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Showing posts from May 6, 2007

The Scream: Invitation to Write #7

For Writers:

Hanging on the wall over my computer desk is a print of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” The emotions Munch captures in that simple painting often match the way I feel when I sit down at the computer to write. If I’m not feeling any creative juices flowing in my veins, I want nothing more than to go to the nearest bridge and scream.

Sometimes screaming actually helps. It releases tension and bad energy, offering writers the chance to purge the emotions that keep them from producing quality work. While a certain level of stress might be necessary to write, feeling too much stress cripples writers into becoming non-writers.

True writers know they were born to write. Screaming has the ability to unlock the creative energy necessary to write, to tell the story that needs to be told. Writers were born to scream.

Today, think about what story you’re dying to scream to the world. What has kept you from telling that story? Have you tried to tell it before, but somehow refused to infuse t…

One Layer Below: Invitation to Write #6

For Writers:

When we were in the market to buy a house, our Realtor didn’t plan to show us the small ranch-style house we eventually ended up buying. My wife saw a picture of it on the office’s bulletin board, and we had to convince Sam to take us out there.

After driving way out into the middle of nowhere, past graveyards and the local garbage dump, we finally arrived. The house was only six years old, but it hadn’t been lived in for three years. Layers of dust and animal droppings covered everything. What we were to find in the back bedrooms, though, was what certainly caught our attention the most.

The woman who had lived there before like to paint, and she had made the walls of the bedrooms her canvas. One mural was of the sword Excalabur rising out of the lake. In the room that would become our bedroom, she had painted a magical forest, with a huge unicorn as the central focus. It almost looked like it was running straight out of the wall.

After we purchased the house, we set out cle…

The Habit Man: Invitation to Write #5

For Writers:

I find it difficult to change. For years I have told myself to stop biting my fingernails, but unless I wrap all of my fingers in bandages, nothing stops me from gnawing away. Although I know better, I seem helpless to stop.

From time to time, I convince myself to exercise and eat a healthier selection of foods, but it never lasts. Soon enough, I fall back into the habit of eating powdered donuts and watching TV all evening. The exercise equipment in the back room remains silent from disuse, and the apples in the refrigerator rot.

Human beings are slaves to routine. The daily grind of life wears us down after a while, and the way we cope is to fall into the security of habit and routine. Habit and routine don’t necessarily need to be bad things, but it’s a lot harder to break a bad habit than it is to break a good one.

Today, think about one of your bad habits. Can you pinpoint why you fell into that habit? Is there any way you could quit? Change your routine? Outline an acti…

You're Invited

You might have noticed that for the past few days I've been posting "Invitation to Write" posts. My belief is that some people would like to write, but the blank page can be more scary than a dentist's chair. The idea behind my invitations is to help people prime the pumps of their imaginations.

So, take me up on my invitation. Read my "opening remarks," and join the conversation.

And, I'd love to read what you come up with. Send your insights to

The Shadow People: Invitation to Write #4

For Writers:

Who are the shadow people? One well-known radio talk show host who specializes in the paranormal describes them as the ghost-like images of people we might catch glimpses of in our peripheral vision. To me, though, shadow people have little to do with anything we might consider paranormal. Shadow people are quite normal, quite real.

Whatever happened, for example, to the people you knew in high school? What happens to people we were once close to but no longer see? These are the people who live only in memory. They are the real shadow people.

Every once in a while, we run into one of these individuals in the flesh. Sometimes seeing someone we haven’t seen in years can be shocking. We might know they are still alive, but as far as their place in our every day lives goes, they might as well have passed on to the other side. Encountering shadow people can feel like making contact with the dead.

Today write about shadow people. Think about someone you’ve lost touch with, and allo…