Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Creative Expression

Creative Expression


Well, ain’t that like a hammer to the head? *LOL*

One of my biggest complaints lately – and by lately I mean for like the past year and a half – is that I seem to be creatively blocked – stumped, stuck, clogged.  The muse is constipated.  I used to write creatively every day – all day, in a myriad of genres.  And when I wasn’t writing? I’d draw (not that I’m good at it, but I enjoyed it).  I’d be creative in the kitchen, too – baking breads and desserts and all sorts of new treats.  But, ever since the divorce and my return to work, with the kids back in school, and dealing with life’s trials and tribulations, I haven’t been creative at all!  I did have a few insightful moments over the last year when thoughts of love inspired poetic expression, and did come up with at least two articles I can think of off the top of my head that I was pretty proud of, but by and large, over-all, I’ve been creatively closed.

This card says enough is enough… bust out the drano, grab hold of the plunger, employ the use of the roto-rooter, feed the muse her exlax and get on with the show.

It’s time to write again.  It’s time to draw again. It’s time to bake again. (uh… candle making, maybe? *grins*)

Here’s what the guidebook says:

Card Meaning: Your heart needs an outlet to express powerful emotions. By drawing this card, you are urged to engage in an artistic or creative endeavor.

Card Description: The fairies sing, dance, and make beautiful decorations as a way of expressing their heart’s joyful energy. You, too, are urged to create an outlet for creative expression. Anything artistic or creative will make your heart sing with joy, and will allow you to get in touch with your true inner feelings and divine guidance. Painting, flower arranging, photography, sand or snow sculpting, writing, or composing songs are wonderful examples.

Your creative expression doesn’t need to be skillful or perfect. In fact, the most therapeutic types of creative activities allow you to “paint outside the lines.” In other words, don’t worry whether your creative project is perfect or marketable. Let go of all goals and judgments, and instead, create with childlike exuberance. Enjoy!

Affirmation: I am a highly creative and artistic person. I now allow this side of myself to be expressed.

Source: Healing with the Fairies Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue, Ph. D.

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I cannot count all the phenomenally wonderful creative ideas that have fluttered through my head over the past several months – or the not so pretty yet powerful outpours of emotions through words.  They hit me while I’m driving, or while I’m walking through a market, or while I’m at work, or otherwise engaged and unable to write them down.

I cling to them… the muse’s ponderings, holding them firmly in mind until I can reach pen and paper (or keyboard). I tell myself to remember and I repeat the words.  Sometimes it’s only two or three lines, sometimes it’s just one sentence, or a paragraph – but I hold them, I replay them in my head… and then I find the time available and I pick up the pen and I jot the words down. I get so excited about finally being able to take the thoughts from my head and manifest them on paper… and suddenly, once on paper, they’re crap! It’s the same words I saw in my head that seemed so profound, so prolific, so insightful, so well placed – and once placed on paper, they “feel” different.  They’re not as smooth.  They’re choppy.  They’re cheesy.  That’s it… cheesy. Oober cheesy.  Cheese whiz kind of cheesy…. and, well, I’m lactose intolerant.

Ink changes things.

I’m irritated with myself about my writing. There used to be a time I could write three or four poems and a good, solid article in a day – or at least, in a week.  Here it’s been months and months since I’ve created anything I consider of value. I’ve leaned on my archives a lot in creating this blog… digging up nuggets of gold from a year ago, two years ago, ten years ago.  But there’s nothing recent – nothing other than rants and raves about this, that, or the other thing.  It’s all yada yada yada.

Where has my creative ability gone? Is it just that I’m working too many hours and don’t have the time to sit and daydream the way I used to? Is it that I’ve lost the skill all together?  Is the Universe intentionally puting me in a time out? Am I blocked by things I’m afraid to face? (Should I repeat that? *nods* – Am I blocked by things I’m afraid to face?)

Whatever the reason, it’s clear to me that while I may be waxing poetic thoughts in my head, I can’t seem to successfully transfer them to paper. 

Ink changes things.

Here’s what irritates me the most.  I’m not wanting to write for the sake of profession. I don’t require publication to achieve validation – I only want to write for me… to store in my own portfolio, to share here on my blog… to write for the sake of writing.  There’s no pressure, no deadlines, no set topics, no word count requirements… so why can’t I do it?

