Why Self-Discovery is Important to your Writing

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Welcome, this is the 1st edition of Mystery Mondays and I hope that this post finds you all in good health as you start off your week.

Learning about yourself will improve your writing.

Mystery Mondays is geared towards asking questions, finding answers and getting to know yourself on a deeper level. It is a way of challenging yourself to grow, both personally, and as a writer.

This post is going to look at the benefits of self-discovery and your writing.

Self-DiscoveryNoun: The process of acquiring insight into one’s own character.

The mind is a fascinating instrument of creativity. This intricate device is constantly working and accessing different ideas, whether you are aware that it is happening or not. Like an instrument, a mind needs to be cared for and tuned regularly. That is where self-discovery comes into play. Asking yourself questions and learning to understand the way you think is a big part of living a full and happy life. Knowing what you truly want and need in life, and discovering those things which make you happiest are essential to success. The same principle applies to you as a writer, you need to understand the way your mind creates to be able to create successfully. You need to learn to take your thoughts, conscious and subconscious, and be able to harness them for a creative purpose, rather than just a fact of everyday life.

A successful writer operates on more than mental capacity, these writers have learned to dig deep within themselves to pull out those ideas, stories, and creations that are hidden inside the corners of the mind, threatening to disappear into the unknown. They have discovered the way that they think, and have found a way to utilize their specific mode of thinking to create deeper more passionate writing, thus connecting with their readers on a more intense level. Whether they have accomplished this purposely or simply as a result of their drive for success is truly irrelevant, by paying attention to themselves and their needs they have chosen this success through thinking.

What you think about, and focus on becomes your reality. We have all heard about the power of positive thinking in some form; one of the most known sources of information on this topic is the book “The Secret” which discusses the way our thinking patterns create our lives. This “secret” is actually no secret at all… Your thoughts are what makes you who you are, and what has gotten you to where you are today. That is why it is important that people pay attention to their way of thinking, in order to prevent unwanted results, and also why it is important that we look at the things that we truly want and need in life.

What does all this have to do with your writing?

A major part of self-discovery is becoming more aware of what and how you are thinking, as well as learning to tap into the unending resource that is your subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is the storage facility of the brain, it is where any information, thoughts, or emotions that are not relevant to the current momentary situation get sent to be sorted and stored until they are required. The downfall to the subconscious mind is, that like a filing cabinet, this information needs to be removed as more takes over the space. Thus learning to locate and utilize these thoughts and ideas are a great way to increase your creativity. There is a large amount of information that can be lost if it is not used, and each piece that is wasted holds the chance of having become an amazing piece of work. This is not to say that every idea you have will become an extraordinary piece of writing, but your thoughts as a writer are like the lottery, you can not win if you don’t play!

How to tap into your subconscious mind and improve your writing:

Learning to utilize the thoughts that are stored in your subconscious mind can become life long journey, but you “the writer” can easily enter the vault and pull a random file at anytime, creating the possibility of successful passionate writing with every thought you choose…

