“Writing comes more easily if you have something to say.” – Sholem Asch
These past few days have been busy with travel writing projects and short turn-around times for articles. There are times when a hectic pace and looming deadline can cause a brief moment of writer’s block, but not this weekend. I was immersed in the culture of the Blackfoot people at the 3rd Annual Chicken Dance World Championships at Blackfoot Crossing on Saturday and uncovered more story leads than I could have imagined.
What is it that inspires writers?
I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, motivation to write often comes from people and their stories. It the tale of the four-year-old chicken dancer who captured my gaze the moment he entered the dance ring. Talking with his mom, I discovered that he was wearing the outfit his father had danced in as a child and that his two-year-old brother would have danced as well if he wasn’t feeling under the weather. I was intrigued by the family and then needed to know more about the choice of beads, feathers and cloth used to create each outfit, by the language spoken in the dance steps, and by the songs sung by the drummers.
One person, one little chicken dancer, opened my eyes to a world of potential stories.
And just in case you’re wanting to be inspired, watch this Travel Alberta YouTube video outlining the history behind the dance:
"Go with the flow and keep your ducks in a row!" (Credit: Megan Kopp)
And just when you think you have it all worked out – you realise you’ve only just begun. Fresh on the heels of my site launch, I’m slightly overwhelmed by the social media links necessary to keep blog visits increasing and garner that ever-favoured search engine approval. But I’m not resting on my laurels and am surging… okay – plodding… ahead by taking an online course Blogging for Passion & Profit. Jane’s most recent words of wisdom put my fears of technology into perspective: “I think everyone is a technophobe to some extent … mainly because tech stuff changes every day.”
I’m not alone! That’s a marvellous feeling for someone who carries on conversations in their head and is stuck at a keyboard for however many hours a day. So I’m moving ahead, adding a Twitter feed link to the site and announcing blogposts on Facebook. As with any project, the key to success is to keep going.
“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” – Unknown
This writer’s life is all about learning. Today I’m learning how to establish my blog, how to map a writing career and how to set the bus on the right road. The wheels are spinning, but the GPS system needs a little fine-tuning. I like to think it’s a sign of a creative mind to have so many projects on the go, but I’m realising that in order to reach my final destination, I’m going to need to set clear goals.
Goal Number One: Focus
I’m writing my dreams and goals down (in one book) and talking about them with other writers. These two simple acts are making me focus and prioritize my projects. If you can’t describe the route to someone else, how will you know which road you need to take?
Goal Number Two: Stay Motivated
It’s too easy to become excited by a project and then falter when you hit a roadblock. Suddenly you’re taking a detour and the original destination is lost in the joy of the new path. And when the road closes ahead, you race off on yet another joyride. I want to stay motivated to finish some of the big projects I’ve had in mind for several years. I want to reach those particular destinations. Writing it down is a start and when I need motivation, I’ll see these words and remember my goals.
The Ultimate Goal Do all of this, but still have fun while I’m doing it!
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow, what a ride!'” – Hunter S. Thompson