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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Written by:
Wendi Friend
2005

You know what writers’ block is, don’t you? There are so many articles available online, and support groups of fellow writers who can pick you up, offer encouragement, and give advice on how to overcome the beast. When the well of inspiration seems tapped, writers and other creative minds become frozen and fear-filled. What if the muse never comes back? What if a good sentence couldn’t be found if life depended on it, and what if the perfect word would never again be embraced with enthusiasm and adrenaline? This fear isn’t just career related. The panic stretches far beyond the reaches of employment, deep into the core of a writer’s very soul. Writing is an escape, a “get out of jail free” card in a world where there are no rules or realities. What if the writer’s block lasts forever then where will the soul of the writer go for release?

Not to worry, writer’s block isn’t always terminal, and there are “cures” for the condition. What you may not realize, though, is that writer’s block isn’t the only reason a writer finds themselves inked dry. Another reason writers are prone to dry spells is that they need to re-fuel and allow the muse to rest. Consider it a forced vacation from the Universe letting you know your tank is empty and you’re on the verge of being considered a slave driver for the way the Muse is worked overtime with little recognition or compensation.

How is this type of “block” different from writer’s block? Writer’s block occurs when the writer is expecting something profound with every stroke, when they write for reasons other than their own, or when outside influence prevents time or space for tapping the well of creativity. When the writer tries too hard or can’t concentrate consistently, their wheels tend to spin – and for as much as they want to create something and move forward, they’re stuck in the sludge of everything around them. Writer’s block can also occur when the writer heads off in the wrong direction with their words. Stories tend to want to write themselves once the muse has lit the path, but writers tend to want to show control over the story and force it in the direction they “think” would be best. The best writing isn’t ever “thought” of in the process. Instead, the best writing is nothing more than an accurate translation of deep feeling. As the writer stops “feeling” and starts “thinking” about how the story should unfold, a block is created. All of these blocks can be overcome through exercise (prompts, group support, research, music, and organization. On the contrary, the type of block I’m referring to doesn’t have a cure, nor is it triggered by an outside influence. Instead, it’s an uncontrollable, involuntary, desperate need to rest, rejuvenate, relax, and restore the muse and the mind to balance.

Writers love nothing better than to find their “zone” and follow the wings of inspiration, regardless of the genre, style, or pay. Journals, diaries, poetry, song lyrics, articles, fiction, non-fiction – These all take on a life of their own once the writer submits to their influence. But writers also have a tendency to block out reality and get so wrapped up in their own plots and characters that they forget to live the life of their own. “I’ll be there in two minutes; just let me finish this one thought.” Two hours later, supper is cold, the kids are in bed, and the spouse is asleep in the Lazy Boy chair with a disappointed expression. You wonder for a moment how two minutes turned into two hours, but you don’t linger long on the thought because the answer is obvious to you.

Even better, the writer will not feel guilty long, but will instead feel the perk of the ears when the thought occurs, “Oh, this means I can go get more work done!” The writer will remember deadlines and statistics more often than birthdays or scheduled appointments.

Keeping our eye on the goal has given us a bit of tunnel vision and all we can see before us is the “next step” that will put us one step closer to reaching “it”. Sadly, most of us don’t even know what “it” is, nor do we realize that our concepts of time differ greatly from those around us. We seem to think in a way that suggests, “Oh, one day, I’ll make it, and then everything will be so much better.” But writing is like laundry: you can do it every single day and yet never be done doing it! There is no “there” we’re trying to get to; there is no “finished”; there is no “last” piece to write. We’re simply doing what we enjoy or that we feel “called” to do – and hoping the experience will be lucrative in recognition and compensation.

When the writer is so trapped in tunnel vision they’ve gone cross-eyed, then the Universe steps in with an, “Okay, enough is enough”, forcing you into a time out so you can step back into your skin and enjoy your real life. Don’t describe sights, sounds, and smells – but experience them for yourself! Don’t write about passion, stop clicking the keyboard long enough to be passionate toward those you love. No amount of writing exercises, games, trips, triggers, or supports will allow you to write again until you’ve been back in your own life long enough to remember how to appreciate it. Appreciation for life is the signal to the Muse that it’s safe to come home.

