Writers Block: What is the REAL story?

betseypic

My first book, Autobiography of an Orgasm, took two years to write, but that was because I spent twenty-one of those months writing a different book.

The original book I was working on was about my life and spiritual path as I travelled between the US and Zimbabwe, and it included a very short passage about a sensual encounter with a man in Africa.

When author Joyce Maynard evaluated a chapter of that manuscript, she said,

“You should be writing about your sensual path.”

At the time, I remember thinking  I could never tell the truth about my sex life – it was filled with so many lies, so much sadness and shame. It was a part of my life that I wanted to hide.

I was not brave enough to tell the truth about my sensual path, so I continued to write the book about my travels. A year later, Joyce read another chapter from the manuscript and told me the same thing again.

This time I listened.

_______________________________________________________________________

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” -Joan Didion

_______________________________________________________________________

Maybe it was because I was turning fifty and no longer cared as much about what people thought about me. Maybe it was because in the end, the discomfort of not telling the story was worse than the transparency of telling it. Maybe it was a little of both.

My book opened with the line: “I had my first orgasm when I was thirty-six, which means I spent half my life faking it” and for the next 40,000 words, I wrote all the stories that I felt were unsayable, unlovable and unforgivable. I learned that the real story I needed to tell was the story hiding behind the one I was writing, and once I tapped into the source of what I should be writing, the story flowed out of me like a I was watering a garden ready to bloom.

It was a relief to write the truth. It was also uncomfortable and vulnerable at times but ultimately I found strength in being vulnerable.

After releasing, Autobiography of an Orgasm, something unexpected happened – the transparency was where readers connected to my story. I began to receive story after story from readers who thanked me for putting words to their own disconnection from their sensual being. For some, it became a starting point to look at their relationships to their bodies. For others, it became a launching point for reclaiming their bodies as holy and experiencing healing through orgasm. 

Look at your writing now. Is there something you are not telling the whole truth about?  Where can you write with even more transparency?

_______________________________________________________________________

In order to be a writer, you have to learn to be reverent. If not, why are you writing? Why are you here?” –Anne Lamott

_______________________________________________________________________

I asked for submissions for the next book, an anthology I was editing titled Autobiographies of Our Orgasms. I received so many soulful, reverent stories about the sensual paths of men and women, but in nearly all of the pieces, there was a deeper story, a deeper truth that needed to be told.  When I suggested revisions, some of the writers courageously revealed the deeper truths. Others said they weren’t ready to write the whole truth because of concerns about family, friends and careers.

My advice to any writer on writing the passages that make you uncomfortable is whatever you choose to do, offer it with reverence. Offer your writing in the same way you would make an offering at a sacred temple. And remember, you will find the most connection when you write the scenes you would rather hide from.

Can you honor yourself enough to write the real story you want to tell?

You can find more information on Betsy Blankenbaker’s books or her Qoya Writing Workshops at www.betsyblankenbaker.com. She is accepting submissions for Autobiographies of Our Orgasms, Vol 2 through September 30, 2015.

The Sensual Writer

Coltranepic

Writing to me is sensuality. It is talking about the assault on the senses and the effect on the individual. The main thing is to immerse yourself in the material, and reach for the intensity.

-Anne Rice

Does everything have to be about sex? 

It’s tempting, but no, not everything has to be about sex. 

But wouldn’t it be great if we felt passionate, blissful, satiated, loving, and fulfilled most of the time? I believe we would appreciate life more if we experienced everything with the full engagement of our senses, including when we write.

When our senses are open, we are present in our bodies. We are sensual.  We see, feel, hear, taste, and smell more completely and passionately.  We are more alive, we feel good, we engage from a higher place.  We are, simply, happier.  And isn’t that the whole point?

As writers, our awakened senses inspire us to serve our readers better. Or at the very least, help us to enjoy the writing process at every moment.

The sensual writer is a passionate writer.  It doesn’t have to be a trashy novel or erotica to write from a turned-on, sensual state.  When you are present, focused, and stimulated (yes just like sex), you will find your creative juices flow more gracefully and fully.  It makes the process of writing enjoyable, satisfying, and maybe even euphoric. 

The sensual writer is a vulnerable writer.  When we let go of inhibitions and allow ourselves to be naked and vulnerable, we can travel to the depths of our psyche and emotions to meet our true self.   From this place, the shame, disappointment, and judgment that hide our most secret desires can be exposed and expressed with authenticity.

