Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

poem- victory September 22, 2019

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:41 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Small victory


Big tasks






how could I not succeed?


focus goals.

Day by day,

Chew each bite thoroughly.


Launch hope with a key stroke.

Completion is victory enough,

but still…

Fingers crossed.


poem- almost January 3, 2015

Filed under: Poetry,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:15 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

When you think

that you’re finished,

that all the Ts are crossed

and the Is are dotted,

that every word is brilliant,

that the reader will be on the edge

of her seat from first page to last,

then you submit your work to your editor,

Who shows you

that you’re wrong.


be bad May 19, 2012

Filed under: OUTLANDERishness,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:54 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

A colleague of mine was telling me yesterday that she wants to write.  She is terribly impressed that I have written these books.  She would like to write a play.


But she hasn’t.


Because she gets in the way.  She doesn’t know which direction to take a scene in, so she takes it neither direction.  She doesn’t know how many characters to use, so she has none.  She has so many things, that she has nothing.

I told her that she should give herself permission to write a crappy play.  If she can free herself from the idea that what she has written must be good, she can actually write SOMETHING.  Once there is something on the page, you can edit it into something better.  If there is nothing on the page, well, there’s nothing!

I read that Diana Gabaldon wrote Outlander as a practice novel.  She thought she’d try writing a novel, and since no one was ever going to see it, she could do whatever crazy thing struck her fancy.  She gave herself permission to have fun with the experience, and she did.

When you give yourself permission to be bad, you give yourself permission to take risks.  Let the voices in your head go nuts.  Catch what they say.  Don’t think about it.  Don’t worry if it’s ‘right’ or if it’s ‘good.’

Just let it BE.

Try writing the same thing from different characters’ perspectives.  Try different narrative styles.  You need to put the time in and explore the process.  You will find something interesting, but you won’t if you don’t let it happen.

Give yourself 15 minutes.  Tell the inner critic to leave you alone, and just write.  Don’t stop yourself from achieving your dreams.  Don’t be your own enemy.

Write it.


write the magic February 15, 2012

Filed under: OUTLANDERishness,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:48 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Little things kind of reveal themselves to me in the (process of) writing. A lot of people think that magic happens when you write, and it does, but they think, “Well you must be struck by inspiration, this magic bolt hits you and then you just sit down and … it must just pour out of you.”  Well no.  First you work and then the magic happens, if you’re lucky.  (Diana Gabaldon podcast Episode 3: The “Kernel Process”)

You have to write to find the words.  I tell my high school students to “think with your pen, not your brain.”  It’s an odd concept at first, but once the pen is moving (or the keyboard is clicking), the words tend to find their way onto the page (or screen).  If you wait for the thunderclap of inspiration, you’ll never get the words.  If you sit, ready to work, they flow by themselves.  Perhaps there won’t be thousands of them, perhaps they won’t all be brilliant, but there will always be something that you can use, even if only as a jumping off point for something else.

Think with your pen, not your brain.  That’s where the real magic is.


prequel preparation July 8, 2010

Filed under: Commentary,Grace Awakening,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:52 am
Tags: , ,

When one begins an enterprise, it is not uncommon that the effort required to reach the goal is under-estimated. I’m sure there are many ventures that are begun and soon abandoned when the scope of the effort begins to unfold. The other option is to dig deeply and find the resources to plow ahead. The harvest will be worth the effort, no matter how many stones appear in the field during the seeding time.

Here I find myself, as I develop the Grace Awakening prequel. I had not expected to have quite so much research ahead of me, and yet as I realise I need to know this or that thing, I find my natural curiosity making the task that much sweeter. It definitely slows down the progress, but the vision is slowly revealing itself. I’m excited to be at the beginning of this journey.

I’m lucky that I am one who enjoys process as much as product. I am able to enjoy the journey as well as the destination. I suppose if I could not, that I wouldn’t be able to take the beginning steps. But here I am, glowing with anticipation at the difficulties ahead. This is going to be a wonderful trip!


%d bloggers like this: