4. Only Write/Writing Abundance, Connecting

Fourth in a projected very long series and future info product whose name is still under consideration (hence the dual titles above).  For background on what's going on, read this post. You might also want to read about the Writing Abundance system that this series is going to cover in depth.  You can do that here.  All of the posts will be readily available in the sidebar to the right, at least until I introduce it as an info product.

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So, in the previous post in this series, we (or more to the point, I, but never mind) talked about the importance of connecting with something bigger than yourself, the divine without, which is truly the divine within.  Today I want to talk more about what a consistent connection with Source, however you define it, leads you.  And that is to an abundant writing practice.  The seven practices of Writing Abundance are foundational practices that will facilitate a prolific and prosperous writing career, as I like to call it.

Thus, let us talk about abundance.  Specifically, your definition of it.  And my definition of it.  Abundance has become an overused watchword.  Everyone wants abundance in every aspect, except for too much fat on our bodies.  Right?  What the experts and gurus will tell you, and what I've discovered is correct, is that abundance is a mindset.  This is true when it comes to writing, and when it comes to finances.

For instance, many's the time we've lived an, ahem, hand-to-mouth existence.  Or paycheck-to-paycheck life.  Call it whatever you want.  I'm sure many of you can relate.  Its when there's just enough money to pay the bills (hopefully) and if you're lucky, there's some left over to live on.   This has been my normal for longer than I care to admit.  However, last year my mother died and left me a small amount of money.  Emphasis on the small.  But it was enough to create a cushion.  Some padding around us so we didn't have to watch every penny.  To me, this was abundance. 

And guess what?  I loved it.  Still do.  I don't care what anybody says, life is better when you have some money to do what you want.  All that stuff about money not being anything?  Pure baloney, designed to keep you in your place.   Money surely isn't everything, but life is way more fun when you can do at least some of the things that you want to do. 

But the most important thing I've discovered is that this abundance is a mindset.  More than anything, it is about how you feel when you get up in the morning and proceed through your day.  Do you prance through it lightly and happily or trudge heavily and slowly?  Feeling abundant can make the difference.  And guess what?  You can teach yourself to feel abundant.  You just have to identify what it feels like to you so that you can return to it at will.

Writing is no different.  Abundant writing both stems from and creates a mindset.  Think about how you feel when you've had a good writing session.  On top of the world, right?  In love with the world.  In love with every single little thing in it.  Married to amazement.  Astonished at the beauty and joy you encounter in your day to day life.  Achieving this feeling is probably one of the reasons you write.  I know its why I do.

My idea of writing abundance--the process that propels me to this feeling of being in love with the world--is simple.  It is putting it all on the page, without hesitation or stopping or getting distracted.  Alan Cohen, a wonderful self-help writer, has a saying: give it all up and get it all back.  I love that saying because I know its true.  And I love to apply it to writing:

Give all of yourself on the page, and get what you dream of back.

And, of course, what you dream of can be personal satisfaction, a prolific writing career, a best-selling novel, searing memoir, engaging creative non-fiction book, published short stories or articles, a career as a journalist, a popular blogger....you name it.  The dream is yours.  All you have to do is put words on the page, one after the other.

So if you have an image--your image--of what an abundant writing practice is to you, you can keep it firmly in mind as a touchstone for everything that you do.  It becomes an underpinning, the constant drumbeat to your days.  The thing you strive for because you know its the most important thing.  Stands to reason, then, that a good way to establish that touchstone is to write about what abundant writing means to you.  Write it in detail, with every blessed sense evoked.  Where are you?  How do you feel?  What are you working on? 

Go write it out right now.  Set a timer for 15 minutes and just write.  Put it all on the page.

And then come back here and share it with us. 


3. Only Write/Writing Abundance,Connecting, Continued

This is the third post of a projected very long series and future info product whose name is still under consideration (hence the dual titles above).  For background on what's going on, read this post. You might also want to read about the Writing Abundance system that this series is going to cover in depth.  You can do that here.  All of the posts will be readily available in the sidebar to the right, at least until I introduce it as an info product.

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In the last installment, I talked about the importance of connection.  Connecting with supportive friends and family, connecting with your readers, connecting with other writers.  But most importantly, connecting with something bigger than you--the universe, source, the divine, your ancestors, a plan to save the world.  Think about it: God (if you believe in God, and most people believe in some variation of God) created the world, and so when we create, we are then most in his image.  I first ran across that thought in Julia Cameron's book, the Artist's Way, and I've been totally enamored of it ever since.

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Or, think of it this way: why do we write?  Well, for most of us it it to share, in some way or another, who we are.  The best writing gets way down to the deepest essence of ourselves.  Some might call it our highest selves.  And I believe that that higher self is connected with every single thing in the universe, including God.  So when we are writing, theoretically all we have to do is call upon that connection to the universe to access that higher self and put it on the page. Conversely, when we're not writing, when the stories are piling up inside us, we're denying our divinity, and invalidating the very essence of who we are.

