Dare to Dream, Part 2

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Last week we looked at ways to begin on the path to daring to live your dream each and every day.

TO RECAP:

First, think about what it is you want.

Step two: what is your passion?

Step three: choose ONE ITEM.

Step four: make your dream in some concrete way.

Step five: define the time each day you will spend on your dream.

Step six: think of ways that you can start to move toward your dream.

In continuing, let’s look at how to make each day a path to your dream.

Step seven: stay on tract. Sound easy? This is the point where many writers stumble. By nature, the actual act of writing is often a solitary pursuit. Below are some ways that might help you to stay with your dream. You don’t need to do each one, which might be overwhelming, as you want to have time for your own writing, so check out ones that appeal to you. This is not a complete list, but some ideas that many writers take advantage of in following their dream.

Writing Buddy

Having a special writing friend or buddy is a good way to make sure that each of you follow your individual dreams.

A few weeks ago, I posted here about having or finding a writing buddy. You can find the post here:  https://liveyourwritingdream.wordpress.com/2010/04/10/do-you-need-a-writing-buddy/

Writing Classes/Workshops

Take a class or workshop. Take one of each! Use them to expand your horizons and to stretch yourself in some way. These can be used to help keep you motivated to moving forward with your writing.

Local Writing Group

Consider joining and participating in a local writing group. This is a way to find writing friends and support. Many such groups also have critique groups associated with them. No group in your area? Consider starting one!

Online Writing Group

You might also benefit from a writing group that is based online. This group might have more flexibility and fit better into your busy schedule with the online format. You may have to give several groups a trial run before finding one that meets your needs.

Networking

Become involved in a few places online that offer activities and support for writers and includes editors, publishers, agents, and others on the business side of writing.

Writing Conferences

These are good places to network, meet new writing friends, and for learning.

Writing Goals

If you already have writing goals to move you forward, consider breaking them down in such a way that you do something each day that works toward your goals and your dream.

Mentor

A mentor might be a published author, or someone in the publishing industry, who is willing to talk to you occasionally. Feedback may be given on various aspects of the writing life. The mentor might be willing to give feedback on your writing, but this can be time consuming, and might not be part of the mentoring.

Mastermind Group

A mastermind group can become another support system. With the right group you might find new perspectives, have built-in accountability, and help for where you need to grow.

Step eight: The June Pep Talk!

This is your dream and you don’t need to explain it or defend it. Take ownership of your dream and do whatever you can in moving toward it. No one can talk you out of it. You are in charge.

Stay around positive, focused people, others like you who are bound and determined to get where you want to go. One trait that successful people share is: persistence. Never give up and you are half way to reaching your dream.

To follow the path to your dream, you must be willing to commit to change. Yes, this is about being willing to make changes in your life and in yourself. You may have challenging days, but keep focused on your dream. Change equals growth.

Believe in YOURSELF! Dare to believe – and to dream.

Question for today: Again, I DARE you to share your dream. What will you commit to today to move you closer to your dream? I double DARE you!

Best Wishes,

June

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Dare to Dream, Part 1

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Do you have a nagging feeling that there’s something more you might be doing with your writing? Do you dream what it might be like to live the life you know you wish for?

NOTE: If you already know what you dream of doing, skip to step four.

So let’s get started! First, think about what it is you want. What do you care about most in the world? What things do you think most about? Make a list. Put anything and everything on your list that comes to your mind.

Step two: what is your passion? Most of you reading this might say: writing or something related to writing. Either way, make a second list of everything you are passionate about. Review your list and mark your TOP THREE passions.

Step three: review the second list and choose ONE ITEM. Can’t decide? Think about this: if you knew that this was the LAST DAY of your life, which of the three passions would you focus on?

Step four: make your dream in some concrete way: write about it, do a picture collage to show what your dream looks like, or find another way to make this REAL, to define what it is you want: talk to your writing buddy or a special friend, draw or paint what your dream is about, or make a list of feelings that you would experience.

Step five: define the time each day you will spend on your dream. This could be as little as three minutes or as much time as you wish. WRITE THIS DOWN: “I will spend ____ time each day working on my dream. Keep this with you at all times. Keep other copies in places you will see throughout your day: your bathroom mirror, beside your computer, on the kitchen table.

Step six: think of ways that you can start to move toward your dream. What can you do TODAY to start you on the way to your dream? THINK: “I have ____ minutes to do something that will help lead me to my dream.” What will this be? Maybe you decide to make a list of stories you want to write. Maybe you spend the ten minutes writing a new story or to work on an existing one. Maybe you write the beginnings of a plan for what you would do with your ten/twenty/sixty minutes a day that you will devote to your dream.

