Archive for Affirmations

Holiday Present: Claim Your Good

Are you naughty or nice to your writer self?

present by Christine Wong Yap

As you explore and grow as a writer, you discover, like all of us, that writing involves much more than computers, ergonomic chairs and trendy standing desks, as well as many more skills than you learned in school.

Put those toys aside, and imagine what gift would help you feel good as a writer. Stretch, if necessary, to believe in its amazing arrival.

Remember when magic and make-believe were present every day?  I bet at one time you did.  Give it another whirl.  Pick up a pencil, pen or crayon, and write a letter of your heart’s wish.  Build your belief starting with words like I have–

I love to write!  I’m worthy of my best gifts,
and I gratefully receive a writer’s perseverance!

This year has whooshed by, and though I’ve written lots of blog posts, emails and hundreds of journal pages, my book isn’t complete.  I’ve enjoyed editing, contract and ghostwriting projects while my book patiently waits.  So for this holiday season, my gift to myself is intentional focus on my own book. For the new year, I’ll claim the time for my heart’s project alongside my work, and trust all is well.

As a writing coach, I know a young woman who wants the gift of delight to allow her writing to bring spontaneous laughter to her.  A gentleman desires an abundance of crackling creative ideas.  One writer seeks personal acceptance, forgiveness and healing through her words.

What about you?  Ask for what you really, really want.  Notice what you initially want may lead to something else.  Ask for that, too!

  • Authenticity, Enthusiasm, Release
  • Creativity, Play, Celebration
  • Intention, Support, Strength
  • Purpose, Communication, Collaboration
  • Exploration, Openness, Discernment

gift tagWrite your letter, and send it to yourself.  Read it with fresh, compassionate eyes.  Recognize the truth of the desire, and then, like an expert holiday shopper on a mission, find the way to give yourself the present of an enriched writing experience.

Here’s the holiday’s best kept secret – the gift is already yours.  Your desire birthed the intention; you simply have to claim and use it.

There’s no question of naughty or nice.  Simply know you are good.

artwork by Christine Wong Yap

Ten Book Edits: When It Rains…

Find someone...On a Sunday in early May, Atlanta had a third rain shower in a week, one predicted to last all afternoon.  I recall hearing a powerful, small-voiced thought: ‘what a good day to edit a book!’  As the rain pattered the ground sounding like hands dancing on a rattling keyboard, I enjoyed both my editing experience, as well as the gifts and inspiration from the book.

No one could have predicted the upcoming weather that dumped rain almost daily.  In that time, editing projects drizzled, then flooded, onto my desk.  By mid-August, I will have edited ten books.

These projects are in various stages of completion from early drafts needing content editing to final drafts for line edits.  One project required both simultaneously.  I’ve seen several projects for different views just weeks apart.

The authors are mostly new to full book length.  One is working on a series with two books ready for publication.  Another makes a living as a writer.  All are passionately exploring creative expression and driven to write in memoir, fiction, historical nonfiction, humor, inspirational, self-help, and even paly format for the stage.

raindropsMeanwhile, I continue to guide a dozen more writers pursuing the completion of their first drafts, as well as a few more on content for marketing and blog purposes.  Some meet with me, whereas others communicate via email, phone and Skype.

When it rains again, take its cue — stomp in the puddles of your ideas and dance in the downpour of those small-voiced wishes from your soul.  Experience the exhilaration of acting on them.  As fast as raindrops fall, get your words down.  And find someone who encourages you to prevail at your process and polish its product for publication.

Stay tuned for announcements on the newly published authors.  And join in the fun with your project!

Dance With The Deadline

frank.frankenstein.1931As if Frankenstein himself is busting down the door, many writers are freaked slap out by the deadline.  The writer will cower and bargain with the monster, begging for more time to explore and re-work.  Any argument tempts nature like a rooftop experiment in an electrical storm ultimately making the writer feel crazy-mad, defeated and, well, Abby Normal.  The enraged, unsympathetic beast snatches the writing anyway, then escapes deep into the inky night.

The term ‘deadline’ strikes fear in many, not just writers.  Coined during the Civil War when prison camps were spur-of-the-moment and without fencing, guards simply drew a line in the dirt circling the encampment.  Prisoners knew they would be shot dead if they crossed the ‘dead line.’

frank.9The newspaper industry adopted this powerful language to have the latest news printed and distributed in a timely manner. Editors’ deadlines implied “If you don’t submit your writing on time, printing presses will roll, and your story is dead.”  Consequently, so was your career.