And that, my friends, is why connecting is so important to the writer.  Connecting means being open to receive, take what you get from that openness and connection, transform it and gift it back to the world.  When you open the channels to receive, you open mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  You are open to abundance, both in words and financially.  So, it will behoove you to find a way to regularly connect that is centered specifically around your writing.  Here's the basics, again:

1. Ask

2. Be open to receive

3. Act on what you get.

Easy, no?  I've even designed a movement by which you also get the body into action, always a good idea.  So stand up from your computer where you are reading this,  shake your ya-yas out, as we used to say, and let's do it.  You can also do a mental version of this same movement if you are at your desk and don't want people to think  you're nuts.  Then again, many writers often work alone, so it shouldn't matter.  Get your butt up, it will be good for you.  Here we go:

--With your arms at your sides, take three deep breaths. Slowly raise your arms above your head and feel the opening to the divine. Breathe deeply and feel the connection to your source; as you place your hands together and pull them down to your heart center imagine abundance, light, energy, and creativity pouring into you and filling your entire being.

--Now as you move your hands out from your body, allow that abundant creativity and energy to shine outwards into the world. Breathe deeply as you imagine your wonderful ideas, creations, and writing being shared with the world.

--Gently circle your hands around and bring them together again at your heart center, as you feel the energy of that abundance returning to you in gratitude, people reading and appreciating your work. Feel how their love fills you up again.

--Take a couple deep breaths as this new energy fills you up and linger for a moment on that feeling of fullness and abundance.

--Once again, feel the opening to God as you move your arms upward to the starting position and direct and share that abundant energy with your higher power.

--Repeat two more times. Do this movement every morning as part of your prayers or meditations. It’s great to do as part of stretching or your yoga practice. You can also use it as a focusing technique during the day, when you are transitioning to a writing session or you need to refocus after a distraction.

It is that simple and yet also very energizing.  It can be cleansing, too, a good thing to practice when you are moving between projects.

That's it for now. On Thursday, we'll talk some more about various methods of connection that you can use to support your writing habit.

 

 

 


2. Only Write/Writing Abundance, Practice One: Connect

This is the second post of a projected very long series and future info product whose name is still under consideration (hence the dual titles above).  For background on what's going on, read my post from Monday. You might also want to read about the Writing Abundance system that this series is going to cover in depth.  You can do that here.  All of the posts will be readily available in the sidebar to the right, at least until I introduce it as an info product.

On Tuesday, I began the series with a post that talked about choosing paper and pen.  Whether to begin with tools or the first foundational practice of connecting is always a bit of a toss-up for me.  Generally in workshops I begin by talking about connecting.  However, each foundational practice includes exercises to play with, because, dahr, this is a writing program.  So it seemed logical to discuss the importance of finding paper and pens that you love.  But then again, maybe it's not, because nobody ever called me logical.  Crazy, yes.  Right-brained, yes.  (Often the two are confused.)  Now that we've gotten that settled, let's get going. Hands_prayer_praying_267345_l

The Importance of Connecting

The first foundational writing practice considers the importance of connecting.   I start out talking about connecting because I believe it is the single most important aspect of becoming a prolific and prosperous writer.

What do I mean when I talk about connecting?  It is actually a multi-faceted practice, and includes:

•    Connecting with the work
•    Connecting with other writers
•    Connecting with family and friends to gather their support
•    Connecting your work with the world

However, far and away the most important connection you will make is the one you cultivate with God…or the universe…or source…or creator…or a higher power…or the divine.  Call it whatever you want, establishing this connection around your writing is vital. 

Why?

To me, connecting with Source (which, for the sake of simplicity is the term I am going to use throughout) is one and the same with connecting with your higher self.  And your higher self is the source of all true and authentic writing.  In this way, connecting is about being open to receive, take what you get, transform it, and gift it back to the world.  This is really what writing is all about, no?

But we writers like to make things difficult for ourselves.  We struggle with our passions, fight with our muse; close down our connections so that the words won’t come.  It’s enough to send us fleeing from the page.  And then, instead of realizing that all we need to do is open up the connection again, we blame ourselves.  We tell ourselves we’re not good enough, not talented enough, don’t have the discipline to be writers, aren’t pretty or handsome enough (as if it mattered!).  We let that stupid, know-nothing critic come in and dominate the party.

The origin of story and voice is deep within and of course it comes directly from our connection to Source.  The thing is, in that connection to Source, you will find everything you need: truth, beauty, ideas, creativity, motivation, passion, you name it, and it will be there.    All you need to do is ask.  Really, what we are doing when we access our creativity is accessing our connection to Source.  In this way, writing is the most profound of spiritual acts.

