# 10 ALWAYS carry and use recording devices
Paper and pen are the most obvious and low-tech tools to collect random thoughts. Many cellphones have a built in voice recorder; some have “note” capturing capability. (See your owner’s manual. Find it online if you don’t have the hardcopy booklet, or go to your cell carrier’s store and give the poor trainee check-in person the thing they crave the most; a chance to show how techy superior they are to us mere mortal users). You can also text or email yourself. There are many “apps” that can be found to record and organize your thoughts and your time, which is also important for you to schedule writing sessions.
I’m jealous of writers who carry a beautiful journal and nice pen. My thoughts are often recorded on receipts, coupons and napkins. The jottings are thrown into a container that is sifted through, occasionally. Eventually some of the legible concepts are transferred to my computer and cellphone, where they buzz around like mosquitos at a screen door. This blog originated as scribbles of words that stuck fast, before they could be slapped away by the flyswatter that clears my mind quickly for the next unattached swarm of thoughts that riddle my over active brain. # 3, 4 & 5 were written on an empty junk mail envelope. # 1, 6, & 9 were fitted on to a small corner left on a yellow legal pad. Some of it was lost on a fast food napkin. If it’s found and the original ideas were better than the culmination here, I’ll do an update to this blog entry.
My perpetual disorganization is so frustrating. I hope that you are not plagued with this horrible affliction and that you have a beautiful journal and fancy pen that never leaks and always marks on any surface!
# 9 Read, Read, Read
Reading is to a writer the daily jog of a marathon runner. You must be in shape, inspired, and practice a lot to have the endurance required to complete the race, a book, a poem, etc.
Reading makes me want to write. Reading anything stimulates the brain and provides information that can make your writing more complete. Reading best sellers can help with “market research.” Plus if you love to write, you probably already love to read, the trick is finding the balance between the two.
# 8 Invest in a formal education
Take writing classes, find a writing group, or come to Fine Lines Summer Camp. Invest time, if not money, because you need to never stop learning to develop your craft. Informally planning time to write is good but a degree or certificate from a learning institution can add credibility as well. It tends to build grammar skills and enhances your vocabulary, thus making your work more interesting and pleasant to read.
# 7 Create
Writers are artists. Our form of expression is in the written word but we should not limit ourselves to one medium. Paint, sculpt, do photography, dance, sing… You may find that releasing your creativity in a variety of ways clears your mind. Then the next time you sit to write you will be ready to fill your empty canvas with fresh words.
Dancers say it with movement and music. Sculptors use their hands and tools to express themselves. Painters and photographers convey messages with colors and textures. Each of them speaks as clearly as a writer, but more importantly can speak directly to a writer and inspire continuation of the original conversation.
# 5 Listen
Children have the best ideas. They tend to lack the filter that disregards silly thoughts. Silly thoughts can turn into brilliant works. Old people are full of it! Seriously, they are filled with knowledge, experience, real perspective that can only be gained over time.
Eavesdrop on strangers; even ask them for clarification if you hear something that needs some backstory. People tend to enjoy talking about themselves, especially if you tell them you area writer.
That’s what friends are for; they encourage us when we feel the words aren’t flowing. They will often remind us of our wins in the past and usually have a good stuff to share too. Interact and take note while you are with family. Many comedies have been developed by this practice. Interact with animals. My bunnies have the cutest tails, their so soft and fluffy – they make me laugh, sometimes they make me cry. Most parent parents will light up when given a chance to tell stories of their critters. Listen, be inspired, then share.
# 4 Talk to yourself
Really. It’s okay. And you should even answer. We must process our thoughts to have a beginning, middle and an end to a story. Some people process best by talking it out. If no one else is there to converse with, you must not let that hinder your creating. Remember we are artists, we are allowed to be eccentric.
Do not dismiss mundane events. Other people identify with the observations of everyday. They will relate to your works better if they can relate to your experiences.
Comedians always encounter people who tell them to “say something funny.” As a writer, I am often told, “You should write about that.” “That” being some little thing that inspired me to share it as a verbal topic of conversation. A few recent topic suggestions: a children’s series about my bunnies, stories about my job as a master poop scooper, and the funny things the dogs do while I try to figure out who left the pile, because we have to keep track of the number 1s and 2s, sometimes 3 (the hardest to detect), experience of mothering while trying to let our college freshman be a grown up (So scary, I had to call my parents), shopping – the adventure of the hunt, squirrels…
# 2 Share your work – celebrate your wins
Insecurity holds us back. Sharing will build your confidence. It also toughens the skin. A carpenter’s hands will hurt until they develop calluses, likewise a writer’s ego can easily bruise until a few tough but fair critics have shown you how to make your work better.
Celebrate your wins with the critics that were encouraging while correcting. They deserve kudos.
What do you want to be when you grow up? The only definitive answer to that question is, “I never want to grow up.” Kids can dream, they can join gangs, they can go to summer camp and they don’t have to worry about the consequences. They can just be…It still makes me feel giddy to call myself a “writer.” It’s what I want to be but I only really feel like a writer when I’m hanging with my gang of pencil wielding writers. Attending regular meetings with a positive/encouraging writer’s/editing group is the best non-writing habit every writer should practice.
Fine Lines Summer Writing Camp is the bonus. It’s a great place to find and form your gang.
[author] [author_info]Guest Post by Rhonda Buckhold. Rhonda is currently working on a novel, Booted, about workplace bullying in the military. Instead of sleeping she writes about life experiences, of being a military family, marriage, motherhood, dealing with adult ADHD, growing up poor in Western Nebraska, and even her pet rabbits. She has a degree in Interpersonal Communication from Creighton University. As the future unfolds, she plans to continue staying up at night working on a website and blog, “survivorspouse” for teaching and sharing better communication and relationship skills for the challenges of life; failure is not an option![/author_info] [/author]