Momentum + Joy = Summer MOJO! By Nevada McPherson
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Nevada McPherson as she shares with us “Momentum + Joy = Summer MOJO!” Enjoy!
The summer is almost here which for some means sun and fun, and for others it means possible blocks of time to get some real writing done. What is “real writing”? Real writing is working on a project that’s meaningful, to you and that you expect (or would hope) is meaningful to others. It’s writing with a purpose and direction, with the aim of completion and of course, with the intent of sharing it.
This doesn’t mean that your journal or writing down your private thoughts and feelings that you don’t intend to share with anyone is unimportant; these are important things, too, but writing for oneself or as therapy (and I completely believe certain forms of writing are very therapeutic!) doesn’t occur with the same pressures and expectations that come with what many writers might consider “getting some serious writing done.”
The pressures and expectations of writing can be what prompts one to do one’s best work and even though the idea of oceans of time in which to produce excellent work is most appealing, working within a structured time frame will ensure that you meet your writing goals. Working within this time frame will lead to momentum and that momentum will lead to results that produce joy for the hard-working writer who wants to accomplish much this fine summer (i.e. you!). That momentum, combined with the joy of creating will lead to an energizing mojo that will carry you through the rest of the year.
What can you do to increase your mojo for the summer and beyond? For one thing, be fearless and don’t hold back. Explore your story completely and let your characters guide you as you navigate through your story. Keep in mind that oft-quoted phrase, “Action is character,” and let your characters’ actions take you places you hadn’t dreamed of when you might have been more focused on plot and other elements. If things get edgy, go with it and see where it takes you, because venturing into uncharted territory is a good thing and leads to great mojo!
Next, have fun! It is almost summer time after all, so as you work at your writing, take those moments to remember why and how you got started writing in the first place. What was it about writing that first excited you? Was it taking the opportunity to create worlds of your own when you were a kid? Was it a sense of freedom and escape you used to get when you started to tell a story or saw a blank page just waiting to be filled? Whatever it was, go back to that then look ahead to see how far you’ve come since then. You’ve probably learned a lot but connecting with the playfulness of writing and storytelling can be a refreshing respite during the hot summer days. Do some fun writing exercises you may have tried once and always wanted to try again. Describe an object by writing the words to create the shape of that object. Give yourself a break and come back to your desk with more mojo!
Last but not least—have faith! No one else will give your work value if you don’t, so believe in yourself and your work even when everything seems to be trying to dissuade you—especially then, in fact. Be committed and work on your art and craft through thick and thin. One famous writer whose faith kept her going through hard times was Flannery O’Connor. She was a devout Catholic and her faith in God deepened as her illness grew worse. As her dream of becoming a member of the New York literati faded and she went to live with her mother in Milledgeville, Georgia, her faith only deepened and her commitment to her work never wavered, but that doesn’t mean she never had doubts or felt down, just that she showed up to her typewriter every day, even on days when that was physically very difficult. She’s said to have told a friend that much of what she created there was “junk,” but nevertheless, she showed up every day in case what she produced wasn’t junk. Alas, some of the best short stories in the world came from that typewriter on hard days! Even if you’re having a hard day and still press forward in faith, that’s the greatest mojo that there is!
So get ready for a wonderful summer—the best yet! Here’s to having great mojo!
And happy writing!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nevada McPherson lives with her husband Bill and rescue Chihuahua, Mitzi in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she is an associate professor of Humanities at Georgia Military College. Nevada received a BA in English/ Creative Writing and an MFA in Screenwriting from Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge. She has written over a dozen feature-length screenplays, plays, short stories and the graphic novels, Uptowners and Piano Lessons. Queensgate, sequel to Uptowners, is her third graphic novel. For more information, visit www.nevada-mcpherson.com.