When I work with editorial deadlines, I prefer to avoid last minute pressure by setting a personal deadline about three days in advance of the real one.  In most cases, I am able to submit my copy ahead of deadline.  This gives the client extra time, plus it demonstrates a strong work ethic which brings more assignments to my desk.

So what if you don’t have an editorial deadline or a gun pointed at your head?  You can hire a monster (i.e. me, minus green makeup and bolts in my neck), or you can be creative and do it on your own.

Karen wrote consistently as a member of my Creative Writers Workshop, but struggled to finish a story.  In conjunction with private coaching, she decided to try using a contest deadline as motivation.  The word count added more limitation, yet provided her with a crash course in sharper revision and final editing.  She hit the word count with characters to spare and the deadline on target.

Kirby protects her scheduled writing times on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  To complete and publish her book, she set a firm November deadline so she could have books printed by early December. She factored in time for her completion, my editing and the printer’s process.  Even with snags, all ended well with her wrapping up books as gifts for the holidays.

Cammie quickly discovered the necessity to schedule coaching sessions every other Saturday with a deadline of Wednesday midnight to get her work to me for meeting prep.  Using this system, she completed her ambitious project, a major feat considering she had not written beyond undergrad projects, much less 128 polished pages in a new genre.

Basically, the deadline is a commitment to an amount of time, a certain number of words written, or a project completion date.  Your editor, printer, writing group and coach are counting on you, so count on yourself.  Meet your goal.

If you want to be a successful writer, make nice with the misunderstood monster.   If the term ‘deadline’ frightens you, change it.  Use ‘goal,’ ‘aim,’ ‘target,’ or ‘destination,’ whatever feels good to you. frank.3Embrace the deadline’s positive influence as a vital partner in the dance to complete your writing project.

Affirm:  My deadline is a positive motivator.  I do my best work, and I celebrate meeting my deadlines, the final one, as well as every small step along the way.

So, the dance is over.  What do you do After The Deadline?

Images: Frankenstein (1931) with Colin Clive and Boris Karloff; Young Frankenstein (1974) with Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle.

Writing Retreat

beachwriting2Through planning and packing for a group beach holiday, Gale was both large-and-in-charge and a nelly nervous wreck.  Even in the overstuffed minivan, out of the driveway and on the interstate, she remained anxiously edgy until our gang was far enough away to make it completely idiotic to turn back.

However, like the eye of a storm, the calm was only temporary as the excitement of arriving and unpacking led her to explode when she discovered an item had been left behind.  Time for our tactical maneuvers: fire up the ice-filled cocktail blender to counteract her verbal tirade; pour a chilled one for her as a booby trap; then escape to the safety of the surf.

Getaways are intended to be good for our spirits.  We all need time away from work, demands, relations, to-do lists, pressures, bad news, and you-name-it, yet sometimes we take those issues, even the folks attached to them, along with us.  Even if we love every part of our daily lives, we still need to relax and recharge to bring a new perspective and life-affirming peace.

Take your writing with you when you go.  It can serve as both a vent to release frustrations and a path to inner calm.  Settle your external turmoil by exchanging your hurricane-force whirlwind for writing’s gentle breezes.  Allow yourself to listen compassionately to those internal blurts that attempt to sabotage your happy writing, and let them go as you focus your practice on the comforting messages wafting to shore.

Just as ideal destinations change according to season and mood, so can what you choose to write. Splashing in a fictional stream of consciousness, playing with prompts discovered in your new surroundings, or strolling the sands of your mind’s thought waves can all be centering and energizing.

And when you get away, remember that whatever you forgot to take is most likely available where you are going. . .or, perhaps, you might not need it anyway.  Sure, take care to pack the basics; for me, that’s my laptop, sunscreen, bathing suit and hat.  The key word for me is ‘essential.’

That’s what I realized as I wrote under an umbrella during mid-week wearing the only bathing suit I’d worn of the four I brought.  As the gulls squawked overhead, I wrote about how lugging a suitcase of clothing and three pairs of shoes beyond my flip flops was silly.  I also wrote about how much fun Gale could be, but only in small doses, and that another week-long trip with her wasn’t in my best interest.

Retreat, I wrote, isn’t about fleeing the enemy, but surrounding myself with positive energy and empowering habits.  Like frolicking in the breakers, beachcombing for treasures, and playing with good friends, I am centered, renewed and delighted through writing, a reliable retreat wherever I am.

Affirm:  At home or away, my writing is always a good journey, an easy-to-get-to destination that renews my spirit.

Disclaimer:  It’s true; writers write what they know, and, yes, I write from my experiences.  However, all characters and situations in my stories are fictitious fusions, creative amalgamations.  Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or real interactions with me are purely coincidental.