I've been tagged. Twice.
First, by the lovely Shelli who's asking me to share some writing tips, "because I get paid to write." How funny that statement is to me.
And, the awesome Jena tagged me with a Meme about books, specifically to find the closest one and pull a paragraph out of it -- specifically, a very specific paragraph.
Here's the rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages)
2. Open the book to page 123
3. Find the 5th sentence
4. Post the next three sentences
5. Tag 5 people
So, for inspiration (and since I'm in my office), I'm going to pull from my writing books shelf. I chose three to scan and reflect on.
Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott
On Writing, by Stephen King
The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield
I first decided to pull from Bird by Bird because it is by far the most inspirational writing book I know, but when I got to the right place, I realized it was going to be a bit flat.
I nearly chose On Writing, since the sentences talk about passive voice, which I always struggle with when writing.
But, in the end, I chose The War of Art to quote.
I believe it. I believe there are angels. They're here, but we can't see them.
Now, on to Shelli's meme offering three writing tips. I certainly don't want to repeat my previous writing tips, but they are probably much the same anyway.
Pressfield had a specific point by talking about angels in a book about being creative. He continued later with this:
"When we conceive an enterprise and commit to it in the face of our fears, something wonderful happens. ... Angel midwives congregate around us; they assist as we give birth to ourselves, to that person we were born to be, to the one whose destiny was encoded in our soul, our daimon, our genius.
I wanted to continue quoting Pressfield here because it is exactly my first writing tip, and one that I have recently realized I had been doing all wrong for years.
BEGIN: Don't just begin today. Begin tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that. Set goals of what each day's beginning will be. Maybe today your goal is to begin a letter, a lede to an article, the last paragraph of your novel. Whatever it is, begin again and again and again. It is not enough to just begin once just like none of us are born just once. We are born over and over and over in our lives.
GET OUT OF YOUR WAY: This is a tip I might have read a million times, but it's always worth repeating. This means get rid of your ego, sure, but it also means let go of what you thought it should be or would be or wanted it to be. Let go of the preconceived notions and let the writing flow and turn and twist like a river. The second you start looking back to see where you came from, you will hit a block, a rock or some other object that will stop your creative process. See. First. Tip.
SET DEADLINES: So, yeah, I'm a big deadline person. Try writing a (real) murder story in a couple hours and you will become rather proficient at churning out words without emotion, without too much thought, without a care in the world about a damn comma. If you want to finish a novel, do what I did last week ... set up an appointment to meet with an agent. That might be a bit progressive for some, but it's precisely what I needed to put that spark back into my novel and what I knew I needed to finally finish the dang thing. I need deadlines. I would never produce a thing if I didn't set them for myself.
So, now I tag THREE savvy souls and readers for BOTH of these. My dear girlfriend, Shannon, who doesn't have nearly enough on her plate (cough, cough), MPJ and Susana from Mama's Village.
I tried to pick three writers and readers ... 'cause I'm tired and running out of steam here. Tag, you're it.
Please feel free to offer your thoughts on angels, beginnings and writing in the comments section.
Thank you for visiting today.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008
I've been tagged. Twice.