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Focused Distraction Is A Creative Technique #IWSG #AMWRITING

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome Co-Hosts:  Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman!

Check out our IWSG homepage.  And as always, thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

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Have you ever watched a child in an art room digging fingers in a ball of clay, smoothing water over a shape she’s trying to create with her own two hands?

Have you ever listened to a teen recite lines for a speech or a play, eyes lost on some space on the wall, hugging her arms in while the words slip out just as she hoped?

Have you ever sat at a desk and stared at a blank screen or piece of paper, wondered where to start and why it isn’t starting right now when you have the time, and maybe too much time to think?

Creativity is a beautiful science. Images. Voices. Blank screens of possibility. Puzzled thoughts and making choices. Learning basic formulas and mixing and matching the right ones for you.

This month’s IWSG question asks, “How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

I might have digressed in this post this month, thinking more of what I use to get through the evolution of creativity. I guess in remembering my own journey, I focused on what helped me work through the process, to keep going.

For me, distraction has kept me on track through time. How to use sensations to get past that chunk of clay, the cool water slipping through your fingers. The hugging motion I didn’t realize I used to get the words out.  And when I’m stuck on a thought or a blank screen, I always go to the gym. I solve everything on a stair climber or a spin bike in the spin room. Maybe it’s my busy mind unable to let go. So when I distract myself with other motions, sensations, I free the block. I’m able to start again.

Distraction has taught me to use my eyes and hands, to search with additional senses. Study expressions. Memorize color. Smile at the detail in eye lashes and dimples. Wonder, or wander. Over time my distractions have evolved into smarter, doable things I am choosing to use because they work.

We can’t always control a thought or where we are, but we can change our surroundings and what we see to dream again.

A few last thoughts on creativity by some creative writers:

Have a lovely rest of your week 🙂

Don’t Wish For Five More Minutes. Live. #IWSG #amwriting

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome Co-Hosts:  Dolorah @ Book Lover, Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, andChemist Ken!

Check out our IWSG homepage.  And as always, thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

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How many times have you thought to yourself, if I only had thirty more minutes, ten, even five I could do amazing things.

Then I saw a great quote yesterday. It shifted my thoughts to this statement:

Because I didn’t have one more minute, I actually accomplished xyz. Things like folding all the laundry, or getting to work on time, or reading a story with my child I didn’t think I had time to do. So maybe the moment wasn’t about writing, but the moment was about life. Life is what happens in writing, when we have the moment to write.

This month’s IWSG question asks, “How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?”

Life will always compete with my writing goals. I juggle multiple roles and am still learning the writing craft. I squeeze writing into the small moments. Reading too. It’s all I can do, but I do in fact make at least 5 minutes of my time about my passion. And yes, writing has been a fantastic escape when life seems too heavy. When the real job gets to be too much. When a moment in time seems so helpless, I can in fact control the world in my head, my characters, and their fates rest in my contrived thoughts.

So maybe you don’t have another five minutes. That’s okay. You’ll find them. Maybe the next day you’ll find twenty minutes. In any case, here are a couple of last thoughts ….

 

You don’t quit after you get beat. You pick yourself up, and you start rebuilding to accomplish your goals.

~Daniel Cormier

 

It’s our challenges and obstacles that give us layers of depth and make us interesting. Are they fun when they happen? No. But they are what make us unique. And that’s what I know for sure… I think.

~Ellen DeGeneres

 

Everyone who achieves success in a great venture, solves each problem as they came to it. They helped themselves. And they were helped through powers known and unknown to them at the time they set out on their voyage. They keep going regardless of the obstacles they met. W. Clement Stone

The living problem of ACT II Storytelling #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

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  I don’t know many people who run into drama and maximal conflict with their arms wide-open, ready to face off with someone near and dear to them, ready to cut them off or curse them to infinity and beyond, excited about being alone because trust is something we no longer know.

  Welcome to the world of writing ACT II.

  In 90 Days to Your Novel, Sarah Domet states, in real life, we are “conflict adverse … We strive to stay out of trouble and make decisions to bring us as close as possible to our desired outcomes … unless seriously provoked.”

   I reread this page just yesterday. I reread it over and over because finally, I’ve been given permission to do a very hard thing for me, create tension, difficult tension, which might really hurt the characters we breathe life into.

