Unlock the Muse – February 28, 2018

February has come to an end. And along with the end of February, I’m hoping to see the end of winter. What little traces of snow we’ve seen where I live was hardly worth the effort of looking out the window. It was there and gone that fast.

But with a new season comes a new enthusiasm for pushing forward with my writing projects. I think it’s time for some “spring cleaning” around here. Time to dust off the cobwebs and get to work on my novel.

Inspire
To get the words started this week, here’s your writing exercise:

Write about today, beginning with: “Today is unique because…”

It’s all too easy to get into a rut. Every Wednesday is just like any other Wednesday. But that just isn’t so. Take a moment and consider what makes today different from any ordinary Wednesday. Did you wake up early? Sleep through the alarm? Maybe you missed the bus and now have to walk or drive to work/school. A new daffodil has budded in your (or your neighbor’s) front yard. Find the uniqueness in your day, however large or small it might be.

Encourage
I still haven’t started reading a new writing craft book yet. I have one on my list to begin reading, probably within the next week. If you’re curious or perhaps would like to read along, I’ll be reading Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg.

In the meantime, I’ve been reading the 29th volume of The Writers of the Future anthology. Along with a collection of outstanding short stories, these books usually include an essay or two on the writing craft. In this anthology is the essay, “The Sport of Writing” by Nnedi Okorafor.

While I have to confess, I wasn’t especially impressed by the organization of this essay, Ms Okorafor has some valuable things to say about writing. She tells a story of her experience at the junior national tennis tournament. She and her opponent were evenly matched in skill level and as a result, their match took far longer than the average tennis match. They weren’t top seed players and no one was in the stands. All the other matches were long over, and the other players had gone. There was no wild cheering when the match finally ended in Ms Okorafor’s victory. Just the quiet satisfaction of having played hard for the love of the game.

Ms Okorafor relates this to writing in this way:

Nearly a decade passed before I realized the lesson in this experience. Just as in sports, when writing creatively, if you don’t love the craft and art of it, you’ll never experience this pure form of success. Yet when you do have this love, you realize that pure success does not come from fame or fortune, it grows from that love.

Equip

nnedi-okorafor-quote

Write what’s in your heart to write, not what you think is expected of you.

Happy writing!

Please consider sharing your response to the writing exercise. Got a question? Just ask! Put it in the comments below, or send your question by email here:

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