Tag Archive for worry

Had Enough? Conquer Writer’s Block!

Conquering Writer’s Block, Winter dates TBD

Stuck? Fear-filled? Can’t write?

writers.block

  • He read nightly about how to write from a stack of books at his bedside, sometimes realizing he never kept a pad and pen handy; maybe tomorrow…
  • She dreamed of writing for the movies but prided herself on being her own harshest critic; she overthought every creative choice and never finished the first screenplay.
  • His hero and muse was an 80-year old writer with a stellar career and a case full of awards; the young writer felt he could never measure up, foundering at 21.
  • She argued with anyone who dared read and comment on her work; her novel was never revised or published.
  • He had a hit with his first published book; he became paralyzed thinking lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice and never wrote again.

Every reason not to write has an opposite reason TO write. And you have a choice—choose to believe you can write, use your creativity to find the right path, and put action to your belief!

Conquering Writer’s Block is a 3-week workshop designed to crack the code to your block and get you writing. Through personal writing for clarity and group discussion for perspective, you will discover the limiting messages you feed yourself and gain the courage to stop your creative malnourishment and grow a healthy writer’s consciousness.

  • She had so many stories to tell that she didn’t know where to start; she wrote one story, received encouragement and quickly picked another story to write next.
  • He felt too emotionally distraught to write, trapped for weeks in the same loop; he wrote his fears on paper to witness and release them, clearing the space to persevere with his poetry.
  • She has 5 kids, ranging in age from elementary school to college; when they went to school, she “went to school” and finished her novel.
  • He has noise sensitivity to loud neighbors, TVs, and barking dogs that stole focus; he used his creativity and available resources to give himself the calm he needed to write.
  • She bogged down in personal issues while writing memoir; she discovered fiction, freely changing details and perspective in a way to share what had been impossible to consider sharing.

As you share your work with yourself, build upon the ability to share your writing with others. You will learn how to compassionately protect yourself from reviewers’ slings and arrows, transforming critiques into the gift of feedback…and continue writing.

Conquering Writer’s Block, Winter dates TBD

Teen Writer Success: Curtained Confidence

Academic Coaching available

While conducting a writing workshop for teens, I encountered a 14-year old boy who didn’t interact in discussions or make eye contact.  His jet black hair covered his face Emo-style leaving only piercings and tattoos visible.

teen writers 4After giving instruction followed by an exercise, I walked the room for individual questions.  The boy was silent, sitting like a statue with black-nailed hands in his lap.  A notebook was perched atop the desk opened to a blank page harboring a lonesome, loitering pen.

Kneeling next to him, I asked him about his writing experience.  His head upturned toward me, and I imagined he was peering through the thick locks that hung over his face like a sheepdog’s.

Quiet and well mannered, he peeped, “I like to write, but I’m a bad writer.”

“Do you ever write just for yourself?” I asked.

He shook his head.

I instructed him to change his thinking, so he could exercise his desire to write and become a good one.  “Write just for you right now.”

teen writer 5The mop of locks slowly swayed from side to side as he turned away.  I thought of how some teacher, some parent or sibling, even some friend – a saboteur of his creativity and expression – had not liked what he wrote for some reason, then put him down, teased him, maybe lowered his grade.  He believed this person was right and himself to be very, very wrong.  Unrepairable.

I picked up his pen, handed it to him, then tapped the paper and said, “Please, can you give it a try?”  He tilted his head down, and the screen of hair fell upon the page like a final curtain closing on a poorly reviewed production.

When I came around a few moments later, I asked how it was going.  Without saying a word, he handed me the notebook.  On it was scrawled, “I want to write more.”  He wasn’t ready to say he was a good writer, but with the saboteur hammering on the walls inside his mop-topped head, he’d made incredible progress.  With five words, he showed he was willing to face his fear and express his thoughts in writing.

“That’s great.  You’re moving forward.  Keep writing.”

With barely detectable fervor, his head bobbed and the curtain shimmied like a musician playing a slow jam.   His arm was moving across and down the page.  I wondered if he was drawing, but never got a chance to look inside the curtain until a magic moment when it lifted as his head came up to face me.  There on the page were words, row after row of words from a teen experiencing freedom.

I hoped he could see my encouraging smile.

Here’s another story about Teen Writer Success.

*Academic Coaching available by appointment

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.

