Welcome, Brave Writers.

O Writers! Do you Suffer from Writer's-Block? The Fiction-Writing Directorate can Help!

Our Exhortations will Inspire you; our Exercises will Strengthen you; and the Ancient Art of Shiva Nata will Enlighten you.

Read! Write! Flourish!

Or Else.

Subsiste statim sermonem et scribe.

Two Fabulous Things

Darlings! O, how I have missed you in these long lonely days!

Someday, darlings, I may be able to tell you about the extraordinary adventures that have been forced upon the Directorate these past months; for now, however, I must keep my trembling silence. I may tell you only that my adoration for you continues unabated, and I eagerly anticipate the day when we have dealt with the horrors which confront us so that I may return to you.

I offer these two fabulous things to keep you inspired and informed until that marvelous day.

First, the luminous Elissa Bassist at the Rumpus offers bountiful wisdom. Darlings! Go read Unsolicited Writing Advice You Want.

- Write every day. If you can’t do that, do this: set an egg timer for 20 minutes; get a pencil and paper and have them touch; don’t lift your pen or pencil off the paper; write “I cannot write every day” on the piece of paper until you have something else to say; do this every day.

- A conversation between two writers: Writer 1 says, “Blah blah blah,” and Writer 2 says, “Shut up and write.”

Second, may I call your attention to the doings of the Directorate’s beloved Dance of Shiva teacher, Ms. Wodzinski? She’s started her own delicious site, including a fabulous club for Dance of Shiva students. Fear not; Ms. Wodzinski will continue her work at the Directorate! We wish her the most extraordinary success in her new project.

Until the fates bring us together again, darlings! Kisses!

Clear the Decks Friday: Flow Around

A Shameful Harlot

Darlings! Welcome to another delicious Friday! Let us all work together to clear our decks, shall we?

Earlier today, I sprang refreshed from the nourishing arms of slumber, eager to savour the day. After breaking my fast and performing my ablutions, I dove into the very first task on my list: a somewhat overdue assessment of an Agent’s performance with his writing goals.

It’s an important task, darling! Yet somehow, without me even noticting, over an hour slipped away into diversionary shenanigans of the most pointless kind. Oh, dear, I muttered, as I turned away from the internet. Oh dear, oh dear! I was supposed to be working! I’d set out full of enthusiasm, only to find myself adrift.

What had happened? How could my eagerness have been dissipated so easily?

I realized: I did not want to write the assessment. They are dreadful bureaucratic documents that only Ethelie could like; I can think of dozens — nay, hundreds! — of more felicitous uses of my time! Indeed, it makes perfect sense that I should wish to avoid it!

Yet why did I not simply set aside the loathsome task, and choose another? My list contained several wonderful items, including shopping for a present for one of my companions, posing for some salacious photographs, and obtaining a foot massage! The report isn’t even due until Monday. O Foolish Mind! It became so set upon completing the task I set it that it excluded all other tasks; so its only option, when it foundered on the shoals of avoidance, was to divert me into diversionary shenanigans.

Surely there is a better approach. Thus I set myself my theme for the day:

Instead, Flow Around.

When blocked, simply set the task aside, and select another.

I believe this approach requires three attributes if it is to succeed:

First, we must be vigilant, my loves. I am so accustomed to my avoidance that often, as happened this morning, I do not even notice when I have gone astray. Thus my first step is to simply pay attention.

Next, we must be kind, darlings. When you find yourself adrift, do not shout; simply gently reel your mind back in. You have avoided the task for a perfectly good reason; instead of stern recriminations, greet yourself with comfort. If you fall short, the Directorate will be ready with recriminations; you may safely leave the work of chastizement to us, and focus on being kind to yourself.

Finally, we must trust ourselves, beauties. Trust yourself to come back to the task you have set aside; trust your mind to quietly work to resolve its difficulties; trust that you can wisely choose the next task to which you apply yourself. Trust yourself to grow, to strengthen your skills, and to flourish. I fear this is the work of a lifetime — yet should we not begin it?

Join Me?

Talk to me in the comments, my scrumptious friends! What tasks are you avoiding? How can you best flow around them?

The Scent of Desperation

A recent incident compelled me to write to my dear friend Stacey Cornelius for advice. I found her response so marvelously useful that I knew I must share it with you all immediately! Take heed!–Lida.

Dearest Lida,

I was delighted to receive your correspondence, but surely you jest—vampires? But have you not just vanquished the zombies? This is terrible news indeed.

