Opening Mind Writing Workshops

Join me every other Wednesday night at ShareSpace at 533 Fifth Street in Santa Rosa for exciting creative writing games and exercises. This is a place to explore and share deep thoughts and passions, ideas and inspiration. I offer stimulating games for writers and prompts from my work-in-progress, Writing Through the Year. I’ll also share all the writing tips and bits of craft I’ve picked up over the years.

Let’s build a creative space and publish fantastic work together. Eventually, I’d like to build an after-school program for children and folks of all ages, a literary community with mentorships, writing projects and public readings!

Next workshop: Wednesday, January 6, 7:00.

Suggested donation: $20.  No one turned away for lack of funds.

Sharing Dreams

cropped-cropped-picture4-001-e1396110305511.jpgWhat would the world be like if we were to all share the same dreams, if we all had the same nightly visions? I’m not talking about dreamers being able to interact, but simply experience the same narratives on the same nights. A series of six dreams, alternating light and dark in emotional content. After the sixth night, it begins again. That is the premise of my novel-in-progress.

Would it be a unifying force for the world? Would you believe it indicated some unifying message for humanity, lessons we could follow? Or would it be more sinister, a kind of controlling, homogenizing force? What if these were lucid dreams, and people could control of make new things of them within the shared framework? What do you think?

A Thorough Process

How do you maintain the balance between passion and precision in your writing? For me it takes a four-step process. Having a process I can follow, something to rely on when the words refuse to come, when my mind feels numb and sluggish, is essential. The specific process you choose will, of course, be individual to you, as long as it works.

My Process:

  1. Write longhand. I love the feeling of the pen tip on the paper, watching the physical marks appear on the page. I love how fast I write this way, thoughts pouring out in a river across the page. It’s a metaphor, sure, but that image deepens my process.
  2. Type it in. I’ll naturally correct, add, and delete as I go, crafting and shaping the raw words and ideas from Step 1.
  3. Print and edit. Now, from a reader’s point of view, I pore over my manuscript, marking it up, filling in any missing details, crossing out extraneous verbiage and dead end thoughts, sharpening each dull word.
  4. Type it in again. Now the passion of the process starts bubbling again as I rediscover and heighten my original intentions while intermixing the ideas I generated as I edited, uncovering new perspectives and honing my expression.

This process may go through many cycles depending on the project’s scope. The writing becomes an internal dialogue, a series of logical leaps and bursts of passionate insight.

How about you? What’s your process?

My Day in Longhand #4: Dipping Into the Prize Chest

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In my work with children and teens, I’ve found extrinsic rewards helpful in promoting a sense of play and excitement. After a session of difficult reading comprehension work, or a barrage of sensory cognitive stimulation for more accurate reading, who wouldn’t want a bit of a reward, a dip into the Prize Chest?

For me, writing in the morning, in the predawn stillness as the sky turns azure and blazing orange over the Victorian next door, the smell of robust coffee wafting about the kitchen, is its own reward. But when I come home from seven hours of remedial language processing work, nearly as drained as my students, I definitely appreciate incentives for my writing, when rewards of renown and remuneration seem so distant. So I’ve decided to give myself small incentives for working on my novel, for advertising workshops,for writing these blog posts.

It might be a stop at a coffee shop on the way home from work, a song download, or even a five minute dance break when I get to jump out of my seat and bounce around like a monkey, rock out to my favorite dance track, and just let my body go wild and free. Sometimes, as writers, we need to let ourselves go wild and indulge.  Schedule those indulgences. Write them down and track your progress toward your goals, giving yourself fun along the way.