Pre-writing Activities

Before you write (or do anything creative), do you have a go-to activity to invite your muse?

My pre-writing activities vary, but here are a few that work for me:

1. Sleep. Sleep may sound counter productive to creating, but it clears my brain of prior activities, and those vague moments when my brain begins to wake up lend themselves to great thoughts and problem-solving.

photo credit

2. Read. Read. And Read. Reading the works of others helps ideas that might be buried deep inside of me find air and life and voice. The written word is amazing, so read it. Now.


photo credit

3. Take a brain break. If I’ve been sitting in front of a screen–feet tucked close and legs under my chin–sometimes I need to move. I will turn on something from Spotify or a Just Dance YouTube song¬†and get moving for about five minutes. Then, I’m back in my chair with my feet tucked again, typing away in the world of fiction.


photo credit

4. Eat. Yes, I still remember my junior high teacher who bemoaned our B lunch right in the middle of the period. She said that the second half of the period after our necessary class interruption of lunch was pointless because eating sent all the energy from our brains to our stomachs to digest the peanut butter sandwiches and Little Debbie cakes we had just eaten. Well, that may be true, but I find sending a continuous stream of something to munch on can keep me interested in my project. My snacks of choice aren’t always the healthiest, but they keep me writing. ūüôā


photo credit

5. Feed my spirit. Activities like visiting a museum, scripture study, yoga/chakra work, journal writing, chatting with a friend, taking a walk/run, writing a gratitude list or thank you card ground me and help me remember my higher purpose is to connect and share love, and that purpose is a main reason why I write.


photo credit

So, sleep a little, read stacks of books, take a brain break (or two), eat something yummy, feed your spirit and write a bunch. I’ll be here with you…ready to connect.

Much love!

A Poem: “Slumbering”

Lying awake in the contrast of warm covers combatting cool air
Listening to the rustle of
Sleep and the uneasy breathing of
Children

Wondering how they slumber without watch care, and yet
Wake each morning, perfectly embracing their imperfections

Arresting the Dawn.

(imperfectly perfect)

They were born to build kingdoms, to slay dragons, to learn love.

And we each have our own miles to go today before sleep comes again
With all the worry and wonderment of dreams

Maybe the
Angels really do
Watch over their
Slumbering?

#NaNoWriMo

Here is my word count by day.

Fri, 11/1 – 3,443
Mon, 11/4 – 7,359 (+3,916)
Tues, 11/5 – 10,228 (+2,929)
Wed, 11/6 – 14,006 (+3,718)
Thurs, 11/7 – 17,779 (+3,773)
Fri, 11/8 – 18,873 (+1,094)
Sat, 11/9 – 20,572 (+1,699)
Mon, 11/11 – 25,038 (+4,466)
Tues, 11/12 – 26,814 (+1,776)
Wed, 11/13 – 30,506 (+3,692)

I’m amazed that I have been blessed to write so much in one day…& I’m still taking breaks and doing some minimal research while I write. I’m trying to find a pattern or two in all this madness. Do you notice any?

Today is the half-way point in NaNoWriMo (I skipped writing yesterday), but I have yet to work much on it today. I’ll post today’s word count another time.


photo credit

FEELING GRATEFUL!!!!!

Thank YOU for all the support you have given through comments, FB posts and likes, tweeting, etc. Feeling loved, as well!!!!

ūüôā

The DMV

She tapped her fingers nervously on her ripped jeans. She had taken the time to put on makeup–a smattering of eye liner (deep indigo) and smear of lipstick (shimmery bronze) covered her face. Her gold hoops dipped almost to her shoulders.

She had read the book, too. Downloaded it from the internet onto her iPhone.

When she had taken her driving test at age sixteen, her PawPaw told her simply to answer all the study questions, and she would pass. She had done that–meticulously–filled out each of the sixty-five sample questions and studied them. The process worked for her then and for her all her family members, who had just relocated from North Carolina to the panhandle of Florida.

Today she was 32, and the state where she now resided only had eight practice questions to the fifty on the test. At least she didn’t have to get into a car and drive.

“Number 82?” came a call from a tall brunette behind a brightly-colored counter. She glanced at her number and stood, slowly, deliberately. Her stilettos clicked on the linoleum. She smiled tentatively when she reached the counter, her fingernails tapping on the tangerine laminate, clashing in their fiery-red glory.

After the brunette checked (and took) her old license, perused her birth certificate, utility bills, and application, she spoke: “Computer Station #6, please.”

The heels again clicked as she walked across the room and seated herself in the appropriate place.

Her heart sank, even with answering multiple choice questions about her birthdate and age, to verify her identity. She tried to focus on the screen, but the background music drifted into her ears. She would take any form of distraction she could to ease the pressure.

