Started this Saturday morning with looking through my comments. Found out a lot of it is spam. So I pressed Unapprove, but nothing seemed to happen. Pressed Trash and it went away. Then I searched for a plugin “spam filter”, and it is now installed. So hopefully I can spend my time on the genuine comments from real people instead of trashing endless lists of links to shops or whatever it is.
A few of the comments are about how to start a blog.
I have replied to a handful of them, but let me just say it here to everyone; I use WordPress. It is very easy to download / install or what it´s called (Says my husband who did it for me!) And free. The design, as you can see, is wonderful. Many themes to choose from. I chose the colour scheme with a simple tick in a box! And my site loads very fast in most browsers. Some say it doesn´t work that well in IE. I don´t know how to fix that. I basically know very little about blogging. My husband set it up through my domain where I have an old homepage. And then I just started writing posts. Instant gratification. 🙂
Writing. That I do know a little about. Many of the comments from you readers have been about whether I have tips for aspiring writers. So I thought, ok, let that be the title of today´s blog post. Here goes:
I have been writing since I was four and a half years old. Age six I had saved up enough money to buy myself a desk! For christmas age eight I got a typewriter (before they became electric). So. It has been a passion of mine since…. birth or beyond. Probably I have been writing my way through many lifetimes. As a munk in Nepal, for example, copying buddhist scriptures by hand. I don´t know. It wouldn´t surprise me, though.
Fingertips. Is the first word that springs to mind, and so I allow it through. Not knowing what to do with it next but resting assured that my fingertips will type their way into some kind of meaningful combination of letters…
What I am trying to picture by that, is. When I write, I silence my mind. I listen within, to what COMES to mind. Then I go with the flow.
So my advice would be to meditate. Focus on your breathing to still your mind. You can´t hear your heart when your mind rambles on. That self critic is also a tough one to get passed. That inner voice that says: “This isn´t good enough. Who do you think you are?!”. Silence it. It is not your friend, it is anti helpful, a voice of fear. Don´t let it be the ruler of your writing. (Two lines underneath that conclusion. Haha. With the ruler used as a ruler).
I have gone to maybe a dozen of writing workshops in my life. When they have crossed my path, I have attended them, and learnt a lot about where to find inspiration, what tools and rules to use in poetry writing, one has to know them to go beyond them, I reckon… I did courses on screenplay writing and short film script writing, a course in creative writing when I lived in Bahrain, poetry writing classes in Bergen, and a writing circle where we read our work out loud to eachother and gave eachother evaluations (That circle work really gave me a lot of confidence and understanding about what works and doesn´t work) …
And I have read a bunch of books about the art of writing. Don´t remember their titles here and now. Search and you shall find. Nothing like the thrill of going to a library or book store and there it just IS, the book you´re looking for, seeming to jump out at you from the shelf! I loooove that feeling. Discovering books. Taking them home. Jumping into bed with them and staying there until we´re finished, if I have the time to read uninterrupted. Before I had kids, I used to spend easter holidays in Bergen in my tiny attic flat behind a locked door, with a full fridge and tons of books, cartoons and cds from the library. Total peace, wrapped up in the embrace of mindblowing reads, written with love by someone who wanted to teach something interesting, and who knew how to communicate with elegance and humour.
I spent a lot of my childhood reading. I did soccer too, age 8-16, and piano lessons same timespan. I did tree climbing and apple stealing. But probably more than anything else, I loved to read. I had a huge cardboard box in my room, filled with cartoons. When I had read them I took them to a second hand bookstore and swapped them into new loads of magazines and books.
So to be a good writer, read.
And choose consciously what you read, because the language used will influence your writing style. Don´t worry though. Read what you feel attracted towards reading. Follow your heart! Listen within!
Some times I play with key words. Association game. I write the first word that comes, down. And underneath it, next line, I write the word that comes when I think about the first one I wrote. Like:
………………………. it is an excercise helping my mind let go, or maybe rather allowing it to be part of the game, but stopping the rambling, coz I´m not interested in whole or half sentences of sense making………
I think that to write well, it is good to be out of one´s mind……..
Depending on genre. Of course.
In my university years, it was hard to write anything that wasn´t in a scientific language. A very rational, logical structure. From a to b, referring to sources, building up theories. Interesting enough. But not juicy, exciting, passionate or fun…. it doesn´t have to be either. It´s ok. But those textbooks that were written in a looser flow, with a sense of humour, in prose like language… those are the books I remember. That´s one of the reasons too that social anthropology was my favourite subject. All those fieldwork reports, by anthropologists living with a tribe somewhere, for years, trying to describe and understand their ways of thinking and doing things…. compelling reads.
