Posted in A Writer's Life, better life, better writing, creativity, inspiration, The Writer's Toolbox, writing, writing better

A New Way of Writing: The Magic of Inspired Action

image form Pixabay

Have you ever been here? You look at your desk, and it’s piled high with unfinished projects. You also have a notebook of projects ideas you haven’t even started, but really want to. But the frustration eating at you to complete something doesn’t really give you freedom to tackle… One. More. Thing. *heavy sigh*

That’s how I used to be, until recently. Not that long ago, I realized something. I realized I had other loves other than writing. And that I worked better when I wasn’t solely focused just on writing. Instead of being stuck with one project, and only that project until it was completed, I began to mix things up.

One day, I’d work on book cover art. Another day, I might edit. And maybe a few days, I’d actually sit down to write. Some days, I even managed to do a little of everything. It’s a far cry from the old days.

I remember the days when I would work on my novel Blood Feud for weeks, months at a time, and I would not allow myself to do anything else. If I was writing, that was what I would work on, even if I didn’t feel like it. I eventually finished the book by sheer will alone, but I was exhausted and completely burned myself out of writing for a long time. Getting that book completed and published was not worth the price I paid.

Now, many writers say that’s how you get novels written. You put your butt in the seat, and you write, even if you don’t feel like it. And yes, eventually the faucet does turn on, but it feels like pulling teeth to get there. It’s damn uncomfortable, and for me, not productive considering how much time I spent just trying get myself in the mindset to write.

I have found a better way. It’s by working through inspired action. I don’t act, until I feel inspired to act. In working this way, my productivity has sky rocketed.

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Posted in Boosting Creativity, creative writing, The Writer's Toolbox, writing, writing exercise, writing practice, writing prompt

Writing Prompts: Daily Writing Prompt App

Recently, I decided to start doing daily writing prompts to get my creativity moving a little more fluidly. I have two apps I’ve been using specifically for this. Both have been useful in their own way, but today I want to talk about the Daily Writing Prompt App.

I have been using this for the last week, and I’ve really been enjoying it. This app has a new writing prompt every 24 hours. Sometimes it will have pictures, a list of words, or an idea as a prompt. It’s always fun to see what they have, and within a few moments it sparks an idea, and I’m writing!

I really look forward to doing these prompts each day, because I’m usually pleasantly surprised with what I come up with. And it’s just a great way to have fun writing. I sometimes get a little too “serious” with my writing. I put so many obligations on myself that it’s fun to make a connection with a carefree approach.

This app is available for iphones. You can do a search for writing prompts, and it will come up. This is a free app. It doesn’t have the best reviews, but that’s because many people would like to go back and edit (which it doesn’t have an option for). I personally don’t mind. I believe these quick prompts are for spurring creativity, not perfecting editing skills. In fact, I like the idea of not being able to edit. It leaves me free to create, and that’s it.

Want to give one of the writing prompts a try? This is the first prompt I did. I only spent about 20 minutes on this so ignore any “issues” it might have. Anyways, this prompt was submitted by Libby Anderson (which––by the way–– you can also submit your own writing prompts too). Here it goes…

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Posted in A Writer's Life, better writing, build confidence as a writer, free writing, How to Be a Writer, how to write, The Writer's Toolbox, writing, writing advice, writing discipline

5 Steps to Setting Up a Daily Habit of Writing

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In order to be a writer, one must write. But let’s face it, it’s not always easy to find the time to fit writing in, especially as a daily thing. But I’ve been writing long enough to know that I’m a lot more successful at writing, when I make writing a daily habit. So let’s take a look at five steps to be a daily writer.

Step 1: Time of Day

First identify the best time of the day to write for you. Everyone will be different, so don’t judge what works for you against someone else’s writing time. If you aren’t sure, do some experimenting. Is it first thing in the morning that you do the best writing? Is it midmorning or midday? Or is it the afternoon, or late at night?

Step 2: Set a Time Period

Next, set a period of time that you will write. This can be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, to several hours, or more. Even if it’s just a short writing session, if you are writing everyday, then that time will add up. You may find too that somedays you will get more writing in than others, and that’s okay.

