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
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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

      Monday Motivator: Erica Jong gets Subversive

      Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it … It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk everything, you risk even more.
      — Erica Jong
      “How to Save Your Own Life”

      ♥  ♥  ♥
      Happy Valentine’s Day

      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: Erica Jong, The Daily Post

      For Writers, Words Happen. But How?

      As you write, do your ideas come to you in the form of words or do they come in the form of image, sense, or emotion?  If it’s the latter, how do you translate those sensual experiences into words that convey the experience for readers?

      Before Words: How to Think Like A Poet, from the Psychology Today blog Imagine That! explains how for writers such as T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, and Virginia Woolf, “writing begins in a land without language.”

      Read more.

      Resources: Psychology Today, The Daily Post

      Beating Real Life Writing Obstacles

      Most writers I know face the same obstacle in reaching their writing goals.

      Real Life.

      How many times have we made a commitment to our selves and to our writing, only to have to put that commitment aside and tend to dear daughter’s science project, dear husband’s broken down car, or dear boss’s last minute work project.  These aren’t excuses, they’re real life.  And it often becomes too easy to put our writing aside while all the other responsibilities in our lives take precedence.

      Jamie Lee Wallace, aka Suddenly Jamie on Live to Write — Write to Live, knows the drill.  She set some writing goals for 2011.  But,” she says, ” these intentions were all summarily slaughtered by the demands of my Real Life.”

      She decided not to be done in by the slaughter.  After some serious thinking, she came up with 7 Steps to Better Writing Habits. Here’s what she had to say:

      A confession and 7 steps to better writing habitsI’m experiencing a bad case of writing resolutions whiplash. At the start of 2011, I was all revved up and ready to plunge into my writing practice like a pelican diving head first into an ocean seething with slippery, silvery deliciousness. I had plans – Big Plans. “This is the year,” I said, my heart full of confidence and enthusiasm. And then my daughter came down with the flu. And then I came down with the flu. We had a succession of snow day … Read More

      Resources: Live to Write – Write to Live, The Daily Post

      Visiting Alice Walker’s Garden on her Birthday

      Today is Alice Walker’s 67th birthday.  Her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “The Color Purple,” is one of my favorites; the movie is too. But beyond the brief biography I read in connection with her book, I didn’t know a thing about her.  Until today.

      Thank you, Internet!

      Her perfectly titled website Alice Walker’s Garden is an incredible place to visit, walk around, admire, and enjoy.  The site includes Ms. Walker’s blog, information on books old and new, poetry, audio and video interviews, photos, and a biography.  It’s the biography that captured my attention the longest.  It starts out saying Alice Walker is a “Poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, anthologist, teacher, editor, publisher, womanist and activist.”

      Nice resume!

      It goes on to talk about a childhood experience involving lying, which, as she explains, “… is the root of my need to tell the truth, always, because I experienced, very early, the pain of telling a lie.”

      It’s fascinating to read about this early experience that helped shape the woman she became.  To learn more for yourself, or read some of her poetry, essays, or other words, visit Alice Walker’s Garden.  While you’re there, wish her a happy day.

      Resources:  Alice Walker’s Garden, The Daily Post.

      Inspiration Points for Silent Writers’ Retreat

      Every Tuesday at 9 pm, the literary world goes silent.

      Hmm, that’s overstating it.  Let me try again.  … Every Tuesday at 9 pm, the literary world observes an hour of silence.

      No, no.  Too much.  Here’s what happens … Every Tuesday at 9 pm EST and PST, writers who find it difficult making time to write join together for an hour of silent writing.

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

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

      If the time doesn’t suit you, choose another time, just one hour and make a commitment to your writing.  It’s worth it.

      For more information, visit the Silent Writers Collective.

      Resources: The Daily Post

      Monday Motivator: Rudolf Nureyev

      Nureyev
      Image via Wikipedia

      ◊ ◊ ◊

      Technique
      is what you
      fall back on
      when you
      run out of
      inspiration.

      Rudolf Nureyev
      Ballet dancer

      ◊ ◊ ◊

       

      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 share it here.  Click here to see past Monday Motivators.

      Resources: Rudolf Nureyev The Daily Post

      A Thousand Words: Money

      Image courtesy of Stephend9 on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

      A Thousand Words is a weekly photo prompt posted every Sunday.  Maybe the images will inspire you to write a short crime drama, a haiku, a blog post.  Maybe you’ll be inspired to call your bookie, or maybe you’ll just sit back and enjoy the photo.   Whatever your response, I hope you enjoy the picture and that it 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

      Remember Me? from ThirtyCreativeStudio

      Remember Me?
      by Deborah Deck-Suárez

      I was the water on your hands,
      the shine of your days,
      a lonely companion
      for your times without hope.
      I was the salt of your sea,
      the strength of your arms,
      a thought without sense
      vanishing within me. … Read More

      I’m sharing this poem by Deborah Deck-Suárez at ThirtyCreativeStudio because tonight, when I needed to be (should have been) writing, I was doing the old point and click around the web.  I ended up at Deb’s site and found this poem.  I was so inspired by the beauty of her words, and by the strong sense of connection, then loss, then longing conveyed in those few short lines, that I clicked off the internet and started writing.

      Thanks, Deb!

      Resources: The Daily Post