It’s been a wee while but I’m posting anew in the spirit of community. (As always this may seem geared to writers, but it’s intended for the creative in all of us.) Herein you’ll find suggestions for keeping your seat to the seat and your pen or fingers in motion.
First, I offer some quick practices — fresh ways to ease or thrust you into a daily habit. All are borrowed. I take no credit.
Prompts. Some writers and artists don’t like working with them and some have never tried. I admit to being wary when first introduced. Some rough starts and disappointing results frustrated me. But I now greet them with enthusiasm and gratitude.
This year, I was introduced to Nancy Stohlman’s FLASHNANO 2019, 30 STORIES~30 DAYS. [November is National Novel Writing Month (http://www.nanowrimo.org). The process is a seat of the pants approach to writing a novel in a month.] Already neck deep in my second novel, I signed on for this flash (micro) fiction option instead.
Every day I receive a prompt via email and a facebook forum. I have 24 stories so far, some just a few words long. One prompt, in fact, asked us to write a story in ten sentences. Others, naturally called for a couple of lines. I shared a few on the FB page and enjoyed reading those of others. It’s always a kick to see what a number of people do with the same simple prompt. And I now have a reservoir of flash fiction pieces. Everything from a red sweater to an explosion to a story that takes place on a bicycle.
You can still catch up with Nancy’s prompts or find other sites that offer some. I am also happy to send prompts at your request for those on this mailing list. It’s great fun and it’s always optional.
[Claire Guyton, award winning Maine writer, spent a year writing a “daily shorty.” She has since published a number of brilliant pieces using her year’s results as rough drafts.]
In the spirit of saying yes to new creative opportunities I’ve accepted an invitation to be part of a beta group working with a local poet. He offers a poem. We read. We digest. We discuss in a webinar. Then, we each write one of our own. My “Autumnal” is underway with input from the group (including participants from both sides of “the Pond,” UK and USA). I’m in new territory here. Scary and inspiring.
I also recently attended a local workshop offered by Liz Korabek-Emerson (Korabek Training) with guest, Ellen Rook. Sit. Walk. Write. was a part of Liz’s “Mindfulness and Artfulness Sunday Workshop Series” and called my name. It was based on the work of Natalie Goldberg. Writing prompts were offered following stretches of sitting and walking. The final one was a Goldberg classic: Write a six-word memoir. In this case we were asked to sum up our four-hour experience in six words.
In her book, The True Secret of Writing, Connecting Life with Language, Goldberg includes a brief chapter on the six-word memoir. She includes samples such as: My singing voice was never heard; 24 addresses but still no home; Brooklyn girls makes good: parents dumbfounded. You get the gist.
I suggest you try a few or even make it a daily practice.
As to retreats and workshops and salons, a subject I’ve explored in previous posts, I suggest you look for those that speak to you. To your heart. To your soul. To your need of the moment. Then sign up. Take the chance even if it feels like a risk. And GO.
I just registered for Jodi Paloni’s June 2020 retreat, “Salty Girls,” where we’ll gather at a B&B on the Pemiquid Peninsula. (http://www.jodipaloni.com) I am staying in the NOW, but am already dreaming about it having stepped into the flow of Jodi’s work before. That first experience with her led to a day-long workshop at her Bird and Tree Studio later and I’m still processing the deep work done at both.
I’ve also received info from other writers whose offerings did not speak to the need of the moment in me. One even chastised potential participants who begged off with regret because of the high price point. This testy response spoke more loudly to me than the description of the retreat and I knew it was not for me. My point: listen with your heart and soul and be thus led to the experiences from which you’ll gain the most. [And don’t bankrupt yourself to please someone else’s need.]
Finally, I am sharing a link to a podcast. I was invited to be part of the three-person panel and the evening was great fun. Some interesting stories and suggestions arose that I think you will enjoy.
WPM – Writing, Publishing, Marketing — was presented by Maat Publishing (Marilyn and Steve Carter) and recorded at WSCA Community Radio in Portsmouth. The panel included: Chris Upton, Owner of A Freethinker’s Corner, Books & More in the publishing seat; Tara Whitney, author, coach and speaker in the marketing seat; and me in the writing seat. I hope you find what’s offered useful. http://www.maatpublishing.net/WPM_podcasts.htm
I recommend an exploration of other podcasts. I love READ TO ME, with Becky Karush. (http://www.readtomepod.com) Delicious! And Liz Gilbert’s Magic Lessons (http://www.elizabethgilbert.com) presents an interesting format and a darned good listen.