I love these tips from ‘Mindworks Coaching‘ – many a poem and a chapter in my ‘Wild Motherhood’ book has come about through number one. I have also taken to carrying index cards around with me – wish I would remember to write on them though! Number nine is also a gem.
1) Jot notes about dozens of small moments; “quilt” them together to make a whole essay or chapter.
2) Twenty chapters = one book
3) a page a day = a novel in a year
4) Take down observations in the moment they happen.
5) Write a postcard – or spend 5 minutes to write a post card sized reflection about something you’ve already observed. (Keep some 3×5 index cards handy).
6) Write a letter in which you tell a story to someone else. Write what this piece of information meant to you.
7) Mine your journals for fragments and moments that seem to go together. Gather other details that relate. Give this list a title.
8) Write a 10 minute first draft.
9) Simply talk on paper: ask questions, tell stories, tell secrets.
I recently finished reading the stunning collection of short stories by Anthony Doerr, ‘Memory Wall.’ The title story is set in my home town of Cape Town, South Africa, and it was a moving and evocative exploration of the power of memory in our lives – how intangible and yet essential it is. Reading a story set in Cape Town brought back many memories, some not so comfortable – of the inequalities and conflicts that simmered in the background while I grew up, blissfully unaware of most of it until my teens. Anthony Doerr is a compassionate and amazingly skilled writer – his story ‘Afterworld’, which flits between the present day and a Holocaust Germany, had me in tears.
Work on my book, now called ‘Wild Motherhood: Keeping the Fire of Creativity and Spirit Alive’, is progressing well, with the different threads and fragments starting, slowly, to cohere into a meaningful whole. A page or so a day, I’m keeping on keeping on… I was excited to discover a project called Balancing the Tide which features interviews with mother artists about the balance and inspiration in their lives- definitely something to plug into on a regular basis.