Do Me a Favor and Go Easy on Yourself, Okay? (A Love Letter)

Hey guys, in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s summertime! Today in Portland it is a perfect summer day: blue sky, not too hot, a nice breeze. I’ve been taking regular breaks outside to read and knit, shooing yellow jackets away (we have a nest on the driveway).

But last week it was hot, beastly hot. And on hot weather and perfect summer days both I like to relax. I like to indulge myself with the afore-mentioned knitting, my new hobby of rug hooking, a little reading. On hot summer days I want to eat popsicles and fruit and drink chilled white wine and have dinners under the stars that last until bedtime.

None of which is conducive to writing.

Which makes me beat myself up something fierce.

Like: why are you wasting your time knitting? Why are you drinking that glass of wine? You’ve not gotten your word count yet? Why are you reading? Why are you taking time to do the crossword puzzle? Why are you relaxing? Why aren’t you writing.

Like that.

If you are anything like me, I bet you do the same thing. And to you (and to me) I had two words to say: stop it! Stop it, stop it, stop it! Just stop it.

Because: it is summertime and we’re supposed to be distracted. We are supposed to be enjoying long, lazy afternoons lazing about. And also: believe it or not, relaxation and, dare I say it, self-care, actually help you get all your important things (like writing) done. Truly. A relaxed mind is a productive mind.

Truly, it is. Over and over again I notice that on the days I allow myself some ease, a few breaks out back or time with the grandchildren, I get more done. And this is because I’m not frantically trying to stuff every little thing into my day. Try it. You’ll see.

Your assignment this week, if you choose to accept it, is two-fold. First, quit beating yourself up about how lazy you are. And second, give yourself the gift of some summer time off.

Then leave a comment and tell me how you are going to let yourself off the hook this week!

Set Your Brain and Your Creativity Free

Being a writer is a tough gig, as previously noted. Hugely satisfying, and the only thing you can do if you are called to it, but it is a demanding task mistress and at all but the highest levels, the pay is low.

So you might as well have fun while you are doing it.  I’ve been pondering how, exactly, we creatives might have success setting the brain free. And below are some tips. Some of these may be familiar to you, but often it takes reading something several times before it really lodges in the mind. And some might be new to you.  Consider them all and think about how you can put them to use in your writing life.

Write hard and fast for the discovery draft. Throwing words at the page with abandon, when time passes, and you don’t even know it, and afterward you’re in love with the world—this is why, I believe, most writers start writing. It is wonderful experience. It gets harder to achieve this state when you are writing professionally, but….you need to. This is when the magic happens.

Don’t confuse writing with rewriting.  Don’t labor over every word as you write. Let the words rip. And also, don’t labor over the first chapters of the book, going back over it and over it. This is a sure way to get blocked. Write your discovery draft from start to finish and then you can begin revising. You’ll know much more about the book when you get to the end, trust me.

Write bad. If you are well and truly blocked, this is an exercise that will help set your brain free. Write one bad page. Force yourself to write the worst crap you can think of. Here’s the thing: you won’t. Because you are basically a good writer, so writing bad doesn’t come naturally. But once you allow yourself to write bad, that takes the pressure off.

How do you keep your brain and creativity free?

A (much) longer version of this was first published on Medium, which is a site that encourages longer reads.  You can read that version here. I’ve got other posts on writing up there, too!

 

It’s My Birthday Soon–And I’m Giving Away Presents!

Photo by Stephanie McCabe on Unsplash

This Tuesday is my birthday. No, I won’t tell you how old I am going to be. Suffice it to say I don’t feel as old as I am. And, because it is my birthday, I’m giving you presents!

Here’s the deal. It is hot here in Portland at the moment (98 degrees) and I hate the heat. I think it melts my brain, making it difficult to think, let alone write. (And I just read on my app that the heat wave will continue through Tuesday! Ack!)