The sensual writer is a therapeutic writer.  Sensuality is a healing energy.  Writing with our heightened senses, conscious presence, and courage to expose our truths nourishes readers with stimulating thoughts, ideas, and fantasy.  It connects us to the universal forces of humanity to heal our sensual souls.

So, let’s get naked and vulnerable, be fully connected with presence, heighten our passion, enjoy the depths and heights of our emotions, ignite all our senses, and allow our creative writing juices to flow. 

Here are a few tips to opening up all your senses to become a sensual writer.

1) Create a space that makes you feel deliciously alive and peaceful.  Try writing with scented candles, flowers, stimulating art or photographs, and music that helps you to settle into your body.

2) Try light, healthy, aromatic snacks that tempt your taste buds but don’t fill you up. Enjoying small pieces of chocolate, juicy fruit, or honey now and then.  Learn to smell the aroma before you take a bite.  This heightens the brainwaves for taste.

3) Keep scented lotions near your workspace. Take breaks giving your hands or whole body a luxurious self-massage now and then.  Touch is one of the most nourishing things you can do for yourself.

4) Take a 5-minute stretch or meditation breaks. Make sure you breathe deeply to stimulate the inner body.

5) Start off your writing session with a sexy dance break.  Find your favorite sensual song and move to it before you sit down to write.  Try this especially if you have writers block.  Getting out of your head and back into your body might be the perfect remedy.

6) If you have the luxury of privacy, try writing completely naked.  See how that vulnerability and excitement stimulates your writing.  If a private space is not available to you, try going commando.

I encourage you, at this very moment, to be a sensual writer.  Simply start swaying your body and maybe even slip off those undies – you know you’re tempted.  Grab your pen and paper and jot down how this experience makes you feel, especially when you move beyond your mind.  How are your words flowing? What phrases do you choose to use?  How many new ideas do you now have?  I’m having the time of my life imagining all of you writers in motion, intoxicated, inspired, and deliciously creative.

Coltrane Lord is a Couture Designer, Boudoir Photographer, Writer, Soul Searcher in Stilettos, Illuminator, and Creatrix at Lord Coltrane Haute Life www.lordcoltrane.com

31 Things To Stop Doing (so you will start writing)

stop

Yesterday I wanted to give up.

The flow I was in with my writing had become a battle and I started feeling  like a fraud.

Who was I to coach others on writing when my fingers were stuck in cement? I wasn’t finishing my writing projects and my blog was felt like a rock in my shoe I was just too lazy to shake out.

Until I remembered why I want to write. I want to write because I do it well, it stops the insanity in my head for a while, and brings me some peace and clarity.  Like most writers, I also write for the dream of seeing my name on the NY TIMES Bestsellers list one day. Oh, and money – for the money, JK Rowling style.

A favorite actor of mine said,

“The only good reason to have money is this: so that you can tell any SOB in the world to go to hell”. Humphrey Bogart

I must confess that one of the reasons behind my perseverance in writing is because while I love writing for the journey, I have some people I would love to tell where to go. In my fantasies, my writing will bring me monetary success so that I can do that.

Y’know like “ F** off, my book is on the New York Times Best Seller List”.

Wow – that was not what this post was supposed to be about.

I was going to make this post about how I lost my obsession with writing when I slipped on the ice this winter, and fractured my elbow and tore ligaments in my shoulder.

I developed some unhealthy habits because I could not write, and when I don’t write I go a little nuts.

Without writing here’s what I did -

I spent my time:

  • Addicted to the iPhone
  • Laying on the couch popping pain meds non-stop
  • Watching too much on Netflix
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Telling myself the kids need me. All. The. Time. (they don’t)
  • Cooking for the family. I mean, thinking about it. (I don’t like to cook)
  • Bemoaning that my writing arm was in a sling and I was in so much pain.

Then slowly I started healing. Yet, I still was not writing. My bad habits had taken hold of me.

I was:

  • B**tching about money. Again.
  • Rolling around in the ‘not enough’ swamp.

There was not enough:

  • time.
  • money.
  • love.
  • help.
  • boots. (I love boots.)

I decided to quit thinking about writing and just give up and sit in the kitchen watching the eggs boil.

The eggs boiled and I realized that everything takes time. 20 min for eggs to boil. A lifetime to work through everything else. It takes time to come back to the writing page after having been gone for a while.

I went to what I call the center of my soul:  my bookshelf.  I pulled out a book by Steven Chandler on Time Management called “Time Warrior”, and a book by Steven Pressfield called “Turning Pro”.