  • Pay closer attention to the world around you – The world we live in is a constant source of inspiration, yet many times we are so busy living our lives that we fail to see what is right under our nose. Take time to look around as you go about your daily routine. Stop to enjoy the world, take note of all that inspires you. Allow yourself to really “feel” the emotions that things bring to your mind, and explore the different ways you can share those emotions with others through words.
  • Carry a notebook at all times – One of the most basic rules of successful writing applies to self-discovery as well, never let a moment of creativity pass you by. Your mind is constantly working and you can not rely on it to remember a small detail at a later time. With so much information being processed it is easy for a great idea to get lost among the clutter, carry a notebook and take a moment to write down anything that gets your attention. When you look back later be sure that you have written it in a way that you understand, in order to spark the same emotions in your subconscious that you felt at the time.
  • Take time to get to know yourself – It is important that we regularly ask ourselves questions and consider our answers in order to grow as people and as writers. Asking general questions such as; What do I want? Need? Dream? are a great start, but you need to look deeper within in order to truly know who you are inside. Ask yourself such things as; Who are you? Where are you heading in life? What are you most passionate about? and Where do you hope to be in the future? By responding to these questions regularly you will learn about your true desires, rather than the wants that we ‘superficialize‘ in regards to material things. Forget what others think, what others want from you, and consider only what you want for yourself.
  • Be at peace – Spending time in a quiet environment is a great way to tap into your subconscious mind. Sit in a place where you will not be disturbed and simply ‘be.’ Don’t worry about what you have to make for dinner, your to-do list, or the kids. Forget your laundry, your schedule, or your busy life. Take a moment to simply enjoy the peace and then see where your mind takes you.
  • Write Freely – Free writing is one of the easiest ways to get inside the creases of the mind where thoughts and ideas can easily be lost. Sit only with a pen and paper and allow your hand to guide you. Do not think consciously, instead let words flow out as they please. The point is not to make sense, but to rid your mind of all the clutter and then review it to see if any of these thoughts can be used in your work. You may feel strange when you first attempt free writing, try setting a timer for five minutes and keep writing until that time is done. It is important that you keep in mind it is not about creating anything usable, there does not need to be rhyme and reason to this piece, it is only about letting go of inhibitions and discovering those thoughts that your mind has filed away inside.
  • Pay attention to how you “feel” – Paying attention to your thoughts is just as important as paying attention to your emotions. When it comes to growing as a writer the usual goal is to produce more passionate writing that grabs the reader’s attention and holds them there. You want to be able to have your audience ‘feel’ the way your feeling through your words, thus exploring your emotions can be a very beneficial journey. The easiest way to accomplish this is to consciously think about how something makes you feel. By using your conscious mind you are making something a reality, and are more likely to be able to express and relive the thought later.

Whatever your goals in life, personally or in your writing, discovering and learning to understand the way you think through self-discovery is going to benefit you, and your writing, in many ways. By knowing yourself you will learn the ways that you can manipulate your thoughts to be able to write even when you don’t feel up to it, you will be able to produce more writing at a faster pace that is more in-depth and appealing. By journeying down the road to self-discovery you ‘the writer’ will be happier and probably more successful, and chances are you will be able to see what it truly takes to make you happy. Some writers “think” that they need to write a Great American Novel to be happy and feel accomplished in their writing, but they later discover that just writing anything and possibly making some money doing it is enough, and vice-versa. Once you learn more about yourself and your true desires you will be able to decide what it is you need to do, and it will be easier to accomplish your goals and achieve those things. You will have a stronger writing voice, a more passionate approach, and deeper understanding. You will benefit endlessly by learning about yourself and discovering the person that you truly are inside.

Until Next Time…

Write On!

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Ten Benefits of Writing “Something” Everyday

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Writing is a part of everyday life. It is an unavoidable part of your day. From writing emails, to making shopping lists, different forms of writing make up a large part of our communication with others, as well as ourselves.

Aside from these everyday writing tasks there are many reasons to make a writing session part of your daily routine. Be it. blogging, journaling, or just some quick notes on how you feel, the benefits of writing can reach deep within your soul.

Ten Reasons You Should Write Something Everyday;