Maybe I should get back into the practice of writing my “Thoughts of the Day” – and no, that’s not the same as my “coffee thoughts” rambles.  Thoughts of the Day was a writing exercise I used to do where I’d choose a random quote – any quote – and then write four hundred words (or for twenty minutes) about that quote… following the thought wherever it went.  It didn’t always produce good writing, but it kept the pen moving and the muse well exercised. But that begs the question… when?


I guess I’ll just take the creative time out with a grain of salt, work through what needs worked through, continue the “rants” here as I have, and hope that some day, something other than cheese will flow through my pen.


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Intro: This, too, is an older piece written as a writing exercise, but fitting to repost today in honor of the “Environmental Awareness” Fairy Oracle drawn in this morning’s Daily Dose.

“Let There Be Light”
Written by:
Wendi Friend

“The bright light is lying down – the earth and the sky and the sea. It is at rest with the ocean – and the days go by. They go into the seas that have no shores – haunted by that same closed door. Looking up at skies on fire, leaving nothing left of us to discover. And the planets of the Universe go their way – not astounded by the sun or the moon or the light of day. You and I will simply disappear, out of sight, but I’m afraid soon there’ll be no light. No doubt no pain come ever again, well, let there be light in this lifetime – in the cool silent moments of the night time.”
~Stevie Nicks: an exert from Planets of the Universe, Trouble in Shangri La~

When I lay down at night to go to sleep, I try not to think of how badly damaged our earth is. I try not to think about all the “heavy” subjects like politics, religion, education, sex, relationships, chemicals, war, drugs, violence, greed, murder, rape, betrayal and bigotry. I try, instead, to think of something positive, like walking barefoot through a meadow towards a waterfall, in which all my worries and fears will be washed away with the currents. While I’m sleeping, I try not to dream of reality’s responsibilities – bills, errands, parenting, laundry, groceries and appointments. Instead, I try to dream peaceful things in pastels, like fanciful tall tales of being a princess in a palace of peace. But, then I open my eyes in the morning to a crumbling world with sleeping adults and waking children who have questions that no one can answer.

During my days, I do what I am able – I try to live my life by good moral standards. I try to be an understanding person, compassionate, dedicated and true. I use the resources available to me to make a difference in the condition of our world. Through my writing, I express my ideas and concepts on how we can reverse the damage done to this earth and restore balance before we self-destruct.

We worry about the style of our clothes and hair. We worry about our careers and social status. We worry about our bank accounts and retirement. We worry about disease and we worry about political conflict – yet, as a whole, we live each day in complete denial of the truth. We use our aerosol cans and we eat the animals, we pollute the waters and we destroy the ozone layer. We pour toxic waste into the ground and we shoot up our meat products with chemical growth stimulants. We hunt for sport. We walk with shut eyes past the homeless, hungry and abused. We have lost respect for ourselves. We have become comfortable with self-indulgent behaviors. Yet, we wonder why we’re not happy. We wonder what we’re missing. We wonder why we feel like life is closing in on us.

Through reading a special book (Ishmael by Daniel Quinn), I have learned that one of the problems with humanity is that we feel like the earth was put here for us, we assume that earth was made for man – and since we feel as though it belongs to us, we feel like we can treat it any way we wish. My only question is, why did we choose this way?

I’m afraid.

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Intro: This was originally written back in 2000 as a writing exercise. The idea is to draw a quote, any quote, and write either 400 words, or for 20 minutes.  I’m pulling this old writing exercise from my archives today in honor of the “Environmental Awareness” Fairy Oracle drawn in this morning’s Daily Dose.

“Our Only Legitimate Hope of Survival”
Written by:
Wendi Friend

To cherish what remains of the earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.” -Wendell Berry-

I took it as a compliment when a co-worker branded me as a “hippie-chick.” Never could I have been more flattered than when someone else called me a tree hugger.

Saving our earth is important for obvious as well as not so obvious reasons. If we destroy the ozone layer, we’ll perish. If we demolish the rain forest, we rob ourselves of life preserving essentials. you wouldn’t set your house on fire, would you? We shouldn’t rip apart our environment, either.

