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How I Started Writing

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A lot of people ask me about writing The Guild, but I realize I don’t often say WHY I wrote it. The reason: Because I was tired of doing nothing.

It takes a very brave person to express themselves creatively. I know the paralyzing fear of being bad very well; it’s one of my greatest weaknesses. For years I had a voice inside me telling I “should” do this and I “should” do that, but I couldn’t overcome the possibility of being horrible to actually risk doing something about it. So I did nothing. And I loathed myself for my weakness.

Finally I had a strange realization that time passes whether you’re doing something with it or not. It would be easy to let every day go by easily with no risk and then, at the end of the day (my life), I would look back and realize that fear ruled me: At that point there would be nothing I could do about it. So, I got off my butt! It wasn’t easy and I had a lot of lapses (I still do) but the experience of being ruthless with myself was an amazing lesson to learn.

I don’t want this to be a self-help entry (although it already kinda is, LOL), but I wanted to share a few of the resources that I used to overcome my fear and be willing to suck and start DOING stuff.

The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron: This is a 12-week program that helps you “discover your creativity.” It is seriously self-help-y and has a large spiritual element to it (an aspect I skimmed over personally), but it does force a lot of introspection, exploring what you enjoy doing, what drives you etc. It also makes you to write every day for the 12-weeks, which was one of the most invaluable aspects.

If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland: This book was written in 1938, which I find amazing as this authors voice is as fresh as if it were written yesterday. If The Artist’s Way is touchy feely, this book is nothing but pragmatic. The greatest thing I took away from this is the spirit that you can’t care what other people think, you have to create for yourself and no one else. It brings out the fighter in you. It’s geared towards writing but the lessons apply to anything really. This book is a kick in the pants and big warm hug all at once.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. This is the best writing book I’ve ever read. The overwhelming idea of sitting down and “writing the whole thing” sets up expectations that are WAY too high! So much pressure 🙁 This book makes it manageable, and is an enjoyable and frank look at writing by a wonderful author. Actually, I need to reread this as I’m experiencing this right now, LOL.

Daily 5 Minute Writing Exercises by CM Mayo. After I finished “The Artists Way” I did these writing exercises every day for a year. I love having my notebooks full of these exercises to look back on! 🙂 Creating the pattern of behavior of writing in the morning really helped me uncensor myself. I’ve lapsed a lot last year, but just started again and it’s amazing, doing the same exercises, how different my entries are.

Lifehacker.com, zenhabits.net, 43 Folders and lifehack.org helped me get organized and prioritize. I am no saint but subscribing to these sites reminds me to get my act together when I go on a videogame or mystery novel bender.

-Sharing goals with friends. This entry doesn’t have a link, but it could, because your friends can be offline or online. It’s invaluable to share your goals with others so you can see that we all struggle together to make things happen. I had a weekly group I went to that helped me kick my WOW addiction and re-prioritize. I wouldn’t be here without that group of lovely people. We all share the same human weaknesses, but working in a vaccuum makes you lose that perspective. Having people in your life to use as a touchstone is important to get you through the hard days.

If you have any tips or links to resources that get you going, organized and creating, feel free to share!

Photo by AYUMi ~ PHOTOGRAPHY

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