Jump Starting Writing Tips from Rita Pomade
I've been lucky to be part of the blog tour for Rita Pomade's memoir Seeker: A Sea Odyssey this month and it's amazing to think it's almost at an end. To read more about this book, please refer my post at the very beginning on June 29th when Women on Writing jump started the Seeker book tour. I provided my own review on July 5th, if you would like to check that out as well.
Today, Rita has gifted us with a guest post about getting her writing started. Without further ado, Rita's words of wisdom:
Personal Tips for Jump Starting My Writing Process
Over the years I’ve found that having a special place and personal rituals put me in the zone before I sit down to write.
I have my own desk in a private space though I share the room. Everything in that area relates to my writing. Filing cabinets are within easy reach as are folders, books, journals, and note paper to jot down ideas I don’t want to forget.
Before I go to bed, I clear the desk. Clutter distracts me. I file the stuff I want to keep and throw away what I don’t, leaving only what I need within easy reach.
On the wall in front of me, I’ve pinned positive feedback about my writing, whether from people who have reviewed my work or have said something insightful about it. It keeps me boosted when I get discouraged. I also print out sayings that move me, and tape them to the wall. It could be insights about writing, a life affirming phrase, or a line from a poem. They’re like a meditation that centers me before I start to write. I save the ones I take down to use later as prompts or as focal points on themes I’m working on.
I always journal before I settle down to write. I think of it as a warm-up. It could be around a random thought, a memory, or a dream. Sometimes it’s a poem. It’s whatever floats up from the subconscious. After a night’s sleep, ideas related to what I’m working on will surface. I have a pad and pen ready by my bed, so I can scribble them down before they go. Movement has a way of making those thoughts disappear no matter how much I think I won’t forget them.
A writing technique I’ve used is to sit down and write on anything that comes into my head. I don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or punctuation. I just write for about 20 minutes, then print it out, but don’t look at it. I do that every day for two weeks, and then look at what I’ve written. It gives me an idea of what I think is important. There’s often a thread or a theme that leads to a story or an essay I want to write.
A technique I used while working on my book, Seeker: A Sea Odyssey, was to start the next chapter before leaving the computer. Having that section already in progress, made it easier for me to enter the work next day.
And lastly, I keep flowers on my desk. It’s a relaxing thing to feast on when I’ve been at the computer for long periods. If I didn’t live in the city, I’d place my desk near a window for the same reason. A virtual escape into nature and cups of coffee are the sensual pleasures that keep me focused as I write.
Rita Pomade— teacher, poet, memoirist—lived six years aboard a small yacht that took her from Taiwan to the Suez to Mallorca, dropping anchor in 22 countries. She and her husband navigated through raging monsoons, encountered real-life pirates, and experienced cultures that profoundly changed them. Seeker: A Sea Odyssey, published by Guernica Editions under the Miroland label tells her story.
Rita Pomade, a native New Yorker, first settled in Mexico before immigrating to Quebec. During her time in Mexico, she taught English, wrote articles and book reviews for Mexconnect, an ezine devoted to Mexican culture, and had a Dear Rita monthly column on handwriting analysis in the Chapala Review. In Montreal she taught English as a Second Language at Concordia University and McGill University until her retirement. She is a two-time Moondance International Film Festival award winner, once for a film script and again for a short story deemed film worthy. Her work is represented in the Monologues Bank, a storehouse of monologues for actors in need of material for auditions, in several anthologies, and in literary reviews. Her travel biography, Seeker: A Sea Odyssey, was shortlisted for the 2019 Concordia University First Book Award.