Saturday, March 14, 2015

Writers on Writing

Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Didion, Sontag, Vonnegut, Bradbury, Orwell, and other literary icons.
By popular demand, I’ve put together a periodically updated reading list of all the famous advice on writing presented here over the years, featuring words of wisdom from such masters of the craft as Kurt VonnegutSusan SontagHenry MillerStephen KingF. Scott FitzgeraldSusan OrleanErnest Hemingway,Zadie Smith, and more.
Please open the full reading list in a new window.
[Originally posted on]

Writers & their Diaries

by Maria Popova  
Reflections on the value of recording our inner lives from Woolf, Thoreau, Sontag, Emerson, Nin, Plath, and more.“You want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you,” Madeleine L’Engle counseled in her advice to aspiring writers. W.H. Auden once described his journal as “a discipline for [his] laziness and lack of observation.”
Journaling, I believe, is a practice that teaches us better than any other the elusive art of solitude — how to be present with our own selves, bear witness to our experience, and fully inhabit our inner lives. As a dedicated diarist myself, I’ve always had an irresistible fascination with the diaries of artists, writers, scientists, and other celebrated minds — those direct glimpses of their inner lives and creative struggles. But, surely, luminaries don’t put pen to paper for the sake of quenching posterity’s curiosity — at least as interesting as the contents of those notable diaries is the question of why their keepers keep them. Here are a few perspectives from some of history’s most prolific practitioners of this private art.
Ana├»s Nin was perhaps the most dogged diarist in recorded history — she began keeping a diary at the age of eleven and maintained the habit until her death at the age of 74, producing sixteen volumes of published journals in which she reflected on such diverse, timeless, and timely subjects as love and lifeembracing the unfamiliar,reproductive rightsthe elusive nature of joythe meaning of life, andwhy emotional excess is essential for creativity. In a 1946 lecture at Dartmouth, she spoke about the role of the diary as an invaluable sandbox not only for learning the craft of writing but also for crystallizing her own passions and priorities, from which all creative work springs:
It was while writing a Diary that I discovered how to capture the living moments.
Keeping a Diary all my life helped me to discover some basic elements essential to the vitality of writing.
When I speak of the relationship between my diary and writing I do not intend to generalize as to the value of keeping a diary, or to advise anyone to do so, but merely to extract from this habit certain discoveries which can be easily transposed to other kinds of writing.
Of these the most important is naturalness and spontaneity. These elements sprung, I observed, from my freedom of selection: in the Diary I only wrote of what interested me genuinely, what I felt most strongly at the moment, and I found this fervor, this enthusiasm produced a vividness which often withered in the formal work. Improvisation, free association, obedience to mood, impulse, bought forth countless images, portraits, descriptions, impressionistic sketches, symphonic experiments, from which I could dip at any time for material.
It was also her way of learning to translate the inner into the outer, the subjective into the universal:
This personal relationship to all things, which is condemned as subjective, limiting, I found to be the core of individuality, personality, and originality. The idea that subjectivity is an impasse is as false as the idea that objectivity leads to a larger form of life.
A deep personal relationship reaches far beyond the personal into the general. Again it is a matter of depths.  
To read the rest of the article which includes insights from other authors please click through the title link above. 
Thanks for stopping by. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Proof Visualizations Work

I have both a vision journal and a vision board.  My vision board stays at home, propped where I can see it often. My vision journal is essentially a photo album in which which I have images and affirmations related to my wishes hopes and dreams.

One of the pages has this image on it of a couple dancing a tango. I have always wanted to learn how to dance a tango and last night I took a class while on a first date. Wow! it was great fun and he was also fun to be around. Later we saw a fantastic show about classic and modern Tango. I have been dancing in my head ever since to the tune of this incredible tango playlist I created.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Practices of Highly Successful Writers

