By Janie Reinart and Leslie Colin Tribble
"There is no greater agony than bearing
an untold story inside you." ~Maya Angelou
A writer's got to write like a writer's got to breathe. What helps you settle into that chair and write?
This is a "What Wheel", my (Janie) favorite graphic organizer set up like a wheel with spokes. Print a copy. Set the timer for one minute, and fill in as many lines on the wheel as you can. Answer the question asking what you need as a writer.
We polled writers from the Grog and got these answers.
1. Set a time to write or write when and where you can. Many writers seem to need a set time in order to be productive - like getting up at 5 am and hitting the keyboard. Others are good at writing while waiting for kids at piano lessons, or any number of other activities. I (Leslie) need a block of time, say at least an hour if not more. I don't like just getting into the flow of words and then having to stop. Consequently, some days (many!) are just not suited to writing.
2. Select a place to write: a desk, a comfy chair, a coffee shop. I (Leslie) set up a desk in an unused bedroom and have been delighted to discover I'm actually way more productive there. I feel like I'm really working, so I work harder. If you're away from your writing spot but are whacked upside the head with the best idea in the world, use the voice memo on your phone to record your ideas. This is a handy practice to utilize while driving.
3. Chose something to eat and drink: water, coffee, tea, dark chocolate, and gum were some of the favorites. Todd Burleson rewards himself with chocolate chip cookie dough--not the cookies. Marcie Flinchum Atkins drinks green Kombucha tea, while Suzy Leopold prefers iced sun tea. I'm (Janie) in with the chocolate!
4. Wear your cozy fuzzy slippers and robe or snuggle in a fleece blanket in winter. What, you don't write in your jammies? Kids enjoy feeling cozy. Kid writers should give themselves permission to feel cozy while crafting for those snuggle bunnies.
5. Everyone likes colorful supplies including: paper, journals, colored pens and pencils and lap tops. Suzy Leopold's writing tool box has markers and highlighters, colored index cards and post it notes. It seems like most writers harbor a secret desire to own a stationary supply store. Next time you're drooling over the newest Sharpie, ask the similarly excited shopper next to you if they're a writer. Kindred spirits in the pen department. Go on admit it. Who else has a notebook and pen obsession?
|Use a primary journal as a book dummy.
6.Many mentioned a dictionary, thesaurus, rhyming dictionary or synonym finder, bullet journal, scribble book, flip dictionary, idea journals, books on the craft of writing, and stacks of picture books. We'd love to hear which types of resources you use.
|Hockey mate and Pam Vaughan
|Grandmommy Janie and Joey.
7. What does a writer need when they get stuck? Pam Vaughan likes frequent walks and runs, but for a great mental break plays hockey. I enjoy bird watching and reading to my grandchildren. Leslie gets outside for a walk with the dogs to get the ideas flowing again.
8. Some writers like silence, while others like music. Patricia Toht listens to theme music pertaining to what she is writing about.
Just as we all write on different subjects for different age levels, we all need differing commodities to get us into the flow. At your next writer's meeting, ask the members what they need or use to help their writing along. You might find an idea that works well for you. After all, we all need to write that untold story inside us.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on what you need to write. Leave a comment. Maybe we'll find a treasure for ourselves in your ideas!