04 December 2015

The Writing Habit

 “We become what we repeatedly do.” 
  ― Sean Covey

Time to Write

On Google, there are more than 64 million links on "the habit of writing."

Here's just one. 10 Steps to Create the Habit of Writing. In procrastinating my writing, I've probably read several hundred. Jeff Goins made it even simpler when he wrote, "pick a space, set a time, choose a goal."

I do know what it takes to create a successful habit. Since last summer, I've developed a new healthy one, which is walking my dog every day, 2-3 times a day, with the goal of hitting 10,000 steps every day. I accomplished this with tools. My Fitbit, MapMyWalk, great podcasts, my accountability group and my dog, Ellie. When you develop habits, the frequent repetition of the task, becomes involuntary. I mean it helps that Ellie, won't let me forget it but there is definitely a ritual I've developed with this healthy habit. And I did walk her before my goal but it was the addition of the hitting 10,000 steps a day that helped cement this task into a habit. 

When I wrote the title to this blog, The Writing Habit, I thought of wrapping myself in a habit. As the other definition of habit, "a long, loose garment worn by a member of a religious order or congregation." That was comforting to me. Thinking about wrapping myself in writing, surrounding myself with synonyms, languishing in language. I started this blog, to do just that, but when my job, my business and life got in the way, my daily writing habit, fell apart. I no longer made writing a priority.

At Goddard, an advisor gave me some good advice when I was struggling with just getting started, find a song, or a place or just light a candle to signal the beginning of your practice. These rituals might not be necessary for you, maybe sitting down and just writing is easy for you. Rooze wrote me some great advice, check out the comment section, of Let Nothing Go Down the Drain.

Today, write about new positive habits you will start in the next year. If you already have a successful writing habit how can you deepen your writing in the next few weeks of 2015?

The Writing Nag

01 December 2015

Let Nothing Go Down the Drain

“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”
Enid Bagnold

I'm reading yet another article this morning about time management for writers, something I can't seem to grasp, even though I've heard it and read it hundreds of times over the years. An hour a day, a paragraph a day, a sentence a day, three pages a day, morning pages, set a timer...every writer has their ritual or habit that has brought them success. I tend to wait for the muse, I know, not effective. I'm working on it.

What's your resistance? You're wasting your time, you are too busy, your favorite TV show is on, you've worked hard all day and you deserve the downtime? You should spend the time with your family. Or go to the gym. You should pay your bills, clean your office, your house, your car. You're not a real writer anyways. Writers can come up with so many creative excuses. If you don't already have one; how will you develop a writing habit in 2016? Do you know when your best time to write is?

Learning New Words inkpaste.com

Poetry Contest December 10, 2015 Deadline http://www.pw.org/writing_contests/poetry_award_3

The Writing Nag

26 November 2015

Adult Coloring


Although I haven't jumped in yet, I've been looking at the adult coloring books on Amazon ever since my friend recommended The Secret Garden, this coloring book is thought to be the one that started the "adult coloring craze" or trend. It has sold over 2,000,000 copies! I know how much paper and scissors and glue calm me when I'm working on collage and coloring was always a favorite childhood activity. Are you coloring away stress? If so, what's your favorite adult coloring book? There's a lot to choose from!

23 November 2015

Already planning for 2016?

Every man should be born again on the first of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle, if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but, on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take interest in the things that are and are to be, and not in the things that were and are past. ~Henry Ward Beecher, "A Completed Year," 1882 December 31st

I've always loved a new year, the possibilities, the challenges, the chance to better myself. While letting go of the past can be trying I've always loved the idea of moving forward and what better way to do that than with setting achievable goals. And for me there is no way to achieve goals unless I make them a habit. Maybe you have stopped making New Year's Resolutions, you know the ones you make on New Year's Day but then a few weeks later seem so challenging or not fun at all so you drop them?

The all or nothing approach has never worked for me but in 2015 I created several healthy habits that stuck and continuing them helped me reach my goals. In reflecting on the year, these are the seven ways I created healthy habits. I use the term healthy not only for body health but also for mind, soul and creative spirit. You can also create financial habits such as saving more money or paying off debt. Maybe your goal is to create a clutter-free house so tidying can become a healthy habit. Whatever your desire there are habits you can put in place to achieve your goals, wishes and dreams.  

Habit: an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary:

the habit of looking both ways before crossing the street.

18 November 2015

10 Gifts for a Poet

Vintage Christmas Cat postcard
I reworked this content article on 10 Gifts for a Poet for the holiday season. Although I would never turn down a gift card thank you Starbucks!; it seems like this has become the go to gift for the writer. If you have some other suggestions please comment on this post and I'll add or expand my gift list. What is the best writing related gift you have ever received? Was it as simple as a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop or the gift of time to write? For many writers and poets it's simply the acknowledgment that their friend or family member is a serious writer or poet and is committed to the craft.

08 November 2015

November Night discovering Cinquain

Yesterday when I walked in the park, it felt like a true autumn day. It was chilly but the sun was warm and the colors of the leaves were still golden bright against a clear blue sky. This morning's walk looked and felt different. After an evening frost, the colors were muted, the trees have lost many leaves.
The following poems are in the public domain. I love it, it has the feel of an Asian short form poem and the choice of words frost-crisp'd sounds like leaves breaking from the trees. I don't know anything about the poet Adelaide Crapsey but this piece makes me want to explore her other poems. I did read on Poets.org that she invented this form, "The cinquain: a twenty-two-syllable, five-line poem."
And not surprisingly she took her inspiration from the Asian short form poems of haiku and tanka.

Adelaide Crapsey1878 - 1915

Listen. . .
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees
And fall.
Autumn is so fleeting in Colorado while summer seems to last forever. While we didn't get any snow on Halloween this year, which seems to be the norm, I expect it sooner than later. 
Look up…
From bleakening hills
Blows down the light, first breath
Of wintry wind…look up, and scent
The snow! 

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