Tag Archive - Writing Nonfiction

Overcoming Fear in the Creative Writing Process

Today’s guest post is by Kathleen Parisien

Each and every one of us has the capacity to step into the creative writing process. For some people, writing is strenuous, much more of a chore than a hobby. Often, people say that they are just not writers. However, that is simply a myth!

Everyone has the ability to touch into their creative writing process of writing, just by writing! There is no fancy formula for writing. The first step is putting pen to paper and letting the words flow.

Writing is not the hard part, it’s shifting our mind-set. Often, it’s our own judgement and limiting self-beliefs that hinder our growth. These self-constructed barriers need to come down, to tap into the creative process. It is the creative process that enriches our souls. Through writing, the soul shines through the words, making us feel wholesome and happy. Some people are surprised to find out that writing is therapeutic.

I didn’t always embrace my writer identity. I had written essays in university, and while I was writing, I didn’t have freedom. I had to write about whatever the professor wanted. It wasn’t until I quit my 9-5 job and traveled to Brazil that I truly unlocked the therapeutic creative writing process.

Here I was on a foreign continent, with just my backpack and a notebook. I would journal as I’d sit in restaurants alone. On busses, trains, planes, or sitting in parks, I would write. I would just write about anything that would come to my mind.

Travel Journal

Writing gave me a break from the chaos of traveling. This is where I started to feel writing as therapy. This is when I first became conscious of the creative process. This time alone with my journal ignited the creative process and gave me time to connect within.

Journaling gave me the ability to balance in an influx of change and stimulation. In a time when my life was very much unknown, my writing provided me with balance. At a time when I was seeking my life’s purpose, all I actually needed was a pen and paper. My written words were my true self articulating what I actually wanted in life. It’s as if when I wrote, my soul was shining through.

In Brazil, one notebook was not enough. Actually, after six months of traveling, I brought home three journals that I kept from Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Peru. Then, I traveled to Israel and Palestine for ten months, where I filled up more notebooks. These ten to twelve journals became my first novel, Citizen of the World. The creative process brought me somewhere I had no idea I was going, and that’s the beauty of the creative process—it gives you what you need.

Taking those journals to form a book took three years of hard work, tears, and persistence. As I reread my journals and transformed then into a book, tears would flow down my face profusely. Years of pain and confusion were now blossoming into a story. Through writing this story,  I found myself. The tears symbolized a shift in my consciousness. A shift toward becoming a better version of myself through the creative writing process.

It took me three years because I didn’t believe myself to be an author. The process of writing the book kept stalling because I didn’t envision myself as an author. I’d give myself excuses not to finish the book and, evidently, not to write. I would say things to myself like, “I’m not Oprah; I can’t publish a book,” or “No one will read my book. I’m a nobody.” This pessimistic talk did me no justice and harmed my inner artist. I forbid myself to write, thus hindering my soul.

The Artist’s Way

For three years, I was hiding my true identity from the world. I felt safer there than in taking a risk. But frustration and unhappiness began to sink in. My life became meaningless, and that’s when it clicked that I had to continue writing. I figured that the book, and thus the creative process, would be my salvation! So I purchased The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

The Artist’s Way is a book with creative writing exercises to empower your inner artist. According to Cameron, everyone has an inner artist just waiting to be acknowledged. Through Julia’s twelve-week program, artists find clarity about their purpose as an artist.

The Artist’s Way allowed me to discover and validate my identity as an author. Through writing morning pages, artists dates (time alone), and lots of self-love, I became to understand that my creativity is divine. I now understand that when I was refusing to write, I was refusing to fulfill my destiny and refusing God. Through the Basic Principles, I became enlightened.

Two of my favorite of the 8 Basic Principles are #5: “Creativity is God’s gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God” and #6: “The refusal to be creative Is self-will and is counter to our true nature.

The book is full of positive affirmations to satisfy our inner artist and bring us deeper into the creative process.

Citizen of the World

On November 4th 2019, I published my book Citizen of the World, A Guide to Adventure and Self Discovery. Now my readers are telling me how good my writing is and how inspiring my story is.

After reading Citizen of the World, I’m told readers are feeling motivated to live life outside their comfort zone as they too are curious about what else is out there. People who were once scared to travel are now feeling courageous and inspired to change their status quo. Citizen of the World is a fearless story of self-discovery through travel.

One creed in The Artist’s Way is “My creativity heals myself and others.” My hope is that my book will continue to impact people every single day. All because I stepped outside my comfort zone, picked up a pen and paper, and tapped into the creative writing process.

The time to write your first page, chapter, or book is today. Don’t judge the work or the process—just dedicate time to writing. As Julia Cameron reminds us, our job is just to write. Let the creative process flow, and you’ll go places you never imagined. What are you waiting to share with the world?

Kathleen Parisien quit her 9-5 job back in 2013 to travel the world. Based in Ottawa, Canada, Kathleen inspires people to get out of their comfort zone for personal and global transformation. Connect with her at her website or on Facebook or Instagram.

5 Surprising Tips for a Nonfiction Book Deal

Today’s guest post is by Lisa Tener.

You’ve probably heard the usual tips about getting a nonfiction book deal, particularly in the arena of prescriptive books:

  • “Grow Your Platform and Showcase it in Your Proposal.”
  • “Engage Your Community.”
  • “Write Something Fresh.”
  • “Showcase Your Credentials.”
  • “Capture a Strong Voice from the Start of the Proposal.”
  • “Include the latest research if there is evidence to back up your methods or advice.”

Those are all important ingredients to interest literary agents and publishers. However, there are additional strategies that many people don’t know that can make your proposal stand out. Continue Reading…

Beginnings and Endings for Your Memoir

I’ve been sharing excerpts from my new book The Memoir Workbook. Today we’re going to consider the starting and ending points for your memoir.

Your memoir obviously needs to start somewhere and end somewhere, and since you’re not writing an autobiography with the purpose of detailing your entire life, you need to spend time thinking about the time frame.

One writer suggests: “Start anywhere. Because no matter where you start, you’ll end up where you’re meant to be.” I disagree. From my experience in critiquing and editing hundreds of manuscripts, including memoir, if you start anywhere, you may wander off to Shangri-la and find yourself stuck in a snowdrift—not where you’d planned to go.

As with any journey, you need a specific starting point that will actually get you to your targeted destination.

Your memoir may cover three days of your life or it may cover thirty years. You could be writing a gripping story of the time you got trapped in a hotel during a tsunami or the year you spent living abroad. The duration is contingent on the particular story you aim to tell.

This is why it’s important to know your purpose in writing this particular memoir and your themes.

Since your memoir is going to pull from various anecdotes in your life to support your theme or topic, you want to determine what event in your life is best to springboard your story. Continue Reading…

Page 1 of 3123»