Making the Time to be Quiet and Write

You write by sitting down
and writing.
Bernard Malamud

Sounds easy enough, but those of us who write know there’s more to it than that.  Endless distractions can pull us away from our writing.  Then a few days, turn into weeks, months, or more of not writing, and our initial excitement turns to dread.

The only way to break that cycle is to follow Mr. Malamud’s advice:

Sit down and write.

If you have a hard time motivating yourself to do that, join The Silent Writer’s Collective for a Silent Write-In, a weekly online writing retreat that helps writers put aside distractions and write.

By committing to a group effort, (think Weight Watchers or NaNoWriMo) many writers find it’s easier to stay motivated and reach goals.  Writing, as we’ve heard ad nauseum, is a solitary endeavor, but sharing our efforts with a group makes it easier, and can help us reach our writing goals.

Our next retreat is tomorrow night, Tuesday, January 17, at 9 PM EST (US), if there’s interest, we’ll also meet at 9 PM PST.  We start on time with a minute or two of hellos, then the “buzzer” sounds and we start writing.  You can work on your own writing project, or use one of the provided writing prompts or exercises to get started.

We meet via Twitter using the hashtag #SilentWriters. If you aren’t on Twitter, we have a group on Facebook. If you don’t have either, just join in on your own at 9, and know you’re not working out there on your own.

For more information, check out the SWC FAQs.

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7 Writing Prompts and Some Motivation

Every Tuesday at 9 pm EST, writers who find it difficult making time to write join together for an hour of silent writing.

The Silent Writers online writing retreat is open to all writers who want to commit a minimum of one hour to writing.  If you’re interested in participating, join us tonight at 9 EST on Twitter or Facebook.

You can work on your own project or use one of the writing exercises below.

  1. From PW.org:Fiction and Poetry prompts
  2. From Verbal VerbosityThe 100 Words Challenge Prompt
  3. From me: A photo prompt, “Bubbling Over”
  4. From Mama’s Losin’ ItFive Writing Prompts
  5. From Writer’s Digest: Writing Prompts (10 pages of them!)
  6. From @Selorian on Twitter:#storystarters
  7. From Plinky: Quickie questions to ponder

While catching up on my RSS reading this week, I found Keeping Motivated Daily by Elizabeth Spann Craig.  The post talks about staying motivated by finding the joy of writing in the writing itself.  She shares words of wisdom for all writers, struggling or not.

If you visit Elizabeth’s blog, Mystery Writing is Murder, plan on spending some time.   Her posts are filled with great information and useful advice.

For more information on tonight’s retreat, visit the Silent Writers Collective.

Resources:  The Daily Post

Six Block-Busting Writers’ Prompts

The Silent Writers Collective holds its weekly online writing retreat tonight at 9 EST and PST.

The retreat is free and open to all writers, especially those who find it hard to put aside distractions and find the time to write.

You can work on your own project or the writing prompts below will help you get started if you don’t have a project to work on.

  1. From PW.org: Fiction and Poetry prompts
  2. From Writerly Life: A photo prompt, “Untitled”
  3. From Verbal VerbosityThe 100 Words Challenge Prompt
  4. From me: A photo prompt, “Daddy’s Home”
  5. From @Selorian on Twitter: #storystarters
  6. From Plinky: Quickie questions to ponder

The Silent Writers online writing retreat is open to all writers who want to commit a minimum of one hour to writing.  If you’re interested in participating, join us tonight at 9 EST and PST on Twitter or Facebook.

For more information, visit the Silent Writers Collective.

Resources:  The Daily Post

Monday Motivator: Dr. Seuss

Image reblogged from IM NOT TRYING TO IMPRESS YOU BUT I’M THE DOCTOR at Tumblr

 

Dr. Seuss, whose birthday is Wednesday (March 2, 1904), was the author of 44 children’s books, including “Green Eggs and Ham,” “The Cat in the Hat,” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

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The Monday Motivator is a quote posted each week to encourage, inspire, and motivate writers of all skill levels and across genres.  If you have a favorite quote to share, let me know and I’ll post it here.  Click here to see past Monday Motivators.

Resources: Dr. Seuss, The Daily Post

A Thousand Words: Daddy’s Home!

Image courtesy of  “The US Army (no real name given)” on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

A Thousand Words is a photo prompt posted every Sunday.  Maybe the image will inspire you to write a journal entry, a short story, a poem, or a blog post.  Maybe you’ll just sit back and enjoy the photo.   Whatever your response, I hope  the picture inspires you to some sort of creative zen.

If you write something based on the image, feel free to share a link in the comments section.   Also feel free to use the photo on your blog, just be sure to give proper credit, which I will always include in the post or the caption.