I went to the swimming pool, sat at the end of the diving board and poked around the time management book. A few pokes was all it took for me to take on the energy of the book, the urgency to get focused and be responsible for my time.

I made the decision to read Turning Pro from cover to cover without budging.  I did, right then and there while sitting on the diving board. Drenched in sweat and sunburned, I felt alive again.

I was back in the game of doing what I love: Writing and inspiring others to write.

Here are 31 things to stop doing so you will start writing.

STOP Doing these 31 things:

1) Stop waiting for the perfect time. The perfect time is now. Right now.

2) Stop waiting to have more money. Writing when you’re hungry has a lot of power, and while I wouldn’t choose it, if it happens, use your hunger in your writing.

3) Stop wanting to be successful in your current business/career first. One thing has nothing to do with the other. You can write while you’re working:  Evenings, lunch hour, early morning, weekends.

4) Stop wanting permission from someone. Skip this. Just give yourself permission – that’s all that really matters.

5) Stop being afraid of your power.  You may not realize it, yet acknowledging that you are a powerful person that can be powerful with your words is scary. You are powerful. It’s OK to take that in.

6) Stop distracting yourself. The world is full of distractions for everyone. People that are successful are able to ignore distractions and focus. Just start with short periods of time. Can you sit, writing, undistracted for five minutes?

7) Stop hiding from your demons. They’re everywhere: In your dreams, your thoughts, your past. Bring them with you to the page and write to them. Let them sit alongside you as you write them a goodbye letter. If they revisit, do it again.

8) Stop pursuing a shadow career (where you are the support for another that is going for their dreams) while ignoring your writing. No matter what your career is right now, make the time to write.

9) Stop chasing many dreams and goals. It may feel free when you don’t lock yourself down to one thing, but you are trapped in scattered energy. Choose your one thing, one topic, and go for it. That is true freedom.

10) Stop thinking that some people are born as professional writers. They had to work at it. HARD. So do you. You work at it, you fail, you crash and burn. Then you really have something to say.

12) Stop your addictions to______. I know you can’t stop completely but you can stop long enough to get some writing out.

(It can be an addiction to a substance, to failure, to love, to a person, care-taking, money, shopping, sex, distraction, drama, traveling, negative thinking…fill in the blank.)

13) Stop trying to change bad habits.  My trick is to  just start a good habit. It will cancel out some of the bad ones. 

14) Stop saying  “I’m so busy”. Of course you take care of stuff, but you don’t have to make being busy your go to motto. Instead of saying “I am busy” say “I am a writer” as often as you can.

15) Stop creating drama in your life, or getting sucked into someone else’s drama. Deal with your own internal stuff and stay out of other peoples stuff.  They will figure it out without you, leaving you the time and energy to focus on your writing.

16) Stop giving up on your dream of writing.

As Churchill said, “Never never never give up”. 

17) Stop letting your fears hold you back because there is no end to your fears. Allow yourself to feel the fear and do it anyway.

18) Stop procrastinating. Write like there’s no tomorrow. There may not be, and your story and writing may be hidden from the world forever.

19) Stop avoiding a simple life. Life gets simple when you have one track you’re on. Make that one track your writing.

Be regular and orderly in your life so you may be violent and original in your work. Gustave Flaubert

20) Stop ignoring the secret dream or passion you have. Dreams that are ignored tend to become quite rowdy and show up in your life to get your attention in unconventional ways.

21) Stop clinging to your unproductive friends and turn to those people that are committed to their craft. You don’t have to give up your unproductive friends completely but remember that you become like the 5 people closest to you.

22) Stop punishing yourself in your mind if you don’t know what you want. Stay open to the world around you and keep asking questions of yourself and the answers will come.

23) Stop thinking about regrets of the past and stop obsessing about the future. Read some Eckhart Tolle and be in the moment. That’s where creation is, right in the laser focused, present moment.

24) Stop waiting to be inspired and just write something. Anything. You can throw it out.

25) Stop obsessing about what ‘other’ people, other gurus or know it all’s are doing. You have enough inside you so be your own guru.

26) Stop trying to be great and just be ordinary. Once you’re getting ‘ordinary’ done, you can work on being great. One step at a time.

27) Stop dreaming of fame and fortune as the rewards for your work. Know that the journey is the reward in itself.

28) Stop waiting for the perfect space.  Create an orderly corner for yourself and go there every day at the same time, even if its only for five minutes at first.

