Distractions


Things have recently changed in my life (all for good), but it has become a distraction from my writing. I find myself exhausted after a new position at my day job that by the time I get home in the evenings, my mind doesn’t want to process anything, including writing.

But what does this mean for my dreams of becoming a published novelist?

It means that I have to really look at my new schedule and find how to get my writing in. If this means sneaking five or ten minutes throughout the day, then that will be what I have to do. If it means getting up a little earlier since the evenings seems to be a no-go now, then it will be done.

I’m giving myself some time before making any changes because it is only my first week, but it definitely has put a damper on my writing. Which is one reason this blog is being done on Tuesday instead of my typical Monday.

I just know that I have to find a new balance between my day job and my writing life. It may be difficult and take me a little while, but I think in the end it will definitely be worth it.

So, please bear with me when it comes to this blog. Until I am able to get myself back onto the proper schedule, I may be late or even skip a week. But I promise, in the end this blog will be back up and maybe even better thanks to my new job.

Until next time… Keep writing!

 

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Story Structure


Yes, this post is late this week and I didn’t get one in last week. It has been a really busy couple of weeks. Not only has my writing been keeping busy, but I also have had some changes in my daily job.  Things are definitely changes right now and most of them are for the good.

One thing I found myself dealing with last week was my novel writing. I had been plugging away on it, producing 1500 words or more every day, but I wasn’t feeling it. In all honesty, I felt like I was writing in a huge circle, not really getting to the story.

This meant I needed to go back to my plot. Yes, I had a general idea of where I wanted my story to go, but when I had gotten too frustrated with trying to come up with the plot, I decided to go right to writing. This was probably a mistake. Although the words were flowing and I had some great ideas while I was writing, I wasn’t producing the story I had in my mind. I needed to get all the dots connected before I even thought about putting another word on the computer.

This was where Pinterest came in. I did a search on novel plotting and got tons of pins to read through. And then I found the one which really changed my entire week. On it, there was a number of articles and videos to read and watch about plotting. And there was where I found, Dan Well’s Story Structure.

This series of five videos really helped me to see what I was missing from my plot and helped me to start reworking it. I watched all five videos, taking lots of notes and then set about working on my plot, using the method he described.

He talks about Story Structure in his videos and how using a seven point system helps you come up with a plot. The difference is, he doesn’t go about it in order. He skips around and the more I listened, the more I knew this was going to be the thing I needed to help me with my plot.

As the week went on, I continued to work on my basic plot and actually feel pretty good about it. And now I’m going to do the same thing in order to get through my subplots. Although most of the stuff he talked about I have read time and time again, the method in which he shows and talks about it, clicked in my head. The examples also helped.

I would highly recommend for anyone who is having trouble with plotting or even wanting to know more about plotting, to check out his videos. They are well worth the time.

And now I need to get back to my own story structure.

Until next time….Keep Writing!

National Migraine Awareness Month


Anyone who has read my blog for a while knows that I suffer from migraines. They disrupt my life more often than anything else and can literally have me in beds for day. But I recently realized something from lurking on Twitter, there seems to be quite a number of writers who suffer from migraines.

This was interesting for me to discover because it made me wonder: does being a creative person have a link to migraines?

I researched the topic and had discovered that quite a few other people also noticed this connection between writers and migraines. Maybe it is something with the way the brain works in writers that makes us susceptible to migraines? I don’t really know, but definitely know that having migraines can certainly interfere with my writing.

But since it is National Migraine Awareness Month, I wanted to share some facts about migraines with you, in case you have been one of the lucky ones who haven’t had the pleasure.

  • Migraines are actually a genetic disorder that causes nerves in the brain to actually misfire and cause pain. Migraines are not “headaches” and should never be referred to as a headache.
  • Migraines can last from four hours to days. The disorder is ranked as the “12th most disabling disorder in the US.”
  • Around 37  million people in the US alone suffer from migraines. It causes people to take off of work, not spend time with families, and basically not participate in life.
  • There are actually different stages of migraines (build up, migraine itself, and post-migraine) that people don’t really know about. The build up (called the prodome) can begin hours or even days before the actual pain. During this phase, you can have mood changes, excessive yawning, and even food cravings. After the migraine you get the postdrome. I call this the migraine hangover, which is exactly what it feels like. You are exhausted and still not able to think clearly and sometimes can feel depressed.
  • 91 percent of the people who suffer from migraines, miss work because of them.

