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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Image as a Bridge Into the Unconscious

How to bypass the dictates of the mind, which is home to the Inner Critic, and write from the heart and gut, which are the realms of the Inner Writer, is basic to my teaching. The best way I know to make this shift is to use the image as a bridge into the unconscious.

Why? Because the image resides in the right side of the brain, the place of dreams and sensations. The Inner Critic is terrified of a place where its logic, judgments, criticisms and evaluations go unheeded.

Why? Because the right side of the brain is far too chaotic, imagistic and sensory for something as complicated as language. Further, the Inner Critic lives to maintain the status quo, something that is meaningless in the cosmic potential of the creative unconscious.

What follows is an exercise that takes you through the process of using the power of the image to unleash creativity. Then there are three writing prompts along with suggestions on ways to move from the free fall of the image into developing character and story born of the imagination.
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A New Writing Workshop and Video!

Writing Workshop: Tales of the Crone As Told by the Crone
How do we access the wisdom of a life ― wisdom gained through love, risk, successes, failures, challenges met and challenges refused? How do we process and grow with our heartache, passion, laughter and the constant cycles of birth, life and death that are our constant companions?

In my new six month TeleCircle, Tales of the Crone As Told by the Crone, we will do this in a very particular way: through storytelling, whether it be as fiction, memoir, myth, fairytale, poetry or allegory...

And who is our storyteller?
The Crone who lives within each of us and, in her wisdom, compassion and humor, has been a lifelong companion, whether we acknowledge her or not. And when we acknowledge her, what then?

To find the answer, please watch my new video: Tales of the Crone As Told by the Crone.
View on YouTube.

The TeleCircle meets every other Thursday, starting March 5 at 7 pm eastern time and runs for 2 to 21/2 hours. Each session is recorded.

  • Early Registration: 12 TeleCircles plus one private session: $600.
  • Early Registration ends on February 10. Fee after February 10 is $700.
  • Circle is limited to 10. All TeleCircles are recorded.

Email Emily: emily@emilyhanlon.com
phone: 914.962.4432
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Fiction Writer and the Creative Chaos

Creative Chaos: It's Difficulty, Its Call, Its Freedom

Creative chaos is probably the most difficult aspect of the creative process. And it is the most mysterious and exciting. This is true whether we are writing a book, creating a garden, redoing our house or deepening our relationships. Whatever the creative undertaking, the centerpiece of the process, especially in its opening stages (which can often last for quite a while) is the creative chaos.

What makes the creative chaos such a difficult part of the process? Consider the word itself: chaos. What do you think of when "chaos" comes to mind? Anarchy. Mobs. Randomness. Out of control. “Oh God, my life is in chaos... My house is a mess... My kids are out of control... my bills are mounting.... Nothing is going right at work... Chaos. I live in eternal chaos! " Sound familiar?

The problem with creative chaos is not so much the actual chaos, but our dumping creative chaos into the barrel of negative life experiences. We do this to the detriment to all our creative expression. Take relationships. To my mind, building strong, life enchancing relationships is one of our most creative challenges.

No powerful relationship in life, including your relationship with yourself, can escape the chaotic fires of transformation. Often, you are brought to the point of desperation. You yell, often in most self-righteous outrage, "I can't take it anymore! I'm out of here!" You think you're leaving the relationship but in truth what you are leaving, what is being burned away and transformed by the chaos, are those parts of the relationship that no longer serve.

Picasso said, "Artists are destroyers of nicely ordered systems."

I believe the first system that artists/creators must destroy is the nicely ordered system of our persona that struggles desperately to keep hold the status quo. Creativity and creative chaos are warriors of change driven by passion.
Creativity is revolutionary; it is active; it is daring; it requires risk. Creativity is not some law abiding, moderate participator in life!

Anything of worth in life must withstand burning if it is to give light.

