3 Ways to Fire Up Your Writing: Even When You Don’t Want To or Think You Can’t

Being a teacher, writer, and creator, I’ve come across students and adults who immediately say they can’t write whenever I bring up writing. My immediate response and our motto is “The Fire to Write is Within You; Ignite it!” Let me share with you three ways that will set your pen on fire, even when you don’t want to or think you can’t write.

Accept: You’re a Writer
Grab your journal, grab your pen, and say, “I’m a writer!” According to Natalie Golding, who is the writer of Writing Down the Bones, accept yourself as a writer. I agree. Embracing yourself as a writer not only confirms the creative nature you have, and it ignites your writing. By doing this, you place yourself in a position to spark your mental fire and let your creative juices flow. The sentences, poems, stories, and novels you write are indelible creations with lasting impressions—what a significant effect is in accepting yourself as a writer.

Time Yourself Writing
Give yourself stints of 5 or 10 minutes (set a timer) to write without stopping—a total brain dump. You’re not editing. You are writing whatever comes to mine. Lose control. Eventually, you will end up wanting to write more and writing longer than 30 minutes. The purpose is to have something to work on later, and this helps eliminate writer’s block.

Share Your Fire
Have you ever seen fire afraid? No! It confidently spreads, and that is what you want to do. Share your writing. It may mean as much as to someone else as it does to you. In addition, you can never be the best judge on your own writing–in most cases; you are emotionally attached to it. Sharing increases your confidence, and you would want to write more. Last, writing has a job, and that is sharing. Your audience is waiting.

Even though there are many more ways to fire up your writing, these three ways will get your pen moving consistently. Please leave a comment sharing which of the three ways ignites you or share a way you fire up. Like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter or Instagram.


5 Myths about Writing

Over the years, I have learned many myths about writers and writing; and I am here to call out the assumptions and share the truth. So, hold on to your pens.

Myth 1: Writers have to be an expert in every genre or aspect of writing. 

Truth:  When it comes to your writing, the issue is not about expertise; it’s about content. Are you engaging your reader in the genre or topic you prefer? There are many genres and areas of writing; it’s hard to become an expert on all of them. Stick to what you know and get great at that. If you are great at everything, eventually, something will go lacking. Because someone is an athlete doesn’t mean they are good at every sport. I learned more about Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, as an athlete watching the Last Dance Documentary. Although Jordan was an outstanding basketball player, he wasn’t great at baseball. 

Myth 2: Writers have to be original.  

Truth:  Writers emulate their influencers. Since many writers are readers, their favorite authors are influential in their writing. And chances are their favorite authors have been inspired by others. Traditionally, training for painters was copying their masters because they believed their voice and style would emerge as they grew as an artist. I agree with that exercise. When I attended a writing workshop with Kansas City native Glenn North, he taught poetry emulating the poem “When Death Comes” by Mary Oliver. My “When Death Comes” poem is one of my best writing pieces. I did the same emulation exercise with my high school students, and they loved it. Even those who said they had never written a poem or didn’t know how to write poetry. Whether you are trying to develop as a writer or are a product of all the reading you’ve done, emulating your influencers is good. Every writer does it.

Myth 3: Writing happens alone.

Truth:  There are some aspects of writing you should do internally, but having a writing partner or group helps with the writing process. Partners and writing groups provide accountability and feedback. With this process, you can become a better writer faster than learning alone. And this is the premise of Ignited Pens. We are a community that encourages, inspires, and motivates you through writing.  

Myth 4: If you publish a book, you’ll make lots of money.

Truth: Using your book as a marketing tool to promote yourself or your business will help you make lots of money, but it depends on how much you want to invest in marketing. Publishing a book is prestigious, and it shows personal growth. You leave a legacy, and you affect others. But you want your book to be a stream of income for you. So you have to devise a brilliant marketing plan that goes beyond your book launch.

Myth 5: You are not a Writer

Truth:  Everyone is a writer. It takes working on your craft and exploring your voice to embrace the significance of being a writer. Like Anne Lamott, the author of one of the best books on writing called Bird by Bird, reminds us, we think that excellent writing either comes naturally or not at all. Even professional writers struggle. They struggle to begin writing, they struggle with writer’s block as they write, and they even struggle to feel that their finished work is inadequate. Therefore, you are a writer. It’s within you; you have to ignite it. 

While you may come across more myths as you continue your writing journey, challenge them and create with your own using your experiences. Please leave a comment sharing which of the 5 myths grabbed you. Like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter or Instagram.

