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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Cloudy with a Chance of Rain - IWSG April 2018



It's IWSG Day.  The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh, our brilliant ninja leader. Co-hosts this month: Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Renee Scattergood, and Tamara Narayan!


This month’s optional question: When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing.

Things to do when your writing goes south…

Explore a place you’ve never been before--a park, a town, someplace in the city, a museum or a botanical garden. Take yourself on a writer’s date to a place that will stimulate your senses. Paddle a boat, walk a beach, take a run on a route you've never followed. New experiences encourage creativity.

Take a walk while listening to music. I don’t know about you, but music brings me to a place where I see, hear and think more clearly. Deeper. The more I connect with the music, the better the inspiration.

Google writer websites for scene-storming hints. Give yourself a timed writing exercise. Don’t stop. Don’t edit. Just write what floats into your brain. Let the words flow. They may not be good, they may not be worth keeping, but they’ll come. And when they do, more words follow.

Talk to other writers. By nature, the writing process is solitary, but it doesn't have to be all the time. Writer friends buoy each other up during the bad times and celebrate each other when things are good. We all need support, feedback and encouragement. In short, we need our peers. If you haven’t joined a writing group, I encourage you to do so. Here’s a confession. It might be possible that my writing life is a bit cloudy right now. But one of the members of my writing group encouraged me via email yesterday. She said: “Maybe just play around and throw a lot of little ideas at the writer brain and see if anything takes hold, with no expectations of any of it.” Just that little suggestion had me sitting down in front of the computer, “playing.” 

Take a look at an old project. Even if your skills have surpassed where you were when you wrote the piece, it may offer something…a character that you liked writing about, or a scene you crafted well that may inspire you to branch off to something new.

Above all, don’t NOT write. As bad as it may feel if you are struggling, be sure to sit down for a least a small period of time every day. No matter how hard it seems, as awful as you think the writing may be, it’s writing. To be a writer, that’s what we have to do.



After I wrote this post, I was heartbroken to learn that one of my favorite authors, Anita Shreve passed away this past Thursday. I was supposed to attend one of her readings a year or so ago and was dreadfully disappointed when she had to cancel for health reasons. Given this month’s IWSG question, the quote I read from Saturday’s Boston Globe memorial on this lovely writer seems particularly appropriate: 

“To other writers, published and successful or merely toiling and aspiring, she offered three words of encouragement that her father had used to nudge along her youthful writing efforts.

‘My father one told me, ‘Don’t give up.’ she recalled in 2008 for the London newspaper The Guardian. ‘It’s advice that has served me well.’”

RIP Anita Shreve. 

17 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Very sad. She definitely heeded her father's advice.
I always walk while listening to music. Unless my wife is walking with me. That would kind of rude.

Jan Morrison said...

So sad to hear of Anita Shreve's death! I loved her books. Yes, your advice is good. Writers write - no other thing will do. My daddio would say "bum in chair". I'm revising a big overgrown garden of a memoir, so my bum is seeing a lot of the chair.

Joanne said...

first - I'll comment on your writing. Even if cloudy - keep at it, go take some pictures (using your fine lens and eyes) and then write about what you think you saw versus what's on the screen.
Second - I too was surprised by Anita Shreve's death and said, "darn". She was an excellent writer.
Take care and keep splashing in the rain with words

Pat Garcia said...

Thank you so much for mentioning the death of Anita Shreve. I had not heard about it here in Germany. What a wonderful piece of advice her father gave her. It is advice that still rings true today.
All the best.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

All of your suggestions are spot on. Most of us think of writing as being almost as necessary as breathing. Even if the breathing is labored, we've gotta keep going.

Carol Kilgore said...

I like going to new places, too. They never fail to offer me nudges and ideas. That advice from Anita Shreve's father is still good today.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Love your inspirational ideas for how to get through the dry spots. Going somewhere new sounds so fun too.

Connie said...

Great advice for writers. Thank you for sharing this wisdom and inspiration. "Don't give up," applies to everyone, I think.

Julie Hiner said...

WOW! What a beautiful post :) Thank you for sharing your ideas to keep on going, and for sharing the loss of someone you admired so much. Lots of love. An don't give up !!!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I hadn't heard of her passing. Her father's advice is good for us all.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

What an inspiring and helpful post. Thank you.
I'm sorry to hear about your friend.

Taryn Tyler said...

All great ideas here but I think "don't give up" is the most important as well as the hardest to follow.

Jennifer Hawes said...

Great suggestions! Always works for me too.

Tamara Narayan said...

I was so sad to hear about Anita Shreve. I have so many of her books on my shelves.

Dawn Simon said...

I love your advice. Walking helps me. Same with kayaking with my husband. There's something about nature, right? Your critique partner sounds wise. Rediscovering the play during a cloudy period is so important! Free writing with no expectations can lead to interesting jumping points. And writing friends ARE so helpful! Mine buoy me, too!

Such sad news. Her dad's advice is excellent.

Pixel Peeper said...

New experiences encourage creativity. <-- This is interesting; I'd never thought about it. But it makes sense.

I'm not a writer, but when I had to write essays in high school and couldn't come up with something, I'd read something. It only makes sense that writers are prolific readers.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Great advice!

I have often said to myself "What would I do if I didn't write?" I still can't come up with an answer, so I write...