Tuesday, January 22, 2008

On This Day 01-22-2008

On this chosen day, Writer Woman is glad to say the review for her online magazine was better than good. It was great! Kind of like Tony The Tiger. Anybody remember him? She really sweated over this review because you see Writer Woman is a writer not an editor. When she began her online magazine, it was with the thought that she would provide a safe place for short story writers to be published. Simple.

The magazine came together quickly. Hubby, the artist, donated his efforts on cover art for each issue. Writers came out of the woodwork to help launch the magazine. So, it was Writer Woman’s pleasure to pass on the wonderful review to Hubby and the writers who make it happen. Yeah!

Now Writer Woman has to go face the page this morning. She does much to avoid writing these days. Every excuse in the world, including her blog, keeps her from addressing her project; the beast of a project that threatens to consume her.

Most writers know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the project that shuts them down and makes them search for excuses. When I do spend some time writing, it is always good. The prose flows and I like what direction the story takes, but it is exhausting because it is a story too close to my heart for any kind of gleaned comfort. I spend two days recovering from two hours of work. Really, I wonder if this is the project for me, but it’s been my experience that these kinds of projects are always my best work.

Back to the page.

Writer Woman

Friday, January 18, 2008

On This Day 01-18-2008

On this chosen day, the sun streams into Writer Woman’s study for the first day in what seems like a month. Snow fell on Wednesday evening right before dark. Writer Woman’s husband and daughter went out and played as the snow swirled through the air. There is a good chance to encounter more tomorrow.

Writer Woman is struggling with a memoir project. Writing nonfiction is like wearing her shoes on the wrong feet for a whole day. She finds excuses not to write; such as writing in her blog. Fiction is her strong suit. Should she stop? Should she go back to what she knows?

Julia Cameron believes that each person has a well to be filled. The way one fills this deep whole is by playing, leaving work behind. On Sunday Writer Woman retreated to her study and looked at art books. She hung her favorite art posters from an earlier time. One the exposed brick wall, she hung a green shooting star with white lights inside. Beside the star, hung a big dragonfly lit by colored lights. These are to remind her during her writing not to take it all so serious.

Later that evening she found the opening paragraphs for her project floating inside her head. How does one fill her well? Play. Have fun.

Homework assignment: Play tomorrow and then listen.

Writer Woman

Friday, January 11, 2008

On This Day 01-11-2008

On this chosen day, Writer Woman has to laugh at herself. She had dinner with a good friend and aspiring writer. While in the middle of the main and only course, Aspiring Writer’s phone rang, and she began to have a deep conversation with the caller. From Writer Woman’s side of the conversation, it seemed to be serious. The word turkey was mentioned and then Aspiring Writer points at Writer Woman. She mouths that Writer Woman has to help her.

Now Writer Woman has two big fears in her life: 1) flying in any kind of airplane. Just talking about it makes her break out in hives. 2) She cannot ask for donations of any kind. The thought of cold calling a business for a fundraiser knocks her to the ground.

And there was the mention of turkey, and Aspiring Writer was talking to someone from the church they both attend. Writer Woman began to prepare her speech in her mind of how she would say no. Hadn’t she promised that this year she would learn to say no more? Here was the perfect chance. The whole scene began to build in her mind.

Then, Aspiring Writer hung up the phone and said, “You have to help me with the devotional during our women’s meeting next week.”

Had Writer Woman heard correct? This was about a devotional reading not fundraising and flying in planes?

“Sure I can do that.” Now normally this would have been a terrifying proposal, but it paled in the light of what had built in Writer Woman’s mind. So, this Monday night she will step out of her box and lead the women’s meeting in a devotional.

How does this come close to being a writing lesson? Easy. How many times do writers defeat themselves before they ever start? They play out the responses to their short story before they hand it over to one reader. They create such a harsh response that it becomes next to impossible to allow anyone to read their work. So, the story goes back into the drawer, hidden away. And the writers go back to their safe little desks, a little empty, but safe, secure. But what if they handed it to a reader they trust and know loves them? What if the writers prepare for the harshest of comments and then, it is a better critique than they could imagine? What then? What if stepping out of their safe little boxes and handing over their work is the best thing they ever did for their art? What is to be made of it? This means they have to change, grow, evolve to the next level. Often writers don’t want to succeed because in success comes that dreaded word, CHANGE.

