Is it just me, or was 2016 a terrible horrible no good very bad year? We had Brexit and the US election; ’nuff said. Then there were the deaths of icons: David Bowie, Prince, Keith Emerson, Leonard Cohen, Gene Wilder. Things felt strange on the good days, bleak on the not-so-good-days. On the personal front, I fought through the day job from hell and dealt with a minor but weird medical issue that culminated in surgery.
But in good times or in bad – perhaps especially in bad – writers need to write. We do it to save our sanity and maybe even to save the world. As Donald Maass told the group gathered at the UnConference I attended in early November, the world needs our stories now more than ever. So if 2016 is our inciting incident and writing is our call to action, where are you in your story quest?
Looking back at January 2016 (was it really just a year ago? really???), I was facing months of a crazy day job with impossible deadlines and terrible hours. I anticipated that would mean less time for writing, and unfortunately I was so, so right. But this year I set different goals than in previous years, goals that were not about word counts and finishing multiple stories, but about joie d’ecriture. Now almost 12 months later, it’s time to analyze the results and fess up to how well I did or didn’t fare. Continue reading
Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton
Hello friends! After a brief and unexpected hiatus, I’m back at 8LW. Oh, how I’ve missed you! Since it’s been a while, I’m behind on reporting status on my 2016 non-writing, creativity-building exercises. Remember those, from way back in January? They are my 5-step plan to finding zen, inspiration, and joy in writing this year.
So let’s dish about February. The first two exercises on my list – learn new things and make mental connections between what I learn and story – happen pretty automagically. It’s what our writer brains are wired to do. I’m still taking notes, capturing inspiration when it strikes, and looking forward to the time when I can put all that brain work to use in my own stories.
The other things on my list require a little more action on my part. Making social connections and drinking really good wine at least once a month are, believe it or not, harder than they sound when you are myopically focused on something as stressful and all-consuming as my day job currently is. But I knocked those out of the park! The first week of the month, when I returned from my weekly trip out of town, I returned home to find my husband had bought me a bottle of 2012 Belle Glos Las Alturas Pinot Noir. (There’s a reason that man is the love of my life.) So the ‘drinking good wine’ part of my plan was easy peasy.
The social connection was much more difficult. I’m spending all day, every day, seven days a week with people at work. Who wants to see more people after that? But I had a plan, remember? Continue reading
Last month, I told you about my goals – small, attainable goals – to recapture joy of writing, story, and life. So with one month down, it’s time for me to report on my progress.
Learn something new everyday and make connections to story. When I started on my path to joie d’ecriture, I’d tried to spend some time at the end of each week remembering what I’d learned. As it turned out, I was typically too mentally exhausted to actually come up with anything. So I started using the notebook I always have with me (you know writers and notebooks) to jot down something I learned every day. Continue reading