Tag Archives | workshop

Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway — For Writers and Creatives

The_ScreamFeel the fear and do it anyway is one of the great all-time phrases ever. And I certainly can’t take credit for the words. It was the title of a book that came out years ago, by Susan Jeffers, and I clutched that book to me like a life raft at the time.  I was reminded of the book again last weekend when the minister of my church referred to how she also found it life-saving back in the day. (Books really can change lives, never forget that as you write.)

I’m heading off to teach today, and I’ll be honest, I’m nervous. I’m not nervous about the material because I’ve taught it a million times (just not in this format). But I’m nervous about logistics, and getting there on time, and about how I’ve put everything together, and what to wear, and the biggie–what will people think of me? Will they like me? If you stop and think about that one for a minute, it is the most ridiculous fear on the planet.  We can’t control what other people are going to think of us. We can be kind and open but if someone takes an instant dislike to us, there’s not much we can do about it.  I can’t tell  you how many times I’ve taken an instant dislike to someone–and later become close friends with them. Yet this is one of the most crippling fears people have. Oh, we humans are a funny lot.

And here’s another funny fear: that of putting words on the page. Or paint on the canvas. Or stitches on the fabric. We creatives face the blank page and panic.  But why? Because all those thoughts about how people will react to the words on the page (which actually aren’t even there yet) crowd in and stop us.  We tell ourselves we don’t know how to do it, as if everyone else has innate knowledge of it that we don’t share. That’s simply not true. They learned it by doing it, just like everyone else. The one exception is my four-year-old grandson. He comes up with the most amazing facts and when I ask him where he learned that he just shrugs and says “I just know it.” Which is, come to think of it, probably the best attitude any of us can take.  Shrug and tell yourself “I just know how to write a novel.” “I just know how to put paint on the canvas.”

The thing is, if you’re afraid of something, it’s probably yours to do. That is one of the truest things I’ve learned through the years.  And so here’s my best advice as to how to deal with fear:

Take action.

That’s the best antidote to fear that I know. It doesn’t have to be big action, it can be something little. Tiny, even. Because teensy actions pile upon each other and cumulatively become big actions.  I remember reading Susan Jeffers book back when it first came out and being so fearful that the thought of taking action was simply overwhelming. Back then, I could never have imagined publishing a book. Leading writing workshops in France. Or teaching others. But little actions built up. I went to a meeting of a writer’s group. Joined a critique group. Put words on the page regularly and started shaping them into something more than journal entries. Took the scary step of showing those words to others.  And one day I found myself on the plane to Paris (alone–something else I couldn’t have imagined).

Before I started traveling regularly, I had a fear of flying. I’d grip the arm rests and hyperventilate during take-off and landing. But then I realized that if I ever wanted to go anywhere I better get over the fear. It is still not my favorite thing to do, but its not the worst, either.  Doing something over and over helps quell the fear (though I still get nervous about logistics, that’s for damn sure).

Write a word, make the phone call, visit the gallery you want to represent you. Send the query, ask someone for something you want, whatever it is that fear prevents you from doing.  Sit down at the computer and write the next scene of your novel or memoir. Because here’s the best part–once you’ve done that thing you’ll be flooded with the most glorious feeling of sweet relief.  Because you’ve overcome fear.  In many ways, I think it is the life journey we all share.

How do you overcome fear? Please share.

I’m off to teach at Sitka today, which is located on the beautiful Oregon coast, so I won’t be back in this space until next week. But follow me on Instagram for lots of photos!

The image is The Scream, by Edward Munch, of course, and it is in the public domain.

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A Brief History of Publishing (And Publishing Workshop Info)

So, I found the cool infographic below in my travels as I searched for information on the history of literary agents. Because, of course that is what one searches for in one’s travels.  No, really, it is because I’m co-leading a workshop on publishing this weekend and since Thanksgiving was so time consuming, I’ve not told you much about it.

If you’re in Portland and you want to learn more about publishing, here are the details:

The Ins and Outs of Publishing

Friday, December 4th, 6:30 to 8:30 PM and Saturday, December 5th, 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

Another Read Through, 3932 N. Mississippi, Portland, 97277

Cost is $107, which includes a fabulous boxed lunch from Elephant’s Deli.

If you’re interested, contact me, okay? It’s going to be a lot of fun.

