Tuesday, January 26, 2010

open-pore writing

"...I do believe when you are in a continuous practice and drafting stage (I was scribbling on receipts, napkins, and my hand when I wasn’t in front of my desk), and your pores are just open and alive to the possibilities of language and wordplay all around us, then nine times out of ten, the writing does come out the way I want it to come out—a nice mix of deliberation, supposition, utter surprise, and a dash of hocus-pocus ‘Where-did-THAT-image-come-from?"’ 
- Aimee Nezhukumatathil

From the blog How A Poem Happens, in conversation with Aimee about her poem "Small Murders".

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Start 2010 unblocked

A blog which I've been reading lately is Lateral Action. Its author Mark McGuinness (poet and creativity coach) talks a lot about creativity. Right now he's running a series called "Break Through Your Creative Blocks."

In article one - "Creative Block #1 - I'm not creative" - he debunks a lot of the theories about creativity and settles on the simplest definition: "A creative person is a person who creates things." Then he lends readers a hand by giving them a four-step process for every project they start. They can:
1. Set a goal
2. Determine options: "What is the next action I can take, that I think is likely to get me a step nearer my goal?"
3. Actions - Do it.
4. Review - Ask, "Have I reached my goal?" If yes, congratulations. If not, recycle through steps 1-3.

In article two - "Creative Block #2 - Fear of getting it wrong" he speaks to people who have had creative success in the past and now feel blocked because they know their current efforts will never measure up to past successes. His RX:
1. Write with your body.
2. Stop worrying.
3. Start getting things wrong.
4. Stick two fingers up at the critics.
5. Get good feedback.
6. Grant yourself poetic license.

If you are feeling stuck, stodgy and non-creative, this series might just be a good one to follow. I'm not sure when the next installment will be posted. However, it is possible to subscribe by email or RSS feed so as not to miss a single one.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010 road map

It’s hard to believe we’re already into the second week of January!

I must admit I’ve begun this year in a semi-preoccupied state. I think that’s because I started writing a daily devotional blog in January and several hours each morning are taken up with that. It’s gone well so far, though I’ve missed my annual beginning of January stock-taking – the type of thing I do in morning hours when I’m now focused on other things.

Last week this post on agent Rachelle Gardner’s blog reminded me of my oversight. She references a piece on “How to Make New Year’s Resolutions Stick” by Michael Hyatt. It’s excellent and I’ll be praying over and working through that in the next little while. Hopefully I’ll get some destinations entered on my 2010 road map (both the personal and writing versions) before January 2010 is history.

What about you - do you feel the need to make resolutions or do some kind of past analysis, forward visioning at the beginning of the year?

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Write short poems - enter contests!

If one of your resolutions this January is to write more poetry, don’t let the task overwhelm you. Remember poems don’t have to be long!

My latest Poets Classroom article, “Shorter, Shortest” is a delve into some very short forms, the Clerihew (four lines), Haiku (three lines), Haiga (three lines) and Bantu (two lines). It follows the December article, “Short” which talks about three forms of five-line poetry: Tanka, Cinquain and Limerick.

And while you’re on the Utmost site, check out the annual Utmost Christian Poetry Contest. Contest-meister Nathan Harms tells us only a handful of poems have been received to date. This contest awards $3000 in cash prizes, so with less entries than usual this may be your year to cash in! Due date for entries is February 28, 2010.