  1. Release Stress – Daily writing is a great way to release the stress that has accumulated throughout your day. Whether you are writing in a journal and confronting the stress head on, or making a joke of it on your blog, getting the words on to paper will release the stress from your mind and body helping you to relax.
  2. Produce Ideas – The more you write the more you will find to write about. Daily writing helps you to generate ideas for the future by expanding on things you have already written. This is especially useful if you are writing for profit, you can take a small piece of something you wrote at an earlier time and elaborate on it in the future, creating new content with little effort. Your mind will automatically start to produce new and exciting ideas the more often you write, knowing that those ideas will be released on to paper and sent out into the world to change and grow.
  3. Clear Your Mind – Hand in hand with releasing stress, your mind collects a large amount of clutter each day that needs to be released so that it does not weigh you down and turn into stress. Journaling, blogging, or simply writing notes about how you feel is a simple and effective way to rid you mind of this clutter so you can start each day fresh and ready to face new adventures.
  4. Confront Your Emotions – Emotions can some times be difficult to deal with, and even more hard to understand. It may sound strange but often times even we don’t truly know how we are feeling about something until we decide to face it head on and break it down bit by bit. Bottling up your emotions can be exhausting and is actually bad for your health. Writing can help you get those feelings down on paper so that you can access how you really feel about a situation. Free writing is a great exercise to help you release your feelings without thinking them through first. Sit down with a piece of paper and let your feelings flow, don’t worry about thought or form, just get it out on paper and take the time to access the words at a later time.
  5. Learn Something New – Writing requires a large amount of thought, and often entails research. Each and every word you write can teach you something new. Whether it is a new subject that you have to research for an article, a new voice for a story, or just something new about yourself, writing is a great tool for learning and should be utilized often.
  6. Get to Know Yourself – Just as writing can teach you about new subjects, it will also help you to learn about yourself. Even through writing about other topics you will find that pieces of yourself seem to turn up in your writing. If you are looking for a more direct approach to get to know yourself better opt for a journal or diary. Blogs and other writing forms are also great tools, as following your thought pattern will teach you how you think and what you feel.
  7. Escape the Chaos – Daily writing can be an easy escape from the world around you. After a long day at the office or home with the kids we are often looking for ways to unwind. Writing in a journal, or posting to your blog is a great way to get centered and enjoy some time alone. Settle in a comfortable quite area and let your mind relax, enjoy the silence and the words that you produce. Writing is an art, appreciate it.
  8. Form a Habit – Studies show that it takes 21 days to form a habit. What does this mean for you? Well if you hope to grow and succeed in your writing you must do it on a regular basis, thus if you can make it a habit for 21 days straight it will become a part of your everyday routine. It is easier to aim for success with good habits already in place.
  9. Change the Way You Think – Once you are writing and producing pieces of any form you will start to notice a change in the way that you think. There is something about having to look critically at what you have written that helps to open your mind and change the way you think.
  10. Live Your Dreams – You are here reading this because you obviously want to write. It is clearly a dream that you are hoping to make a reality… So live it. Even if you are living it little by little each day, grab your dreams and live it, in any way you can!

Easy Ways to Incorporate Writing in to Your Daily Routine

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Often times we feel that it is pointless to sit down and start our writing unless we have the time to finish an entire piece. The truth is that an award-winning novel is not written in an afternoon. Every spare moment you dedicate to your writing adds up, even if all you can spare is 10 minutes a day, those 10 minutes can make the world of difference over time, generating ideas and adding to your portfolio.

Time Goes Fast, Don't Let Your Creativity Pass!

Here are some easy ways to incorporate writing in to your daily routine a few minutes at a time;

  • Open Your Eyes to Writing – Set your alarm a bit earlier each day and take some time to write first thing in the morning. By writing in the early hours you will have the benefit of peace and quite, as well as a fresh clear mind that is focused on your writing before the stress of your day begins. It is a great way to add routine to your writing and make a habit of writing each day. Plus, dreams can often be a great inspiration, so if you happen to remember what you were dreaming about you may be able to use that in your writing.
  • Get It On, On-the-Go – If you commute to work by bus or train you may be missing out on a great opportunity. Writing while you commute to work can easily add to your writing and help pass time as well. Bring your laptop or a note pad with you and jot while you travel. Use other passengers as inspiration and write about where they might be heading based on how they appear.
  • Creative Espresso – Your coffee break at work is another excuse to write. Sit down with your coffee and get creative. That few minutes can produce some great ideas that would otherwise be forgotten during the hustle and bustle of the day. The pick-me-up energy from your coffee should help get your gears going too.
  • Kick It Up in the Kitchen – How often do you pace around while dinner is cooking? Take this time to jot down ideas or work on a piece you have already started. The comfort and creativity of cooking may spark your imagination as well. Keep your note-book close at hand and write while you’re stirring the spaghetti.
  • Go Commercial – Use the annoying commercial breaks during your favorite show as an outlet for your creativity. Have your laptop or notebook beside you on the couch and tune out during commercials to get creative. Even if it is only a quick thought or another line in a story it all adds up in the end.
  • Dump Your Day – Writing before bed is one of the best things you can do for your mind, body and writing.  Often times the stresses of the day take their tole on us, taking some time each night when the house is quite and the chores are done to focus on your passion will allow you to relax and unwind before calling it a night. Starting out with a simple note about your day is an easy way to get yourself going and may lead to more creative ideas.

