Mental Yoga for Writers

I have recently been to Billabong Retreat and attended an inspiring workshop on the philosophy behind the Yoga Practice. They are called the Yamas and Niyamas and I realised that they can actually be applied to anything, broad or specific. 

I’m thinking of them for me as a writer…

Yamas

Ahimsa (non-harming) 

I vow to be kind to myself and others, and my characters, even when the evil or misguided ones, I understand their path. I enjoy the journey and do not pressure myself, remembering that pressure is different from commitment.

Satya (truthfulness) 

Honesty in thoughts, words and actions is always in my mind. I accept each of my days’ reality and surrender to my limits. I am authentic in my expression. Before talking I ask myself: Is it true, is it kind, is it necessary? Does it improve on Silence?

Asteya (non-stealing) 

I respect possessions, time and energy; mine and others. I do not invade space or ideas, I don’t rob people of their peace or fulfilment. I don’t rob myself of the present time. I am present, I live the journey.

Aparigraha (Non-attachment/non-possessiveness) 

I am enough, I have enough, I do enough, I let all forms of energy draining thoughts go. I appreciate what I have, what I am. I let go of outcomes and expectations. And I remember that rejection is divine protection.

Brahmacharya (maintenance of vitality/previously seen as chastity) 

I listen to my boundaries and desires, and preserve and respect mine and others’ energies.

Yoga Practices for the Niyamas

Tapas (purification through discipline) 

I am disciplined and “I am stronger than myself” (Clarice Lispector).

Santosha (contentment)

I am incredibly grateful and peaceful.

Saucha (purity)

I organise my writing space, I observe cleanliness of mind, body, energy and surroundings.

Svadhyaya (self-study)

I understand, observe, respect upon and develop my writing.

Ishvara Pranidhana (devotion to a higher power)

I surrender and trust my creativity and the inspiration that comes from outside of me.

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Discipline for the Creative Mind

How can you discipline water? Fluidity? Like trying to make water into a shape but without applying it to a rigid container? Making the inner creative mind to be disciplined is a bit like that.

Applying pressure has the opposite of the desired effect, the more pressure, the less ideas and the further you get from The Famously Creative Flow.

The way is digging the path in front of the water for it to stream through it. There is a commitment to the digging, to creating the path, to the process and the general direction, eventually, once you have created a good height difference and a worthwhile gap for the liquid to trickle into, it will come, it is inevitable. Yet, one must remember that it has its own laws of physics to follow, which may seem inscrutable to the digger, you can’t see the lay of the land where the water is coming from, or predict the weather patterns that will create the rain. But it will come, one way or another, if you keep digging.

You won’t be able to choose what comes, in which way, the amount of it, the quality, the purity… you are but creating the vessel. You can only keep digging, and believing and never stopping, because if you stop, the water pools.

This is the creative process way, inspiration is the water, and keeping at it, writing, painting, sculpting, singing, playing, is the digging of the path. We, creators, can get better and better in using the tools of the trade, the techniques, and dedicate more and more time; increasing the amount of captured inspiration and the flow of it more consistent, but in the end… we have to submit to what comes to us and not compare to anyone else, no processes are ever the same.

This is what I am doing. I have achieved, last September, something I’ve been working towards for a long time: I am working four days a week, at work, and writing (digging) one day a week, at home, plus parts of the weekend, and sometimes after hours…

It’s been six months that I’m taking a day a week for writing. Two writing days have never been the same. I spent most of today preparing the way, writing on clarity of what I’m doing, of my process, on research to support my created world, reading inspirational quotes for writers, and going to the toilet every ten minutes and then, it poured! Deep and meaningful facts and I needed to find out about this world I’m creating on paper, I mean, on virtual paper. Over 4,200 words without blinking. And until it came, there was only dry earth…

I’ll finish with one of the quotes I dug today:

“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say.” Barbara Kingsolver

Amazon Eats Reviews

Many self-published authors are complaining about the same thing: Amazon deletes reviews.

The issue is, Amazon keeps eating the reviews from the people I know, I had about 8 reviews on my book Simplesmente Gerva and they deleted them all.

I don’t agree with their system. I know people that are related to me or are my friends are biased, but where do you start?

To attract unbiased reviews, you need reviews! With reviews from people you know, you will attract people to buy the book. Some will like and some won’t, but it doesn’t matter as long as you start the ball rolling.

With Amazon policy of deleting reviews I’m left with no starting point.

I’m retorting to begging, and selling my soul, https://taniacreations.com/2016/05/27/lucifer-the-amazon/, the next step might be a bit more drastic…

There I am at a corner, mini-skirt, trashy top, more make-up than I ever used, twirling my purse. A car comes along, a man opens the window and leans to speak to me.

‘How much?’

‘1 review for one hour, 2 reviews for four hours or 3 reviews for the night’

‘Hum, okay, I’ll take the four hours option.’

Cool! The make up certainly paid off! I give him a card with some web addresses.

‘Payment first! Go home, read the books, make the reviews, come back tomorrow, I’ll be waiting’.

