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No Wasted Ink Newsletter & Ramblecast - July 2023
a newsletter and voiceover podcast by Poet Laureate Wendy Van Camp
Welcome to the monthly No Wasted Ink Newsletter and Ramblecast My name is Wendy Van Camp and I’m the Poet Laureate for the City of Anaheim, California. This newsletter and ramblecast is not affiliated with the city and is my own personal newsletter. All views stated here are my own.
One of the aspects I’ve always enjoyed about the start of summer is I always have a few weeks break in June from my appearances and art fairs. The time flows quietly in the lengthening days and warming temperatures. Here in Southern California, we are blessed with sunny skies and beautiful scenery. As an artist and writer, it is a time of scheduled creativity.
In my hometown of Anaheim, you can see me at various coffeehouses with my colorful line art tote. I tuck away in a corner with an ice coffee or glass of water where allowed. The noise is at a level to stimulate my mind, but not get in the way of what I focus on. I find my fellow coffeehouse denizens respect my workspace, yet seem to be friendly and open to conversation when it is clear I’m taking a break or packing up for the day. It is the perfect balance for writing poetry or drafting a novel.
I set up a writing schedule during this time, planning on composing sessions of a couple of hours each weekday, leaving my weekends free to spend with family or catch up on my laureate duties.
My tools are simple, but effective. I write poetry longhand with a fountain pen in an A5 size notebook. There is something about the interaction of pen to paper that seems to make my poetry flow. I always bring my e-reader, which holds science journal articles I have clipped to serve as inspiration for my speculative themes. While I bring my smartphone, I tend to leave it in my bag to avoid distraction.
This year, the selections for my writing bag are:
Capless Fountain Pen with Noodler’s Black Ink - Piano Black
Stalogy A5 Notebook
Traveler’s Style A5 Leather Notebook Cover - Turquoise
Powerbrick with charging cables
Although I compose my poetry on paper, once it is “done”, I type it into a designated Scrivener project where I store my poems and keep track of my submissions. From there, it is easy to send the poems to waiting journals or to find them for future chapbooks.
And that is it! I don’t go for fancy planning on my calendar or keep a word count. The adage of a poet spending a full day deciding to place or remove a single comma can be valid and not the joke you might think. I can’t quantify creativity with a number. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to. Poetry is an organic thing and moves when it wants to.
yours in poetry,
Getting Unstuck: How to Overcome Writer's Block and Keep Writing
Writer's block. The bane of every author's existence. We've all been there. Staring at a blank page, feeling like every word we write is garbage. Wondering if we'll ever be able to string together a coherent sentence. But fear not, fellow writers - there are techniques you can use to overcome this dreaded block and get back to creating.
First, we have freewriting. Now, I know what you're thinking - "Just write whatever comes to mind? That's crazy!" But sometimes, we get so bogged down in trying to craft the perfect sentence, we forget the joy of just letting our thoughts flow. Freewriting allows you to get back to that sense of play, without worrying about the end result. Set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes, put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), and just let your mind wander. You might be surprised at the gems that emerge.
Next, we have the change of scenery technique. This is one of my personal favorites, because it can be effective in breaking through creative blocks. When you're feeling stuck, it can be helpful to physically remove yourself from your usual writing environment. Maybe that means taking a walk outside, going to a coffee shop, or working in a different room of your house. The change of scenery can shift your perspective and give you a fresh start. Plus, you get the added bonus of getting some exercise or caffeine in the process.
Last but not least, we have outlining. Now, I know that some writers are allergic to the idea of planning out their story ahead of time. But outlining doesn't have to be restrictive or boring - it can be a fun way to get your creative juices flowing. The key is to find a level of detail that works for you. Maybe that means outlining every single scene, or jotting down bullets for the major plot points. The goal is to create a roadmap to give you direction without stifling your creativity. Sometimes, having a clear plan can actually free you up to be more spontaneous in your writing.
So there we are - three techniques for overcoming writer's block. But here's the thing: these are just starting points. Every writer is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. The key is to experiment, play, and find what gets your creative juices flowing. Writing is hard work, and it's okay to take a break when you need to.
The next time you're staring at a blank page, feeling like the words will never come, remember these techniques to overcome your block. Whether it's freewriting, changing your environment, or outlining your story, keep moving forward, one word at a time. You've got this!
This science fiction haiku poem first appeared in a magazine called “The Starlight Scifaiku Review” in Spring of 2023. It was part of a series of scifaiku entitled “Cosmological Speed” and is about the study of the Earth’s movement through space. Poem is by Wendy Van Camp.
July 6th - Anaheim Open-Mic at Anaheim Central Library 5pm (reader)
July 13th - 16th - ReaderCon (virtual)
I give a virtual presentation of my academic paper “Every Word Matters: Using Poetry Concepts To Enrich Your Prose” and will follow up with a virtual live Q&A at the conference. Please see the program schedule for date and time. https://readercon.org/
July 20th-23rd - San Diego Comic Con Art Show
I’m back for my 25th? year in the annual San Diego art show as an artist. I will be featuring a selection of my illustrated poetry art prints and a few of my neurogenetic watercolor paintings.
The Art Show is located in the rooms behind the registration desk of the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego. It is a scant walking distance from the convention center and next door to Seaport Village. The Art Show is fully open to the public, you don’t need a comic con badge to enter. We are open from the start of Comic Con thru Sunday morning. Best times to see and purchase art is Thursday-Saturday 10am to 6pm.
ConTinual - Special Edition Fandom - Star Trek: The Next Generation (Podcast)
ConTinual - Fandom - Lost Conventions (Podcast)
LINKS TO SOCIAL MEDIA
Portfolio - http://wendyvancamp.com
Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/author/wendyvancamp
Medium - https://medium.com/@wvancamp
Twitter - https://twitter.com/wvancamp
Instagram - https://instagram.com/nowastedink
Mastodon - https://me.dm/@wvancamp
The Planets: a scifaiku poetry collection - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Z8HMPF2
The Curate’s Brother: A Jane Austen Variation of Persuasion - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OU1V45A
Eccentric Orbits: An Anthology of Science Fiction Poetry
Volumes 1 - 4
Anaheim Poetry Review 2023
Free to Read: https://anaheimpoetry.com
Eye To The Telescope: Quests #46 - Fall 2022
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