One of the questions at the recent NLBP Writer's Roundtable is how do I get started writing. This question is very broad and could take many different follow-up questions to figure out what is the particular issue for the individual. For example, it might be that there is procrastination involved. If that's the case, it might be best with starting out with uncovering the reasons for the procrastination.
But that's not my focus today. My focus today is where do I start if I want to write a major project, like a book, a screenplay, or a blog. I believe that creativity comes after doing the work and the work can take a few different pathways.
1. Work with a life coach or spiritual director to find out where your blocks are happening.
2. Work alone, but within a program. The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron is a good place to start. I used her ten-week workbook for an entire year completing it 4 times in succession (I had flow afterwards, writing my first book in one month).
3. Get the creative juices flowing by doing some daily writing assignments: A. Journal your thoughts. B. Write poetry or a short story. C. Write letters to the editor of any magazine or newspaper you're reading.
4. Attend workshops or events that relate to your project (poetry readings, writer's conferences, public relations classes, etc.)
5. Do any or all of steps 1 to 4 and then start on your project.
Doing these things has moved me in the direction of becoming a professional writer. I'm not a millionaire yet, but I'm young, give me time.
If you read my blog, you know that last week I attended a Poetry Reading by the current Poet Laureate, Yolanda Wisher. Attending gave me the idea to use one of her methods. She will come up with a topic and write all the descriptors down for that topic. With those words she writes a poem about something that is not the topic. For example, her discriptive words were all about cooking, but her poem was about love. This weekend I used this method and wrote a poem about my grandmother using diamonds as the topic. I'll debut it here and wish you lots of luck with your own writing.
HOPE FOR GRANDMA GEM
Round face and pear shaped,
Quiet yet attractively bright.
She interacts with fellow patients,
The marquis looking on.
Don’t leave yet, for Grandpa’s sake,
Keep your sparkling breath
To cut his ego where you must.
Your words say it just so.
Opposite of a hard-cutting stone
Your belly is untamed now,
Like the best grandmas
Who like their own cooking.
Priceless to me,
And a Premier Rose to Grandpa.
Precise artistry fashioned you,
Even the nervous breakdown was by design.
It made you stronger,
Proportioned and polished.
Now a magnificent return to light,
We cried with the marquis.
He thought you unbreakable,
Or at least less than he.
Never again would he say
“Give me some sugar.”
To magma you returned,
Scattered into all colors of the rainbow.
Your scintillation dead,
But memory never forgotten.
I think of you often.
With clarity and color, you wrote words.
You wrote a poem for my mom’s assignment.
I believe you were capable of writing more.
Now I adorn empty pages,
My hope for Grandma Gem.
Submitted by Marie Higgins, author of Sprouting Spirituality,
Charter Member NLBP, and Facilitator of the NLBP Writer's Roundtable.
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