Save me from myself, review my books!

Sideways Reality:

www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01DRNHT4G

www.amazon.com.br/dp/B01DRNHT4G

www.amazon.com/dp/B01DRNHT4G

Simplesmente Gerva:

www.amazon.com.br/dp/B00M5NICLY

www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00M5NICLY

www.amazon.com/dp/B00M5NICLY

Fio da Meada:

www.amazon.com.br/dp/B007XAJOFM

www.amazon.com.au/dp/B007XAJOFM

www.amazon.com/dp/B007XAJOFM

The Snowball Experience in Writing

I was talking to my best friend the other day and we were wondering if the concept of snowball was for real. We remembered the snowballs you see in cartoons, rolling down getting bigger and bigger getting memento and engulfing bears, beavers and other characters.

When I decided to go skiing we decided I had to make an experiment and we laughed with the imagination of me releasing a small little ball at the top of the mountain and it growing taking many skiers before it got to the base of the mountain.

snowball trail

When I went to the top of the world I make good on our promised and released the ball. I made sure there was a structure on the way to stop the disaster from happening. I released a small one, the size of a tennis ball and it rolled surprisingly quickly, getting slightly bigger and rounder. But it got stopped by any imperfection on the snow surface. A ski trail, a slight depression was enough.

I think that if the balls were bigger, at least big enough to not be stopped by shallow creases on the snow, it would become a cartoon-like snowball. It was at least as large as a soccer ball…

That got me thinking about writing and the way you need to get to a certain body of work before your ball rolls without being stopped by any intersession. If you take the time to create your soccer ball, eventually, things will become easier, growing and rolling unimpeded.

You will still need to keep creating and offering the ball enough snow-words to amass and keep going.

One little ball won’t go very far, but a good sized amount of writing will get you somewhere with many surprises and new characters being picked up on the way.

Up the Lift

I’m going up the lift, the skis weighting heavily on my feet, feeling happy. I’m looking at the slope below me and writing what I see in my head

Group of students

Fallen skier

Fallen snowboarder, bum down

Mom with the pink hair and the little girl who gains mastery each time

Snow fight

Fallen snowboarder, bum up

Skier almost in a split

Father trying to untangle the baby’s skis both feet are looking backwards with skis firmly locked

A boy skiing with a pair of extra skis on his hands

Fallen snowboarder, making snow angels, completely given up

Little boy running down with no skis screaming ‘Jaaaaack! Hey Jaaaaack!’

‘Mommy, mommy, can you wait for me?’ I hear. I look downhill and mommy is sprawled on the floor, she couldn’t move if her life depended on it. Guess she will wait.

A little red bullet with orange helmet flies straight down bawling ‘INCOMING! INCOMING! INCOMING!”

50 Thousand Words to Nano Victory

2013 nanowrimo winner certificate

Link: nanowrimo.org 

Last November (2013) I did it. I have ‘won’ the NaNoWriMo. I have written 50 thousand words in a month. I did expect to feel happy and a sense of achievement, but I didn’t expect to learn so much about myself while doing it.
The book is not ready, not even as a first draft, but the produce of that month is an infrastructure. It made me feel ready for the next step. I’m still searching for the elusive structure and coming to terms with my narrator. The challenge is that this narrator has to be strong enough to provide colour to the story but not too strong to detract from the main character.
This year is my final year on my Masters of creative writing and the two subjects left are projects where I intend to nail this, and having over 80,000 words written (counting 2012 nano’s plus many pieces I have written for subjects) should give me a good place to start.
What I learnt from the marathon was the capacity to write no matter what, tired after a whole day of hard work, uninspired, sick, write in the morning, in the afternoon, at night. I went through the fallacy that you need inspiration to write and found a well of capacity to do what it takes.
It also introduced me to something that I find hilarious: writing groups. A group of people who get together at a pub, sit down and write together. They barely say hello, there is very little chit chat, often I only learn the name of one or two people in a group of fifteen.
We meet, we put our individual music inside our ears, and we write alone, in a group.
I found groups that keep meeting even after the marathon and keep going to them. Something about having others like you doing the same as you do, having a time allocated and putting the energy to the task makes is highly productive.

NanoWrimo Progress
(Orble Votes: 28)

Indoors Saturday

Link: nswwc.org.au

Here I am on a Saturday, with an average of five speakers and a couple of hundred people talking about the intricacies of writing. “The take that people have on your take of them”.

It is the creative non-fiction festival at the New South Wales Writers Centre. I love being in the room thinking about what to write and not and the consequences of our words.
What to do when you are interviewing people who are big?
It is funny to think that for 10 minutes of my life I was in the same league as the lectures. With my interview with Justin Bieber I know and I knew at the time, I had no idea what I was doing… but did it. I did prepare, got over 60 questions ready, got two recorders which was great as one stopped and then did the best that I could.
Here I see a deeper level and even how wrong it could have gone.
Being in your passion makes anything interesting and talking about hurt sommeliers over a humorous article is just one of them.
(Orble Votes: 21)