Why You Aren’t Writing – Reason #1

I recently wrote about 10 beliefs that sabotage writing.

This week, I’m writing about Reason #1: You don’t have time.

by Snoron.com

by Snoron.com

Here’s the first thing you need to know. Time is a construct.

Sure, we all have responsibilities, and we all generally have to meet deadlines or carry out duties within a specified time frame for work and in our daily lives. But… we are not at the mercy of time. Time does not have to dictate our every decision, our quality of life, or whether or not we write.

Chances are, you have more time than you realize. That is, if you’re a person who believes that time is something you possess.

Besides the obvious obvious approach of adding more time to your day by waking up an hour or two earlier (Try it. I started waking up at 5am, and it completely changed my productivity.), you can collect time and save it.

Think of it like a money jar you keep on the counter. You throw spare change in when you have it, and after a year has passed, you’ve saved enough to buy something for yourself you otherwise would not have been able to buy.

Time works the same way. Think of it as energy that you can gather and shape shift.

The best way to see where you can start saving up time is to do exactly what you’d do if you were trying to figure out where you can save money.

You do an inventory.

  • For at least one week – preferably two – track your time every day. From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed. This may sound tedious and anal, but you’ll be amazed by how much time you’re likely squandering every single day. Notice how much time you spend buying and preparing food, checking and answering emails, watching videos online, having unproductive conversations (or conversations that go on long past the length of time the issue at hand requires), doing laundry, practicing self care, on social media, exercising, and on and on.
  • Look for ways to shave time. If you’re spending an hour and a half at the gym, chances are, you can cut your workout routine down to an hour and still get the same benefit. Make meals in batches ahead of time and freeze them. Unsubscribe from email lists that clutter your inbox so you’re only tempted to read the ones that truly pertain to your life and your interests. Give yourself a social media time allowance and stick to it. You get the idea…
  • Check for patterns. After your week (or two) of inventory, if you see that every day around 11:00am you get bored and spend an hour on social media, but realize that only 10 minutes of that hour were spent productively, you can add 50 mins. to your time bank and start a new habit of only spending the necessary 10 minutes to accomplish your task. Do this for every task you perform every day.
  • Decide when you’re going to use the time you’ve collected. Figure out when you’re the freshest, when no one else is home, or whenever the optimal time of day might be for you.
  • Make a vow to use your time to write. Follow through and use your extra time to write. Think about this: If you saved $2,000 for that trip you’ve been wanting to take but then blew it all on slot machines, how crummy would you feel?

Now that you’ve figured out how much extra time you really have, don’t blow it carelessly.

Treat it as something sacred. Because it is.

How much extra time were you able to find?

How understanding the Power Chakra can help your writing

image credit: soul-trees.com

image credit:

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Root Chakra and the Sacral Chakra and how understanding them can help you understand your writing better.

This week, I’m writing about the third chakra, or the Power Chakra. Other names for this are the Personal Power Chakra and the Solar Plexus because it’s located in your solar plexus, just under your rib cage, in the center, in the vicinity of your upper abdomen.

As I’ve said in the past, the Writing Through the Body™ process has both generative and corrective benefits.

Remember that before we can approach the process as a generative tool, we have to have at least a vague idea of who we’re dealing with. In this case, let’s say a 15-year-old female.

Next, when we look at the Power Chakra elements, we can first go to the primary fears of this chakra. Starting here gives our character something to grapple with. We might decide to go with the Power Chakra fear that someone will discover her secret(s). This will help us begin to think about what secrets she might have. Maybe she just discovered she’s pregnant. Maybe she’s stealing money from her parents. Maybe she’s dating someone her parents wouldn’t approve of.

Any of these could be cause for stomach problems, a typical ailment associated with the Power Chakra, so we could give her that.

Because she’s withholding, she’s stifling the power of this chakra – her personal power. When we do this, it can draw up anger, so there could likely be an angry outburst in the story.

Over the course of the story, she can either address and transform the problem, or she can continue to keep it to herself. Either way, there’s a story here.

If you already know you have a 15-year-old girl who is stealing from her parents, but you aren’t sure where the story’s going, a brief look at the chakra elements, and you’ll know you’re dealing with a Power Chakra problem. You can then begin to think about the primary strengths of the chakra. Two are generosity and a strong sense of ethics. We at least know she’s not strong on ethics, and although we don’t know what she’s doing with the money, she may or may not be generous.

In considering these aspects of her character, we can begin to ask the all important question: “why?” This question is what drives story. Story is about cause and effect. It’s about decisions that lead to actions that lead to discoveries that lead to more decisions, and on and on…

By consulting the Power Chakra and understanding its elements and getting the character moving around, by making her visible, we can then delve a little deeper into her characterization and her motivations.

This is how story unfolds.

Why do you think she’s doing what she’s doing?

How understanding the Sacral Chakra can help your writing

Last week I wrote about how The Writing Through the Body™ process is both generative and corrective. And we looked specifically at the first chakra, the Root Chakra.

This week, let’s take a look at the second chakra, the Sacral Chakra, which is located in the lower abdomen, about three inches below the navel.

