A Writing Journey

Posts tagged ‘writing inspiration’

Keep Writing!

I believe myself that a good writer doesn't really need to be told anything except to keep at it. Chinua Achebe

This is what I am telling myself these days – just keep at it. Going back and writing a first draft again is difficult work. It’s hard to switch back into the mindset of creating rather than polishing. But the story isn’t over. Lacey has to keep going, so I have to too.

No word about my submission yet. I figure it will be a few months. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

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Being Inspired

Yesterday, I had a conversation about reading and writing (among other things). One thing that stuck out to me was the need for motivation (though I like the term inspiration better – motivation makes me think of working out and dieting). Whether a person is working on a college paper, a painting, some sort of building project, or writing, being motivated/inspired is key.

I’ve had a problem with this inspiration/motivation lately. I’ve had great ideas for what I want to write about, how I want to rework QFS so that I’m satisfied with it (though let’s face it – having a completed manuscript is pretty satisfying on its own), but whenever I have the time and desire to work, I get stuck. Part of that is because it isn’t new and exciting anymore – but that isn’t all. If it were, my other new fragments of stories would be holding my attention. More than anything else, I have been stuck because I’ve not been talking to people about it.*

I’ve been working full-time with people who don’t do much reading or writing (as far as I am aware) and the friends I used to talk to are busy (not to mention far away after  the end of college). I’ve been busy trying to get my life in order, to learn new things (gosh, I miss school!), and to get involved in the community. That doesn’t leave much inspiration for writing.

So here is my advice to you, if you are stuck. Talk to someone about it. Not online, (preferably) not by texting or any sort of electronic communication.** Talk to someone, in person, about writing. You don’t have to talk about your specific project, just talk about writing and you’ll be itching to dive back in, to feel the flow of words on your skin.

Try it.*** Trust me, you will thank me! (And if you don’t, well, sorry! What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for all.)

*Well, that and my apartment is NOT conducive to writing.

**Of course, electronic communication is better than no communication. But in my experience it doesn’t have the same effect.

***Another thing to try is getting out of your normal writing space. Sometimes, for me, if I’m stuck for too long and I keep trying to write in the same place, it sets me up for failure. Go to a library, a coffee shop, or even a restaurant.

Take care!

Inside Your Head

I love this quote, because there is no questioning the truth of it. A writer is constantly “writing,” even if they don’t have a pen or pencil or keyboard. I constantly am thinking about my stories and writing and revising in my mind. Sure, those mind-compositions don’t always make it to the page, but the point is that I am using my mind, even when I am not physically writing.

I think that most (if not all) writers do this. If we don’t, our stories are flat, boring even. We have to think about them nearly every moment of every day until something clicks and the whole story falls into place. Have you ever experienced that? During one of my revisions of QFS, I realized that my minor villain did not, in fact, know everything about the major villain and was not working with her. The minor villain had a fascinating back-story of his own that shapes every action he takes – and I never would have realized it had I not spent so much time thinking about my story.

So keep thinking, keep imagining, keep writing!

Take care, fellow travelers.

The Creative Mind of a Child

As much as I will deny it, I was a child once. And I wasn’t always a responsible child. I would wriggle out of doing my homework and go play outside, falling into a world of my own imagining. This world was not a solitary one. The neighbor kids were there with me and we built upon the worlds we’d established. Yes, that bush was the dungeon and over there, by that tree was where we had our sword lessons. And “Mom, that’s not a bike, it’s a horse!”

Such was my childhood, imagining worlds that were as real as anything else (for truly, a child’s imagination brings everything to life and makes it as real as, well, reality). Even inside, my imagination wouldn’t stop. My bunk-beds were the narrow bunks on a ship. My stuffed animals were fierce protectors of the realm.

I think, for me, writing was a way to channel my imagination as I grew out of the age at which such play is acceptable. As we grow up, we are told to put away childish things, to prepare for the real-world and face it head-on. I disagree. I believe that the creativity children express should be cherished and encouraged. We should be telling them to hold onto that, because the real-world can be a hard place and everyone needs a little comfort of imagination – why else would we flock to fiction? Not because it teaches (for although I believe that most firmly, there are many who disagree and treat books as an escape rather than an opportunity to grow).

The games we played as children don’t go away, anyway. We may say they do, but we’re all children at heart – or at least there is our self as a child in our heart. Don’t trap that child. Let the creativity flourish, let yourself dream up different worlds full of wonder and worry. Tell yourself a story, and then share it with someone else. Humans are born to tell stories. Don’t let society tell us otherwise.

Take care, fellow travelers.

Friday Inspiration – Winter Wonderland

Well, it has been in the 90’s* here and for me that is just unacceptable. In an attempt to make myself feel better, I’ve been looking at pictures of snowy landscapes lately. This got me thinking: how do we write in each season? Well, I tend to write scenes where the characters are having the same type of weather as I am. For instance, if there is a snowstorm happening, you can bet my characters are going to battle through a snowstorm.

