writing abundance

Revisiting Writing Abundance: 7 Practices of the Prolific and Prosperous Writer

Fruit-market-barcelona-64943-lIt's Mercury Retrograde until November 10th–that wonderful time when computers and phones go wacky, travel plans go awry, and the technology gods sit back and laugh at us. 

And yet, it is also a time for re-orienting yourself, when any and everything that starts with the prefix "re" is good to focus on.  So, reconnecting (seen a few old friends you've lost touch with again recently?  Me, too.), reorganizing, reviewing.  You get the picture.

In this vein, I've been revisiting an old system of mine in advance of possibly turning it into a signature program, wherein each of the seven steps would be studied in depth as a way to catapult your writing to new heights of productivity.  Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

Okay, so here goes:

Writing Abundance

7 Practices of the Prolific and Prosperous Writer

This system grew out of my own writing career. People constantly ask me how I can be so prolific as a writer. Further, they often marvel that I’ve created a truly satisfying writing life for myself. I write for clients and I write for myself, and one way or another, you’ll find me writing something every day. After being constantly beseeched to give up my secret, I finally sat down and took a good, hard look at what I do. I realized there’s no one secret—there’s seven of them! The seven practices are each process-oriented, things that I do regularly to enable my writing. While the practices work well when done step by step, it is not required. I prefer to think of them as a spiral or a series of ongoing activities. For instance, you may get stalled during the practice of creating and realize you need some inspiration, so you return to the practice of connection. Or perhaps the block is serious enough that you need some help in clearing it. Writing Abundance is a fluid, flexible system that will enhance your ability to put words on the page. Here’s a brief introduction to the seven practices. 

Connect—Writing is communicating, and to do that we need to connect. It is vital to connect with other writers and talk craft. It’s also imperative to connect with family and friends for support. It is also important to connect with clients and readers, of course! But most important is to establish an ongoing connection with a higher power. Call it God, the goddess, Allah, Buddha, creator, or the source of all that is—but please call upon it. Establishing a regular meditation and or prayer session will do wonders for your writing.

Cultivate—Successful writers have cultivated the mindset of a writer. This means we (continue reading the rest of this article on my blog) are constantly on the alert, and constantly taking in information and inspiration for our work. Writers observe details large and small, view our world intently in order to be able to describe it, listen carefully to write believable dialogue, and read voraciously to see how other writers do it. Then they write all of these things down in a journal so as not to forget. All of these are part of the practice of cultivation.

Conceive—A constant flow of ideas is vital to the writer. Who are we without ideas for our work? How are we to write stories, essays, articles, novels, and books without first coming up with ideas? Ideas breed like rabbits, and the more you have, the more will come to you. I’ve developed some amazingly simple ways to keep the ideas coming!

Clear—As writers, we need to get very clear about who we are, what we want to write, and how we want to write it. Limiting subconscious beliefs can keep us from reaching our full potential as writers. Say, for instance, you keep wanting to write but never quite manage to get to it—you may have a block which prevents it. We’re lucky to live in a time when there are many effective energy modalities we can use to easily do this.

Create—Finally, the time to put words on paper has arrived. You put your fingers on the keyboard or pick up the pen….and nothing happens. For this practice, I’ve gathered sure-fire techniques to get the words flowing across the page. Some of them include easy and fun ways to prep and outline your work before you get started, which is one of the secrets to block-free writing.

Correct—Ah, now there’s a C word some of us have learned to fear. But correction—critiquing, editing, rewriting and revising—is the real meat of writing, where you dive deeper into the true meaning of your work. You, too, can learn to love the practice of correction.

Ceasing and releasing—All good things must come to an end, even your beloved writing project. Yes there comes a time when you must release your baby out into the world, without ego or control, and let it be what it is to be.

So what do you think?  Did I miss anything?  Are they in the right order?  What are your best practices for prolific writing?

Image by einahpets.

