Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Yes, today we address insecure writers. Is that you? It is for most writers, especially when they're staring out, but even when they're established. Here's a website for the insecure among us - Insecure Writer's Support Group.
Get writing tips, info on publishers and self publishing, marketing and more.
Let me know what you think and how you like it. If you're a reader but no writer you may find the site interesting.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
“We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little.”
Anne Lamott, author
Interesting thought, don’t you think? Nice to know sheep lice don’t write much. I don’t think they’d find a market anyway.
On the other hand that first bit, the statement that we are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are, that’s food for thought.
I admit, every once in a while when I’m writing I get to contemplating why I do write. I enjoy it for sure. I like creating other worlds and stories about them. But at the core there seems there is more. I’ve been writing since I was barely 12, and I mean seriously so with the goal of publication. So why? What was it that spurred me to do that at an early age?
Throughout history, since man has been able to think and process information, stories have been exchanged, first verbally, passed from one to another, passed down through the years, then via the written word (whether actual words or illustrations). (And now you know the origin of the graphic novel and comic books and movies). Well, maybe. Seems logical to me.
If you’re a writer, or a reader for that matter, think about it. Her statement that we want to understand who we are. I have to agree. I grant you we can’t read other animals’ minds and they can’t talk to us directly, so we can’t be absolutely, 100% positive, but it appears we’re the only animals (or insect?) on the planet who are self-contemplating. Who give thought and story to who we are and where we’ve been and where we are going.
Again, one has to wonder why that is.
Writers write to explore new worlds. Readers read pretty much for the same reason. Together we’re creating those worlds, wandering through them and in that journey questing to understand a bit more of who we are, why we’re here and what the heck we’re supposed to be doing. The confusion can expand to large proportions.
That exploration, in fact, IS part of who we are. Our explorations and storytelling will no doubt give us even more answers as time goes on. They’ll probably raise a whole lot of other questions as well.
So who is this Anne Lamott who gave us this quote? You can read a bit more about her by clicking on her name. She does a lot of biography, some novels and some non-fiction. She’s also the author of many books, one in particular that’s a great read for writers. BirdBy Bird. She’s on twitter too if you want to follow her - @AnneLamott
Explore yourself – go write – or at least go read.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Heather E. Wright's Wrighting Words - resources for teens and young teen writers. Lots of great info to get you going. Prompts, where to get published, info for writing teachers and more. Her sight is definitely worth a visit.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Hey folks - it's true - there's a limited time availability on the Stormrider at the London Book Fair T-shirt! Grab yours before time runs out!
As writers we all use our brains – a lot. But truly, how often do we give some consideration to that – to our brains, how much that brain does for us, how tricky it can be? What’s going on up there. Even when you’re thinking you’re thinking about other things. There are many things going on at many levels all the time in our brains. Many conversations co-existing inside your head.
But what I want to mention today is the brain’s desire for accomplishment (for want of a better word). What do I mean by that? Well, I’ve done some reading and what I understand is your brain loves short, easy-to-achieve goals. In fact it’s vital that you supply those.
And once you supply that and the brain is happily releasing dopamine (it’s actually a drug) into your system (the reward sector of your brain where we find pleasure, learning and the motivation to strive for higher goals) you’ll enjoy greater ability to concentrate and be more focused. But even better, the chemicals in your brain inspire you to want to experience again whatever the activity was that caused that chemical to release. See where I’m going with this?
It’s addictive in that each success (no matter how seemingly small) leads to another and another and soon it’s a feeling you don’t want to live without. And when that happens you’ll discover you begin to succeed on a daily basis and enjoy what you’re doing.
So how does this apply to writers? Well, think about it. Perhaps you don’t want to get too technical, too detailed as you’re creative, right? Nonetheless if you set simple to achieve goals at first (say you’ll write 1,000 words a day or 500 or even 250 or maybe a bit of research on a town you’re creating for a story) and you achieve that goal and then another and another, many times over you’ll find you can concentrate on your work more fully and you’re more and more eager to accomplish the goal you set. If it’s a goal you can quickly achieve then each time you accomplish it that dopamine will release providing that ‘feel good’ rush.
The key is to make those goals short and fairly simple. Once you can easily accomplish.
Yes, your bigger goal is probably to write a novel or maybe finish writing a screen script. But the smaller goal of writing a fixed number of words per day, or doing needed research, or formatting a page, will get you there. And there’s nothing to stop you from exceeding your goal as long as you don’t confuse things by having your goal be to exceed your goal.
So today I’m telling you to set goals. Set small ones, ones you can easily reach. When you do, give yourself a pat on the back and stop – OR continue on knowing you’ve accomplished what you intended.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
The Editor's Blog is filled with articles on many aspects of writing posted about every week to two weeks to a month. Last one was March 17, 2014. She offers recommended reference books, has a connect on Twitter and tells us "It's all about the words".
From a writer/editor's perspective, she's right!
Some interesting links there as well.
Go ahead. Visit. It's a great site.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
So, what holds you back? What keeps you from writing what you want to write, from getting it out there and being published? Recognizing what might be holding us back as writers could well be key in helping us to move forward.
You want to create worlds, right? Whole new places in space, time, and experience for readers to go. And readers, that’s the experience you’re in it for, right? Those new places, those new adventures.
Worthy goals to be sure.
The tripwires for the writer can be things like;
1. A writer can be so motivated, so in love with the process of writing and, indeed, perfecting the work in progress that that writer revises while writing each chapter, after writing sections of the novel, again when the novel is complete. Constantly revising, constantly second-guessing.
Now, I’m not saying revision and rewriting aren’t important elements of creating an outstanding novel. However, there comes a time when the writer has to step away from the keyboard, put down the pen and decide it’s as good as it’s going to get. That if it’s tinkered with further at that stage it’ll just begin to go down hill. Really, it’s like egg whites beaten too long. You can reach a peak – and then it just gets ‘watery’.
2. Then there’s the opposite. The writer who’s so excited, so juiced that he or she rushes to complete the book, doesn’t bother much with editing or even checking for typos and blasts through to publication.
3. Some writers are so delighted, so stroked, so awash in joy when getting a good review for their book that suddenly completing the next one doesn’t seem so important. Sort of like, hey, I done good! Wow, look at those words of praise. I don’t have to market, promote, work to get my work out before the reading public. It’s just going to happen. In fact, I don’t even have to push forward to complete my second because they’ll just be hanging on, panting to read it when it’s released. Any time will do.
Nope, not even close. Always be looking forward to your next project. Always be alert to promotional possibilities and follow through on them.
4. There are writers who want to make a splash, have a big impact, really rattle their readers. They can go too far, cross the line and end up alienating readers. Shock can be good, but too much can be off-putting and cost the writer readers. The good writer, while being true to the story being created, must keep the target audience in mind, the reader. Shake ‘em up, but don’t toss ‘em out.
5. Be sure to listen to your gut. Sometimes too much planning can get in the way of a good story. There needs to be a balance. What ‘feels’ right? Where is the story going? Just because one thing is planned doesn’t mean it can’t be changed for another. Being too rigid, fighting character and story created, can be a factor holding a writer back.
6. Don’t be the writer so focused on performance, turning just the right phrase, in just the right way, in just the right scene to the point where you’re so self-critical you ultimately decide you’re ‘just not good enough’. Writers evolve and change. Writing evolves and changes. So will you. Create, revise, move forward.
Oh, and trust your gut.