So, I was going to write a blog post about tracking time (like years) and other things, as it relates to writing, but I don’t have it in me. And then I remembered (told you the heat melts my brain) that I just posted one on Medium. I’ve been trying to post a lot there, both new and revitalized older posts. So, here’s the one about tracking words and time.

And, besides, what you really wanted was to get to the presents anyway, right? Right. So here you go.

Photo by Audrey Fretz on Unsplash

Present #1: A copy of a book I wrote a few years ago called Set the Words Free: Ideas, Advice and Guidance for Smashing Writer’s Block.  It’s a 42-page PDF full of info and prompts about how to write regularly. If you’d like a copy just hit reply and let me know. I’ll send it to you straight away.

Present #2: I’m offering a steep discount on coaching sessions. You can nab one hour of my time for $64. (There’s significance to that number but I’ll let you guess what it is.) And you can buy several. Or just one. Usually I charge a lot more than this, but I’m feeling magnanimous.  If you want to take advantage of this deal, again, email me,  and we’ll get it all set up. But do it by  midnight on July 17, because the deal expires then.

Each session includes a 30-minute phone call (or Skype, or Zoom), and reading up to 10 pages of work. If you don’t want to discuss work, I can help you get your writing mojo going (or get it back), or we can discuss creativity, productivity, publishing, how to prep for a novel, really anything related to writing and the writing life. You can use them now, or you can buy them now and use them later. (Be aware I’m in France all of September.)

And that’s it, that’s all I’ve got. Now I’m heading back to sit in front of the air conditioning unit (we only have the window kind). Hope it is cool where you are.

Oh, and by the way:

 –We have a couple last minute spots open for France. It is not too late to buy plane tickets—prices have been holding steady for awhile now.  A week in France, devoted to camaraderie, hiking, sitting by the Mediterranean, eating delicious fish and bread and cheese and drinking wine? Plus a transformational writing experience? Yes, please.

–Join the Facebook group.  Participating in groups is the only way I like to be on Facebook and this one is good. It goes quiet periodically, but then it perks up again. I try to post something of interest every day (or at least every few days). Do join us!

 

 

7 Reasons to Write While on Vacation (and 3 Reasons Not To)

I’m a firm believer in writing every day, even if it is just jotting down a few notes or writing a journal entry. Writing regularly has so many benefits to your writing career, including:

–keeping the writing muscle strong

–keeping the momentum going (more on that below)

–staying on track with a project such as a novel or memoir

–aiding in writing fluidity–the more you write, the easier it is

–improving your writing–the more you write the better you get

I could go on. But I’m sure you’ve all had the experience of life events leading you away from your writing. When you return, it feels awkward. You’re not sure what to write. The words won’t flow. You wonder why you ever wanted to do something that is so, so hard.

One major life event we all experience (hopefully regularly) is a vacation. And I’m here to encourage you to keep writing when you go on vacation in order to prevent the writing angst when you return.  You can make actual progress on a long project, write notes about it, or simply write in your journal. But I honestly think you’ll be a happier writer if you make an effort to throw at least a few words on the page. Because a working writer is a happy writer.  And writing while on vacation has more benefits as well:

Why You Should Keep Up The Writing

–It will help you with the afore-mentioned momentum, which is a delicate, fragile, thing, easily broken.  When you have momentum, you arrive at your computer every morning knowing what you’re going to write next and the words just come. It is a glorious thing, not to be tampered with.

–You can (and should) note all the new and wonderful things you are hopefully observing and enjoying.

–If you’re like me, writing makes you happy. And you want to be happy on your vacation!

–It will be so, so much easier to get back to that book when you get home. It is not only that the writing will be easier when you return, but just dragging your ass to open the computer will be easier.  (If you’ve had a long break, you know how hard it is to get started again.)

–On vacation, your brain will be roiling with fresh, new ideas. Capture them!

–It will help you remember and process the fun you had.  I remember and process things through writing, period. If I need to remember something, I write it down, even if I never refer to it again. If I’m in a class, I take notes, or else my mind wanders. Keep it focused.