29) Stop thinking you have to know everything. You don’t. Most people don’t know what they’re doing at first. You can figure if out along the way, so get on your way.

30) Stop letting a bad day or a missed creative session hold you back from writing again tomorrow. Keep going. Athletes play while they’re hurt. You can come back after a flop.

31) Stop thinking it will get better. If this is how it is so be it. This is your current life. Create anyway.

The One Thing Left To Do:

Make a decision to write no matter what. Cross over into the place where obstacles still exist but excuses do not.

Steven Pressfield, author of the book I read on the diving board says this:

“I didn’t talk to anybody during my year of turning pro. I didn’t hang out. I just worked. I had a book in mind and I had decided I would finish it or kill myself. No tv, radio, music, sports, sex. I didn’t read the newspaper. For breakfast I had liver and eggs. I was like Rocky.” 

You may not be able to check out completely, yet in your own way, with whatever you have going on in your life, you can figure out a way to do a version of what Steven Pressfield did.

Pursue your art.

Decide. Look into the mirror and what do you see?

Make that person you see in the mirror the one that owns their power to take on the decision to say “I am a writer”.  And write no matter what.

 

Now it’s your turn to reply to this email with your story. What are you up to? What’s happening in your life? What do you want to share with the world?

Would you like to work with me?   I won’t leave you alone. I will email you, text you, call you,  and make sure you’re writing.

$97 is my fee for now for new clients only, until I fill up the few slots I am offering because I am taking a break between writing projects.  (YES I spend most of my time writing.)

What you get is:

  • a half hour session about your writing desires and goals
  • a written, emailed, personalized step by step writing plan based on our conversation 
  • a follow up with me via email one week later

Go for it. You are a writer.


You will receive an email confirmation with my calendar so you can schedule your call.

On Being a Vulnerable Blogger

Love-Heart-Art-On-Urban-Street-300x210

In the not-so-distant past, each time I sat down to write, I was faced with the decision of whether or not to use a filter on sharing my emotions, thoughts, experiences, judgments, beliefs, and if I use one, how much truth must I filter out?

The series of anxious thoughts that flood my mind sound something like this:

Who is going to read this and do they even care what I have to say? How much personal information is “appropriate” to share with the public? If I say________, who will I offend? What will my friends and family think of me?

Can I write about experiences that have to do with other people? What potential clients might I push away for being too honest, transparent, and vulnerable? Can I swear?

Will people continue to think I am:

  • too much
  • too sensitive
  • too vocal about painful parts or even joyful parts of my life?

As far back as I can remember, people always told me that I should write. It’s always been easiest for me to articulate my innermost personal experiences with others via writing.

It was a way for me to say what I needed to purge, without having to look someone in the eye and be vulnerable in their presence. While in school, if I had the opportunity to write about a topic and weave my personal experiences into it, I was delighted, and enjoyed being able to candidly disclose moments of my life I would normally only share with a best friend or a therapist.

I found it easy to write about my life, seeing as I was an expert on it, and felt dread when having to discuss anything less interesting.

It just dawned on me in this very moment that writing is both a way for me to hide and a way for me to be seen.

It allows me to bare some deep and dark places I’ve experienced all the while hiding behind a computer screen, or, back in the day, pen and paper. I remember being terrified to keep a journal when I was younger for fear that someone would read it and my most painful moments in life would be revealed to another human being.

Coming from a childhood experience where I was molested, bribed with food to keep quiet about it, and threatened that if I ever told, something bad would happen to my mother, you can imagine the debilitating fear I felt to open my mouth, even if just putting these things down on paper.

It was these experiences that I’d kept secret for so long are what prompted me to begin to share my inner world with the outer world.

Up until about a year and a half ago, I never believed I had the permission to publicly write (or speak) about my experiences. I knew if and when I did, that my work would come from the place in me that has always wanted to be heard and seen.

Once I began blogging, I found myself holding back less and less. I was able to release the fear of what others would think. I was able be raw and real. What I have come to realize is that I receive the most loving and thoughtful feedback from people when I am vulnerable and I let people see the tender, human side of me. This is now why I write. I desire others to be able to find their voice too.

Here are more useful questions I ask myself now that you can ask yourselves too.

What is my intention behind my words?

How do I hope they will be received?

In what way do I hope to positively impact and inspire people?

Who exactly am I writing for?

Am I being completely authentic?

Is there a way for me to go deeper and be even more truthful?

Do I need to reel in my emotions and if so, will I feel like I am holding back?

