If you haven’t joined NaNoWriMo it’s not to late.
So we started our October presentations. I prepared a brief character bio sheet and we used our prompt time to fill them out. Then we shared.
Some described actual people in their lives and there were those who wanted to use some of them in their writing. Some came up with new characters and some told of a character they were already using.
For myself I thought of using my protagonist whom I’d already done a character study on. Then I decided I should explore another character. So I filled out the bio sheet and when it was my turn I shared it with the group.
Now just the exercise of filling out the sheet was good in helping developing this character but after I shared it with the group and they asked me questions about the character. My mind started pondering what is this character all about? It continued for a few days. My mind was working even in bed at night I thought about her. I expanded on her and it got me thinking about some of my others. Yes it’s great to have a group and they inspire me and keep me going. I eagerly await the start of NaNoWriMo.
I’ve spoken about the many ways a writing group helps us: inspiring, critiquing, and supporting.
This week I’d like to talk about support and what that means to me personally. In a previous group I remember our leader saying as fellow members we need to support one another. At that time she meant buying their books and attending their signings.
My message is, giving our fellow members support is important. Buying their book and attending their signings should be a no brainer but in today’s world of social media we need to do more. Starting by writing a review on Amazon and Goodreads then sharing those reviews and a comment on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
Our group also supports our authors by putting their books on our website along with their photo and a brief bio. Anything we can do to get the word out about their books.
Do you have a muse? A real or imaginary being that provides you with inspiration. The Romans or a least one Roman named nine: Calliope -epic poetry; Clio -history; Euterpe -flutes and lyric poetry; Thalia -comedy and pastoral poetry; Melpomene -tragedy; Terpsichore -dance; Erato -love poetry; Polyhymnia -sacred poetry; Urania -astronomy.
These nine were purported to support the arts, literature and music. The Romans did some significant things in these so they must have done there job.
How about yours? Mine seems to have deserted me. I don’t know if she’s on vacation or just hiding out somewhere in a whorl of my brain. She’s done it before hidden from me I found her curled up in the fetal position crying her eyes out.She was upset with a piece I wrote.She implied it was a over with such a piece of dross and she didn’t want to be connected with it. I had to promise I’d burn it. I did at least metaphorically.She forgave me and came back.
I’ve called her over and over again with no response. I wonder if she’s ignoring me or is she so far away she can’t hear me.I’m getting desperate. What next? Do i send her a telegram but no telegrams are passe. She hates passe almost as much as she detests trite and cliche. What have Idone? Is it the epic poem on bedbugs Ijust finished.
I wonder if she took her cell phone. Maybe I’ll try it? Maybe she’ll answer? Persephone, Persephone, pick up!
I had a recent reminder of just how important my current writing group is. I have talked about the many places and ways to start your writing group. I don’t think I’ve ever detailed exactly how my current writing group for started.
It was 2006, June and we moved from Farmington, NM to Yuma,AZ. As it always is in the summer it was hot. I didn’t get out but I was missing my writing group. I’d been in two in Farmington. I asked around at all the places I thought might know of one. Bookstores, library and the college nothing. I finally came across a notification of a group in the paper and managed to find my way to a mobile home park on the other side of town.
It was a small group. After two meetings I realized this group want serious about writing it was just an activity to fill their time during the uneventful summer. I decided not to continue after the next meeting.
I will always be happy for that meeting because a new person showed up. Jeanne. During the break she and I struck up a conversation.She had self-published a book. She desired a serious group as much as I did. We both lived on the other side of town and made plans for a group and did our best to promote it.
Jeanne moved away three years ago when her husband became ill. I have missed her firm hand, support and inspiration. After her husband died communication with her ground to a halt. I kept her on our e-mail group and this past week heard from her. We sent notes back and forth and agreed to Skype.
How great to see her face and hear her voice. She’s back as an active part of my writing life. We will Skype often now and I look forward to what she thinks about the book I’ve self-published.
A few weeks ago I started writing about where I find inspiration. I mentioned how being on the road inspired me and how my writing group did that for me. We all talk about finding our muse in a sunset or the view of the Grand canyon or afield of flowers. Today some others things whacked me in the side of the head.
As I watched CBS’ s Sunday Morning they showed a piece on tree houses. The sight of those structures in the trees took me back to my childhood when I loved to climb trees. How climbing from branch to branch until I was as high as I could go and looking out at the world seeing it differently. Inspired me with the thought that I might write a poem or essay about the joy of climbing trees.