“Wake me up, before you go, go…” sang a much younger George Michael, part of the Wham! duo. The song reminded her of the scene in Zoolander, which her little brother mimicked regularly–minus the explosion–anytime they went to the gas station together.

The screen in front of her glowed with a question regarding the shape of a STOP sign. Really?

She found her head bobbing and shoulders moving to the music, until the song transitioned into the female power ballad, “I Will Survive” by the legendary Gloria Gaynor. She chuckled quietly, and tried not to belt out the lyrics like she had done so many times with her older sister. Still, she let the empowerment of the song calm her into a more secure emotional place.

Another question was asked about the main way carbon monoxide can poison passengers. How did I miss that section? She made her best guess, and listened on as Whitney Houston was singing her peppy “How Will I Know?”

She was dancing now, feeling the relief of having weeded through 44 of the 50 questions on the test. 45. 46. 47. She answered them sometimes with her best guess, other times with surety. Could most of the answers really be C?, she wondered almost aloud, when large letters interrupted her thought process on the way to answer question 48.

YOU PASSED.

Thank heavens. She stood, without bothering to review the test questions, and relief swept through her. She felt all the feelings of a sixteen-year-old again–the relief, the exhaustion, the adrenaline of wanting to celebrate.

A worker took her picture on a strikingly bright green background. Not my best color, but who cares? I passed!

She paid her fee, collected her license, and clicked her way out the door, only she wasn’t sure her heels ever touched the floor.



Hey All You Writers Out There!

One of the bookstores I¬†“like” on Facebook shared a contest from Black Balloon Publishing, and I thought I would pass along a link with some info.¬† ūüôā

http://blackballoonpublishing.com/contest.html

Sounds like a fun contest!¬† The NaNoWriMo novel I wrote doesn’t fit into their genres, but I might be able to enter one that is.

Good luck, my dear friends!  Happy writing!

thoughtful, writing, pen, writing, caligraphy, write, scribble
(Photo credit here)

An Exercise (in writing)

As I read various novels, poems, blog posts, etc., I am entranced with the ability of writers to capture the essence of mundane or everyday tasks with such descriptive language that acts such as moving wet clothing from the washing machine into the dryer become almost poetic.  Do you know what I mean?  I love reading with the need to somewhat decode and decipher what a writer is talking about through his or her descriptions of actions, items, or individuals.  When I find writing like this, it sinks into my soul and brings me joy.

So…today I offer a writing challenge for your writers out there…and as an example, I will post a description of sorts as part of this post.¬† Your challenge is to write about something seemingly insignificant–and to give it meaning through language.¬† Here goes my effort:

After a two-hour-old slice of dry toast and a spicy sausage link, the thirst is almost unquenchable.  Fingers find their way to a white plastic handle holding onto a shiny, serrated slice of metal, as if life depended on it.  Another hand selects firmly the brightly colored sphere, holds the little-larger-than-a-tennis-ball shape firmly to avoid rolling as the blade cuts into the sunshiny flesh, peeling back layers of skin.  Slice, slice, and slice again.  Juicy, acidy, sticky liquid pools onto the dark granite countertop.  Pulling flesh apart from pulp, zest embeds itself under once-long fingernails.  Liquid Vitamin C runs down fingers to wrist as a section brushes lips.  Tongue is moving back and forth, back and forth, sweeping bits and fragments and juice from side to side.  Teeth are grinding, grinding, grinding pulp as juice begins to trickle down a sandpapery throat.  More!  More!  More! Throat screams, and another section grazes incisors, wondering why the wetness of dry mouth propels stickiness while fingers absorb it.  Rinsing the throat with orange while washing fingers with water, both body parts are finally satisfied.

Well, it’s not fantastic…but it’s an exercise, after all.¬† If you feel so inclined to participate, link back so we can connect and learn from one another, or comment your description exercise at the conclusion of this post.

Happy Writing! ūüôā

NaNoWriMo

Have you heard of¬†NaNoWriMo? Well, it is upon us!!! November 1st through 30th…! Will you be participating?

I’ve always been enamoured of the concept…a book in a month…but I try not to force too much creativity…I’m more of a free-spirit/let-the-creative-flow-happen-for-itself kinda gal. I still have a few hours left to decide if I’m in or not. ūüôā

But I’m afraid my kiddos and house and marriage might all suffer from the neglect. Maybe next year, when the preschooler isn’t a preschooler anymore….

What do you think? Should I throw caution to the wind (along with fear of not accomplishing, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of laundry piles higher than my twelve-foot ceilings…among other things)?