My blog is now the virtual version of my journal. I openly disclose things I once held shame around. I don’t have to hide it under my bed.

I welcome you to read it.

Brittany England is a Mind/Body Wellness Coach, Certified FasterEFT Practitioner, and former licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. She is inspired by human connection, a desire for others to feel freedom within themselves, and trusting in the divine plan the Universe has in store! She can be found at www.tapintopeace.net and tapintopeace.tumblr.com. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @tapintopeace.

7 Indispensable Writing Tips From Famous Authors

ladyvintagewriter

Is this how it goes when you’re stuck and can’t write? 

When you finally open your laptop, you sit for two minutes, then get up, go to your kitchen and grab a snack.  Back at your laptop, you check your Facebook feed, then realize the sofa is more comfy, so you move there.  Then you check email.  Then you remember your eight glasses of water a day, so you head back to the kitchen, and while you’re there, you load the dishwasher with the breakfast dishes and call your dentist for an appointment.

Before you know it, the morning is gone.  Poof.

And then the afternoon evaporates the same way.  Next thing you know the week is gone.  Before long it’s the month and the year. 

Your precious words never make it onto the page and never get into the world.

So how do real writers actually write things? 

Surely they simply sit at their computers, place their hands on the keyboard, tap into their brilliance, and voila! Extraordinary words flow onto the page. 

Surely they isolate themselves in far-off places, like rose-covered stone cottages in rural Vermont, without other people, wi-fi, or telephones. 

I used to think so until I began paying attention to what accomplished writers have to say about it.   

Here’s what I learned:  they get blocked, too–they struggle with getting started, with finding the right words, with moving through the droughts.  They have distractions, family demands, broken washing machines, and email, just like the rest of us.  They are tempted to goof-off, just like the rest of us.

Yep.  I’ve heard it first-hand from acclaimed writers like Cheryl Strayed, Anne Lamott, Martha Beck, and Pam Houston, all of whom consistently produce fine work.   

Here are some tips I’ve discovered:

1.  Expect the resistance.  Struggle is part of the process of writing just like it’s part of any creative endeavor.  Expect it and don’t give into it.  Every single writer I’ve studied with says the same thing.  They all struggle.  What makes the difference?  They don’t let the struggle stop them.  Don’t let it stop you.

2.  Aim low.  In her brilliant and hilarious guide to writing, Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott suggests that you begin with a “shitty first draft.”  Yep, that’s all you need to get started.  Just get something, anything, no matter how terrible on the page.  You can edit, polish and change it later.

3.  Aim high.  Read the works of the masters. Cheryl Strayed talks about reading Alice Munroe and Toni Morrison to figure out how to move a character from room to room.  Think about it:  Cheryl Strayed, whose best-selling memoir Wild inspired Oprah to reconvene her Book Club, has trouble finding the right words, too. Writing can be challenging, so read the masters with curiosity and learn how they do it.

4.  Clean out the clogged pipes.  Martha Beck suggests doing Artist’s Pages for 15 minutes every morning.  Artist’s Pages are a technique described in The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron.  Simply set a timer and write steadily about anything for 15 minutes.  Don’t stop until the time is up.  This is not necessarily to be used or even re-read.  It’s just to get your creative flow unblocked.

5.  Treat every day like it’s your last.  Anne Lamott says to ask yourself what you will care about at the end of your life?  Having spent your evenings on Facebook? Watching the 10 pm news?  “If you want to write,” she says, “you must commit that every evening at 10 pm you will write for an hour, come hell or high water.”

6.  Breathe, baby, breathe.   Stress is the enemy of intelligence and creativity.  You can’t think or create when you’re stressed about anything, including not writing.   A simple trick is to use your breath with this simple exercise: inhale-two-three-four-exhale-two-three-four.   You can also try my Heartbreathing technique—it’s free and super-effective.

7.  Put down the whip.  If you’re mean to yourself, critical and judgmental, or tell yourself that you should have done it yesterday, you’ll make it worse.  Self-abuse is not motivating.  It has the opposite effect—you’ll avoid writing to avoid the tongue-lashing that you know is coming.  Be kind.  It really works! 

So now what?  Here’s my final tip:

Print out this article and put it in a visible place in your writing area.  Read it every morning.  Try out each tip and see what works for you.

And please do leave a comment below, about what you experience with these tips or your own favorite technique.

