writing

Writing Progress

It’s time for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group blog hop, I won’t be answering the question  What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey? but if you follow this link you can find other writers who may be and see what the Insecure Writers’ Group is all about.

I haven’t had much time to write for my blog lately, that’s why this is short and sweet. But I’ve been working on a short story instead. And I’ve made some progress. It’s getting to the end of the first draft slowly.

I do need to change the characters names, I’m hopeless with names and I need to give them more thought. When the first draft is done and I’m in the stage of fine tuning I’ll find new names 🙂

Feeling happy that I made time to write today, though sad not time to write the review for this blog.

I’m made some progress with my story.

Small steps towards my goal of finishing it. Small steps to getting publication success.

Hope you’re meeting your goals and making progress too.

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writing

Writing Wednesday: the perfect writing desk

I’m shopping for a desk for the first time ever. Never really had my own writing space before, the space to be organised and keep all my files and papers. And more importantly a place for my laptop and typewriter. Neither have a proper home at the moment. They’ve never had a proper home.

Where to buy?

I don’t think you can buy desks in shops these days so online is the only option. I thought about IKEA but searching on there brought up desk legs and worktops 😂 which tried my limited patience.

The ideal desk is probably something vintage, to suit my vintage typerwriter something like these:

Princes Risborough Desk

 

 

Maybe? I found these on Wayfair, it you search on Pinterest you can find even more of these types of desk… a writer’s dream…

But I can’t decide if I want a vintage style or something more practical. This one seems to have the vintage style:

Desk

But then others have more space for storage:

Desk

 

I’ve got some time before I need to buy one-when I move- so no rush yet to make a decision. Can’t wait to finally get my own space.

I need one big enough to keep my laptop and my typewriter  but I haven’t even thought about how big it would need to be.

Do you have a designated writing space or desk? Share your links in the comments 😀 Recommendations appreciated.

writing

Writing Wednesday: trying

Always want to write when I don’t have time but then can’t get motivated when I do.

 

I had a creative moment, a little success,  I decided to go back and continue doing the exercises in this book:

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I thought that doing an exercise might help to encourage my creative brain. I enjoyed the exercise, I had to think of names for two characters, answer a few revealing questions and then write a scene. It was good, I was surprised how quickly the ideas came to me. The first time you sit down to write it always the best when it’s all new and it’s flowing well. Sometimes I’ll be sitting for ages trying to think of anything. But then it’s been a while and my creative brain has been itching to be exercised.

But then I tried to continue with a story I’ve been working on and my brain decided it didn’t want to know, which causes me no end of frustration.  The heat isn’t helping me either, just giving me a headache so I admitted defeat for the moment.

This story  has an ok beginning but is in scraps and bits of scenes. I know what will happen and how it will end but the story is just not wanting to be written down. I might’ve made the mistake of typing it up too soon, I always find it easer to write with a pen and paper, the words flow more, inspiration comes easier than when I’m staring at a screen.

I have another story that has gone so far but I need to know what my character is looking for before I can continue it, mindmapping might help there or spending time figuring out who my character is.

It’s so frustrating feeling like you’re not getting anywhere (espeically when you know you won’t have time at a late date to write) knowing you have these stories inside you but it’s a battle sometimes to get them on the page. It will be worth it in the end, I will carry on trying because giving up is what got me in this situation to begin with.

Share your thoughts and your writing stories in the comments.

Take a look at the book Back to Creative Writing School by Bridget Whelan, it’s full of helpful advice with exercises to get you writing, perfect for every writer. I have the ebook.

writing

Writing wednesday: in a writing slump or where to start with your writing?

Background, Blank, Book, Bindings

I’ve written posts on here about being inspired and overcoming writers block. Lately I’ve hit a slump and it’s got me to thinking again about what causes it and how to prevent it and get back to writing again.

I took a week off from writing my novel -which turned into a month- after CampNaNoWriMo intending to work more on some short stories. But (as usual) that didn’t happen.

I am going to get over this slump and get back to it!  I’ve set little challenges for myself in this blog to get back to it.

Why not do the challenges yourself, write your own blog post and/or share in the comments if you feel brave enough. 🙂

First challenge, try to figure out what was holding me back and what I could do to turn it around:

What causes a slump/stops you from writing

Not having a goal or having unrealistic or far reaching goals 

My goal is always to have a short story published, so whenever I write it’s with that in mind. I think that this has made me worry more about the quality of my writing and push myself hard. But when I don’t then send anything out that sends me into a downward spiral.

Solution: I’ve set a smaller more reachable goal, just to finish a story. And an even smaller goal to just think of a new idea and work more on a story I will be sending to a competition in November.

Having a knock to your confidence can also result in a slump. 

I was reading over the stories I was working on and I wasn’t happy with them. It knocked my confidence and that made me not want to work on them anymore.

Solution: find someone to read these stories and tell me if my thoughts are right. Get a critique. Or set them aside and work on something else, coming back to them with a fresh eye and making the changes I need to.

