The Practice

18 06, 2024

When do you write during the day?

By |2024-06-17T17:06:18-04:0006/18/2024|The Practice|0 Comments

Is there some kind of regularity to it? If not, that’s probably making things harder for you. We live most easily with patterns, systems and yes, routines. In James Clear’s book Atomic Habits he introduces the concept of “stacking habits” to help you achieve the things you want. Let’s say, for example, that you want to write first thing in the morning, which just happens to be when I find it easiest and best to get my own writing done. At this point, I know certain things I do every morning: I make and eat eggs with greens for breakfast. On school days, my daughter makes her own lunch, eats, then goes outside to get the bus. After she’s gone, I do a short yoga practice, then shower, and write. I love this practice because it gets me to my writing spot right when the winter sun hits it, which on cold days literally brightens my day! In Clear’s terms, I’ve stacked the habits of food, family, yoga, and then writing. Because I don’t want to miss any of them, I do all of them. In this way the writing gets done. Come back for my next post, which will [...]

13 06, 2024

Flow

By |2024-06-13T12:50:13-04:0006/13/2024|Blog, The Practice, The Practice|0 Comments

It’s not always the same. Every day is different. Life intervenes. Your practice will change.  You’re not the only one in the world. So listen to the world around you. Listen to your loved ones, listen to yourself. Make space to hear that quiet inner voice that knows you so well—not the one that’s judgy, but the one that’s kind, the one that’s there to offer you love. Loving yourself is so important. Self-kindness will take you farther than always cracking the whip, pushing for discipline and “working harder.” After all, this is a long game.  You’re not going to finish the project this week or this month. Not completely. So pace yourself. Be ready for the long haul because that’s where your best work is.  To do this right you have to listen carefully to the world, your loved ones, and your own heart. Your practice requires it.  Have you meditated lately?  On the words? On the draft?  On your breath?

6 06, 2024

Toiling in the dark?

By |2024-06-10T09:38:59-04:0006/06/2024|Book Coaching, The Practice|0 Comments

Are you tired of toiling in the dark, not getting feedback you can rely on, not knowing if you’re on the right track or where your book is really headed? Maybe you’re struggling to find the story, worrying you’ll hit a dead end, or writing on and on without finding your end. Or have you felt like you’ve been writing for a long time, hoping that your prose and scene-creation are good enough, but not getting any firm answers on quality from someone you can trust? Maybe your friends say your writing is good, but you only get rejections when you submit. Want to know if your book is any good? I’ve been there. I went to writing workshops, took classes, workshopped with friends, even got significant feedback—marked pages from my mother and my grandmother. Guess what: my mom loved my first book; my grandmother didn’t understand it. Was that book any good? Oh, not at all. It was a huge tome that I showed to anyone who was willing, even printing out extra copies at work or running them off on a copier—250 pages at a time! I gave it to friends, acquaintances, girlfriends, almost anybody. Bound 3-ring [...]

31 05, 2024

Bless Yourself

By |2024-06-10T09:38:41-04:0005/31/2024|The Practice, Writing Coaching, Writing Tips|0 Comments

 Build Your Book Writing Practice As you keep at it, sooner or later you’ll have a moment where you want to write. Maybe out of the blue or after a fun thing you’ll be called to the keyboard or laptop or notebook and pen.  Follow that. Go to the page and embrace it, follow this lead toward your joy.  After all, that’s a big part of what you wanted from writing, isn’t it? Joy. Breathe into that. Recognize that it’s something you want, something you deserve and accept.  If that doesn’t feel right or feels awkward, just go with it for now. Accept. This is what starts to happen: the energy that you put into this thing, THIS PRACTICE, it comes back around, it draws you toward it, offers energy back to you, gives you presents. When they come, if you can get to the writing DO IT. If not, jot a note somewhere, enough just to save the thought or a piece that you’ll remember, and get back to it the next time you’re scheduled to write. Or the next time you can. Ideas will start to arise, words will start to flow. Follow them. Whatever comes, instead of [...]

29 05, 2024

Small Steps

By |2024-06-10T09:45:22-04:0005/29/2024|The Practice, Writing Tips|0 Comments

 Build Your Book Writing Practice At first it won’t seem like much. And lots of judgments will come up. You’ll judge yourself as not good enough, think the work is poor. It doesn’t matter. It never matters. This is a part of the process. The practice. The work. Keep at it. Things will start coming together. Just for today: let this much be enough.

20 05, 2024

Routine

By |2024-06-10T09:37:52-04:0005/20/2024|The Practice, Writing Tips|0 Comments

After a time, it won’t be a question anymore. After some time and practice and making it to the desk every morning or day or whenever you find the right, consistent time and place for you, for your writing, it will become a routine. This is where your body takes over. Like a worker who wakes at 6:30 every morning, even on days when she doesn’t have to, the body takes over, answers the questions, and has you ready to do the work. Then it’s a built-in habit. Call this a routine. And then? You can let go a little and let the flow of the practice take you downstream. Downstream is toward your best work, the work you are called to do, even if you don’t know it yet. Downstream, with the pull and ease of the current, the way your body wants to flow, you’ll write into something new, something important. Maybe even something you didn’t know was there. This feeling, the routine, is there for you. Build a habit, show up consistently, and soon your practice has grown: you’re writing more than you thought possible, and different ideas are popping up—not when you’re driving or in the [...]

16 05, 2024

Write through the Fear

By |2024-06-10T09:31:10-04:0005/16/2024|The Practice, Writing Tips|0 Comments

Today I worry that perhaps now I don’t know how or when to put it down. Or if it makes sense to ever take a break. And it must. Right? There must be some days where I just need to take off and rest. I have days where I wonder if I’m writing because of fear or because I want to. And when I do write, when I show up and sit down to it, I know it doesn’t matter. I know the best thing to do is to show up, write my way through it, and keep going. Just show up, write through, trust. Sure, some days are days to take off. And other days are hard ones to follow through on the writing practice, even when I want to write and know that I need to. Not because of some exterior metric or promise, but because I need it for me. Because this is what I promised myself. Because this is what I do. So, two things: 1) Sometimes there’s a “NO” in response to showing up and it’s worth listening to. Hear it, let yourself off the hook, don’t force it. Sometimes doing this at one point [...]

14 05, 2024

The Practice

By |2024-06-10T09:30:35-04:0005/14/2024|The Practice, The Practice|0 Comments

Do you have a writing practice? You might call it a process or a habit or even a compulsion. What I really mean is: do you write regularly? A certain number of times per week for a minimum number of minutes or minimum words?   Do you do this? Stick to it?   Make it happen consistently?   If not, my bet is you’re shooting too high—trying to do it every day or for more minutes than is reasonable right now or… it’s just something that’s not working for you.   And that’s OK. I’ll say it again: THAT IS OK.   You’re here because you care about your writing, right? You’re reading this right now because you want to write. So breathe into that. Whatever’s coming up, it’s not guilt or shame or good or bad; it’s just your connection to the desire to write.   Call it excitement! It's a gift. where you are: If your goal was to run daily or even three times per week (see my friend Terrell’s substack if you want more info on how to build a running practice), you have to start where you are. You can’t jump in and start [...]

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