Category Archives: writing life

Writing is Magical

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Throughout the life of this blog, I’ve mentioned (time and again) that I love to write. I’ve told you about my experience participating in Nanowrimo. I’ve told you about how much I love to make-believe. And, believe me, writing is a big part of make believe.

But more than that, I enjoy the feeling that I get when I sit down in front of my laptop or my pen poised over paper as I prepare to write a word, a paragraph and the beginnings of a story. It’s a wonderful feeling of anticipation. I feel as if I am standing on the edge of a cliff about to jump without knowing what’s below.

Writing is the same way. When you write, you take risks. You start off with a single word, a single idea, or a short snippet of dialogue. This eventually grows larger as you write. It eventually fills out as you create a new world composed of an entirely unique set of characters and places.

And this all came about from a single word, a single idea, or a short snippet of dialogue. This is why writing is truly magical.

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3 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

 

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We’ve all been there. You set aside time to write. You spend all day thinking about that moment when you can finally put your pen to paper, or your fingers to the keyboard, and write. You spend all day fantasizing about your main character, Lily. You wouldn’t dare to admit this in public but you often walk around pretending that you are Lily and adopting her mannerisms and habits. You let her take over your being, your essence, so that when you finally do sit down to write, you are disappointed that the words do not come.

You type her name, and then the next word, a verb. But then, you shake your head. You delete that last word. And then, you stare at the screen, at the blank, very white Word document. You can see the words that are there but they just won’t come. The words are stuck. You are stuck. How do you unblock yourself?

Well, my friend, I’ve been there. On more than one occasion. On several occasions, actually. And I’m here to tell you what do to get over writer’s block.

  1. Write. 

Okay, this is a given. But it is really important. Even when the words just won’t come, I recommend that you designate a time. It can be at 6:00 in the morning, before you head off to work. Or, it can be at 3:00 in the middle of the night. Choose a time that works for you. And then, open up your Word document, or Google Docs, or whatever you use. You don’t have to work on the same writing project everyday. Instead, I recommend that you mix  it up a little. Work on your main writing project every other day. And then, for the rest of the days, use a random writing prompt generator such as this one.

In fact, for the past week, I have been writing every night at 9:00 PM. For an entire hour. I choose a random writing prompt and then I copy and paste into a Google Doc. And then, I write. I admit, sometimes I’ll sit there, staring at the computer screen, my fingers poised over the keyboard. And eventually, miraculously, the words will come.

By setting a deadline, as well as a prompt, I can make sure that I don’t succumb to writer’s block. Remember when it’s Nanowrimo time and you just have to write a minimum of 1667 words per day. Well, this is kind of the same thing. By telling yourself that you have to write a certain amount of words, about a certain topic, in a certain time frame, you are giving yourself purpose and a goal. And sometimes that is all that is needed.

2. Brainstorm.

Okay, you’ve tried to write. You’ve been staring at that computer screen for thirty minutes. You’ve probably hit the backspace button more times than you can count. But the right words just don’t seem to be coming. What do you do?

Well, remember in elementary school, when your teachers had you brainstorm? Take those fingers off the keyboard. Grab a piece of paper, or even just open a fresh new Word document.

And then, ask yourself this question: what is the topic about?

Say that this is your writing prompt: “Alcoholism is like crying.”

And then, type in, or write, “alcoholism” at the top of your page.

And then, write all the words that remind you of “alcoholism.” Remember that word association game that you played on online forums? Quick! What do you think of when you think of “alcoholism”? I think of: alcohol, beer, addiction, wine, cravings, disease, and so on.

Once you’ve exhausted all the words that you can think of that you remind you of alcoholism, then move on to a sub-category, such as “addiction” or “disease.” Do the same thing here. Keep doing this until you notice a pattern emerging.

For example: alcoholism –> addiction –> cravings –> passion –> love –> writing

Based off these six words, you could now write a story about a fifty-year-old writer who is an alcoholic. How does he cope? Does he use his writing to cope? In what way? Does anyone help with his disease? A family member, significant other, friend, child? How are they affected? What is his relationship with them?

See what I mean? Keep asking questions. Keep associating words with new words.