Terry DeMeo, JD is a coach, mentor, writer and storyteller.  Her blog is Inner180.com.  If you join her mailing list, you’ll receive her free Heartbreathing materials—a guided meditation and worksheet that’s guaranteed to relieve stress in any situation.  Just drop an email to support@terrydemeo.com with the words “Heartbreathing Materials, please” in the subject line.

Does A Writer Need An Office?

marktwain1Mark Twain 

You almost wrote something that would make J.K. Rowling cry.

But you got distracted and lost your train of thought. Drat.

Maybe you need your own office, free of distractions and interruptions? Would that make you more productive?

You know the writing you have inside you is dying to break free and pour onto the page. But how can you expect your muse to wait around while you keep leaving? A third cup of coffee in the kitchen, laundry to finish, and a mailbox to check. You’re getting distracted, and your writing is suffering.

Sure, you might feel good about all the money you’re saving by not renting an office. But if you’re not writing your best work, what good is ‘free’? You want to write ‘bestseller’ material – stuff that will inspire, inform and solve problems. Where is the best place for you to write?

Let’s stop wondering and get some answers once and for all.

 

What have the great writers done?

 

Stephen King balanced a child’s desk on his thighs between a washer and dryer in the basement of his trailer. On it was his wife Tabby’s portable typewriter on which he wrote. I didn’t even know that trailers had basements.

Pulitzer Prize winner John Cleever wrote near the furnace in the basement of an apartment building in New York City. He probably sat there, listening to water dripping and pipes banging overhead, and somehow still managed to write.

J.K. Rowling had the idea for Harry Potter on a train, and she wrote about him in cafés and in the one-room apartment she shared with her child.

Apparently, a club of great writers exists whose members started out with writing spots in damp basements and bedrooms. An office is clearly not essential to success.  Among these writers, a common theme emerged:

You must have a space to call your own.

 

Then there are writers who achieved success and recognized the importance of having their own formal space in which to create.

When novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, friend and future biographer of Charlotte Bronte, visited, “the room looked the perfection of warmth, snugness and comfort”, especially in contrast to the ‘bleak cold colors’ of the Yorkshire moors outside. This writer clearly needed to differentiate her writing space from her surroundings.

Roald Dahl wrote in a little shed— a private sanctuary where he could work without interruption. He went into the shed in the morning, kept the curtains closed, wrote until lunchtime, and did not let anybody in.

Margret Forster (award-winning British author) said, “The minute I walk into this room of my own, I swear I become a different person. The wife, the mother, the granny, the cook, the cleaner — all vanish. For two or three hours only the writer is left.”

And you have to do the work, the writing, even if all you have is a closet.

 

Traveling to coffee shops, writing at the kitchen table, and moving your laptop to the porch are wonderful breaks in the monotony, if needed.

But without your own definite space, how serious are you about writing? Or are you treating your writing like a pretend career?

One day, when you have some success, you can pull out your golden pen and claim a room with a view, an office/writer’s studio of your own, just like most great writers do.

Until then…

 

4 Tips for creating an environment conducive to writing

 

1. Be selfish 

Walk around the space you live in and claim any space that feels right to you, that calls to you, even if you have to move some furniture around. Trust your intuition. You may not have an entire room of your own, but you must work with what you have.

When you find the spot you want to call your own, run a stake through the ground and thump your chest like Tarzan. Place a desk or table there. Own your space. This is where you create.

 

2. Remove clutter from your space

Clean up. If you already have a space that works for you, take time to go through the stuff on your desk and in your workspace often. Papers and accumulated items create chaos and distraction from your dream, which is to write. A messy workspace may be a subconscious form of self sabotage.

 

3. Create a ritual at your workspace

Perhaps a candle you light when you sit down, or a perfume bottle you spray, or a song you play. It could be a peppermint tin on your desk and you have one before opening your laptop. (I just ate my 6th cinnamon mint — maybe skip the tin.)

 

4. Make your writing space about YOU

Hang a quote, a picture, or place a trinket —something essentially yours, that reminds you of your goal and motivates you to write. Preferably not pictures of other people, even if it’s your family.

 

What are you waiting for?

 

Are you off to read another blog post? Some more tips on writing? Check your bank balance again?

Don’t. Now’s the time to make the best of your space. Pick up a broom and start sweeping. Box up your junk and hang a writing calendar. Change the light bulb.

Don’t get caught up wondering about a right or wrong place to write, or whether to have an office or not. What is essential is that you have your own writing space and that you write.

Make each word count, and give every word you write the environment it deserves — the office of your dreams. Because word by word, you create your life.

