TIPS FOR WRITING
Cultivate the habit of writing down your thoughts, ideas, insights, etc., whenever & wherever they might come to you. Especially when they possess a certain force and quality of originality.
Keep a notebook with you 24 hours a day, and write down whatever your heart wants you to say.
Trust that your unconscious will bring fresh power and inspiring images; seek out new ways to put yourself in the frame of mind that is conducive to sparking your personal power and creativity.
What time of the day are you most opened to that creative flow… Be mindful of your energy rhythms and work with them.
Some writers are most in-tuned to their unconscious upon waking in the morning.
Should an unrelated problem arise in your writing session, give yourself a minute or so to contemplate it and then release it. The solution may come to you later.
If pressing thoughts should steal your precious time, write it down and return to it later..
As an example, lets say you are a natural worrier or lover of distraction, schedule a time for later in the day to allow yourself to address those items head on.
For the love of goodness turn off the TV and your cell phone and your laptop’s instant messaging! Ear plugs can come in handy if need be.
MORE HELPFUL TIPS
It’s essential to designate a familiar & comfortable place for your craft. A nice firm cushion on your seat may help to avoid unnecessary back pain. There are an array of herbal teas that make for a very healthy lifestyle. Some teas are known to help improve memory by improving circulation. There are a whole slew of enhancements and healing properties found in natural teas that may directly and indirectly complement your practice.
Remember to eat well. Overeating will often make one feel tired and sluggish. Several small meals or snacks throughout the day can help keep your energy at an even tempo.
Sufficient rest and exercise is very important.
Consistency is key! Writing everyday can help to keep the groove so to speak, but once we take some days off, it can take a while to get back into the swing of things.
THE WISE OWL
As you nestle into your sacred place and bring into awareness your personal sense of mission to write, it may still take a while to tap into your inner muse. Writing requires discipline, rigour and much patience. Consider residing at your post for at least a few hours a session.
Once we have made the commitment, the firm decision to do what is required to become writers, channelers and vessels of creativity, it is then incumbent upon us to begin to say no to a lot of things that will take away from our time and devotion. Whether that is excessive TV watching, recreation or chasing after fluff, we will no doubt have to sacrifice and make significant changes in our lives.
There will be times when your mind will draw a blank as you begin a writing session. It is recommended to simply ease into it, regardless of the resistance. Grant yourself grace, your beginning sentence or paragraph does not have to be written coherently. Rewrite your unstructured idea at a later interval.
MORE JUICY SUGGESTIONS
Listening to classical music while writing can be helpful for some and not so for others. Follow your gut on this one, your objective is to remain absorbed in your writing.
Give sufficient attention to letter writing, emails included, and make sure they are written correctly, concise and convey appropriate tones.
With writing in general, reread your sentences, make them work. Choose the most effective word & combination of words to articulate what needs to be communicated.
It’s helpful to keep a dictionary and thesaurus on hand. Come to know the root meaning of words. Warm up to how it is that other writers use peculiar words.
Avoid being flowery with your writing when it’s not called for. Verbosity and showy displays in your art can be a major turn off for readers.
Become a lover of words, regularly pick new ones up and consider using them first in journal writing and with close friends who will tell you if you are not using the word in a proper manner.
Read excellent literature and take in film classics. Richard encourages devoted writers to read the New York Review, Daily Times and The New Yorker.
EXPAND YOUR ART
Write with clarity and with a keen eye for nuance. Anticipate what your reader wants to read, even before they know what they want. Do the work that is necessary to know your audience and try to remain one step ahead.
Write as though the reader is at the same level of understanding as you are. Avoid presumptuousness at all cost.
Knowing your own personal culture and the culture at large is crucial so as to relate to others. To know where you are going is assisted by the ground that you know where you are coming from.
Know your boundaries. Should you be inexperienced and lack knowledge about a subject, one could run the risk of sounding arrogant. Avoid extravagance in your gray areas.
Keep to your field of expertise and seek to contribute content that both transforms and enhances that domain of knowledge. Remember the council of the poets; exercise authority and possess security of character as it relates to your writing.
Cultivate the habit of reading your work as though you are somebody else. If you read your written material while you are feeling mildly tired, you may notice certain parts are confusing. You may want to go over these areas again when you are feeling fresh.
Writing for an audience requires an empathetic imagination, an intellectual flexibility, and the ability to remove yourself from your typical ego based perspective.
Exercise constant humility in your writing. It’s ok to act like a doubting Thomas, this sort of disposition can help foster a healthy caution to help avoid unnecessary errors.
Avoid apathy when it comes to your writing. Fine tune & pay attention to even the most simple and straight forward sentences.
Be mindful of your tendency to give into your darkside, whether that is a propensity for laziness in the evening or a temptation to get things done faster, avoid giving way to every fleeting urge to preoccupy your mind with something else. “He who can’t obey himself will be commanded.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Be careful of one track opinions. Do not close your door to the reader. We want them to feel that they have the freedom to contribute, disagree or alter your idea without feeling restricted.
Selfish writers don’t get a second read; it is a one way street to a dead end.
Avail of a community but remain faithful to the solitude that is necessary for individual reading, writing and thinking ideas through. Too much fellowship can take away from the necessary alone-time and too much solitude can give way to manic inflation.
GET IN TOUCH WITH THE SOURCE
It’s vital to feel that conviction and calling to the arduous yet rewarding role of being a writer. Avoid the spirit of grandiosity and keep the fire of your passion kindled. Some find contemplation, meditation and reflection as a means to feed their inspiration for the art of writing.
Have you ever meditated on the world’s great architecture, sculptures & paintings? To feel a wonder over take you as you connect with the inspiration that made those minds able to create such form, symmetry and value?
Cherish your muses, adore the unconscious, appreciate the grace, be ever grateful for the honour and privilege of what it means to be a creative writer for the good of others.
Believe in yourself and in your calling. Be thankful for every sacrifice required to keep this fire burning and proceed even when you can no longer see the light, trusting that the winding trail will ultimately lead you home at last.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. What matters is that you are taking daily steps to acquire knowledge that will help fulfill your purpose and vision. Steady as it goes.
Dr. Richard Tarnas presented a talk about the art of writing at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in November 2007. This review is an encapsulation of the advice and council that he provided. This summary does not represent the entirety of Richard’s speech and much of what is written is rendered in my own personal style. I’ve also included a few tippers begotten from my own experience as a writer.
It is noteworthy to mention that Richard starts his speech by reciting the work of two extraordinary and down to earth poets. Their legacy is revealed in the following statements:
“It’s not enough to just question authority… you have to speak with it too.” – Taylor Mali
“Without a certain security character, we cannot sustain the vision… Dawn comes & it comes for all, but not on demand.” – William Stafford
May my gratitude speak through letter & word, so as to honour the beauty & form that gives life & meaning to every emerging soul. Thank you Richard for exercising the fortitude to give expression of that which allows for harmony in the hearts of the all.