Tag Archives: writing process

An Alternative Way to Check In On Your Writing Process

I do yoga once a week with my best friend. She comes to my house, we drink coffee and catch up on what’s going on with each other since last week, and then we do something called “The Five Tibetans” and a couple of other yoga poses that we like. We’ve been doing this for years, and whenever we have to skip a week I sorely miss it. I can’t swear it’s not the coffee and chat I miss more though. Nevertheless, the fourth pose in the series has caused me severe distress because I just. can’t. do it. Being the committed, extreme athlete that I am (I’m not) I choose to sit that one out. What I do instead is a few minutes of meditation, which is just about all my ADD and I can muster. And I have to really focus on something during meditation, otherwise it’s just me sitting there and perseverating on my to-do list or worrying about my life or the fate of the planet. So for my meditation I check in with my chakras. Yup, I do!Untitled35-e1393064216549

I’m not evenly remotely an expert or a yogi or anything like that, and this blog is intended for writers, so my intention is only to share my thought process and my own personal weekly meditation. So please don’t interpret this as anything other than that. Why I thought to share is because often I apply this meditation to check in with what I’m writing. I know, I know, you’re probably like, “What is she even talking about?!” I know you can’t close your eyes and do this with me, because then how would you be reading this??? but try to follow… I’ll tell you approximately where each chakra is located, my understanding of what it’s related to, and then how I apply it to looking at writing.

I sit comfortably, cross legged and relaxed, with my hands placed palm up on my knees. Take a deep breath in and then I relax my shoulders (because they’re always tense). To “check in” with each chakra I visualize its approximate location on my body, and imagine taking a breath in and out of that spot. I’ll share some of the questions I ask myself as I locate each spot. And remember, these are just my interpretations!

The first chakra is located at the base of the spine, like near the coccyx bone. It’s the root chakra, the foundation. So I ask: what is the fundamental basis of what I’m writing? What foundation does this story rest on?

The second chakra is the sacral chakra, basically in the area of the ovaries for women, testes for men, and I relate it to creativity. Am I allowing my creative impulses free reign? Am I allowing myself to experience pleasure in the writing process?

The third chakra is the solar plexus chakra, located between the bellybutton and diaphragm, and it’s where personal power resides so where I place both strength and anxiety. Am I being powerful in my writing? Am I being fearless or shying away from what I’m trying to say?

The fourth chakra is the heart chakra, and of course is located in the chest. Am I being passionate in my writing? Is my writing heartfelt? Am I communicating emotional truth in my characters? Am I writing in an accessible way for readers to connect?

The fifth chakra is located at the throat, like just below where the Adam’s apple is, and it relates to communication and expression. Am I attending to voice? Is the voice distinctive? Is my dialogue authentic?

The sixth chakra is the third eye chakra, between the eyebrows, and correlates to intuition and clarity. Am I staying true to my vision for this work? Does my story work on all levels?

The seventh chakra is the crown chakra, at the top of the head, and is related to universal consciousness or connection to spirit. Am I allowing my story to come through me from unknown sources? Am I open to the unexpected or unmapped to occur?

stencil_peace_heartfOk, that’s it. Don’t judge me. I know I’m a hippy weirdo. But I totally dig doing this and I invite you to try it. Let me know how it goes…

Peace out,

Linda

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Writing Process: The Best Way to Get a Manuscript Written

goodwitchBy the power vested in me by having an online media presence, I hereby wave my magic wand and give you permission to have whatever the fuck writing process works for you.

Stop beating yourself up because you’re not one of those people who writes every day. Stop looking so smug and superior because you are one of those people. Neither way of being indicates whether you’re a good writer or not.

Let’s face it, we’re all different, with different commitments, different lifestyles, different biorhythms, etcetera. Are you a morning person? A night owl? Do you have a houseful of kids? Do you live alone? Are you 17 or 71? Coffee drinker, or tea or bourbon or almond milk or wine coolers? We’re all different.

