How to start again.

Recently, Lisa Winkler, a beautiful human being, writer and author of the Lisa K Winkler blog, wrote to ask me if I had any ideas on how to get started again after taking a long hiatus from blogging. “How do you do it?” she asked – blog everyday.

Habit. Mostly.

Though in March 2007 when I first began my daily blog thanks to the encouragement of fellow writer and friend, Mark Kolke of Musings and other writings, it took a lot of discipline and commitment to set the habit in place.

Even when I only take a couple of weeks off, as I tend to do in the summer, I struggle to find my way back into my routine.

There are two ways that work best for me —

One is the first imperative — and that is I meditate before I write. I will often carry a question into my meditation — like, ‘what am I grateful for this morning?’ or ‘what is on my heart?’ I also often awake with an ‘idea’ in my head. I have learned not to push it away but to invite it to simmer and percolate so that when I sit down at my keyboard, it is willing to become visible through my writing.

The other is to write to a photo I took of the world around me or a piece of art I’ve created.

I write first thing in the morning so I don’t get distracted by my day. My photos are mostly taken on my walks with Beaumont the Sheepadoodle so they are nearly always about nature.

And then…. on those mornings where no thoughts arise as I sit down to write, I begin with the sentence… I have no idea what I’m going to write about today.

From there I just write whatever pops into my head about ‘having no idea what I’m going to write about’ until… as it inevitably does, the words morph into something from my heart. And then, when I’m done, I go back and delete the first few sentences/paragraphs – the one’s about not knowing what I’m going to write about. πŸ™‚

Sometimes, when I’m stuck, I’ll simply write about what I’m seeing. As an example, when I was responding to Lisa’s email, I wrote what I was seeing outside my window in front of my desk and right beside me:

Right now, there is a chickadee hopping around on the bare branches of the bush outside my window. I watch his joyful hops and feel my heart skip joyfully in harmony with his antics. The sky is grey. Beaumont lies at my feet, every so often nudging my knee with his head as if to say, “It’s time to get going.” I keep waiting for it to get brighter outside but I think it’s a losing battle. The sky is overcast, December grey. It’s time for me to go for my walk.

In 2007, when I first decided to get into the habit of daily blogging, I wrote a Commitment Letter to myself and posted it by my computer as a reminder and prompt for my writing.

I commit to writing a post a day.
I commit to being okay with writing 'bad'.
I commit to not letting judgement of the worthiness of my words stand in my way. 
I commit to being present to the page and whatever unfolds.

And then… I just let myself ‘write bad’ to get to ‘the good’ without fearing my inner critics yammerings.

In the beginning, I probably spent as much time editing as I did writing the first draft of my posts. Over the years, editing has faded by the wayside. As I became more trusting of ‘free-fall writing” – which is how I tend to write on my blog, I became more trusting of the ‘wise inner knowing’ within my heart and body – not my head. It means, inviting the critic (that critical voice of doubt and worry who sits on my left shoulder) to take a nap. This is why I avoid editing as I write – Editing invites both ‘the critic’ and my thinking brain into my process, interfering with ‘the flow’.

Writing everyday has become part of my life. It centers me, calms me and opens me up to the wonder and awe of the world around and within me, and, it connects me to the world ‘out there’. To you who visit and spend time with me here or on my social media feeds.

Writing every day is my contribution to creating better in the world around me, because, my commitment to myself is that, no matter what is going on, when I sit down to write, I must find the value in the darkness and share the light, the beauty and wonder and possibility I see.

By sharing light, I raise my own spirits. It helps me fee like I am living my life purpose “to touch hearts, open minds and set spirits free to dance in a world of love, joy and harmony.”

Thank you for being part of my purpose and for making my world so joyful and bright. Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

Namaste.

________________________________________________________________________

On another note, I was invited to participate in an online holiday auction β€œA Fresh Start – Gifts for the Holiday Season presented by Fiera Capital” on behalf of Fresh Start Recovery Centre. Fresh Start has been helping people impacted by the disease of addiction to recover and reuniting families for 28 years.

The invitation reads, “Your gift creates impact! Life is the most precious gift you can give … the next is hope. You give hope for a second life to someone struggling with addiction, to a mother worried about her son, to a child getting a father back, to spouses reuniting or a grandmother reconnecting with an absent grandchild. These are gifts you make possible. Consider giving these gifts of hope and healed lives.” 

If you are looking for a beautiful, unique gift that also does good in the world and can help change lives, please check out the A Fresh Start Auction for Holiday Season Gifts presented by Fiera Capital. Click HERE to go to the website.

(I had trouble getting my submission together so it won’t be on the site until later today. The painting above is one of the three I submitted)

The auction ends at 8pm on Thursday, Dec 17th.

13 thoughts on “How to start again.

