Posts Tagged fear

Breathing Deeply…

 © 2013 Carolyn Moore

© 2013 Carolyn Moore

It’s obvious I’m a Northerner. I crave the sun. The shutters are wide open, inviting the uplifting light to warm the house as well as my soul. My mind envisions sunbathing and my body longs to go running. I don’t want to miss a second of gorgeous daylight. It’s about 20 degrees too cold for the casual walker to be out. For me, anything above thirty at this point in winter is welcome respite. I’m a Jersey girl at heart though, through and through, enduring the winters, loving the spring-summer-fall transitions, needing the city-country connection. Florida humidity just isn’t my cup of tea. Yet.

I’m so happy to experience this much sun and warmth in March! I don’t mind that bursting outdoors will have to wait till I am fully spent creatively. My butt is firmly planted. Mornings are my creative time but I do have to discipline myself daily not to succumb to distraction. I struggle with maintaining a steady output of words because I love research, brainstorming, reading, and encouraging others. I could spend all day just discovering and posting encouraging quotes and articles from others to stir up my friends.

But that wouldn’t serve the words I want to share and after a several decades of life, I do realize what I have to share matters and is worth something. We all do. Our stories are important; evidence that as humans we have so much more in common than we ever could imagine. Each unique personality paints a compelling masterpiece illustrating that we are not alone in our fears, our successes and failures, and our tragedies and triumphs. People connect through story. They heal; they grow bolder; they reach out to others who need stirring up.

All we have to do is show up. Be vulnerable. Try transparency. Risk everything. Serve your calling to create. Look past the possibilities of embarrassment, failure, ridicule. Sure, all that will probably happen occasionally, but those experiences serve the greater purpose – for growth and to serve others. If you’re not committed to a set creative time each day, make a decision to do it without self-imposing restrictions that hinder – just do it (oh, so Nike, but so true!) Creativity is not about being perfect – make a leap!

What stops you from a daily creative practice? Stir up others and share!

For a little extra inspiration, try a dose of Eric Maisel, creativity expert and author of Creative Recovery. An excellent online course at en*theos Academy – Your Best Life in the Arts course, also by Maisel.

Create joyfully today!

– Carol

© 2013 Carolyn Moore

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The Energy of Revision

I suspect that my friends in the local writers group cringe every time they hear me say the word ‘revision’ or ‘editing.’ I’m constantly sharing my perspective as well as articles, tips, and quotes on the process of revision.  I’ve become a big fan since I decided that perpetual procrastination (which allows for minimal reflection) was not producing a quality of work that I desired. It’s taken about 30 years to reach this point.

In high school, revising was not promoted. You did the work; maybe did a little editing for grammar and spelling and then submitted the project. It was graded and the process was over.  In college, the process was expanded somewhat, but it really wasn’t until I was working on my senior project to complete my BA about three years ago that I really understood the significance of revision.

Everyone loves the creative process especially when it’s a day that words are just flowing from your fingers to the page. It’s new and exciting. It’s the first time those words – the feelings, the colors, the smells  – are in a tangible form that can be shared with others. It’s a cathartic experience full of ups and downs, new adventures, and discoveries about our characters and ourselves as writers.

Revision, by comparison, sounds like drudgery.  Correcting verb tenses, tightening up sentences, deleting unnecessary modifiers, and perhaps deleting a finely crafted section of our masterpiece. It’s this possibility that makes the revision process seem so heinous – suggesting perhaps in a perfect moment of spontaneous creativity that a sentence or a paragraph or a scene, even, may have been created only to be thrown into a void.  Could something that is written in this perfect state not be necessary to further the story?

For that senior project, I spent a year writing and revising the first 100 pages of a novel. I learned that the revision process has an exciting energy of its own. It’s quite different from the energy of creation, but equally is creative and just as important. It’s not just about grammar and spelling or verb tenses. Revision is a stage of listening, gauging, questioning, and evaluating.  Instead of being in my character’s shoes, I’m now walking by her side making sure she’s following the path that is truest to her nature. I’m listening to her voice to be sure that it’s genuine to her personality and observing her actions for authenticity. It’s like falling in love again with your story from a mentor’s point of view instead of a participant’s.

And I learned through 365 days with these words, that even if there is such a thing as the perfect sentence – there will always be others and that holding onto an awesome sentence when it doesn’t further the story is pretty silly. I highlight and delete at will now. I don’t even copy and paste the words to a separate file anymore. There will be other words; other sentences.

Revision is about breaking free from the fear that you’ve already put down all the good words you have about a story.  Revision allows us to stop and reflect, observe, and commune with our characters and themes. It’s the time to make that fine detail even finer; the voice even stronger; the ideas richer. A time to develop as a writer.

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