Every writer has to begin their journey somewhere. In fact, every person in every type of career, artistry or other accomplishment had to begin at the beginning. And just like a child learning to walk by attempting to stand over and over again, the child finally succeeds and rejoices in the new experience of overcoming an obstacle, or checkpoint. A true human element we can all relate to.
Getting outside the box
For the purpose of this article, let's look at challenging yourself in writing. No matter if you're just beginning to freelance, are a highly established blogger, an accomplished author or even somewhere in between, we can all challenge ourselves to attain higher goals and enrich our writing experiences. What this means is gradually--or constantly, whatever motivates you properly--putting ourselves outside the cozy little box of our comfort zones. Whether you think about it or not, you are building confidence with every little baby step success you achieve.
Fear of failure is of course an insidious, complex emotion we all experience in our lives sometime or another. Often, we let it get the better of ourselves and stand in the way of our little successes. But that's just it, we let it dictate our failure, when it doesn't have to. It's frankly as simple as a matter of choice. Believe it or not, we choose to allow fear into our minds and destroy the universal flow of positive actions and reactions which occur in our daily lives. We were given free will, the ultimate human element above all other creatures on this earth. Use it wisely.
So how do we apply this to writing? Accept or apply for an assignment that perhaps requires slightly more knowledge or experience than you think you have. Set a daily/weekly/monthly writing goal which is important to you and your writing journey. Customize each challenge to a reasonable size or level, because somewhere deep inside that head and heart of yours, you have to believe you can do it. You will most likely surprise yourself with how quickly you adapt to your goal with each one you attain. Then commit yourself to achieving a slightly bigger goal the next time around, the sense of accomplishment will motivate you more and more to get outside of that comfy box, or at least build a bigger box.
• Make a choice/set a goal
• Challenge yourself
• Celebrate the achievement (no matter how small!)
• Rinse and repeat
This concept can work with just about anything in your life that you want to experience or achieve; a new job or career, weight loss, even better relationships. The point is to challenge yourself so you can receive the reward. Regardless if the first or twenty-first attempt isn't as successful as you'd like it to be, the point is you at least took the first step...then the second and so on. Maybe the challenge is to make the initial decision of what it is you want to achieve. Great! The first step can sometimes be the hardest, so be sure to celebrate accordingly when you've reached that decision. Utilize these steps in such a way as to shed the light on the path, and the path will open up for you one day--or one challenge--at a time.
I haven't done much promoting of my bookshop here lately, if ever really, as somehow I thought the two wouldn't crossover. But I wanted to make an exception for one of the categories in my shop called The Writer's Corner. It's where I feature books and other helpful tools for the fellow writer, specifically.
Although not as heavily stocked as some of my other categories in the shop, I opted for quality over quantity. But I wanted to bring special attention to the gorgeous Stephen King Desk Calendars featured here. These hardcover, spiral notebooks are top quality, include tasty tidbits from King's books, films, articles and more. It doesn't even matter that they are from previous years, when you see how inspiring the layout is, it won't even matter. These calendars are no longer made, and are rather difficult to find, especially unused.
Below are a few photos from the inside of these calendars, just to give you an idea. Hopefully these will pique your interest enough to head to the bookshop and check them out. And bonus, everything in the shop is 30% off with code GIMME30 until further notice. Enjoy!
A recent internet outage has prompted me to laugh in the face of adversity by doing my daily writing by hand. Oh the shock and horror! Now, being an avid personal journal writer, I am quite used to lengthy handwriting. However, in this internet age, some of us may have fallen out of the habit. Well I'm here to tell you to pick up your favorite writing instrument and write! Even if just for an hour or two, I suspect that at least some of you will find great pleasure in it. The hours will easily slip by before you've noticed (or you run out of ink or perhaps develop a severe cramp in your writing hand).
In the most surprising revelation, I found that the words were flowing almost effortlessly across the page. Was it a spark of inspiration? A spike of caffeine and sugar? Nope. I believe it was simply the familiar act of hand writing which allowed a direct connection between my brain functions and thought processes, and executing them as fast as my hand could write. Or maybe it's just the sheer lack of distractions; incoming emails, social network updates, impromptu research and countless other minutia which chip away at our attention spans while 'connected' to the internet.
With only a steaming cup of tea and an iPod on shuffle as my 'distractions', I have to admit I feel less encumbered by the sheer vastness of all that the internet provides when writing from a computer. Maybe this is why Stephen King writes on a word processor instead of a computer. There is something very freeing about hand writing, as if suddenly a new world opens up.
Which is curious because on the internet, new worlds essentially are opened up before our eyes. Ok, ok, so I do have my iPhone handy to check emails and what have you, which I won't lie, is comforting to know I'm still 'connected' without the confinement of being chained to a computer.
But I digress. This article is supposed to be touting the advantages and pleasures of handwriting.
That it somehow becomes a more personal act as well as a physical one. Typing is indeed a physical act also, but your hand isn't actually altering a tangible item like a piece of paper. Maybe it's just more romantic; the idea of writing away while sitting in a park under a tree, or cozily holed up in your home with fireplace blazing, a snoozing kitty at your feet and a steaming cup of cocoa (or beverage of your choice) by your side, all the while looking wistfully out the windows of your sprawling estate... Well, you get the idea.
Whatever the motivation, writing by hand can without argument bring you closer to your work--less detached than watching the words from across the screen of your computer. There is something deeply satisfying about looking down at your handiwork, knowing this is the result of your thoughts, man-made, not by machine. Even if it's just fleshing out ideas, outlines or sites to research at a later date.
Handwriting is without a doubt an art form, a craft to be honed like any other. Give it a try to see if it changes the flow of your words for the better, or at least gives you a different perspective on the effectiveness of your own methods of writing. But I challenge you, fellow writer, to not lose the gift of handwriting. Remember, it doesn't have to look pretty when it's for your eyes only.