4. Only Write/Writing Abundance, Connecting

Fourth in a projected very long series and future info product whose name is still under consideration (hence the dual titles above).  For background on what's going on, read this post. You might also want to read about the Writing Abundance system that this series is going to cover in depth.  You can do that here.  All of the posts will be readily available in the sidebar to the right, at least until I introduce it as an info product.


So, in the previous post in this series, we (or more to the point, I, but never mind) talked about the importance of connecting with something bigger than yourself, the divine without, which is truly the divine within.  Today I want to talk more about what a consistent connection with Source, however you define it, leads you.  And that is to an abundant writing practice.  The seven practices of Writing Abundance are foundational practices that will facilitate a prolific and prosperous writing career, as I like to call it.

Thus, let us talk about abundance.  Specifically, your definition of it.  And my definition of it.  Abundance has become an overused watchword.  Everyone wants abundance in every aspect, except for too much fat on our bodies.  Right?  What the experts and gurus will tell you, and what I've discovered is correct, is that abundance is a mindset.  This is true when it comes to writing, and when it comes to finances.

For instance, many's the time we've lived an, ahem, hand-to-mouth existence.  Or paycheck-to-paycheck life.  Call it whatever you want.  I'm sure many of you can relate.  Its when there's just enough money to pay the bills (hopefully) and if you're lucky, there's some left over to live on.   This has been my normal for longer than I care to admit.  However, last year my mother died and left me a small amount of money.  Emphasis on the small.  But it was enough to create a cushion.  Some padding around us so we didn't have to watch every penny.  To me, this was abundance. 

And guess what?  I loved it.  Still do.  I don't care what anybody says, life is better when you have some money to do what you want.  All that stuff about money not being anything?  Pure baloney, designed to keep you in your place.   Money surely isn't everything, but life is way more fun when you can do at least some of the things that you want to do. 

But the most important thing I've discovered is that this abundance is a mindset.  More than anything, it is about how you feel when you get up in the morning and proceed through your day.  Do you prance through it lightly and happily or trudge heavily and slowly?  Feeling abundant can make the difference.  And guess what?  You can teach yourself to feel abundant.  You just have to identify what it feels like to you so that you can return to it at will.

Writing is no different.  Abundant writing both stems from and creates a mindset.  Think about how you feel when you've had a good writing session.  On top of the world, right?  In love with the world.  In love with every single little thing in it.  Married to amazement.  Astonished at the beauty and joy you encounter in your day to day life.  Achieving this feeling is probably one of the reasons you write.  I know its why I do.

My idea of writing abundance–the process that propels me to this feeling of being in love with the world–is simple.  It is putting it all on the page, without hesitation or stopping or getting distracted.  Alan Cohen, a wonderful self-help writer, has a saying: give it all up and get it all back.  I love that saying because I know its true.  And I love to apply it to writing:

Give all of yourself on the page, and get what you dream of back.

And, of course, what you dream of can be personal satisfaction, a prolific writing career, a best-selling novel, searing memoir, engaging creative non-fiction book, published short stories or articles, a career as a journalist, a popular blogger….you name it.  The dream is yours.  All you have to do is put words on the page, one after the other.

So if you have an image–your image–of what an abundant writing practice is to you, you can keep it firmly in mind as a touchstone for everything that you do.  It becomes an underpinning, the constant drumbeat to your days.  The thing you strive for because you know its the most important thing.  Stands to reason, then, that a good way to establish that touchstone is to write about what abundant writing means to you.  Write it in detail, with every blessed sense evoked.  Where are you?  How do you feel?  What are you working on? 

Go write it out right now.  Set a timer for 15 minutes and just write.  Put it all on the page.

And then come back here and share it with us. 

2. Only Write/Writing Abundance, Practice One: Connect

This is the second post of a projected very long series and future info product whose name is still under consideration (hence the dual titles above).  For background on what's going on, read my post from Monday. You might also want to read about the Writing Abundance system that this series is going to cover in depth.  You can do that here.  All of the posts will be readily available in the sidebar to the right, at least until I introduce it as an info product.