So the next time you find your muse has gone silent, don’t cry “writer’s block” as an instinctive response and try to cure it with writing prompts or journals. Seriously consider your reason for being blocked, and then ask yourself how involved you’ve really been in your own life. You may not need to be flexing your creative muscles, but rest and relax with the people, places, and things you love. Honor the seasons of your muse and your life by knowing when all that’s needed to cure a “block” is for you to step back, for a time, into reality. Play with kids, walk your dog, swing, enjoy a sunset. Live every season and you’ll live in harmony with the Seasonal Muse.

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Written in 2001

 

“The magick moving through art is the ability to visualize without seeing, listen without hearing, speak without talking, and feel without touching.” ~Wendi Friend~

I over-slept today. I awoke frantic and frazzled due to bad dreams and thick stress. My eldest child, Atlas, was already gone off to school. The younger two decided that I should be left to sleep, so they played quietly together in the loft after having gotten dressed and made their beds. I awoke feeling the need to crawl inside myself; but in a healthy way. I felt like my heart was trying to tell me something. I wanted to sit still and listen. I wanted to silently remember my dreams and explore my thoughts.

Brewing my first pot of coffee for the day, I wrote down that I was hungry for creativity. Creativity, for me, is medicine – whether I’m creating with words on paper, crafting with supplies, or playing with notes of a new song. When my hands are busy, anticipation and expectation preoccupied with art, I can hear myself better. I can see the journey ahead a little more clearly. I can breathe a little more deeply. I was ready to heal. I was hungry for creativity.

Unfortunately, growth was not the only thing I was feeling this morning. The sign on my heart must have been flashing, “No Vacancy,” because all the space within it was consumed with a mixture of hope, need, want, and guilt. I know why I’m in this position. I know that stress backed me into a corner. I know that responsibility challenged time to a race and won. I found myself staying up late nights, waking early in the morning, and skipping meals in between because I couldn’t find the time to do all that needed done in the accomplishing of my goals. I felt guilty because the kids wanted to spend time with me. But, then, so did I.

That’s when I remembered this quote and wrote it down on paper again at that moment: The magick moving through art is the ability to visualize without seeing, listen without hearing, speak without talking and feel without touching. I wrote it down the first time in a journal/coloring book I’d received as a gift. I used a pink gel pen, then – and must have re-read the statement a hundred times while my left hand colored the picture to the left.

As I re-wrote the phrase this morning, seven year old Stinkerbelle knocked on my door, wanting to know if she and Rhythm could go play outside. Turning in my office chair, I smiled, saying, “Ya know what? No. Why don’t you go get your brother and the two of you can hang out in here with me for a while.” Stinkerbelle was thrilled to no end, as was her brother. I had no idea that hanging out in my office would be such a treat for them. When they were both in here, I explained that I’d like them to do something creative with this part of the morning, then they could go outside and play. Stinkerbelle immediately wanted to put to use the weaving project she got for her birthday. Rhythm had been wanting to play with my magnetic poetry book. He watched me do an exercise the other day, thought it was neat, and had been wanting to try one of his own. He picked out five words from my bag of magnetic poetry pieces while Stinkerbelle began stretching little loops of elastic to hook and weave on the plastic base. While the two of them nestled into their creative acts, I nestled into mine.

While Rhythm wrote his own thoughts of the day and Stinkerbelle wove a pot holder, I allowed the pen to move across paper with my own round of magnetic poetry. I withdrew five words from the plastic bag and wrote them down:

1. wind 2.away 3.sister 4.summer 5. morning

`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~

Morning flew quickly by today.
Summer heat taunts, though it’s only spring.
Winter has finally melted away,
making room for the great sun king.

Dreaming of a garden of flowers
I seek nature’s comforting glow.
Sister wind has exhausted her powers
when March currents did forcefully flow.

As I stand in these seasons changing,
I am one with light and sound.
My mind does it’s mystic rearranging
while my feet connect to the ground.

So I thank the entity Mother Earth
for destruction, obstacles and strife…
for death only makes room for birth
and a new opportunity for life.

Winds blow away negativity
cold freezes ugly thoughts
heat melts snow, warming creativity
and I find what I have sought….

my own inner garden of peace.

While we were working, I noticed how tranquil we all were. Rhythm and Stinkerbelle both worked with pleasant grins stretched across their faces, and I realized I was doing the same. We were able to be together, and yet apart, all at the same time. We were all doing the same thing, but differently. We were all being creative and exploring ourselves. This satisfied all of our needs. Their wanting to be with me didn’t mean that I couldn’t still do what I needed to do. I learned that they just like to be in my presence and sharing in my love of art.