–All play and no work makes Jack a dull boy.

Okay, and in the interest of fairness, here’s a few reasons why you shouldn’t write on vacation.

Why You Shouldn’t Keep Up The Writing

–Because all work and no play also makes Jack a dull boy.

–Because you don’t wanna, and you’re on vacation, damnit.

–Because sometimes it is good to give your story brain a break, for God’s sake.

Which side do you fall down on? Are you going to try to keep writing this summer on vacation? Leave a comment!

And, for my money, the best kind of vacation combines writing and fun. Right? That’s why I love teaching in France every year.

 

A Day in the Life of a Writing Workshop in France

You wake up in a decently comfortable bed in room in an old, old house. And then you remember: I’m in France! Yes, you are. You took the train down from Paris the day before and arrived here just in time to wander the town and then meet the other workshop attendees for wine and cheese.

Because, yes, you are here for a writing workshop. Here to write! In France. How romantic that sounds. You dreamed about it for so long, and now you are here. And the reality is way more romantic and far better than you’d ever dreamed.  You jump out of bed because you want to explore the town a bit more before the workshop starts.

In the updated but ancient old kitchen one of your housemates has made a pot of coffee. And wonder, of wonders, another writer has gone to the corner patisserie and come back with chocolate croissants. As you chew, you ponder, which is better–the French wine or the French croissants? Luckily, you’ll have lots of days to decide the answer to that as the week stretches out ahead of you.  Seven more days!

Wandering a narrow cobblestone street you admire the doors and shutters painted in bright hues of yellow and turquoise and lavender, many adorned with pots of colorful flowers. Your walk ends at a row of shops, and right across the street is the water. The Mediterranean is especially blue today. Boats bob at a marina, and farther out, you spy commandoes from the fort on the hill executing training exercises in the water. Your stroll into town takes you along a path next to the water that skirts a huge stone fort. Vendors are setting up paintings and musicians are tuning their instruments.  Farther along, the town is coming to life, with stores opening for the day and cafes bustling with patrons eating breakfast.  

Back at the house, you shower quickly and sit around a huge table with all the other workshop attendees and the leaders. You’re a bit nervous about this, as its your first writing workshop, but it is a really fun morning! There’s lots of laughter, good talk and instruction about writing, and some interesting writing exercises. You leave with a brief assignment you’re excited about doing.

But first–lunch. All that writing talk made you hungry. You head to a cafe by the water with a group from the workshop and eat the best fish you’ve ever had, followed by dessert, of course. It is Creme de Catalan, a specialty of this region and it is delicious. A cup of expresso will help you keep you alert to do your writing. So will another walk. This time you walk up a path behind the town that leads through well-tended vineyards about to be harvested. The views of the sea are spectacular.

At home, you sneak in a petite sieste, then attack your assignment with vigor, finding a shady spot outside in which to write. The afternoon sails by as you focus on your work, and before you know it, it is time for Happy Hour. The whole group meets for local wine, cheese, bread, and pate, along with scrumptious tomatoes and olives.  Dinner is served outside at a long table and the talk is about what everybody did that day, and of course, writing.

There’s time for one last stroll to the water to see the lights twinkling in the harbor and then–happily to bed, to read, to write in your journal, and sleep. Tomorrow is another happy day in France.

 

Sound good? This is possible for you to experience, too! I teach writing workshops in France every September. Want to come with us? We still have a couple slots open for 2018.  Visit our Let’s Go Write website here to learn more. Or email me at charlotte@charlotterainsdixon.com for more info.

Depending on Your Point of View (A Love Letter)

You live for adventure and global travel. Or you love to stay home by the cozy fire. You can’t stay still—you have to be doing something. Or everything you love to do involves sitting. You love gardening. Or you hate getting your hands dirty. You agree with everything our president says, or you take to the streets to protest him. You love kale. Or hate all vegetables. You love summer. Or you hate being hot.