3 Benefits of Keeping a Journal

Although we live in an age of laptops and smartphones, writing has never been better. There are two tools essential to writers: pen and paper. And, just like a phone you never leave home without them.

I’ve been keeping a journal for over 30 years. Even the big blue binder I carried around my sophomore year of high school was a journal. Let me share with you some tips from my journaling experience on the benefits of keeping a journal.

Keep Memories & Material in Place

Journals keep memories and material in place. When I traveled to France in 2019, I kept a journal. I have notes from the trip to Paris where I ate the best-tasting tomato basil linguine pasta at The Ostera Cafe. I took pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower. One of them captured a couple taking wedding pics. I went on a foot tour of the left bank (artistic side) and right bank (fun side) because my girls were not skilled enough to ride bikes around Paris, and I learned to become a traveler instead of a tourist with the Black Paris Tour.

Re-reading the journal brought back so many memories of my trip I had forgotten entirely. The benefit of recording details of your experience can enrich your writing or storytelling and negate the choice of losing material.

Also in my journal in Paris, I wrote additional heart sparks (nudges of the Holy Spirit that starts a change and awakening truth) that I introduced in my book Flint to Flame. These heart sparks made the fire burn brighter for me to finish my second book called Heart Sparks.

A few of the sparks I wrote:

Heart Sparks will help when your’re going through the fire.

Heart sparks want your ashes.

Heart sparks are not the pictures you choose to post on Instagram.

Heart sparks know when you need a spark.

A heart spark is an ember that floats to you.

Your journal will always remind you of your precious memories and material and that’s a benefit you never want to forget.

Self Connect

It’s hard to know how you think and feel when your thoughts are always running in your head. Writing your thoughts and feelings helps you process your emotions and self-worth. Your senses become more transparent, and you can edit them. As feelings emerge in this process, they become intensely personal, private, and, many times, spiritual.

I have experienced moments when I let go of everything – a literal brain-dump. My pen didn’t leave the page, and I felt better about my present and future.

Relive Expression – Create New Material from Golden Lines

As I mentioned before about re-reading my journal, I had forgotten some details and lines I wrote. The lines stood out that they compelled me to create new material. A line that stands out is a Golden Line. It usually a powerful quote that automatically provides interesting discussion material or starts a discussion or a unique piece of writing.

I had so many Golden Lines that I will always have something to write. What a great way to relive expression and nurture the artist in you.

How do you feel when you re-read something you wrote, and a line grabs you? When it happens to me, I create new material. Creating fresh material from Golden Lines could be a strategy to keep writing. Many times people say they have nothing to write. Re-read your journal.

Here is a poem I wrote in a journal on August 22, 2019, at 6:20 pm ( I usually forget the time, but that day I didn’t.)

Deep in my mind

I wonder if you know

how much I dream of you

You are the symphony

of the waves that flow

as my eyes gaze

fixated like the moon’s glow

over my honey

No money can buy

your heart 

it is so pure

You are waiting

for me

I can see

No need for words

Let our hearts speak

Deep in my mind

I wonder if you know

how much I dream of you

You are no figment

of my imagination

I run with my vision

And I wait

Yes, I wait for you

From this poem, I took the highlighted line, our heart speaks, as my Golden Line. As a result, I wrote the following on December 22, 2020:

Our Hearts Speak

We greet

not saying a word

our eyes meet and then

our hearts speak

We feel the melody

of each other heartbeats

like the unforced rhythm of grace

glimpses of it become

spoken word and a symphony,

the perfect collab of you and me

our eyes meet and then

our hearts speak

We feel the warmth

We move closer and

The crackling of our fire

grow bolder and bolder

Embers dance

to the tune of our frequency

Our hearts become one

Just let our hearts speak.

Keeping memories and material in place, self-connect, and creating new material from Golden Lines are three benefits of keeping journals. Writers are artists, and everything we write in our journals is indelible expressions.

If you want to share your Golden line from either poem or add to the benefits of keeping a journal, leave a comment, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Seek the Fire

In any process, there is an outcome. Once you have reached the stage in your writing process that you have become content with your work and knowing that, the fire will reveal itself, and that is the fiery transformation needed to connect with improving your craft.

And so to seek the fire as a writer, three ways will keep you burning.