Aside from the protective barriers and nutritional growths of the earth, there is a silent, unseen energy that she exhales. People of every religious venue have sought from nature a spiritual experience. When we leave the pressures and familiarities of our daily routines and find time for nature, we emerge from the experience feeling energized, revitalized, clarified. We emerge from nature feeling whole, confident, connected, determined and ready to face new challenges.

We are inspired by landscapes, sunsets, ocean waves, mountain peaks, vivid jungles, steep cliffs, serene forests, spring gardens, rushing waterfalls, chattering animals, twinkling stars and weather phenomena – and yet, despite our fascination with her many faces and functions, we disrespect and destroy her daily, polluting her waters and air.

We feed from the earth, drinking her juices and enjoying the flavors of her fruits – and yet, we starve her of the attention, respect and gratitude that she deserves.

She shields us with her protective wings, keeping us out of the chaotic realm, lacking oxygen and gravity, called space – yet, we disintegrate that barrier with our chemical creations and arrogant, spoiled needs.

It would be such a blessing if our society could remember the earth. It would be a salvation if they could respect and protect her.

If we destroy the earth, we destroy ourselves. The dinosaurs didn’t have a choice in their extinction. We do.

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Intro: This story was written for my dad and my son. At the time, my son was only two and I was visiting my parents. My dad stands about 6’6 1/2, like the Jolly Green Giant (Only not green), and has an incredibly deep voice. The night I was visiting was special because it was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities where three planets align and can be seen by the naked eye. To be perfectly honest, I can’t remember which planets they were, so I used writer’s perogative in creating this story. My dad had taken my son out in the front yard, on the porch, under the stars. I stayed inside, watching through the window. My dad cradled my small son in his left arm, pointing to the sky with his right hand. My son looked up where my dad pointed, yawned… and that was it, the inspiration hit. Before they’d finished their visit outside with the planets, I had written the tale, “My Grandpa Showed Me Mars.” Now, as with my other picture books for children, now that I’m reading them more than twenty years later, I can see where they’ve lots of room for improvement and I’m not claiming it to be a masterpiece. However, it is a major part of my past, the writing of these stories, so I’m including them “as is” on The Road Home.

“My Grandpa Showed Me Mars”
Written by:
Wendi Friend
~ For Dad, and Andrew~


One night my grandpa showed me mars.
He told me to look way past the stars.
To my delight, just beneath the moon,
Was Saturn, Mars, and Neptune!
“Look very closely,” my grandpa said to me,
“this is the only time we’ll be able to see
these planets together, shining so bright.
I’m glad we could share this special night.”
I stared at the speckles in the sky
while Grandpa started singing a lullaby.
Before long, I’d fall fast asleep.
Safe in Grandpa’s arms I’d dream.
I dreamed of a flying saucer
Soaring through the stars.
I was inside, and I was going to Mars!
I pushed all the buttons and turned the controls;
I wondered if I’d see any little green trolls.
My saucer zoomed up and down,
flipping topsy-turvy way above the ground.
I passed Saturn and I passed the moon;
I was just about to pass Neptune
When suddenly, I realized I was afraid!
I couldn’t go to Mars that day!
I still had other things to do…
my mom told me earlier to clean my room.
I was just about to turn around
when the wheels of my saucer touched the ground.
It didn’t seem like I had gone that far,
But it appeared as though I had landed on Mars!
The door of my saucer opened wide.
Though still quite scared, I stepped outside.
There were many things to be seen,
But none were trolls little and green.
I wandered around and looked at the sights.
I picked up a rock and held it tight.
I carved my name in the hard, red sand
To tell other people I had reached that land.
Then I noticed I was all alone
and decided it was time for me to go home.
With my rock in my hand, I climbed back in my ship.
3…2…1, I was ready to lift.
I flew very fast through the star-filled sky,
and got home by the end of the lullaby.
Grandpa took me inside, tucked me into bed.
He gave me a kiss on the top of my head.
I told him about my special trip,
and all about my big space ship.
“You fell asleep when I started to sing
and it sounds like you had a really neat dream,
but that’s all it was.” My grandpa said.
He smiled, and then winked, patting me on the head.
He closed the door and turned out the light.
From behind the door, he yelled, “Goodnight!”
I remembered carving my name in the sand,
and to my surprise…
The rock was still in my hand!