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Intro: Another writing exercise- write for 20 minutes, or 400 words based on a quote.

“The Power of Words”
Written by:
Wendi Friend

“For me, words are a form of action, capable of influencing change.” ~Ingrid Bengis~

I never understood that words are a form of action. In fact, I’ve often heard it said that words are cheap. I knew my words could influence the thoughts, emotions, or reactions of others; but I don’t think I truly realized how my words impacted me – except that I knew writing contained some kind of inexplicable form of healing.

When I take a problem out of my worried head and put it on paper, I’m able to view it from a different perspective. I found a neat little pattern in my journal. Sifting through my journal entries one day, I recognized that the beginning of my writings were often disorganized, chaotic and clustered with surface emotion. However, about half way through, I’d begin writing past the raw feeling of reaction and merge into an analytical frame of mind, trying to find a cause for my condition. By the time my hand began to cramp, I had written the answer to my own problem. Never was writing the solutions my intent. My intent was to find a place for my voice and thoughts. I needed to speak without anybody listening. I needed to have a hissy fit, temper tantrum, pity party. I wrote not to gain an answer, but to rid myself of negativity. Inevitably, when the negativity had been cleared away, truth, beauty, understanding, and peace of mind all surfaced. This is the first real awareness that I had of the power in words and the writing of them.

Later, in an exercise for a spiritually exploitative writing workshop, I was taught about another aspect of the power of words. I was asked to write on paper those things that I thought would bring me closer to or set me farther away from that elusive thing called happiness. I thought I’d be able to whip out that assignment in a flash. I thought I knew exactly what would make me happy or prevent me from becoming happy. I was so wrong. Once I explored the reasons and consequences of my dreams and wants, I realized that I wasn’t striving towards my goals for the right reasons. I wasn’t happy in my life because I couldn’t identify what it was that I wanted, or why. Finally, I put pen to paper with the intent of self discovery. I’m not sure if the reaction happened because I finally identified it, or because writing the thoughts substantiated them, or if having brought them to my attention made me want to work harder to achieve them. Regardless of why, a reaction happened creating positive consequence when I put pen to paper.

Words, whether spoken, written, or sang out in song have a powerful energy in them. Our words hurt people, or comfort them. Our words encourage people, or discourage them. Our words have an impact on how we think, feel and react.

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Written by:
Wendi Friend

When reading “how to” books regarding writing and studying through Internet resources, I found that nearly everyone offering advice to writers suggested joining writing workshops and support groups. This thought was terrifying for me. I made reasons and excuses for more than a year as to why I could not join such a workshop. I didn’t have enough experience. I didn’t spell well enough. I was too nervous to actually get that close to other writers where I’d be communicating with them instead of just reading words written by them. I was scared. Then, there came the concern of cost and time as well as genre, etc. Nope, I would not be taking such advice. I would not be joining any writing workshops.

Though I had already made up my mind not to join such workshops, I found myself researching available courses and avenues to find out exactly what it was I was missing. What I found, for the most part, was what I had suspected. I tried joining a few chat rooms for writers, but always left those conversations with an overwhelming sense of failure and set back. I didn’t feel as though I was being listened to or communicated with, but that I was being talked down to and had trouble keeping up with some of the conversations taking place. The workshops that did catch my interest for educational purposes, were only two or three weeks in length, which would suit my schedule – but were anywhere from $25-$250 dollars per workshop, which did not fit into my budget. In addition, I felt that two or three weeks was not enough time to get the amount of results I was searching for. I wasn’t in a hurry, I was just seeking knowledge and a path to walk on.

One day in my surfing, searching efforts, I came across a site by the name of Wordweave. Wordweave was a salvation to me because while it did offer workshops and courses, it also offered inspirational activities which I learned to rely on often to get past writer’s block or lack of creative thoughts. Exploring the different sections of Wordweave, I did come across one workshop for writers that caught my attention for several reasons. First, it was an entire year long, not two weeks. Second, it was spiritually explorative, which meant that I could incorporate my writing needs with my personal needs. I could grow in more than one way via that vehicle. Third, there was absolutely no cost involved in joining or participating in the workshop I came to know as Inspirare. Finally, there was no conforming or being forced to do things according to strict guidelines. Choices were made available as to whether or not those interested would join a core group, small group of eight or nine writers; or if they’d prefer to work alone through the Inspirare Updates and Inspirare Home Page. I chose the core group because I was ready, at that point, to make the commitment and meet with other writers and professionals who may be able to assist me on the journey.

