So then some guy said, "If you let Titanic take you down with the suction just for a moment, you'll gain enough strength and wisdom to swim to the surface. Don't fight it."
"That's beautiful", said Jennifer Aniston. And she did exactly that. Making her way to the ocean's surface, she realized she'd been holding on to the giant, brand new, recently submerged placard with 'Titanic' engraved in it, using it as a flotation device. I was watching this all go down, literally, when I heard my iPhone ping from the bottom of the ocean. Oh. Shit. "I have to go down there and get it, Jen!" My eyes and mouth widen to take a breath big enough to, um, chase the Ti...ta...n....ic for an i....ph...oneeee. (Um. Okay.) And that's when a voice says, "Erica, you've gone off the deep end in this dream. Wake up...wake up...WAKE. UP."
My eyes open and for a moment. I'm bummed I'll never find my iPhone and then I realize where I am, and that my phone is in the living room. I hobble myself out of bed and over to the couch to grab the phone. The thing lights up like the 4th of July and it's a text from a friend that says, Hey Babe, If you could give me one piece of advice about writing creatively, what would it be? And if you need to follow it up with more, I'm all ears.
Perfect! What a perfect question! These are my favorite kinds of texts, b-t-dubs. (That's 'by the way' in 2016 lingo. Keep up). I answered the text right away, as 4 main tips for creative writing popped into my head without even thinking. And I want to share those tips with YOU! (+4 extra ones that add a much needed extra somethin' somethin' when I write.)
1. FOCUS ON THE STORY, NOT THE SENTENCE- Have you ever spent way too much time editing a photo on your phone, drafting a text or writing a story/blog post, like me? Great! Yea. On the one hand, it could be an act of great care and consideration for your intended audience, to find the perfect filter for IG, the perfect response to a text and the perfect descriptive words for a story. And yet, it's all a bunch of hooey if you're not first focused on what you're actually wanting people to hear. Be careful not to lose track of what the whole thing is about and intended to be used for in the first place. Typically, what we want to say takes a lot longer to draft than what we actually want someone to hear, because we're busy scrutinizing things that don't make a ding-dong-dang difference if the story is shit and doesn't go anywhere. Trust me, the sentences and big words and grand images will all fall into place (with room for grammar and spell check, of course) if you keep your focus on Who-What-Where-When-Why-How, first.
2. WRITE WHAT MATTERS TO YOU IN THE MOMENT- Guys, I can't even tell you how fast I'm flying through this blog post. This topic matters to me all the time, but right now, in this moment, it is SO fresh in my mind because the text from my friend was my "call to action". If you've ever met me, even for 30 seconds when I sampled your cheese at the deli counter at Whole Foods, you'd know I have a lot of feelings about a lot of things all the time. But when it comes to writing, when I'm truly moved, I MUST take action. And so must you. You're a writer. You're always going to write, no matter what...but when you feel particularly inspired, take advantage of that in the moment (even if you have to pull over into the parking lot of a random high school, and write a poem that was exploding out of you...do it!)
3. TAKE NOTES ALL. THE. TIME.- This one complements the above tip. If you cannot sit down and complete a piece in the moment, THAT'S FINE! Keep a notebook and a pen handy (i.e. an iPhone with a Notes section) and write down the image, word, phrase, etc. as it pops into your head. DO NOT assume you will remember it later. YOU WON'T. Write it down. AND THEN put the whole thing together ASAP, as the idea, feeling, inspiration is fresh in your mind.
4. SHOW. DON'T TELL.- Boy, I tell ya, nothing sucks the essence right out of a story faster than reading a long-winded pile of nothingness because the author was trying to describe an event, but actually ended up explaining it. For example, if you're a writer, and you're story-ing (my made up verb) about a cold day, don't tell me that you're cold, show me 'cold'; blue, shaky, desperate, icy, longing, not cared for, not looked after, hopeless...etc. I always have to remind myself to give my readers more credit; it's a scientific fact that what we don't see, we will make up and what our mind isn't shown, it will fill in the blanks. This makes for an incredible reading experience; allowing our audience to fill in some blanks, to step into our shoes, with room to wiggle around and find themselves in our words. It's a gift we give to our audience.
**Some Extra Personal Touches that Make Me a Better Creative Writer**
1. OILS- Duh. If you thought I wasn't gonna list essential oils as a way I enhance my creativity and overall being as a writer and human, you don't know me at all, and we should see a counselor. Here are the 3 main oils I use when I sit down to write:
* Focus Blend: This includes Patchouli, Sandalwood, Frankincense, Lime, Ylang Ylang and Roman Chamomile. All intended to keep me focused and engaged so I don't OH! SHINY PENNY!
*Clary Sage: The Oil of Clarity and Vision. I rub a drop of this oil over my chest and a drop between my eyebrows (seat of intuition/6th Chakra) for more clarity...and...vision. Yea.
*Wild Orange: The Oil of Abundance. This oil is associated with the 2nd Chakra, which governs creative energy, pleasure and enjoyment. (All necessities in my writing and thriving process)
*Because of FDA rules and blah blah blah, I can't tell you the brand of oils I use and trust, but if you want to learn more, let me know by COMMENTING BELOW. ;-)
2. BRUSHED TEETH: Morning is usually my peak time to write and I refuse to create anything unless my mouth feels clean. A clean mouth makes a clean voice makes a clean writing piece. Trust me.
3. MY GLASSES: Because I can't see without them and they are amazing.
WELP! That's what I have for you today, my creatives! Also, if you see Jennifer Aniston, tell her I found my phone.
PS: If you're curious about the process of Creative Writing JOIN MY 5-DAY COURSE! (Next round starts July 25!)