Crash! No Burn…

laptop on fireFor the first time in this modern technological age, my computer cracked up.  No ‘black screen of death.’  No smoke spiraled from the keyboard as ominous pipe organ music played.  No oozing blood like the stairs in “The Amityville Horror.”  Simply refusing to boot up was dramatic enough.  However, after several failed attempts and forced shut downs, it finally did.  Everything seemed normal, except for accessing the internet.

‘You have no wireless connectivity.’  The Help Screen mocked me while continually pointing me to assistance on the net.  From Its giant control panel in the clouds or supernatural crystal ball behind the Wizard’s curtain, didn’t It know that going there was impossible?  So, I sighed and took it in for diagnostics.

“Did you create a restore point?” the techie asked earnestly.  My facial expression told the tale, so he spouted an action plan – back up, wipe out the hard drive, and start over again.  My files were fastidiously backed up, but since I had wanted a larger external drive, I bought one for their operation.

Problem solved.  Everything was in place except for two things – all playlists in ITunes were present, but empty.  Still, I had my thousands of tunes, and I knew I could handle rebuilding the playlists.  Professional mailing lists were somehow also absent.  My heart stopped for a second until I remembered I could get the information from my mail servers.  I began to breathe easier.

I recall a client, an award-winning writer, who was the victim of a smash-and-grab.   She had taken her laptop to work and decided it was safest in the car.  When she called with the bad news, she asked if I had any hard copies of her work.  I didn’t, and I asked if she had backups.  She quickly said ‘yes,’ then sputtered, “Ah, um, they were in the laptop bag.”  In her continued search, few hard copies were found.  Even where prizes were won, copies didn’t remain.  Years of work were gone, baby, gone.

Diligently protect your writing.  Choose two trustworthy locations where you can store them.

  • Backup to an external hard drive or disks, placing them in a fireproof safe at home or in a bank’s safe deposit box.
  • Rocket your files to the Cloud, an internet storage facility, or email them to yourself.
  • Keep hard copies of important material in a safe place.

Writers depend on their computers.  Handing mine over to strangers where it was tagged and stacked with others could have riddled me with anxiety.  Though the inconvenience was irritating, I knew my work was safe.

I could easily replace the computer, but not my writing. 

Catching Creativity

sneeze guard“Oh, have you got the crud that’s going around?” she asked a writer-friend while fearlessly hugging her.

I cringed; I’d just hugged her and hadn’t noticed her having any flu symptoms.  I closely watched the interaction and told myself that she was tired, and yes, stuffy, but no, not the creeping crud.  Not submitting to the crud, I defiantly declared to myself.

The writers’ group was energizing.  After reminding myself not to put my fingers in my eyes or chew on my pen, I relaxed into the interaction, and the time flew.  Honesty, support and creative ideas were exchanged igniting others.  Even those who were tired from a full day of corporate life, home duties or a purposeful focus on personal care looked refreshed.

At home, however, I felt my throat tickle.  True, I’d been congested for weeks with the rapid exchange of spring-like and midwinter weather combined with rain and humidity.  And also true, I was trained to be a bit of a hypochondriac by a well-meaning grandmother and mother.  I felt my head; no fever.  I vigorously washed my hands in antibacterial soap and took some preventative herbs.  I nestled in bed with the cherry sore throat spray stationed within reach.

Morning dawned with no sore throat, but the stuffiness remained.  As I replayed the negative version of ‘what’s going around?’ I considered why I never ask positively about the creativity going around.

Inspiration spreads from person to person faster than the common cold.  Sure, we can feel excitement in a good writers’ group, but what about catching a bit of inspiration and aiming it onto the page?  Open to the frame of mind to observe and receive.

It’s easy.  Watch and listen as some kids scamper and scream on a playground; maybe join in, even if just vocally.  Eavesdrop on a gathering of friends having laughs over lunch; feel your humor lift.  Share a smile and a quick question with the cashier at the grocery store; connection often brings fascinating results, even when in the express lane.

A big part of keeping yourself healthy is feeling alive in life itself, and you can do this through exercising your creative muscle.  Whereas a cold or the flu can mire you in the muck, catching inspiration boosts your spirits, a natural prescription for healthy expression with zero negative side effects.

Affirm:  I choose to think positively.  I recognize creativity all around me, feel the positive energy, join the synergy, and act upon it to lift my writing experience.