  ACT I is the introduction to your character and the world. ACT II is what Domet calls “the story.”

  In the Hunger Games … ACT I shows us Katniss as a realistic survivor whose mission is to provide for her younger sister because her father is dead and her mother lost herself while grieving. Katniss has one trusted friend with the same survival mission. Life is as it is. Then suddenly she finds herself at the name drawing ceremony when a boy and girl will enter an Olympian style fight to the death. Her younger sister is selected. Shocked, Katniss volunteers to take her place. ACT II begins on the train on the way to capital where she’s exposed to her wildest fantasies of food, clothing and the comforts of what was once an unattainable lifestyle. Her perception of what she is has to change. She must become pretty and fake. She must make allies of people she may one day kill. Survival is not just about skill anymore, and can she play a different version of herself to survive for her sister against her internal nature?

  In Jane Eyre … Act I is all about a young ordinary orphan growing up devote to her christian faith and unwilling to compromise her internal character. Finally free of a hateful aunt and an orphanage, she takes a well respected position as a governess. ACT II is all about her conversations with a sour older patron of the home. Unexpectedly, she develops feelings for the patron. When she finds out he loves her too, she falls hard and her love challenges her internal strength and christian devotion where she must ultimately make the choice between her faith and her strength, or, the only love she’s ever known.

 

  How do we take away what our characters want the most?

  • According to 90 Days to Your Novel, the best place to start is a timeline of events between ACT 1 and ACT 2.
  • Note the plot points of wants and needs.
  • Ask yourself how you keep your character from getting what he or she truly wants along the way.
  • Ask yourself, What continues to keep her/him from getting it and how can I deepen the conflict? 
  • How does the character motive and wants contribute to the action into deeper conflict?
  • Lastly, what points are left to get him or her to the climax, when finally you are free of ACT II.

Remember, bad things happen to all of us. Bad things must happen to your beloved characters. So as you write through ACT II remember this: Don’t give your MC this deep want or desire. ACT III is the choice of this attainment.

Additional Sources:

https://stevenpressfield.com/2010/06/second-act-problems/

https://www.emwelsh.com/blog/writing-act-two

https://www.well-storied.com/blog/second-act?rq=act%20two

Why You Should Celebrate You #IWSG #WednesdayMotivation

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are: Mary Aalgaard,Bish Denham,Jennifer Hawes,Diane Burton, and Gwen Gardner!

And thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

***

Years ago, I met someone at work who wasn’t excited about anything.

I sat with her in a conference room, trying to help her imagine what life might be like at work if she could just plan out all the ways she could take control of her tasks, her work life.

Then the tears came. She grabbed a box of kleenex and meekly said, “I can’t. I don’t want to be here. ”

She went on to say she wasn’t living her dreams or the life she really wanted. She felt out of control.

I was much younger then. I didn’t understand at first. But now I do.

Almost twelve years ago, I set a very big goal for myself. I decided I wanted to finally address the passion I’d harbored all my life and had ignored. Writing.

I didn’t know how to get started or what the steps to achieve my dream might look like. I had no formal training, and barely a friend who loved creative writing and would commit to the process the way I tend to commit to things.  What I did have though, was a very big idea, and I knew the best place to get started was to first get up. Every day. And think or write or read for at least an hour. I wrote and planned with a fiery fury.

I finished that first book. I also learned that the first book isn’t always as great as we think it will be and I cried. And then I realized something, after the gentle coaxing of my mother and my devoted friends. I’d finished something huge. I started somewhere, and I used everything in my power in each moment to finish that first huge task. They were right. I needed to celebrate that, and bought myself a new book, and let myself disappear into the story for several days, letting go of my own goals for a brief period of time. I found my smile again, and the will to keep trying.

Today, I’m still not where I want to be. But I celebrate. Then I work. Then I celebrate some more.

This month’s IWSG question asked: “How do you celebrate when you achiever a writing goal / finish a story?”

I may have taken a different route to answer the question, but I think the important thing we all should do when we celebrate is to do whatever makes our hearts feel good. We walk taller, smile brighter and find that joy or light again within ourselves. It’s the best way I know how to make it through the tough days. And that’s exactly what I showed the lady I worked with back then. We may not be able to influence where we are in a present moment, but every moment has potential and we can influence how we feel about it and work to change it. Don’t forget to celebrate that.