Saturday, July 18, 2009

10 ways to get in the writing zone!

For some of us who have taken up the writing craft, they are lucky in that they can do it all the time, and it has become their main profession. They don't have to worry about an alarm clock waking them up, or a boss that's wondering where that next big budget saving idea will come from. Those fortunate artisans of the craft are able to spend the entire day devoted to what they love, and have made a living doing it.

However there are others who love the craft yet still struggle to do so part time. We toil at work and make our livings, pay our bills, and eek our way towards our ultimate goals of being full time, well paid writers. For those who do have to watch the clock, and wake up to the sounding of alarms... it's not always so easy to get into The Writing Zone. Here are 10 suggestions to get into the zone, even if you have a wife, kids, a job, or other interests which take you away from your craft.

1 - Choose specific music - this music should inspire you, and cause an emotional reaction within you, sparking new ideas, and when needed putting your mind at ease. Call this your "writing music."

2 - Make time every day or when you can - a schedule is important for those who can work with schedules. Make time at least once per week where you write something, blogs, poems, short stories, or that next chapter. If you love it, you should find time to do it every day in some capacity.

3 - Create a space to write - regardless of how frantic your life is, you should try to carve out a space to write in - somewhere in your house, or at the park if you're an outdoors person. Make it personal, have your inspirational books, pictures of your heroes, or important people near by.

4 - Be close to a window - even if you're in doors, it's helpful to have a nice view of the outdoors near by, preferably next to your desk. You'd be amazed what an occasional glance at nature's wonders will do for you.

5 - Get comfortable but be engaged - assume a posture where you can sit for a few hours and not get too cramped up. It's important for the body to be in a sort of forward leaning position, fully engaged with your computer, but comfortable enough to go the distance.

6 - Wear comfortable clothing - it is important to wear things which won't distract you too much. Focus is the name of the game, it's important for the mind in a receptive state, free from mental chatter. The less that distracts you the better.

7 - Work in a well lit area - lighting is important, without it your brain becomes less receptive, and takes in less information. You need to be exposed to natural light if possible, alert and attentive. Towards the later parts of the day, you can turn on the lights and work from there. When your mood or situation calls for it, turn off the lights and keep going.

8 - Have multiple writing stations - it's important for me in my process to have several rooms or areas where I could be writing. A small laptop is usually a good idea, because it fits into cramped spaces when you're laying on your couch, or sitting in a recliner. You can also take it outside, or to remote locations like weekend getaways. Although, having a stationary computer in your home office is important as well. Turn this into a professional atmosphere, if others will take you seriously, you must take yourself seriously first. Turn your desk into a writing station.

9 - Be real - be real and objective about this. Are you doing this for the right reasons? People who succeed do so because they are genuine, and either have a message to tell others, or a story they can't help but nurture and express.

10 - Choose your state of being - if you are a writer, be a writer. Your best work will come from a deliberately chosen state of being. Choose to be a writer, believe it, behave as a writer should, then observe the results.

New Cover Art Coming!

New cover art will be coming for Book 1 within the next couple of months, as long with a few other surprises that won't be revealed until later. I am working with a brilliant young artist by the name of Ryan Lord of U of T. A talent, and consummate professional, I am looking forward to seeing some output in the next few weeks.

We will be going through a few rounds with the art work I'm sure, with some additional effects pending, I am anticipating a truly unique and attractive piece that will be iconic. There will be much that comes out of this, in terms of work directly for the product, but also for my web presence.

Look for the latest updates to cover art, and series content on

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Coming soon... The 7th Journey Web Portal

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Understanding Your Limitations

The focus of my lessons tonight revolved around limitations. What are my limitations in terms of discernment? What are my limitations in terms of bringing concepts into context with each other? What are my limitations in terms of abstracting ideas, or creating ideas, or even understanding the nature of the ego?