I won’t mince words, my dear. I’ve encountered the vampires. I am nearly ashamed to admit I have been seduced myself.

Does that shock you, Lida? I apologize. My wanderings in the wilderness often cause me to forget the gentility of polite company. But . . . → Read More: The Scent of Desperation

Clear the Decks Thursday: Vacation Edition

Ethelie

O my little Apple Blossoms! Tomorrow, the Staff of the Directorate departs for its annual Corporate Retreat; thus, we must Clear our Decks a day Early.

An imminent Vacation has a marvelously Focussing effect on one’s Mind, don’t you think? When one is faced with an Immovable Deadline, the essential tasks stand out with Marked Clarity, and all other Concerns fade into a Murky and Undistinguished background.

Already today I Labored with Mr. Boggins on revealing the new Directorate Emporium! Now you can purchase splendid Directorate goods, and constantly be Reminded of your Obligations by virtue of Gustav observing you from a . . . → Read More: Clear the Decks Thursday: Vacation Edition

Shiva Nata for Swingers

This is a short video of me doing Level 1 Horizontals this afternoon.

Here’s the thing about the Dance of Shiva: it can be as much fun as you want it . . . → Read More: Shiva Nata for Swingers

Clear the Decks Friday: Mr. Forster’s SuperFocus

Darlings! Welcome to the sixth edition of Clear the Decks Friday, in which we work together to dispose of the bothersome tasks that otherwise encumber our writing life!

Today, my lovelies, I am thinking about systems.

Ethelie is terribly fond of lists and priorities and stern consequences. Her lists — o, my darling, they are magnificent and mighty machines, with thousands of interlocking gears, each grinding inexorably along. Frankly, they terrify me, and when I have tried to use Ethelie’s systems, I’ve found myself weeping in the arms of my evening’s companion, instead of frolicking. There was simply no way to live up . . . → Read More: Clear the Decks Friday: Mr. Forster’s SuperFocus

Clear the Decks Friday: What Went Right?

A Shameful Harlot

Darlings! What a dreary and wretched day today is!

Everything is horrid: the Hounds will not stop howling. The weather is utterly frigid and the Beastmaster feared that the Kraken’s pond might freeze solid, so now the Kraken is lurking sullenly in the largest bathing tub in the Directorate. I have not performed my ablutions for days, darlings, and fear I am quite sticky and feral. My most promising writer had a dreadful relapse and has not written a word for days; he has been turned over to the tender ministries of the Plot Spiders, and all my marvelous . . . → Read More: Clear the Decks Friday: What Went Right?

Clear the Decks Friday: on Timers

Ethelie

O my little Mangolias! Welcome to another Edition of Clear the Decks Friday, in which we complete our most Troublesome Tasks together. For Clearing ones Decks has a Salubrious and Invigorating affect; and many Agents find themselves Turning to their Writing with renewed Vigour.

Let us Begin!

Today I wish to expound on the numberless Benefits of a time-Honored productivity Tool: the humble Timer. The Fiction-Writing Directorate employs Timers in a variety of Manners. My Favorite is to place the Recalcitrant Writer on a platform suspended over a Pit of Ravenous Wolverines, and set a Timer. If the Writer completes his or . . . → Read More: Clear the Decks Friday: on Timers

Clear the Decks Friday: Less Loathsome Lists

Darlings! Is it Friday again? How delicious.

I feel I should apologize for not getting this post up sooner so that all you early-birds might benefit from it; but I’m afraid I was busy with some terribly important sleeping-in. Scrumptious! But alas, the delightful parts of my day have finished, and I have no choice but to turn my attention to my dreary List of Loathsome Labours.

Of course they’re loathsome; I’ve been putting them off all week, and for very good reason. All are difficult or dull or dastardly or annoyingly alliterative; the very thought of them causes me to turn . . . → Read More: Clear the Decks Friday: Less Loathsome Lists

Miss Cornelius Meets the Director

The Lovely and Brave Miss Cornelius

[When the Fiction-Writing Directorate stepped out from years of shadowy silence to embrace the brave new world of the internet and its values of authenticity and transparency, I set myself the task of telling the tragic and illuminating tale of Miss Callista Cornelius. Before I told much of the tale, however, I was viciously attacked by an unknown assailant. To my shame, I let my cowardice get the better of me, and fell silent.

Miss Cornelius, however, deserves better; and thus I shall resume her tale.

You may wish to re-read the first installment of this series. . . . → Read More: Miss Cornelius Meets the Director