NEXT TIME: How to make each day a path to your dream.

Question for today: Now it’s your turn! I DARE you to share your dream. What can you do today to move you one step closer to your dream?

Best Wishes,

June

Being Open to New Ideas

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“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put thing in it.”

— Terry Pratchett

One way to create ideas for your writing that might take you and your readers in new and powerful directions is to practice keeping an open mind. This is a tremendous resource for any writer, one that is often overlooked. And yes, this might involve some risk taking on your part. (Don’t worry. I’m not talking about death-defying acts.)

Why is risk taking a good thing for a writer? Let’s call this building a foundation, a way to expand our horizons, to take a step off the cliff of what we call “life.”

When you are willing to take a risk, your mind is open to new possibilities. These risk takings and open mindedness are ways to move your ideas and your writing to new levels. When you are receptive to new ideas – new ways of seeing and doing and being – your stories and characters can move in directions you might not have considered before.

So, how do you work to keep an open mind so that you can take some risks with your writing? Here are some possibilities.

If you’re a talker, take some time to sit by and LISTEN to others. If you’ve mainly a listener, try asking a few questions instead of just thinking about them.

Every day, find a situation where you can learn something.

If your inner voice/critic is telling you that you are always right or wrong, refuse to listen to that voice. This is a way to keep you from learning. Don’t listen to that voice in this case. If you hear this inner voice/critic coming after you in this way, fight it away with QUESTIONS.

Listen to music that you’ve never experienced before.

Read a book that you wouldn’t have imagined you would possibly read.

Eat some new food.

Practice failing. That’s right – FAILING. And no, failing is not a waste of time or energy, because how else are you going to learn what works for you and what does not? Remember: Risk involves the possibility of failing.

If you don’t keep a journal, start one. To begin, focus on new ideas, new ways of being, and risks. See where this leads you.

Learn meditation, Tai Chi, which is often described as “meditation in motion,” or something else you’ve always wanted to learn, but haven’t. Now is the time.

Nurture your creativity in a different way. Draw, compose, paint, write poetry, play in a sand box, make collages with things from a nature walk, etc. Expand your horizons.

For your writing life, try the following:

Rewrite a section of a story from the POV of a nonhuman character.

Take a story ending and rewrite it three different ways from the original.

Pick a story idea and write a list of “what ifs.”

Take a scene from a story that features your protagonist and rewrite it as if the main character in the scene is a villain or antagonist.

Pick a previously written scene and drastically change the age of the POV character. How does this impact the story?

Take the beginning of a story you’ve written. Give it a new setting and a different mood.

Choose a scene where the POV character is reacting to some situation. Rewrite the scene with a different reaction.

Question for today: How might you keep an open mind to new possibilities? Share your plan!

Best Wishes,

June

Starting Your Story with Dialog

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The beginning of your story should:

Enthrall the reader

Carry a promise of things to come

Show – don’t explain

Not be too complex.

One way to open a story is to use dialog, which can accomplish one or more of the items mentioned above. And I’m not necessarily talking about a CONVERSATION, but a line or two of dialog. This is a device which can be used to move into some other active part of the story.

Many might say that dialog shouldn’t be used to open a story because you don’t know the character or the setting. And yes, if you continue with dialog – a conversation – you might leave the reader behind. Just keep in mind the four items above when you open with dialog. Move into other story elements that will fill in what’s going on for your reader, at least at a minimum.

Use your dialog wisely. Make it work for you. Have it tell the reader something about the character.

EXAMPLES

Start with something that is active.

 “Stop that,” Mary said, slapping at Tim’s hand.

Turn a character emotion or problem into dialog.

“I hate small, dark spaces,” Julia said, huddling close to Sam.

Your opening dialog might also give a hint of the conflict.

“I can’t give you any more money,” said Joanie, her eyes not meeting her friend’s.

Try keeping a list of single lines of dialog that might make good story openings. Listen to dialog where ever you go. Jot down lines so you don’t forget them!

Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Night Pleasures begins (Chapter 1): “I say we should stake him to an anthill and throw little pickles at him.”

If that line doesn’t raise questions in a reader’s mind about what’s going on, I can’t imagine what would. Besides setting up a quirky situation, it lets the reader know that the character saying this is imaginative and maybe a bit quirky also.

Remember that when you draft a story and move to revision, that your story opening might change and change drastically. That’s the nature of writing and revising.

Question for today: Do you have a favorite story that begins with dialog? How does it work in that story? What else does it do to help create a good opening? Post a line of dialog (and include a few words of character action if you wish) that you think would make a good story opening. Keep the entire sentence (dialog and any tag and / or character action) to 17 words or less.

Best Wishes,

June