On writing

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We have lived in a construct, label-based, boxed-in reality, which is based on dualities, contrasts, limited choices based on ‘either this or that’, needing and having to influence others to agree with what we believe is the truth. Let me tell you something. None of it matters, it is just a story that had been created, told and designed to enslave and control, since the creation of ‘humanity’. We all fell for it, we all were born into it whether we had a choice or not. By the age of five most of us would have lost, rejected, supressed or moved away from what we intrinsically knew was true and unique for us. The price of conditioning into a programme has been high for us all with no fail, generation after generation. This has been applied to every aspect of human life. Writing is no exception.

You would have seen, heard, read and experienced the idea of writing needing to be an act of suffering, sacrifice, deep emotional pain. People approached it from that point for a long time with many deciding to check out through ending their lives, as the belief of ‘unless you do it this way, it is no good and you are not worth anything’. You all read things like, which are still circulating everywhere today ‘the first draft is shit’, ‘unless you go through the bad stage of struggle, you will never produce anything worthwhile and good’. Nonsense! Have you ever written poetry or anything just using your intuition, or experienced something that writes itself through you effortlessly and in a state of flow. That feels easy, soft, beautiful and very true to our hearts. Forms that come out perfectly on the paper with no need to word count, time watching or anything else. It is true creative flow. The way one writes cannot be separated from the way one lives. If that is so ask yourself a question ‘How do I live my life?’ How do I value myself, my time, what gives me meaning, etc. The list of questions is endless and can be attended to consciously and continuously if things are called for change.

One thing that we must understand is this. There is absolutely nothing bad in an expression, nothing. We cannot continue labelling our writing as good or bad. It is not this or that. It just IS. Whatever is being expressed by an individual cannot simply be labelled bad. We do it to ourselves fearing that if we don’t others will. Detach from what is a label, construct that one must struggle to create something good. It is just an illusion. All that matters is an experience of writing, an experience of a creative expression and, therefore, life itself. When you create you tap into life literary, therefore it can never be bad. How can it be bad? Labels are an intrinsic part of the programme that somehow values and focuses lack, unworthiness, suffering on purpose almost and so on. Sounds like we all have a choice, the thing is we always had a choice even though we didn’t think we did and, perhaps, as children we don’t have depending on the family we came into, but as adults we certainly do have a choice and a right to change things to what feels good to us. Writing is a unique expression, just like paining, playing music, crafting or anything that requires a different type of flow to how we are told the flow should be. There are no should or musts. All you have to do is recognise that this way of writing is what prevents the flow in the first place, what stops from your own voice being heard and blocks enjoyment of the whole process. Drop it all, create an anomaly in life and in your writing and go with that with deep belief that anything is possible when expressed without having to attach to labels, external opinions or anything else that creates a friction within us when we do it. We all felt that often.

My writing process so far

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I am near the end of my first-drafting a novel journey and learning, growth, inspiration and genuinely rich experiences that have come out of it so far are bursting out of me. I didn’t have specific expectations going into this process of what it is like to start and complete a work of fiction. All I knew that it was time and I needed to do it. I have written non-fiction and poetry before and writing fiction has proven to be a very different experience. Poetry was a unique, completely spiritual and intuition-based experience and non-fiction is something that I enjoy and approach with a different attitude. I enjoy experiencing and researching and putting my findings into words. I have learnt a lot about myself as a person, as a writer, as a woman undertaking a novel writing and many things have been re-affirmed for me. I have a bit longer to go and currently taking a break and reflecting on the journey so far. Many writers would relate to some of my lessons, I am sure, as I found hearing the old wisdom coming through with each experience I was having and nodding my head. I have read and listened to many authors’ lives and experiences by this point. Many nuances of the journey are my own, and unique, however, and finding a personal creative path and voice, to me, is absolutely necessary and the most exciting part of the process.

Here is a summary of things that I have learnt so far on my journey of writing long fiction:

You will hear this many times and it is a life-saver advice for sure. Do not edit as you write. Just write without going back and editing and re-writing. Keep moving forward. Editing comes later on. The first draft (there will be many) is just telling a story to yourself. This will help you progress, eliminate doubt, self-critique, etc., which is not what the first draft about.

It is possible to write anywhere, anytime and allowing for a needed process on any given day to unfold is important. Nothing should be forced. Drop preconceptions, unhelpful advice, expectations put on yourself or through others’ experiences. Do it your way. Daily I would make a decision where I wanted to write and on what device depending on how I felt. I experimented a lot and it was so interesting. For example, I asked myself or rather tuned into my feelings on the day what feels good whether it is my sofa with a laptop in the middle of afternoon or would it be on my phone while I was out for a walk or as my regular set-up at my desk in the morning. More often than not I just knew what I wanted. Intuition again is your friend no matter what you do. When I first started I wrote early in the morning every day and it worked wonderfully for me. I am productive and eager during mornings, but as time went on I allowed myself to experiment with other devices other than my desktop computer and other places. I also found the second spurt of energy or a clear space in my head often appeared between 2.00 and 3.00pm in the afternoon, so I took that. Another way for me to write that transpired was in the evening with noise going on around me, TV in the background and people in the room. I wrote on my phone a lot. At the end it was wonderful to know I could do it anywhere, at any time. I also feel that when it comes to the editing stage that is where my handwriting will come in. So far I haven’t used it in this process.

