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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.