Jen Nipps, Writer

Posts Tagged ‘Devoted to Quilting

Developing Your Onward & Upward Attitude – Part 1

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(Note: After the last blog series, I took an informal survey on what topics writers would like to see here. “Conquering those self-confidence demonswas suggested by Winona Cross. For other suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments sections or email me.)

Writers have an internal Public Enemy #1 when it comes to building the kind of self-confidence needed to withstand the roller-coaster ride that is involved with writing, submitting, and publishing. PE#1 is none other than our own internal critic.

How do we combat what our critic throws at us? We can fake it ’til we make it, wait a while before sending work out, and deal with bad news as it comes in.

1. Fake It ‘Til You Make It
It sounds trite. If you’re not confident, you can’t act like you are, right?

Wrong.

Sometimes you have to borrow self-confidence you have in other areas of your life and apply it to your writing life.

A friend of mine, Nita Beshear, gives talks to different quilting groups and sells her book, Devoted to Quilting, as she goes. She says when she started, she wasn’t very confident about public speaking. But she did it. Her confidence has increased as she has done more presentations.

For a more personal example, I’m currently working on a book about Twitter. Whenever I start to work on it, I’m bombarded by doubts.

I don’t know what I’m talking about.
Will someone really buy a book about Twitter?
There are other good books out there about Twitter.
I don’t know how to do this.
I don’t know what I’m doing!

I keep going. I know there are other things I have done and can do that have given me the confidence to keep me going.

In what areas are you not as confident as you would like to be? In what areas are you as confident as you want to be? Borrow some of that confidence to let you fake it ’til you make it in other areas.

It sounds hokey, but it’s doable.

You’ll get another tip/technique on Wednesday.

Written by Jen Nipps

August 8, 2011 at 11:55 am

BOP Your Way Past Writer’s Block – Part 1

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(Note: This is the first in a 3-part series about overcoming writer’s block or any obstacle to your creativity.)

Advice for writers comes from varied and sometimes surprising sources. Take nursery rhymes, for example. Particularly, consider Little Bunny Foo Foo.

“Little Bunny Foo Foo,
Hopping through the forest
Scooping up the field mice
And boppin’ ’em on the head.”

If you’re not familiar with the nursery rhyme, the Good Fairy gave Little Bunny Foo Foo three chances to improve his behavior or she would turn him into a goon. Ultimately, she did.

We writers need to change our behavior as well. We need to know we can bop our way past writer’s blocks without such punishment. Here are three tips for doing just that:

1.    Break out the pen and paper.
Yes, we live in the Information Age where everyone uses a computer more often than not. We even carry them in our pockets under the guise of music players and smart phones. Forget about them. Get a physical notebook and pen. It doesn’t matter if you use a 3-ring binder or a spiral notebook or if you write with blue, black, green, yellow, or purple ink.

Get a notebook and a pen, find a place to sit down, and set a timer for at least fifteen minutes. It would be better if you can do it for 30, but we’ll start with 15. In those 30 minutes, you should be able to fill 3 8.5×12 sheets of paper: front and back of one page and front of another (or back, depending on how you work).

As soon as you start the timer, put your pen to paper and do not stop moving the pen across the page until the timer goes off. You don’t have to write if you can’t think of anything to say, but you do have to keep the pen moving. Doodle. Draw. Scribble. Eventually, you will start to write something. And that something might just help you move past your block and the problem you’ve been having.

In fact, consider your blocks as building blocks toddlers littering a toddler’s playroom. Draw a representation of those blocks in your notebook while your hand is moving across the page during this block of time. If the toys were scattered everywhere, how might they be rearranged to make something decorative if not functional?

In the same way you imagine those toy blocks being moved around, rearrange your blocks too. Play “What if?” You don’t write fiction, you say. It doesn’t matter. Many writers have found “what if” to generate effective jump-starts for articles and other nonfiction projects. Nita Beshear, a writer in southeast Oklahoma, did. She took her passions for quilts and writing and thought, “What if I wrote a book of devotions about quilts?” She wrote Devoted to Quilting, published by Devoted Books in 2010.

(Part 2)