Writing Discussion

Flow: that state of mind where the words drip out of your fingers at the speed of thought, the story unfolds in clearly front of you, the words echo its shape and feeling, and you lose all sense of time.

It doesn’t always happen for me. Some days it’s just plain difficult to achieve. When I’m tired, stressed, or distracted, I have to dip into my magical bag of writer’s tricks to help get the words going.

I always keep it in my pocket. Let’s see, I have it right here!

The red velvet pouch bathes your face with a golden light as the drawstring is pulled loose. A tag clearly labels it as “Tessa’s Magical Bag of Writing Tricks”. When you are no longer blinded by its magnificence, you notice several pieces of paper spread out on the table. You have a sneaking suspicion someone’s been eating a lot of fortune cookies.

The papers read:

  1. To brainstorm is divine.
  2. Get physical. Use a pen and paper.
  3. Keep a journal. Save your sanity.
  4. You will soon desire tea and a blanket.
  5. A  glass of wine is the solution.
  6. Daydreaming is writing minus the typing.
  7. Go for a walk. Your body will thank you.
  8. Your lucky lotto numbers are: 5 10 21 38 42 46

Journal writing is a big thing for me. I can’t sit down to write until banished the stresses of the day. My journal usually degenerates into a story brainstorming session, but that just gets me in the mood to write. Really my bag of tricks is just a list of things that help me get comfortable. I get the words unstuck by throwing a lot of them down onto paper without worrying if they’re good and bad. It’s about getting past the writing and back into the story.

Still some days it’s impossible to get into the flow.

What’s in your bag of tricks?


Happiness, Writing Discussion

It used to be that I could take any topic, and an hour or two later, like magic, I’d have a little story in my hands. It was that simple.

These days I feel like I’m learning to write all over again. I’m hacking apart the words with a steak knife and fitting them back together with duct tape. It’s a complete mess.

What happened? Suddenly I’m not just writing to entertain my friends or to please myself. I’ve wandered out of my comfort zone and my god there’s a big world outside.

We all suck when we start out.

Myra McEntire tells it like it is. Don’t listen to me. The “Suck It” video by Maureen Johnson is awesome.

But maybe you really don’t suck at all.

Nathan Bransford talks about the Dunning-Kruger effect. There’s also the impostor syndrome. The willpower engine explains this one.

But if you’re just starting out, you probably really do suck. That’s not a bad thing. It just means there’s more to learn.

And to cap off today’s musings, a pocket sized, honest to goodness, true story.

“Put me in the intermediate class.” E said.
“Are you sure?” I replied. “You’ve only skated a couple times. Do you even know how to stop?”
“Yeah. It should be easy.”
“OK, if you say so…”

One class later.

“I was the worst guy out there! I couldn’t even keep up! Can they transfer me to the beginners class?  I don’t even know how to stop.”
“I thought you said you did!”
“Yeah but only by grabbing the walls.”