• • • 2/28/12 • • •
Check out my Spring Schedule and reserve your spot in the upcoming workshops. I keep my workshops small and they fill quickly, so don’t miss out!
To all Lakeshore Writers interested in submitting to the spring issue of The Lakeshore watch for my next newsletter–I’ll be sending out a call for submissions soon.
• • • 1/12/13 • • •
Greetings and Happy New Year!
“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” Omar Khayyam
The beginning of a new year brings with it a rush of hope and new intention that this year we will do the things we’ve been promising ourselves. We’ll make those changes in our lives to be healthier, less stressed, have more fun and finally, this year, set aside more time for our creative lives. A balance of hope–that we can do it, and fear–that we won’t.
I recently read an article by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche: “The Great Perfection of Creativity,” in which he says our creativity is a function of our state of being. That to fully realize our creative selves requires a “state of natural flow,” a state that hope and fear keep us from achieving. He writes that: “To keep from getting caught up in hopes and fears, you must first stop focusing on the goal.” Yet, as writers we are inundated with “how to” articles, books and emails promising quick paths to writing goals: Complete your novel in 30 days! Land a Book Deal in 2013! And then there’s Nanowrimo, writing to produce quantity rather than quality. So how do we do this? It’s counter to our culture. Here are a few ideas:
Be realistic about your time. Determine periods of your week, your days, to set aside for writing. Approach your writing desk, pad, or computer with a desire to discover. I find that meditating before I write opens this door.
UNPLUG. Many tools exist to help you disconnect from the noisy world and go inward. One is “Freedom,” it’s an app that allows your computer to tune out the world for a specified period of time. I used to turn off my internet access, but research questions could suck me right back in. With Freedom, you have to reboot your computer to get around it.
Let’s say you have only 90 minutes to write. Turn off your phone. Engage “Freedom” or similar and unplug for 45 minutes. Sit for a few minutes, eyes closed, feet on the ground, hands on your thighs and pay attention to your breath, allow yourself to return fully to your body. Even just ten slow deep breaths can make a difference. Then begin. Ask yourself: What is the scariest part of my story? What is the part of my novel I’ve been avoiding? What feels alive in the work? What excites you? What scares you? Forget about deadlines or grammar, tell your critics to take a seat; you’ve got work to do. Be bold. Be fearless. When the 45 minutes end (with a program like Freedom you’ll get a notice, or perhaps you set a timer), stand up, do some stretches, make a cup of tea–do something renewing for 10 – 15 minutes. Try not to plug back in, allow the work you’ve been doing to rest in you, see what ideas come as you walk, sip your tea. Then return, reset for another 30 minutes. Pay attention to what it is you’re working on when you want to jump up and stop. Is there something pregnant in the work, something wanting to emerge, something at the edge of your awareness? Let me know if you try this, or have ideas you’d like to share. Feel free to leave a comment below
I’m excited to announce the first issue of The Lakeshore, a new literary magazine featuring the work from Lakeshore Writers Workshops. Please read, enjoy; your comments are welcome.
Only one remains in the winter workshops so be in touch soon to reserve your spot. I look forward to seeing you soon.
Until then, Keep that pen moving!
• • • 12/12/12 • • •
My new Winter 2013 schedule is up. Check it out and be in touch to reserve your spot. The spring sessions are filling quickly.
I’m excited to announce the first issue of The Lakeshore, a new literary magazine featuring the work from Lakeshore Writers Workshops. Please read, enjoy; your comments are welcome. I hope you are enjoying the light and color of December (some people actually believe we don’t have seasons in California! All one need do is look!) Last week, during our funnel raincrazy weather, I couldn’t resist going out into the downpour with the excuse of unclogging raingutters, digging out drains. As I pulled rafts of leaves, needles and branches from the street gutter I stopped suddenly, aware of an overwhelming gladness. Aliveness! and was reminded of James Joyce’s “The Dead.” What delight to be out in my old rain boots, listening to the staccato rhythm of the rain, watching the wind stir the world up and coax leaves to abandon their trees as water seeped through my clothes, my hands happy in my gardening gloves dove into each task, directing the flood.
PROMPT: Write about jumping into a difficult task, fighting the elements: What are the physical costs? What is the goal? What complicates achieving that goal? Is there a moment when the goal seems impossible? Use all of your senses. Write wild, anything goes…surprise yourself!
As writers, our moments of being most alive occur when the ideas flood through us, spilling onto the page, delighting us when just the right language arrives. Yes, yes yes! We know just where we’re going! We could write forever! Most of our work though is trial and error–writing, reading, rewriting, rewriting. As the end of the year approaches I invite you to consider your writing from this last year, read it all again, read for what calls to you, for what feels most alive.