Monday, November 15, 2010

"Create Something New"

C is for Create. The possibilities for creating are endless, and only limited by one's imagination. When a writer harnesses the power of creativity, he or she becomes an artist, an inventor, a designer, a builder and a word magician. One of the key elements for keeping creativity flowing freely is to expand the areas of focus to your creativity. This week, do something out of the ordinary--something that does NOT involve writing--but which explores your creative self. I'm not going to start listing suggestions. The ideas you need to get out of any writer's rut you may be experiencing (or any other rut) are only inside yourself.

As for me, I cleaned out three closets today in preparation for a house full of guests coming to stay for a week. Cleaning out closets opens up a ton of possible metaphors. I love the organizing, purging, sorting and straightening this creative activity provides. And I love the end result--more space. If there's one thing a creative mind needs, it's space. So...whatever you decide to create this week, be aware of the fact that it will likely open some much needed space. Welcome it as part of the creative process. Magically, the next time you sit down to write, the words will appear.

Friday, November 12, 2010

"B - Browse Your Local Bookstore"

We're only on 'B' in our Alphabet for Authors post series, which incidentally does not stand for "ba-humbug I'm behind on the blog already". It would be a blatant mockery to last week's entry--praising and applauding the power of Affirmations--to beat myself up over the fact that it's Friday and I'm just getting to the blog again. So I won't.

B is for Browse Your Local Bookstore. On Monday morning I went to our island bookstore, Eagle Harbor Books, an independent book store that exudes all evidences of a scene from a chick-flick about an aspiring chick-lit author (which I'm not). In a single word it's quaint. The store has been in existence for almost 50 years and I absolutely love the perfect blend of past, present and future: wooden plank floors that creek, bookshelves that open up to secret compartments where folding chairs are stored, comfy overstuffed chairs to relax in, the place where I attend my Speculative Fiction writing class, and up-to-date access to nearly as many ebooks as Barnes and Noble. It's an establishment that meets the current demands of the book industry by catering to the wide array of formats readers prefer, yet still maintains cheerful personal customer service and a genuine interest in the people who read the books. Just walking through the doors creates some kind of transmutation to my soul. Additionally, Eagle Harbor Books is the proud venue where literally dozens and dozens of local authors are showcased. I dare say Bainbridge Island/Seattle is to authors what Nashville is to country music. A mecca, so to speak.

I browsed the new titles table first, meandered past the travel section and audio books, sauntered around the gift area looking for stocking stuffers, and then found my way to the YA display table. Truthfully, I was somewhat disappointed. For some reason I've obviosly not grasped, werewolves and vampires are still hot. I found plenty of dark magic, young love and true scifi stories. A couple titles on angels and one about a pegasus. True, I was just browsing, not really reading. But that's because nothing REALLY grabbed my attention. I read a dozen or so jacket covers, tried a few first pages, and flipped through two or three books to do a quick study on dialogue. Suddenly, I wasn't feeling my typical almost out-of-body euphoria when I'm in this bookstore. Or any bookstore.

After over an hour of browsing, I walked outside into the wind and zipped up my jacket, wondering what I'd write in my post "B is for Browse Your Local Bookstore" that would be semi-inspirational or atleast helpful. I'm not sure I've done that yet but here's a thought. If nothing jumps out at you next time your'e in a bookstore, try your own personal library. Presently I'm reading six books simultaneously but the one on my night stand that I haven't opened yet is "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins. (Yes, I do realize it's NOT a new release!) The sequels are on display at Eagle Harbor Books which DID re-inspire me to start the series.

One other quick thought, if you do have a local independent bookstore then BRAVO! Considering today's publishing and emarketing industry, as readers and authors we need to do all we can to support their efforts and keep them in the BOOK BUSINESS.

Monday, November 1, 2010

"If NANOWRIMO is too much for you..."

For anyone who can't comprehend writing a complete novel in one month, don't despair. It's okay. Really. NANOWRIMO is there for those who are up for that particular challenge. But it may not be the right pace for you. Or me! At least not this November 1st. I did consider it for a long moment and almost gave in to the temptation. Putting basically everything else in my life on hold until numerous days after all the turkey has been gobbled...well, it actually sounded like a reprieve. Ah, to just write! But the stuff inside of me--my gut, my brain, and especially my heart--reminded me that there are other writing endeavors that will prove to be more beneficial to me this month.

Here's another option for you that will hopefully keep you in the writing mode and feeling good about your efforts. Last January I posted my "ABC's for 2010"--a list of simple ideas to help you stay focused on your writing--and which I'm going to use as the inspiration for my Monday posts over the next 26 weeks. The idea is to take it slow. Stay positive. Just move ahead. Together we'll make it through Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's, Martin Luther King Day, Human Right's Day, President's Day, Valentine's Day, Ground Hog Day, St. Patrick's Day, the Spring Equinox, Easter, and Palm Sunday! Every Monday I'll give you something to explore during the week that will help you deal with any guilt or lamentation you may feel about NOT writing a novel in 30 days!

Week One: "A is for Affirm Aloud: I am a writer!" Go ahead. Say loud! "I am a writer!" Feels good, huh? Say it loud and louder! Again. Okay, you get the idea? Say it every day and start believing it. You may not be a published writer--yet--but that's irrelevant today. When someone asks you what you do, own it and say, "I'm a writer." It doesn't need to be complicated. Just start affirming it everyday, out loud, for a week, and as long as it takes until your brain has accepted it, your heart has embraced it, and your soul emerges with the endless words held inside of you.

P.S. If it helps, write your affirmation on Post It notes and stick'em up all over the place...on the fridge, bathroom mirror, the computer, your steering wheel, your dog! Whatever it takes to get it to sink in!