Where do you write your best work? I look forward to knowing in the comments below.

(this originally appeared on Write To Done as a Guest Post I wrote)

 

5 Ways To Honest Writing (and selling people out)

joandidion

No one wants to be a rat.

You know, the one that tells the family secrets, betrays the trust of friends or business partners.

But someone’s gotta do it.

As  Joan Didion says,

“Writer’s are always selling someone out”.

You may want to write a book, a blog, and wonder about writing the truth the way you see it. Or the way you experienced something. And then you realize you may be saying too much, or that someone may not like what story you told.

What do you do?

I wrestled with this for a while because I wanted to write stories based on my childhood growing up as one of eleven children.

That’s a story loaded with stuff about other people. Do you sugar coat? Change story lines, names and situations?

When I read this quote by Anne Lamott I had my answer very clearly.

“Own everything. If people wanted you

to write warmly

about them they should have behaved better”.

Pick your choice. Blog for real or your writing may be milk-toast-inspired.

Do you get into messes because of something you said?

If so, good. That means you have a shortcut to being honest in your writing. If not, then perhaps you can find your truth when you write. Because that is all people really want to read.

I love this writing space in this photo,  yet have a sneaking suspicion that it would be hard for me to be honest and raw surrounded by pink. 

 

room1

My half broken laptop with the super annoying Windows 8, the draft at my window and the roll top desk  I bang my elbow into as I write is where I am at. Right behind me are sharp Lego pieces I step on with my bare feet getting to my desk at 4:30 AM.

Now that’s a space that brings out the truth in me, and only the truth, so help me God.

Here are 5 Ways To Honest Writing.

1) “Tell the truth but tell it slant.

…The truth must dazzle gradually,

or every man be blind”.  Emily Dickinson

Change things that don’t take away from the emotion of the writing or the events that you want to portray as having occurred in a specific way.  This can be tricky yet possible. The truth with a slant.

2) Write your first draft when you are tired, uncomfortable, hungry, angry, lonely.

This will help you use your emotional and physical state to bypass good feelings and get to the raw.

3) Ditch the keyboard.

Temporarily.

Take out a paper and pen and ask yourself what you really, really want to write if no one else would read it . Ever. Write THAT down on your paper.

Ask yourself what messages or emotions you want your readers to get after reading  your writing. Write THAT down on your paper.

This may bring you closer to your truth than the keyboard initially.

4) Become a Healer

Writing provides relief for yourself and others. When it feels scary to be honest in your writing, remind yourself of the healing you can only provide others if you’re real. And take courage from the knowledge that this is how you as a writer have ultimate healing yourself.

You deserve to heal.

5) Be sinful

There is a feeling of sinful pleasure when you write the truth because you know someone won’t like it. AT ALL.

And isn’t it fun to sin once in a while?

From my edgy, drafty space to yours, know that you could do it. Actually, only you could write the truth as its known to you so if you don’t the world will never have that spot inside themselves healed in a way only you could provide.

Write your truth and you’re a hero.

Go be a hero. It’s not for the faint of heart but if you read this far, it’s probably for you.

 

images: pagewoman.tumblr.com/inspirerooms.com/

The Real Reason Why You Can’t Write

writers block woman 

You’re dying to be a successful writer.

In fact, you spend most of your time thinking about writing and imagining where it might take you. You think about what to write, where to write, and which tools to use. You even block out time in your calendar to write.

And at the end of every day, you still haven’t written a single word.

Why can’t you make this work? Why can’t you just sit down and write? You want to, you have a unique voice, and you have ideas you want to write about. Keeping it all inside of you nearly hurts.

You know a lot about writing already – tons, in fact. You know where to find writing tools, ways to overcome writer’s block, information on finding writing work, and which websites offer writing classes on how to become a better writer.

It’s all at your fingertips.

So what’s missing? Why can’t you seem to write as freely, as much, and as easily as all the other writers?

There’s a secret about writing that no one told you.

This secret will get you in the chair, in front of your screen, writing away. Coaches,mentors and therapists use this secret all the time, helping their clients start anything they desire.

Actually, you already own this secret. It’s hidden inside you.

It’s your very own belief system.

Your beliefs about you and your writing are holding you back.

Many motivational leaders in spiritual, financial and self-help fields say that in order to achieve your goals, be they financial, spiritual or relationship related, you need to become aware of your beliefs – and then transcend the old belief system you’ve adopted.