Every second you spend writing adds up in the end, jotting down thoughts, ideas and even sentences throughout the day will give you a foundation for your writing when you have the time to take a seat and concentrate for a longer period. Carry your notebook or laptop with you where ever you go and keep track of any ideas that cross your mind, or find a few minutes to work on a piece that you have already started. Relying on your memory to keep track of creative ideas is like looking for a needle in a hay stack, with the abundance of thoughts that flow through our minds daily it is almost impossible to remember one quick contemplation that occurred in passing. Having a notebook or specific computer file handy to write when the time is available is an easy way to grow and succeed as a writer.

Journaling – Where Do I Start…?

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One of the most difficult things for me when I first decided to start a journal was “where” I was supposed to start.

I knew that I wanted to use my journal for personal growth and to sort out some of my overwhelming emotions, but that was about all I knew at the time.

It can be very daunting to sit and stare at a blank page, knowing that you are supposed to fill it with wonderful, touching, deep thoughts. That in itself is often overwhelming.

Fear not there are some tips to help you get started in journaling without stress….

  • Decide what your purpose is – For some journaling is a way to look within, view your thoughts, and possibly find your purpose in life. For others a journal is a way to be more creative through writing or art, and some people simply want to keep a record of their day. Whatever your purpose for journaling you should choose it before you begin. Not to say it wont change along the way, and not to say it wont be for many different reasons, but having an idea of what you hope to accomplish will help you find the direction you need to begin.
  • Chose your form – When I decided to start a journal I went out and bought a great binded leather notebook. I wanted to “write” my thoughts rather than type, just out of personal preference, as I spent most of my day typing and I wanted journaling to be my ‘time out’ from everyday life. Chose how you want to write and where then get together all the tools you will need. Some people prefer to have their journal online or on the computer, and other opt for a handwritten version, it is personal preference, chose the option that suits your needs.
  • Get Inspired – Depending on your chosen purpose you need to find inspiration to start your writing. You can find a plethora of journal prompts online for any given subject. Prompts can be useful in journaling, especially when you are journaling for self-discovery. Choose a prompt, usually in the form of a question, and share your thoughts or feelings on it. You can also create your own prompts by way of pictures, words, or questions you are trying to answer in your life.
  • Let Thoughts Go Where They May – Don’t force yourself to stay on topic, don’t feel like you “have’ to follow a set plan, if you find your writing wandering elsewhere allow it to happen. The most amazing thing about journaling is it’s ability to introduce you to new and amazing ideas that you never would have found. Let your mind and your hands wander free and follow them where ever they choose to take you!

The most important thing to remember is that your journal is a secure place for you to release your thoughts free from judgment or ridicule. Grammar, form and talent are of no consequence, just grow and learn from your writing, and most of all enjoy it.

The Art of Journaling

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I wanted to touch base on the subject of Journaling as many of my friends and fellow writers have been discussing this subject lately, and I have yet to discuss it here.

