Friday, July 13, 2007

Did I mention that last week I got a copy of A Writer's Coach by Jack Hart? It was recommended by Roy Peter Clark at Poynter Online. Since one of my goals for this year is to work on my writing skills, this was an easy call!!

Now this week I've been analyzing my daily schedule and thinking that it isn't working as well as I'd like. I want to try and switch things around a bit in what remains of this month and give a new schedule a real try starting in August.

What does the book have to do with the schedule? Simple. Part of the schedule will be to polish skills I've had in the past and add a few more. Spending 2 hours each week day seriously working at studying stuff. Writing will be one of those skills. Hence the Jack Hart book. (the other skills? Finally teach myself PhotoShop and become more comfortable with all the things one can do with MS Office).

This week, I've begun reading A Writer's Coach; think of it as part of my summer reading list for school. Just nine pages in, the book already has given me a clue that is starting to work. Hart wrote:
Nothing generates ideas like getting your hands on the keyboard...

Writing generates ideas by encouraging the kind of sequential, cause-and-effect thinking that leads your mind into new territory.
About the time I read that, I started searching blogs for posts about color. How do different crafters choose the palette they use in a piece? How do approaches differ? It's an interesting topic and will make a nice little post both here and on Blogher. And while I was reading for color inspiration, I found several other ideas: why do crafters craft and blog (what's our motivation?), what makes me envious of craft/art blogs (who has really pretty design features?), atleast 2 recycled craft projects.

This is a good thing!

While I have always been contracted to submit 8 articles/month to BlogHer, starting in August I will have to submit those articles on a predetermined schedule (every Saturday and Wednesday). While it won't be hard to comply, the schedule started freaking me out a bit. But thinking about Hart's suggestion to simply start the work and know that one thing will lead to another... I'm building a fine little reserve of ideas that I can grow into articles in small bits of time.

I'm also reassured that researching these topics will lead me to many others. Only nine pages in, and part of my life is easier already.

It's harder, I think, to use this technique for my daily blogs. When other bloggers slowed or stopped blogging in the last year, we talked a lot about how they stopped "thinking like a blogger." That ability to observe one's life like a third party and find the moment of magic that the world will appreciate? That's a much different talent to both develop and refine. My life at the moment is a fairly solitary affair which also doesn't provide much fodder.

Some bloggers will leave notes by their computer of small ideas that they plumb during dry spells. DebR. uses these notes for her Random Items.... Since I store everything online (notes are usually written in ScribeFox with any links I need right there), this would work if I remembered to enter items when I was working online. Alas, that isn't always a possibility.

Two techniques I've used successfully in the past were a)making myself take a photo each day and b)narrating my day to myself. Both of these techniques worked because they made me an observer in my own life. I've contemplating searching out a "creative non-fiction writing" class to help me find the groove again. But, who knows? maybe Hart will have a few more tips that get me moving in the right direction.

One thing that I know will help a lot: I'm getting an itch to do some more soy-wax batik and shibori work.

ToDo this weekend:

Continue working on my sewing project. Hopefully finish it up Sunday.
Weed gardens.
Measure family room for potential new sectional couch.
Walk dogs.
Start organizing/cleaning the drawers in the kitchen.

What will you be doing??

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

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