Hopefully, this will give you a little insight into what the migraine sufferers in your life deal with. It can be a very emotional disorder not only because of the pain you deal with, but the stigmata that is associated with it.

Until next time… Keep Writing.

 

Statistics and migraine information obtained from Migraine.com. Check it out!!!

 

No More Plotting


As I have discussed many times throughout my blog, I have been working on a novel. At least trying to. I’ve been tirelessly trying to figure out the plot of what would be the first novel I plan to try and publish. The problem was that I felt like I kept hitting a brick wall. I would have the best idea but couldn’t get the plot to work.

Finally, I said enough. By the first of June, I wanted to start writing and I actually started it a week early. I have the basic idea of what I want to happen in my novel, but in no way have the full plot figured out. And you know what I have decided, that is okay.

Since I have been starting to write the novel, I have come across some really good ideas that I don’t think I would have had by creating a full plot and then writing. One even changed the basis of the story in a way, but it was the thing I had been looking for the whole time.

I know that when I am done with my writing, I will have plenty of editing to do. I know that there will certainly be holes that will need to be filled. But in the long run, I am feeling so much better about my writing, now that I am actually writing.

Currently, my word count has been 1000 words a day. I’ve gone over that most days, so made the decision to up it to 1500 words starting this week. And if this works for a few weeks, I’m hoping to up it to 2000 words.

Another method I have found that has been working for me is that I now have a separate notebook just for my novel. As I am writing, I mark down anything which I will need to remember, such as character information or ideas for upcoming writing sessions. Then, when I am finished writing for the day, I write out what happened in that scene(s). This way when I am done with my rough draft, I will also have a working outline that I can use for editing. During the writing of the scene(s), I mark down anything that I feel might need to be changed when I go back through. This way I am not really editing while writing. This allows the story to just be told for now.

I’m definitely trudging along slowly, but in the end, I think it will be worth it. I can’t wait to see where my characters are going to take me.

Until next time…. Keep Writing!

Hard Look


Last week was definitely a week I would like to forget. Even with Monday being a holiday and getting to spend extra days with my husband, the week quickly went downhill from there.

Tuesday I got nailed with a killer migraine that derailed the whole week and the plans I had. But during that time, I had plenty of time to think (since there was nothing else I could do since my head hurt so bad). And I realized just how much I had been really neglecting my writing.

The week before I was frustrated. The plot I have been working on wasn’t going anywhere and I seriously thought about just giving up. Why continue to make myself miserable by seeking something that didn’t seem like I would actually ever do. Then I thought about just throwing the planning aside and just start writing.

That worked for a few days and then last week hit. And I had to take a hard look at myself and my plans.

This morning I got up with a new sense of myself. Yes, still dealing with a migraine, but I can’t allow this to continue ruining all the plans I have had for myself through the years. I also can’t continue to allow procrastination to interfere. And this I have been doing a lot.

During my time of trying to get through the pain, I realized how much I wanted to be at my computer and writing. The love of writing is still in me, I just haven’t been embracing it like I should. I want nothing more than to sit down and put this story in my head onto paper for others to enjoy.

So, today I will allow myself to finally be the writer I have always wanted to be. Writing will be my number two priority (family is always number one). I will start acting like a writer and hopefully, this will mean feeling more like a writer.

It has been a rough first six months of the year, but I need to make the final six months work in my favor. Maybe this means missing some television shows or not curling up with a good book in the evenings, but these are the sacrifices I am finally willing to take in order to become the writer that I want to be.

Who knows, next week’s post might be about all the opportunities I have found because I have finally started to live life as a writer, all because I took a hard look at myself.

Until next week… Keep Writing!

Living Life


Being a writer can be a very solitary adventure. You spend so much of your time alone and focused on your projects. Yet, being a writer also requires you to live life. Being confined to an computer everyday won’t give you the experiences, ideas, and even research that you need in order to be a successful writer.

Last weekend I made a conscious effort not to focus on my outline I am currently working on. Usually one weekend, even though reserved for family time, I will throw an hour or two in to work on writing while everyone else is sleeping. But not last weekend. I had reached the point in my outlining where I was terribly frustrated that I could get it to to work out. So, I didn’t even think about it. I wanted to allow my subconscious to work on it.