Have you ever stopped to think about what you believe about yourself as a writer? Have you ever considered what you believe about the work you produce?

Your beliefs run the show, usually subconsciously. And if they’re limiting or negative beliefs, they’ll stop that show dead in its tracks.

You believe certain theories about why you suffer from wanting desperately to write but are unable to. Each writer has their own belief system. Maybe you believe you aren’t a good writer, or that your work isn’t “epic” enough, or that you’re too slow. Whatever.

Once you take time to figure out your beliefs about you as a writer, and about writing itself, you can begin to see where you hold yourself back from actually writing in the first place.

Can it be this simple?

Yes. Simple… but not easy.

Lucky for you, a step-by-step system exists to replace negative beliefs with better ones, and once you try it, you’ll eliminate your delaying tactics and procrastination for good.

You’ll be one of those writers you see in Starbucks, eyes glued to the page, typing away furiously while sipping steaming-hot coffee.

Step 1: Identify your limiting beliefs

Find a calm space where you can sit quietly. Take a few deep breaths, and ask yourself the following questions, listening to your intuition for the answers:

What are some of the beliefs that prevent you from writing?

For some writers, the answers jump out. For others, they need to make several attempts or spend time thinking about the answer. A few general limiting beliefs might include some or any of the following:

  • I don’t have time to…
  • I’m not smart enough to…
  • I’m too busy to…
  • I could never be successful at…
  • I’m afraid if I’m successful then…
  • I don’t have enough money to…
  • My mother/father/spouse/partner/friend says that I should…

These are just some examples to help you uncover your personal limiting beliefs. Yours may be related to your writing, or to success, or to failure, or to something else entirely.

Write down your list of limiting beliefs – the negative thoughts and emotions that come to you when you think of writing, or yourself as a writer.

If it’s difficult to come up with the honest answers about what’s holding you back, you can work with a mentor or coach to do some soul-searching and self-discovery. It’s well worth the effort so you can begin getting words on the page.

Step 2: Flip your limiting beliefs

Now that you have a list of limiting beliefs, write the opposite of each belief on a new sheet of paper. Turn your negative beliefs and thoughts into positive ones.

For example:

Old Belief: My parents said I can’t make money as a writer and that I should get a real job.

New Belief: Writing is a real career that can earn money, and many people have been successful. I can be successful in this career too.

Old Belief: I have to wait for my life to be perfect and balanced. Then I’ll be able to write.

New Belief: I can write any time I choose, and I don’t have to wait for any silly criteria – I can begin writing today, and I will.

Step 3: Pick 3 new beliefs

From the new beliefs you created, pick 3. Post them somewhere you’ll see them every day, often. (Post ONLY the new beliefs – the old ones are gone!)

Spend 2 to 3 minutes a day reading your new positive beliefs, and infuse this visualization with positive energy. By reading your new beliefs frequently, and believing in them, you’ll gradually come to create change around your writing.

Slowly these new beliefs will become your reality and truth.

Step 4: Grow into your new beliefs

This may not be an instant transformation; rather, you’ll grow into it. Help that growth occur by creating a specific action plan that helps you live your new beliefs.

Perhaps you need to get assistance with some of your tasks so you’ll have time to write. Maybe you’ll have to read daily material around a specific feeling or belief you’ve newly adopted. You might need to get help from a coach, or someone who’ll assist you in changing old writing habits.

Stay around positive people who are self-growth oriented. Their encouragement will help wear down those negative beliefs until they’re completely gone.

How New Beliefs Can Transform Your Writing Life

By bringing your limiting beliefs to the surface and reversing them into positive ones, you can transform your writing, and your life as a writer.

One of my main beliefs that caused me to delay writing was that everything else has to be done first. With children and coaching clients, this meant I left writing to the last item of the day, and I barely wrote because of it.

My limiting belief was completely blocking me from writing.

My new belief became: I can write first thing every day before everything else. I didn’t know how this could ever happen, but I started waking up a little earlier, or sometimes just wrote for 10 minutes, first thing in the morning.

Slowly I figured out how to rearrange my schedule so that writing is my first activity of the morning on most days.

Granted, writing may still be challenging for you at times. Finding the right words sometimes feels like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Writer’s block might still show up. But more often than not, you’ll be writing.

And when you aren’t, you’ll know how to get back to it quickly.

Which limiting beliefs will you change?  What’s holding you back from writing? And where do you want your new writing beliefs to take you?

(this post appeared on Men With Pens as a Guest Post I wrote)