When I’m in the midst of a writing project of my own,  I think about it all the time. But I usually only write about once during the work week (for about 4 or 5 hours, if I can) and then on the weekend (and not even every weekend). That’s the amount of time I can take from my other commitments right now. Does that mean I’m not serious about my work? No. Does that mean I’ll never succeed as a writer? No. Does that mean I’m a bad writer? No. It doesn’t mean anything. Except, that’s all the time I can allot to my writing.

Find what works for you, and do that. Don’t waste your time and energy on thinking and feeling that you should be doing it differently. Make a commitment, and stick to your commitment. That’s the end of the story. Do what works for you and don’t worry about what other writers do, or how, or how much, or whatever. You’re not them. Just keep your eyes on your own goals and commitments. Stop comparing yourself to others, or to an ideal of a writer, or to what you read once about “how to write.” It doesn’t help; it doesn’t do anything. Do your life.

If you can, I also recommend trying to enjoy it. I mean, why not, right?

Ok, I’m done ranting.

Tell me, what does your writing process look like?

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Come Play in My Sandbox Writing Retreat 2014

Come Play in My Sandbox Retreat 2014

Come Play in My Sandbox Retreat 2014

You know that phrase from the movie Field of Dreams, “Build it and they will come”? Well, that’s what happened this past weekend. I sent out an email to my clients a few months ago, vetting interest in a client retreat. There was a resounding “Yes!” Although everyone couldn’t make it, this past weekend I hosted a 3 day party for some of my very talented, very smart, very funny clients. I haven’t laughed so much in quite a long time. I also haven’t sat around talking writing for 3 days with such talented writers. Maybe ever.

And I learned so much this weekend! First of all, I confirmed something that I kind of already knew: I’m a very lucky agent. I also learned that Manhattans are to be stirred 100 times, not shaken; and that it’s really ok to call gin & olive juice shaken with ice & garnished with olives a “Martini,” even if there’s no vermouth to be found. I learned some 18th century Caribbean history. I learned that in Alabama it is still a criminal offense to sell sex toys. I learned that keeping a flip chart  and some markers in the same room as 9 sassy writers is asking for trouble (and is a sure-fire way to laugh until I cry). I learned the most effective way to lure my wavy/curly hair to the curly side. And I learned a lot about how different people’s writing process goes.

One of my clients has to write, even just a little, every day. It feels like a need, like breathing or eating, and unfathomable that it could be any other way for anyone. One of my clients saves it all up for times when there’s uninterrupted, childless, day-job-less time, taking a week here and there, or a whole month in the summer, to do nothing, nothing, nothing but write… until the offspring return. Another client writes from 9-5, Monday – Friday. After all, it’s a job. Yet another client has worked out a day-job work week of just 4 days, and does nothing but write on that 5th day. And then there are variations of all of these ways, and sneaking writing in to busy lives full of other commitments. Is there a right way? Does one way indicate more commitment and drive? Is one person more of a writer than the others? I think not.

We discussed storyboarding picture books. We discussed manuscripts that spawn manuscripts that spawn manuscripts. We discussed whether you need to know the end of your story when you start. We discussed how to be on Facebook yet hide from your relatives and high school classmates. We discussed what it means to be called a Pirate, whether it can be just a mindset or needs to include the act of piracy (i.e. stealing things). We workshopped works in progress, giving and getting criticism. We showed and telled. And we shared  finished work, just for the fuck of it. We played with a new way of goal setting, working backwards from the future. We ate a lot. We drank some. We took an already funny “plot device,” made it into a joke, and then beat it like a dead horse the whole weekend. We barely stopped laughing.

My clients thanked me over and over for hosting this retreat, but I can’t stop feeling like I’m the lucky one. Besides having a great weekend, besides laughing my ass off, besides feeling their admiration, I feel so honored to be entrusted with the task of getting their work published. They all know how committed I am to achieving that goal, and how I’m busting my butt to get the job done. But it sure was nice to take a weekend off and just hang out with these fine folk.

 

 

 

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