Resources: Creative Commons, Flickr, The Daily Post

Beating Writer’s Block and Six New Prompts

The Silent Writers’ online writing retreat is held every Tuesday at 9 pm EST and PST.  The writing prompts below will help you get started if you don’t have a project to work on.  If you do have something you want/need to write, but the words aren’t coming, check out How to Beat Writer’s Block on the aptly named, Writer’s Blog.  The post features tips on dealing with writer’s block that are easy to use, and more importantly, they’re an effective way to get past obstacles that keep us from reaching our writing goals.

Now for tonight’s writing prompts:

  1. From PW.org: Fiction and Poetry prompts
  2. From Writerly Life: A photo prompt, “Untitled”
  3. From Verbal VerbosityThe 100 Words Challenge Prompt
  4. From me: A photo prompt, “New Treats”
  5. From @Selorian on Twitter: #storystarters
  6. From Plinky: Quickie questions to ponder

The Silent Writers online writing retreat is open to all writers who want to commit a minimum of one hour to writing.  If you’re interested in participating, join us tonight at 9 EST and PST on Twitter or Facebook.

For more information, visit the Silent Writers Collective.

Resources: Writer’s BlogThe Daily Post.

Monday Motivator: Frank McCourt

The Monday Motivator is a quote posted each week to encourage, inspire, and motivate writers of all skill levels and across genres.  Let me know if you have a favorite quote you’d like to share.  Click here to see past Monday Motivators.

Resources: Frank McCourt The Daily Post

Creativity Research Meets the Inner Critic

If your inner critic keeps you from being as creative you’d like, consider the brick.

No, not for bashing the little bastard, but for stimulating original ideas.

Toronto neuroscientist Oshin Vartanian asks research volunteers what they can do with a brick.  As they go from the obvious to the not-so-obvious uses, he studies what happens in their brains.

This article, Neuroscientists try to unlock the origins of creativity, from Toronto’s Globe and Mail, examines how by exploring creativity, researchers have started to look at the relationship between creative success and our ability to silence the inner critic.

We all have an inner critic.  Some of us have more than one.  The voice can be loud and abusive, or quiet, persistent, and nagging.  How we deal (or don’t deal) with that nasty nitpicker affects how successful we are in allowing our creativity to develop and thrive.  Of course, not all inner critics are harmful.  Sometimes they help us set higher goals for ourselves or reach higher levels of excellence.

As researchers continue to study the confounding world of creativity, or what one scientist calls “a big muddled mess,” it’s fascinating to learn about what they’re discovering.

Read more …

Resources:  The Globe and Mail, The Daily Post

Atwood Finds Her Way After Early Career Confusion

When I think about my career path, I often envision the old Bugs Bunny cartoon where Bugs gets knocked out by a girder and sleep walks through a construction site.  Just as he’s about to plummet off the edge of a girder, another one moves into place and he  keeps on walking.

There have been times I tried to plan my professional life, but confusion, too many choices, uncertainty about my aptitude or skills, kept me from anything too definitive.  The truth is, my career  has been a bit of a Looney Tune.  I have moved along, step by step, blissfully unaware of what lies ahead.  Just when I’m about to step off the edge, another girder carries me to safety.

Despite the meanderings, “what I do” has always been somehow connected to words, and I’m happy where I’ve landed.  The ground feels pretty solid right now, even though I know that might be the sleep walker talking.  If so, I know the next girder will lead to something interesting.

I was happy to find this interview with Margaret Atwood.  She talks about confusion over her career choices.  At various times, starting at age 8, she thought about becoming a clothing designer, a home economist, and a biologist.

“Then the writing took over,” she says.

I know the feeling.

Resources:  Homeless Hare by Warner Brothers, The Daily Post

Six Ways to Beat the Block and Get Writing

In preparation of the weekly Silent Writers’ online writing retreat, below is a list of six prompts to help you get started (seven if you consider that PW.org offers two).

Feel free to use any of these, one of your own, or work on an existing project.

    1. From PW.org: Fiction and Poetry prompts
    2. From Writerly Life: A photo prompt, “Naturally Confrontational”
    3. From Verbal VerbosityThe 100 Words Challenge Prompt
    4. From me: A photo prompt, “Running in the Cathedral”
    5. From @Selorian on Twitter: #storystarters
    6. From Plinky: Quickie questions to ponder

      The Silent Writers online writing retreat is open to all writers who want to commit a minimum of one hour to writing.  If you’re interested in participating, join us tonight at 9 EST and PST on Twitter or Facebook.

      For more information, visit the Silent Writers Collective.

      Resources: The Daily Post