Revisiting Writing Abundance: 7 Practices of the Prolific and Prosperous Writer

Fruit-market-barcelona-64943-lIt's Mercury Retrograde until November 10th--that wonderful time when computers and phones go wacky, travel plans go awry, and the technology gods sit back and laugh at us. 

And yet, it is also a time for re-orienting yourself, when any and everything that starts with the prefix "re" is good to focus on.  So, reconnecting (seen a few old friends you've lost touch with again recently?  Me, too.), reorganizing, reviewing.  You get the picture.

In this vein, I've been revisiting an old system of mine in advance of possibly turning it into a signature program, wherein each of the seven steps would be studied in depth as a way to catapult your writing to new heights of productivity.  Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

Okay, so here goes:

Writing Abundance

7 Practices of the Prolific and Prosperous Writer


This system grew out of my own writing career. People constantly ask me how I can be so prolific as a writer. Further, they often marvel that I’ve created a truly satisfying writing life for myself. I write for clients and I write for myself, and one way or another, you’ll find me writing something every day. After being constantly beseeched to give up my secret, I finally sat down and took a good, hard look at what I do. I realized there’s no one secret—there’s seven of them! The seven practices are each process-oriented, things that I do regularly to enable my writing. While the practices work well when done step by step, it is not required. I prefer to think of them as a spiral or a series of ongoing activities. For instance, you may get stalled during the practice of creating and realize you need some inspiration, so you return to the practice of connection. Or perhaps the block is serious enough that you need some help in clearing it. Writing Abundance is a fluid, flexible system that will enhance your ability to put words on the page. Here’s a brief introduction to the seven practices. 

Connect—Writing is communicating, and to do that we need to connect. It is vital to connect with other writers and talk craft. It’s also imperative to connect with family and friends for support. It is also important to connect with clients and readers, of course! But most important is to establish an ongoing connection with a higher power. Call it God, the goddess, Allah, Buddha, creator, or the source of all that is—but please call upon it. Establishing a regular meditation and or prayer session will do wonders for your writing.

Cultivate—Successful writers have cultivated the mindset of a writer. This means we (continue reading the rest of this article on my blog) are constantly on the alert, and constantly taking in information and inspiration for our work. Writers observe details large and small, view our world intently in order to be able to describe it, listen carefully to write believable dialogue, and read voraciously to see how other writers do it. Then they write all of these things down in a journal so as not to forget. All of these are part of the practice of cultivation.

Conceive—A constant flow of ideas is vital to the writer. Who are we without ideas for our work? How are we to write stories, essays, articles, novels, and books without first coming up with ideas? Ideas breed like rabbits, and the more you have, the more will come to you. I’ve developed some amazingly simple ways to keep the ideas coming!

Clear—As writers, we need to get very clear about who we are, what we want to write, and how we want to write it. Limiting subconscious beliefs can keep us from reaching our full potential as writers. Say, for instance, you keep wanting to write but never quite manage to get to it—you may have a block which prevents it. We’re lucky to live in a time when there are many effective energy modalities we can use to easily do this.

Create—Finally, the time to put words on paper has arrived. You put your fingers on the keyboard or pick up the pen….and nothing happens. For this practice, I’ve gathered sure-fire techniques to get the words flowing across the page. Some of them include easy and fun ways to prep and outline your work before you get started, which is one of the secrets to block-free writing.

Correct—Ah, now there’s a C word some of us have learned to fear. But correction—critiquing, editing, rewriting and revising—is the real meat of writing, where you dive deeper into the true meaning of your work. You, too, can learn to love the practice of correction.

Ceasing and releasing—All good things must come to an end, even your beloved writing project. Yes there comes a time when you must release your baby out into the world, without ego or control, and let it be what it is to be.

So what do you think?  Did I miss anything?  Are they in the right order?  What are your best practices for prolific writing?

Image by einahpets.


The Fine Art of Cultivation

The sun slants in my office window, turning the leaves of the orchids on the desk translucent.  Purple_orchid_flower_30860_l Though the glass, I see a thicket of dead branches with a small brown bird hopping through it. The tips of the bamboo plant wave in a stiff breeze.   Further out are the roofs of neighboring houses, barren of snow now, and beyond them the dark green silhouettes of pine trees in the brilliantly blue winter sky. I hear the snores of my pug, and the whirr of the garbage truck as it makes its rounds.  The furnace clicks on, then off.  My computer hums. 

Those are the sights and sounds that I see and hear from my office this day. 

Not terribly earth shattering. 

But vitally important.

Because an integral part of being a writer is learning the fine art of cultivation.

Cultivate.

Which means, among other things, to:

--develop or improve by education or training, train, refine

--to promote the growth or development of, foster

--to devote oneself to (as an art or science)

I like to apply the word to cultivating the writer's mindset into your life.  Cultivating is one of the key practices in my Writing Abundance system, because it underlies everything we as writers do. Such as:

Observing.  But not just casual observation.  Deep observation.  Really looking at things, so that you can go home and write about them later.   Looking at the different kinds of noses people have, or the way the sky looks right before a rainstorm.  Imprinting these images on your mind so deeply that you can call them forth when you need them while writing.

Listening.  Instead of eagerly waiting for your turn to speak, try really hearing what the other person is saying.  A fine ear for dialogue is an acquired skill, and it is a handy talent for all kinds of writing.  But beyond how things are being said, there's this: what, exactly, are people talking about? What are their concerns? Story ideas galore abound in the dailiness of life.

Reading.  Words in, words out.  Sometimes the more I read, the more I can write, I think because I need to fill myself up with words in order to spit them back out again.  And then there are all the things you learn from reading.  A person could teach themselves to write solely by reading, and many have.

An open mind.  Ideas do not land in open minds.  The perfect solution for that problem you're having in chapter seven will not appear if you're so set in your mental ways that there's no room for new thought.  Stay open.  Read magazines on topics you think you're not interested in, check out a random book from the library, drive home from work a different way every day.  Maintain an air of avid curiosity.

Time.  The major bugaboo.  "But I don't have time to write!" I know, none of us do.  It sucks.  And yet, when we do somehow find time, flowers bloom, trees bud, the world opens to us anew.  If you cultivate time, you're never going to be a writer.  Period.

So, be a cultivator.  Cultivate the seeds of the writer's mindset and watch your work blossom as a result.  And tell me, what do you do to cultivate your writerly brain?

 

Photo by Thor, from Everystockphoto.