Posted in better writing, Boosting Creativity, build confidence as a writer, creative writing, creativity, creativity blues, finding the muse, finding the right words, finishing stories, good writing, great writing, how to write, inspiration, learning to write, love of writing, sparking creativity, the art of writing, the creative process, The Writer's Toolbox, the writing journey, the writing process, write, writing, writing advice, writing better

Creating Opportunities to be More Creative

As a writer, being a creative person is a pretty big deal. We pride ourselves on how creative we are and yet there are times when we feel we just aren’t creative enough. It’s sort of a Ping-Pong match between the two. Some days it’s one, and a whole lot of other days, it’s the other. There have been quite a few times when I personally felt like I lost the game all together. Many times I found myself asking “Am I creative enough to be a writer?” or “What can I do to be more creative?”. In the end though, maybe it’s more of a question of how can we be the right amount of creative to accomplish our goals?

I want to tell you a story. Something that happened to me over the last few years that changed my life forever (causing me to abandon my blog for awhile too––sorry!) and made me see things in a little different light, especially concerning the way creativity works.

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Posted in build confidence as a writer, character development, character torture, creative writing, experimental writing, good writing, great writing, how to write, novel writing, the art of writing, The Writer's Toolbox, the writing journey, the writing process

Writing About the Things We Fear

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.” — Natalie Goldberg

Being a writer is a complicated thing. We love to write for the sake of writing, but we also don’t want to write because some days it is just so hard. But still we write, because not writing is not an option.

So what do we write about? People have different views on this. Some like light and happy stories. Some like dark and depressing stories. Some like gore and horror. Some like aliens and cool technology. Some like hot romance where the girl and guy always have their happy ever after. Some like the never ending thrill. And some like deep and moving characters no matter what the story is about.

But we all wonder… what really makes a good story? What draws the reader to each page to hungrily reach the end? What makes writing such an intense and rewarding process for the writer?

I think all these questions have one answer.

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Posted in A Writer's Life, beginning writer, love of writing, novel, novel writing, short stories, short story, slush reading, the art of writing, The Writer's Toolbox, the writing process, write, writing, writing advice, writing progress

Should I Write a Novel or a Short Story?

What a great question, and one may writers struggle to answer in their writing journey. The best part about this question is there is no wrong answer. And yet, a writer often feels like the whole world hinges on that one important question… Should I write a novel or a short story?

The simple answer is… it depends.

It depends on the subject matter, how long you really think it will tell the best story, and how much staying power you have. Let’s face it, writing a novel is not easy. Many people have tried and failed. And many people have succeeded and wished they’d just wrote a freaking short story.

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Posted in A Writer's Life, better writing, good writing, great writing, how to write, learning your writing style, learning your writing voice, style, the art of writing, The Writer's Toolbox, writing, writing advice, writing style, writing voice

Finding Your Writing Style and Voice

Style and voice, as a writer you hear about these two things all the time, usually within the same breath. Some wonder if they are in fact the same thing, but they aren’t. Each is separate from the other, but both rely on each other to make a story great. It’s a marriage of two separate elements that when brought together make your writing sparkle.

So what is style and voice exactly?

Style, in short refers to the shaping of sentences and structure that makes your story a work of art. This is where reading writing books come in handy. The more you know about how words, sentences, paragraphs, grammar, and punctuation work, the better you can find a style that works for you. Style even encompasses the ordering of ideas and flow of words, which crosses over into the domain of voice and it’s why voice can be confused as style.

Voice, refers to the emotional context and perspective that is unique to you. It is how the words are painted on the page as they express the inner artist inside. Voice is not something that can be taught or learned from a book. It is something that must be discovered by each writer. It doesn’t come easy and it happens when you least expect it. Each writer has his own distinct style and voice. You see it when you read and you marvel at its beauty and wonder how you can achieve the same thing for yourself.  I recently discovered my voice and am working on crafting my style. How did I do it?

I started with a short story I had written on throughout the year. I would write on it, set it aside and write on it again. In the process, I found that my writing became clearer and more distinct. I focused on showing the reader my story instead of telling. I made the words come alive for myself, and in doing so, transformed them into something I could channel as my own. The key is to keep writing a piece over and over again until the words begin to speak the way you want them to, hence why it is called voice.

Why are style and voice so important? It makes the story interesting and breaths originality into a story. Without it you would have a story that reads… See Dick run. See Jane jump… Some writing might require that sort of simple quality, but for the most part, people fall in love with stories, not because of the stories themselves, but because of the way the author makes them feel and experience the story.

Want to learn more about writing style? Check out The Elements of Style by William Struk Jr. It’s a great book to keep on hand and goes over proper presentation and styles of writing.