What were my limitations in terms of understanding an exercise, or how I limit myself with regards to structure? Many questions were posed tonight, many discoveries were made as well. These are interesting times we live in, and I'm fortunate to be apart of them.

The world may be undergoing tremendous changes, as it always has, yet now more than ever, but that will never limit my ability to grow. When I began my martial training tonight, I will admit that I wasn't receptive, I actually on some level probably acted somewhat arrogant, but luckily an old friend pulled me out of it and quickly reminded me exactly how much more there is to know.

The arrogance wasn't intentional, because on some level at that moment I felt like I knew the topic of conversation, and actually went into my own internal studies in the corner of the room as the lessons continued with another student. This particular student is a bit behind others in his studies, so the review... although always warranted, and helpful, at that moment seemed a waste of time. Often my thoughts lead to progression, and when personal development can be made, I tune in immediately, but when I feel that progression is stalled due to someone not getting an idea or concept... or lagging behind, then admittedly I seem to tune out. I don't think I do so all the time, but being in a state of waiting, mixed with the frustration of someone else not getting an idea, that seems like the perfect mix for me to go off and do my own thing.

As I said, luckily an old friend brought me out of it very quickly, and the night rolled into probably some of the best lessons I've ever had. It's important to realize where our limitations are, because in some cases we can move beyond them, where in others it's just as good to recognize them in yourself, so you can also see them in others.

A particular limitation that I became aware of tonight is that of my lack of abstracting the ego delights of others. I seem to see the good in people, and overlook their faults - but this isn't exactly a very useful aspect of a teacher. I need to become more aware of the ego delights of others... the ego attachments, and the cause and effect those actions might have in order to not only develop personally, but to also assist those in their process and save time. I will write more on this in the coming days and months as I focus my attention more towards these ideas, and document my progress. Thanks for reading.


The 7th Journey - Book II update

Currently, I have been working on Book II in my series, as Book I continues to make its' way through the publishing process. However some excellent work has been done thus far on Book II.

Chapter 1 is now complete, setting the stage for subsequent events, and introducing new and interesting characters who find themselves in the far north. Far away from the events in the first story, these new characters must now find their way south towards the now decimated metropolis to attempt to uncover the truth as to why their world has been toppled. An exciting adventure awaits them, as does mythrilling experience of writing.

Chapter 2 is well underway, as much of the story has been written, and it's only now my responsibility to piece it all together, in a contiguous fashion. This book will go even deeper into the aspects discussed in Book I, bringing new concepts to bear, and new relationships formed.

I'm excited to continue as there is a renewed energy surrounding this project, with new staff additions bringing their own stylized spin on the material. I look forward to working together, and what we're able to produce.

Robert Graham

Accepting Your Limitations II

Accepting your limitations allows you to understand them, and in some cases move beyond them. In either case, it's extremely important to be able to understand that there are real things in this world that affect your ability to understand, function, and deliver results. These factors come in the form of mental processing, belief systems, physical limitations, and cultural or societal restrictions.

There comes a time in everyone's life where we understand that there is only so much time in a day. There is only so much we are willing to put up with, only so much we are willing to do. It is during these times that we decide whether or not to push forward, go around, halt, or tuck our tails and run. Each to their own, and each according to their abilities.

It is important to understand where you are in context with time limitations, and the effort you are willing to put forth. Some things might be too late, such as being an Olympic athlete as an example... many of us have missed the boat on that one. It doesn't mean we could have never achieved it, but it does mean that time, cost, and effort may be constraining factors.

Not to worry, there is no such thing as a pointless creation, and all of us have a purpose that we've decided upon. Some of us may simply be an example unto others, in a positive or negative way, while others might have a clearly defined path, and are working towards that goal on a daily basis. "The Quest" as it was so eloquently put by a friend and instructor is simply the path we have chosen, and each day is the means to that end.

Some have never considered their life's quest, while others have devoted every waking moment to it. In the end, both will get to nirvana if you'd like to call it that, but one might be of more deliberate choosing than others.