#productivewriter 4 – write a letter to your writing

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Writing into the Dream – a six-week experiment in becoming a more productive writer

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A quick recap:

Week 1:  Write every day. Write something. Every day.

Week 2:  Encourage your writing self.

Week 3:  Schedule your writing.

Last week we said, schedule a specific time this week to write.  Whether you have been writing for 15 minutes a day or 90 minutes a day, make this scheduled time longer.  Let’s compare notes on how that went.

What I learned this week

Wednesday morning was the time I blocked out for my writing for my writing.  Strangely enough, as I went through the week and Wednesday was approaching, I discovered I was looking forward to it.

Wait – what?  I was looking forward to my writing?

I do enjoy writing … much of the time.  But, to be honest, having to write can feel like a burden at times.  Confession:  at times I even dread writing.

What if I write terribly?  What if my writing is boring?  What if I make no progress on a writing project?  That would feel like a waste of time.  And, perhaps, that would mean that I am not a “real” writer.

But instead I was looking forward to my writing.  Huh.

When Wednesday came I started my writing session.  I was hoping to write for 3 hours, and I did.  Yay!  I had worried about feeling bored, or discouraged, of simply not like writing.  But instead I worked on a couple of different projects, including my sketch-a-day project.  It was a good feeling when I finished.

How about you?  Were you successful in scheduling a block of writing?  How did it go?  Did you feel restless, or did you feel satisfied at the end of your writing time?  Did you notice anything else about this week’s topic?

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Productive Writer Strategy No. 4 – Write a letter to your writing.

Imagine your writing is something separate from you, something outside yourself.  This week I’d like you to write a letter to your writing.  What do you have to tell your writing?  Do you have something  you want to ask your writing?

Pull out a notepad, or open up your computer, and start writing to your writing.  The letter may be a written message to your writing (“Dear Writing:  I’m trying to understand you more.  Why do you…?”).  Or, it may be a dialog between you and your writing (“Me:  What do you want to be, writing?  Writing:  “I’m not sure.  I know that I want to be creative, imaginative, and fun …”)

Why?  It has been said that writing is about finding what a piece wants to be.  When we feel uninclined to write, or we feel our writing is dull or not as creative as we’d like, it can be helpful to open a dialogue with your writing.  It can be helpful to find out what your writing wants to be.  – Rather than what we want it to be.

This week, try going back to the “write every day” strategy.  Even if it’s only for 15 minutes, let’s write every day.  I’ve heard from many writers that the “write every day” strategy has been super-helpful for them, so let’s pledge to keep going on with that.

Write that letter to your writing!

Share your thoughts!

We are in this together!  Feel free to add a reply-comment about how your week went – what you learned, how you felt.  Did you make your writing appointment?  How did it feel?

Pingback:  https://theresabarkerlabnotes.com/2017/05/21/productivewriter…ing-your-writing/ ‎

As always, I wish you the gift of finding your own voice, and of enjoying your own creative expression.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Photo by Theresa Barker.

#productivewriter 3 | #productivewriter 2 | #productivewriter 1

30 thoughts on “#productivewriter 4 – write a letter to your writing

  1. I scheduled time… and then worked on a different project than planned.

    I discovered a call for submissions in my Twitter timeline: https://www.agoristwritersworkshop.com/
    It’s for fantasy fiction for an anthology… Check it out, maybe the theme will talk to you.

    I’ve reworked a story for it, though I’m only halfway there. (It’s a long short story – will probably be around 8k when it’s done, though it’s only 4k now. We’ll see.) I’m hoping to finish it by Wednesday and send it off to beta readers – mostly so they can tell me if it’s too much. The rules state they’re okay with violence, just not terrorism. I’m not sure I can see the difference anymore… And the theme for the anthology being about anarchy and other interrelated subjects might’ve pushed the dark fantasy story, mixed with current world events, over the line. sigh

    Maybe I should write a letter to this story. Though I’m sure the Furies will laugh and the Fates will cut the story’s line…

    I hope you have a productive writing week 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congrats on scheduling the time! I think it’s great you went with the thing you felt like working on – different than what you had planned. Although I planned the time, I worked on a few different pieces during that time, and not necessarily the “to-do” pieces I have on my desk. 🙂

      Gosh – good work on that story! 4K words, going to 8K? That’s amazing! I love your comment that “the Furies will laugh and the Fates will cut the story’s line…” That’s my kind of thinking! The violence/terrorism balance act does seem a little challenging. I’d love to hear what the story thinks it wants to be … I might try that same idea (writing a letter to the story) for a story I looked at last night and wasn’t just sure what it needs to really zing. Thanks for the idea! and thank you, as always, for your thoughts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Audrey and Tom, thank you for sharing your thoughts! It’s so encouraging to know that you’re moving forward with writing. I’d like to hear more about the realization you mentioned, when you get a chance. Were you feeling like you were self-editing too early in the process?

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      1. Hi Theresa. Reading your article moved us to thought about the discipline and importance of writing each day. Each of the what if questions you posed were going on in my mind. Then I disciplined myself to daily go to my writing spot and began banging the keys. Some days I would stare at the screen and nothing came out and if it did it seemed disjointed and then there were days that 8 hours later I walked away exhausted with joy. I made it a practice to not begin each new day by reading the previous days because then I would become critical or try to edit. At the end of each month I would go back and read sections and to my joy what I had wrote made sense and was in my opinion good. So I guess yes, I was self-editing too much and too early. This is where I used the term from my dry walling days of just keep throwing mud and shape it later. I just kept typing and let it take a natural shape. Your article is something that I wish I had read or learned earlier in that I was writing for the audience and that was a bust. When I started writing to self words flowed. This is why your post made sense to me. I hope this makes sense?

