Tag Archives: advice

Daily Tips for Writers

I have been writing these tips daily on Twitter http://twitter.com/Lauramunson Hope they help.

Be intentional. Get to know your “third eye.” And don’t let life infect it. Yes we mine our lives, but writing is a pause.

When people ask what you do, say: I AM A WRITER. Practice saying it in front of the mirror!

Find something physical that requires the same sort of awareness you use in your writing and try to do it every day.

When you are rejected, you haven’t done something wrong. It just wasn’t right for them. Think of it as a numbers game.

Go at it with joy, not fighting and muscling and kicking. Go at it like it’s already there. You’re just lifting the lid.

Don’t believe in writer’s block. It doesn’t exist for you. What MUST you write? You know the answer. Now write it.

Write what you must and write it with compassion.

Don’t let Social Media interrupt your focus. Use it as a tool and be grateful for community. And know when to unplug.

Do something sacred before you begin. A cup of tea. A deep breath. Lie on the floor with your eyes closed. A beginning.

Don’t take rejections personally. Take a breath, and send it out again. GOOD LUCK!

Use your pearls as they come. No need to stockpile them. More will come.

Challenge yourself to be flexible. Write not just on your mother ship computer, but on a laptop, outside, on a legal pad

When in doubt, ask. You have to ask. For connections, advice, help, time, space, critique, support. Ask.

Read books like textbooks, underline, comment in margins, date your comments. Don’t lend them out. Refer to them often.

Don’t take outlines too seriously. Your characters are your guides.  Sherpas, even.  Follow them.

Love your characters. Even the villians.  They all have something to teach you.  But you have to love them into it.

When you give your working drafts to friends to read, make sure you agree to the shape of critique you want and deadline.

If you don’t want to write a scene, maybe it doesn’t belong in your book. Trust your instincts. Be willing to re-route.

If you find you are having a hard time balancing between your writing and social media, consider getting two computers. One cyber. One not.

In the spirit of Twitter, keep it lean. Exile adverbs. They suck the action dry.

 Consider your reader and ask yourself: why do they need my writing? Writing is an act of empathy. It’s not all yours.

 Writing is your meditation, your prayer, your way of life, and sometimes your way TO life.  At least it is for me.

If your loved ones don’t read your stuff, consider it a compliment.They want to know you as they know you.Not always on the page.

I love hearing from writers who love their work.  We need to be hungry for our own work.  Champions.  Stewards.  Even when the publishers don’t agree.  

Clean your office. Clutter bring chaos. A clean space really helps with the blank page.

Be willing to learn something about yourself on the page. It’s okay to “tell” on yourself. It will help people and you.

What is your piece about? Practice saying it outloud on a walk, in 3 minutes or less. It may morph as you go along. That’s OK.

Writing comes from sacredness, silence, and sometimes secrecy. Oftentimes best not to share what you are writing about til it’s done.

I find that writers who are writing are kind to one another. Not competetive. Let’s keep this kindness alive and well.

Hemingway couldn’t write in an airplane and either can I. Best to know your limits as long as they’re not avoidances.

Be leary of writers who spend a lot of time trying to protect their work. It’s only moving through you to begin with.

Be leary of writers who do more reading than writing. Or who are always doing conferences. True seeking is most often solitary.

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Filed under A Place For Writers To Share, My Posts

Opportunity In Crises

opportunity
I am deeply honored and thrilled that after so many years of writing, my words are finding readers. First in the “New York Times,” then in “The Week,” and now on “Oprah online.” I’m hard at work on finalizing the book which inspired the essay that many of you have read. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/fashion/02love.html

The book is due to come out in April, 2010 (Amy Einhorn Books/Penguin/Putnam). While I’m in this editing process, I’m not able to personally respond to your comments, but please feel free to inspire each other, and know that I read every comment and that they help inform the book.

So many of you have asked me for advice. As I’ve written, I’m not a therapist nor a spiritual teacher. I’m glad that my story is touching you and that it may in some cases, even be helping you. To that end: The “Oprah Online” people have made it possible for you to comment on my essay. I believe that Oprah’s organization has wonderful integrity, and that while I can’t help individuals outside of what I do on the page, there is great available help on her website and in the teachers and professionals she endorses. So I point you there:
http://www.oprah.com/article/relationships/couples/20090826-tows-new-york-times-marriage/1
According to the website, there is an opportunity to be on a future Oprah show through the comments you might choose to share. It would be great if her organization could provide some relief for people in crises through the help of a professional therapist, especially regarding issues of marriage and specific to my essay/book. If any of you is interested in using that possible opportunity to help in your process, again, I direct you there.

Today, I’d like to offer this:
emergancy
A Different Respose to Crises:
We’ve been trained in our society to respond to crises with state-of-emergency moxie. To immediately react. To meet fire with fire.

Or to run away.

When we’re meeting fire with fire, we’re in control mode. When we’re running away, we’re in sedation mode. I’ve done all of the above. And after many years living in these modes, I decided I was sick of it. I was suffering and I decided to get really clear with myself about where the suffering was in my life. It took awhile. But I trained my senses and began to live with a commitment to ending my suffering. I’m not always good at it. But when it works, it’s such a powerful way to live. There’s so much relief there.

I got to practice this in spades the summer my husband went through his marital dis-affection. I like that word, “dis-affection.” It’s easier not to take personally. It’s easier to process and to land in a place of non-suffering.

I want to be perfectly clear about something that keeps coming up in the comments on my blog, other people’s blogs, the comments in the “New York Times” and the many that have come into my email box:

If my marriage had ended after that rough season…I would still have considered that season a personal success. The reason why it was such a powerful time for me, and the reason why I’ve written about it, has everything to do with what it was like, especially in such a hard time, to live and not suffer. To not translate crises into state-of-emergency. To not control and sedate. To simply, deliberately, day by day, moment by moment, breath by breath…detach from outcome. This was my journey. It was one of the soul.

That’s my message, and why I am willing to share my personal story. While I wrote about this way of living in the context of marriage, it’s not really about marriage or my husband or my family. Of course, if my being responsible for my own well-being rubbed off on them somehow, then that only makes it more of a success story.

Many people have made the assumption that I practiced living like that “to save my marriage.” That is not the case. I lived like that because it was my commitment to live outside suffering. If my marriage was “saved,” then I can only see that as a possible bi-product, but still not one that is necessary to try to prove or define.

There is so much pain in the world. All of us feel pain every day. Sometimes many many times a day. What if we started to translate pain as opportunity? Opportunity to practice not suffering. Where would that have us land? Who would we be then? Would we be victims? Would we be somehow…dare I say it: free?

Thank you for reading.
Yrs.
Laura

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Filed under "Those Aren't Fighting Words, Dear", My Posts