Remember just because someone says the word turkey it doesn’t mean it is a fundraiser, and allow the reader you trust to see your work. Then take a chance, step way out of your comfort zone, send the story off for publication. What’s the worse that can happen? You end up getting a no. It’s not the end of the world, but only the beginning of new life, of change, sharing your art.

Writer Woman is signing off so she can go work on her devotional.

Please notice the whole new look Camera Woman gave to Writer Woman’s blog. Beautiful.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

On This Day 01-09-2008

On this chosen day, with Little Daughter back in school, Writer Woman sits down to write. The computer screen of her laptop is intimidating. It shines like a lantern in a fog. Weeks have passed since she followed her writing routine. Has she lost her ability to form words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into a decent story? Time will tell.

Yesterday, Writer Woman spent the day with her niece, who is visiting from London. It was one of those days that Julia Cameron (author of The Artist’s Way) talks about when she suggests that an artist has to fill up her well. We caught up on five years of talking. Niece is beautiful in ways she wasn’t before she left. She has this chic, confident look. Writer Woman is sure this is because she learned how to build her own brand of life; instead of the life pushed on her by well-meaning family members.

In another country, one is alone and left to fend for herself. This fending brings out the survivor instinct. Niece has learned more about life than she ever would within the location of her family. When she speaks, it’s with a self-assurance that most older adults cannot imagine. Writer Woman knows she will learn much from Niece’s visit. It wonderful to have the mentor learn from the student.

Niece brought Writer Woman a gift that indicated that she had listened when Writer Woman spoke to her about the life she was carving out of her passion. The gift hangs in Writer Woman’s writing room on the exposed brick wall. It is a carved resin plaque painted with bronze. The carving reads: Be Still and Know That I Am. This gift was purchased at Westminster Abby, where Niece works. It speaks of Writer Woman’s need for stillness and her belief in the great ‘I Am’.

The day was over all too soon, but Writer Woman knows that she has filled her well with wonderful conversation and love.

Writers need this well filled so as to dip into it and create. Carve out time today to fill your well and then write friends write.

Writer Woman is off to pound the keyboard. With what she is not sure, but hopefully creativity gathered from her rest.

Writer Woman

Notice Camera Woman’s addition of new header. She is quite talented.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

On This Day 01-05-2008

On this chosen day, Writer Woman had a morning out. Qigong instruction…Oh you ask what is qigong? Don’t worry Writer Woman asked the same thing when she began this past September. First it is pronounced Chee-gong. A lot of people call qigong Chinese yoga. Writer Woman plays the New Forest Qigong. This was designed by John A. Bright-Fey. It’s much simpler for westerns, like herself, to understand than the intricate traditional Chinese Qigong. The only rule is one must wear a light smile.

So, Writer Woman’s qigong sessions started again today. Even though she plays a twenty minute session each morning, she missed the group interaction. After the session ended—and it was an especially relaxing session—there was a brunch. The food was magnificent. The house was warm and inviting. The conversation was stimulating. This all adds up to a wonderful day. This day made Writer Woman understand why the decision to stick with qigong was so good for her.

Since she started playing qigong, many changes have taken place in her life. The first was learning to slow her pace in writing. Before qigong she wrote in a manic fashion without coming up for air until she fell out and couldn’t write any longer. She learned this from her corporate life, and somehow her year away did not slow her pace. Next with the slowing of pace came the heightened creativity. Before she knew what had happened, she was meditating on most morning, and spending spans of time thinking. Imagine taking the time to just think. It’s awesome and every writer should try it. Next she noticed her spiritual side became more natural. She could sit and listen to someone talk without the need to inject her opinion. Big stuff!

Finally she took a spare room in her house and turned it into her space. It’s a beautiful room with large cushions and throws. The walls are exposed brick and a double window from ceiling to floor that faces east. In the morning Writer woman sits on a cushion and faces the window to meditate.

Her work has taken on a depth it did not have prior to joining qigong. A year ago she would not have made her a space to work, meditate, and play. There is no space for manic movement and crazy schedules in Writer Woman’s life now. Not to say her life is calm and serene all the time, but she approaches it in a steady pace. Art only comes when inspired. To be inspired one must slow down and allow the inspiration to work through the mind and the heart.