  1. Elgie,

    Thanks for the mention and link to my writing/daily column at http://markmusing.com/

    YOU are the reason you write.

    and YOU were the first person to instill in me the reality that, in addition to other things like jobs and professions we use to describe ourselves more easily, that YES, I AM A WRITER – and I owe that stiffening of my backbone to you – so thanks again for that.

    Gald you are writing regularly and inspiring others.

    Cheers,

    Mark

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Mark — I write because I truly believe that if I don’t, the thoughts and feelings and emotions and ideas will get stuck inside me and I will come undone.
      Which is, I think, the contradiction. I write to get it out because when it stays inside I come undone and become lost in the darkness of the void of not writing.
      I think I’m a little melancholic this morning! πŸ™‚ Christmas is fast approaching and I feel the ‘missing’ coming on.
      I shall have to go write it out! ❀

      Like

  2. I’m the exact opposite — writing in the am just would not work in my brain. But by my afternoon walk I am siphering it through and shifting and ideas flow into words. Daily blogging is a huge committment. I did it for 2 different years. Once was a haiku daily and the other was a post about whatever. When I do my yearly December advent kindness posts I have to push myself to hit publish if it’s not perfect. I like to edit and tweak and make it so. Interesting advice about just writing and editing latter. I have a novel inside my head that I roll around every once in a while but can’t seem to commit to writing that kind of volume of words. Maybe when I fully retire and the grandkids are in school there will be more time but that sounds like an excuse hey? Anyway good on you for inspiring others. I truly enjoy your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes! The demon of perfection — I struggled with that one a lot when I first started daily posting. Over time, it’s had its way with me and then… I sent it on its way (most of the time) simply because… well… in writing and painting, there is no such thing as perfection! πŸ™‚
      And yes — I too have a book inside yearning for release — but I keep hesitating. Writing a novel is a huge time commitment — and, it is also a very solitary endeavour. My paints might dry out if I start writing it… πŸ™‚ LOL — at least that’s my excuse! πŸ™‚

      Thanks Bernie. ❀

      Like

    • Shoot — I had a response all written and then my internet went out and I had to reboot and it got lost! πŸ™‚

      Your comment made me smile — I hear you!
      I too believe they come from the same place — for me – it is the capacity to move and dance and laugh and feel joy that I treasure so much when I paint.
      Writing is much more sedentary and solitary and while satisfying (when done) it does not engage all the senses like painting does.
      Long ago I made my living as a writer — and then, I started painting and while I’ve never made my living as an artist, I love how it makes me feel so alive!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Google caught up with me too, yesterday – and I had some 40′ or so to contemplate NOT having it at my disposition…
    I’m a bit torn. For many, many years I used to write a Christmas Letter. Not only in German, my mother tongue, but in English too, and for some years also in French. It was SUCH a burden – and it seemed that year after year I had so many sad or bad experiences, always ‘uplifted’ by the strewn in moments of GOOD, joyful, the lovely happenings – but it did bend me down and although I have severely cut down on my Christmas card writing (it used to be some 150) to maybe 50; they are all personally written, even when I really don’t have the time for them. Then the element of perfectionism crowds in – as I’m well spoken in both F & E – my grammar and diction is not up to my standards and I spent far too much time correcting. Right up to the point where I changed whole sentences around and lost my drive of what I wanted to say. I also liked to include some photos, reduced to a managable size, but then the printing was a huge problem…. so from this year onward it’s just cards. Finito, point, Schluss!
    I also was a budding artist when I was much younger. I loved to paint (aquarelles) and I can say I was good at it. But I always wanted to keep it as a hobby and then life took the joy out of my painting and I let it go. Now I take photos but my best pics are ‘only’ taken with my eyes, my imagination and my heart. They conserve well!

    Dear friend, your writing is simply wonderful and I am SO thankful to have found your blog. And don’t forget, you promised me a mail on Dec 13/20…. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kiki — 150 original letters! Oh my. That alone is a feat! And in 3 languages. You know, I used to be fluent in German and French and would easily switch from one to the other in any conversation — and then time and life took over and they are now both very, very, rusty (and embarrassing when I employ them!)

      Your photos are lovely! I think that creative urge is one we cannot deny – it’s denial is often what causes our angst. We are creative by nature — the very act of birth is the expression of our human urge to pro-create.

      And thank you Kiki — writing is very much a heart-expression for me. ❀ — and oh dear… about that letter… it's coming…? πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Aaah, also I had to go through that auction ‘catalogue’. I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, but your first drawing on offer made me melt – I prefer it to all the other works of art. And I’m not fishing for a clap on my shoulder either. I hope you can sell them – it seems that ‘only’ the free weeks/weekends/fishing outings are of interest… And thank you for your generous contribution Louise. Just shows your great heart!

    Liked by 1 person

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