Saturday, March 13, 2010

Writing Self-Help Post #1 - Finding Some Muse

Today my husband took me to Powells Books and directed me to get some writing books. I think he is tired of hearing me say how much I want to write but feel stuck. We can't afford for me to take the local classes I have found, so to make up for it, I have this new and growing stack of books glued to my side. My golden prizes for today:

Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids by Christina Katz

The Writer's Book of Matches: 1,001 Prompts to Ignite Your Fiction by The Staff of fresh boiled peanuts

Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card

Writing Dialogue by Tom Chiarella

The first one I decided to dive into is Writer Mama. This is a pretty decent book. It seems to mostly be geared towards the writers of the magazine/article type writing, yet still contains some awesome insights that help to inspire. This book is one reason I have decided to start this blog up. Katz says that writing freelance is a "mental relief" for even those who specialize mostly in a fiction world. (Such as I, who am madly in love with scifi/fantasy escape) We get so caught up in the jumble of our latest creation that soon our mind turns to mush and no real writing can come of it. Taking a break and RE-entering reality can help. So I am trying that.

A good quote, summarized, from Katz is:
"Writing is turning your private thoughts into a public discussion"

I am only a few chapters in at the moment, but am enjoying this latest find. Though I do not fully plan on entering into the journalist world, I do feel more surrounded now by other SAHMs (stay at home moms) who also dream of the writing realm. Here are some awesome tips I have read so far to help encourage the muse

1. Keep a notepad of some sort with you at all times. Jot down any and every thought/idea that comes to your mind during the day, whether you are sitting at home or in the middle of the grocery aisle. Compile the notes later. Now you have the beginnings of some great brainstorming sessions for current or future works!

2. Free write. Remember in good old grade school when our teachers would make us write for a minute straight? Turns out they were on to something. Turning off your over analyzing brain and just writing until the timer says stop is actually a great way to clear your mind and potentially come up with new, amazing ideas. We write what we know. But sometimes the things we know get stuck behind logic. Set a timer, or a certain page count, and do not stop writing until you hit it. You just might be amazed.

3. Read and clip the local newspaper. Make it a point to get that paper and read through it. You never know if a recent headline will inspire a thought you didnt have before. Clip the articles and/or headlines, even comics, that stick out to you and keep them filed away as a reality muse.

4. Get a bulletin board. Invest in a good old fashioned cork board, some post-its, and a nice supply of pens. Getting back into the tactile world is a great thing. Plus, even if we are great about typing out ideas and saving them, actually SEEING them posted on the wall will be a more constant reminder. Pin up ideas, inspirational quotes, projects, motivating photos. But remember, this board is for YOU, not for the next shopping list.

5. Take a break and write some non-fiction. Working so hard on creating can take its toll. Dive back into the real world and write a good piece of essay, an article, a thought. It relaxes the mind.

I plan on trying out some of these new ideas. Maybe they will help. Just maybe...
But now reality calls and my child is asking for mommy attention. Time to re-enter the mommyhood world.