Journal writing can be an excellent tool for writers, as well as on a more personal level. Journals allot you a safe and private space to explore new ideas, try new things, express your thoughts, and grow as a person in general.  Journal writing is an effective tool for many different issues that we face in life, it can help you to openly express your feelings on an issue without having to worry about what others will think, or about causing offence with your opinion. Journals can also be a the perfect instrument for teens as it can help to encourage a healthy body image, positive thinking, and strengthen self-esteem, it provides them with a safe place to vent their frustrations and think about their ideas before they take any action.

If you are like me you probably had a diary when you were younger, or even a few, journaling is the same idea as the ‘diary‘  on a more ‘grown-up level and without the awkwardness of talking directly to an inanimate object. Journaling is also more geared toward an inward focus rather than a log of day-to-day activities, it is a collection of questions, answers, musings, ideas, and thoughts on whatever area you choose to explore.

When you think of journaling what comes to mind? Do you see a hardcover book? A password protected file on your computer? A private online site that you can share with others if you desire? Are you more likely to use a sketch pad and doodle your thoughts than write them in words? Whatever tool you choose, it is important that you find something you are not only comfortable writing in, but something that inspires you to write as well. Journaling is helpful for encouraging regular writing, and thus you should choose an object that you enjoy using. Some people choose bold colorful journals, others prefer to use an inconspicuous binded book, and many opt for an online journal that is password protected, but can be personalized as required. When it comes to journaling it is about personal preference rather than what is right or wrong,

Here are a few things to consider when thinking about starting a journal;

One of the greatest things about journaling is the lack of format that is required. It can be a great relief for a writer to not have to worry about grammar, or form when writing. Your journal is a ‘personal‘ space, and so worrying about proper spelling and grammar is not a necessity, unless done by choice.

You can find links online that will lead you to many different kinds of journals, and you can start a journal for almost any purpose that your mind can create. There are journals for personal growth, business ideas, writers, artists, parents, children, music, travel, cooking, etc… any passion, thought, need, or creation can be formed into a journal. The possibilities are endless, it is another one of the wonderful things about journaling, as you grow your journal can grow with you.

People choose to journal for a variety reasons, for some it is a way to find their true self, get through a rough tine, look inward and sort out their desires in life, or keep track of their personal/professional goals. For others journal writing is simply a way to keep track of their ideas, or a way to regroup and relax at the end of the day. Your Journal is what you make it for ‘you!’

When you begin your journal think of ‘why‘ you are beginning, and ‘what’ you hope to accomplish. If you stray off this original path though, don’t stress, allow your mind to take you where it wants to go. You may feel awkward at first writing your thoughts down so openly, but just allow them to flow, don’t think about what you are writing, and don’t edit. Journaling is a lot like free-writing in the sense that you want your mind to lead you to the outcome, rather than your outcome leading your mind.

You can opt to use prompts in your journal writing as many people do, (this is especially popular when you are writing a personal growth journal) or simply answer your own questions as they arise. You can choose to deal with the issues you are facing personally/professionally, or just let your mind lead the way. As I said before, the great thing about a journal is that there is no right or wrong, it is all about ‘you,’ and it is a relaxing, easy way to learn more about yourself, gather ideas, answer questions, and personally grow from within. The only rule to journaling is that you must enjoy it.

For writers that are considering journaling it can be a wonderful tool for facing your fears, creating ideas, tracking your progress, or just venting your frustrations, You may find that the freedom of writing without rules stems ideas that would otherwise not be found.

Whatever your purpose in starting a journal be sure that you choose a form that suits your needs. Don’t stress about having to write, or needing to do things a certain way, simply enjoy the experience and use it as a tool for growth. Be honest and allow your mind to release the creativity it holds within, get to know yourself, and your writing, and be open to the discoveries you may find.

 

Until next time….

Write On!

