Showing posts with label writer life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writer life. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

7 Steps to Writing with Vulnerability - Guest Post


Note from Michelle: I've been looking forward to this post for a while now. Donna Lee Irwin is such a treat in person and on the page. She is navigating the complicated world of young widowhood and shares about it with such authenticity and grace that I know what she shares will speak to your heart and inform your pen. So without further ado.... (and go visit her blog and add it to your favorites list -- you won't regret it)
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Writing with vulnerability is no easy task. How do you do it without appearing out of: your mind, control, this world? Well, the first thing would be to consider your audience. Is what your sharing relevant? Does it make sense to write a vulnerable piece on this platform? Or are you divulging the emotional details of your recent divorce on your fashion blog? Make sure that what and where you are publishing makes sense.
Once you have settled on a topic suitable for your targeted audience consider these 7 guidelines. They are ‘rules’ I try to write by which have, so far, served me well.

1.  Get honest with yourself. 

Why are you writing this? Is it because you are passively aggressively using your writing platform to blow off some steam? Are you making a bid for approval or reassurance? Decide what your end goal is and ask yourself what your expectations are as a result of sharing this information. For me, it is to let others know they are not alone. Too many of us keep our stories hidden while we try to impress our peers, contributing to the vicious cycle of trying to keep up appearances with one another. It is my goal to penetrate this mirage with my small contribution of vulnerability and authenticity.

2. Decide how much you want to share. 

And remember, you’re here to tell your story and no one else’s. Sometimes this means getting creative with how we explore our story, sometimes it means leaving some things out. It’s worth it to respect and protect the privacy of others-even if you feel they don’t deserve it.

3.  Be Relevant and Relatable. 

Again, make sure the topic makes sense for your writing platform and, when choosing to write with vulnerability, be relatable! Share you experience but don’t share only the before and after “ta-da! I figured it all out!” moments. Before-and-afters can be helpful in a story but usually people just want to rest assured that they are not the only imperfect/struggling/quirky/etc. humans on the planet. This is not a time to practice or showcase perfection. Your readers will see right through the fa├žade and write you off as inauthentic and suspicious. Share your honest experience, even especially if you’re still in it.

4. Be Clear and Concise. 

Express your feelings on the subject through your experience without drifting. This is usually taken care of in the editing process for me. I like to write freely, pouring all my emotions out into as many words as I feel are needed knowing that when it’s time for editing I can carve my point out of the puzzle of words I’ve laid out to get my message across in a meaningful way. Sometimes it’s useful to share all the gory details and other times it’s TMI. A practice that works great for me is pouring my heart out onto the page and walking away from it for a few days. Sometimes when I do that I end omitting almost everything I wrote, others I’m like, “ya, that’s good. They’ll feel it.” Only you can be the judge.

5.  Be prepared for Criticism and Judgement.  

Expressing or sharing vulnerability is often seen as a weakness when in reality it is actually an incredibly brave and courageous act. Recognize that being vulnerable can trigger uncomfortableness and shame in others. Also, be prepared for people to share their stories or opinions that may be very different from what you have just written. Be respectful and kind if you choose to respond. Otherwise don’t respond at all. On the other hand, for those who are kindly sharing their own vulnerabilities with you, be sure to give them a nod of thanks for opening their hearts.

6. A Word of Caution.

 Make sure if you include names or photos of anyone that isn’t you in your writing to GET PERMISSION first! Preferably in writing. Remember, you’re telling your story, not theirs.  If you’re talking about your kids, again, get their permission, show/read them what you have written/picture you are using and make doubly sure that they are comfortable with it. Don’t assume you know and don’t bully them into compliance. Especially don’t share anything that may prevent you from getting a job, get you sued or cause conflict in a relationship. Again, it can be helpful to step away for a few days and come back with fresh eyes.

7. Lastly, Let Your Art Go. 

Once you hit that publish button…it is finished. And that’s great! Be proud! You took something raw and honest of yourself and shared it with the world. That is a beautiful thing. Whenever we give any gift to someone we accept that it is no longer ours to decide what to do with. Look at it as a gift and feel good about your giving. As Glennon Doyle Melton says in one of her blog posts, “Create! Call it good! Rest!”

