We think that Mother's Day should last all month long. And that women who aren't mothers need a special day too. And that women who are writers (some of whom are mothers) should be giving themselves gifts here and there to rejuvenate themselves and their writing all year long.
In that spirit, with actual Mother's Day around the bend, here's a little gift from Kamy and me and Julia Barry and Christina Baker Kline and everyone else associated with She Writes: YOUR tips and wisdom for rejuvenating a writing life, reflected back to you. Thank you to all who commented on and added to the original post, “20 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Writing Life". We recommend reading the list gathered below all the way to the bottom - that last tip, from Caroline Bock, is kinda priceless. As always, feel free to add additional wisdom and tips in comments.
(BONUS gift for those near Brooklyn: Send yourself on a day-long mini-retreat. Join yours truly and Christina Baker Kline for Rejuvenate Your Writing Life: A Mini-Retreat for Mamas/Grandmas/Caregivers 5/21, Brooklyn Ethical Culture Society. Just a few spots left. REGISTER HERE.)
Here’s to ALL of our words, all of our blooms!
1. Put a picture of who you are writing for on your desktop. When you hit a writer's block, just say out loud what you think you are trying to say to him/her/them. Then write that down.
2. (especially for us newbie writers!) Talk about your project to anyone. Don't be a pain in the ass on purpose about it, but go almost that far - interesting ideas and great cheerleading will come out of unsuspected quarters.
3. Read something from a culture different from your own.
1. Get outside for a walk or work in the yard.
2. Cry. Get the "bad" feelings (fear, doubt, anxiety, self-loathing) out.
3. Pray, even though I'm not sure I believe in God.
Just start writing where you are in your thinking. If you reach a spot where you're not sure, type in xxxxx and go back to it later. It's hard to have the exact feeling for every single line at the same time. Give yourself some space, carry on with the thought at hand and leave openings to go back to when the time/feeling/words are right.
1. Eavesdrop on conversations: while in line at the bank at tax time, on the steps of the courthouse during a recess, at the food-bank while volunteering, on the bus, in a shoe store, as the only sober soul at a nightclub...
2. Temper the editor in your head and free-write with abandon once a day...
3. Further to 2 - take on the archetype of a lead character from one of your own short stories or novel and try to stay in character as you run a morning of errands. When you get home, free-write (as in 2) from the POV of this same character
4. Keep a notebook by your bed and write whatever comes into your head on waking.
I'm a word nerd. I can spend hours in the dictionary.
1. open it to your favorite letter (mine is U) and discover a new word.
2. try to make an intelligent sentence using only the words on any given page.
3. find a word that speaks to you, mine was "ubiquitous" for more years than I can remember. I loved the way it sounded rolling off my tongue.
I just read this a few moments ago, and it resonated with me. It's from an interview with Nan Graham speaking about Jeannette Walls:
"If Jeannette had any flaws at all--and believe me, she's a star-- it was a lack of faith in her own power. She could absolutely nail a sentence, but then she might add another one just to be sure."
1. Say hello to your Inner Critic. Seriously, she's not there just to berate you. She knows you take words of criticism (inner and outer) to heart. More often than not, if you hear her out, you'll come to some deeper rapprochement between the critical part of you and the part that really only wants you to do your best.
2. Pepper the air with sage to clear out the spirits of self-doubt.
3. Go to a Lady Gaga concert and write about it.
1. Write when the mood is right.
2. Write from your heart.
3. If you're struggling with it, and 'it' won't give... either the mood isn't right... or you aren't writing from your heart. The words will pour out when you write from your heart!
1. Writing Practice alone or with others--timed free-writes to prompts
2. Take a shower, take a walk, water the plants, sweep the patio
3. Scribble your favorite words on a blank sheet in your notebook, then write a paragraph with them
1. Read poetry - out loud, even very loud if needed to break through all the other noise in your head
2. If you always write from one perspective or point of view, write from another, something strange or inanimate
3. Just write anything.... like three tips for rejuvenating your writing life:)
Image cred: Melody Campbell/flickr