Well. Where were we?
Silence your mind
Read books on writing
Go to courses
Make association games
Well….. to me writing is an inner process. Of listening. Actually. I feel it´s a question of connecting. To my Inner Self. The collective Self. Or to Spirit. Different sources, or maybe rather aspects of the same one source.
When I silence my self, words come to mind. Sometimes when I write, I start writing quite fast, and only afterwards, when I read through it, do I discover there are rhythms and rhymes in the text, often some words stand out as old fashion or odd, words I don´t normally use…. I think this is inspired writing, from Spirit. Ancestors or other helpers, on the other side of the veil of death. Yes I do. It´s not automatic writing. But it´s related to that expression, I think. I´m often not the creator of what I write. I feel. I´m just tapping into the Source, allowing it through. Receiving end. This belief may be true or not, it´s not important to me, as it helps me not to worry about ego issues such as taking honour, or is it good enough, as I´m just letting it through. The quality is up to the sender, and up to the reader. I see myself as …. a medium… a piece in the middle… a bridge between.
Between what? Realms or dimensions? Probably. Between Inspiration and Expression. Content and Form.
Isn´t this fun?! Hahahaha…… Just take your self out of the equation. And there you are. Writing away, Free from inhibition. Just listen within. Without. Sit still. Stop thinking. And let it come through the receiver of you. That last line even rhymes, so it must be true.
I hope this post is more helpful than confusing? If not then I´m sorry about that. Maybe other people have better advice about the art of writing. I can only give you what I know.
I wish kids in school would learn more creative writing. How to use it to see their own thoughts on issues. Like write lists of pros and cons when they have to make a difficult decision. If you write down one point at the time, then when the mind can´t think of more plus or minus things about the situation in question, you have a sheet of paper in front of you that clearly visualizes that one side has more points than the other side. Or, if not, then use a neon marker and use it to highlight the five most important points to you, for example. Our minds are such great tools. Lightyears better than any computer. Play with that brain. Use a pen to document what it says to you. Then analyze the result.
I do the same with emotional challenges. Always have done. When I feel strong, disturbing emotions, I grab a pen and paper (not a pc, pen works better for me), and I scribble all my thoughts and feelings down until I feel empty. After that, when my minds goes into loop and wants to repeat the entire tirade over again, I tell it to shut up and read through the written once again, adding if necessary. Then, a day or two later, my subconsciousness has digested some of the stuff in my sleep and I sit down and continue the text. I read through what I have written, and then I continue. And suddenly I find myself writing why I felt that way and what the deeper causes maybe could be, and suggestions to solving the situation… solutions…
I don´t know what that process is called. It´s a kind of self therapy maybe? Dialogue with myself… it helps me understand myself. And to let go of difficult emotions. Ex press. Press out. Kept within under lock, it will make me implode. Tension intensifies. Pressure builds up. Until I release it in writing. Or singing out loud. Dancing. Many ways.
I have always kept a diary. These days I keep a facebook status. And have a journal on the side, for emotional processes and ideas etc. I love facebook. Always wanted to make poster campaigns. Now I have a constant wall for poster campaigns! 🙂 Plus the chat. What a glorious age of communication we are living in.
One more tip just came to mind. Morning pages! I got that from a book on writing tips. You keep a notebook and pen on your bedside table. As soon as you wake up, you write down five pages. Every morning. Before getting up. It does not matter what you write. Most of it may be silly nonsense, doesn´t matter. If you write “I don´t have a clue what to write” for five pages, it´s okay. It´s a way to train your brain. To stop staying in control of your inner flow coming through. As you wake up, you are still in close contact with your sub conscious. So it´s easier to tune into you intuition… often, I found that there would be a couple of pages of boring lines, then suddenly a paragraph or two of more inspired wordings… be it a poem or an anecdote or just sentences with rhythm or interesting viewpoints… Morning pages. Very good help.
What else. All in all it´s a matter of having a playful approach towards it. Don´t be serious and push yourself. Have fun with your mind, invite it to play games with your heart. Allow your inner voice to come out, without filter. Then you edit later. If you critisize as your write, then you stop the flow. In my opinion.
Find inspiration. Close your eyes and with your index finger on a written text, circle around and stop! And look. Which word is your finger pointing at, right there? Or is it just a letter? The letter L? Then write a list of ten words starting with L. After that, write five sentence with five of the words. Maybe it leads you somewhere interesting. Or maybe you got the word “simple”. Then write the word down. What comes after that? Ask within. Be quiet. Listen. It comes to mind.
Simple. As in going with the flow. Letting go. No rule. One word at the time. And it carries on until you feel it´s finished. Simple!
Be in Joy – ed !