Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Writing Goals for 2012

A lot of people wait until New Year’s Day to set some goals. Why wait? Why not start now?
Start the new year off with this mantra: Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha
Om Guhm Guh-nuh-puh-tuh-yea Nah-mah-hah
The mantra above is traditionally chanted to start new endeavors with positive energy and to remove obstacles.
If chanting is not your thing, then create your own mantra. Before you start writing, repeat a positive thought a few times. This will inspire you and empower you on your creative journey.
For instance, I created my own: “I am patient with myself so that my writing can manifest effortlessly.”
I found some wonderful affirmations that you can apply to yourself or your writing.
'I am truly a gifted artist'
'Through the use of a few simple tools, my creativity will flourish'
'My creativity always leads me to success'
Remember to set attainable goals in order to avoid disappointments. Be kind to yourself and use your creativity for the greatest good of all concerned.
Do you have any affirmations or mantras you repeat daily? Is writing a continuing goal?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Let the holidays inspire your writing

Most of us agree that finding time to write during the holidays is almost impossible. We’re either traveling or entertaining so writing takes a back seat. So I say to you, why not combine both?
Here are four problems and possible solutions:
1)      No quiet time – Why not give Christmas carols a chance. Use them to your advantage as background music while typing a few lines. Who knows? You may write a poem or a story with a holiday theme.
2)      No energy to write – Treat yourself to something sweet. Why not bake some cookies? Spicy gingerbread man cookies are fun! A little sugar indulgence should energize you to write at least half a page.
3)       Not feeling the holiday spirit – Read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. If his famous character, Ebenezer Scrooge doesn’t inspire you, perhaps Dickens’s poetic and humorous style will.
4)      Writing has gone out the chimney – Don’t expect Santa to push it back down the same way. Ask a family member or a fellow writer to brainstorm ideas with you. It could help if you have a glass of eggnog, sparkling wine, or sangria while discussing your story. With technology being so accessible nowadays, you could even do it via Skype, webcam, Facebook chat, or the good-old telephone. (Note: Don’t write, drink and drive)
Do the holidays inspire your writing? Are you productive over this festive time? What other solutions would you suggest? 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The countdown begins!

In the spirit of Christmas and with only twelve days left to this celebration, I wanted to write a checklist that we can use when revising our work (hopefully before we open our gifts). 
1)      Read, read, read! You can get inspired, emulate style, and learn more about your genre by reading someone else’s work.
2)      Read your story aloud.
3)      Have a fellow writer read it.
4)      Strengthen your scenes by being an actor and playing the main character (or any character you may think is weak). Relive the action in your head.
5)      Polish your dialogue; make sure it flows and it’s not contrived.
6)      Check the tone. This means the author’s attitude toward his subject: grave, amused, scientific, intimate, aggrieved, authoritative, whatever.
7)      Make every word count; that means use strong verbs and adjectives.
8)      Keep in mind the story arc. The purpose of a story arc is to move a character or a situation from one state to another.
9)      Let the plot guide the story. A short story must immediately pull the reader out of her world and drop her into the world of the story.
10)  Put your work away for a few days and then come back to it. Tired eyes never see mistakes.
11)  Punctuation is everything, period! Be mindful of your commas, semicolon, and especially those exclamation marks; they’re not Christmas tree ornaments.
12)  Edit, edit, edit! You can never do enough editing. Any good writer knows that editing is at the top of the list, like the star at the top of the tree. 
Do you use a checklist? Are you counting your days to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, or getting published in 2012?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

From Holiday Blues to Holiday Muse

Inspiration is all around us during the holiday season. As writers, we encounter a plethora of subjects to write about, from something as trivial as grocery shopping to something more complex as family reunions. However, that has not been my case. I have not produced anything new in months. Just editing! (sigh). I need to find my holiday muse, pronto! I wonder if writing a letter to Santa Claus would count. “Dear Santa, I’ve been a bad writer…I don’t need anything this Christmas. Just bring my muse back, or some egg nog.”
How’s your writing coming along? Do you get the blues during this festive time?