The Writing Body: 8 Quick Exercises For A Healthy Writing Year

It’s not as dangerous as ski jumping or skeleton of course, but we all know that sitting to write for long periods can cause significant damage to the body.

Here are some easy exercises to incorporate into your writing day.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and inspired year of writing!

1. Shoulders and neck

Clasp your hands behind your back. Pull your Continue reading

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Walking Meditation and Peripheral Vision For Creativity

Hoodoo Trail, Banff, ABI’ve enjoyed walking meditation for years – I just didn’t know that was what I was doing!

I knew that when I walked our dog (especially as he became older and walked more and more slowly), I became hyper-aware of all sorts of sensory details around me, and that I’d often have what seemed like brilliant ideas as to how to solve problems with the story or choreography I was working on.

Hoodoo Trail, BanffIt was only when I went on a guided hike with Ronna of Eco Yoga Adventures while at a writers’ residency at the Banff Arts Centre that I discovered the concept of walking meditation.

I have to thank Ronna for a wonderful experience and for introducing me to these strategies for entering into the flow of this kind of dynamic meditation. Continue reading

Writer’s Process: Curiosity And The Contagion Of Looking

Dominion Building, MontrealMy story isn’t working. There are too many characters, too many events. Too much back story. I’ve lost the road map and driven into a swamp.

I need to take a breather. Time for a field trip.

“The brass elevator doors in the Dominion Square Building,” suggests a poet friend.

Go look at an elevator door? Really? Continue reading

Moving to Write: Exploring Flow For Narrative Energy

The idea of flow in writing is usually associated with ‘being in the flow’, that wonderful sensation when words and ideas synchronize, when your concentration is totally focused, making you lose all sense of time, when everything seems to come blissfully together.

Movement offers writers a different way of looking at flow.

For example, these two contrasting types of flow give interest and energy to movement and written narrative alike: Continue reading

The Fine Line of Focus

IMG_4819-1What is your favorite writing moment?

Mine has to be when I’m writing in response to a prompt (could be some detail in a story I’m working on or something entirely new) and I feel that special tug. Something has grabbed me, something that intrigues me, that seems meaningful, even if I’ve no idea what exactly or why. All at once I’m alert, curious to see what’s going to happen, energized, happy as a clam on its favorite rock when the tide is in.

Sometimes this happens after I’ve been free-writing, going with whatever wafts through my mind. Other times it happens when I’ve been concentrating on details of the prompt itself.

Once in the flow, both kinds of focus are needed to keep going: Continue reading

Writing Advice From The Sword: What Fencing Can Teach Writers

unpacking sabersWhat’s a writer to do when winter just goes on and on and it’s March and there’s still snow on the ground and minus temperatures? Take up fencing.

As a movement artist-educator I’ve always believed that changing and challenging your usual ways of moving is an effective and pleasurable way to energize yourself and boost your creative thinking.

Fencing is certainly making my brain sizzle. And there’s the bonus of getting writing advice too!

1. Don Protective Gear Continue reading

Writing and the Dynamics of Smell

I watched a mother pass sample pots of dry teas to her young son in a local tea store. Oranges, he said, sniffing at the tin his mother held out while at the same time continuing to tease his little brother. Grapefruit. Vanilla. Mint. He got them all. I thought about writing and the sense of smell.

Smell for Narrative Energy

In Edinburgh last year, I was entranced by the installation “It Happens When The Body Is Anatomy Of Time” by Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto in the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. The fragrance of spices, cloves, cumin, turmeric, pervaded the room, bringing the visual artwork – lycra ‘skins’, the stitching details, the colour and lighting – alive, and making the installation a sensual and exciting experience. Continue reading