Posts tagged ‘inspiration’

Nov 20 2016

Nature Inspires the Imagination

For most of my life, nature has fueled my imagination.  When I am stuck inside for too long, I get cranky.   In school I angled for the seat near the window, and 365 nights a year I sleep next to an open window.  When I cannot be outside, I bring the outside in:  jars of sand, bowls of rocks, winter twigs arranged in a pitcher. Therefore, it is no accident that when I write, the…

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Nov 12 2014

How To Find the Pulse in Your Comatose Drafts

Guest Blogger Ellen Collins is a Center Teaching Associate.  Here she offers guidance about how to sift through all that freewriting you’ve been hanging onto without believing it would ever amount to much, to find the living heart of a new piece. Sometimes we are lucky, and we sit down to write and wonderful words and thoughts and connections flow on to the paper. Other times, not so much. We all have notebooks and journals…

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Apr 26 2013
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Journal Writing

In this excerpt from a letter to a student in her online class Writing for Children, Helena explains her journal writing practice. I write in my journal every morning.  It’s something I’ve practiced for almost 35 years, is a way I collect myself, commune with myself and, frankly, God.  All my hopes and dreams, my insights, all kinds of contemplation go into that pen-tip on paper. Looking back at them is not something I ever…

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Mar 29 2013
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What Is Communication?

If you want to write, you want to communicate, yes?  But what does that really mean? I invite you to consider the Latin root of our word “communicate,” which is “com” (with) plus “uni” (one).  The literal meaning of the word “communicate is “to be one with.”  The word “community” has the same root, and means the same thing:  “to be one with.” So when you write, there is a “being one with” that happens,…

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Mar 15 2013
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The Sound Of Inspiration

In a recent post, I quoted E.B. White, who said, “All writing is communication; creative writing is communication through revelation — it is the Self escaping into the open.” I’m intrigued by this notion of writing as self-revelation, because it’s what keeps me coming back to my desk day after day.  Not because I have a message for the world, not because I have a story to tell, but because as I find the words…

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Feb 22 2013
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Solitude in the Writing Life

With the popularity of social media — 10 million people networking 24/7 on Facebook — and given the cultural bias in favor of extroversion, it’s difficult for the writer to claim for herself or himself the one thing without which nothing can be written:  solitude. For that reason, I’ve provided a set of inspiring quotations on the value of solitude for the writing life.  You can pin these up on the closed door of your…

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Jan 11 2013
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A Writer’s Homeland

In his poem, “Boast of Quietness,” Jorge Luis Borges writes, “My homeland is the rhythm of a guitar, a few portraits, an old sword, the willow grove’s visible prayer as evening falls.” The writer, it seems to me, is one whose true homeland is the imagination.  And if that’s true, then whenever we’re caught up in other endeavors, we’re in exile, longing for home.  I know that’s how I feel when I’m not writing.  And…

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Jan 04 2013

Why Do You Write?

Why Do You Write?

As the new year begins, I invite you to reflect on why you write.  And don’t be ho-hum hum-drum — put some muscle into it!  That special muscle available to the writer called “imagination.” As a warm-up, please read the following, excerpted from Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert by Terry Tempest Williams. Dearest Deb: You asked me why I write…. I write to make peace with the things I cannot control.  I write…

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Dec 07 2012
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Inspiration Is Everywhere

Inspiration Is Everywhere

“I don’t have any ideas.” “My mind is a blank.” I can’t think of anything to write about.” It seems as if almost everyone I’ve worked with has said something like this. Okay, I’ve said it, too. But here is the world, available to us in all kinds of dimensions, scales, emotions, colors, activities, histories and possibilities — and we can’t think of anything? A long time ago, my economics professor held up a book…

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Nov 30 2012
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A Catchy New Writing Prompt

Scrabble was a popular game in our house when I was growing up.  My goal was to use all the tiles in a single word.  I don’t remember that ever happening, but how I loved moving those tiles around to create as many words as I could. This love is the inspiration for this writing prompt using letter tiles.  You can either raid your Scrabble game, or you can purchase bags of letter tiles in…

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Oct 26 2012

A Writer Looks at Halloween

A Writer Looks at Halloween

Halloween is almost upon us, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a reflection on the holiday I wrote several years ago.  “Baking for the Holidays” is excerpted from my newest book, Invitation to Wonder:  A Journey through the Seasons.  “Lay me down like a stone, raise me up like bread.”  As prayers go, this one’s a champ, don’t you think?  I picked it up from a character in Tolstoy’s War and Peace…

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Oct 05 2012

Writing Prompts Help

A recent prompt from the Center’s e-mail newsletter led me to a truly serendipitous experience.  As a retiree approaching my 75th birthday, I look around at other folks my age and see many who just stop ‘living’ when they stop working. Here’s the prompt you shared, courtesy Poets & Writer’s:  Pick a poetry book off of your shelf and open it to any page. Read the poem you’ve opened to, then write one of your…

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Sep 28 2012
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A New Language

how to write, tips on writing, nature and creativity

The seed of the botanical world has finally cracked open for me. I walk as though I were the first man on earth, taking slow steps, my eyes wide. I ask the names of everything I see, testing the patience of those around me, jotting this new language in pocket-sized notebooks: Marigold, begonia, pansy, violet, poppy, chive, iris, pansy, hollyhock, petunia, lilac, shasta daisy, cala lily. In the early spring, the tender shoots in a…

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Sep 07 2012

Weaving Words

the words teach writers how to write

I’m taking a weaving class, and my teacher said something the other day I found illuminating for the writer’s life. She said that she never plans a project.  Instead, she goes into the store to see which yarns call out, “Take me home.”  Then she sits with them at home and lets them speak to her as she asks questions of them.  Are you soft and yielding, needing to be made into an airy shawl…

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Aug 31 2012
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Writers Are What They Read

This is no new insight, but it does bear repeating:  if you aspire to write well, you must fill your mind with the very best writing. Nutrition provides a good metaphor.  If you want to be healthy, you must eat well.  You must put into your body only the best food. If you want your mind and imagination to remain healthy, you must feed it with the best writing you can find.  This is especially…

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