Creative Every Day – February

January 25, 2009

I just recently discovered this site, but I like what I see. It is called Creative Every Day, by Leah Piken Kolidas and each month has a “theme.” Although her blog is more for visual art, she makes it clear that CED is for everyone – not just visual artists, but writers, creative homemakers, cooks, and anyone who wants to use, cultivate, or discover their creative gifts.

The upcoming theme for February is “Words” – so I think I’m going to sign up to join in. I’m not sure what I’m in for, or even how it will work – or if anything I post here will be related to prompts she posts there. But I’m going to give it a try. Maybe you should too! :-)

© writingreading, 2009

St. Francis de Sales Day

January 24, 2009
Francis de Sales

Francis de Sales

Today is St. Francis de Sales Day. He is the patron saint of writers. Therefore, he’s a hero to me, even though I’m not really religious and I certainly know nothing about saints.

He was a soldier, lawyer and theologian. The Catholic website says he “studied theology … while getting into swordfights and going to parties.” I love that! What a guy!

Patience is one of his defining characteristics – and for any writer, that’s a must. He also had great confidence in his mission, when others scoffed. Another asset for any writer, especially if you hope to publish.

Not surprisingly, he was a bit of a subversive. When the Calvinists wouldn’t give him the time of day, he got creative and wrote about his Catholic faith, slipping his writings under the residents’ doors – the first use of religious tracts. He was a very persistent man, and that, too, I think, makes him an excellent example for writers to follow.

Eventually, as his influence grew, he got a lot of fan mail – so much so that he often felt overwhelmed in responding to it. But because of his constant, steady work, day in, day out, he simply did what he could and kept going. I like this attitude of persistant, constant, steady work. I know I certainly need that in my own dedication to writing.

Honor St. Francis de Sales, today. Commit anew to your writing regimen. And if you’re the praying sort, you might want to ask him to be on your side!

© writingreading, 2009

Kindness of strangers

January 12, 2009

I’ve only been blogging for about six months, but I have to say the kindness I have found in the blogosphere is amazing in its generosity.  To those who’ve read, and commented, and especially those who have had such encouraging words when I have written about my (off-line) writing difficulties – battling the pesky culprits of procrastination, discouragement and others – THANK YOU!!!! You all have given me exactly what I needed, when I needed it. And I am happy to say I”m back in the writing “groove” again.  Thank you for offering words of encouragement, hope, and inspiration. This writer has much to be grateful for!

© writingreading, 2009

Random Writing Prompts

January 7, 2009

I came across a “blog game” or “tag you’re it” kind of thing, and unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the blog I originally found it on – but I followed a link from that one and ended up at Anna Nowicki’s blog, so you can see her results, there.

The “game” goes like this:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence along with these instructions in a note in your BLOG.
* Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual… Use the CLOSEST

Here’s what I got:
“And if you think the warrant isn’t true, you’ll deny that the reason supports the claim, because it’s irrelevant to it.”

(from Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers…etc.)

Yes, it grieves me that that is the closest book I have, but it is sitting right here next to the computer.

But, if I look around – for instance, on that same page, if the option was for sentence # 3 I would have:

“That might baffle you.”

And – it does. Because I have no idea what the first sentence I posted (which is actually sentence #5) means!

But I tried this with a couple of other books:

from: The Civil War in Louisiana

Well, OK. there’s not even 5 sentences on that page. But if I go w/#3 again, I get:

“Could he be trusted?”

And then in another book, I get:

“As the coffin was lowered into the ground, the surgeon ‘with the most solumn air said in broken English, ‘This is the first time that this man was buried in Virginia and D–n me (throwing in dirt) if I ever bury him again.”

I’m thinking – what a great writing prompt technique! Just open up a random book, pick a random page, and pick one – only one – sentence — then run with it.

The last example I gave above is actually from a Civil War book, too (Reid Mitchell’s Civil War Soldiers) – but if you ignore that fact – think about the different ways you could take that one sentence.

hmmmm… a surgeon burying someone. Odd.

And he’s saying he’s burying him for the first time – does he anticipate having to bury him again?

Wonder if the surgeon is the body’s estranged brother, and he’s burying him in Virginia but maybe later he’s going to come back, disinterr the body, and take it back with him to his homeland overseas? And where would that be?

And let’s work backwards. My 2nd example. Oooooh!!! Isn’t that sentence absolutely delicious for a starting point? “Could he be trusted?” Wow! Is it a crime drama, a rocky relationship, gambling, a compulsive liar? Goodness – so many things! What a great way to start some writing piece.

And OK, going back to my original. The one from Turabian. Well, good heavens, I certainly don’t know what to make of that one, but with some effort I could probably make it into something. A legal case or something.

Anyhow, I like this simple idea. And if I ever need a prompt – just grab a book and start with a single random sentence. Enjoy!

© writingreading, 2009

Word of the Year (’09) – Believe!

January 4, 2009

Christine Kane suggests choosing a Word for the year, rather than making a resolution, and being a wordy and idealistic type, I think that sounds like a great idea!

So my word is going to be: BELIEVE!!

I find the most insidious evil thing in supporting my ongoing procrastination on my book is Doubt. I wish I could write that with a small D – but right now, it is just that big.

I doubt that I will ever get finished. I doubt (despite all evidence to the contrary) that I have anything new or original to say. I doubt that the cause is worthwhile. I doubt I’ll have time. Or interest. Or linguistic skills or typing skills or concentration or persistence or on and on and on.

These doubts are really just excuses, and they keep me hampered, sometimes even buried.

If I BELIEVED my subject was worth writing about, that it truly is the purpose of my life to write about it, that it really is a book that needs writing – if I really believed all this were true, then I would ACT like it – and WRITE!!!

Too often, lately, I’ve found myself dreamily fantasizing about writing – but doing nothing. Or – like now – surfing the internet instead. Then, it’s late – time for dinner or for bed or the next Thing – and another day gone, “wasted” as far as writing goes.

If I only BELIEVE – then I think my writing will show it. Not just by my productivity – actually doing it – but the depth and passion that I bring to it. I know it is there – I just have to believe in it, myself.

Christine Kane proposes following the BE-DO-HAVE model. Choose a word to guide you throughout the year, to guide you to be the person you want to be. Base your actions upon the word you choose. So – if I Believe, then I will Write (do) with the outcome of having a published book! Ta-da!! Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Kane explains her concept far more eloquently than I do here – and ironically enough, I just realized she does not list “Belief” as one of her possible Guide Words – but it seems right for me, for now, for this year, and so I’m going to try it on and see how it goes.

Best wishes for you and your Guide Word in the New Year!

© writingreading, 2009