Whatever Works

So, we teaching and coaching types love to give advice (except that the true essence of coaching is not so much giving advice as pulling what you yourself already know to be so out of yourself).

I, for instance, love to tell people to do Morning Pages.  (If you don't know what Morning Pages are, they are three pages of glumping on the page all your crap and good stuff as well, first thing in the morning.)

And I love to tell people to use prompts.

I also tell people to do what is most important to you first thing in the morning.  I presume that writing is most important to you.  So I further presume that it is what you will aim to do first thing.

I could go on with my list of helpful things I tell people.  Like, working with your inner critic, not checking email first thing in the morning, knowing your market, the power of prayer and meditation, and on and on.  And, some might say, on.

But here's the deal:

If what I say works, then use it.

If it doesn't, then don't.

But find something that does.  The point is, not everything works for everyone.  But my offerings are based on working with dozens of clients and students over the years.  And how will you know if they work for you until you try them?

Truly, I don't care if your favorite technique to get the words flowing is to stand on your head and rub your belly button.  If it works, do it.  I'm all about getting the words onto the page and I know full well that even though we like to haughtily say that writer's block doesn't exist, it really does.  Because I've experienced it, and so have you. 

But just because it exists doesn't mean it can't be dealt with.  It can.  Keep trying things until you get over it.

Okay, that's my rant for the summer.  I promise.  Now tell me what kinds of techniques work for you to get the writing flowing?  Alcohol?  A nap?  A brisk run?  Chaining yourself to the computer?  I'm all ears.

***Guess what?  I'm offering the book proposal teleclass again this September.  And right now, there are crazy fast action bonuses: an early-bird price AND a free coaching call.  But hurry, because the fast action bonus is time sensitive.  Check it out here.

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8 Responses to Whatever Works

  1. Suzanne 08/08/2011 at 16:40 #

    I can’t wait to stand on my head and rub my belly button, as you suggest! 😉

  2. Charlotte Dixon 08/08/2011 at 22:14 #

    Suzanne, Please let us know how that works out for you!!!

  3. Zan Marie 08/09/2011 at 06:07 #

    You know I have inner editor issues, but that’s much better thanks to you. I’m finding my best tactic is to *not* fuss at myself for a slow day, to allow myself to rest on days that the juices aren’t flowing and I’m tired from Real Life stuff. By not fussing, I’m able to get back to work quicker when I’m rested. Who knows if that would work for anyone else. ; )

  4. Charlotte Dixon 08/09/2011 at 07:26 #

    Zan Marie, you bring up a great point–that creativity truly is cyclical, and sometimes we need to be in a resting stage. And you are correct–by not beating yourself up over it and accepting it, you return to productivity much, much faster. Thanks for a great reminder, I’m sensing a post or an article in this concept….

  5. Jenny 08/10/2011 at 13:37 #

    Hi Charlotte, I find walking alone at night, in my neighborhood, gets the creative juices flowing. I once nearly ran the last half mile to my door, in order to get inside and quickly, very quickly, type out what I’d “written” in my head during my walk. Also it seems that when I sit in any public service — a wedding or a church service for example — and relax and clear my mind, things start coming to me. I keep a Moleskine and my favorite pen on the pew beside me at all times. Most of all I crave inspiration because it seems I’m unable to write without it. Of all the things about the need to write that frustrate me (and there are many), for me one of the most difficult is seeing writing as something you just sit down and DO regardless of how you feel. I want it to be more of an experience than a working exercise, or a task. But I’ll keep on doing both. Thanks for your excellent advice.

  6. Charlotte Dixon 08/11/2011 at 15:09 #

    Jenny, I can’t tell you how many times I have been stuck at the computer, gotten up for a minute, and had to race right back to put down the words coursing through my head! And I walk nearly every morning, which always gets things going…

  7. J.D. Frost 08/12/2011 at 08:57 #

    I wish I had a switch. I need to find one. When a tale comes to me I get excited and I write. It’s always the action on the page that motivates me; today is different. I’ve been writing a short story about my mother. I realize that no one wants to read about my parents so I’ve taken a lot of liberty as in most of it is fiction. What I have so far is a bit convoluted. I’ve been debating whether to restructure it or not. This morning I was in the shower. Unlike most mornings when I’m usually focused, my thoughts wandered. I saw myself back at boot camp, of all places. There was a graduation ceremony at the end. Each company marched and then took a position facing the grandstand. We were looking at two small bleachers, one of each side of an outdoor stage. There were people in the bleachers and I scanned their faces, knowing my parents weren’t there. My mother was already dead and my father never flew or even rode a bus. All this while I was showering. Then my father came through all that fog. “Write the whole thing,” he said. “Don’t worry that it’s cluttered. You can fix it later.” So I dried with that purpose. It is a story I love. If I pull it off, maybe someone else, even if it’s just one person, will love it as well. I hope I get it right.

  8. Charlotte Dixon 08/12/2011 at 19:44 #

    Oh holy hell, J.D., your story gave me goose bumps–even without you making an effort to dramatize it. I agree with your father in the dream! Write it! That story is full of juice already. Don’t worry about getting it right, worry about getting words on the page.

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