Joining the Inspirare Project was quite possibly one of the smartest decisions I’ve made in my writing career. Not only was the material stimulating and challenging, but the women I was placed with in my group were able to make differences in my life which will remain as life long gratitude and respect. These team mates of mine were able to hold me up when I felt I was falling, were able to comfort me when I felt depressed and were able to inspire me when I felt at a complete loss for words. A mystic connection was formed within the invisible walls of our Internet workroom and many benefits arose from my involvement with that project, such as doors opening to other writing related professional projects. The articles and assignments within the Inspirare Project stimulate a certain type of thought process, individual results were as diverse as those of us working on the project together. Certain behavioral patterns of mine began to change, my writing mind became more liberal, more free, more creative.

Sadly, the Inspirare Project is no longer accepting new members, though articles, exercises and copies of what the Inspirare Questers have written are available at the Inspirare Home Page. Inspired2Write is another useful resource for aspiring writers, offering workshops, courses, writing coaches, critique and editorial services, created and managed by the same creative mentor responsible for Wordweave and Inspirare, Susan Letham.

While writing workshops may seem intimidating to the beginner, the seasoned writer will recognize writing workshops as an invaluable resource for keeping creative juices flowing and establishing a network of professional and personal companions to offer insight and inspiration along the journey of becoming a writer.

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“The most enviable writers are those who, quite often un-analytically and unconsciously, have realized that there are different facets to their nature and are able to live and work with now one, now another, in the ascendant.”    ~Dorthea Brande~

“Writing the Journey”
Written by:
Wendi Friend

I began writing at a very young age. By the age of six, I was playing with the ideas of characters and plots. By age nine, I was writing poetry. By age fourteen, I was writing speeches. By age eighteen, I was writing picture books for children. By age twenty, I was writing inspiring articles. By age twenty five, I was writing a novel. By age twenty seven, I earned my first paycheck for written material. By age twenty eight, I became an editor. At each phase, I thought I had found my writing voice. At each phase, I thought I had found my genre, my niche, my final destination. Nearing the age of twenty nine, I realized that my writing voice has a life of its own, and as with anything, it grows, changes, progresses, expands, and transforms.

When I was writing as a child, I had dreams of an established career as a well known author. Those dreams carried me through many misfortunes and over many obstacles. Were it not for that dream, onto which I was holding, I might well have let go of life long ago. However, I did have that dream to hold on to. With it in clear vision, I climbed and I struggled ’til at last I would see my name in print. Before that glorious day would arrive bearing my name on a published piece of material, I’d receive hundreds upon hundreds of rejection letters.

Tenacity was the key, I believed, so I withstood the pressures of rejection in the search for fame and fortune. While the bylines came, and a few checks accompanied them, the dream was far from accurate in financial regard and fame. However, the timing of my realization of that fact was perfect in that I had already realized that it is not for money and fame that I write.

I write because when I move my hand across the page, I learn. When I put my anger or sorrow on paper, I let go of the weight of those burdens. When I allow my creativity to flourish, there is no room for darkness or depression.

I’ve learned, also, that my writing styles change in the course of time. During one phase, I’ll write nothing but philosophical thoughts. Other times, I write poetry. When creativity is drained, I write research articles. I have learned that where one facet of my writing needs rest, another facet is waking and ready for exercise. Now, I do not confine myself to one genre, or niche, but I write what wants to be written, when it wants to be written, trusting that inspiration knows all too well how to lead the way and light the journey.

When people learn that I’m a writer, they ask the same questions. What do you write? And Why? I answer by saying that there’s nothing I don’t write, and I write because I can’t not. Whether or not I’m paid, I’ll write. Whether or not I’m published, I’ll write. Whether or not my words are read by others, I’ll write. Writing is the best way I have found to communicate honestly and openly with myself.

Of course, I’m still paving the road to a career as a writer, because I believe that we should only engage in occupations that we enjoy – but I’m doing it my own way. The meaning of being a writer has changed for me over the years. My writing voice has changed with time. My expectations of writing have changed with experience. Now, I understand that the gift of writing is a multi-faceted gift… a gift not meant to be leashed or caged, but allowed to soar freely when inspiration strikes.

