Thursday, October 3, 2013

Keeping Your Writing Fresh

From Cheryl's Writing Crate

In my post last week, I shared my self-imposed writing exercise about creating a very “out of the box” scenario where I unexpectedly found diamonds in the butternut squash area at my local farmers’ market.

This idea came about out of sheer frustration due to a temporary string of bad luck—several broken appliances, sick kids, and even my son’s 2-week old new (well, used, but new to him) car broke down, twice, within the 2 weeks he owned it.  I was feeling a tad overwhelmed and admittedly a little bit sorry for myself because my personal writing routines had fallen through the cracks, and at the rate I was going, I could only imagine my laptop crashing (oh, but wait—it did!) and my muse would be buried alive amongst all the mishaps that were going on all around me.

Rather than sitting in a corner and crying (a luxury a mother of 8 doesn’t have time for) I decided to head to the farmers’ market to shop for some seasonal fruits and veggies all while bringing my journal and creating a short-story about something as outrageous as finding $100,000 worth of diamonds in a butternut squash bin!
Because this was something I had never challenged myself to do before, it got me thinking about how life’s challenges and pressures can many times be turned around into something positive if we’re willing to focus on the bright side, rather than the dark side.

I enjoyed that creative exercise so much, I decided I would try and remain as open-minded as I could these next few weeks so that I wouldn’t miss any unusual writing opportunities that might come my way.

I have to be honest—it didn’t work as well as I had hoped.  Sure I encountered some situations such as our Pomeranian, Gracie’s, misfortune of sitting her gorgeous, fluffy tail on a wad of chewing gum that one of my younger kids didn’t throw away, but after spending nearly 2 hours trying to get it out without having to cut too much off her diva-silky fur, the only thing I wanted to do was head to a luxurious bubble bath and soak my frustrations away—not write something amusing about the entire experience.

So that’s exactly what I did—I relaxed in the Jacuzzi for 30 minutes and when I got out, I snuck over to my “Writer’s Crate”, which is now in my new bedroom, and I pulled out one of my files labeled “Keep Your Writing Fresh”. 

This is one of the many files I’ve crafted for myself that relates to my passion of writing.  I have at least 25 such files that cover various topics on all things writing.  I randomly grabbed this one, although I am a believer that information presents itself at the right time in one’s life when it needs to be seen.
This collection has over 50 ideas on how to stay inspired and keep one’s writing fresh and exciting.  I’d love to share two of my favorite ideas, both credited to the wonderful copy blogger, Jonathan Morrow.

·         Unlock your unconscious mind      The longer I write, the more I realize it’s largely an unconscious process. You could be taking a shower, washing the dishes, sleeping — regardless of what it is, your mind is ticking away in the background, figuring out what to say and how to say it.  Sometimes though, our minds are so cluttered that we can’t hear our intuition, and when that happens, writing is a struggle. The only way I know to solve it is to sit still and meditate, deliberately quieting your mind and doing your best to listen instead of think.  Many times, a fully developed idea will just pop into your head, and you’ll know exactly what to write and why. 

·         Look at magazine covers    The writers who think up the headlines for magazines like Cosmopolitan and National Enquirer are some of the highest paid, most creative people in the world. So why not piggyback on their work?  Whenever I’m feeling stuck, I’ll go to the bookstore and read all of the covers until an idea for a great headline of my own strikes me.  (Hint: this often works best when you pick magazines that have absolutely nothing to do with your own topic.)

How do you keep your writing alive and fresh?

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