Posts Tagged ‘tips’

Hello, my name is Melissa and I’m a procrastinator.

Yes, it’s that dreaded nightmare that holds people back from continuing their plans (or even getting started on something). I admit that I can be a really bad procrastinator. Back in school, if I could put something off, I would usually do it. I always liked to think I just got distracted really easily (which I do, trust me), but I can’t put all of the blame on that.  Sometimes, it’s not distractions that hold me back. It’s not having the drive to do it or putting it off to the side so I can “Finish it later.” We all know that never really happens.

Have I been procrastinating finishing my book? Yes. Have I been doing anything about that? No.

A part of it is definitely fear. Fear of what’s next after that last word is written. After the editing is completed and the book is ready to find a publishing home.  Self-publishing or not? If I do go self-pub, how am I going to do it? How in the hell am I going to afford it? Those questions race through my mind and makes the procrastination monster rear it’s ugly head.

Tomorrow, I’m making an effort to try and write more. It’s important to get this finished even when I don’t know what I’m doing afterwards. I have to worry about that after I’m finished. Not right now.

I also plan on blogging on here more. I’ve been so busy trying to make jewelry and hair accessories to put in my etsy shop so I can save up money to actually publish my book.  I’m still not seeing much success, but I guess it’s all about patience, right?  If you want to read all about my jewelry and hair accessory making, you should check out my new blog which talks all about that. 🙂  I also have one that I started on blogspot for all of you on that site to follow. I’m probably going to make the switch to that one soon.

I’ll leave you with this flower headband I just made that’s in my etsy shop.

Cute, yeah?

Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll be back to talk about my views on self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. Stay tuned!


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The answer? Anything you want, it’s your blog. If you want to teach people to cook, how to be a mom, how much you enjoy being a teacher, or just to do movie reviews, it’s all up to you. A lot of us would love to be able to write for a living (I sure would) but just get in & pour your heart out even if you never get any money out of it. I have had my blog for just a little over a year now & it has been the most enjoyable thing that I have done since getting online many years ago. I’m no expert, but wanted to give you all some ideas that I have learned along the way to maybe help you out if you are just getting in on this wild & crazy world of blogging. First of all, if you want to maybe get more exposure (like here on WordPress the Freshly Pressed highlight), you may want to keep your writing clean. They will not put you on there if all of your posts are full of bad words. I know…I would love to write how I talk, but I keep my posts clean hoping that one day I will get that elusive Freshly Pressed gig so I can pick up more readers. The more readers you get, the better your chances are at growing & possibly picking up advertisers & making some money. If your not looking for that & just want to spill it all out…go for it. Like I said, it’s your blog.
I also try to reply to everybody that leaves a comment on my posts. They took the time to read your stuff & make a comment..now you take the time to respond to them. It really makes you feel so good when somebody says something about what you have written. You can also pick up & make alot of great new blog buddies (friends) from this.
Try to pick a theme that you can customize so your blog will stand out as you & people will get to know you by. The one I use let me add my own picture as the header. I took this picture, added type to it with Paint Shop Pro & now it is my one-of-a-kind header. It’s kinda fun trying new thems from time to time, but once I found & put my own touch to the one that I have, kinda want to stick to it so everybody will remember it. I went through 3 different ones before settling on this one.
Make sure you get the word out on it…set-up the Twitter thing so everytime you make a new post, it tells all of your followers. There are other sites that you can list your blog on also that helps with exposure. Bloggers.com has alot of spammers, but you can get some good people out of it…that is where I met Melissa here that I am guest posting for, so you can meet great people & wonderful writers.
The other thing that I try to do is keep my word count under say 600-700 words. I may gone over that here, but I am always scared that it might get boring if I ramble on too long. Like I said, I’m no pro, but wanted to throw down some ideas that you may not have thought of to help any of you out that I can. I may have left some out here too. Come join the blogging world with us & hope to read your posts someday. Thanks so much for this little challenge Melissa. Looking forward to having you on mine.

Jason (The Mindslam)

Check out Jason’s blog here.

