Three Ways to Ease Back into the Writing Life

A few years ago my daughter was about three years old and I was home with my second, a bouncing (literally) baby boy. Life couldn’t have been better. I had everything I wanted. A loyal husband, enough money to pay the bills, and now two beautiful, healthy babies.

What more did I need? Besides sleep and to finish a hot mug of tea in one go?

I will tell you – and every writer out there published or not, ‘official’ or not will agree. There was something missing. I was journaling, sure, and reading books on kindle while Benji nursed. But I needed something more. A challenge, a project, that harpy siren-call to write would not let me rest.

Honestly at this point I thought, well, if I haven’t published anything by now it must not be meant to be, or, it’s too hard. It’s too hard to work for hours on a project that may never see the light of day, or worse, gets out there and people hate it. Gulp! Easier to just give up.

But then…and if you’ve read this far you know what I’m talking about…that restless urging to write would not let me be.

I say, give in to it. We cannot control the outcome of where our words will go or who will see them but the journey into ourselves that happens when we write is transformative and infinitely, inherently valuable all on it’s own. Creative writing will change your life. It has a way of drawing the poisons out and laying them on the page in font so bold you cannot deny the truth of it.

Here are three ways to jumpstart your writing journey:

  1. Writing Prompts. Hate them or love them they will get you writing. Here is a free ‘writer igniter’ writing prompt app from diymfa.com –https://diymfa.com/writer-igniter
  2. Schedule it in – and prioritize it. Block it off as important an appointment as a job interview or a much needed massage. Then tinker with the details. Try early morning, try after everyone else is in bed, try the middle of the afternoon. Tally up the moments it all worked and repeat.
  3. Treat it both like a sacred, holy moment and a fun play-date where you get to explore without editing that wide open space that is your inner world and the human condition all at once.
  4. This one is a bonus – write what excites you. Is it vampire-love in a post apocalyptic fantasy world where humans are almost extinct? Is it about a wild woman who throws off the constraints of contemporary life and transforms into a bird at night, hunting and flying free? Write what gets you excited to sit your butt in the chair and write. It’s as easy and as hard as that.

Lastly – as you all know I work for diymfa.com and I read hundreds of emails from beginner writers about their number one problems in getting their writing habits back on track. This week I received a sad email from a man who was told that getting published was like getting struck by lightening, twice.

I will tell you what I told him. If you stand in an open field in the middle of a rain storm long enough, you’re gonna get hit.

So whether publishing is your goal, or writing for writing’s sake – now is the time to get back into it. What are you reading this for? Go to it!

Oh and hey, email me your success stories, I wanna hear them! (yehthewriter@gmail.com)

How to be a Writer

Rumi tells us there is ‘a light seed grain inside. You fill it with yourself, or it dies.’

This is the writing life in a nutshell. You may do it for the dream of helping someone, for the dream of being someone’s favorite author. You may do it for the money (nothing wrong with this but it cannot sustain you in this endeavor if that is your only reason.) There are much, much easier ways to make money my friends.

No, the real pull of the writing life is the act of exploring that vortex of creativity inside yourself you can access no other way. Writing, like dreaming, “sometimes tells us what we are not ready to hear.” (Pat Schneider via Jane Yolen ‘Take Joy‘ – a book for writers’.)

There is no better tool to peel back the layers of your own psyche than the act of pulling words from the ether of your own soul and marching them into single file onto the page.

In fact, the harder you run from the issues you’re struggling with the more relentlessly they will show up in your work. So. If you don’t want to evolve, if you don’t want to grow – don’t write. Not one word. Because if you do it will smack you upside the head as subtle as a careening dump truck no matter how far away from reality you stray in your writing projects.

So don’t be a writer to change the world or help people or make money. Be a writer to change yourself, to push into the unknown, to delve deep into the unexplored darkness, dredge up the monsters most people are afraid to look at. That’s the sweet spot. You’ll know it when you reach it. No one has to read it but you need to write it.

I’ll finish up with sharing my firm conviction that there is no word wasted when you write. Each letter stacks and builds on the other. If you have a desire to write – you need to write. There is only one you in the entire universe that ever was or ever will be and if you don’t write it, no one will.

Now go forth and write y’all!

Why Am I Doing This?

Someone asked me recently what this blog was for. I thought I knew the answer to that until I was asked directly. This blog started as a way to communicate what I’ve been doing in Texas to my friends and family back home in Canada.

Time saver: I’m still doing yoga and hanging with my dogs and my kids:

The longer I have been here the farther away from that original impulse I’ve gotten. Plus – who does blogs anymore am I right?

So I think I’m going to pivot, right here, right now, and dedicate the rest of my articles on this blog to be of some use to my community in general and society as a whole. (“Strive not to be a success, but to be of value.” – Albert Einstein)

Here we go, everybody, what I’ve learned this week:

If you run around putting out fires and handling ‘urgent’ issues you never have time for the important things. Like working out three times a week, like yoga or meditation or prayer. If you want a healthy, fulfilled life – you’ve got to plan for it.

Also, if you haven’t found Yoga with Adriene where have you been hiding? Free 20-30 minutes yoga sessions on Youtube. This 30 day yoga challenge will have you feeling back on top in no time. I’m currently doing my second round of this challenge and it’s made a big difference for me. (And Duke.)

Flu shots are good. I got mine last night and although I’ve heard the stats too (30% effective at times) if you do still get the flu – your body is like, oh, cool, no we’ve seen this it’s all good everyone, and you don’t get it as bad. Make sense. Flu shot = less severe illness or none at all. I had my kids watch me get mine so when they get theirs next week they’re not as anxious.

The fiction book I love right now:

The book of two ways by Jodi Picoult (Be prepared to laugh, then cry, then laugh again.) Quantum Mechanics, two plane crashes, a messy love story, an ancient Egyptian tomb? Sign me up please.

This episode on BrenĂ© Brown’s new podcast ‘Unlocking Us’ – who led me to my new favorite non-fiction book that is currently blowing my mind:

Burnout – the Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle

Did you know you can’t control your emotions. (Whaaaat? I’ve been stuffing those down or years, of course you can!)

No. You’ve been IGNORING them, but they are there, hanging out, waiting to be able to finish the cycle. For my children’s sake – I need to figure this stuff out, am I right? Adulting…if it were easy there would be no need for Amazon and ice cream.

So that’s my blog entry for today – hopefully some of this was useful to you.

If you’d like to read more of what I’m writing, you can click on this link here to learn all about how poetry can save the world. And the latest poetry expresso I’m reading right now.

If you’ve had enough of me, but are totally into poetry, this is a really cool article by a writer at diymfa.com Identifying Themes in the Poetry we Read by Sara Letourneau

Is there a topic or book or podcast you’d like to hear more of? If so, drop me a line at angelathewriter@hotmail.com.