The more you write the better you get. It’s just like anything else. Playing football, tennis, pickle ball, basketball, the piano and so on. And if you only practice every so often, you’ll get mediocre results. There’s always something else we “need” to do, but it’s just an excuse to procrastinate. All writers struggle, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs; from beginners all the way up to professionals.
My fear of writing
I’m working on the second draft of the novel I wrote in 30 days. I want my characters to have more depth. It’s been a challenge figuring it out. And I think it’s because I haven’t allowed myself to dig deeper and touch those uncomfortable places. But as Jesus says in the Bible (John, verse 8:32), “And the truth shall set you free.” As writers we have to be truthful if we want free up our writing and be someone our readers can relate to.
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
I’m reading Natalie Goldberg’s book called: Writing Down the Bones. It’s for the beginning author, but it’s a great tool for any writer to have. I read it 18 months ago when I started my blog. It’s a good reminder of what I’ve learned, but also of what I need to work on.
I got out of the habit of a daily writing practice and her book reminded me of its value. The practice is like the warmup exercises a dancer or a runner does before they dance or or run. Natalie says you use the writing practice to “come to be wild and unbridled.” You put down on paper anything that comes to mind and it draws you into the present moment. She says: “It’s the wild forest where you gather energy before going to prune your gardens.” You examine your dark side and all those voices that tell you you’re not good and how dare you even think that you might have something to offer to the world. You push your dark side into the background, but it’s always screaming for air. Once you give it air, you make way for your own voice to come through.
Natalie has a unique expression for this in her book, called composting. She explains that as you practice, some stuff will be bad and some will be good. Your job is to learn to compost, or take out the bad and leave in the good, so you can create rich soil for your writing garden to grow in.
Last week I suggested you set a time and place to write. Hopefully you did that. And now I’m providing you with resources which give you writing prompts to get the creative juices flowing. Some days you may go to the page full of ideas and thoughts, but other days you go to the page and you have nothing. Natalie has exercises in her book with great ideas to get you started when you feel stuck. She also suggests starting a list of things that interest you. That way you can refer to it when you need ideas.
I also have three books I recommend with writing instruction and prompts. These books were recommended by a professor of the class I took on Reading Like a Writer:
The 3 A.M. Epiphany, Uncommon Exercises That Transform Your Fiction, by Brian Kiteley
Naming the World written by various writers; Joyce Carol Oates, Ann Packer, Tom Robbins and Elizabeth Strout and many more.
These books will not only improve your writing skills, but they will keep you busy for a long time.
Thanks for reading and if you find this helpful please share it with other would-be authors.
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