On Tuesday, I began the series with a post that talked about choosing paper and pen.  Whether to begin with tools or the first foundational practice of connecting is always a bit of a toss-up for me.  Generally in workshops I begin by talking about connecting.  However, each foundational practice includes exercises to play with, because, dahr, this is a writing program.  So it seemed logical to discuss the importance of finding paper and pens that you love.  But then again, maybe it's not, because nobody ever called me logical.  Crazy, yes.  Right-brained, yes.  (Often the two are confused.)  Now that we've gotten that settled, let's get going. Hands_prayer_praying_267345_l

The Importance of Connecting

The first foundational writing practice considers the importance of connecting.   I start out talking about connecting because I believe it is the single most important aspect of becoming a prolific and prosperous writer.

What do I mean when I talk about connecting?  It is actually a multi-faceted practice, and includes:

•    Connecting with the work
•    Connecting with other writers
•    Connecting with family and friends to gather their support
•    Connecting your work with the world

However, far and away the most important connection you will make is the one you cultivate with God…or the universe…or source…or creator…or a higher power…or the divine.  Call it whatever you want, establishing this connection around your writing is vital. 


To me, connecting with Source (which, for the sake of simplicity is the term I am going to use throughout) is one and the same with connecting with your higher self.  And your higher self is the source of all true and authentic writing.  In this way, connecting is about being open to receive, take what you get, transform it, and gift it back to the world.  This is really what writing is all about, no?

But we writers like to make things difficult for ourselves.  We struggle with our passions, fight with our muse; close down our connections so that the words won’t come.  It’s enough to send us fleeing from the page.  And then, instead of realizing that all we need to do is open up the connection again, we blame ourselves.  We tell ourselves we’re not good enough, not talented enough, don’t have the discipline to be writers, aren’t pretty or handsome enough (as if it mattered!).  We let that stupid, know-nothing critic come in and dominate the party.

The origin of story and voice is deep within and of course it comes directly from our connection to Source.  The thing is, in that connection to Source, you will find everything you need: truth, beauty, ideas, creativity, motivation, passion, you name it, and it will be there.    All you need to do is ask.  Really, what we are doing when we access our creativity is accessing our connection to Source.  In this way, writing is the most profound of spiritual acts.

And in these spiritual acts are the levels of awareness where stories rest.  They are also where voice and style are formed—they are your deepest essence, your true, higher self.  It is this voice that we want to draw forth and put on the page.  The goal is to show up at the page, get out of the way, and let Source guide you.  Connecting is centering, a way to get to know yourself—and Source—both of which are vital for writing with integrity and truth.

But how?

That is what we'll cover over the next few days.  So stay tuned.  And feel free to write about how you connect in the comments.

The Carry-Along Book

This is going to be a short post today (I know what you're thinking–ha!  when has she ever managed to write a short post?) because, ta-da, my office furniture is assembled (thanks to my long-suffering husband) and I want to spend time moving myself back in.

This is actually the very first post I've written from my new desk.  Amazingly, I can sit comfortably at it with my computer on the desk, instead of in my lap, as has been the case for the last few years.  I can already feel my shoulder problems easing.

I promise to post photos when it is all in order, but the picture to the right is a bit of a teaser, an image of one of the wall cabinets.
Wallcabinet For those of you who are familiar with Ikea products, it is the "Effektiv" line of office storage and it is quite handsome as well as efficient.

But all of that is actually a warm up to the real topic of this post, which is something I'm calling the carry-along book.

I've written numerous posts about journals and journaling, and the importance of choosing just the right journal for your tastes.

But lately I've been doing things a bit differently.

My journaling has taken the form of Active Imagination, which to me, requires a bigger canvas on which to throw words, so I've been using large sketchbooks from my new favorite place, Columbia Art and Drafting.

(In case you don't know about Active Imagination, I wrote about it in the most recent issue of my newsletter.  It's a technique devised by Carl Jung, and it involves accessing a "trusted source" which can be your intuition, your higher self, God, the goddess, whatever in writing.  Just choose a source and then do an actual dialogue on the page, using the names.)