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Staying Focused

Thanks to all who sent in their answers to the question in my previous post which was “If you were attacked by a zombie and didn’t have a “conventional” weapon handy, which non-conventional weapon would you use?” You can still answer it if you haven’t yet. Maybe I’ll use a few suggestions in my current zombie apocalyptic novel.

So, I have to be honest here. This past weekend, I didn’t write. At all. I think I may have typed a sentence or two but nothing worth making note of. Am I disappointed in myself? Perhaps a little, but I’ve realized something. Even writers need days off.. sometimes weekends off. I’m not the kind of writer who is able to write all day, every day. I’d fry my brain. If you are one of those writers who can continuously write without a lot of breaks, well, I respect you. Haha.

But here’s the thing. Whether or not, I’m writing, I’m always thinking about my story. My characters are always running around in my head, sometimes chasing zombies. I think of what to do with them next, where to take them, who they see, etc. It’s not like I’m not “working” on the book. I’m just not physically writing it.

I read a book recently and it had a chapter about creativity and sometimes losing it. It said that there will be times when your creativity need a little break. It can be over worked too. That’s when you take a step back and get some clarity. Stay focused but don’t beat yourself up if you stumble a bit.

We shouldn’t rush the process. Writing a book is like a marathon and shouldn’t be treated like a sprint. Take your time if you have to but keep moving. Take time to enjoy the scenery and the process. Remain focused on the finish line because we can all get there. It just takes time, but I’m sure it’s worth it.

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Back in high school, I wasn’t very organized (As I look around my bedroom, I probably still have some issues..).  My notes for the stories I was working on were cluttered with my school notebooks or strewn across my room on loose leaf paper.  See, I told you I wasn’t organized..

Somehow, I still got said stories finished despite my lack of organizational skills. I managed to learn a few tricks along the way in order to clean all that up.  I think the most important tip I have ever received was carry a writer’s notebook EVERYWHERE. And I do. Whenever I leave the house, I stick that notebook in my purse (thankfully it’s a rather large bag..) and if inspiration strikes,  I can just take it out and start writing. Some of my handwriting may not be too legible for some, but at least I can read it.

I highly suggest every aspiring writer to learn to use one of these and take them wherever you go. It doesn’t have to be a certain type. Just a small notepad will do. I actually use a hardcover journal I received as a gift one year. It’s small and I was able to decorate the cover as I liked. I do enjoy being creative.

How you use it can be up to you. I tend to separate each story I’m working on in their own sections, never mixing them up with others. I jot down notes as I go, writing down the character sketches for each character first, then the plot outline, some dialogue notes, etc. Again, it can vary for each person.

Just have fun with it. It’s great to know that my notes are there for when I may get stuck and need to refer back to what I originally thought. Sometimes I need a potential dialogue scene in case I can’t think of anything. Sometimes I need to see where my plot is supposed to go and compare it to where it is going.

A side note: I did name my notebook just to make sure it had its own personality. I named him Billy… why? Because I like that name haha. And it seems to fit it well. That’s not a necessity. I’m just kooky like that, I guess. 🙂

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Imagine sitting at your desk writing away on the story that you’ve been working on for months. You seem to be making great progress and are excited for the next day when you continue on.  That day comes and you find yourself sitting in the same spot with what you left off in front of you, waiting to be continued. Everything is the same, except for one thing. Suddenly, the words aren’t coming out. Your brain is going a million miles a minute and you can’t seem to get the creative juices flowing. What has happened? Why now?

What has happened is this: Writing block has hit and you’ve lost your focus.

It’s happened to everyone at one point (or several in most cases). You can feel like you are getting so much done and then without warning, something happens and you become stuck. Sometimes it only lasts for a day or two, and then it can drag on for months (if you let it).  You could let frustration take over and never get over the slump, or you could take a few deep breaths and learn how you get that focus back.

For me, life can definitely get in the way of my writing process and once I get back to it, it takes awhile to get it back to normal.  These are the things that I do when I lose my focus:

  1. Turn on some music (it helps calm me)
  2. Read a book for some creative inspiration
  3. Try a new environment to write in. Go outside (weather permitting) or go into another room. Try something new.
  4. Look over your notes and re-introduce yourself to the story. Sometimes it just takes a little familiarizing to get back on point.
  5. Take a walk (yet another weather permitting moment).