From a Distance……

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Creative Writing Prompt #186Write for 5 minutes, or more, using the opening line “Behind her, the noise escalated…”

(From: Creative Writing Prompts)

Behind her, the noise escalated. She stepped into the shadows as to not be seen. The sound was low, like the growl of an animal, or the engine of a car off in the distance. She was, to some degree, afraid to see what was causing the sound. It was dark, and she was on her way home from work. She had worked at the local Price Mart for a few months now, and walked this route many nights before. Tonight felt different, the road seemed darker, the air seemed quieter, and the short-cut she had taken through the park was starting to feel like a big mistake. 

‘What’s wrong with you?’ She thought out loud, ‘You have walked this way a million times on even darker nights, at even later hours. There is nothing behind you, nothing lurking in the bush, and nothing that is going to jump out and grab you… Stop acting like a baby, and start walking home.”

The air was cool and crisp as she stepped out of the shadow and headed towards home. The walk was about 40 minutes and she was nearing the half-way point up ahead. She decided to curb her nerves by listening to music, popping her ear-buds into her ears, she turned on her iPod and walked in time with the beat.

She was nearing the main road when she felt the hand grasp her arm. Turing around in shock she sent her iPod crashing to the ground. The grip tightened on her wrist as the air tightened in her throat. She stood shocked, like a deer caught in the headlights, staring into the dark eyes of an old man. She tried to pull free, but the old man held tight to her.

“You shouldn’t be out walking so late,” He said in a raspy voice. “I have seen you many nights walking along this road all alone, and I fear that something awful may happen to you out here in the dark.”
Loosening his grasp he bent to retrieve her iPod. Unable to move, she reached out for her device.

“Please,” He continued, “Allow me to walk you the rest of the way home. You remind so much of my daughter when she was your age, and she was…..”
His voice trailed off as a look of sadness flashed through his eyes.

She wasn’t sure why she agreed to have him walk with her, and she couldn’t explain the comfort she felt having him near. As they walked she listened to him talk, he told her of his family, he had been married for 65 years, his wife had passed away 4 years ago and he missed her dearly everyday. They had only had one child, a daughter; Alisa was her name, and she had been the light of his life. When she was 21 years-old she had been walking along this same road  home from work late one night and had been hit by a drunk driver on a motorcycle, both had died on the scene.

He said that when he saw her walking along the first night he had thought she was his daughter, he told her that his heart had skipped a beat. He said how he could still hear his daughters laughter through the halls of his house, and how everyday he wished that he could be next to her holding her hand one more time.

When they reached her front door safely, she climbed the steps and turned to thank the old man, but there was nothing but darkness and an empty road. In the distance she could hear a sound, the rumble of a motorcycle as is faded away into the night.

 

Dear Death

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Complaint Department Grenade

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Writing PromptWrite a formal complaint letter to your deepest, darkest fear.
(From: Writers Digest)

K. Paterson
123 Insane Lane
Somewhereville, Nowhere
L9X1O9

Attn: Death
Crypt Keeper

Dear: Death

I am writing this letter to file a formal complaint with you. The constant anxiety and harassment that you have bestowed upon me shows a serious lack for customer satisfaction.

I have previously expressed my concern with the over abundance of information you have been providing me on your product, and I am again requesting now that you remove me for your contact list immediately. I do not wish to receive any further correspondence from you, or your affiliated partners. The stress and mental anguish that your product has cause myself, and my family to suffer is unacceptable. So I ask now that you please refrain from pushing yourself on me any longer.

I have filed a complaint with consumer affairs as well regarding the way you have been conducting business, and they are interested in the outcome of my formal complaint to you. I assure you that I am not going to stand for any more harassment on the part of you, your products, or any of your affiliated partners, and I will go as far as filing a formal complaint with G.O.D if it is so required.

This will be my last correspondence with you personally, and I appreciate you understanding the seriousness in my complaint. I no longer wish to live my life in fear at the hands of your company. I have shared my complaint with many others, who are also dissatisfied with the service they have witnessed and/or received. I will take this issue global if my needs are not met and my opinion is not validated.

I thank you in advance for your understanding and I hope that we have no further issues in the future.

Sincerely,
K. Paterson

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