The Writer’s Journey

They say a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.  I often think of the writing process when I hear that old adage.  Writing can seem laborious when we proofread, edit, revise.  These are the mundane parts of the process. The joy, for me, is in the creation, but that’s only one stage of the writing process.

So try to enjoy the journey, and not just the final, published product.  Writing groups can help as you can share your writing with others and self-edit along the way.  Writing is an isolating activity and a writing group can help with the isolation.  You can also get helpful hints from fellow writers.

Readings can help also.  Reading a work in progress can help to get feedback and it also helps to hear your work aloud.  Samuel Butler says “I feel weak places at once when I read aloud where I thought, as long as I read to myself only, that the passage was alright…” The act of reading, line for line, can help the writer focus in a way that just rereading again can’t.

Photo by George Pak on Pexels.com

I used many of these “journey steps” to complete my collection of poetry that published earlier this year. Check it out:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

I blog on Thursdays and do announcements on Tuesdays. Follow me.

Writing the Landscape II

Now I am in Costa Rica for a good part of the winter.

The landscape is very different from the Northeast where I live for the balance of the year.

I love the pre-Columbian art here. I’ve shown you an example of one piece. These vessels, figures, tools are dated before the Spanish conquest of Central and South America. These art pieces date back to then Mesoamerican period, around 10,000 BCE. They give clues to the lives of the indigenous.

For me the beauty of the landscape and the local art inspire me. I may not be writing about beauty, or even Costa Rica, but the art gives me insight into the lives of the people, just as my stories aspire to give insight.

I recently published a book of poems about my partner who died of Alzheimer’s Disease. I hope this gives insight to others in contact with people with this disease. Also part of the proceeds of the sale of the book will go to the Alzheimer’s Association to help find a cure for this dread disease. Check out my book:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

Writing the Landscape

One thing I love about winter in the Northeast is the snow. This is the view from my back porch.

I love the quiet, the writerlyness of the whole thing. But how does this affect my writing? I wrote a collection of poems about my partner who died of Alzheimer’s. We had spent a lot of time in Mexico, so this landscape came into my poems:

“When I think of Oaxaco

I remember the Zocolo

where they sold pipa del agua

and chocolate dripping from paper cups.”

The setting just naturally came into the poem. Does this happen with you?

Take look at my collection:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

New Year’s Resolutions

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It’s getting to be New Year’s and the custom is to make resolutions. As writers, it’s important that we have goals. It’s also important to look back and acknowledge what we accomplished. Here are some of my goals for the upcoming year:

.to plant bulbs in my garden.

.to see more of my close friends in small combination

.to read more Japanese poetry

.to teach at least one poetry workshop.

.to write a longer narrative poem.

.to downsize and shed some clothing and books.

I may not get to all of these, and that’s ok, but it helps to have goals.

The feeling of having done everything one wanted is elusive. Accepting one’s limitations and shortcomings is part of the process.

I also look back at the year and acknowledge what I’ve done. I published a book this year about my partner’s death from Alzheimer’s Disease. I donated some of the proceeds to the Alzheimer’s Association. I also volunteered and taught a poetry workshop in haiku and tanka. I find a sense of calmness and accomplishment about these things. Check out my 2021 book:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

Getting Distracted While Writing

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It’s really easy to get distracted when you write, especially now that we’re all largely home working and there are phone calls, emails and housework all conspiring to take away the writing time.

The human brain takes around 17 minutes to refocus on a task after a distraction. Losing focus while in the middle of writing, can seriously damage the quality of your content. If you want your writing to be the best quality content possible, you need to get rid of distractions.

Disable all notification on your computer and put your phone on silent so that you do not get disturbed in the middle of a writing session.  Be disciplined enough to either do your housework  before you write, or better yet, delay it until after your writing session.

If you put your writing first, you get more accomplished and the quality of the content will be better.

During the pandemic I wrote a collection of poetry and had it published.  I did this by focusing.  Take a look at the book:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

Reading to Write

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At this time of year, I like to reflect on my writing, the drafts that did and didn’t make it to finals, publishing, and what’s next. I plan my reading at this time. For some reason, many writers don’t make a habit of reading for their writing. If you plan to write poetry, you need to read poems, for instance.

I read closely whatever it is I’m in the process of writing. If I want to write haiku, I will read the Haiku Journal or Acorn, as both publish many haiku. If I’m writing fiction, I read novels. And I read with purpose as I want to study how other writers handle the problems I am having. So, I recently read a young adult narrative, The Poet X by ElizabethAcevedo, to study narrative poetry.https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33294200-the-poet-x

I also read for pleasure and sometimes find mentor texts there as well. So, I recently read Kathryn Holzman’s, Real Estate https://www.propertiuspress.com/our-bookstore/Fiction-c18653063 for pleasure. This writer, who set her novel in the beginning of Silicon Valley, writes historical fiction. It helped me figure out how to write a historical poem.

I published a collection of poems earlier this year that encompasses a variety of forms and styles of poetry. Check it out at:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

I will continue to blog announcements on Tuesday and my writer’s blog on Thursday.

Journaling

A piece of writing begins with a germ of an idea, an inspiration, a straw dog. Some people use their journals to spark ideas.

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In addition to being a good starting point for a writer, journaling has other benefits. According to Leslie

Andrus-Hacia, a clinical psychiatrist Writing is a brain-based porthole leading to a balanced and calm

state of being … through writing, both right-and left-brain hemispheres communicate, synthesizing

information that ultimately results in greater mental coherence.”* Other benefits of journaling include

memory support and increasing communication skills.

I like to journal on my IPhone. I always have it with me and I loaded Microsoft Word onto it so I can

access the files from my IPad or MacBook. Whenever I get an idea or scrap of a thought, I enter it into

my Phone Journal. I review my notes once a week to see if there is anything I want to flesh out into a

poem. It’s a good system for collecting odd thoughts that otherwise would just escape you.

Sometimes those odd thoughts turn into your best work.

I published a new collection of poems earlier this year. Many were from thoughts in my journal.

Check it out:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

*Family Health and Wellness

The Writer’s Journey

They say a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.  I often think of the writing process when I hear that old adage.  Writing can seem laborious when we proofread, edit, revise.  These are the mundane parts of the process. The joy, for me, is in the creation, but that’s only one stage of the writing process.

So try to enjoy the journey, and not just the final, published product.  Writing groups can help as you can share your writing with others and self-edit along the way.  Writing is an isolating activity and a writing group can help with the isolation.  You can also get helpful hints from fellow writers.

Readings can help also.  Reading a work in progress can help to get feedback and it also helps to hear your work aloud.  Samuel Butler says “I feel weak places at once when I read aloud where I thought, as long as I read to myself only, that the passage was alright…” The act of reading, line for line, can help the writer focus in a way that just rereading again can’t.

Photo by George Pak on Pexels.com

I used many of these “journey steps” to complete my collection of poetry that published earlier this year. Check it out:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

I blog on Thursdays and do announcements on Tuesdays. Follow me.