Thursday, January 7, 2016

365 Affirmations for the Writer

Here is just a sampling of what you’ll find in 365Affirmations for the Writer—if you like this little sip, take a long drink and download the whole thing.
eBook from Amazon and other outlets

January 1
You Determine Where You’ll Go
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go...
Dr. Seuss, from Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

January 2
Books are the grail for what is deepest, more mysterious and least expressible within ourselves. They are our soul’s skeleton. If we were to forget that, it would prefigure how false and feelingless we could become.
― Edna O’Brien, from It’s a Bad Time Out There For Emotion

January 3
A room without books is like a body without a soul.
― Cicero

Can you recall the first book you read? Right now write about that experience and what keeps you coming back to books?

January 4
Outlines—Yes or No
I’m one of those writers who tends to be really good at making outlines and sticking to them. I’m very good at doing that, but I don’t like it. It sort of takes a lot of the fun out.
Neil Gaiman, winner of both the Newbery and Carnegie Medals, and many other awards too numerous to list, from and interview by Chris Bolton,, August, 2005

January 5
Outlines—Yes or No
A lot of new writers assume you have to know the where the story is going and that it flows out as molten gold. But really, sometimes you think you are going to one place, but then you decide that is dumb idea. Then you go somewhere else and it is a worse idea. But then you switch again and you might have a beautiful accident.
Patrick Rothfuss, writer of epic fantasy, namely The Wise Man’s Fear

Do you use an outline or go by instinct? Mindmapping is one such way to free associate. Rather than work consecutively or following a certain set of logic, mindmapping allows you to start with one idea and link it to another, even if there is no obvious connection. Some work with words and images, drawing pictures or icons or simply the use of color to describe their feelings. It is the same part of your mind that doodles during a lecture. There is the main idea, but the supporting material under the surface that you want to access. Allow yourself to explore what appears to be non-sense.

January 6
There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.
― Doris Lessing, Nobel prize-winning novelist

January 7
First, find out what your hero wants. Then just follow him.
― Ray Bradbury

January 8
The Writer as Witness
When I think about writers who use fiction as social commentary and to raise social awareness but who are also very popular, I think of Dickens.
― Jodi Picoult, New York Times Best Seller author

January 9
The Writer as Witness
As writers, it is our job not only to imagine, but to witness.
― Dani Shapiro, fiction writer and memoirist, from Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life

January 10
Writers in Action
Mark Salzman ran into a bad case of writer’s block. He was desperate to break out and find his groove. He discovered that the only way to write was to sit with a towel wrapped around his head and headphones clamped onto his ears to block out all noise. In addition he fashioned a skirt of aluminum foil to keep his cat from continually jumping in his lap. Eventually he finished his third novel, Lying Awake.

Analyze your writing process. Do you need a few minutes before diving in? Time to get set up? Some writers have a routine such as a cup of coffee or tea, lighting a candle, a writing playlist.

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