Five tips for getting words on the page

24 thoughts on “Five tips for getting words on the page”

  1. I love love love Writing Down the Bones. I picked it up in San Francisco in the late 90s while in a corner bookshop attached to a piano bar and museum (this may or may not be an accurate memory of the place). It was far too expensive for my grad students’ budget but I bought it anyway and each word assured me that the purchase was worth it. I haven’t read it in years and now it’s next on my list. Thanks for the reminder.

    Like

    1. Yes! I bought my copy in Maryland after reading her book Long Quiet Highway (which, by the way, is the book that not only made me realize I wanted to be a writer, but convinced me that I can). I remember a color prompt, where I walked the neighborhood looking for yellow, and I was dazzled by the experience. Not just of looking for yellow, but of where I found it, and then of finding the words to describe the particular yellows – the textures, the sheen, the depth of color, the orange or green tints – and how rich a single word can be, and how it made me open my eyes to the world around me. Natalie Goldberg rocks.

      Like

  2. Prompt box! I love that. I might re-read writing down the bones. I read it a long time ago and found that I had lots of good pieces of writing, but no idea how to string them all together into a cohesive whole. Might be time to revisit.

    Like

    1. I know exactly what you mean, about not knowing how to make a whole out of all my pieces. And I remember feeling that exact same way after reading Writing Down the Bones. How funny. But that sentiment is part of the reason I launched this blog (and titled it Butterfly Mind,) to make the pieces whole without having to tie them together, so that each piece is its own entity. In the process I learned a ten-line vignette can stand alone. I don’t have to string pieces together to make a cohesive whole. And that is where the prompt box makes the writing life so fun! Pull a prompt, write a piece, and don’t worry about making it part of something bigger. It’s an adventure every time you reach in and pull something out.

      Like

  3. The suggestions you give are wonderful! I might just have to get that book myself and have it around as a constant reminder when I forget about the writer in me. It happens sometimes. Thanks for putting your thoughts out there for the rest of our benefits!

    Like

  4. I’m not a writer. I’m an artist turned blogger so this really resonated with me. I’ve never taken a writing class but this is a place I can return to for inspiration. Thank you.

    Like

  5. Some excellent tips up in here. My last english professor’s mantra was simply “A writer writes.” It’s important to just engage in the mechanics of writing, even if you’re not getting anything good. Thinking or staring at a page isn’t writing. Get something down.

    Like

  6. I’ve read this post about three times now and keep coming back for more. In fact I read some of it again while I was sitting in a bookshop café drinking tea and eating a heavenly chocolate brownie as part of the Artist’s Day Out that I felt able to indulge in after reading about yours! Better still, it’s given me the confidence to let myself see this as a necessity and not an indulgence at all. Thanks for something I know I’ll be coming back to (and writing about).

    Like

  7. This was great….love all of these ideas. I’m definitely wanting to start a prompt box. I’ve had a lot of changes at home and have not been as productive as I want to be. Our daughter’s visiting a bit and my husband’s daughter has come to stay to help me take care of him. I think I’m going to start writing a bit in the mornings as it seems that’s the time everyone is still asleep. I can write with music and usually write whenever, but can’t write when people are talking. I went from total quiet and solitude that was too much to an overload of busyness and conversation.

    Like

  8. I loved this. I found the timed writes idea especially helpful. Very often I’ll get a mental block and just stare at the page before giving up. I like that they force you to just write word vomit without thinking because, actually, the best writing isn’t always over thought.

    Like

  9. Thank you for the 5 Tips! As a runner I come up with wonderful ideas while on the run, but the minute I get home I am off doing something else and totally forget them. I plan on trying your Timed Writes idea – sitting down with a timer and writing as I come in no matter how sweaty I am.

    Like

Comments are closed.