Wildflowers are free. Take the time to notice their beauty.

I had prepared different content to post today, but at the last minute I changed my mind and decided to write about what I’m feeling right in this moment – gratitude.

As you proceed along your writing journey, please be certain to take time throughout to give thanks. Writing, like life, is not always easy, but all of life's lessons - the enjoyable ones as well as the challenging ones – can help make us better people and, thus, better writers.

So today, give thanks for the journey, with all its many hills and valleys. And, to all you moms out there who are trying to live your best lives while nurturing children and young adults to grow up to be solid individuals and spread the light that we sorely need in this world – Happy Mother’s Day!

I have the best writing committee ever! This group of distinguished writers – mostly women, but a few notable men – help to guide me as I write my books. They have been with me since the start. Sometimes, depending on what I’m writing, I may swap out a committee member for a new one who feels better suited for what I am creating, as well as the person I’ve evolved into at that moment in time. You would think these celebrated writers would take offense, but they never do. This is probably due to the fact that they have already tread the path that I am on, and are wiser and kinder for it. This is also probably due to them having better things to do with their time than worry about why I won’t be consulting them during my current project. But in all honesty, it probably has more to do with the fact that the majority of the members of my writing committee do not know me, have never met me. In fact, some of them are with me only in spirit.

Each member of my committee helps me in a particular way. Some give me the courage to speak honestly and truthfully. Others help me to remember where I come from and whose shoulders I stand upon. Some teach me how to use words magically and lyrically. Some will encourage me to remain kind, and others will remind me that I do not have to be anything other than my true authentic self.

I’d like to introduce you to some of the members of my current writing committee:

· Dr. Maya Angelou

· James Baldwin

· Michael A. Singer

· Miz Mattie (the matriarch of my novel, Sisters in Spirit)

· Sister Eliza (my mom)

· Zora Neale Hurston

· Paul Simon

Form your own writing committee. Obviously, there are no limitations to who you can invite. The only true criterion is that they help you become a better person while becoming a better writer.

If you are still with me and have continued to stay the course in this journey, give yourself a pat on the back. No, really, literally pat yourself on the back because at this point in the game you realize that writing requires real work, and we're one month in and you’re still going strong!

Dr. Maya Angelou, one of my personal sheroes, was a prolific writer. Because of that, many people assumed that writing came easy to her. She was quick to dispel that myth by stating outright that writing was hard work. She developed discipline and her own writing rituals to ensure that her writing got the attention it deserved. For Dr. Angelou, that typically involved a rented hotel room and a class of sherry. Following Dr. Angelou’s lead, let’s create our own rituals to help us make the mental transition from all of the many roles we assume in the course of a day, to that of writer.

In previous posts we have already touched on finding time, making space, and the tools of writing. But today, let’s dig a little deeper and get into the nuances of what you want your writing ritual to embody. This is, after all, a time that you have allotted specifically for this purpose. And while most of us cannot afford to rent a space solely for the purpose of writing, at this juncture anyways, there is no reason that we cannot create a ritual that signifies to others, but mainly ourselves, that it’s time for us to sit down and get to work. You do not want to view this special work as yet another chore, so let’s be intentional and create rituals that will acknowledge this particular time and space as precious and sacred.

Maybe your ritual will consist of putting on a special sweater or hat you like to wear, or maybe you will signify the start of your writing sessions with a special tea that you prepare for yourself and drink from those beautiful cups that you only use on special occasions. Personally, I have a diffuser along with a small army of essential oils that I use for aromatherapy. I also make certain that I have a tall bottle of water and some healthy snacks that I can nibble on: grapes, cucumber slices, popcorn or nuts. My cell phone is left in another room so as not to provide distractions. Ditto for my cat, unless he can come in and is content to take a seat someplace other than my lap. Though I need to be alone during this time, I am surrounded by photos of my loved ones. Above my desk are pictures of the women whose shoulders I stand upon, my mother and grandmother, and photos of my special guys - my husband and our two sons. There is also a bulletin board with various quotes about life and writing. On my desk are two plants, one is a Christmas Cactus which I refer to as my “dad plant” – those who know me intimately know the story behind this plant; the other is a small ivy.

Lastly, I keep a timer nearby to ensure that I dedicate, at bare minimum, the prescribed amount of time I have set aside to write. Oftentimes, once the alarm sounds, I will keep writing until I feel that I have exhausted all that I have to say in that sitting. Other times, there is no need for the timer, as I am brimming with ideas and eager to get them out of my head and into print.

Take the time to provide yourself with those small joys and habits that you feel will make this process more enjoyable to help ensure your success. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but yourself. And while you’re at it, go ahead and give yourself another pat on the back; we’re one month in and you’re still hanging strong!

Good job!

Join our mailing list

Never miss an update