[The article below was excerpted from ICW’s blog.]
The image of an iceberg is a wonderful metaphor for the creative writing process.
The 10% we see above the surface of the water represents the actual words of the blogs, books and other communications we write. It arises out of the 90% that is largely hidden from view yet without which the iceberg would not exist at all.
The same principle applies to our writing. A large proportion of the work we do as writers is invisible to our readers but greatly determines the quality of our work and the contribution it makes to the world.
The following 5 practices may not be obvious as part of the mix from the outside looking in when we read the latest book from our favorite author.
Yet, having spoken with thousands of highly successful Writers, and from both personal and professional experience of Writing in action, these practices come up time and again as the foundation for authentic success.
I invite you to dip into one or all of these practices to the extent it feels right for you at this time and see from your own personal experience what contributions they make to your writing, your authorship, and your life.
1. Journal/Reflective Writing
Writers approach the immensely beneficial practice of journaling or reflective writing with both focus and flow. The practice of simply showing up on a daily basis trains our brain to experience a task until its automatic. It’s a task that requires focus and dedication. The focus is required to show up on a regular basis to do the practice without judgement or any expectation of an end result. Ideally this will be daily and first thing in the morning (most of the time).
The flow of writing leads away from a rigid structure or number of pages that have to be completed (for those writers on a deadline). Instead, this practice invites us to develop a more intuitive relationship with our creativity and what is required of us in the moment as writers. This approach builds awareness into our experience of writing which also benefits all the other writing we do or want to do.
2. Conscious Movement
Writers understand the importance of engaging the body as well as the mind and emotions in the creative process. According to research published in the journal Psychological Science, people can become more creative simply by moving in their immediate surroundings. In one study, participants explored creative problem solving using physical movements of their hands to emulate the phrase “on the one hand … on the other hand”. Those who gestured with both hands came up with the most novel ideas. Adding awareness to physical movement delivers up even more powerful results. Paying full attention when out walking, and undertaking conscious movement practices like running or exercise creates an energetic alignment which enables us to bring our whole self to the creative writing process, and see the positive results of that on the page.
3. Cultivating Awareness
Awareness beyond the boundaries of the mind, gives rise to the most original and authentic creative expression. Conscious Writers explore this territory from the inside out using a mixture of “formal” and “informal” meditation practice and mindfulness.  The benefits of meditation for health are well-documented. Add to this the expanded awareness and enhanced creativity it cultivates, and the case is made for including at least 15 minutes of “formal” daily meditation.  “Informal” meditation involves carrying awareness forward into all aspects of daily life. It is being present in the most mundane moments, that creates the space out of which our most notable thoughts, words and deeds arise. An aware approach will always be the most fulfilling and rewarding experience of authorship.
4. Being in Nature
One of the most repeated recommendations from highly successful Writers for anyone wanting to enrich their creative output is to spend time in nature. The ideal circumstances include solitude and silence so we can sharpen our senses to appreciate the subtle dance of life all around us. Ultimately, we realize that the life flowing within us is one with God’s creative energy . Through inner stillness, we empty ourselves of the everyday and enter a space of a pure being, living in the present moment, following nature’s example. Bringing nature indoors with plants and fresh flowers, and taking ourselves out to experience the wild landscapes of the world, regular time with nature recharges us as Conscious Writers like nothing else can.
5. Nurturing Creativity
When we empty our minds of mundane matters, we make space to fill our hearts with creative inspiration. Conscious Writers recognize the value of nurturing creativity in a multitude of ways so the inner well never runs dry.
Our creative soul may be nourished simply by making time to reflect, listening to music, painting a picture, reading inspirational literature, connecting with like-minded people, cooking colorful meals … or all of the above, and more!
Whatever ignites our personal creative fire, the way for this fruitful level of being to become our reality is to make conscious choices that are based on nurturing our creative soul being a genuine priority. From here, we schedule time, take appropriate action, and resist all but the most urgent intrusions.
These practices provide the foundation from which Conscious Writers build an original and worthwhile collection of writing that contributes something of real value to readers. Taking one step at a time, one practice at a time, gradually over time they become a richly rewarding and creatively productive way of life.

Q4U: What is your experience of one or all of these practices? How do you think they might support you as a Conscious Writer? Share your answers below.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Practical Tips on Writing a Book

This article is perfect for individuals who are interested in taking their draft to the next level but are unsure on what to do next:

Friday, February 08, 2013


Friday, June 01, 2012

Book Writing 101: What to do/What to know

Writer's Digest is chock full of great articles on how/where to start out as a baby writer (such as the article below) to how to get published. Enjoy your reading!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Watch Your Words!

Our Words are very powerful because they not only create our reality... they also predict our future. "How we thinketh, so we are."

Here are 8 ways we can change our lives by choosing our words.