Kelly Wilson on Finding Alignment in Your Writing @LiveCheap #AmWriting #WriteTip #Memoir

Friday, October 10, 2014

Finding Alignment in Your Writing

I had been in pain for months and didn’t know it. Rather, I didn’t pay attention until my left leg and hip were so weak that I could no longer walk.

Pain gathered in my lower back, shooting down the leg into my foot. Tingling and numbness followed, to the point where I felt like my leg was a phantom limb. I could see it was there, but I physically felt like it wasn’t connected to the rest of my body.

Maybe I was having an out-of-body experience that was limited only to my left leg. I tried to tell it to avoid the light, and called my chiropractor for help. Historically, my chiropractor has administered treatments that worked to cure my sciatic and lower back problems. But even the butt-flap table and the zippy-zappy electronic pulses into my muscles produced absolutely nothing. The wrenching adjustments simply served to prove that my back, hip and leg remained locked and disjointed.

A friend of mine referred me to an Osteopathic Physician. I call him Dr. Magic, because the treatment that he provides should not work. Instead of the pushing and pulling and wrestling and cracking of my body on the chiropractor’s table, I simply lay on the table on my back while Dr. Magic arranged his hands underneath my back.

Well, underneath my butt to start with, which can feel a little awkward at first. The treatment is about 20 minutes, during which he breathes with his eyes closed into the silence of the peaceful room. Slowly and with painstaking accuracy, he moves his hands, gently guiding and adjusting, all the way from my tailbone to the top of my skull.

After my first appointment, I noticed an amazing improvement. My pain level was several notches lower and my leg had apparently decided to stay with me. And with additional regular treatments, I have almost healed up fully.

The Power of Gentle Guidance
In activities that matter – like writing – it is incredibly tempting to try and apply force to get what we want, whether that’s finishing a manuscript or looking for marketing results or trying to get published. We are a people of action and production and results. We want to “get ‘er done” and we want it now.
And then we get stressed and hate our work and want to burn it in our backyard, because what forms in our soul and expresses itself through our writing cannot be forced, it can only be guided gently out from the darkness and into the light. And to allow this process to happen, we need to provide structure.

There is Freedom within Structure
I recently lost a job, which was the first time I had been without work in several years. I am used to working from home, applying self-discipline to meet deadlines. But – suddenly and without warning – I had no deadlines. My calendar was completely clear.

People who are definitely not me might find this idea liberating, but I acted like a ping pong ball, bouncing from one idea and activity and problem and chore to another. I had no structure, and the resulting anxiety was driving me insane.

A friend of mine suggested that I schedule out every single minute of every day for a week in order to give me some of the structure that I so clearly craved. Once I did, I actually felt calm enough to sit down and write, which led to more writing and more structure, and proved to be a better spiral overall to follow.

Move within Structure
The duality about structure – and about our literal bones – is that they require movement in order to move best. Our spines and bones aren’t rigid, they simply provide a framework. If your novel or your writing time or your character or your narrative arc are no longer working, have you provided a framework for them to work within?

Structure provides boundaries that you can push against, containment for the chaos. Once the security of structure has been provided, then those nagging problems of the character or the pace or the novel itself can sort themselves out.

Change the Structure When Needed
There might be times that the structure itself is to blame for the issues. If your leg is trying to leave your body and you can no longer walk or use it, then it’s time to gently guide the structure (or, in this case, my spine) in a different direction. If you have decided to write every day at 5:30 in the morning but never actually keep the commitment and end up beating yourself up, it’s time to change the structure to something that will actually work.

Because if you try and force it, there’s a good chance that the whole thing may fall apart.

Kelly Wilson's Bio : Kelly Wilson is a Portland, Oregon author and comedian who apparently requires a specific kind of structure in order to feel calm and fortunately still has her left leg. She is the author of Live Cheap & Free, Don’t Punch People in the Junk, and Caskets From Costco, along with numerous articles and short stories for children and adults. Kelly Wilson currently writes for a living and lives with her Magically Delicious husband, junk-punching children, dog, and cat, with a stereotypical minivan in the garage. Read more about her at www.wilsonwrites.com.

Caskets From Costco
For twenty years, Kelly Wilson thought that she had been marching through the stages of grief in a straight line. She had been following the formula, crossing each processed grief experience off her list.

Except that Kelly was totally deluded. And she didn’t discover that until Jim, her beloved father-in-law, died. She found herself drying off from her shower the morning after his death, really hoping that he couldn’t see her naked. Or, if he could, that he was averting his eyes.

From that moment, Kelly's path through grief resembled a roller coaster, spiraling and twisting and turning, circling back around. Echoes of past trauma, including childhood abuse and cheating death, would no longer be ignored. She somehow needed to get from the beginning to the end of this grief adventure, and she doesn't have a good sense of direction.

But what is always present during a journey through grief, regardless of the path chosen?


Caskets From Costco is a funny book about grief that demonstrates the certainty of hope and healing in an uncertain and painful world.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Memoir, Humor
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Kelly Wilson on Facebook & Twitter

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