But the larger sketchbook is hard to take with me.  Yet I need a place to scrawl notes, to write down things of interest, to note observations.  One of the practices in my-soon-to-be-renamed Writing Abundance system is cultivating, which is basically the habit of observing, listening, and gathering.  Taking stuff in so you can spit it back out on the page. Usually this stuff goes right along with regular journal entries, but that won't work at the moment.  So I needed a carry-along journal.  

Which I didn't even know until I started using one.

When I was in Nashville I found myself drawn to a journal on a rack at a coffee shop in the 12th Avenue South neighborhood.  (Somebody help me out here, I've forgotten the name of the place.)  

As you can see from the lovely accompanying photos, the journal is awesome.  It is small in size, 6 by 8 ish (my ruler is still packed).  As a matter of fact, I hesitated to buy it because of its size, thinking that it was too little to journal in.  But I was so compelled to buy it, I did…and then I started the Active Imagination and the rest is history.

 One of the great things about it is the way it is bound, with the edges
threaded and two separate covers bound together, allowing it to lie flat.  So now I'm in love with a new style of journal (this one was handmade but I found others in this style are available commercially).

But all of this points out something crucial about writing: it is a living, breathing practice.  And sometimes that practice changes as we change.  I reserve the write to go back to my beloved Moleskines, and I probably will at some point.

Meanwhile, if anybody knows how to make this kind of journal, I'd love being pointed to a link.

So, what kind of journal do you write in?  Do you mash everything together in one, or use a carry-along journal and another for lengthier entries?  Or perhaps you have numerous journals?

***By the way, when I grow up I want to be Ann Patchett.  Read her great essay about the Nashville floods here.

****I almost forgot, the maker of this journal is Holly Frees, of Hope Sewn Journals. 


Monday night I arrived home from Nashville.  Everystockphoto-155951-m

Tuesday morning I awoke with a to-do list a mile long.  Lots of it consisted of emails (sometimes I think my entire work life besides writing consists of emails) because honestly, one day away from the computer to fly home and the emails multiply like rabbits.  But there were other things to do, also, like read a manuscript for a client, make a couple phone calls, etc., etc.

And so what did I find myself doing yesterday morning?


I emptied the dishwasher and cleaned the kitty litter.  Decided that right that very moment was the time I absolutely positively had to plant all the spider plant starts that sat in glass jars on my kitchen window.  So I potted them, along with a stray aloe I carted home last time I was in LA, which created quite the mess, which meant I had to scrub the kitchen sink.

Meanwhile, my to-do list went undone.

But here's the deal.  When you fly from one area of the country to another, parts of you get left behind.  I felt like part of me was still in Nashville, and part of me was still in the air between there and here, maybe hovering over Denver, where I changed planes.

And puttering helped me to gather all those parts of me and get them back together. 

After I puttered for awhile I walked upstairs to my office and got to work.  I set the intention that time would flow smoothly and easily and I'd get everything done.  And you know what?  I did.

So sometimes the most important thing to do is putter. 

How do you putter?  Have you ever had a similar experience? 

The Art of Connecting

Yogassan-116592-m Yesterday's blog post was about the fine art of being who you are.  I didn't really mean to write a follow-up post, but as is sometimes the case, yesterday's post caused a lot of comment and got a lot of traffic.  Which always makes me realize I've hit a nerve.  And makes me ponder more about what I wrote.  Which often leads to me writing more.  This is why I'm a novelist, because I'm incapable of writing short.  My short stories are always 25 pages, and I've never, ever written one without thinking, maybe I should turn this into a novel.

But back to the subject at hand.

I wrote about how the most successful writers and entrepreneurs and creative professionals are those who are most gloriously themselves because we are drawn to them.  I don't know about you, but I love it when somebody is not only passionate about some strange interest but confident enough to talk about it.  Give me somebody blabbing on about his rubber band collection and the true meaning of rubber and I'll listen for hours.

