For Your Eyes Only
Category: Writing
Tags: morning pages stream-of-consciousness writing

For Your Eyes Only

Through my angst-ridden teen years and my idealistic early twenties, I kept a diary which I wrote almost every day. What I wrote was private. Purely for myself.

Some diaries were sold with locks on. Or zips. Not mine, but I’d shudder at the thought of anyone else seeing their contents. I drew in them. I wrote long sentences with no time for punctuation, except a clutter of exclamation marks. I made confessions. I poured out my soul. Every emotion was exaggerated and tears often smudged the pages. Those tears were as secret as the thoughts and dreams I’d laid bare. My diary was sacred, as important as my life.

From my earlier diaries I moved on to journals. They were much the same thing but sounded more grown-up and serious. The emotions were just as real but facts and descriptions were sometimes included as well. Then, one day I lit a bonfire in the garden and – in an act of high drama – burnt the lot.

After decades of keeping no private accounts of my life, a stressful period made me turn to this again and start a new journal. It helped on many levels, giving me the support I needed without seeking professional help.

It’s the same thing – in essence – for serious or professional writers. If you wake up and write down whatever comes into your head, aware that none of this is for other eyes, there is no need for pretensions. If you’re like me, it’s sometimes hard to share feelings in total honesty – without self-censorship – by word of mouth, or even by text or email or whatever digital medium I use. Nor do I wish to burden others with my negative moods. I can also be self-conscious or embarrassed about my flights of fancy. Writing in this stream-of-consciousness way is energising. Liberating. And fun!

I’m trying to get into this on a daily basis, which I think some WA members already do. My preference is to write longhand in a notebook (by choice, still in bed and only semi-conscious!) Once filled, the book may go in the bin, or if I’ve written on a PC, a tablet, or any other gizmo, I can delete it. I may flip or scroll through it first looking for anything interesting I can use in my fiction. The honesty of this material can have a way of connecting with the reader in a way perfectly planned material sometimes can’t.

I find this practice lubricates the creative juices and puts me in the mood to write. Sometimes I write about writing, sometimes about something completely different. Other times I try my luck at our Monday Muse prompts. All can lead to something further. In this case, it led to this blog – a positive start to my writing day. 

And here’s another writer’s take on it that you might want to check out: www.juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/

Do You Know Where You Are Going?
Category: Writing
Tags: writing writing goals writing plans smart goals writers abroad

Do You Know Where You Are Going?

(said the Cheshire Cat or in my case, Simba)

'And Do We Need To?' I can hear you all groaning through the Prosecco infused fug of the New Year celebrations. And although I know I enticed you in with a cute kittie picture, it is that time of year and I'm not talking about resolutions, which it seems to me, never get off the starting block. Reading this article seemed to confirm that. It's the way it's packaged.

However, as writers (or indeed in most aspects of our life) we need some kind of plan for the year ahead. If not how do we know if we actually trod the path we visioned, or indeed took a different route? Big, small or indifferent ambitions makes no matter, as long as you have some kind of notion of where you'd like to go. 

Along with the usual rules about setting goals (the old adage of SMART) I also came across lengthening this system to becoming SMARTER. The E stands for Evaluation, so regular maintenance checks on progress or otherwise. The R is for Re-adjustment, which means that plans can and do change.Makes sense to me.

Here is how the conversation really went with Alice and the Cheshire Cat...

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

So, the forum for our Writing Plans for 2018 has been set up, let us know where you are going... if indeed you are. Happy New Year to a wonderful bunch of writers, but most importantly I raise a glass to our friendship. 



When variety may not be the spice of life...
Category: Writing

I messaged Jo earlier, saying I had an idea, not writing related, to post for the blog. As I began to type, other thoughts came to the fore and my original plan changed course dramatically.

I started to think about my output for the year that has almost passed and what made me concentrate on producing poetry. I've always appreciated poetry in its many forms, so I didn't suddenly spring an interest.

Also, I have written creatively almost since I could hold a pencil, but could never say I had a particular genre. When, and how, do writers know to dedicate their precious time and words to one type of writing?

Many WA members are comfortable, and productive, in a specific writing zone. How did you get there? Did you choose from the very beginning and over time hone your craft? Did the genre choose you, maybe motivated by early success? Is my inability to discover my genre due to a) truly not having one b) indecision c) not being strong enough to say a firm no when distracted by other forms?

I do know I am prompted to write, quite often, by a national or world event, frequently a tragic one, or sometimes by something more personal. And the form that takes is usually poetic.

I don't consider myself a depressive sort of person but reading through my recent poetry, the last few years certainly, the nature of the writing is less than happy!

On a positive note, I think the standard of my poetry has improved. While assembling my poetry file, I read verse written during the time I was a Writelink member and don't believe I'll be advertising it broadly any time soon!

I shall add 'establishing a genre' to my goals for 2018 although I don't think it will be easy. Any advice will be very welcome.

Have a super Christmas Day and extended festive season, one and all.


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