Are You Forgetting Your Face When You Write?

When you finish your writing session, are you frowning? Are your lips compressed or pursed forward? Are you gritting your teeth? Are you biting the inside of your mouth? Are your lips pulled to one side? Do your eyes feel heavy?

When we write, we often end up with tight muscles all through the body: shoulders scrunched up, body core slumped, chin pressing forward.

Just as we forget about our body as it gets stuck in a less than healthy position while we write, it doesn’t occur to us to think about what’s happening in our faces.

Unless you’re a writer who can’t bear to ignore a ringing phone, your facial muscles might remain immobile (i.e., stuck!) for long periods of time.

I’ve been writing long hours the last few months and noticed I not only finish my writing session with my face tight, but I wake up in the morning gritting my teeth.

So I thought it was time to check out some facial exercises. There’s some pretty unattractive vocabulary around facial exercises (sagging, drooping, aging….), but I ignored all that. What I was looking for were exercises that would keep my facial muscles lively!

A couple of my favorites Continue reading

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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

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