I could go on, but I’ll spare you.

My point is this: there are many points of view in this big, wide, wonderful world of ours (and now more than ever, it seems).

And, as I like to remind you incessantly often, as in life, so in writing. (Or vice-versa.)

We writers talk a lot about point of view (or viewpoint, if you prefer) and it has been much on my mind recently because of a book I’m reading. The book is Women in Sunlight, by Frances Mayes, and man oh man does she do strange things with viewpoint.

The story has a lot of characters, but the main ones are Kit, a woman who lives in a small town in Italy, and Julia, Camille, and Susan, all of whom have had recent upsets in their lives. They decide to move for a year to the same town where Kit lives.

Kit’s viewpoint is in first person and all the rest in third. But Mayes head-hops between them. Constantly. All the time. Sometimes it is impossible to tell which character is narrating.  At one point, Kit related something that happened to one of the other characters when she wasn’t there. It is massively confusing.

Despite all this, I’m absorbed in the book and I am almost finished with it. (I will confess to skimming a lot of her excessive descriptions. But if you love Italy cuisine and travelogue, you’ll likely read every word.) I decided to check the Amazon reviews to see if others had similar reactions to mine. And, yup, readers range from lukewarm to ecstatic about it. But one thing that struck me was how many mentioned their confusion over who was speaking when. (Doesn’t help that all the characters sound alike, and talk in long speeches.) Some had a hard time keeping the characters straight.

And, here’s the deal, people: when it comes to viewpoint, your average reader doesn’t know if you’re doing a point of view violation. But they do know when they get confused. And a confused reader is a bored reader. And a bored reader is a reader who puts the book down.

So, a couple of simple viewpoint reminders:

–Omniscient is really hard to pull off. Don’t do it. Just don’t.

–To maintain viewpoint sanctity, just remember to be in your character’s head. What she can see and hear and touch and smell you can report. Nothing else!

–It doesn’t matter what viewpoint you choose. Some people love first, some hate it. Some like single viewpoints, others prefer multiple. Doesn’t matter! Just stay consistent. And stay in whatever character’s head you’ve chosen at the moment you are writing.

Have you ever read a book whose viewpoint turned you off? Hit reply and tell me. Also—might you need help with viewpoint? Need a supportive coach to help you with your writing? Hit me up. I’ve got room for one client this summer.

This post contains affiliate links.

Is Your Writing Caged or Free?

To my American readers–Happy Independence Day! And to the rest of you, I hope you find something of use in this post on writing and freedom.

Here’s my question–are you caging your writing or setting it free? There’s been a spate of posts and articles on freedom this week, maybe more than usual because of the divided situation we’re in here in the states.  Oh, for the days when we took our freedom for granted. (And never did I think I would be writing those words.)

But this post is not about politics, it is about writing. So, answer me these:

–Are you caging your writing? 

By this I mean–are you trying to follow someone else’s process or style? Are you forcing yourself to get every single aspect of the plot figured out when really what you want is to let the words fly? There are so many experts on the internet and they all have their own opinions.  Read them and ponder and then come up with your own way. Learning how you best operate can be life changing.

–Are you locking yourself into a worn-out publishing paradigm?

I’ve got no skin in this game. I’ve got an agent shopping two novels and I’ve also indie published (well, one short story). I’m passionate about the possibilities of indie publishing but still also desire the cachet of traditional publishing. But that’s what’s right for me. It may or may not be right for you. Don’t box yourself in, just because.

–Are you dealing with a tired old mindset?

This may be the most important aspect of looking at your freedom. Is your brain awash in negativity and worry? Are you constantly second guessing your ability to write? Stop it. Just stop it, right now. You can do this. You need to remind yourself of this often.

So there you have it–and happy Fourth.

There’s So Much More to Writing Than Just Writing

There’s more to writing than just the writing.