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Written by:
Wendi Friend

When we write, we may create anything from a sweet piece of poetry to a best selling novel. When we write as a profession, we pay close attention to detail, to the choices of words and sentence structure. On the other hand, when writing personally, we may just throw our words out toward the page, letting them fall where they may. In diaries, we don’t worry so much about dotting that I or crossing the T . In diaries, we rant about whatever is on our minds from eating habits to romance. But there’s a third type of writing, often unnoticed, which can be equally as productive and pleasing as the professional and personal styles of writing. Merging the attention to detail as in professional writing with the raw innocence of diary writing, one can embark on a spiritual journey, recording revelations, epiphanies, insights, growth patterns and more. With the proper intent, anyone can begin the writing of his or her own Spiritual Journal.

One thing I love about journal keeping is that it’s not as rigid with rules as professional writing. In a journal, one can get away with writing fragmented sentences and putting hyphens or apostrophes in the wrong places. However, when keeping a record of your spiritual journey, it is imperative to pay close attention to detail. Your editor’s eye must make way for the eye of your heart to see through the words to the truer meanings and reflections of self. While you may not be looking for typos and misprints, you will want to be acutely aware of your choice of words and how they align with your true intention.

In some of my own spiritual journals, I’ll write a specific question with a word or two that I’d normally not use, or that may, in some way, stand out to me. Later, when the answer comes to me, I’m able to recognize it because that word was used! For example, this morning, I wrote in my spiritual journal that I wanted to hold on tighter when I feel I’m losing balance. I wanted to feel secure and assured as I go through life’s obstacles. When I finished writing how I felt inside, I drew a Fairy Oracle card, a Tarot card and a Tao card for the day. (I draw these cards daily when I can because it helps me to learn and remember them. When I do full spread readings, I’m then able to more easily recognize the messages for having seen them before in this more personal manner.) The cards I drew this morning used the words assurance and secure while telling me to hold on, find balance and have faith that my dreams are manifesting. The words I used in the writing became very relevant when I saw the words in the reading.

The answers don’t always fall in the form of divinatory cards, but also through people, songs, television commercials and several other unpredictable ways where synchronicity is in play. I may write a word in the morning, then hear it on the radio in a song that will penetrate me in a different way. The word becomes a “trigger” for deeper self- reflection.

In February of 2001, I wrote about Inspirare and other writing workshops. Inspirare had such an effect on me that it completely changed the way I live my life. Though it was a workshop for writers, it was a spiritual journey. In this workshop were exercises that would take one into the depths of themselves — deeper than we even knew we could go. The workshop lasted one year, consisting of twelve modules — one monthly. Each module introduced a new subject, required research and provoked inspiration on new levels. This workshop is where I learned the importance of spiritual record keeping.

My shelves were lined with journals and diaries. Anyone who knew me at all knew well that I’m never more content than when setting pen to paper; but until the Inspirare project, I don’t believe I’d ever written with power and intent. That’s what made all the difference in the world. Where a diary is a place to vent emotion and release negativity, a spiritual journal is a place where one accepts responsibility for their own actions, understands their own power and uses that understanding and power to generate positive results through intent.

To write in a spiritual journal is to signify that you know your words have power. Once per month, I perform a Tarot reading and record it in my journal. Later, I’m able to go back and review the lessons, how they were presented in the cards, how they manifested and how I handled them when they came up.

Dreams are also great material for spiritual journals because once one begins to question the meanings of dreams, many answers spill forth. But you don’t have to be a dream therapist or fortuneteller in order to record a spiritual journal. Regardless of your faith, background, gender or age, you can “map out” the journey of your spirit by simply writing what you truly feel, need, want and how you plan on creating that reality through intent, prayer, effort, and action.

In my raw opinion, there’s no faster way for a person to evolve than to record the journey in written word. In writing our goals and intentions, we empower them and create a space where they can manifest. But spiritual journals are also fantastic for reflection, to see where one may have fallen off track or made errors in judgment. In this way, you can use where you’ve been to identify how you got to where you are and how to get to the place you need to be.

There are many benefits to keeping a spiritual journal. In the end, for my personal journey, keeping the words in written form is a way to insure my legacy with my children and my children’s children. Through my experiences, may they gain an understanding, a feeling of comfort or the love of a woman living life in earnest.