I also wrote a little yesterday about how connecting with something bigger than yourself is the key to gaining this confidence in who you are and the ability to be yourself.  And I want to delve into that a bit deeper today.

What, you say, does being yourself have to do with connecting?  Everything.  Because it is through connecting with a higher power that we gain access to our higher selves.  And it is through our higher selves that we are able to express the true essence of our beings to the world.

Connecting entails regularly getting in touch with something greater than yourself, whether you consider that something God, the goddess, Allah, the universe, the divine, Source, or your ancestors.   But what if you don't have an established religious or spiritual tradition within which to work and you're a bit nervous–perhaps even put off–by all this talk of connection?

I like to think that I get all my great ideas and inspiration from my higher self, the part of me that is not worried about judging others and comparing myself with them; the part of me that is not concerned with paying bills and worrying about whether to put bleach in with the next load of laundry.  In other words, the higher self is that part of me that is not my ego.  And I also consider my higher self to be one and the same as that bigger something that I desire to connect with, whether I call it source or universe or the divine.

The good news is that your higher self is easy to connect with.  Here's some ideas to try.

1.  Relaxation.  Get yourself a meditation or self-hypnosis CD and listen to it regularly.  Hypnosis CDs first get you to focus on your breath and deeply relax, and this is the heart of meditation.  So doing hypnosis can be a way to back into a mediation practice if the thought of it freaks you out.

2.  Meditate.  Start short, with 5-minute spurts.  Slowly lengthen the amount of time you sit.  As mentioned above, all you have to do is focus on your breath to meditate.  When thoughts disrupt your concentration, as they will, simply acknowledge them and let them float away.  My good friend Rabbi Rami recommends concentrating on a one-word mantra with your out breath.  Words like love, Lord, home, peace, heart will all work.  Having a mantra can give your ego something to do and help keep you focused, but it is not a necessity.  Experiment and do what works best for you.

3. Pray.  One of my favorite saying ever (and the theme of my novel) is, If it's love, the Lord won't mind.  I think the same is true of prayer–if it is sincere and done with love, the Lord will not mind how you do it.  Don't worry about form or format, just start praying.  And if you don't believe in God, pray to your higher self or the great, gaping, huge and beautiful universe.

4.  Move.  Many people find peace and connection in movement.  Walk slowly and purposely or just walk.  Dance.  Try belly dancing or ecstatic dance.  Or try Qi Gong or yoga.  Moving your body can open up mental space and allow intuition and ideas to come through.

5. Play with Paints.  Or crayons, or drawing pencils, or charcoals–whatever captures your attention. Messing around with art supplies activates the right brain and turns off the left.  And that in turn relaxes the brain and allows space to open up to guidance.

It is best to make a regular practice of one or more of these techniques, but even if you only do them once in awhile you will benefit.  So, tell me–what are your favorite ways to connect?  How do they impact your writing and life?

Be Who You Are

Here's the paradox: the more you are yourself, the more people will beat a path to your door.  And yet we all struggle, at one time or another to be ourselves.  Crochethouse2

Crazy, huh?

I've been thinking and writing a lot about this lately.  I'm working on a new free guide to replace the current somewhat lame one you get when you subscribe to my newsletter, The Abundant Writer.  The new guide is going to detail, in seven simple steps, how to write a book.  Pretty cool, no?  My thesis is that the most successful writers and people in general are the ones who are most gloriously themselves.  We are drawn to them because they radiate an energy, a joy, a life force that is irresistible.

And yet, when it comes to expressing our own deepest truths and desires, we hold back.  Well, maybe you don't, but I do.  How often do you refrain from talking about your love of WWII fighter planes because you worry people will think it weird?  I often cringe a little when I mention my love of knitting because for some people it still invokes images of granny sitting in the rocking chair, knitting away.  Or someone asks you how your evening was and instead of telling the full glorious story of the crazy adventure that you experienced you just say, "fine," because you think they won't want to hear the truth.