And here’s that infographic.  It’s a little dated, but interesting nonetheless:
A Brief History Of PublishingInfographic by Finvy

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Writing Wild and True Presents: From Spark to Story

Join me and fellow writer and creative coach Terry Price as we teach a nine-hour, two-day workshop in one of my favorite places on earth, Nashville.  The workshop will be held on Friday, May 1, from 6:30 to 9:30, and Saturday, May 2, 9:30 to 5:30 (with a long lunch break to give you time to write). The workshop will be held at the gorgeous Scarritt-Bennett center, which features delightful grounds and a central location near coffee shops and restaurants galore.

Here are the details:

Do you have an idea for a story that you’re yearning to get onto the page?  Or maybe you’re well into a writing project but you’re stalled?  We can help!  Join us May 1-2 at the lovely Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville for a two-day, nine hour workshop that will spark your imagination, fire up your writing practice, and burn writer’s block to ashes!

From Spark to Story Workshop is just that – Like flint against steel, our workshop is designed to spark your imagination into inspiration. Then we’ll teach you tools and techniques to help fuel the sparks to ignition. We’ll send you home with ideas and practices to keep the embers burning through the creative process.

From Spark to Story Workshop is a presentation of Writing Wild and True, a creative venture by writers and creative coaches, Charlotte Rains Dixon and Terry Price, both former program directors for The Writer’s Loft at Middle Tennessee State University (now MTSU Write.) Charlotte and Terry both graduated with MFAs from Spalding University in Louisville and currently serve as faculty for MTSU Write.

Charlotte lives in Portland, Oregon, where she writes novels and coaches writers.  She also leads workshops world-wide, including Collioure, France, in 2015. Her novel, Emma Jean’s Bad Behavior, was published in 2013 and she is represented by Erin Niumata at FolioLit. Charlotte’s website is www.wordstrumpet.com and you can reach her by email at charlotte@charlotterainsdixon.com.

Terry is a Tennessee based writer and creative coach and retreat and workshop facilitator and has 2015 retreats set for Taos and New Harmony, Indiana. Terry also has a schedule of online creative webinars set for 2015. He has published several short stories, two of which have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He is currently revising a short story collection for publication and is writing a novel set in Nashville, titled An Angel’s Share. Terry’s website is www.terryprice.net and you can reach him by email at terry@terryprice.net. 

The Spark to Story Workshop will be offered for only $129 which includes all instruction and materials (meals are on your own). However, if you sign up before March 15th, the total registration will be $99. For more information and to register for the workshop go to www.wordstrumpet.com or www.terryprice.net  If you have any questions, just contact us at the email addresses above.

To register, head on over here and sign right up!

 

The Benefits of Writing Daily

I've been working, the last few days, on writing the workshop I'll be giving in Nashville next weekend.  I base this workshop on my Writing Abundance: Seven Practices of the Prolific and Prosperous Writer system.  Each one I do focuses on several different practices, so I always end up going back over the whole thing.  One of the practices I'll be focusing on this time is the practice of Creating, and in the process I wrote about why writing every day is so good for you.  I probably don't even have room for this in the workshop–I've got way more content than time–so I thought I'd share it here. 

Writing every day, for me, is like having a nutritional IV drip.Casino_play_loser_222035_l

Have you ever been to a casino where they have plastic cards you can charge up with money and then wear around your neck on a mini-bungee cord?  And then people sit with their cards in the machine while it is still hanging from the bungee cord around their neck and it looks like they are on life support. 

This is what writing every day does for me. It feeds me.  Here are some other benefits:

  • It keeps you constantly connected to the work.  As you go about your day, your mind will drift back to the scene you were working on that morning.  This is good, as it allows your subconscious to go to work on it.
  • It establishes momentum.  You get carried forward when you work every day.  You don’t have to reinvent the wheel over and over again.  You don’t have to reread to familiarize yourself with where you were when last you wrote.
  • It teaches you fluency.  The more you write, the easier the words are to put on the page.
  • Writing every day reminds you of who you are and what is important to you.  It's the writing, smarty.
  • It gives you a sense of accomplishment—you made a commitment to do the most important thing in your life, and you accomplished it.  This patina of success will polish your whole day.
  • Let's face it, writing every day makes you feel good.  We need us more of that.
  • Because it reminds you that you are having a great experience—living life—and that living life, in and of itself, is worthy of writing about.

Now for some people, not writing every day is better.  I’m all for finding what works for you.  But for me, if I don’t write at least something I slough off.  And pretty soon days have gone by without me getting anything done….at least on my novel.  But for those of you who absolutely insist, tomorrow's post will be about the benefits of not writing every day.

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