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Written by:
Wendi Friend

A critique is a person’s opinions and suggestions regarding an author’s work. Critiques can answer elemental questions regarding plot, character development, believability, and more. As such, they can provide insights into an author’s work and help to correct technical errors. But having others comment and make suggestions for your writing is only one way to draw benefit from critiques. The best way to benefit from critiques is giving them.

When a writer is serious about presenting their work for publication, they research the markets and writer resources, continuously improving upon their craft. When they do, they come across a myriad of advice. Among all the advice available, certain suggestions have become common factors. The leading offer of advice is to involve yourself in writing groups and opportunities to “exchange” critiques with other writers. By critiquing the work of other writers, one gains exposure to the variety of writing styles and subjects flowing about the realm of writing in search of recognition. Regularly reading the writing “hot off the presses” from both aspiring and established writers, common habits or “mistakes” can be identified. Once identified, they can be eliminated from your own writing. In essence, you’re learning to write better by editing the work of others. We learn by editing because we read the work of others with a more critical and less familiar eye than we do our own work.

For example, in reviewing the work of an associate, I noticed the tendency to start sentences with the word “so”. On one hand, it shows the author’s ability to write as he would have spoken. In his speech, he often does start his sentences with that word. In speech, extra words often go unnoticed because our focus isn’t only on the words, but on the way they’re being spoken. On paper, however, those habits stand out. When you spot these types of tendencies in the work of others, you will begin to see some habits in your own writing. When you can identify and eliminate habits during your own editorial process, you save yourself — and others — from having them pointed out when the piece is offered for critique!

Just the knowledge that critiques are helpful is a fantastic tool to writers, but useless tool when not applied. A hammer in a toolbox can’t pound a nail. It takes action. What stops most people from getting associated with other writers to review and edit each other’s work? Fear. Many of today’s writers don’t have college degrees, or in some cases, even high school diplomas. We then have underlying fears that we’re not “smart enough” to give advice to others, particularly if they’re already published writers. Heck, that’s intimidating!

Giving a critique isn’t as difficult as you may think. Just think of the questions you’d want answered about your own work, then offer those answers to the writer whose work you’re reading. Are you interested in the story? Was the reading smooth? Vocabulary, was it simple enough to understand, yet not so elementary it bores readers? Did the plot captivate attention? Do the characters feel real and believable?

Writers often read their own work so many times, they miss little misprints that most spell checkers don’t catch, such as “this” where “his” should have been, or “there’s” where it should have been “theirs”. Every writer has their own misspellings, punctuation habits, and style. If there’s a sentence you find difficult to read, point that out to the author. We don’t often trip on our own words, but others can and do. Most of those sentences can be easily clarified by the addition, removal, or relocation of as little as one word. The author just needs to know where the bumps are located.

In some critique groups I’ve been involved with, I’ve noticed some members have an abrasive style. Sugar coating is not required, although a bit more than “I liked it” is generally appreciated. But some people cut right to the chase with razor sharp opinions and total lack of empathy. There isn’t a need to slaughter anyone else’s writing, writing style, education, or lack of. Everyone needs encouragement; no one appreciates insult. Writers of every genre and experience level should offer encouragement and support to each other. We’ve chosen a difficult field that leads down an often lonely road.

There’s still even more benefit to be obtained from involvement with critique groups. You never know who you’re going to meet! People from all walks of life have merged into the Internet melting pot. From every culture, country, background, religion, etc., writers are coming together. In one group, you may find a young writer experimenting with his newly found muse, coupled with an author who has published multiple articles and books. You also never know whose needs your undiscovered talents may fill. It is not uncommon for editors to lurk in such areas to find fresh writers who’ve not yet been “tampered with” by the reality of the publishing world.

All things considered, if you’re still not ready to dip your toes into the reality of giving or receiving critiques, then if nothing else, READ THEM! You’ll learn more than you can imagine by watching how writers interact and communicate with each other.

Of course, there must also be caution. There are always those who prey on others with less experience. Not many people are interested in stealing the work of others, not blatantly, anyway. But there are cases in which writers are taken advantage of — situations where writers are offered bogus contracts, conned out of “reading fees”, suckered into contests, etc. You always want to use common sense and do your homework. Protect your writing, be careful who you give personal information, and do not pay to have others read or critique your work. There are several free writing groups available with other writers just like you who want to know if they’re on the right track.

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