Sunday, April 20, 2008

You and Your Computer

One of the computer’s greatest gifts can be its greatest curse: the ability to edit with ease. When you’re writing anything on the Muse Stream, the last thing you need is the temptation to edit. Once you begin editing, you encourage your critical, censorious self to take command and shut off the flow.

There is a time to edit and revise, a time to correct and clarify. That time is later. Now is the time to write.

If your computer beeps at you over poor spelling or grammar, turn off the beep. If it underlines questionable words, switch off that feature as well.

Disable any prompt that reminds you of anything that requires immediate correction.

If you can’t resist the temptation to edit, judge or second-guess while writing, turn off your monitor or dim or cover your screen.

If blanking your screen is not possible, type with your eyes closed. But be sure your fingers are on the right keys (to avoid typing gibberish) and that you save frequently and back up your files (in case you mistakenly delete what you’ve written).

Watch for tips to help you dodge other distractions in a future post.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Forget Everything You Ever Learned About Writing

Forget your grade school teacher who was a stickler for spelling and grammar.

Forget your high school teacher who forced you to turn in an outline with your essay.

Forget your college professor who forced you to write a certain way.

Forget all the classmates or instructors who cruelly critiqued or ridiculed you.

Remember, instead, your discernment, your wisdom, your innate, free-flowing creativity and the guiding voice of your Muse, which will never let you down if you step out of the way and surrender fully to it.

~ adapted from "13 Rules for Birthing Your Book," from The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

In the Moment

Too often we sit in judgment of ourselves and our work.

"This is not good enough," we think. "This will never be good enough." Or, "This story has been told better before by someone else." Or, "This book has been written before."

Know this now and for all time: It is good enough. In this moment, this word is good enough, and so is this one.

This moment is always as good as it gets -- in this moment. So make the best of it. In this moment, give yourself permission to write the worst junk in the world, the same permission I give myself in this moment when I fear what I write for you isn’t good enough. It is, in this moment. I must believe this, as must you, or we can never move into the next moment and then the next, when those moments, too, form the present moment.

It is good enough. If you do your best to write freely and easily from your heart, it is always better than good enough. It is perfect.

Whatever you write is perfect. Whatever you experience is perfect. Whatever you feel is perfect. In this moment. Which is the only moment that matters, for it is the only moment that exists.

What can you do in this moment to bring you back to the present moment? What can you stop worrying about, wondering about or trying to figure out? What can you stop judging? Close your eyes for a moment. Focus on your breath. Be present. With your words. With your writing. In your life.