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The Writing Inclination

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message 1: by Paula (new)

Paula Coomer (paulamariecoomer) | 12 comments Mod
Do you like to write? Are you casual about it? Trying to make a living? Crazy famous? A latent genius? What keeps you going? What holds you back?


message 2: by Paula (new)

Paula Coomer (paulamariecoomer) | 12 comments Mod
Darcy--How old are you? What story ideas have you started to try to write?

Darcy wrote: "I've been trying to write since I was little. I have all of these amazing story ideas, but I don't seem to have that touch of magic that authors have to make all of the words flow together like wat..."

Paula wrote: "Do you like to write? Are you casual about it? Trying to make a living? Crazy famous? A latent genius? What keeps you going? What holds you back?"


message 3: by Paula (new)

Paula Coomer (paulamariecoomer) | 12 comments Mod
Darcy's question is a common one. Many writers feel this way, and for some of us, it's a feeling that never goes away.

How do you get to the point where, as @Darcy says, "all of the words flow together like water"?

I'm sorry to tell you, Darcy, but it's not easy for any of us. That flowing together like water part takes a long time. Almost never does it happen the first time you set down to put pen to notebook. It's the Wizard of Oz effect that you're talking about: "If I only had a ___________"--heart, brain, courage, etc.

The truth is, if you have a pen and a notebook and an idea, you already have all the tools. What you don't have is what many of us refer to as "butt in the seat." Most of us who write spend a great amount of time closed up in a room. We don't watch TV; we don't play on the Internet (much); we don't spend our days cleaning the cupboards or scrubbing our window ledges with toothbrushes.

We sit with our butts in the chair, and we put stuff on paper. After we've put a gazillion particles of "stuff" on the paper, then we worry about how to turn it into that story we've envisioned.

Darcy, if you haven't already, I'd recommend a book called WRITING DOWN THE BONES by Natalie Goldberg and also THE ARTIST'S WAY by Julie Cameron. Both of them have to do with learning to write in small chunks without being overwhelmed by the bigger picture.

I led a writing group near where I live for 2 years. We got together every few weeks to sit in a group and write to single-word prompts. Most of these women had little to no training as writers. Now they are all writing very, very well, some have published, and one woman is working on a novel. But in the begining, writing for 5 minutes was tough.

I do have a handout for instructing others to start similar groups. You could use it as a guide to begin your own writing sessions, however, if you prefer not to work in a group.

Email me at coom1286@hotmail.com, and I'll be happy to send it to you. It's free. No strings. OXXO


message 4: by Kit (new)

Kit Darcy, I love it that you have so many story ideas! That's where I struggle. I don't think of myself has having much imagination, nor do my words flow like water, but I do have discipline and persistence, and I don't take my writing personally, which means I don't think every word I write is solid gold, so I'm not afraid to edit and change and keep at it until it's better.

My first book is mostly about Louisa May Alcott, who wrote Little Women when she was in her mid 30s. She didn't think it would be of interest to anyone, but it became an instant hit. She was the JK Rowling of her day. Alcott was like you--she had hundreds of stories pouring out of her all the time. But she also had to earn a living, and in those days (1860s-1880s) women weren't allowed to work at very many jobs, and she had a chronic illness that kept her from being a teacher or a nurse, so she wrote books for money to support her whole family.

Good luck! and Happy Thanksgiving!


message 5: by Paula (new)

Paula Coomer (paulamariecoomer) | 12 comments Mod
Thank you, @Kit! First of all, I will check out your book, since Alcott's Jo was one of my earliest heroines. We all struggle with the same things--having the drive and need to create with words, and the very American worry that our time must somehow add up to money earned, when really that has to be the furthest thing from our minds. One of my teachers once said to me, "Let your first audience be yourself," and that's the way I've come to imagine it--writing what I'd like to read.

I hope @Darcy hangs in there. Also, doing little things to feed yourself such as finding a writing group or going to a writing workshop helps. It's baby steps, baby steps, no matter how you look at it.

Warm wishes to all!


message 6: by Paula (new)

Paula Coomer (paulamariecoomer) | 12 comments Mod
@Darcy--Thanks for checking back in. Sounds like you are at the very beginning of your writing life, Darcy. Have you tried taking a college-level writing class? Formal classes can also be very good. Also, reading in the genre in which you are interested is a good way to learn. Stay with it!


message 7: by Brittany (new)

Brittany (itsbrittanykay) | 2 comments Do you ever feel insecure about your writing? Do you ever question why you write and if all the hard work you put into writing is worth it? How do you overcome such feelings?


message 8: by Paula (new)

Paula Coomer (paulamariecoomer) | 12 comments Mod
Brittany wrote: "Do you ever feel insecure about your writing? Do you ever question why you write and if all the hard work you put into writing is worth it? How do you overcome such feelings?"

Brittany--I have this feeling almost everyday. And it's been 24 years since my first publication. Someone recently called it an emotional roller coaster, and it's true. There are long, low periods and short high periods, but most of us who do it can't quit. We are born to it. I always encourage people not to go down the path unless they want to learn everything there is to learn about themselves, because that is what happens. You have to be brave enough to face yourself. And you have to be willing to learn what it means to persevere. One day you do arrive at a place where you understand that it is all worth it. As far as overcoming the feelings, I don't even try to. I live through them. I attend to them. I let them exist as long as they need to. I never give up, but I have learned to take little breaks, and to make sure I keep everything else in my life in balance.

Thank you so much for caring enough about what you are doing to ask this question. And, be gentle with yourself.


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