Like, staring off into space.  Taking a nap to refresh your brain after all its hard toil. Going to the kitchen to look for a snack. Deciding what you really need is to take a walk. Or drink a glass of wine.

Okay, maybe those aren’t the best examples, though they are things we all do when the writing gets the better of us. But the topic of this post is all the productive things besides putting words into the actual manuscript that we writers have to do. (Maybe productive isn’t the right word. Because sometimes a glass of wine is just what the writer needs. Right?)

Such as (in no particular order):

–Figure out plot

–Organize word or Scrivener documents

–Rearrange scenes

–Delve into character backstory

–Make notes

–Freewrite about aspects of the story

–The internet research rabbit hole

–Interview people for research

–Freewrite to warm up

–Reread your work

–Ponder how to incorporate comments from readers

(What am I forgetting? I know there is more!)

And that doesn’t even take us into the social media and marketing realm, which is a whole other thing. But my point is this: all these other things are necessary to support your writing. You’ve got to take time for all of them, because otherwise your novel or memoir or story won’t exist. And sometimes it is hard to remember that.  Some of that work can feel like busy work. But it is really not.

I think sometimes I writers skimp on some of the other things for that very reason. Because we don’t feel like we are writing unless we are really writing. Or we are so eager to get to the actual writing that we gloss over the importance of prep work (spoken by a writer who has come to accept her pantsing ways)

It often seems as if the entire online writing community is obsessed with word counts. And if everyone and their uncle is posting theirs, you can get a bit over-eager to get to your writing so that you can post yours as well. But word counts can set up a self-destructive cycle.  A writer I know sometimes pads her sentences just to reach her word count. (Talking about a friend. Really.)

In the class I recently finished, Becca explained that writing to a word count isn’t the best option for most people, especially NFPs, who often work in a, shall we say, circular fashion. (Instead, she recommends tracking hours. Or minutes.)

But however you are tracking it, just remember: all those other things are important, too. Don’t be so eager to get to the writing, peeps.

Do you ever fall into this trap?

Do you want to finish a book? Are you stuck? Maybe you just need to get started. I’ve got space for one more client this summer. Is it you? Email me at charlotte@charlotterainsdixon.com and let’s chat.

Getting Good News (+ June Round-up)

Last month in my monthly round-up, I exulted over having just sent in the latest rewrite to my agent. And so it is fitting that a month later, I’ll give you the good news—she and her readers loved it, we’ll do a polish and it is on the submit list for September. (Because, as I explained on the Facebook page, nobody in the publishing world reads anything in the summer.) And never mind that her idea of “brief notes” for the polish might be more than mine, I’m excited.

Of course, the opposite of excitement is despair, which I felt many times as I waited to hear from her. I was certain that the whole thing was awful, so awful it would lead to the cancellation of our relationship. But part of that, I think, was just my psyche wanting to protect me from disappointment again.

This a cycle that we writers face all the time. Exultation and despair. Happiness over a new idea, puzzlement over how to implement it. Joy that an agent is interested in us, dejection when we are rejected by her. Giddiness when the work is going well, forlornness when we are stuck. Boredom and anxiety while we are waiting to hear someone’s reaction to our work. I could go on and on—and the point I want to make is that you can’t get around this see-saw. It is part and parcel of the creative cycle.

One of the best things I’ve been working on lately is acceptance. Of the crazy creative cycle. Of my quibbles. Of my work flow. Of how I approach my writing. As an example, I’m a person who never reads instructions—I just jump right in and start pushing buttons to see how something works. This drives other people to distraction, but it works for me. And this is how I approach writing, too. All my brave words about becoming a reformed pantser.  All my thoughts about writing a better draft.  They are all well and good and I hope you found some inspiration from them. But that was me trying to shoehorn myself into a different pattern, one that doesn’t fit me.

As I learned in the class I just finished (see below), I figure things out from the middle. Hence my habit of not reading instructions. And jumping right into the writing when I “should” spend more time figuring out the plot.

