advice

Creating Space

I don’t need to wax poetic about the fact that life is busy, and continues to be happen-y or busy or full as long as it extends. I won’t even go on about the fact that it’s sometimes vexingly difficult to find time for creative endeavors…particularly when we’re often convinced that there are Much More Important Things To Be Doing. Life hits hard sometimes, and we can so often be left examining the cracks in the pavement, stubbornly planting our creative gardens in the tiniest spaces. And that’s okay…even from those ittybitty spaces, big things can grow. Creating space is about seizing any opportunity we can to express ourselves–to think, dream, paint, write, sing, dance, move…to exist in that place where we are the makers. I’ll just leave this little image here in closing–my notes from a meeting where I was fully aware of the agenda content and discussions, but let myself also free-hand doodle through the facts, figures, and bullet points (I had SO much fun looking back over them). In the Venn diagram of life, there are many odd and wonderful places where the colors of “daily routine” and “creativity” intersect. Where do you create the space for imaginings? Where do you make the time to create? I’d love to hear in the comments. Be well all, and happy creating! <3

notes2

 

 

Writing Prompts Box: For When Your Muse Is On The Can

Oh, hello there. This post (which has been cued for over a month now) is brought to you by coffee and the letter W. Today, I’m here to introduce my Super Awesome Easy Writing Prompts System, guaranteed to produce mind-boggling results in just moments. Seriously–just watch the infomerical read on.

So, sometimes–actually a lot of times–my brain stalls and writing cannot happen with a stalled brain. But at a writer, momentum and daily routine is important. I need to write, even if it’s just a line or two. I’ve used a lot of cheats and prompts and block-busting exercises over the years, but I come back again and again to this easy one. All you need is an index card box with dividers and three stacks of around 50 index cards. I personally use a different color for each stack of cards since I’m a visual learner, but any old cards will work.

67774

Each stack will have one kind of word: one stack for evocative nouns, one for character ideas and archetypes, and the last for verbs. I sat down with a friend and we brainstormed together to generate at least 25 of each of these. For example:

Nouns: cat, trunk, carriage, tome, mountain, meteor, ship

Characters/Archetypes: child, mage, flight attendant, warrior, Artemis, mentor, father

Verbs: sing, leap, slice, murmur, clang, wrest, run

The idea is to create a box of words that you can use to generate writing prompts for when your Muse is on the can. To create a prompt, I pull three cards and to write a piece based on what I draw. For my own prompts, the rules are simple: one card from each stack, no less than 100 words of writing total, and writing for no more than an hour. What does this accomplish? Lots.

Finite and specific prompts take the pressure off the stressed-out writerly mind. They create a specific assignment with clearly-defined parameters–three words to generate 100 or more words of writing in an hour or less. There is nothing at stake and no pressure for the work to be any good. Exercises like these free our subconscious minds from SRS BIDNESS mode so that they can play, play, play. Without the pressure to create a masterpiece but just enough structure to give us a nudge, we can come up with some remarkable raw stuff and break through blocks like Drano through clogged pipes. Instead of that paralyzing, blank-page terror we can regain momentum.

Finally, writing prompts can be super-duper fun even when writers block is not an issue. When writing starts to feel more like drudgery than happy-squee-funtimez, I know that I need to take a break. Seeing a project to completion involves a certain amount of trudging, sure. Completing/revising a manuscript is worky as heck. But losing that sense of wonder and excitement is a very real danger for a lot of us. Exercises like this keep the fun alive and keep those fingers dancing over the keys!

Are there any exercises or tricks that you use to get your writing out of its rut and to give your Muse a shot in the arm? If so, I’d love to hear them. Happy writing, ya’ll! <3

The One

Life can be so full.

Full of both beauty and awfulness in the world at large, full of minutia in our work-a-day routines, full of the emotions and road-bumps and triumphs that comprise any human life. This fullness affects us. How can it not? I’ve been struggling with time-management lately–prioritizing the Day Job, the Emergent Writing Career, my important relationships, my interactions with a difficult world, and my attempts to make things better.

One lesson emerges over and over again, smacking me upside the noggin with its simple obviousness: One thing at a time. The masses of work, of problems to be solved, even of facets of life to be loved are overwhelming so I have to remember to step back and break things into smaller, more manageable Heres and Nows. I can’t do it all. I can’t know where any one step will take me in the future. Instead, I am in this moment, doing this one thing. And then the next one thing, and the next.

So, lovely readers–how do you deal with the stresses of everyday life, of balancing careers and hobbies and volunteering and all the other millions of things that you do?

theone