If we’re working from a generative position – that is, if we want to write but are uncertain how to get going – the first step is to begin with a character. How about a 40-year-old male?

Next, we can learn about the Sacral Chakra elements and see what resonates with us. For instance, if we look at the negative

image credit: sacramentovocalmusic

image credit:

manifestations of the Sacral Chakra (one of which is the killing of creativity due to fear), that can give us a place to start. What if the 40-year-old male is a classical composer with a commission deadline coming up, and he’s hit a serious block (killing of creativity due to fear). He’s tried and tried, but he just can’t get the piece finished.

If we then understand the primary fears associated with this chakra (one of which is loss of physical body due to death or illness), we can start to experiment with what the underlying fear might be that’s preventing him from finishing the piece. Maybe he hasn’t been feeling well, and while he’s writing it off as stress from the project, in the far, far back corners of his mind is the fear he’ll die of cancer the way his father did, at a very young age. We can then begin to explore his relationship with his father and see where that takes us.

If we’re working from a corrective position – that is, if we already have a story underway and we’re working with this character and his problem, we can simply begin by learning which chakra corresponds with the character’s particular problem and go from there, the ultimate goal being to take the character through an arc of transformation, which might be ability to take risks, one of the primary strengths of the Sacral Chakra, and/or he’s able to break through the block and create, one of the primary strengths of the Sacral Chakra. And of course, in some situations the character doesn’t make that transformation, but the reader will. The reader will ride the waves of uncertainty and struggle right along with the character, and she’ll be able to see aspects of him he can’t see himself. And in doing this, she’ll be changed, whether he is or not.

image credit: theelegantuniverse.tumblr.com

image credit:

The beauty of working with the chakras in this way is that there’s always an answer. Any problem we throw at our characters, there’s a road map, of sorts, in the chakra system. Every obstacle we face as humans can be tied back to one of the chakras.

How awesome is that?!

Who’s your character and why can’t he finish what he set out to do?


To write better, read.


One of the best ways to improve your writing is to read other writers. By reading the work of other writers, we can gain a multitude of benefits.

Reading fiction is like taking a vitamin for your brain, psyche, and soul all at the same time.

Besides creating something in our brain called grounded cognition, literary fiction also increases empathy because it helps us to “understand the emotions of others.” And specifically literary fiction, because it “has more depth,” is better for us than mainstream fiction. It’s like the difference between organic food and fast food for our bodies. The fast food might fill us up, but it won’t give us the same nourishment or have the same lasting beneficial effects as the organic food.

While these benefits can be had by anyone who picks up a novel or a short story, for writers, the benefits don’t stop there.

When we read other writers, it causes us to step outside our tried and true habits, go-to word choices, and predictable rhythms. Can you imagine having only one window from which to view the world and never being able to go outside?! Reading other writers affords us the opportunity to look through many windows and expand our view of writing and of the world.

Expanding our vocabularies is also important, as is studying how other writers turn a phrase. And we can reap the benefits by reading fiction both mindfully and unmindfully.

By reading mindfully, I mean that we can choose a particular book with the sole purpose of studying the mechanics of it to find new ways to freshen our own writing, which is not to say we should be moving away from our own voices that took so long to find in the first place, but being aware of how others utilize the language, approach story, and tend to character should be a regular exercise for any writer.

Likewise, reading unmindfully, just reading for pleasure, can also benefit our writing because it wakes up our imagination, works on our subconscious, plants seeds for future use that we aren’t entirely aware of.

And lastly, reading diversely is also important. Life is busy, and our days are full. Finding time to read our favorite authors is hard enough, but it’s also important to read authors who aren’t our favorites. Or authors we’ve never heard of. Especially under-represented authors. Filling our heads with as many voices at possible, letting them hang out together and talk to each other will only add to the rich cacophony of possibilities in our own work.


On my nightstand right now
Dear Husband, stories by Joyce Carol Oates
Henry and June by Anais Nin
Waste and Timelessness and other early stories by Anais Nin

*     *     *

What are you reading?

Writing can heal your body: The science behind it


I’ve been saying for a long time that writing can heal us on all levels. I’m guessing this is nothing new to those who write because I’m willing to assume that everyone who writes earnestly, including those who have maintained regular journal entries, have experienced a healing of some sort, whether it be a clearing of psychic debris or emotional weight. It stands to reason, then, that if writing clear our minds and emotions, and lightens our spirits, and that because our thoughts and emotions directly influence our physical health, writing can heal our bodies, too.

In this article by Rachel Grate at Arts.Mic, a group of New Zealand researchers have tracked the healing trajectories of patients with medical biopsy wounds. She also writes, “Even those who suffer from specific diseases can improve their health through writing. Studies have shown that people with asthma who write have fewer attacks than those who don’t; AIDS patients who write have higher T-cell counts. Cancer patients who write have more optimistic perspectives and improved quality of life.”

She also writes that “One study found that blogging might trigger dopamine release, similar to the effect from running or listening to music.” With that in mind, I’ll sign off here and get to work on my next blog post about why people procrastinate writing…

How do the benefits of writing show up in your life?

Sending you mad writing mojo…