Showing posts with label childhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label childhood. Show all posts

Monday, April 9, 2012

Make Your Mondays Marvelous!

Who likes Mondays? Nobody. Poor Monday, always getting blamed for grumpy moods and work boredom. Poor Monday is the ultimate scapegoat for everything {blah} in our lives.

I am not saying I look forward to Mondays. Like everyone, I sometimes get the where-did-the-weekend-disappear-to? Sunday-evening blues. But the other day I realized something: if I spend every week dreading Monday and slugging through Monday just trying to get through the day, that means I'll be spending 1/7th of my life in a state of yucky, grumpy, get-me-out-of-here dread. And that's just not how I want to spend my time.

So I was thinking back to when I was in elementary school, and we had adjectives associated with all the days of the week, cute alliterative names like: Super Sunday, Stupendous Saturday, Fantastic Friday, Thrilling Thursday, Wonderful Wednesday, Terrific Tuesday, Marvelous Monday.

How does that sound? Marvelous Monday.

I kinda like it.

The thing is, back in elementary school, Mondays *were* marvelous. I don't remember dreading Mondays then. Weekends were great, of course, but school was fun, too. I think a large part of it was that even school had a sense of excitement and discovery about it. Every day, even Mondays, were filled with the possibility of surprises. Magic was around every corner. Back then, even the most everyday incidents would be cause for celebration: ice cream for someone's birthday, a trip to a new restaurant, a note from your best friend passed secretively during class, a new game on the playground, a gopher discovered behind the kickball backstop...

I think it's about time to bring some of that everyday magic back. Especially to poor Monday.

From now on, instead of moaning about Monday, I am going to try to make each Monday particularly marvelous. Maybe I'll try something new, do a random act of kindness or gratitude, act spontaneously, bring out my inner 12-year-old. Then, I'll go home and write about it, bringing that renewed energy and zest for life to all of my writing projects.

Will you join me? What is marvelous about your Monday?

Dallas Woodburn is the author of two award-winning collections of short stories and editor of Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three years in a row and her nonfiction has appeared in a variety of national publications including Family Circle, Writer's Digest, The Writer, and The Los Angeles Times. She is the founder of Write On! For Literacy and Write On! Books Youth Publishing Company and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Fiction Writing at Purdue University, where she teaches undergraduate writing courses and serves as Assistant Fiction Editor of Sycamore Review.

Monday, February 20, 2012

What Do You Want to Write About?

Last month, my blog post was titled: Do You Want to Be a Writer? http://www.writersonthemove.com/2012/01/do-you-want-to-be-writer.html This month, I will make a few suggestions of what you could write about.


Where do ideas for writing come from? Newspapers, photographs, and your childhood are a few examples of what you could use for inspiration. If you are suffering from writers block, perhaps the following will help.


Classified ads - Try reading the help wanted and for sale ads. Are there any interesting jobs being advertised that might make a good short story? What do people want to buy? What are people selling? Can you write a story or book about why someone might be selling their personal belongings? Let your imagination explore what might happen.


I remember reading an ad from someone who was selling 1970’s teen magazines. I wondered which teen idols the seller liked from that era. Did she use her own money to buy the magazines or did she beg her mother to buy them for her at the grocery store? Did she meet any of her idols at a concert? Was she in the audience of a TV show her idols appeared on?


Advice columnists – “Dear Abby” is a very well-known advice column, published in newspapers all over the United States. This column contains a myriad of topics to explore. Take a problem that a reader needs help with and flesh out a story of what could happen to someone as the months and years go by. Was the conflict resolved satisfactorily? Did any of the parties move to a new city or state, start a family, get a new job?


A photo, print or painting - Pick a photo, print or painting and write a story about what you see. What are the people doing? Where are they? What might happen later in the day or next week? Did they go on a vacation, go out to dinner, or get married? Where could the photo been taken? Is the print or painting of a particular place or could it be anywhere? Think of the possibilities!


Your childhood - I’m taking another class. Currently, I’m writing about my childhood. At first, I thought this was going to be difficult, but the more I write, the more I remember. I’m also including links to websites to help my readers (my classmates) better understand what I am talking about, since I am writing about a world that existed decades ago.


You can probably think of other examples of where to get ideas on writing. Take a notebook and jot down a topic at the top of each page or just make a list. Start with the above suggestions and then add your own. When you have problems thinking of where to go with your writing next, refer to your notebook and maybe the creative process will begin to flow again.


Debbie A. Byrne has a B.S. in Mass Communication with a minor in History. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and is currently working on her first children’s book.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Unlock Your Creative Spirit: Play With Playdough



When was the last time you set aside a portion of your day to be creative?

No, I don’t mean being creative to brainstorm ideas for a work meeting. Nor am I talking about using creative thinking to come up with the perfect gift for your significant other’s birthday. And no, I don’t mean being creative in thinking of new ways to motivate your kids to eat their vegetables or study for the SATs.

What I mean is, when was the last time you set aside time to be creative ... just for the sake of being creative? Simply for yourself and your spirit?

Remember when you were a kid and you could spend hours absorbed with a wad of brightly colored playdough? In playdough world, your imagination takes you to a place where an orange snowman is commonplace and a three-horned fire-spouting monster takes shape before your very eyes.

If you feel like your writing life is stuck in a rut, I have a solution that won’t cost much money or take much time: go back to playdough world.

Grab a wad of playdough and roll it into a ball. Feel its texture between your fingers. Don’t think; don’t worry; don’t question yourself. Enjoy the moment. Just see what shapes and figures emerge from your imagination.

This can help your creativity in multiple ways. You might find yourself making sculptures that relate to your life – maybe you’ll make figurines of your family and friends, or create a visual 3-D diagram of a problem you’re facing. Perhaps you’re feeling frustrated and rolling the clay into a ball, then pounding it flat, will feel like a release.

Visualize your negative energy trailing out of your body through your fingertips into the playdough. Then, pound it away. Do this multiple times until you feel rejuvenated.

Even if you don’t sculpt objects that relate to your life, you’re still allowing your mind to roam free and explore various ideas and possibilities. Just see where your thoughts take you!

A good exercise when you are done sculpting with playdough is to spend five minutes writing stream-of-consciousness style in a journal. Don’t censor yourself; don’t edit; don’t even think too much – just write, for five minutes, without letting your pen leave the paper. You might be surprised what thoughts, emotions, and new ideas turn up!

At-home recipe for playdough:

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups four
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 7 drops food coloring.
Mix dry ingredients with oil. Add food coloring to water and mix together. Add water to flour/salt/oil mixture slowly – about 1/4 cup at a time – and mix together with a spoon. Once you’ve added all the water, knead the dough with your hands until texture is smooth. Enjoy!

Bio: Dallas Woodburn is the author of two award-winning collections of short stories and the editor of Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing. She has written more than 80 articles for national publications including Family Circle, Writer’s Digest, CO-ED, Justine, and The Los Angeles Times and her plays have been produced in Los Angeles and Ventura, California. Her short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the Dzanc Books "Best of the Web" anthology and has appeared in a variety of literary journals including Monkeybicycle, Arcadia and flashquake. Dallas is the founder of the nonprofit organization “Write On! For Literacy” that has donated nearly 12,000 new books to disadvantaged children. She hosts frequent writing contests, teaches writing camps for kids, and is Assistant Fiction Editor of Sycamore Review while pursuing her MFA in Fiction at Purdue University. Contact her at her website www.writeonbooks.org or blog http://dallaswoodburn.blogspot.com.

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