Wednesday, August 31, 2011

8/31/2011 Writing Wednesday

Hello and happy Wednesday!

For my writing topic today I've decided to list some of the techniques I use to help myself actually get something finished. These may not work for everyone, but I figure if they worked for me, then they could probably help someone else too.

1. Figure out your big 'epic' scene: That's something that tends to happen with me fairly often. I'll get an idea for a big important scene (usually in the middle or the end because things can never be easy) and all I want to do is get that out into the world, but it can't just be a story with that one particular scene, so I have to build up the details around it.: Like who's there, why are they there, where did they come from, and where will they go next? The story will then end up being either long or short depending on how detailed you want to get, but it's kind of fun to figure out how everyone gets to that super awesome roof-top fight scene in the end.

2. Try to designate a writing time/place: Having a specific time of day you are going to just work on writing helps because it gives you a routine, and people love those things. My own specific time is when I get home from work, though it's late, being able to come home, sit down with my laptop and just write helps me relax quite a bit. I try to write at work, but how much I'll get done will depend on call volume, so it's not a guarantee. Some people find having a quiet place as well to write is incredibly helpful, this may work for you as well, I'm personally someone who can write wherever (unless it's in a moving vehicle) and as long as I can get 'in the zone' I'm fine. However, I know some people need absolutely no distractions what-so-ever when they're writing, so having a quiet room where you can focus can work for you as well. Unless you have cats, then that place is going to be full of cats, so I wish you good luck on that quest.

3. Give yourself a word quota: I recently started doing this, and it is great for feeling like you accomplished something. I'm not a stranger to using them, I started when I participated in my first NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) since you're supposed to do 1600(?) words a day in order to get to the 60,000 by the end of the month, my personal goal was to do more than that (which last year ended up being not so good of an idea, I'm so sorry left wrist) but knowing that if I did at least 1600 if I was having a bad day, I would still be good was comforting. Normally when I sit down I want to at least do 2000, but lately, due to pain issues, I've had to cut back, so if I get at least 1000 done, I'm alright. I know this sounds like a lot, but if you put it into page perspective, 2000 is roughly 2 1/2 pages, so it's not really that bad.

4. Pace yourself: This is the one I'm still learning, and I would like to think I'm getting better at it. Sometimes you will have those moments of brilliance where you proclaim you need to get this one part down or you will go insane, and maybe that 'one part' is 6 pages away, that's absolutely fine, it's how fast you're going that you need to control. If you give yourself a daily word quota for instance, you don't need to sit down and get all of it done in one go, there are many hours to a day, you can start in the morning, get some done, go to work, maybe do some on your lunch break, then come home and finish. That's perfectly fine. Also, it's ok to take a break to let ideas marinate for a bit, that way when you get them down they are fully formed and likely better than when you first had them. I usually use my breaks to re-read what I've done so far and get a tiny bit of editing out of the way. Just because you're a writer doesn't mean you have to do it every waking moment of the day, every day, having a life is just as important too. Also, if you don't have a speech-to-text thingy, and you do nothing but write like the wind, you could end up hurting yourself. (Let me tell you, that part sucks)

5. Have friends! I don't mean this in the sense of 'don't be a loner and lock yourself in your room all day', but more in the 'they can read stuff and help you out'. Did you write something but you're not sure of how well it actually worked, and you've read it over so many times you're now blind to it? Ask a friend to read it and have them tell you if it needs changing or rearranging. They may also point out spelling errors your word processor didn't see. It also gives you someone to talk to and bounce other ideas off of. They can also give you the most important thing ever: encouragement. Being a writer is extremely hard, and not just in the 'you're writing a book' sense, but in the emotional one. Getting an agent is nigh impossible anymore for new writers, especially genre writers who are trying to do something different, so there's mountains of rejection that comes with that. Then there's self-publishing where you get to see how many people read/sample/buy your book, and that number might not be very high, but that's ok because it happens to everyone. However, sometimes seeing that is incredibly hard on a person, and having someone, even one person, say "This is glorious! What happens next???" is all you need to get motivated to continue on and get the story finished.

That was my post for today. Come back Friday when I talk about someone elses story and how to find it. As always, if you'd like me to talk about something specific, or would like your story mentioned on Fridays, contact me, or also comment below and I can get that done!

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