Category Archives: Encouragement

Just Take It Bird by Bird

Mentally-Exhausted-Writer-2

How do you view the world right now? For some, the world seems smaller as we weather this pandemic together. Others feel overwhelmed by a world filled with pain, suffering and conflicting information. Maybe everything that’s going on in the world right now is affecting your ability to write. If so, you are not alone.

When you quarantined at home, you celebrated having plenty of time to write. You set goals: I’m going to start writing my novel. I’m finally going to finish my novel. I’ll write a thousand words a day. Two thousand. Three. Four. Five! Chances are those lofty goals fell by the wayside leaving you in a slump.

American novelist, Ann Lamott, keeps a tiny, one-inch picture frame on her desk as a reminder to give herself short writing assignments. Viewing the world through a frame the size of a postage stamp helps her to zero in and focus on one thing at a time.

In her book Bird by Bird, Lamott shares this autobiographical story:

usps_1_0“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table, close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’”

Maybe today you are sitting at your kitchen table staring at your computer screen or an empty sheet of paper. Maybe you feel immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead.

Stop. Breathe.

Peer through that one-inch frame. It can only hold the image of one bird. So sit down and write “bird by bird”. Just take it bird by bird by bird . . .

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Filed under Encouragement, Inspiration, Movtivation, Uncategorized, Writer's Block, Writing Tips

Why a Coronavirus Journal Could Make You a Better Writer

Discouraged-Writer-2The Coronavirus has taken possession of the media causing writers all over the world to say they can’t settle their thoughts enough to write. Maybe you can relate. You sit down to write a piece of fiction, but the words won’t come. That’s okay! There’s something you can do right now to improve your fiction writing in the future:

Start a Coronavirus journal.

In fiction writing, thoughts lead characters to act. Your thoughts right now are likely all over the place! But if you can organize them and work through them, you can apply  what you learn to characters in your stories and write better fiction.

Use the following questions to guide each journal entry. Dig deep with your answers. Try to get at the roots of your thoughts and feelings. Think about how you can shift negatives to positives.

What thoughts are playing through my head today? Am I facing a problem? What is it?

What emotions am I feeling? Can I identify the cause of my emotions?

What is one thing I can do today to stay grounded?

What is one thing I can do today to solve my problem or to feel better?

What is one thing I can do today to shift my negative mindset to positive?

When your head is clear of the Coronavirus, see if you can apply some of your thoughts and emotions to write great characters who your readers can connect with emotionally.

A key phrase connected with Coronavirus is “We are all in this together.” But while we are in this together, we face different battles. Some battle depression. Some fight the virus and win. Some lose the fight. Everyone’s story is different.

Journal your Coronavirus story today. Then bank it. Store it away for that time in the future when things begin to feel normal again.

mp,550x550,matte,ffffff,t.u3You will write again, and you will write well—
better than before you ever heard
the acronym CoVid-19.
Believe that!

Be well, my friends, and stay well.

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If you are on Facebook, Check out my page where I post articles
and inspiration for writers.

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Filed under CoVid-19, Encouragement, Uncategorized, Writer's Block