Well, there you go! 7 steps to writing with vulnerability in a nutshell. I applaud all you writers out there who are willing to step into the arena of writing with vulnerability and look forward to reading some of your work. Even when we share different views the courage it takes to ‘write naked’ is immense and nothing short of humble bravery! Wishing you luck on you ‘naked writing’ ventures!


Donna’Lee Irwin
Founder & Writer of www.mercyandmight.com

  

*Sidenote: If you really feel passionate or curious about writing a vulnerable piece of work but don’t have the right platform to feature it, follow these guidelines and consider submitting to another platform where it will be more relevant. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

10 Ways Personal Reflection can Break Through Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block can strike at any time, but it does not have to be the duration you may have experienced in the past. When something isn’t working in your writing session, you may not know immediately why that is, but you can take it as a sign to take a moment and reflect. 




That reflection can break you through in these 10 ways:

1.       It can reveal favorable and unfavorable situations.

In times of busy-ness and stress, it becomes harder to write on demand. This is because exhaustion is crowding in and when you sit down to think, everything on your plate rises at once and becomes overwhelming. No wonder it’s easier to do a mindless chore or a writing assignment you have less stock in. In contrast, you can think of times when writing has been a delight and thoughts arrived so fast you barely had time to write them down. What was that setting and those circumstances? Introducing those elements to the schedule you’ve taken the time to strip down to the essentials will reconnect you with your muse.

2.       It can identify sources of inspiration for you.

Reflection makes connections between what serves as inspirational process for you  -- things like taking in arts and culture, reading, being in nature, and spending time in great discussions & points out what takes it away – stress, tiredness, and spending time without inspirational input. You can adjust your intake accordingly.

3.       It can break down self defeating thoughts you are giving room to.

When you speak out loud the things you are thinking you will quickly see which are unkind. The unkind thoughts to others we are more quickly repentant of, but the ones to ourselves we can be guilty of letting slide for far too long. Unless you are channeling that angst into a character study in which you are okay with your readers privy to all that, it will serve you much better to identify and shut down the negative self talk, and come up with a fictional account of why your character is feeling the way he or she is. It will be a much faster process without the inner naysayer around.

4.       It can make room for creative thought.

Creative thought comes through play, and spending time spinning “what if” into a proper yarn. It takes time and it is worth it. Through creative thought your story line will take a new direction and excite you. That will buy you more writing time. It’s not hard to make yourself write when inspired.

5.       It can rejuvenate you and connect you with your why.

Reflection is a deep breath of intellectual fresh air. The things you know to be true bump up against that which you’ve been taking in from the world and reflection brings them out in new ways like discussions, allegories, and artwork. If artists didn’t take time to reflect, they couldn’t give to the world like they do. Write and share what you have to share.

It can give voice to what you want to say.

Reflection brings to the surface things that you have been dwelling on. One of the best pieces of interviewing advice an editor ever gave me was to ask the questions I myself wanted to know. Usually everyone else is wondering too. Research the things you have been spending time on. The same approach can be taken with fiction themes to explore, settings and cultures you enjoy, etc.

7.       It can counteract your excuses.

When you are reflecting on the falsehoods you are telling yourself, also be on the lookout for excuses. Excuses fight against your underlying intent. Finding out what your excuses are means instead of being confused as to why you are out of time, tired, at day’s end, and still don’t have any writing done; you will have an action plan to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen tomorrow.

8.       It can remind you of past successes.

You know you can make your writing happen because you’ve done it before. When a story poured out of you, a reader connected with you, an audience member laughed, or someone left a comment on your blog – that experience can be repeated again, and again, and again. It is a possibility every time you introduce your writing to the world.

9.       It can birth your vision.

Writing brings your observations, dreams, insights, and stories to the world. It also can serve to impact your day to day living as you build a readership and develop your platform. Earning from your interest in writing buys you more time to explore it. It can go as far as you care to take it.

10.   It can clear away the distractions.

Distractions are part of our everyday experience, but reflection removes them consciously from thought process and makes room for focus. Focus can be used for story developing, scheduling, planning, and content producing.

