “I can’t write, because I’m just not that good at it anyways.”

Say what!? That stuff isn’t procrastination. No. No. No. Those things are real problems. Really they are. Aren’t they?

Come on. Let’s be honest. Let’s call it what it really is. It is procrastination. What does procrastination mean? It means not wanting to do something. And all the excuses above do what? It makes it so we don’t do anything at all. Sure we want to write. We talk about it all the time, but talking is NOT writing. So we talk and we use terms like writers block or the missing muse. Or say things like “I don’t have time to write”, or “I can’t write, because I’m just not that good at it anyways.” But all this talking is just keeping us from writing.

Writer’s block. It’s hard to be even semi serious about writing without hearing those words at some point. I used to be someone who used the term writer’s block like it was a real thing and it actually meant something. And then I pushed past the barrier of procrastination and discovered for the first time what being a writer really meant. I don’t get writer’s block anymore. I’m simply a procrastinator when I don’t write. I call it what it really is. The best way to fight writer’s block is to writer EVERY SINGLE DAY, even if it’s 10 minutes of mental vomit or what some call free writing. Eventually, that “block” will fall away as a solution to the problem is revealed.

Ever heard or said this before? “Well, my muse is missing. I can’t write.” Wrong. Real writers write with or without any inspiration. We just do it, because there is no other option. Real writers write when there isn’t a spark of inspiration to be found. Real writers understand the importance of keeping up the momentum of writing, because stopping means losing the drive to write and it often means a project goes unfinished or a deadline is missed. We all live for those rare moments when that bolt of lightening hits us and says “Look at this awesome new idea.” But in reality most writers just write. There is no magic lightening moment. There is no little spark that jump starts a writing project. Writers write, and every once in a while, they are rewarded with being immersed in the Writing Zone. And that sort of experience is better than any muse any day of the week.

And then there’s the “I don’t have time” excuse. There is always time to write. Really there is. Cut out that three hour television watching marathon right before bed and write. Get up a little earlier in the mornings and do writing before the day gets started. Stop wasting time surfing the internet and use it to write. I’m sure a closer look at the daily routine will shed some light on where time is spent, and what can be reduced so writing can have its time. Ultimately, sacrifices will have to be made. The real question to ask is… “How bad do you want it?”

Let’s not forget the “I can’t write, because I’m just not that good at it anyways.” No one is a good writer. Not at first. Not even ofter a few years at it. Writing takes a long, long time to cultivate. It takes lots of practice. It takes lots of mistakes. It takes time. It takes dedication and a full commitment. Writing is like a muscle in the body. It only gets better with practice. The more practice, the stronger it gets. Good writing doesn’t happen overnight. And writing is never perfect, no matter how many years of working at it, but it does get better. And there’s no better feeling in the world than to compare work from one year to the next. It’s a measuring stick that makes all the effort, all the sacrifices mean something.

Want to be a writer, a real writer? Then stop procrastinating and stop using words like writer’s block and missing muse. Find some time to carve out for writing only. Guard that time. Be jealous of that time and let nothing hedge in on that time. And be a writer with mistakes and all. The next time procrastination rears its ugly head, tell it to shut up and just write.