  1. Discover your blind spots: You may have a mirror, but hearing the horn blaring at you while trying to move in the left lane reminds you of your blind spot. You may have Grammarly, but having someone else look at your writing can increase your self-awareness and eliminate your blind spots differently than Grammarly can. When Ignited Pens meet, we experience the Refining Process. The Refining Process comprises five steps: Fire Up, Ignite, Fire Storm, Stoke the Fire, and Pass the Torch. The Stoke the Fire step is when we share our writing and critique. The critique is verbal or written feedback or snaps. Although this requires courage, we are a safe and constructive community. If you want to seek the fire as a writer, you have to make an effort to mature as a writer, and discovering your blind spot with others’ help is growth.
  2. Get used to Criticism: According to Jeff Goins, good writers take criticism on the chin and say “thank you” to helpful feedback; they listen to both the external and internal voices that drive them. And they use it all to make their work better. To sum up this quote, you can accept, use, or ignore the criticism. The choice is yours. Creativity elicits criticism, and if you want to survive as a writer, get used to it.
  3. Grow as an artist: Artists understand that life is a monumental work they are creating. They embrace the challenges like flint and find ways to become themselves better. As artists, we start a student and become a pro. We seek fire. Last, artists are always willing to practice in public. They embrace criticism, and that’s how they have an audience.

If you want to seek the fire, share your writing, get used to criticism, and grow as an artist. Consider being part of Ignited Pens. Leave a comment, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Is Your Pen Ignited?

For as long as I could remember, pens and fire have always sparked my heart with creativity. A pen is my tool of choice when I write my heart. Fire brings warmth and comfort to me, like being around a bonfire. When life happens, my fire goes dim, and my pen goes on hiatus. This situation should never happen to a writer, but it happens to me.

Many times I find myself at war with art. During my creative battles or writer’s block, I’m waiting for the perfect time to write. Oh, no! Did I say perfect? Perfection is one of my battles. I know better, but it happens. Then I’m encouraged by a friend who had been struggling for years about fasting, in which she shared on her very first Facebook Live that in her mind, she was waiting for it to be perfect and that she didn’t want to disappoint God. Then, she stated God doesn’t traffic perfection, but he traffic in failures.

What a revelation! I wrote my last blog eight months ago at the beginning of the pandemic. Yes, eight months ago. My pen has been dim, but now it is ignited. Paul said in 2 Corinthians when he was weak, Jesus made him strong. Therefore, I don’t have to battle with my art. I am made strong by God’s power to ignite my pen, and I declare with a clarion call the Ignited Pens’ motto: The fire to write is within you; You just have to ignite it!

Here are three ways to keep your pen ignited!

  1. Write– You are a writer, and writers must write. If you don’t know what to write about, start with your childhood. In Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, she shares that Flannery O’Connor said that anyone who survived childhood has enough material to write for the rest of his or her life. And I consider that a fact! Choosing to write must be a priority. I know our lives are busy, and we’re deciding more now in a pandemic than we did before. Still, with the wise words of Jeff Goin, author of You Are a Writer, it seems like our lives have become busier, and now that we’re in a pandemic According to Jeff Goins, the author of You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One), choose your priorities, or they will choose you. I instead choose what I enjoy and is to write. And every time we write, it is a chance at getting better. Take a chance.
  2. Organize for Effort– Ann Lamott says that when writing, we have to frame our minds. We are to listen and observe and open our hearts. These make up the beautiful picture of our writings. Also, to organize for effort, create a couple of writing goals. One goal is to write in the same place at a particular time every day for about 15-20 minutes. This habit will help ignite your mental fire. The last thing to boost your effort is to read. It helps builds a repertoire of words and ideas for you to write.
  3. Share your Writing– Every one of us likes a good show and tell. If we didn’t, social media would be so popular. Sharing your writing connects you with others. There are people out there waiting to read what you have written, and they are waiting for inspiration. So go ahead, free someone else! You are an artist! And a way to improve your craft is to share your writing. If you wrote something last year or this week, go ahead and share it here in the comments or on social media and hashtag Ignited Pens.

Ignited Pens: Burn Brighter

When life gets dim, don’t forget to burn brighter. 

With all that’s happening with COVID 19 and Stay Home Orders, it’s easy to lose focus. No one would have been able to tell me that my 2020 vision of Health and Wealth would take a mighty blow. However, embers rise.burn brighter

I know, I know. I haven’t blogged in 6 months.  Many times when things don’t go the way I want, I go dim.  I didn’t say I burn out. I go dim until a spark makes me burn brighter.  

Tomorrow begins Poetry Month.  I love poetry. My latest book, Flint to Flame, is a poetic story about my heart process of change.  I can’t go another day without writing what I enjoy doing, and that is writing poetry.  It makes me burn brighter.  What makes you burn brighter?  Share.  

To burn brighter is a reminder you are always on fire!!