I would love to feature an article by one of you. Meanwhile, here’s an article from my “handbook,” Poet’s Workshop – and Beyond, published by Alban Lake.
Adopt “Beginner’s Mind” when Writing
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s there are few.”
—Suzuki Roshi, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
Whether you’re a “new” or a more experienced writer—even a so-called “expert writer,” you’ve probably made more than a few New Year’s resolutions that relate to writing. These short and long-term goals may include the following: a renewed daily writing regimen; facilitating a regular weekend writing bash; creating a workshop series; attending a writing conference (e.g., such as the Southern California Writers Conference ); attending a series of readings or open mics; or spending more time in cafes with intriguing people.
Perhaps you’re already meeting your daily goals, and want to push the margins further. Sometimes these goals are more reasonable than others. For example, writing a novel in a month is reasonable when you have the assistance of Chris Baty and the NaNoWriMo to support your efforts. Revising it with what’s left of your vacation may not be as reasonable…
As writers, we are dedicated. Sometimes, however, even the proverbial “best of us” procrastinate and/or listen a bit to that inner editor (AKA ego) who is occasionally in a bad mood. One moment, our supposed “friend” tells us we’re sure to win the Pulitzer, while less than five minutes later it informs us (cackling like a demon, of course), that we might as well spend our time combing the administrative assistant want ads.
Of course there are long stretches of time when we’re “in the zone.” Isn’t that a wondrous feeling? While some writers are in that zone the moment they start typing or writing on their yellow legal pads, others have difficulty getting started.
Have you considered the possibility that each moment we write is an opportunity to begin anew? We can just “be there” with the computer screen, the legal pad and pen, allow our minds to flow onto the page. We don’t have to sit with preconceived notions, undue pressure, or the many voices of our internal editor’s coaching to tell us what to do, how to be, and so forth. It’s an opportunity to effortlessly expand our awareness through observing the mind “as it is” in that moment. It is also an opportunity to approach a story with the “what-if’s,” to reconnect with that wide-eyed curiosity that may have inspired us to write in the first place.
When you adopt the attitude of beginner’s mind, you are more open, aren’t you? It’s exciting, isn’t it, to invite a fresh approach, a new way of visioning—or re-visioning an existing or new project?
This is not to say that we shouldn’t have writing goals. It’s to say that maybe we’re holding our body/mind too tight by attempting to plot that entire novel before we begin to write it. When we work everything out ahead of time, is there still space for surprises, for an auspicious coincidence, for serendipity? Chris Baty, the NaNoWriMo camp leader, says it clearly in the title of his book: No Plot, No Problem.
Go ahead…do it now. Every moment or every day is an opportunity to welcome and experience beginner’s mind. Sit down and just write without worrying about where the novel or story or poem or article is going.
THE OCEAN BEACH WRITERS NETWORKING GROUP
Please Join an Awesome Group of Writers, Editors, and Indie Publishers et al at Te Mana Cafe THIS THURSDAY, June 23 – and it’s also my Birthday!
Here are the particulars:
WHO: Published and yet-to-be-published writers, poets, fiction and non-fiction writers, editors, copywriters, and content providers, indie publishers et al. Whether you’re a local OBcean, live in San Diego at large, or are “just visiting” the area, you are welcome to join us.
WHAT: The Ocean Beach Writers Networking group for serious professional writers.
WHERE: Te Mana Cafe on Voltaire, between Cable and Bacon in Ocean Beach.
WHEN: Every Thursday from 12:30PM-1:30PM.
WHY: To connect, share resources, referrals – and more!
Please be sure to thank Te Mana’s owners, Marguerite and Jason, for welcoming us. Check out this awesome menu as well as their beer-on-tap, decadent Mimosas et al. Wines from Argentina and Chile have arrived! Show your appreciation for the inimitable, cheerful and dedicated staff by tipping often and generously. They will also have extended hours shortly. . .
Looking forward to connecting with you!