And in these spiritual acts are the levels of awareness where stories rest.  They are also where voice and style are formed—they are your deepest essence, your true, higher self.  It is this voice that we want to draw forth and put on the page.  The goal is to show up at the page, get out of the way, and let Source guide you.  Connecting is centering, a way to get to know yourself—and Source—both of which are vital for writing with integrity and truth.

But how?

That is what we'll cover over the next few days.  So stay tuned.  And feel free to write about how you connect in the comments.




1. Only Write/Writing Abundance: Just Begin

This is the first post of a projected very long series and future info product whose name is still under consideration (hence the dual titles above).  For background on what's going on, read my post from yesterday. You might also want to read about the Writing Abundance system that this series is going to cover in depth.  You can do that here.  All of the posts will be readily available in the sidebar to the right, at least until I introduce it as an info product.  And now, with all that being said, let's get going:

Starting With ToolsFountain_pencil_writing_238392_l

To begin, we start with tools.  Now, here's the deal: the best thing about writing is that all you really need is paper and pen.  The worst thing about being a writer is that all you need is paper and pen.

Why do I say that?  Because sometimes I long for a profession that has more tools to it.  Think of all the great equipment painters get to play around with.  Or architects.  Or construction workers.  Sometimes I think that if writing required more tools, it would make it easier.  Then if the words didn't come, we could blame it on a rusty saw instead of an addled brain.

Alas, such is not the case.  All we really need is paper and pen.  Or pencil.  Yes a computer is pretty good, too, obviously, but its not a technical requirement.  And for me, when I'm flailing in my writing, I return to the basics of paper and pen.  Which is why I choose my few tools carefully, and you should, too.

I have a thing for pens, for starters.  Have to have just the right one, the one that feels right, or the words won't flow.  The pen that feels right varies from day to day, too.  The one that is perfect on Sunday may not work for me at all by the next Friday.  But most of the time I go on pen kicks.  I've been on a fountain pen kick for quite awhile now.  But sometimes I find a pen at the grocery store I like and use that until I get bored with it. The point is to find a pen or pens you love and buy them by the bushel because you'll need them.  Pens have an annoying habit of running out of ink.  They also disappear.  I'm convinced that somewhere there is an alternative universe built entirely from lost pens, the stray socks that the dryer eats, and all the Legos my son lost when he was a little boy.

Notebook_agenda_schedule_260757_l And then, of course, there is paper.  Ah, journals.  Just when I think I'm totally in love with Moleskines and will never, ever, ever use anything else, some lovely flowery thing presents itself to me at an office supply store and I buy six of those.  And then there are legal pads.  And notebook paper.  I love it all.  But what I choose to write on at any given moment has to be right for the project I'm starting.  (I'm really not quite as neurotic as all this sounds.)  Sometimes I want to keep all my notes and ideas together in a journal and sometimes I want the space a legal pad provides.

All this is by way of saying that the few tools we get are important. So treasure them.  And choose them wisely.  Buy a journal and pen that you love.  Or if you adore writing with pencils, do it.  Get the pen that has the right heft in your hand so that you pick it up and just feel like writing.  Because now it is time to....

Just Begin

All you really have to do is pick up your pen and write.  Just that.  Nothing more.  It is that simple, and yet we make it incredibly hard.  I know this, because I make it hard all the time.  I think that I don't know what to write about, what I want to write about, or what I should write about.  Sometimes when I pick up my pen and journal, nothing comes.

And yet...

All you have to do is start from where you are now.  Stop.  Sit down.  Pick up your pen and paper.  Look around you.  And begin.

What do you see?  Write about it.

What do you really see?  Write about it.

What do you really, really see?  Look closely.  Look at an object as closely as if you were drawing it. Write about what is right in front of you.  All of it.  Every blessed thing you see--the stain on the floor and how it looks like Harold from Harold and the Purple Crayon, the translucent dried leaf on the potted plant, the elegant mien of the woman in the black and white striped cardigan at the table next to you.  Or the way the sunlight strains through your studio window.

Geneen Roth talks about the state of being married to amazement, which is a line from a poem by Mary Oliver.  And that is what writing about what's in front of you will do.   Writing about the pattern of veins on that potted plant's leaves will have you gasping in awe at the beauty of this planet. Writing about what's in front of you will create amazement about every aspect of your life.  Washing your hands, you'll note the feel of the cool water and the sweet smell of the vanilla soap. Writing this way makes you begin to notice things.  And if you can begin to notice what's in front of you, you can begin next to put together a poem about it.  Or a short story.  Or it will lead to an idea for an article.  Maybe even a novel.

In this way, we write.  And all you have to do to get there is just begin.

On Thursday, we'll get into the first foundational practice that will turn you into a prolific and prosperous writer, connecting.  So stay tuned!