Things can’t be forced and breaks are allowed and you will know when you need a break. I went through days when I felt upset by what I was writing, or my character would hide away from a conflict that needed to happen, or towards the end I just didn’t want to think, read, write and do anything. It all happened. It took sometime before my story began living within me and characters really came forward. Then there was another period of time before they started communicating. Becoming aware of the characters was great and it helped me progress as they took over and story began to be told through their wishes and needs. I gave over control and proceeded according to what characters were saying and how they would answer questions I would ask of them.

I love, love, love intuitive downloads or inspiration flashes, as many would call it. When it comes it comes in this complete, clear form and writing is easy. This happened to me during this process too and I was glad it did.

I enjoyed setting a schedule and managing my time. It plays very well into productivity, results and increase in your writing speed over time. It is good and I found writing something every day is a great tool no matter how many words and in however many sittings. Focusing and commitment are definitely very important parts to a writing process. A balance between order, structure, routine and intuition/inspiration is a winning combo.

I learnt that I do not enjoy making things up when I intentionally do it (intuitive writing is a different thing) and prefer writing non-fiction on the whole, but this might change over time as I experience fiction writing more. I trust it will become clearer and for now it is too soon to tell.I am a visual, sensory that needs to see, touch and smell ‘a scene’, ‘an image’, etc. before I can talk about it. This is probably quite common. You can’t write what you can’t see clearly is true for me.

During my process I had a critique group going where the beginning chapters were being reviewed. I found it helpful, motivational and helped me self-reflect. Criticism is good and healthy.Reading on writing is very helpful and so is reading books in your genre. I finally understood the importance of reading in order to write and writing in order to know what your reading preferences are. Again, I came to a conclusion that I like a particular genre and prefer reading non-fiction.

Writing as a therapeutic process. I started this project with the intention of it being for myself, as a process of learning the craft, releasing a story that had been waiting for many years to be told and putting something to rest. I did just that through my heroine’s voice and her intentions she re-defined her journey and told me a different ending to the one I conceptualised before. Changing the ending of something is very powerful I can tell you. At the moment though, as she is very satisfied with how things ended and she loves it she doesn’t want to go back and look over parts of the story that still need her attention. So partly, I wait and partly I employ some tools to convince her to tell me more. Writing a novel is a great opportunity to re-write the ending of whatever story you might have been holding on to for whatever reason. It is also therapeutic because you are finding and using your own voice either as a narrator or through your characters. You hear yourself for the first time, as I did. It was revelatory and strange, but again, powerful.

Alternating writing with a physical activity, walking in my case, always walking, works for me. I would write for two hours and then I need to get out. Switching up activities kept the routine going and just felt containing and balanced.

This one is more for the future, as I plan my next step and it is beginning to write as ideas come through, not putting it off. Writing continuously is important in order to improve the craft and define your voice more with each book or a project.

I found the process incredibly rich, fascinating and so inspiring on many levels that I can say I am in love with the process, not necessarily with my book or the idea, but the process itself. It opens up so many avenues for growth and improvement and makes self-awareness and aspirations for the future clear. It is an organic and alive process too, which, if allowed to unfold and live, will bring a lot more insights.

Image: a mock cover for my novel that I created with a few others and found it helpful in my creative process. Goes back to the point about seeing things in images. 

Writing reawakened

Writing gives me this rich, luxurious, extremely pleasant feeling that buzzes through my arms and into my fingers (just like magic does when I am in that dimensional self) and then the feeling settles right in my heart and in my throat and everywhere in between those areas. For those of you who are familiar with chakras you know what I mean about the heart and the throat areas. I think it is a simply perfect alignment and manifestation of the whole thing what is writing for me. Encapsulates its meaning wonderfully.

I can not tell you just how incredibly grateful I feel to have tapped into this dimensional self that had always been there but asleep for sometime now and this summer it’s reawakened. It happened amidst difficult silence that came into my day-to-day when suddenly clients disappeared, things got easier around me and I was staring into an empty space uncomfortably and then boom, it washed over me like a familiar scent. I never grounded it before, I realise now, and just kept it in my awareness but not engaging in any way other than observatory. This time it feels different as the feeling is very present and every day it is reaffirmed and amplified like a beacon of light that is shining from within. Truly wonderful experience.

This coming September I am planning on releasing a book of poems and I am excited to speak the words of my heart into the world. This is what my soul wants and I know it well and the last few months it has all been about what my soul wants. It is going to be my precious gift to my soul, to my craft, everything and everyone I love and the universe that I have experienced differently lately. The main heroine of the whole undertaking is, of course, Scotland.

What a roller coaster but at the same time it feels such a grounded something that suddenly slotted into place. Divine timing they call it and I am so on board with that.

I look forward to more writing magic that is here to stay.

Intuition and writing 

Intuition is invaluable when partaking in writing. Something I am becoming aware more and more as I write more. It often feels similar to magic when you simply know what tools to use, how and when and results just come together. It is the same with words, which come when one is tuned into emotions in the moment. It works when there is no overthinking and spontaneous leaps are taken in narratives. For sure you edit and edit and more edit as you progress but that initial expression is often the most powerful, in my experience. Some words seem to come from nowhere and that is so exciting to me when writing. The same applies to scenes and characters.

Just like I would intuitively know what oil to use with what candle and what Goddess/God/deity would support my work, I sometimes hear words coming out of me which happen to be just right for what I am writing about.

My tip is not to think, but to feel and listen and free write. I also recommend free associations as often as possible with images, nature scenes, trees, seasons, just allow for whatever is called for to come through. I think it stimulates and trains your imagination. It feels like magic and your intuition is your magic, your inner knowing that offers what is needed when it is needed.