Writers have a lot of different tools in their proverbial toolbox. I don’t mean just pens, pencils, paper, computers, etc. I also mean techniques, like acrostics, flash fiction, and more.
Right now, I’m focusing on acrostics.
Just what is an acrostic?
The primary definition, according to Merriam-Webster.com, is:
a composition usually in verse in which sets of letters (as the initial or final letters of the lines) taken in order form a word or phrase or a regular sequence of letters of the alphabet.
Now you know what it is, but how do you do one?
Take a word, your name or “loved,” for example. Write it down the length of your paper, one letter per line. Vary the length of your lines. Don’t think about what the word means, necessarily. Here’s one I did last night:
Loyalty comes running, jumping
Over things, letting me know how
Very much I was missed.
Excitement and love as only
Dogs can give.
I have also done acrostics using variations of my name, my nieces and nephews, and other words as they strike my fancy. Some strike me as actual poems. Others, as exercises. There is no right or wrong way to view an acrostic. Keep it handy in your toolbox and use it from time to time. it can help you gain a new perspective on a familiar subject.
In light of recent posts about moving and procrastination and work, I thought it would be a good time for a reminder.
We are creative people. We have to have some type of play in our lives. If we don’t play, we don’t restore our creative well, as Julia Cameron calls it.
We run the risk of running out of ideas and becoming blocked. Playing keeps our mind and body more agile, more willing to take on projects, and more willing to try new ideas.
When you think you don’t have time to play is when you need it the most. Believe me, you won’t be the only one taking a play break. So will I.
I have a bad habit of making things harder than they have to be. That includes moving. I stall and procrastinate until I have no choice but to cram everything in boxes or bags and hope nothing gets broken.
This time, I didn’t have a choice. I stayed gone too long, partly my own choice and partly family issues. When it came time to move, I hadn’t packed anything because I hadn’t been there to pack. And add in the fact that I have mixed emotions about this move.
At times, I am happy about it. And at others, I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing. Above it all, though, I have to believe that I am doing the right thing. In the long run, it will prove beneficial to me and my family and my writing.
That’s really what it boils down to. I’ve been using other things as stall tactics to avoid finishing a big project. Once again, making things more difficult than they have to be. As I said in another post, I need to bite the frog and get it done. it won’t be so bad when it’s finished and i can breathe a sigh of relief.
Onward & upward!
This picture is a tree in Oklahoma City that I took with my Nikon CoolPix P510. After taking the picture, I applied the “painting” filter to it.
Every quilt has a story or ten. I write some of those stories to be used as devotions. Or I play teacher and write how-to articles.
She will be one of the first to tell you that she isn’t all that creative. I will be the first to say she is wrong. She is a great friend, sounding-board, and idea generator. She makes beautiful quilts and writes wonderful stories to go with them. She is also included in an anthology of romance stories, Romance – The Spice of Life.
And she tries to tell me she isn’t creative.
As freelance writers. you might be asked to submit pictures with articles. As amateur photographers, you probably want to improve your photography skills.
I learned about DPS approximately 3 years ago. I’ve learned a lot from them in the meantime. You get practical tips from them, but you also get tips that make your photography more fun int he long run. There is information and tutorials on photography itself, information about cameras and equipment, and “post-production talk.” I admit, most of what I have gotten from them has been via e-mail or Facebook, but after browsing their website a little bit, I’m definitely going to be spending more time there as well.
Note: This has been shared on the NWU.org website and on their Facebook page.
HEART & SOUL MAGAZINE SETTLEMENT
HEART & SOUL MAGAZINE SETTLEMENT
It appears that the NWU has a settlement with the publishers of Heart & Soul magazine (H&S). NWU first got involved in this fight in October 2011. H&S focuses on health and wellness issues for black women — unless, that is, you are one of the unpaid black women writers and editors who works there.
H&S will sign a confession of judgment and pay the writers in six installments. The first payment was wired to an NWU member owed half the total amount and facing imminent foreclosure. As a result, she will keep her home. Another payment next week will keep another NWU member in her home.
This is a big win and a good start to the New Year. It was made possible by the H&S writers themselves, who stuck together and kept organizing more writers to join the fight; the persistence of the NWU; and the UAW Legal Dept. closing the deal. As one writer said, “Thanks [to] the whole NWU team! Your work is invaluable. I’m renewing my membership.”
Last night, I had a bit of an epiphany.
An “Aha!” moment, if you will.
First, a bit of background: I’m legally blind. Among other things, I have difficulty reading small print, such as that in the Writers Market books. That does not keep me from buying them, though. Recently, I found they are also available on Kindle. Forget the fact that I already had a print copy, I bought it on Kindle, too, for the customizable print.
I cannot tell you how much easier it has made it for me to browse to the section I want and actually find what I’m looking for instead of giving up in frustration at the small print. Over the years, I have also tried the WritersMarket.com subscription, but it didn’t work well for me either, for different reasons.
I’ve had an article idea in mind for a couple weeks now. I’ve been dragging my feet on getting it sent out because I hadn’t researched where to send it yet and I didn’t want to deal with microscopic-to-me print. Last night, I opened up the Kindle version, quickly found the category I wanted, and read the listings relevant to my idea. I chose two and went to their websites (which I could have done on my Kindle, too, since it is a Kindle Fire) to read guidelines and sample issues.
One stood out, so I edited my query letter and sent it. (No, I don’t usually work that fast, but this was also a market that had been recommended to me and I had done some earlier preliminary research for that market.)
Where’s the epiphany, the aha!, here?
It’s more in the doing than anything else. Use whatever tools you have handy to make it work. (Think along the lines of Tim Gunn in the workroom on Project Runway: “Make it work!”)
A lot of my procrastination over the years has been directly related to the fact that I can’t really see well enough to use the tools that I had. Instead of admitting that, I used any number of other excuses to keep from doing it. On the occasions I did sit down with Writers Market, it was with a notebook and pen in hand so I could write down the information I found so I wouldn’t have to go back and re-read it later. What’s so different about doing that with the Kindle version?
That’s right. Nothing. And it’s more portable since the Kindle is lighter than the Writers Market paperback.
Now I just have to wait until the workday is done so I can do some more market research.
Today’s Tuesday Tip is about writing practice.
Yes, writing practice.
We expect athletes and musicians to have to practice. Why would it be any different for writers? True, we think that anyone can write, so there’s really nothing to it, right?
There are differing schools of thought on this. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, advocates writing morning pages, 3 pages of stream-of-consciousness writing first thing in the morning. Twyla Tharp, author of The Creative Habit, also encourages the use of morning writing.
Crescent Dragonwagon, during a recent Fearless Writing workshop in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, emphasized the importance of writing practice in a way that makes more sense to me.
When you get your notebook out, take the time to do the setting. This proves that you showed up.
For example, mine from last night looks like this:
Monday, 1-7-13, Mom & Dad’s kitchen table, 10:38 PM, day 38
Now you’re ready to start your practice, whether it’s stream of consciousness writing or making lists or just saying, like I did for two days, “I’m sick.”
When you’re accustomed to showing up, the practice will flow better and make more sense to you as you work through it.