Author of Dark, Paranormal, Suspense,& Romance: You never know where the words may lead.
Posting Schedule - On Indefinite Hiatus.
Footsteps of a Writer is a path from aspiring writer to published author and beyond. You will find writing tips and motivations, book reviews, author interviews and guest posts, personal insights into my writing life, and more.
Finding Time to Write. It's an endless struggle most writers face, but is it really about the time. Or, is it commitment?
I struggle this year with this issue, but I'm slowly coming to the idea that it has nothing to do with how much time we have, rather it is how determined we are to reach our goal. Don't get me wrong, some have huge issues with time.
Tad has soccer practice, Judy has cheerleader practice, the cupboard is thinning on food, clothes need washing, and don't forget the job that pays for all this. You rush and rush, and there isn't time to think, much less write.
If you take a moment though, I bet this Mom, let's call her Sarah, could find thirty minutes a day to write, even if it's while waiting on the kids to finish practice. The question is: Do you want to spend that time writing? This is where it comes down to determination to reach your goal. You don't have to write, you can listen to the radio, read a book, or even crochet. So, do you WANT to write?
One big mistake I'm discovering is forming phrases in my head such as: I have to write or I need to write. Writing is more productive if you WANT to write. One important issue is you don't need a pen in your hand to write. Think over scenes throughout the day. This makes for a productive writing session when you do find that time to put pen to paper.
Try some affirmations to move you toward your goal.
I will write today.
I want to write today.
I am a writer because I enjoy writing.
Writing inspires me to create.
With each new thought, my story grows a little more.
Fill your story with your own emotions: love, hate, desire, lust, joy. Tap into your life, and inject it into your writing.
I'm not say write about your life, but to spice your story with it.
For Example: Your character gives birth and is surprised by twins.
Your character's reaction may not be your own type of reaction, so to really pump up the emotion, try thinking of something in your life that evokes the same emotion as your character in this situation.
Perhaps, your character doesn't want a child at all, much less two. Your character feels her life has been dragged from her in the form of two new beings.
Now think of your own life, and imagine feeling drained of life, disgusted by the turn of events, and/or unable to move forward. Does this provoke a memory of a past relationship? A job? A moment in time?
The debate continues - to plot or not to plot. It is easy to see every writer will write in a different method. But how can you determine what's best for you?
Trial and error? Intuition? Force yourself into following a proven method (proven by another writer)?
'How to Write' books are abundant and sometimes confusing for the new writer. How can one determine the climactic scene out of thin air? How can you determine who your character is without getting to know them? How can you write a story without knowing such things at all?
During my journey, I continue to try to discover the best method for my writing.
1) No Plot - Produced many short stories and two published novellas. All of these began with a glimmer of an idea and a rough draft from beginning to end. The revision/editing process polished the writing, discovered missing scenes, and built on a rough foundation.
2) Plot - Produced three novels - incomplete. First novel, complete with character sketches, a collection of scenes, and some written work, sits in a box. Second novel, produced during Nano, a collection of scene drafts, character interviews, plot outlines, and anything else you can think of, sits in a folder waiting for completion. Third novel, beginning and end sketched out, character sketches, tarot profiles, and more, has recently been put to sleep in a folder.
By plotting, I sucked the life out of these stories and made them boring and confusing to complete. The stories kept changing as I went, the characters didn't act like they were supposed to, and the ending was a far off sign post. Now, I'm aware plotting is adjustable, but I found by know all this information it stunted the growth of my novel.
My recent conclusion - plotting may be for professionals. The reason I say this is I can look back at my published work and see structure, but this wasn't accomplished on purpose. It just happened. I can see some missing structure in my unpublished short stories, but this can be fixed and built upon the rough form which is there.
I read recently (not sure the location) a writer who revealed she didn't plot in the beginning of her career, but after her first few novels she tried it and it worked. I've heard over and over again if you return to your how-to books later in your career they make more sense. So, wouldn't it make sense to say plotting is for the experienced writer? (Now I know some writers may be born plotters.)
So, my main point here is if you are a beginning writer and you struggle with your work, try just writing. If you've sketched out your characters, plotted out your scenes, and freeze when you start the first draft of your story, stick it away somewhere and start a story from scratch, working from beginning to end and see what you might discover.
(On a side note: A story bible is a helpful tool for most writers not plotting. Keep jots on what's happening, who your characters are, scenes you think of, and needed corrections discovered as you go.)
The main thing is to start with the first word and don't stop writing until you reach the end.
Caution: This has been my method for short stories and novellas. I'm about to begin a new novel using this method, but cannot conclude for sure if it is doable. My worry is the story will be too long to discover through this method. But after trying plotting with no results, what do I have to lose?
Good luck in your writing!
:) After writing up this post Monday Morning, I discovered later in the day, Roni Loren's blog touched upon the same subject - the writing process. For more on the topic visit her blog - Fiction Groupie.
Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz invited me over to One Writer's Journey for an interview. Come join us to find out how I write, advice for new writers, and some other tidbits. Be sure to comment for a chance to win a free copy of Seduced by Darkness.
I re-read an article by Stephen King today. He talks of his muse, and his description makes me laugh.
"It's a scruffy little thing with fleas and often smells of whatever nasty mess it's been rolling in."
What else would you expect from a man who has the heart of a boy?
"People want to know why I do this, why I write such gross stuff. I like to tell them I have the heart of a small boy... and I keep it in a jar on my desk."
When I think of my muse, I envision a fairy like creature. She has the face of an angel and beautiful pink and purple wings. Maybe I need to ask for a replacement. She may not be up for scaring my readers. :)
Do you have a muse? What does he/she look like? Do you have more than one, taking shifts?
I ran across this video of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. She talks about her thoughts on the writer's muse. I thought you might enjoy.
I usually keep my tarot posts on my tarot blog to keep from offending anyone here on the writing side. But as more and more writers turn to the tarot for inspiration, I decided to share a few links here for the writers who might want to explore what I'm calling, MUSE GUIDANCE.
You can begin your journey by jumping over to my Tarot Guidance page for articles on reading the cards and some information on spreads for writers.
I do not own this book, but it seems a good place to start for the beginner. I may be putting it on my to-buy list, just haven't decided yet - Tarot for Writers by Corrine Kenner. Here's an interesting quote from the beginning of the book. (Writers from John Steinbeck to Stephen King have used tarot cards for inspiration, and Italian novelist Italo Calvino went so far as to call the tarot “a machine for writing stories.")
I'm also going to send you to a writer's blog - Raelyn Barclay presents a few spreads and exercises, to use for your Muse Guidance activities, along with some great links outside her blog.
That should keep you busy for a little while. If you have any questions concerning using the tarot to guide your muse, feel free to ask in comments and/or through the contact page.
The image you see above is the back of the cards - Crystal Visions Tarot by Jennifer Galasso. I bought these near the end of the year and have assigned them the role of Guiding My Muse. In my opinion, a separate deck should be used for creative matters. This back cover screams creativity and the images are very interesting. Stop by Tarot Guidance Thursday, Jan. 5th, for a full review on this deck.