And by doing that I allowed myself to focus on other things. And that was living life and looking at things in a different way.

I’ll explain.

One of the things I did that weekend was visit where my husband worked. Being the creative person that I am, whenever my husband or son told me a story about their job (they work at the same place), I created this mental image of it in my head. I had this idea of what their place of employment looked like. When my husband said about going to the open house where he worked, I was curious to see how well my mental image compared to the actual thing. And I was so off. But this allowed me to see that everyone has a different image when they read or hear a story.

And I got some great ideas for a few characters while there. And maybe even a setting for future novels. So even though I had taken a break from my writing, my brain still thought about things in term of being a writer.

Another thing that happened that weekend was that a friend ended up in the emergency room and I went to pick him up. I spent a few hours sitting in the waiting room while he was getting checked out. And since it wasn’t expected I didn’t have a book and my phone was almost dead. This meant that I needed to occupy myself in some other way.

Of course, I found a magazine and read through it. One of the magazines, and I can’t think of the name of it for the life of me, had a slightly comical way to look at self-help things. And one article talked about whether a person used their left or right side of their brain. I quickly took the quiz and discovered that I am actually pretty balanced although leaned a little more to the right side.

But once I had finished with the magazine, I made the conscious effort not to read and just take in my surroundings. And boy was it interesting. I watched the other people who were also sitting in the waiting room. I quickly found myself asking a lot of questions. Like the person who came out from the back and pulled two of the family members aside to talk. While a third person sat there all alone, almost in tears. Could it be a family rift which isn’t being worked out even though there obviously was someone in the back room they all cared for? Or was the one who pulled the other two aside just simply talking about something that didn’t even pertain to the reason they were in the waiting room?

As I drove home from the hospital, I found myself reflecting on that experience and discovered again that my writer brain had taken over while I was sitting there. It created a story about a scene that I was witnessing. Maybe it was a correct scene or maybe not, but I was still working as a writer.

I learned a lot about myself as a writer that weekend. That even though I was giving myself the weekend off from my project, my writer brain was still going strong. And to be honest, by that Monday I was feeling refreshed and eager to get back to my writing. Sometimes you just need to live life and not focus on your writing.

Do you ever find yourself not really living life because you are so focused on your writing?

Until next time…. Keep writing!

Taking a Break


Whenever you read advice about being a writer, the number one thing you see is that a writer should write everyday. But in all honesty, is this a good idea?

I will admit, I don’t write everyday. One reason is that my weekends are reserved for spending time with my family. During the week our schedules are so varied that the weekends is the only time that we actually get to see each other for more than a few minutes here and there.

Another reason is that come the weekend, I sometimes just need a break. It doesn’t mean that I don’t think about my current project. But during this time, I allow my subconscious to actually take control and see what it can come up with.

For example, I am currently working on my outline for the book I want to start writing next month. I have been back and forth with this outline for months. No matter how hard I try, there is still something missing and the pieces just won’t fit together.

By last Friday I had reached the point where I seriously wanted to put this story away forever and not look at it again. I was frustrated. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. So, I took a break. I didn’t think about it all weekend. There was a nagging in the back of my head when I would read telling me that I really should look at the plot again, but I brushed it off. I allowed my subconscious to just think through what I want this story to be and try to come up with what I am missing.

Now I can’t say that when I look at my plot later on today that all my issues will be solved. But I don’t want to throw this idea away anymore. I want to solve this puzzle so I can get to the next step of writing this story.

Sometimes a writer needs a break. Even if it means putting the current project aside for a while and concentrating on something different. I know that throughout the weekend, I found a tons of writing prompts that I want to use in the future. I know that throughout the weekend my reading helped me to see how a story can be put together and also what I do and don’t like about what I have read.

A break doesn’t necessarily mean that you stop being a writer all together. Instead it means that you allow your subconscious to do some of the work while you focus on life. And what good is a writer if they don’t live. If I would have focused my whole weekend on trying to get the plot of my novel figured out, for one I probably wouldn’t feel like ever picking it up again and for two, I would have missed out on plenty of things which will probably end up in my book at a later time.

Do you allow yourself to take a break from writing?

Until next time… Keep Writing.