Challenge: What’s holding you back?

You only fail if you stop trying. What’s holding you back? How can you overcome these obstacles? I’ve listed mine below and I’ve already mentioned my solutions. What’s yours? 

  • Thinking that my writing is not good enough
  • My goals are not realistic, I need to break them into small goals: instead of a goal of sending a story out change it to finishing a first draft or think of an idea.
  • General negative thinking.

 

Challenge: List your achievements.

One of my obstacles is my negative thinking so this challenge will help to change the negative thoughts and make me focus on the postive.

What’s your achievements? They don’t have to be writing related, anything you’ve done you felt proud of. Here’s mine:

  • Won a short story competition a few years ago
  • Met my goal and won CampNaNoWriMo 2018
  • In previous months I met my weekly word count writing goal
  • I write and post regularly on my blog 🙂

So what next? I’ve worked out my obstacles and thought of how I can overcome them. I’ve mentioned changing my goals. These are some ideas I’ve probably mentioned before:

  • Find a writing prompt and use that to start writing or mindmapping an idea
  • Read over old ideas and stories to find hidden treasures to be rewritten or reimagined
  • Free write- set a timer and write until it stops
  • Read some great books which will help to get the imagination working again
  • Be kind, give yourself some space to help your imagination. You will get there.

My stories usually start with an image of something in my mind that sparks the idea and gets me writing. How about doing something different? How about mindmapping? Think of a theme or a word and put it in the centre of the page thinking of all the ideas you can come up with that could be made into a story. Write anything, even if it’s silly, this is meant to be creative so get out the coloured pens and have fun!

I don’t usually plan my short stories before I write, so maybe my challenge and my mini goal for the next week should be to come up with a new idea and maybe plan out a story. I could use character exercises and try to do things differently from how I usually do them. Encouraging myself to be imaginative and enjoy the process. 

Sometimes you just need to remember why you love writing and what brings you back to it over and over again. You need to make it fun again.

So there’s my thoughts, one day I will be writing in this blog about my successes. If you feel brave share your own challenges in the comments or links to your blog posts. Share your words of wisdom and your successes. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

So there we go. I am going to get back on track. I had a new idea recently, I’m letting it stew for a while and not forcing it. I’m wondering where it will go Hopefully I will finish some stories soon and maybe have something more positive to write about 🙂

. Share your writing successes and woes in the comments below or any advice you have.

 

 

 

 

writing

Thoughts on writing: how to keep on writing

When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

We all have our ups and downs, things can get in the way: life, triedness, stress. Some days I’m writing a story and I’ll be thinking ‘this is great’ and other days I’ll think ‘this is terrible’. We all have our little problems that can bring us down when writing I wrote about mine in a recent blog post, you can find it here But  despite these issues I keep going. I think that’s the most important thing to keep on keeping on. 

Know when to push yourself and know when to take a break.

I try to remember to be kind to myself, to know when I need to stop and take a break, letting go of the worrying about not getting things done. I know when I go back it will be easier after taking some time to do something else.

I need to trust that I will get it done!

The more I write I realise that I will get the story or novel finished. I never used to be a productive writer but I kept trying and forced myself to write or tried to get inspired and now I find myself writing at times I never would’ve before- like after a long shift at work.
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What can you do to keep going?

  • Find writing quotes. I bought a book but you can find many online, find the ones that resonate with you, write them down and when you’re stuck read them.
  • Listen to music when you write to get into the characters mood or the atmosphere of the story
  • When  are you most productive? Morning or evening? Write then to make it easier for yourself
  • Let yourself write drivel, stick with it and the words will come
  • Don’t worry about how terrible the first draft is. That’s stopped me finishing novels in the past, just keep going you can change it in the editing.
  • Find a friendly ear to listen to your problems, find someone to read your work to help you when you’re stuck.
  • Join National Novel Writing Month. I’ve joined the Camp National Novel Writing Month this April, you get the support of your camp cabin and then you get the feeling of accomplishment when you’ve won/met your goal at the end of the month
  • Little successes can really boast your confidence so make smaller goals as well as big ones. Today I read over a short story I’ve been dreading editing.
  • Find some blogs or youtube videos to help when you are stuck. I love reading writing blogs.

Find a community

Find a local writing group. Or if you can’t do that find a forum or some writers on twitter and follow them.  The writing community has always been supportive, never judging and always understanding when you’re having a minor crisis (or melt down). Giving wise words of advice and sometimes a kick in the butt.

Image result for thank you gif

Here’s some links:

https://www.scribophile.com/forums/ 

https://www.writingforums.com/

https://talkback.writers-online.co.uk/

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

What do you do when you’re struggling?

writing

Writing Wednesday: Finding the time 

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Update:

Last week I typed up the first few chapters of my novel- it took longer than I thought! I also started rewriting/editing a short story. By the end of the week  I wasn’t happy with how much I’d done because I didn’t finish either task. And this week it seems that I won’t have much time either. I didn’t write any new material for the novel I’m working on but I did end up writing a new short story. 