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Intro:  What was I thinking?  I have no excuse for the poor writing presented here, other than the fact that I was a young novice and tinkering with varying writing styles.  I had developed a certain pattern in my poetry up to this point… four stanzas, every other line rhyming.  I’d read a book on writing that suggested identifying such patterns, and then trying to break the boundaries and write something in a different pattern (try it… you’ll like it!).  I had the right idea, but admitedly, didn’t pull it off with much finesse.  But, I promised myself when I created this blog that I’d include all the pieces and parts of me – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and this shows the developmental phases I went through as a writer, and as a mother, so I’m keeping it. As a sidenote, no, I had never seen Spiderman and wasn’t aware that my peanut pickin’ pal shared Spiderman’s alter-ego name. *grins*

“Hillary Penelope Plicket Plum”
Written by:
Wendi Friend

Hillary Penelope Plicket Plum,
Shorter than most, but taller than some,
Set out for a day of gardening fun.

With a heart of gold and curls to match,
She skipped down the way to the strawberry patch
And pulled the chain on the gate to unhook the latch,

That unlocks the magic that her garden keeps.
In the bushels of berries that smell so sweet,
She frolics and plays with no shoes upon her feet.

She hums a little tune, “La da da, de de dum”,
Sings Hillary Penelope Plicket Plum,
A very kind, compassionate one.

She tends to her garden come rain or shine.
Through the cold of winter and the heat of summertime,
She cares for her garden without a whimper or a whine.

She does it all – remembering just one thing:
She’ll have sweet, fat berries in the magic of spring.
Then she’ll have strawberry flavored everything!

Like strawberry shortcake and strawberry jam,
‘cause she tended to her garden with her very own hands,
Following through with her special plan.

With ingredients gathered and strawberries grown,
Hillary Penelope Plicket Plum skipped home
And bumped into a boy with a basket of his own!

He was a tall, thin boy with soft, brown hair.
Hillary looked at his basket and asked, “Whatchya got in there?”
“Peanuts,” said the boy, “why do you care?”

“Whatchya gonna do with ‘em?” She asked one question after another.
“If you must know,” replied the boy, “I’m making peanut butter.”
An idea whipped through her mind with a flicker and a flutter!

Hillary looked up at the by and asked, “Hey, there, what’s your name?”
“Peter Parker,” said the boy, “peanut butter is my game.”
“Hillary Penelope Plicket Plum is my name.

“I’ve got an idea for you to contemplate.
It’ll only work if we cooperate.
I’ve got a feeling it’ll work out great!”

As the two skipped home, Hillary shared her plan
With the boy with the basket full of peanuts in his hand,
And he took a liking to Miss Plicket Plum’s plan.

Her plan worked just fine, without one hitch,
And they shared a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

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Intro: This story, as with many of my early writings, was inspired by and written for my first-born son, Andrew.  Written somewhere between 1990-1991, this story was created to aid my young child with his suddenly active and sometimes frightening imagination and was designed to teach him to use the powers of his own mind to overcome the fears he faced. Although I was proud as punch of this piece when I first created it, it retrospect, I can see where it’s seriously lacking in both writing style and concept. Nonetheless, it is what it is and I’m proud to store it in my archives. Knowing what I know now, I can’t help but wonder if the boy was actually seeing dragons! *smirks*

“Drew and his Dinosaur”
Written by:
Wendi Friend
~ For Andrew ~

Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Drew.
He had an active imagination, as many three-year-olds do.
Something seemed to be bothering him
As he was eating breakfast one day;
He stopped chewing his bacon long enough to say,
“I saw a dinosaur, Mommy! It was big and blue!”
“You have an active imagination”, the mommy said to Drew.
When he finished eating breakfast, he put his plate into the sink
And said, “Mommy, guess what I saw! It was a dinosaur… big and pink!
It chased me and it grabbed me!” exclaimed a frightened little Drew.
“But, Sweetheart,” said the mom, “I thought the dinosaur was blue!”
“Mommy, guess what I saw!” An excited Drew did say.
“I saw a dinosaur; it was big and grey!”
“That’s just your imagination,” explained Drew’s mom,
“And in a day or two, the dinosaurs will be gone.
These dinosaurs aren’t real; you’ve created them with your mind –
So use your mind to make something different –
Something special, something kind.
Try to imagine something else…
Something a little more pleasant.
Imagine that the dinosaurs are giving you a present!”
Drew then imagined that the dinosaurs were his friends.
They lived happily ever after…
The end.

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