Posts Tagged ‘blog’

I think it’s safe to say that anyone who considers themselves a writer has dealt with two things: Writer’s block, and your ruthless inner critic.

I recently posted about my first experience with Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. The first section features a segment about what Cameron calls “The Morning Pages.” Essentially, this is a daily practice of writing three unfiltered, unedited pages of whatever you want. The point is to write without limits; not allowing yourself to look back and criticize what you’ve written. I found myself, of course, over-thinking what I was writing. Isn’t it kind of interesting that your inner critic comes out, even when you’re doing informal journaling that no one will ever lay eyes on except for you?

That’s a problem I’ve been struggling with lately; it’s somewhere between writer’s block and my inner critic. It’s not that I don’t have ideas, but I can’t bring myself to write something that I don’t think is good enough. I’ll begin, writing a couple paragraphs, then look back at what I wrote. Sigh. This sounded so much better in my head. I know all of the how-to books and tips on writing say, “just write!” It’s not as easy as they say. Sure, technically I am writing, but repeated exposure to my inner critic along with lackluster writing doesn’t seem to improve my writing the way all the writing experts say it will.

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Julia Cameron stresses the endless possibilities of the morning pages. She encourages the writer to include all of the seemingly petty, silly things floating in their mind. Getting them off your chest, and into the morning pages. It will free you; once they’re out of the way, it’s just you and your creativity. The morning pages give you the power to grant yourself the freedom to make mistakes. In the beginning, I wrote my morning pages as a stream of consciousness, but as a narrative. It could be a major production of dueling dragons, chivalrous knights, and fair maidens. It could be about an alternate theory as to how Peter Parker became Spider-Man. I like to alternate my writing setting, and the local Starbucks is one of the places that I frequent. It sounds somewhat creepy, but sometimes I would pick a person in the coffee shop and make up a story about them.
I thought that writing the morning pages as a narrative could spark an idea for a real story. I really enjoyed it, and this practice did generate some worthwhile ideas that I explored further outside of the morning pages. Occasionally I would have a bad day, and wouldn’t feel like being creative. I would just write my morning pages about what ruined my day. It became progressively less artistic, and infinitely more of an angst-filled diary. In my defense, I was around 15 years old the first time I began morning pages. Oh, the pleasantries of pages upon pages, filled with documentation of teenage melodrama. I’m sure you can understand why the morning pages, at that point, were no longer beneficial to my creative process.


 

I have progressed in Julia Cameron‘s book, and am now in the stage of “creative recovery.” She essentially encourages readers to nurture their creative self; protect it from criticism. Evaluate and dissect the appraisal; expose yourself to the constructive criticism. Assess what it is about the purely negative critique that bothers you; if you can create constructive criticism from that, then do so. If not, discard it. If it can’t help you, it serves no purpose.

I wouldn’t say I’m a pessimist, but I’m certainly not an optimist. Perhaps it’s me disguising negativity as being a realist. Whatever you want to call it, I know that I will always be somewhat critical of myself when it comes to writing. I used to be able to just retrieve that spark of passion, and write eagerly. My ideas were exciting to me, and I believed in them with every fiber of my being. I had created characters that became more than characters to me. I developed them, and they were important enough to me that they served as gasoline on flames; I wanted to write more. I loved the story, I loved the characters, and it was my duty to narrate their adventures in a way that was worthy of them. Lately, while I have been writing, it feels forced. I have no passion for what I am writing. My inner perfectionist is constantly reminding myself that what I’m doing isn’t worth being passionate about.


 

My question to all of you is this: How do you overcome your inner critic? What is it that ignites passion for what you’re writing?
This post is for all my writers!

I love when I see collaboration, sharing of ideas, offering advice and constructive criticism, and most importantly praise for a great post amongst writers. Everyone has their own unique style, and writers can learn a lot from each other. Anything that you have to share; a useful tip someone once shared with you, pass it on. A source that provides you with infinite inspiration, share it in a comment below! Also, if you have a favorite author, who is it and why? Let me know! Thank you all for reading!