So far this week I have written approx 698 words out of my 2,000 a week goal. It’s early in the week though and I’m hoping that I will find the time to write more. It can be hard to find the time or the motivation to write sometimes, especially with work so how do you do it?

Finding the time to write

I’ve heard/read a lot of advice over the years,  I read once that you should find an optimal time of day to write, that some people may write better in the morning others in the evening etc But if you don’t have a 9-5 job, or you don’t have your work hours set each week then having a writing routine is difficult.

This should be the only writing rule or advice you listen to (once you got the basics): find what works for you look for advice and help by all means but remember that we are all different and what works for one person may not be the best for you. 

Here’s my thoughts on how to find the time to write:

  • Write in your dinner break at work or on the bus on the way to work (this doesn’t work for me as I need quiet)
  • Write before breakfast or during breakfast instead of watching tv/radio
  • In the bath (haven’t tried it, I read in the bath but books get wet )
  • Get up earlier than normal or go to bed later to get some writing done in the extra time
  • What can you sacrifice? If you’re really honest, how much time can you gain for writing? You could not watch that tv programme or you could limit social media. Could you even put off household chores until the writing is done?
  •  If you have a word count goal figure out how long it will take to reach it and then you could either write it all in one sitting or write in blocks of say fifteen minutes or as much time as you can spare.
  • If you are really stuck then you could do it next week and take a break! No procrastinating now!
  • Be kind to yourself too. Do what you can and celebrate every little achievement (I’m being a hypocrite here because I need to do this!)

If you really struggle all the time then maybe you need to think about what is stopping you from writing. Is it that you are too busy? Is it a lack of confidence or a overzealous inner critic? (If it’s the inner critic NaNoWriMo helps a lot)

Maybe it’s life and you need to work that out first before you can devote time to writing. I often hear people say they don’t have time to read, sometimes it’s true, but people use it as an excuse rather than admit that they don’t really want to or like reading (which is fine! But why lie?!)  So is writing something you really want to do? Maybe you’ve always wanted to finish a novel but things get in the way?

Or maybe you’re not enjoying it like you used to and you need a break. I used to find writing a chore because I was so focused on being published and meeting certain goals and I got stressed. I took a break and changed my focus and found the love for writing again.

Sometimes you just need to be motivated:

How to get motivated/inspired

  • Take a break, sometimes a day off or even a week is all you need. The mind needs time to refresh 
  • Listen to music when you write. If you’re writing a love story listen to a love song. Or if you’re writing a horror some scary music can help you to get into the right frame of mind (youtube!)
  • Read a good book- books can be inspiring, after all isn’t that how we became writers, from a love of reading? Don’t just read the books they say everyone should read, read out of your comfort zone, read funny books, fantasy books… Any good book can be inspirational
  • Daydream or think about your story when you’re doing something else. I often do this before a writing session it takes the pressure off when you sit down to write.
  • Writing exercises/prompts can also be a good way to kick start your imagination. Whether it’s exercises online or just scrolling through images or reading a newspaper for a prompt or idea
  • Set a timer and write anything (even if you think it’s rubbish) until the timer goes off. This has helped me when I’ve been stuck in the past, goggle has a timer if your phone doesn’t

And above all be kind to yourself you know if you have time or not. There’s no rush.

What’s your tips for finding the time and being inspired?

 

writing

On Writing

Everyone has a story within them. It doesn’t mean that they will write it or that they are writers. But everyone has a story. The shelves are full of boy meets girls stores (or hopefully boy meets boy and girl meets girl these days too let’s be equal shall we?) or coming of age stories.
I just read a short article written by someone who was commenting on how there shouldn’t be a book written by this characters from the tv show ‘Gilmore Girls’ what I found very strange was this was someone who must have some interest in writing,to sit down and spend some time writing an article, saying that this character didn’t have an interesting story. Now you may not have seen the show but Rory’s mother left her home as a teen mother and raised her daughter alone with no help from her family, estranged from her family. Rory grew up and went to a private school and University (spoilers!) she left briefly after her boyfriend’s father shattered her confidence and made her feel like she could not be a journalist. She ended up going from star student and role model to a criminal, after being upset and stealing a boat with her boyfriend. A mistake which she had to be punished for. Sorry I digress.. my point is she has a story to tell.
There are many books out there with drama, a story is just conflict or drama. A character with a problem. That’s a story, And this character had problem- so she had a story.

Everyone has problems in life, maybe they left school and got stuck in a dead end job (oh, wait that’s mine sorry) or left Uni after a short amount of time for various reasons (sorry, me again) or saved someone’s life once (my father) or was in an abusive relationship or lost a child, or battled with a disease, or had a disease. Everyone has a story to tell, just flip through the women’s magazines. Do all these teen celebs who have books on the shelves have a story? That’s up for debate.
A story yes, a good story?
It all depends on perspective and of course the writer themselves.

I’m off to find myself a story to read… Lord of the Rings reread,