FLASH FICTION WRITING WORKSHOP
Put June 3o on Your Calendars – Flash Fiction Writing Workshop With Ocean Beach Author and Writing Coach, Terrie Leigh Relf
Beginning on June 30, I will be hosting a series of two-hour, stand-alone writing workshops at Te Mana Cafe in Ocean Beach. In the first workshop, we’ll focus on writing flash fiction, or stories of 100 -1,000 words.
Here are the particulars:
Date: Thursday, June 30, 2016
Time: 4:00pm – 6:00pm.
Location: Te Mana Cafe, at 4956 Voltaire St. between Bacon and Cable.
Fee: $79.00 per person prepaid via Paypal.com. Have two friends sign up, and your ticket is free!
Materials: Handouts provided via email attachment so you can print out and bring to the workshop (or load to your desktop).
Class Format: Writing studio with mini-lectures and writing exercises.
Class Size: 10-15 people
Be sure to come early so you can purchase food and drinks!
What to Bring:
- Writing implements and notebooks
- A fully-charged laptop
- Creativity and curiosity
- Team spirit
What NOT to Bring:
No matter how well behaved and supportive they are, this is a formal workshop, so we need to be focused. Apologies in advance. . .
- Friends et al who haven’t signed up and paid for the workshop
What you’ll experience. . .
- Professional level guidance and critiques by yours truly
- Feedback from class participants
- Writing prompts that focus on character and plot development, world building—and more!
- Editing and revision strategies to hone your prose
- Strategies for banishing that annoying internal editor
- Techniques for dispelling writer’s block
- Creating behavior patterns for success
What else you’ll receive. . .
- Discounts on future classes
- Complimentary 30-minute consultation after completing the class
- Reduced introductory rates for premium coaching packages
Sign up Information: email@example.com, 619.269.0706, and/or the comment box below.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. You may also visit my websites at terrieleighrelf.com and tlrelf.wordpress.com for more information. I’m planning to offer another workshop via freeconferencecall.com in July.
A few words about your facilitator. . .
Terrie Leigh Relf hosts the weekly Ocean Beach Writers Networking Group on Thursdays at Te Mana Cafe. She has over twenty years combined experience as a writing coach, creative writing workshop facilitator, English professor, NLP & Hypnotherapy Integrative Life Coach, and indie press editor. Relf is a lifetime member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association(SFPA), an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA), and the editor and contest judge for The Great Lakes Drabble Contest hosted by Alban Lake Publishing.
Prior to being a staff editor and writer for Alban Lake Publishing, Relf was with Sam’s Dot Publishing, NFG, Tales from the Moonlit Path, San Diego Writers Monthly, City Works, The Espresso, Vision Magazine et al. She has over 1,000 publishing credits, including articles, micro and flash fiction, short stories, and poetry. Recent releases include two poetry collections, An Untoward Bliss of Moons (Alban Lake Publishing, 2015) and Letting Out The Demons (Elektrik Milk Bath Press, 2014, which was nominated for an Elgin Award in 2015), as well as a novella co-authored with Edward Cox, The Wolves of Glastonbury (Alban Lake Publishing, 2016). She is also the author of a handbook for writers, Poet’s Workshop – and Beyond (Alban Lake Publishing, 2012).
A DAY IN THE LIFE INTERVIEW SERIES
I’m excited that there are 41 interviews up now, each of which contains commentary on the writing process et al. I hope you’re enjoying learning about these awesome artists, poets, short story writers, and novelists. I know I am. . .If you’d like to participate in the Day in the Life interview series, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you the questions. Meanwhile, here are links to the interviews posted since the last newsletter:
LOOKING FOR A WRITING COACH, EDITOR OR CONTENT PROVIDER?
I’m accepting new clients. Please visit my business website for more details – or contact me via phone at 619.269.0706 (PST). And remember, your initial consultation is complimentary.
If you are also a coach, editor, or content provider, I would love to include you in this newsletter. Just send me a blurb as well as a link to your website, and I will post it here. I know that this type of relationship is unique, and you want to connect with the best possible coach for you.
Thank you for reading – and forwarding – this month’s newsletter! If you’d like to receive this newsletter directly, just click on the following link: The Kinder Muse newsletter.
Here’s to attaining your writing goals – and experiencing success in all facets of your life!
Terrie Leigh Relf