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      2. Oh! (Tom?) You are so right. I spent many many years being frustrated by the unpredictability of whether I could write in a session or not.

        I know other writers who say, “I have never had writer’s block,” but that is not me! I think, for me, there is such a sensitivity to doing things wrong, that is, when I spend time and attention on my writing, I’m really afraid what I write will be dull, or flat, or just not go in an interesting direction. That has paralyzed me in the past. I would think, Oh, I’m not a good writer, or I’m not a “real” writer, since I can’t get past this feeling of dread or suspension.

        Today, the one thing that I have finally learned, is the value of being kind to oneself and to one’s writing. I think that’s what you are describing that you discovered as well. You put away your pages and then when you came back to them, you had the joy of discovering they were satisfying after all! I now have a whole array of warm-up, or throw-away, or writing-prompt exercises that help me to be less critical of my writing.

        But the missing piece for me was also to ask myself what would be fun, or interesting to work on (in each session) – rather than forcing myself to work that novel, that story collection, etc. – the product goal. That has turned around my writing time from something I “need” to do, to something I “look forward” to doing. Which is a much better feeling?

        Thank you for taking the time to share your observations in your comment. I learn so much from other people’s perspectives. Keep going! 🙂

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      3. Thank you for sharing the frustration you felt because I too felt it and it became debilitating until I pushed through it. Its comforting when we learn from post like yours that its a real feeling. In all the books I read before starting to write I don’t recall any noting what you express so importantly and that is “the value of being kind to oneself…”. That missing piece you describe it what needs to be shared. When I began to practice it I once again began to look excitingly forward to banging the keys again. Thank you for taking time to give me insight in this wonderful new process that is so much fun!!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Ah! You are so right. Reading Victoria’s “On Writer’s Block” was an eye-opener – “inviting” your writer-self rather than dictating to your writer-self what to write, and in my case, taking it for granted when it did come up with something creative and exciting.

        After reading Victoria’s book, for a little while I even wrote little “thank you” notes to my writing when something wonderful came out. I don’t do that specific thing any more, but I do sometimes write a dialog between the “writer-self” and the “organizer-self” to ask what the writer wants or needs, how it’s feeling about the writing, what it might like to work on, etc. It’s odd how the two personas (writer and organizer) seem to come through with different voices, almost like real people. Strange. Anyway, it helps me get through the panic stage of “what am I going to write/I’m not a real writer” and into the more gentle stage of “let’s explore what we might like to write.” 🙂

        I agree that this needs to be shared – at least, I rarely see it in other “how to write” resources! Let’s spread the word! {smile}

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes… “what we might like to write” is important as it makes the process real and fun which is what its suppose to be I believe. It does need to be shared so others don’t feel alone in that awkward period of figuring it out.

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  2. You have such wonderful ideas. I have not been able to schedule any time for writing because I am rushing like mad as I cross off my to-do list, but the thought of writing a letter to my writing is very appealing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh! Luanne, thank you, you made my day with your lovely compliment about ideas. And, I love the idea of your writing a letter to your writing, knowing how inventive and creative you are. Keep me posted if you decide to do it – would love to hear if you felt it was useful. 🙂

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  3. I believe I’m still on track. ☺ I ended up pushing my blocked time from Saturday to Sunday though. Shopping and sleeping called. Haha! But, I wrote a lot and for hours. I even have a poem (Tanka and Haiku combined) from Daily Post’s daily prompt… then, I forgot to post it. 😂 Thank you for the encouragement and the guidance always. Hugs. 💖🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Miriam! You are unstoppable! I loved the flow in this, and since the topic of your poem was not water – it was being in the garden – I think the result was very interesting. For me, the repetition conjured a feeling of being there immersed in the experience of the garden – sipping the coffee, surrounded by lushness and flowers. I hadn’t thought about that – the effect of the repetition on the reader, relative to the poem’s subject. Thank you for posting this! 🙂

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  4. Hi Theresa – what an exciting experiment you have going here! Your strategies seem to be really motivating, inspiring and energizing so many talented writers. I wrote a short poem on Sunday. I only write creatively when words pop into my head and I never know when that will happen. I’m glad I created my non-crochet blog to post these surprise little ‘yarns’. I historically would jot them down on a scrap piece of paper which would be buried under other scraps of paper and eventually be forgotten. I know that you and Lyn have really inspired me to write more. 🙂

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    1. Ah! Tami! I’m so excited that you wrote a poem. That is really great. – and that you’re collecting them in a side blog – wonderful! I can’t remember if your side blog is open to readers, and if so, would you remind me of the link for it?

      Also, – thank you for your kind words about my ideas. It is huge when one hears from other writers that the ideas are inspiring for them! I suspect that your non-writing creativity is also boosted by all the ideas you encounter. When I read your posts I am also inspired by your writing voice. Thank you again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would love for you to take a peek at my poem! My other site is http://www.tanglewoodtapestry.com – the poem is my most recent post. I also have 2 very short stories. My husband is going to Jiu Jitsu camp for a week so I will be taking advantage of the quiet time to read your ebooks and reading Lyn’s work too! 🙂

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  5. Absolutely love these ideas, Theresa! They are so creative, and I will definitely keep them in mind. I must try this one – I really enjoy writing, and need to find more time to do so. Keep up the incredible work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you, yellowfuzzyduck! I appreciate you letting me know you enjoyed them. Have you considered writing a letter to your drawing? My son was an artist – and the reason I ask is that we often talked about some of the overlaps in the creative process between written and visual art. 🙂

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