The worry about what other people will think has killed more dreams, visions and great ideas than anything else.  Why do we care so much what other people think?  I believe it is linked to a deep-seated fear of being alone.  We think that if we express who we are, nobody will like us and we'll end up alone and lonely.  When actually the opposite is true–the more we express who we are, the more people we will attract to us.

I find that lately I have been growing more confident in not only my writing but who I am in general.  How, you might ask, am I growing more confident in my writing?  Two ways:

1.  I'm finding a way to regularly connect.  In my Writing Abundance system I emphasize the practice of connection as the single most vital thing that a writer can do to improve his or her writing.  By this I mean some sort of regular practice of meditation, prayer, relaxation,body movement whatever.  You need to find a way to connect yourself to something larger than yourself, to the universe, the divine, Source, God, the goddess, Allah–whatever you prefer to call it.  

2.  I'm writing regularly.  Putting yourself on the page breeds confidence.  Period.  It breeds confidence in your writing and who you are.  Because the more you get to know yourself, the easier it is to share that with the world.  And the more you write, the better you'll get to know yourself.

So there you have it, my thoughts on being who you are .  Oh, and by the way, that photo at the top of this post?  It is a house in Nashville that I drove past yesterday with my friend Sue and the picture doesn't even begin to do justice to the wonders of it.  The house is laden with crocheted spider webs and other wonderfully complex chains and pillars wrapped with more knitted and crocheted pieces.  This is the home of someone who is wonderfully, amazingly herself, and wants the world to know it.  (If anybody happens to know who this person is, please let me know!)

I'd love to hear your thoughts on being yourself.  When do feel most confident in who you are?  When do you feel the least confident?  When you feel unconfident, how do you get over it?

The Benefits of Retreating

I've been at a writing retreat all weekend.  It was at Scarritt Bennett, a center in the middle of the labyrinth that hosts programs on diversity, women's empowerment, and spirituality.  Labyrinthspring(That's a photo of the labyrinth at Scarritt Bennett to the right, though I focused more on the blooming Redbud and Dogwood trees when I took it, so you can't really see the labyrinth.)

Though I was hired to be the book doctor at the retreat and that kept me plenty busy, I did have quite a bit of time to write.  The way it works at Room to Write is that all meals and a room are provided.  So the retreat participants–11 of us–met for meals and bonding and talking about writing, and then heading back to our rooms to write.   A few other activities were planned, such as walking the labyrinth, meditation, a chat on publishing that Rabbi Rami and I gave, and some late-night excursions to nearby bars, but everything is optional.  So if you want to skip it all and stay in your room and write, you can, and many did.

Many of the writers at the retreat got crazy amounts of writing done.  A couple hit word counts of 10,000, or close to it. But I heard from others that they took the time to read, or think about their project.

And this, for me, was the best thing about the retreat this time.  I did get some writing done–about 2,000 words, which is nothing to sniff at–but most important, I had time to think.  Having space and time away from the concerns of day to day life allows the mind to open up and expand.  It is easier to conceptualize, and to look at the big picture.  And this, my friends, is sometimes just what the doctor ordered.

You don't have to go to an organized writer's retreat in order to find this.  (Though Room to Write is awesome and I highly recommend it!) You can take yourself away for a weekend or a couple of days.  Go to a cheap hotel in a nearby city, or if you don't share my love of cheap hotels, look for a retreat center or even a monastery, which often rent out individual rooms.  Try a bed and breakfast.  Whatever you decide to do, here a couple guidelines for making the most of a retreat:

1.  Go with a specific project in mind.  It is generally best to stick to working on one thing, but if you have a crazy right brain like me, you might want to bring several.  Retreats are great for making lots of progress on a novel, for instance, or for conceptualizing and get a great start on a marketing piece (which is what I did).

2.  Have a goal in mind.  We start out Room to Write retreats with an evening session in which every participant names their goals.  As with all goals, it is good to be specific.  Not, "make progress on my novel," but "write 8000 words on my novel."

