Posted in Writing

Coffee for Two

I’ve made coffee for two

And when you care to join me,

There’s a spot carved out, just for you

Until then, I’ll keep writing,

Loving. Laughing. Living. Dreaming.

Till the day I finally meet you

Here, at this table meant for two

 

 

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Posted in Writing

Stuck in the Mud-5 Ways to Get Your Writing Day Going

It’s not quite writer’s block. Writer’s block is usually a lot more severe. But we have all had those mornings, when you sit at your computer, with all you can think of to do is ANYTHING but write. But the clock is tick, tick, ticking your workday away from you one tiny beat at a time. Every muscle in your body tenses, and you force yourself to type. You type two sentences, and it’s terrible. Just terrible, and you wonder who in their right mind hired you to write.Calm down. This happens to everyone. For those days, when you just can’t get it going, here are few things you can do to get your writing groove back.

  1. Art Therapy

Many times your creative blockage is because you’re trying too hard and damming up the creative flow. If you switch to another art form, your brain will relax, and the pent up creativity will come rushing out so fast you won’t even be able to tame it.

Adult coloring books are all the rage, and maybe a bit cliché, but they work at relaxing the brain. Set a timer so that you don’t get lost. Twenty minutes is a good rule. It’s just enough to relax your brain, but not enough that you can get lost wasting time.

Have fun building a stock of markers, and spice it up with a cup of hot tea. Then, turn an instrumental playlist. Experiment with different music types—celtic music can make you feel energized. Piano music can soothe frayed nerves. Classical music can make you feel pensive. Then, there are nature soundtracks that can various effects as well. Turn the music as loud as you dare, and let loose. Don’t think about work or writing, just color.

Change of Environment 

Creativity is a fickle mistress to serve. We who make our livings on it, only do so because we understand enough about it to know how to handle and respect its power. As such, there are a few somewhat hooey-gooey concepts that all artistic types must acknowledge at some point or another. You can call it, if you will, The Principle of Creative Energies. The concept is that the creative energy in any given space, is finite. Every time you create in that space, you draw upon that creative energy, until it is depleted. Fortunately, it is a renewable source. It just has to have time. In the meantime, you can write at coffee shops, libraries, parks, wherever. So, if the creative energies in your space are depleted, write somewhere else for a few days.

Physical Activity

There is a link to physical activity and the brain. It gets your blood moving, pumping and feeds your brain cells. We writers spend a lot of time sitting at our computers. The human body wasn’t made to be in any one position for too long. It was made to move and change. A jog around the neighborhood can get your serotonin levels up, some fresh air, and the sights and sounds of the street can give you inspiration as well.

If you’re alone, the power of plugging in your earbuds and busting out your dance moves hardcore Napolean Dynamite style should never be underestimated.

It gets your blood moving, and gives you enough distance to open those creative portals. Plus, consuming an art like music, can unconsciously jumpstart your creativity.

Get off the Computer  

Modern writers are trained to compose on their laptops. But, sometimes, our digital lifestyle can work against us. The familiarity can lock our brains up, or we can overthink the piece. Sometimes we are so passionate about the piece, or we have so much riding on it, our need for perfection throws us completely out of the game.

To beat this, try writing in a different medium. Raw drafting in a leather journal, for example, can help. It tells your brain, “This is not the final draft,” and releases you from the paralyzing pressure of “writing the piece.”  With a simple pen and paper, just tell the story, or explain the concept. No big deal, just you and the reader. Once you build momentum, then move to the computer.

This also works with dry erase boards, and you can have fun experimenting with windows and mirrors. You can even enjoy creating your own drafting space by staking out a wall area to cover with chalkboard paint or dry erase laminate. Typewriters are trendy these days, but if you’re blocked on a deadline, they may just slow you down.

  1. Watch a Well-Written Show

Reality shows and formula genre movies aside, there are some really well-written shows out there. BBC’s Sherlock, Arrested Development, Downtown Abbey, among many others. Watching those shows from a writer’s perspective can actually be really good for your writing.