You may be completely different from me in how you approach the world and that is good. Just be aware of what works for you and don’t beat yourself up if you are not doing it the same way as your critique partner. Don’t let some expert tell you there’s a better way to do it. You do you—and do it to the best of your ability.

And remember that the creative cycle is full of ups and downs—that’s what makes it a cycle.

Now, here’s what’s been going on over the last month:

Monthly Round-up

What I Read 

The First Rule of Ten by Hendricks and Lindsay.   I loved this first in a mystery series. Our hero, Tenzing (nickname Ten), was raised in a Buddhist monastery in Tibet (long story). But now he’s a P.I. in L.A. Great blend of Buddhist stuff without being too heavy about it, and a good mystery story. Plus some romance.

Café by the Sea, by Jenny Colgan. A bit slow starting and I wasn’t sure I’d get into it but I did and thoroughly enjoyed it.  A woman returns to her home island off the northern coast of Scotland, after leaving it for the big city a few years earlier. Fun characters who grow on you.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate.  https://amzn.to/2tFseWt I bailed on this just a couple chapters in. It is a huge best-seller but it just didn’t grab me. I actually went on Amazon to read some reviews. Often my opinion is echoed there but not this time. People loved it. I didn’t.

No One You Know by Michelle Redmond.  https://amzn.to/2tNXp10 Another one I didn’t finish, though I made it farther in this one—more than halfway. Then I realized it was just unpleasant reading and I quit. True confession: I like books that are positive. I like happy endings. I don’t like to be depressed when I read.

The Art of Character by David Corbett.  https://amzn.to/2tEzAJN Love this book so much. I’m taking my time with it, as one should with a good craft book. I’ve already taken notes and written up some of his exercises and prompts for use in future workshops. Good stuff.

Women In Sunlight by Frances Mayes. This is my current read and it is going to take me a while—it is 420 pages long. I’m loving it, as I’ve loved her other books, a novel called Swan  and, of course, Under the Tuscan Sun. While I prefer France, the Italian setting is wonderful. Plus, it is about women of a certain age! We need more books featuring them!

–Be the Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and Engaging an Audience  by Dan Blank. A book about marketing that emphasizes exactly what I learned in the class I just finished (see below). It is not about the metrics or the numbers or the money, it’s about the people you impact. Just started this one, but so far, it is really good.

 What I Watched.

 R.B.G.  We actually went to a movie this month! Going to see a film in an actual theater is one of my favorite things to do and yet we rarely make time for it. This documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg is fantastic, a must-see, especially with this week’s news that Justice Kennedy is retiring. I admit, I was unaware of how much Ginsburg has impacted women’s rights and the rights of all minorities. Truly inspirational.

–And other than that, nothing. A big fat nothing.  We used to watch a lot of TV, like every night, but since the family mob descended upon us in March, the show I’ve seen the most of is Justin Time Go. Don’t ask. It’s a two-year-old thing.

What I Loved

 Write Better Faster.  This is the class I just finished with R.L. Symes. It was so helpful in showing me more about myself and how to lean in to my quirks instead of trying to overcome them. Truly transformational.

–Finding out that the pain I’ve been experiencing in my knee is not because of knee arthritis, but because of hip arthritis. And getting a date scheduled for hip surgery. Woot woot! You can read more about it here.

Excited About

 –We bought train tickets for our trip to France and our annual writing workshop. And we’ve nabbed an AirBnB for a couple nights in Paris on the way home.  Making arrangements ratchets up my excitement level about it. I can’t wait to see the Mediterranean again, and to eat fish just pulled from its waters. I can’t wait to drink the good, cheap wine of the region and eat the fantastic cheese and bread. I can’t wait to stroll the town and buy Christmas gifts to send home. But most of all, I can’t wait to see the transformations that occur in the writers that attend our workshop. Inspirations strike, epiphanies occur, writing gets done (yes, even with all the distractions of the region).