3.  If the muse hits, go with it.  If you're in the flow, don't stop.  Doesn't matter if you are at a retreat with planned activities, go with the flow and get those words on the page.  That's the point, after all.

4.  Don't overlook the power of bonding.  One of the best things about organized retreats is that you'll meet other writers.  Connecting is vital for writers, and something we often overlook in our furious efforts to become good writers.  You can go to a retreat, have plenty of time to work, and still meet other people.

So there you have it–my ideas about writing retreats.  But bear in mind, any kind of creative artist or spiritual seeker can benefit from retreating.  So, what about you?  What are your experiences with retreats?  Do you have any advice or questions for others?

***Head on over to my friend Linda Busby Parker's blog and you'll find a guest post by none other than me.  Scroll down a little bit…it is the one titled Spring Check-up.  Thanks, Linda, for the guest post.

Follies: Festive Friday 2

It's Friday again!Everystockphoto_193639_m

This is going to be a brief post, because I am in Nashville.  However, I couldn't leave you to your weekend without another installment of festive Fridays, now, could I?

In case you have forgotten, we're designing a crazy dance party for either you or your characters.  You can read the original Friday Folly post here, and the first Festive Friday post here.

And now, on with the party.  Today we are going to concentrate on what the characters look like.

  • Describe several of the main people at your party.  All the things you'd say if you described them to a friend.  Height, weight, hair color, eye color, mannerisms, gestures, etc.
  • What's the dress code at your party? 
  • Take several of your favorite characters (or friends in real life) and describe their outfits.  Remember, as above, so below.  The way people dress totally reflects who they are inside.
  • What's your favorite outfit?  Why?
  • Who do you wish you could dress like only you don't have the nerve?  What would you wear if you could?
  • What is the absolute most favorite thing in your closet?
  • What item of clothing should you get rid of, but you can't bear to?  Why?

Okay, that's enough for now.  Have fun and feel free to post answers to any or all of these questions.

Why Is It So Hard….

…for other people to figure out what it is that we writers do?Computer_keyboard_typing_225253_l

Yesterday, a member of my family (who, for the record, I absolutely adore) was talking about people working, people who are retired, and me, about whom he said, "whatever it is that you do."

I just laughed because I get this so much.  I'm not sure what people think it is that I do, but I don't think their image is anything like the reality, which is that I sit at my computer for long hours, with my hands on the keyboard, putting words on the screen.  (Or I talk on the phone or in person with people who want to know how to sit at the computer for long hours, hands on the keyboard, putting words on the screen.)

For people who don't write, the process seems magical.  This is borne out by the number of people who think it is so easy to write a book and get it published and then have it hit the bestseller list.  I recently interviewed with some folks who wanted me to ghostwrite a book for them, and this is what they assumed I could make happen.  Hon, if editors and agents knew the magical formula for making a book a bestseller, believe me, they'd be selling it to us.  And we'd be buying!

Those of us who write every day know that the process is far from easy.  It is one of the most difficult things to do, ever.  And also the most interesting and absorbing and fun. 

But here's the funny thing, these days we all need to write.  Whether you want to focus on creative writing or not, you'll need to master the writing process.  Why?  Because these days, coaches, entrepreneurs, healers, and artists–what I call creative professionals–all need blogs.  And they need info products to sell.  And newsletters to share what they do.  And articles.  And so on and on and on.

So the writing process needs to be de-mystified.  Even though, for those of who write every day, there will also be a bit of mystery.  Those moments when you are writing along and suddenly the words combine to make the most beautiful sentence you've ever read?  Mysterious.  That time when you are working on your novel and a character you yourself didn't create walks on the page?  Mysterious.  That moment when you find the exact right way to describe your business and what you do?  Mysterious.

Mysterious and most wonderful.  That's why I love writing so much, because it is challenging, concrete, logical, and…mysterious.

Thoughts?  On the mysteries of writing or the straightforward aspects?  On what it means that we all have to write now?