This is NOT convenient when, say, I need to write about a snowstorm and it is 90+ degrees and the sun is shining and my garden is wilting. For that, I have photos. I like to look at photos I’ve taken first, to see if I can get in the right mind set from that. Here are some examples:

Winter in Norway - gotta love the snow!

Winter in Norway – gotta love the snow!

Another image from Norway - this one makes me think of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."

Another image from Norway – this one makes me think of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.”

It's not just winter scenes that I like to plunge back into!

It’s not just winter scenes that I like to plunge back into!

Last but not least :)

Last but not least 🙂

These are just a few examples of the kinds of photos that can inspire me to write a scene opposite of what is actually happening outside. I encourage you to look at photos you’ve taken or do a Google search. You might be surprised what inspires you!

What do you do to keep inspired when the weather is less than pleasant?

Take care, fellow travelers.

*Fahrenheit.

 

 

 

Friday Inspiration – Music

Music inspires me more than anything else. The first time I realized this was in high school. I was listening to Evanescence non-stop and writing a joint-story with one of my best friends. The music shaped the story and made it into what it was (which, admittedly, could have been better). Even now, I have a hard time listening to certain songs by Evanescence without remembering those characters and scenes. The one that will forever be the song of Elyza (the character that I was in charge of) is My Immortal.

As my writing developed, I kept playlists for my stories (as many writers do). The artists included in these posts ranges from Breaking Benjamin to Enya and beyond. My tastes in music are eclectic, though it doesn’t always appear that way.

I believe that music speaks to the soul in a way that few other things can. Not many writers have the ability to craft a story and it’s characters well enough to compete with music (though I love books all the same).

For a sample of the music I listen to for inspiration follow this link to a playlist I have on 8tracks.

Does music inspire you? Which artists/songs/genres?

Take care, fellow travelers.

Thursday Inspiration

Well I’ve had a slow week for writing so far. I hope to turn that around today and get at least half of a chapter written. As such, here is a piece of inspiration for anyone struggling, or just feeling lazy (like me):

When I have a slow day, I hate coming across advice like this, but it’s true. I can tell myself “write one page,” but the scene is never done at the end of the page. I have to keep going until the scene is done, and often by then I don’t want to stop anyway.

So just start writing. It doesn’t matter if it’s bad or choppy at the beginning of a session – that’s what editing is for. The important thing is to get it out of your mind and onto the page. I can’t tell you how many quotes I’ve come across saying that you can’t edit what you haven’t written. So write. Write and don’t worry about anything.

Take care, fellow travelers.

Thursday Inspiration

Yesterday in my search for inspiration I came across this quote from Douglas Adams:

“It takes an awful lot of time to not write a book.”

At first glance, it’s just another whimsical musing, a little teaser to help get us writers back to work. Then I looked a little closer at it, analyzed it. Think of all the people you know who haven’t tried writing a book, or keep putting it off. I know someone who has been saying “I’m going to write that book,” for about six years. Six years. I wrote my first draft in just over two years!* And that was with going to college full-time. If this unnamed person would have just sat down and written the book, it would be done by now. It would probably be published.

Think a little further. Look at how much time we writers (or any sort of artist) spend procrastinating! I know I spend about half of my writing time jumping between four or five different websites, or watching TV shows on Netflix or Hulu. What a waste! If I spent that time writing instead of procrastinating, I’d be done so much sooner, ready to send manuscripts to publishers! (That being said, I also know that procrastination is a part of my process, and that sometimes it helps get my brain going to analyze other story-lines and catch all the little details.)

So here is the thing: Write. Stop putting it off. Stop checking blog posts and email and Facebook. Go, be creative. It’s good for you. The sooner you start the sooner you will have that manuscript ready to send out. Good luck.

Take care, fellow travelers.

*I think in a previous post I said it was three. I am very bad at math. It was two years.

Thursday Inspiration

Thursday again. My how the days fly. I think this is the best piece of advice anyone can give. If we don’t write bravely, we will never improve. Good luck, everyone.

Thursday Inspiration

Last night, I went to a Buddhist Temple. It wasn’t my first time going to one, but the trip reminded me about connectedness. One thing that I have come across again and again in my college career and now is how everything is connected, how we humans are made from elements that were flung across the universe in supernovas. We have pieces of stars inside of us. Maybe that is romanticizing it a little bit, but I don’t care.

A quote that I found on Pintrest by Max Ehrmann

We are all important, and so are our stories, regardless of if they are fiction or not. Stories are what keep us going. I had a professor in college who always said that we are the stories we tell ourselves. I think it is an intensely human drive to tell stories, whether orally or through the written word. In so many places it crops up that we are stories.

In the novel “We” by Yevgeny Zamyatin one of the characters says “A person is a novel: you don’t know how it will end until the very last page.” A person is a novel, because we have our own stories, we tell our own stories and, as the Eleventh Doctor (from Doctor Who) says, “We’re all stories in the end.”

Someday we won’t be here. Maybe that isn’t the most inspiring thing I could write, but someday people will only remember the stories we left them with. So tell your stories! Don’t be afraid to share them. Share the things that exist only in your mind, share the things that have made you who you are.

Share your stories and be kind to yourself.

Take care, fellow travelers.

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