The next time you are experiencing writer’s block, think of reflection as the tool that can beat it. You already know what you know. Take the time to remind yourself of it and your writing time will benefit from the investment.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Writing Night In


The Weekend is here. And you’ve planned a writing night in. When an exciting night in involves a notebook and a pen, you cannot deny being a writer. It may be the reward for a week’s worth of day job or if you are already working as a freelance writer, working on your pet fiction project may be the reward for writing the business copy that pays the bills all week. 



This is an opportunity to really make some progress on what you’ve been dreaming about, but it also can go by really quickly and make you wonder if you set out what you meant to accomplish. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to make the most of your writing night in.

Here are five:

1.       Know what you’re going to work on.

If you approach your writing session with the project in hand and perhaps a few notes on it, you will fare far better than if you have a few options to work on and none decided ahead of time. Splitting your time between planning and writing is fine if that’s what you’re intending, but don’t let your writing time dwindle because you’ve failed to plan.

2.       Set the stage.

Give yourself an experience with some favorite food and drink and a great spot in which to write free of distractions. Clear out the paperwork you could be dealing with, library books that have yet to be returned, and close the drawers that need to be organized. These are things that can be done tomorrow and your writing is here now. Enjoy it.

3.       Decide what success looks like.

You know whether your goal is to outline your novel’s chapters, develop a plotline, write a pre-determined number of words, or sit and write until the timer goes off. Decide what success looks like to you and stick to it. Once you’ve achieved what you’ve set out to, you can continue to work in the stream of momentum you’ve created or stop and celebrate a successful writing session with something else.

4.      Plan to debut your work.

Having someone to show your completed work to by email or over coffee the next day means you will have the verbal affirmation of your show and tell and their feedback. This will cement your practice as a positive activity and make it all the more likely there will be more of them. Meeting up with a fellow writer means you can give back as well by providing feedback and inspiration. A give and take brings a new source of momentum into your process.

5.       Make plans to do it again.

Examine if the writing session worked as you’d planned. Did the time work? Setting? Did you have the right sized writing tasks picked out for the time allotted? Being realistic and adapting your future plans on the experience of this one allows for improved process each time and a more enjoyable experience.


The writing life can take many forms. Even before you are bringing in income for your writing, you are a writer. You write, therefore you are a writer. Planning your writing sessions and executing them are what will allow you to improve your craft, have work to show editors and agents, and publish independently or under contract. If you have writing questions you want answered, leave a comment below or email everydaywritingcoach@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Have You Found the Right Platform for your Writing? 4 Ways You can Know.

If you've been writing for any length of time now, past the stage where you're only writing for yourself and onto the one where you are connecting with your readership; you'll be aware how much time promotion can take.
Ideally your sharing platform will be easy to access and in line with your message but there are so many options. How do you know you've found the right platform for your writing?







Whether you are a blogger, a storyteller, or a business or technical writer, here are 4 ways you can know you are connecting with your readership in the most efficient way, leaving time for content creation.

1. You have a few readers. 

Don't worry if the number is not up there. You can grow your reach by using any number of virtual tools or promotional strategies. Growing your readership is a combination of regular output and being of service to your readership. Give them a reason to come back and they will bring their friends.

2. You are being consistent.

Whether in posting regularity or genre or niche expertise, your readers know why to come to you first. If you can help your readers consistently by entertaining them or assisting them with their own writing enterprises, you will train them to come back to you for content and inspiration. Look at you! Making a difference!

3. You are spending the bulk of your promotional time on one medium.

Maybe two. Or channeling your main blog or website message through links on other social networking sites (buffer or hootsuite save you time here) But don't try to master all of the social networking avenues at once. It will be hard to keep up the pace. Better to shine on one site and be share worthy.

4. You are growing in confidence and picking up new skills.

Within each social marketing medium from blog hosting sites like blogger and wordpress and website hosting sites like webs and wix and platforms such as twitter, pinterest, facebook, and instagram; there is much to learn and benefit from in terms of strategy.

google the words author, promotion, and [insert your favorite social media network here] to find helpful articles like this one

Do you have anything to add or want to share your blog or website with nothisplace readers? comment below.