3. Take a Break.

But sometimes, the words still don’t come. What do you do then? Take a break. Go outside. Take a walk. Take your dog for a walk. Read a book. Eat a snack. Just do something that will get your mind off the writing project. Sometimes the best ideas come after we’ve taken a break.

Your break can be as short as five minutes or as long as a day. Just take a break and let your mind wander.

Let me know what you think! What have you tried? What works? What doesn’t work?

 

I Like to Make Believe

writing from stocksnap.io

I’ve decided to begin my new year by looking into the past. Specifically, my childhood. And even more specifically, I’d like to explain why I enjoy writing and how it all began. After all, you can’t start or continue something without knowing the very root or essence of it.

I can’t exactly pinpoint the very first day when I decided that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. All I can say is that I was drawn to the very act of writing. Perhaps it is because I’ve always enjoyed reading books. I’ve always been fascinated by the very people who wrote the books that I was so enthralled by. While other kids were learning how to write cursive, I was dreaming about my name — my name— being on the front cover of a book, either as an author or an illustrator, although I’m not much of an artist. But I suppose that’s normal. I suppose that is instinctive for anyone who enjoys reading as much as I did do.

Why did I enjoy reading? It was entertaining. I could escape into another world, a world that often times was much more interesting than mine. It was fascinating to inhabit the mind of someone else or watch as someone went through life. It was even more fascinating when that person was as normal and average as you and I — just someone who’s trying to fit in and find their place in society.

Simply put, I like stories. I like things that have a nice beginning, middle and end. I like to be entertained. And I like to entertain. Even when I was a child, I liked to make-believe and make up stories. I liked to act out stories with my stuffed animals and dolls. I still remember the very first story that I ever wrote. It was called “The Little Boy” and it was about a boy who wanted a party.  I had an imagination, definitely. In fact, I still do.

I guess that’s why, in the end, I majored in Communications in college. But on my journey of getting there, in all of the courses that I took, I enjoyed telling stories. In high school and college, I enjoyed creative writing courses the best. I loved it when my history teacher had us write a creative writing piece about a fictional person who lived during the Bubonic Plague. And when I had to take standardized tests, 9 times out of 10 I chose to write a narrative essay. In college, I loved my PR and social media courses. I enjoyed writing feature stories and press releases and blog posts. Hey, what can I say, I like to tell a story.

And that is why my Communications degree led me to want to pursue a career in content marketing, social media and PR. I haven’t yet found that dream job in my chosen industry but I have hope that I will in 2016. I have hope that I will find work with an amazing company where I am allowed to thrive, learn, and most importantly, make believe.

But until then, I will continue blogging. I will continue writing, specifically working my Nanowrimo novel. I will read more and learn from experts in the writing industry. I will do all this because I have hope.

I have hope. And I will continue to make believe.

 

Freelance Writing: The Beginning

One of my new friends at SNHU changed my life… and potentially my future. She sent me an e-mail, which touched me to the very bottom of my heart. She remarked on my writing skills and suggested that I try ghost writing. She gave me a couple of sites to try. One of those sites was Textbroker.com.

This happened a month ago. A month later, I thought that I would write a blog about it. I’m not saying that I am an expect in this field. What I am saying, however, is that I’d like to share my experience so far and my hopes for the future.

But first, let me give you a brief overview. Textbroker is a content creation site. Writers can submit content. Organizations, groups, and individuals post writing jobs, which becomes available to the wider community at large.

Since joining Textbroker, I have written articles about a variety of subjects. I have written product descriptions. I have written blog articles. I have written reviews about restaurants and events. I have learned about Guinness products, retail positions, home organization, cleaning services, cat play structures, amongst some other topics. I have had to conduct research to learn more about the subject.

I am so thankful that writing for Textbroker is giving me the opportunity to refine my writing and research skills to create search engine optimized (SEO) articles. It’s only been a month and yet I’ve learned so much. I’m doing something that I enjoy — writing — and it’s wonderful. Doing this is giving me more confidence in my writing. I have high hopes for my writing future. I’m sure that Textbroker is the beginning of that long and windy road to publication.