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Since I haven’t posted in a while, I thought I would tackle a few posts today. In this post, I am addressing a question posed by The Daily Post. However, this post includes much more than just that. I preface with discussing the power of words, so that once you reach the actual question, you will have a more imaginative mindset to answer an interesting question.


 

The Daily Post’s question today caught my eye. This is a blogging site, so words are important. Maybe your favorite blogger has an unparalleled eloquence that makes their posts so fantastic. Their word choice is impeccable, and everything flows without skipping a beat. On the opposite end of the spectrum, maybe you’re browsing some new blogs. Maybe their posts are interesting, maybe not. What is it that helps you decide whether or not you want to follow them? What is the element that makes you say “ah!” and delve into their post, consuming their words with urgency.

Well, I believe it’s just that: words.

Words are important. Imagine a world without words. You can’t, because you wouldn’t have the words sad, boring, uninspiring, bland, dull, and depressing to describe such a bleak world. Words can do so many things, it’s all in how you use them. You can make someone, or you can destroy them, all with words alone.

The YouTube video above is from the 1989 film Dead Poets Society. I attached it for a few reasons. First of all, I love movies, and the majority of the posts on my page are in some way, if not completely, about movies. As I am trying to convey the importance of words, this scene comes to mind. It explains the difference that words and literature can really make. This is a great movie, and I’m sure many people will agree with me. It is great for many more reasons than Robin Williams‘ consummate acting chops, and my perpetual adoration for the infinitely underrated Robert Sean Leonard (Dr. James Wilson, for any fans of the TV series House, M.D.), who plays Neil Perry in the film. As a writer (more than a hobby, less than a profession), Williams’ character, Mr. Keating, has taught me one of my most valued rules in writing. At the beginning of this scene, he describes the inadequacy of the word “very.” He encourages his students to avoid it; “A man is not very tired, he is exhausted!” While it seems like a common sense rule, I didn’t truly follow or appreciate it until hearing the way Mr. Keating expresses it in Dead Poets Society.


The question posed by The Daily Post today was thisIs there a word or a phrase you use (or overuse) all the time, and are seemingly unable to get rid of? If not, what’s the one that drives you crazy when others use it?

As it is difficult to detect through a blog post, some of you might not know that I am extremely sarcastic. Because of this, I have a highly specialized technique for speaking to others. If you think about it, sarcasm is an art, really. Both speaking it, and understanding it when it’s spoken to you. Not an art? Okay, probably not.

One of the “verbal ticks” I overuse is directly related to my affinity for all that is facetious, and that is adding sarcastic third person modifiers to the end of sentences.

If an impassioned, melodramatic person came to me describing, in an infatuated tone, some romantic gesture that their significant other performed, once they are done speaking I may say, “she said fervently.” Sometimes I even do it to myself, when I’m the one speaking.

There are plenty of little words or phrases that I use often, but this one often bothers people. I mean, if you were gushing about the dozen roses your boyfriend gave you for your two year anniversary, a dry, sarcastic response is not really feedback you were searching for.

A verbal tick used by others that I despise is the word “awkward.” Okay, it isn’t the actual word that I hate. People take the word “awkward” far beyond its definitive territory. I understand that there are situations that simply cannot be described with any other word. However, when I hear people use the word “awkward” to describe something like a pencil or a shoelace, it bothers me. I’m sure they mean well, but when you describe every item, experience, and situation as “ugh, that is so awkward,” the points I initially assigned to your assumed I.Q. begin to dwindle. Expand your vocabulary. Pencils aren’t awkward.

I also hate the word “wow.” I don’t think it’s overused, I just think it’s an annoying, pointless word that, if you think about it, isn’t really a word at all.
Anyway, those are just a few that came to my mind. I enjoy when I notice other people have “trademark” words or phrases that they often use.

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So what is the verbal tick that you guys either use yourselves or one you have disdain for that others use?
Leave a comment, and  let me know! Thanks for reading!