“What is the first thing that a baby does when it’s born?” asked Vacen Taylor. After a few wrong answers the right one was found, “Breathe,” confirmed Vacen, “A baby will take its first breath from 10 to 14 seconds after birth… “What is the last thing that we do?” she asked again; and the answer didn’t require the revelation. “We inhale at birth and we exhale at death. That is how important breath is. What we are going to do first is a breathing exercise. It is really simple. I say to the writers – it is the first thing to do to remove tension when you sit in front of the computer; and I would really like you to learn that.”
Vance’s workshops are based on the belief that any theory can be solidified by interactive exercises and we couldn’t agree more, gradually relaxing our shoulders, muscles of the neck, closing our eyes and deeply breathing in and out. In a few minutes we were ready for the next six steps of learning how to maintain determination and a positive attitude for writing.
Vacen Taylor’s six steps:
- Determination and focus, aiming to keep our energy constant in order to maintain our original intention to complete a story;
- Goal setting, aiming to visualize the intended completion in order to successfully accomplish a project.
- Avoiding negative talk, aiming to think and believe in positive results.
- Take time to understand your reason for writing, aiming to identify the reason and to keep sight of it.
- Take good care of you, aiming to not be critical about the successes and failures; enjoying what we do.
- Victory, aiming to measure victories and successes because successful people have four traits in common: focus, determination, resilience and perseverance.
After explaining every step, Vacen Taylor advised: “Be in tune with yourself to find your own writing voice. Have experience in centeredness and solidness. Being centered will give you the ability to write something that is worthy. Find the sense of personal power which has nothing to do with being powerful. Personal power is self-efficacy, commitment and self-assurance. Self-efficacy is producing results. To get confidence, you need to have self-efficacy. Know your limitations in your writing. If you know your limitations, you can grow out of your limits.”
She was as confident as many of us would like to be in her special performance for us which she called ‘High Impact Performance Reading”.
She came up with this technique by writing screen plays, drawing herself into her characters and making sure the dialogues are correct. “This works very well for writers and especially when you are communicating with kids. It correlates well with their drama curriculum, bringing literature and drama together. It is a great tool to get their energy up. Maybe not every book can be presented that way but I would challenge that because a writer can arrange it so that it is possible. It’s all about practice and believing in your characters.” Her performance was powerful, supporting her argument of bringing new breath in the engagement between a writer and the audience.
At the end she said something very incisive: “The world has a pulse. It is pulsing innovation all the time. Somebody is coming up with something new all the time. I want to be in that pulse. I want to be known as a person who started something new and good.”
Profoundly, she has already done exactly what she is wishing for. She was in the pulse. We learned new and good techniques from Vacen, and we will definitely remember her ‘High Impact Performance Reading’ for a very long time.”
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