Saturday, December 29, 2012

The power of Fear

Fear of success, fear of failure. Fear of rejection, fear of acceptance. Fear of seeming to be a fraud. Fear of not being a "real" writer-whatever that means. Fear of not being creative enough, fear of being stuck. Fear of the dreaded writers block. The all time most surreptitious form of fear -procrastination. I'm sure there are many other fears I haven't touched upon or mentioned in the above list. We all have had some kind of fear associated with our writing.

Whatever guise it comes under, fear is very real and if allowed, will stop us from writing.  So how do we combat this ? First of all lets admit that it exists. Secondly you must discipline yourself to act in spite of the fear. I sat on my first manuscript for a year because of fear, fear of actually being accepted and  consequently having to followup that first novel with another. Really? Yes really. I overcame this by asking myself if this was a path I really wanted to pursue. Did I really want to write?  Would I write even if no one read my books? Would I write if everyone read my books? Would I write if everyone read my books and hated them?

After giving it much thought (and answering yes to all the questions) I plunged into my writing despite the fear I may have felt. For  me that was the key, taking the action. Putting the words on the page day after day. I think writers as a rule are a hardy lot, we learn early on to deal with rejection ( especially if we seek the traditional route of agent-publisher). We are thick skinned out of necessity.  Yet beneath it all we are artists, honing our craft, constantly polishing.

At our core we are storytellers and that requires a type of sensitivity and vulnerability. That is the side of ourselves we must protect and nurture. Not by building impenetrable fortresses that stifle our creative voice, and keep others at bay. It doesn't work anyway. We cant isolate ourselves and expect to have a vibrant life. Isolation only serves to truncate our voice and is another manifestation of fear. No, the only way to deal with the spectre of fear(which never entirely disappears), the paralyzing, breath stealing effect of it- is to dive headfirst into life. Experience life to its fullest, face fear and write anyway. Your writing will be better for it, I promise.  Id be curious to hear how you face your fear, let me know.

writers write

Friday, December 14, 2012

Physical Exercise as a Creative Tool

I am a third degree black belt. I have been training for close to three decades. I recently published my first book The Spiritual Warriors: this year. So as I think about these two facets of who I am I begin to wonder- what role does my training play in my writing?
I found that it affects my writing to a large degree. If I am feeling tired or lackluster, a good training session revs me up. When I am revved up the ideas start to flow. I'm sure there is some brain chemistry involved around the endorphins released during rigorous physical activity. What I have found is that my brain enters a very interesting state when I train that is not easily accessible when I haven't. I have had some very profound, crazy (by my definition) funny and bizarre (again my definition) ideas and scenarios play out during and after my training sessions. They have all been useful and most of the times I can use all or part of the idea that surfaces from these moments.
What are your thoughts? Do you think there is a direct correlation between physical activity and your writing? 

writers write

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Creating the safe haven

Recently (as in the last year or so) I took to writing in a starbux as I have mentioned in earlier posts. I have discovered however that I would like to have a space to write. Not because starbux is prohibitive. I really enjoy writing there and they don't harass you
(for what they charge for a grande white mocha they better not). It has more to do with creating a place that allows you to enter a creative space easily. Now initially I thought this should be an actual physical space-you know the scenario closed door, do not disturb sign on said door, two handmaidens standing behind you as you write, with palm leaves slowly creating a soft breeze while a third is on standby to give you a neck massage  at a moments notice. In the background there is perfect ambient music stimulating creativity with every note. Just me? Possibly, but I digress. So after the idea of a physical space passed I thought how does this idea fit in with my concept of a Guerilla Writing(I know there is a book there somewhere)? If I want to be able to write anywhere how do I create this space that allows me to be creative anywhere? How do I establish a creative oasis that I can enter whenever and wherever?

And so this is the challenge. My first attempts have been just to sit in meditation for 15 minutes a day. I find it clears my brain of stray thoughts that are potential roadblocks to writing freely. I also write with music playing(usually headphones) and this creates a kind of sound bubble when I write. It also engages my brain to such a degree that I am writing and my brain thinks its listening to music. I find the music helps because my writing process is very visual and so the music becomes a type of soundtrack to my writing. Can I write without music? Yes, but its not as fun or free for me. Sometimes there is no choice (some words demand to be written NOW), but usually I always have my Ipod at the ready.

So how do you do it ? I would like to hear from fellow writers how you enter the creative space. Are you always there? Do you have rituals? Is it easy or torture? Do the planets have to align or is it just sitting in front of your computer or notebook?

writers write,