Unlock the Muse – April 16, 2019

The past two weeks I have been participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. I have been working hard at reestablishing a consistent writing habit. I managed to take my laptop with me every day. I’ve written a little something everyday. It hasn’t always been easy, and several days this past week I was downright discouraged with my lack of progress. But consistency has helped me.

Inspire
Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Look in the mirror at least three times today and tell yourself, “I am the best person in the world, and there is no one like me.” After you have done this, write 400 words on how it made your feel and whether or not you would do the same thing again. If it didn’t really work for you today, try it again tomorrow and see if your feelings change.

There is power in positive thinking. You are the only one like you. And you are the only one who can write your story. Go, and be amazing.

Encourage
con·sist·en·cy

noun
Conformity in the application of something, typically that which is necessary for the sake of logic, accuracy, or fairness.
synonyms: evenness, steadiness, stability, constancy, regularity, uniformity, equilibrium, unity, orderliness, lack of change, lack of deviation, dependability, reliability

The word consistency dates back to the 1590s and comes from the Medieval Latin consistentia, literally, “a standing together.” The meaning of the word as a “state of being in agreement or harmony” (with something) dates back to the 1650s.
(from etymonline.com)

Happy writing!

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Unlock the Muse – April 9, 2019

This morning on my way to work I ran into a frequent, if unpredictable traffic problem. There is an intersection that for some inexplicable reason will back up, slowing traffic down for several minutes. I don’t live in a high traffic city, so compared to some people’s commute, this is nothing. But my point is this, there is no consistency in the traffic patterns even though I use the same route at the same time every day. If traffic was consistent, I could anticipate and prepare for it accordingly.

This is what consistency in writing will do as well. With a consistent writing habit comes the ability to anticipate and prepare for writing. It gives your brain the chance to work silently in the background. You can then come to your writing session every day prepared and therefore more productive.

Inspire
Here’s your new writing prompt for this week:

Read a new or old book and critique it.

Critiquing the work of other writers, especially those who do it well, is a good way to learn how to improve your own writing. Reread a favorite book. Choose a classic. Or a book by a popular author. Take note of what you like as a reader and what you don’t. What makes this book work?

Encourage
I’ll leave you with this thought:

Consistent Quote 1

Happy writing!

Unlock the Muse – April 2, 2019

Consistency is a crucial trait for a writer. It’s the only way to accomplish anything. Whether that means finding the same place to write, the same time every day, or making it a point to write routinely.

Inspire
Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Read a new book, and write your own take on what the jacket copy should say about the story.

What’s the next book on your to-read list? Before you read it, take a good look at the blurb. From this copy, you’ve already begun to make assumptions about the story. Take a moment to write down some of your thoughts. After reading the book, did it meet your expectations? Now, rewrite the blurb.

Encourage
This month I’ll take a look at the word Consistency and what it means to a writer. Building the kind of momentum like I talked about last month depends on consistency.

Personally, I’ve been struggling to come back from a break that’s gone on too long. Finding a way to write consistently again is my goal right now. I’ll celebrate the small victories – such as taking my laptop to work with me and making the choice to write instead of read. Maybe it’s not much, but at least it’s a start.

What do you do to ensure you consistently move forward with your writing projects?

Happy writing!

Unlock the Muse – March 26, 2019

This month I’ve talked about momentum – how to build it and what sort of things can disrupt it. I’ve had some small successes in battling my writing inertia. I banished the time-consuming distractions and I committed to taking my laptop to work with me every day.

But it isn’t enough. I think it’s going to take a more significant push to get the words flowing consistently again. Something like Camp NaNoWriMo. I haven’t signed up yet for the April session, but I think I need to. And I’ll start writing again. Right after vacation.

Inspire
Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Blindfold yourself for 10 minutes, and take in your environment. Later, challenge yourself to write a story from the perspective of someone who cannot see. The ability to empathize with others is necessary if you want to be a good writer.

The ability to put yourself in another’s shoes is vital to a writer. Do what you can to experience life through other perspectives. Though more than likely, we can’t alter the physical truths about who we are, we can read stories. Read widely, and read well.

Encourage
It’s play week. So here’s your roll of the Rory’s Story Cubes, brought to you this week by my youngest minion. Have fun!

StoryCubes10

Happy writing!

