Butterflies and Writing

Two friends“Hey, Ethel, do you think she’s lost it? How can she compare a butterfly with writing?”

“Have no idea, Edna, but let’s give her the benefit of your doubts until we’ve read her post.”

What is the connection between butterflies and writing? When we write, we want our material fresh, flowing in the right direction, and beautiful. So, why not write like a butterfly. They are gorgeous and float through the air without much effort. They dip onto the leaf of a flower, or rest with wings hovering, and their colors are magnificent. Also, they are not in a hurry.

What would happen if your took your writing up and down, around, over and through, and could sit and hover with certain thoughts in your head?

Lighten up and let your writing become free like a butterfly. When you tighten up your thoughts, they stay tied in knots and your writing gets sluggish. Think of flowing through space with your words and letting them light on a tall tree, or a small bush, and rest. Your thoughts will unwind and become more agile.You’ll think of different words, new words, and watch them fill your computer screen or notebook.

Butterflies do not like captivity and neither should your writing. The words that come to my mind are free- flow, free-write, and even free-fall. Let your writing fill the pages without stress and strain. Think small and free yourself from anxiety with the huge project of writing a book. Follow your pages like a butterfly. Touch down when you see something you like and study your patterns. If you are undecided, hover over that page or section until you can find the free-way to write the description.

Like the butterfly, use your senses. No, not the ones of should or should not, rather focus your brain  on the present. A butterfly does not fly with its eyes closed and neither should you write with a closed mind. We need to zoom  in on what we can see, hear, taste, smell, and the present.Do not beat yourself up, rather pump yourself up with thoughts of a beautiful butterfly sitting on your shoulder.

Why don’t you find a picture of a butterfly and put this on your computer or your desk. Make each day a “butterfly day” and watch your writing flow. Be kind to yourself and your writing will take you where you want to go.

“See there, Edna, she came through again.”

Have a Happy Butterfly Day and Happy Writing

 

 

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Are You Still Journaling?

images_028I hope you are, because letting your mind run wild gives you opportunities to explore your life.

Today, try to focus on a heroine and a hero in one of your books from a shelf in your home or from a story you have finished, or from a story you want to begin.

Now, describe the heroine’s journey and see where you are in her journey.Are there parts of her wanderings you’ve never traveled? Then ask yourself, why? Keep writing and find where you’d like to travel with the heroine. If your heroine is in a different time, say the 1800’s or way in the future, put yourself in her time periods. Write about the clothing, home life, social activities, but do not compare your current life to your heroine’s life. Give yourself permission to indulge in a different time. You need to feel the experiences and capture this in your journal.

No, you aren’t finished. Look at the hero’s journey. Where is he traveling and how? Go along and feel the exhilaration of seeing the first train, ever, and even a first train ride. Then think to your first train ride, Scary? What if the hero you picked had been or is a gunslinger, astronaut, or pilot. Can you picture yourself on a journey with him?

Do not sensor any of your writings. You are on their journey and forget the gender. We have female readers, male readers, female authors, and male authors, and this time we get to see both sides of their journeys.

The next time you are stumped in a plot situation or your character’s journey, remember all of the journeys in your journal.

Have FUN. Travel FAR. Learn a NEW writing experience.

 

Happy Writing.

Pretending To Light A Fire

On FireThe last time we talked about pretending to be your character. Has this process worked for you? Are you able to get into your character, be him or her, and let each do the magic to your book or story? Or, do you still want to control your characters?

If this is the problem, again I want to holler, “get out of their way.” Some writers are Plotters with huge charts and descriptions of each character. This gives you a heads up, so you will know what to do with each character.

Then some writers and Panters. Yeah, they sit on their pants and let the words flow. They have the ability to go with the flow. Their characters are foremost in their writing.

In this objective way of writing, you can ask your character what he or she wants, and then dig DEEP and find out what they are passionate about. Let them go and watch what your fingers put on the screen.

Focus on the wants of the character and step back. Sure, you are the writer/author, but if you curtail your characters’ needs, then you miss out on giving the reader a fantastic feeling and connection to the characters.

With each story/novel/book, we know what we want to come out in the end. However, if you program your characters to YOUR  every whim, there will be nothing left in the story. Put YOU aside and watch your characters expand, entrap, and gather your readers to the pages that says . . THE END.

Enjoy. Practice. Revise.  AND . . . .HAPPY WRITING.

Next time, we’ll take another look at your journal process, and you might be surprised. You have been using your journal, right?

 

 

PRETEND?

Two friends“Look at us, Ethel. Can’t you see us pretending to be beauty queens?

“Of course, until we look in the mirror. What do you think Patricia will do with this title?” Edna asked.

“I have no idea, but imagine she’ll surprise us. Now that’s a good laugh. Isn’t imagine almost like pretending?”

How long has it been since you did a “pretend” with your characters? Never? Oh, be honest.

Every time we sit down at our computer, we make up characters for our new novel. We give them our thoughts and our ideas. We pretend we are our characters, get inside their minds, and use them any way we want.

Then, when you are in the most important scene in the book, your fingers do not hit the keys you want. They have a mind of their own, and your character or characters rebel.

Have you ever started a lengthy section of dialog and found the words you wanted to say came back scrabbled. Your characters wanted to speak in their own way, not pretending to be an extension of the writer.

