Trust30 – Motivation for a month to get yourself writing

Engraving of American philosopher and poet Ral...

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Who are you, and what do you want to say?

Do you even know?

Finding your own voice and using it in a crowded room is always difficult, but it’s become even tougher with the immense access to ideas and silliness the internet permits. Strong and creative ideas can easily give way to self-doubt, conformity, and endless revisions.

Ralph Waldo Emerson railed against this trap long before blogs, Facebook, and Twitter turned on their torrents of opinions and information. He knew the value of the individual and their unique voice. In his recently republished essay, Self-Reliance, his fierce argument against consistency and conformity is set against quotes and ideas from Pam Slim to Theodore Roosevelt. Take action, Emerson says. YOUR action.

Building on this, the Domino Project has launched a month long effort to get people moving that they call Trust30. Similar in some ways to National Novel Writing Month, the idea is to move away from self-censoring and to write something fresh and new for 30 consecutive days. Every day you will receive some motivation in email to keep you inspired and moving.

If you’re feeling stuck, or having trouble finding your own voice in your own work and life, take this challenge. It costs nothing but your time and brain cells. At the end you’ll have new habits, new ideas, and hopefully some new momentum that will take you the places only you can go.

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Cathartic Writing: Where to Turn for Advice on How to Turn Your Personal Demons into Story Gold

Writing comes from a very personal place and many writers agree that the process is an isolated one. Tapping into our own experiences when composing stories can, at times, take us to some pretty dark places. Cathartic writing is a way to unleash pent up emotions while at the same time creating potential ideas for characters and stories, but how much of ourselves should we put into our writing? Is creating a character much like ourselves a good idea when writing a novel, or does it just lead to awkwardness and self-aggrandizement? Can we remain objective and develop a plot successfully if we are personally connected to the events?

Personally, I think all writers should put a little of themselves into their stories. In fact, I’m not sure there is any way around having some of ourselves enter into our writing. Writers have often heard the old advice: “Write what you know.” Cathartic writing, such as journaling or blogging, can often lead to some great ideas, but sometimes those ideas can get lost in the shuffle. Maybe they don’t come across as well as we would like because we are too close to the subject matter to be truly objective. Can exorcising our personal demons morph into a great story, or will it just come off sounding like an overly-exposed therapy session? Who can we turn to for advice on this subject?

My answer: Stephen King. Stephen King is one of those writers who explores his dark side resulting in some fantastic storytelling. I highly recommend his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. This book contains a lot of stories about his life and how those life experiences have shaped his writing. He is a man who successfully uses writing to overcome some of the personal demons with which he struggles. This book is a great guide for those writers considering using their cathartic writing to generate their own stories.

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