Unlock the Muse – March 19, 2019

I’m a day late in getting this post up this week. But as they say, it’s better late than never, right? Here is your bit of writing inspiration for the third week of March 2019.

Last week I talked about momentum killers. This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to build momentum. I came up with three basic strategies to build momentum in your daily writing routine.

Remove obstacles. This might be as simple as removing a distracting and time-consuming game from your phone or mobile device. Other obstacles aren’t so easy, and may even be impossible – family and day jobs, for example. But even these can be put in their proper place, and writing can fit among them.

Create opportunities. For me this week, this meant packing my laptop along with me to work every day. It’s a lot easier to ignore the writing if you don’t have access to your tools. Keep a notebook handy, make sure your writing space is well equipped. Don’t give yourself an easy excuse not to write.

Build slowly. Begin building where you are right now. If that means you start with the tiniest of goals, then start there. Build on your goal, and set the next one before the first is fully achieved. This will help keep your momentum moving forward.

Inspire
Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

$2.50 a second. That’s how much Michael Jordan made in 1997, when he earned $78.3 million. How fast can you type?

We may not be destined to be the Michael Jordans of the writing world. But maybe there is something to be said for writing fast. Especially in the drafting stage. Write fast, write lots. Then take your time in editing.

Encourage
mo·men·tum

noun
1. The quantity of motion of a moving body, measured as a product of its mass and velocity.
2. The impetus gained by a moving object.

The word momentum dates back to the 1690s in the scientific use in mechanics, as in “product of the mass and velocity of a body,” or the “quantity of motion of a moving body.” It comes from the Latin momentum, meaning “movement, moving power.” Its use in the figurative, as in “force gained by movement, an impulse, impelling force,” dates back to 1782.
(from etymonline.com)

Happy writing!

Unlock the Muse – March 12, 2019

There are three basic kinds of momentum killers – life events beyond your control, events you can decide how to involve yourself in, and those things you take fully into your own hands. I’ve been beset by all three of these momentum killers this past week.

My son had a birthday, and for some reason, thinks a party should go along with that. A birth of a child, a death in the family, these and so many other events happen when they happen and life doesn’t stop for them. Writing must necessarily give way to these things, but it doesn’t have to derail completely.

Also this week, was a baby shower for the daughter of a good friend. This beautiful mama to be is not directly related to me. I have the power to choose my level of involvement. I could spend a few minutes purchasing a lovely gift, an hour or two at great party and my commitment is done. Instead I chose to spend my spare moments for a week crafting a baby afghan.

My third momentum killer this week is a gloriously huge novel. My favorite books to read are epic fantasy novels that often 500 pages or more. The one I’m currently reading is over 800. I have complete control over my reading time, yet I continue to choose that activity over writing.

Not all momentum killers are negative. In fact, many are very happy events. The key is to prioritize effectively. Don’t allow the writing to get set aside completely.

Inspire
Your writing prompt for this week is:

What if you were a famous author? Pretend you’re being interviewed by a journalist. Write a transcript of it.

What question are you hoping they will ask you? You know, the one for which you have the answer already worked out. What are you really hoping they don’t ask (even though you know they probably will)? There’s an element of infamy that inevitably goes along with fame and nothing sells like scandal, so you know they’re ask you about that time when you…

Encourage
A final thought for today…

momentum quote 2

Stay curious. Keep moving forward.

Happy writing!

Unlock the Muse – March 5, 2019

It’s a new month. Spring is trying to emerge in my neighborhood, but it’s still been frightfully cold. I’m looking forward to warmer weather fun. Spring break vacation with my kiddos. Snuggling up with a book. Daylight Savings Time. Camp NaNoWriMo.

Okay, so not all of these things are fun. And some, though fun, will prove to be somewhat trying. Still, spring is in the air – a season of new birth, new beginnings.

Inspire
Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Write a journal entry about someone close to you who is no longer in your life.

This exercise is potentially a difficult one, but it could lead to a moment of catharsis. Let emotion loose on the page.

Encourage
Newton’s first law of motion: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

This month, I’m focusing on MOMENTUM. If an object in motion stays in motion, than a writer must stay busy as well. Too much inactivity tends to stay that way. This is where I find myself of late. I allowed myself to take a break following November’s NaNo frenzy. The problem is, once idle, it is very difficult to start moving again. So what I need is that “unbalance force” to act upon my inertia. What do you do to kick your writing back into gear after staying away for too long?

Happy writing!