How often have you, the writer, overpowered your characters and not let them have a say. What if you, the writer, kept your thoughts to yourself and gave free roaming positions to your characters. Let’s try:

Visualize a wedding. The groom  is at the altar and the bride is walking down the aisle toward him. The church is packed with family, friends,and guests. This could be a dialog between the attendees:

“Look at him. He’s been after this beauty for a long time. Now he is a happy groom.”

“Wait until he sees the other side of her. She can be a bitch.”

“I’m so lucky . Now, we’ll have beautiful grandchildren.”

As the bride moves forward, she stops. The music stops. The church is silent.

“I will not marry you. I will not be controlled. I will not have your children. I will not be smothered.” She turns around and walks in small , slow steps, and out the door.

This is when your character takes control and dictates the movement of the story. Sometimes, we think we have the beginning, the middle, and the end all wrapped up and tied in a neat bow. But, what happens when our characters are not happy and make a stand for themselves.

This is an opportunity for you to go back and look over your story, scene by scene. Who is in control? You pretending to be your characters and shape them YOUR way, or your characters loving their new-found freedom?

We’ll check out more of this pretending osmosis and see what else can happen.          Until then . . .

Happy Writing.

 

 

 

 

Writing Got You Down?

Lost ConfidenceYou go to YOUR writing spot, room, or the corner table of your favorite coffee shop. You relax, open your computer, and find your desire to write . . . GONE. You’ve lost the fire inside you. Why?

Stop trying to write. Yes, stop and do not feel guilty. Every day deadlines, then you need work for your critique group, or maybe just a critique partner, and it is not ready. Your editor reminds you to finish revision one. Seems like everyone wants a piece of you. The joy of writing isn’t there.

Yes, it is, but how can you get it back?

First and foremost — DO NOT PANIC. Relax and breathe deep. No, not just once, but several times. Let your mind meander. Do not think. Give your thoughts a change to roam. Which brings me to an old, old song, sung by Eddie Arnold, “Don’t Fence Me In.”  Check this out on U-Tube. After you read and hear, let this music and words become your motto.

Have you traveled far enough backward to find a time when you could not wait to write? Where were you or what were you working on? Were you in a different city or state? Maybe, you dabbled in poetry or took long walks to come up with just the right setting, AND, yes, your characters talked to you.

Don’t push. Relax and let these old feelings rise up inside you and ideas start flowing. You’ll feel energized and want to write that way again. YOU CAN. Do not judge yourself, but relax and enjoy the moment.

HAPPY WRITING. HAPPY YOU.

Do You Journal?

images_028I did for a long time and just stopped. Why? I kept asking myself this for a long time and did a search for my old journals. Oh, boy, did I have a shock when reading through them. I had opened myself to a wide stance and held nothing back. It took me three weeks to get through all the old books. I found I had made lists: WRITING, PUBLISHING, FRIENDS, FAMILY, FEARS, HAPPINESS, and I could keep going and going. My writing at time was illegible, some times shaky, and sometimes printed. I tried to study all of these emotions and thought… that was then, this is now.

I put away the old journals and looked at writing in my new notebook. No, not the fancy ones, but a plain old, one subject, College ruled notebook for more space. I needed to think about this and think I did. All day long, my mind strayed back to the list. Is this the same list I want to use or have I changed and need something different?

I decided to try a new approach to journaling, and asked myself why do I want to journal? The first thought rolled off my fingers onto the keyboard in this simple statement: I need to help me with areas of my writing life. Then I stopped. Yee gods, this could take a whole lifetime. So I took this one step further: the craft of writing, the publishing of my work, how do I write, when do I write, and what can I change to become a better writer? Within these three words, my writing life, I opened up a Pandora’s Box, but to my benefit. Sometimes, we need to step back and see where we need to kick ourselves. Yeah, you get the picture.

I can write about the high and low periods and what feelings these give me. I can tell myself about a new book I want to write and jot down some thoughts. I can pick out names for new characters and let them sit and gather strength. No one will see these feelings, except me. This gave me a boost to keep plodding forward. Hey, I might even write about my day and make certain the bad feelings get their fair share.

Then I thought about when I would journal? Late at night or early in the morning. I nixed the late at night. My mind is worn out, used, abused, and tired. Early in the morning my mind would be waking up, struggling for light, and maybe still in the not quite awake period, and give me an insight to my feelings.

I will not put thoughts into my head, but take what thoughts are there to capture in pen, pencil, or on plain paper. No computer. No keyboard. Just the mind and  heart moving your writing instrument over the paper. Who knows? I might write from top to bottom, from right side to the left, from one corner to another corner. These are my thoughts and my notebook. Free thoughts are always the best. Will I give myself a time limit? Yes and no. Yes, if the day looks filled with exercise classes, deadlines, and research. No if this is an ‘off’ day, OR whenever my thoughts start to wonder. Then, I’ll know it is time to cap the pen, put the pencil down, and close the notebook. Will I read what I wrote? NO. NO. NO. This is a process that comes later. I want my thoughts to be free and flow on their own will.

How about you, my Blog Friends? Do you journal and would you share some of your areas of journaling? If you don’t journal why not take up this as a new project to benefit YOU?

I’d love to hear some of the answers as to why you blog, when you blog, and any particular area you push your mind into. NO!!! I do not want to read your journals. These are private and personal. These are your thoughts. No extra eyes here or no extra ears here.

HAPPY WRITING. HAPPY JOURNALING. HAPPY YOU.