No matter what, don’t give up. Sometimes all it takes is for you to step back and put it away for an hour… a day.. a week. Whatever it takes to clear your head and find the focus again. Be patient and know that it happens to everyone. We all have to deal with it. I know writers who have given up completely, saying that the reason was they just couldn’t find the words anymore. They lost focus and just surrendered. Don’t do that. Hang in there and it will find its way back into your writing.

If you have any tips for getting your focus back into your writing progress, please let us know in the comments section below. I would love to hear how other writers work out their writer’s block!

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I’m going start this blog off by asking the writers out there a question:

Do you really feel like you know your characters? Inside and out?

I ask this question because the other day, I   really “spent time” with my characters. I took some time away from writing to look back at my character sketches to review them. Whenever I write, I always make sure to keep my characters in mind. I remember who they are, what they’re like,  how they act, etc. I ask myself: How would this character really react in this scene? What would they say? I always make sure it’s what they would say/do instead of what I would want them to do.

Regarding physical characteristics, I always describe them with as much detail as I think is necessary. Of course, I want people to use their imaginations, but I want them to really see these characters like they were in front of them. I want them to pop out of the pages.  I have read books that don’t really describe their character’s physical traits at all. It’s like they are this bland person with no personality because the author tried too hard for every person to relate to them.  Sure, I’d love to be able to relate to a character, but not at the expense of quality characterization. I tend to get bored if they are just “cardboard cut-outs”.

On the other hand, I always have to be careful to not overly describe them. In previous writings, I put in too much and that was a distraction from the story. I’ve learned how to balance it, and that takes practice.

I’m the one who knows my characters inside and out. It’s my job to make the readers see that without taking away too much from the story. Always remember this word: Balance.

I challenge you all to step back and really “spend time” with your characters today.  Go back to the characters they were before you started writing and see how they are now. How have they changed? Have they taken on a life of their own?

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You have to love the weather in southern Missouri. Okay, well, I don’t really love it at all, but sometimes it really does help me get motivated when I need it the most. Even when I don’t realize it.

Some scattered thunderstorms popped up yesterday evening without much warning. This isn’t a horrible surprise. It happens often during the spring/summer months. You deal with it.  Of course, with the lightning, you have to unplug your electronics to make sure they don’t get zapped (trust me, this has happened to me before. Not fun). So, I unplugged my laptop and since I didn’t know how long the storm would last, I just turned it off completely. Yes, I had a chapter to finish. Yeah, I have a lot more work to do. So, I decided to write the “old school” way.

I pulled out my trusty pen and notebook and got to work on the next chapter. I didn’t really give myself time to doubt myself. The only thing that went through my head was a scene that I have been wanting to write since I thought about this book (but I made myself wait to see how it all went first).

Before I had a computer, I wrote my stories with just a pen and paper. When I went to school, I would always be writing such stories while I waited for class to either start or end (usually the latter). There have been times when I was writing stories in class when I should have been writing notes, but my imagination always took hold. I never got caught, so it’s all okay.

I always made such great progress back then. I whipped out a story in a few short months and now that seems incredible to me. The thing was, I wasn’t anchored to a chair in front of my computer. I could easily move around the room wherever I wanted without having to hassle with moving the laptop. Also, I wasn’t so easily distracted.  I admit that sometimes, I am distracted by things on my computer. The internet, computer games, etc. The other day I found myself playing Plants Vs. Zombies when I didn’t even really want to play it. It was just there to keep me away from a difficult scene.

I made more progress in an hour just by writing on paper than I have typing on my computer. Does that mean I’m going to just write in a notebook from now on? No. I’ll have to type it out eventually since I have to send it off in e-mails.  But, I think I may start writing in a notebook when I’m feeling really stuck. It really has refreshed me.

My challenge to you is if you’re writing your story on a computer and you feel stuck, start writing that scene or whatever in a notebook. See where it goes and how you feel at the end.

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