It’s the best thing ever. Want to come this year?

 Join us.

And Also

–Join the Facebook group.  Participating in groups is the only way I like to be on Facebook and this one is good. It goes quiet periodically, but then it perks up again. I try to post something of interest every day (or at least every few days). Recently we’ve had discussions on sensitivity readers, relatability in characters, pantsing versus plotting, and more! Do join us!

(This post contains affiliate links and first appeared in my newsletter.)

Why Do You Write?

Why do you write? Why do I write? Why does anybody write?

Funnily enough, I had plans to write a blog post on this topic and then, in that synchronistic way things sometimes happen,  I had a coaching session that illuminated it feven more.

So, why do you write? This is a question you’ll often see asked in blog posts or hear in writing workshops.  Experts will tell you that you need to know the answer to this as a starting point to your writing practice or career.

In truth, the question used to make me uncomfortable.  Probably because I didn’t really know why I wrote. It seems so much a part of me, something I do, most of the time, every day. (Don’t get me wrong–I’m not always that on when it comes to writing fiction, but I am an inveterate journal writer.) So to me, the answer is well, duh, I write because I write.

When I’m uncomfortable, I sometimes sneer. Which is what I always did when the why do you write question came up. And then, I’d ignore it. Which is another thing I do when I’m uncomfortable.  Denial is not a river in Egypt but Portland, Oregon.

But lately, I’ve been thinking about it again. What is the difference between the woman I knew long ago who made a feeble stab at writing, but quit as soon as it got hard (Read: rewriting and submitting) and the writer I know now who hasn’t published a thing but continues to improve his craft? Or what about the student I had many years ago who professed that he was only going to keep writing if he could get good at it–and his definition of good meant publication?

Okay, so that last guy clearly had a reason for writing–to get published, and beyond that, show the world how great he was.  And he gave up when it didn’t happen. And the woman who quit writing I sort of get–she liked that rush of adrenalin that often comes as you are doing first draft work and losing yourself to the words. But that’s not enough to create a writing career. The writer who keeps writing for the sheer love of it–that’s how I feel, too. I’d be throwing words on the page even if you told me they’d never go beyond my own computer. (Though I’ve learned something about my motivation that goes beyond this–more on that in a second.)

But why? What is this compulsion to write? After many years, I’ve figured out a few reasons:

–Writing helps me figure things out. I am not able to fully know my thoughts on a topic until I’ve written about it.

–Writing helps me make sense of the world.  A story has a beginning, middle, and end, and by thinking that way I can order this crazy un-ordered world a bit better.

–Writing helps me know myself, a continual process even at this advanced age.

–Writing is fun. I know people who are aghast at hearing that. But then I know people who think snake massages are fun. (Seriously, check this out.) Or fishing.  Or doing oil changes. For me, getting lost in a story world is pure joyous fun.

And there’s one more thing I just realized, thanks to my coaching session with Becca Syme. (It was part of the class she taught that is just finishing up, Write Better Faster.) As a person with a high influencer trait, one of the reasons I write is to have an impact. I’m not that motivated by money, but I am motivated by wanting to inspire people.  Weirdly, that is one of those things that I was sort of aware of, but not really.

And here’s the deal: now that I know this, I can use it to motivate me. I can use it to motivate my writing. Boo-yah. As I’ve said a million times before, clarity changes everything.  So there you go–the reason why you and to know why you write. Because it can help you feel better about yourself and if you feel better about yourself you’re going to feel better about your writing.

AmIright? I am right.

And, just because I love you all so much, here’s a video of that above-mentioned snake video. You’re welcome.

If you would like help with your writing, I have a couple of suggestions for you. I’m currently accepting one more coaching client this summer.  Or, if you’ve got some wanderlust, you could come to France.  If you are interested in coaching, email me at charlotte@charlotterainsdixon.com. If you are interested in France, click here for more info.