Good morning! Before we kick off Week 2, I just want to tell you that you all kind of blew me away last week. Your willingness to write and share and support one another was just awesome. It’s amazing & so exciting to see this writing community taking shape.
Want to start with a Monday Morning Warm-Up today? Check out Jo’s blog to get your fingers moving.
And guest author Donna Gephart joins us for today’s Mini-Lesson Monday. Donna is the author of Death by Toilet Paper and other humorous novels for middle grade readers.
Part of writing is getting motivated, so today’s mini-lesson from Donna is a bit of a pep talk!
YOU CAN WRITE!
Those words were spoken by Brother Tom Price, an English professor at the University of Dayton, to Erma Bombeck. Price was Bombeck’s English teacher and ran the school’s magazine and he was impressed by her writing. Those three words – “YOU CAN WRITE” — represented permission for Bombeck to allow herself to pursue the passion that was inside her all along. What followed, as you know, was a wildly successful humor writing career.
At the start of summer, I purchased a “YOU CAN WRITE” mug from humorwriters.org for me and a few writing buddies.
Why do we need permission to write? Do we feel writing is a waste of time? Frivolous? Should we be doing something more important, like laundry, taxes or mowing the lawn? At the end of Bombeck’s life, did she wish she had folded more laundry, grappled with more tax forms or edged a few more lawns?
Of course not! And we shouldn’t either. Life’s too short to repress our creative energy in favor of more “practical” activities. We should do what makes us feel fully alive.
The only person who can give permission for you to write with wild abandon is YOU. The biggest roadblocks to our writing successes usually come from within ourselves.
So, today, give yourself permission to write.
First, list every writing project you’d like to explore, as though you have unlimited time and energy.
Always itched to create a picture book about hens who got chicken pox? A memoir about your years as a sky-diving, ninja-fighting postal worker? An alliterative poem about perplexed people who picked pickled peppers? A middle grade novel about death by toilet paper. (Wait a minute; that idea’s already been taken.)
Once you have your list, find the project that scares the heck out of you, the one thing you think you shouldn’t write. Or the project that makes your heart beat a little faster and your cheeks flush with excitement. WRITE THAT!
Kick fear out of your way.
Now, put your list aside and write the dedication of your next book or project. That’s right. The dedication. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t written a single word of this book or project yet. For whom are you writing? Remember, your writing is a gift. Who do you love enough to give the gift of your words to?
My fourth book – Death by Toilet Paper — was kicking my tail feathers. I kept starting and stopping, lost in a tangle of ideas and words until I came up with the dedication. I’d gift this book to my sister, Ellen, whose persistence with contests and with life inspired my book. As soon as I came up with the dedication, the words flowed. And I ultimately did give the finished novel – Death by Toilet Paper — to my sister, Ellen, as a birthday gift.
Note from Kate: What’s on your list of projects? Which one scares you? Which one makes your heart beat faster? And to whom will your favorite project be dedicated? If you’d like to share some ideas in the comments, feel free!