Explore Emily 2015 Writer's Retreat, May 2015: Journey Into the Imagination
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Friday, November 07, 2014

How the Fiction Writer Learns to Welcome the Unknown

How the Writer Welcomes the Unknown in Fiction
"... the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself... alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the sweat and the agony."--  Willliam Faulkner

What is good fiction writing technique? How do we unleash the creative energy through the channels of character and story?

Craft and technique are necessary, but the trick is to not put the cart before the horse. Technical expertise alone cannot release the writer's passion, and the perfectly turned phrase will please the ego, but if it doesn't translate into something meaningful for the character and story, it is so much wasted word count.
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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The Power of A Good Critique for the Fiction Writer

Power of a good critique in Fiction Writing
A good critique never leaves you deflated. It always leaves you inspired.  

Receiving a critique with curiosity and an open mind and knowing how to critique others writing are two of the most enriching aspects of belonging to a fiction writing workshop. Having your work critiqued in a supportive atmosphere where there is a professional writing coach is a terrific learning experience in many way ways.

Whether you are participating in a writing workshop or working with a private writing coach, a good critique encourages the silencing of your Inner Critic, your willingness to take risks with your writing and releases your creative passion.

A Good Critique Inspired, Never Deflates...
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Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Inner Critic Is Afraid of Your Creativity!

The Inner Critic is terrified of the creative unconscious because it is the home of feelings, emotions, images and it is chaotic and unexpected.

The Inner Critic likes order and loves the status quo, which is antithetical to the creative unconscious.

That's why if you "fall down the rabbit hole" the Inner Critic won't follow you!
Free of the Inner Critic, you have the possibility of experiencing real creative freedom and passionate stories awaits you. Only then can the true dance begin!
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Life Force of Creativity

From Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille

There is a vitality,
a life force,
a quickening that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one you in all time,
this expression is unique.

If you block it,
it will never exist through any medium and be lost.
The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is;
it is your business to keep it yours,
clearly and directly,
to keep the channel open...
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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Why and How Your Inner Critic Stops You from Writing?

How the Inner Critic Gains A Foothold
Here is a scenario about how the
Inner Critic gains a foothold in our lives. Imagine you are a little kid and you go to touch something that is hot and your mother screams, “Don’t do that!” Or, you are playing in the dirt, having a grand time, and your mother says in horror, “Oh my God! We are going to grandma’s house and you’re filthy dirty!”

The Inner Critic Wants to Keep You Safe, but at What Cost?
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Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Agony of the Untold Story for the Fiction Writer

There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.  -Maya Angelou

Someone recently sent me this quote. Its truth brought tears to my eyes. The synchronicity of it's arrival was uncanny. Although I am a fiction writer and have written about ten novels, some published, some not, a few unfinished, others yet unborn, I have for the past ten years or so feared I would never give birth to another novel.

Why my fiction writing dried up, I don't know. It was a slow drying up, but one day it was gone. There were no more characters and stories inside me. It was astonishing, really. I had written all my life, since the time I was a little girl. There hadn't been any great long breaks. I wrote all through school, majored in writing in college. I married a man who loved my writing, believed in my career as a novelist. I wrote when my children were small and all through their growing up. I reveled in the freedom of the empty nest. My time was my own. I wrote more furiously. I expected I would write fiction for the rest of my life. 
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How to Use a Writing Prompt in Fiction Writing

Some Tips Before You Begin
How to use a Fiction Writing Prompt
Any prompt is only a starting point. If your imagination takes you in a direction that has nothing to do with the prompts, go where your imagination takes you.
Do not listen to the voice inside your head that says, “Oh, no! I shouldn’t be writing about this!” or “I’m not doing this right!” There are no “shoulds” or “should nots” in this process. The only thing you can do wrong is to not write.
Always name your characters, even if the name never appears in the story. Why would a character tell you her story if you don’t care enough to learn her name?
Write dialogue. In thirty years of teaching writing, I have never worked with anyone who couldn’t write dialogue – only with people who thought they couldn’t!
Be a risk taker. Don’t think. Write from your passionate core. Risk and passion are the essence of the creative journey and the sweetest nectar for your Inner Writer. Don’t forget to have fun!
The Prompt
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