Try to figure out what the scriptwriters are doing. Listen to the dialogue and watch the plot devices they are using, just like in English class. Imagine the scriptwriters, and think about how they aren’t that much different than you. Think about how really, with some more practice, you do the same things they are doing. Then turn off the TV, and decide that you can.

 

Posted in Writing

The Coffee Shop

Soft jazz unwinds overhead in meandering strides, evoking images of the final hours of a wedding reception—discarded bouffant cake on plates and final drunken revelers stumbling about a hotel ballroom. But this is not that place.

It is instead a brightly lit coffee shop with sober patrons about their business. A college boy in basketball shorts, a t-shirt and sandals, lightly perches at a table with printed handouts and unopened textbooks. He highlights judiciously, with his car keys a mere inch from his fingers.

Next to him, a businesswoman does the same. highlighting her own pages, with much more care and and discretion. Her manicured fingers pop in an out of a coach briefcase where her notes are all neatly arranged in folders and files, and a clunky sterling bracelet jungles with every movement.

Behind the counter, the baristas bustle, talking on headsets, clanging ice, and a blender whirrs, and then a shaker.  Then someone tells a joke, and the comic relief lasts for but a second, before they are moving again…forever to make a buck.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Life

What is Standing in Your Way Right Now?

I’ve been decorating my new apartment over the last two weeks. I think it’s been the outlet for my all of my extra creative energy, as of late, because I haven’t been able to find any writing inspiration after the day’s work has had its way with me.

I’ve found that the going trend in home fashion are these inspiration wall hangings. They say, things like, “Happiness is a journey, not a destination” or “Dream,” or “Inspire,” or the cliché “Keep calm and carry on.” (I HATE that phrase. It has no wit, depth, cleverness to it. Where did it come from, and why do we keep dignifying it?!).

I think these are nice things to put in your living room, and set the tone for your family life. I would think a home full of these things would be beautiful and positive. But, I ran across a magnet, a simple question, that has rocked my world this weekend. It said simply, “What is standing in your way right now?” I didn’t buy the magnet, but I should have. I loved the way it was worded, with “right now,” adding immediacy. I thought and thought about this question.

What is standing in my way at this moment? What is keeping me from being who I am supposed to be? Now, if I said “nothing,” that would be dishonest, because if nothing were standing in my way, I’d be a fully fulfilled completely perfect person that has done everything God created me to do, and have no room for growth. And, if that were the case, why would God still have me on the earth? It would seem if there is nowhere for me to grow, and expand, then I would no longer be a fallible human, subject to my sin nature and confined to pull of a fallen world. I would, in fact, be ready to graduate from the earth. But, the very fact that I am still here, shows that God is not done with me yet. That’s good, because I’m still a pretty screwed up human desperately in need of God’s grace.

So, having called my own bluff at my “nothing,” answer, I thought some more. I thought about who I know I am supposed to be, and who I am, and the gap between. What is in that “space between?” (Yes, I heard Dave Matthews in my head too).

I think my biggest obstacle is that I procrastinate. I can be a ridiculously productive person, when I get to it, but under pressure, I will do anything but what I am supposed to do. If I’m a deadline, I will feel this queasy feeling in my stomach. Then, I will clean the house. Use the bathroom. Make a snack. Shop on Amazon. Give myself permission to take 5 minute break. Turn on music supposedly to get me going. Realize it’s distracting and turn it off…the list goes on and on. Then, about 45 minutes before deadline, I break into a cold sweat and type like a crazy person, and then produce a fairly decent piece.

I’ve been thinking about procrastination. At the root of procrastination, I’ve realized it’s fear. Fear of failure. I worry that if I take on a monumental task, I will get overwhelmed and fail at it. So, I procrastinate until I have no choice. But, if I were to not procrastinate, I’d be ridiculously more productive and way more successful.

So, it would seem what’s standing in my way right now, is fear. I’m so scared of not being successful, that I don’t properly give myself the chance to be successful. That’s crazy.

A life without fear. Scientology is a crazy bunch of crap, but that’s part of their teaching—living a life completely devoid of fear. I would love to be that. Devoid of fear. Sort of that like that Fearless Girl statue on Wall Street.

It’s time to obliterate the fear. What is standing in your way right now?