Writer Woman encourages all writers to find a way to slow their pace, to breathe, to take a walk and just think. It is wonderful what it will do for your work and the mind-body.

Writer Woman closes today with a saying from qigong: Everything you need is locked away deep inside of you. All you need is some keys to unlock a few doors. And now you know the secret.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

On This Day 01-03-2008

On this chosen day, Writer Woman woke early to temps in the teens. Now Writer Woman lives in the south—Atlanta to be exact—and weather this cold is not the norm. But she is happy anyway because she finally sat down at her desk and put words into her laptop! It’s been a crazy holiday and writing just doesn’t fit with the dynamics. Anne Lamott says all writers should just forget the month of December, but Writer Woman doesn’t listen; instead, she always tries to set goals and meet them. Ha!

Anyway, even though, her youngest daughter is still home from school, and ‘Newly Married Daughter’ along with ‘Love of Her Life’ decided to drop by and show off their new wedding rings, Writer Woman spent over two hours writing. She can’t promise any of it is worth keeping, but still the words were spilt into the air and onto the page. That is all a writer can ask.

Writer Woman has a new header thanks to her daughter, Camera Woman. If readers would like a treat, check out her blog Notice the wonderful photos and Writer Woman’s grandchildren. Aren’t they just wonderful?

Today seems to be a day for shopping since the cupboard is bare. All that is left is ham, black-eyed peas, and cornbread. And even though Writer Woman would love to be rich—you notice greens are not mentioned because Writer Woman forced them all down on New Years Day like a good Southern Girl—she can’t stand the thought of eating this combination again. She will write today, attempting to make sense of a large project without butchering it to death.

But best of all she has finally put her goals for 2008 into words:

Find joy in all the little things. (And some big things—like her novel being bought—would be nice.)
Write, Write, and Write
Walk, Walk, and Walk
Write, Write, and Write
Play, Play, and Play

Sit down at your desk today and find words to put on the page. If Writer Woman can do it, so can you.

In qigong we have a saying that goes something like this: If you think that all you are doing is waving your hands slowly in the air, then the exercise won't affect you very much. If however, you think you are slowly moving mountains with the turn of a wrist, then the exercise's effect becomes truly profound.

In other words don’t sit down to write thinking the effort is not worth your time; instead, believe you’re writing the next best seller, and you might just accomplish your dreams.

Writer Woman

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

On This Day 01-01-2008

On this chosen day, Writer Woman begins the New Year. She spent New Year’s Eve forcing herself to stay awake and wait for 12:00 midnight. Now this isn’t a real problem for most, but Writer Woman has trained herself to rise early before anyone else in the house and write. Her body begins to shut down at 9:30 pm and by 10:00 pm, she becomes a person no one wants to be around. But Hubby was insistent that the family go to the fireworks at midnight. He chose to ignore all the glares Writer Woman shot in his direction.

After Writer Woman doses off and on for over an hour, Hubby gathers the family and herds them to the car. The air is frigid and all Writer Woman can think of is sleeping in her bed under quilts. This is how she wants to ring in The New Year. She imagines next year putting her foot down and spending New Year’s Eve taking a hot bath and reading herself to sleep. And then a horrible thought enters her head: her mother always said whatever a person is doing on New Year’s Eve; they will do the rest of the year.

As Hubby backs the car into a parking spot, Writer Woman wonders if this means she will spend the year staying up late to please Hubby. No way! She puts this old wives tale away in the same place as you must go out the same door you entered, not another door. At midnight the sky was ablaze with all colors, glittering and twinkling. Writer Woman did not want to admit how wonderful Hubby’s idea was. He might want to do it again next year. He might get the idea to push her to do more things outside of her box.

It’s no different when Writer Woman has received a really good critique on a story. Maybe the review points out a glaring problem that she would never want out in the public, but still there is something about not being perfect, something about another person finding the imperfection that makes her crazy. She knows it’s right on the money, but she wants to hate the messenger. Not for long of course because every writer knows that good critiques are the tree of life in her work. So, after giving some thought to the review, Writer Woman always has to make herself say thank you, but boy does she hate it when she isn’t perfect.

Perfection is the poison of art. All great writers had their editors. Period. So, today on this first day of the year, write without perfection perched on your shoulder. Admit when you’re having a good time, even if you stepped out of your box.

Happy New Year.