As I read one of my favorite magazines the Sun a line from a personal essay by C.J.Gall “Perhaps its’ true that God knows the hour and the day of your death. I can’t say. But I tend to think that God if he exists at all, doesn’t care.” got me thinking about death and God. The statement awakened a plethora of possibilities for writing.
Driving home from the grocery store we had the music of Train playing and the song was “ 50 Ways to Say Goodbye “awakened many of the same emotions. I’m a fan of Philip Phillips and his Gone, gone, gone” with the line”I’ll love you long after your gone, gone, gone.” Makes me want too explore that kind of love and what it means for both the dead and the living.
I have to admit that there are things in our modern culture that inspire me. Maybe all of you out there knew that but maybe it’s good to be reminded that even television, print media and popular music can inspire us.
Today finds me searching for where to find inspiration. It seems I’ve covered so many possibilities I’m having trouble this week.
However, a member of my writing group one of what I dub our distance members. At least he’s at a distance for the summer. Come this winter he’ll be back and then I’ll call him a winter writer. He is one of those from the northwestern US and Canada who flock here in the winter to enjoy the benefits of our wonderful weather.
I keep in touch with all of them that wish to be in touch by keeping them in our e-mail group. This past week Bob e-mailed me. He said: “ Yes, we are listening! :~). As always I enjoy getting your updates and I have a favor to ask. Would it be possible to include the weeks “Prompt” in your email. I found them a great memory stimulator and writing motivator.
Along that same line I have formed a “writing friendship” with a lady in British Columbia and we swap prompts week to week. She is an excellent writer but has never done anything like this and has a lot of fun with it. We email the prompt ideas to each other with the admonishment “10 minute rule!”. That means that once you open the email and see the prompt you have only 10 minutes to finish it. Perhaps you could share your prompts with us winter visitors in a similar fashion.
So after our regular meeting on Tuesday I sent out the prompt.I hope he will send what he wrote to me and others of our distance writers will also respond.
Here it is another place that provides us with a way to be stimulated, to find words, to be inspired.
The open road is a great source of inspiration. I say this as I travel across Colorado and New Mexico.
We discussed it in our group.
It must be the freedom of no household chores or other activities that unleashes the muse.
I wonder if that was what Jack Kerouac felt when he wrote”on the Road” I can’t say I found his book that impressive but I can share the feeling the road gives.
Once on a trip from Farmington, NM to Yuma, AZ my husband and I outlined a novel. Last November I got it mostly written during NaNoWriMo.
A few weeks ago on a short trip the dust devils inspired the beginning of a new poem. Sometimes a sign like”don’t pick up hitch-hikers. Correctional facility.” Can bring on a haiku. For example:
Hitchhikers may be escaped convicts
Don’t stop to offer tea and biscuits.
What might that yellow line extending down the middle of the right hand lane cause?
The open road is awash with material don’t ignore it. Use it.
It easy when you say the word writing to think it’s just about writing the next best seller. If you want to embrace all writers and writing you need to be open to all forms.
One way our group does this is to celebrate National Poetry Month. So each April we find a way to expand our horizons. We’ve written sestinas, looked at haiku, used our prompts as inspiration.
This year to celebrate poetry we wrote either a nonet or a cinquan or both we used either one of three phrases or these words. The results were amazing and most participated. So we decided to post them to our website, writeontheedgeyuma.com. if you enjoy poetry pay the website a visit.
So if you have a group or are starting one be open to all styles of writing. Never think you have to be specialized or that a sci-fi writer can’t critique romance. It about the writing and how well it’s done not the subject matter.
This past week I felt support but I wished they could offer more.
When it comes down to tough slog you have to do it alone. This week was my difficult one. Getting my book formatted so I could finally get it on the market. I think that is done and soon Woman of the Heartland will be available. Next week I should be telling you how to find it.
In the interim I am certain my group is there standing behind me, cheering me on.
I’ve been grateful for a member who lent help with a formatting issue that assisted me in finishing.
You also know when my book is published they’ll be standing in line to purchase it. They’ll recommend it to their family and friends. They’ll write reviews for me and cheer when I do well or commiserate with me if things don’t go well.
And when I start work on my next book they’ll be there again to provide inspiration, critique and moral support.