Step 3: Have a Routine to Get You Started

It’s a lot easier to start writing if you are in the right mindset. Otherwise you could be sitting for half your writing time or more just trying to get into the piece you want to write on. There are many ways to get into a writing mindset. I will list a few here.

  • Listen to music you have specifically for writing
  • Start by free writing for 10 minutes or so to get into writing
  • Spend a few minutes clearing your mind and setting an intention on what you plan to do
  • Have a specific spot that you write and only write so when you sit down you are automatically put in the writing mood
  • Use a “writing hat” which is anything you wear or have near you while writing

You can do one or more than one of the above, or even come up with your own way(s). The important part is having a routine, so that your mind knows you are sitting down to write, and it’s time to get to business.

Step 4: Do Things to Prep for Writing

It’s important to only write during the time you allot to write. This may mean doing some prepping before hand such as letting anyone who lives with you know not to bother you during this time, turning off distractions like the phone or access to internet, and deciding the day or night before what you will be writing on. If you set an intention to write on something specific, you will be far more likely to have a great writing session the next day.

Step 5: Have Fun With Writing

Most important step of all. Don’t forget to have fun with writing! That’s why you started writing in the first place isn’t it? Writing was fun. It was exhilarating as you created new characters and worlds, or mind-blowing nonfiction. That should still be the case. Don’t let your deadlines or feelings of obligations suck all the fun away. Remember why you started writing, why you keep writing, and how much fun it is to play with words!

Do you already have a writing routine, and would like to share? Please feel free to post in the comments.

Posted in action, beginning, better writing, great writing, how to write, The Writer's Toolbox, writing

3 Ways to Make an Engaging Start to a Story, Chapter, or Novel

How does a writer start a story, chapter, or novel to make it engaging and keep the reader interested? After all, a story can be good, but are there are some key elements to making a story, chapter, or novel stand out? There are actually, and this post will address three of them, and I’ll give some examples of really fantastic starting lines I’ve come across in my reading.

Have you read some of the classics (even just dating back a few years ago) where the authors take the time to build a relationship with the reader? The stories start at a leisurely pace and it may take awhile to see any real action. That was nice and great, but unfortunately to be a writer in this day and age you have to forego the hand holding and get right into it. You can do the hand holding stuff, but do it while you are hooking the reader.

1. Start in the Middle of Action

One of the best ways to engage and hook the reader is to start in the middle of some sort of action. If you are starting a story or novel, then it should be bigger and more attention grabbing action.

What sort of action? Ask yourself this question. If you were starting to read a new book or story what would grab your attention?

Maybe your character is in the middle of fighting off a mugger? Or maybe your character is in the middle of a car accident. You can even do a smaller action like maybe a student just dozed off in class and smacked his head against his desk. Or maybe your character is driving down a dark road and the gas light is blinking and there’s not a gas station in sight.

How big the action is isn’t nearly as important as the action itself. Start with that blinking empty fuel tank light, or your character dodging a fist, and go from there. Engagement in this way creates interest, and then the details can be filled out as you continue further into the story.

Here’s an intriguing action line that opens the book The English Assassin by Daniel Silva.

Marguerite Rolfe was digging in her garden because of the secrets she’d found hidden in her husband’s study.

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Posted in networking, Other Writing Stuff, The Writer's Toolbox, writer, writers, writing

5 Twitter Tags For Writers

Twitter is becoming my favorite place to hang out. I’ve had an account for many years, but it’s been within the last few months that I’ve really started using it. I really enjoy the conversations and the uplifting environment, especially for writers. Here are five Twitter tags that I keep an eye on, and sometimes use myself to help support the writing community.

#amwriting It’s inspiring to see so many people writing and talking about writing in this tag. Sometimes people talk about writing successes, and sometimes writing failures. It’s nice to see both. Writing is such a solitary activity. Much of what we do is never known or discussed, but it’s nice to know that we share the same solitary activity with so many others out there.

#writingcommunity This tag is used for a number of reasons. If a writer needs to ask a question, or get feedback on work or an idea, or just share some exciting news with other like-minded individuals, this tag is perfect. I always love seeking out this tag to get a real feeling of writer connection. It really is the best writer networking tag I’ve found so far.

#writerslift This tag is all about writers helping writers. This is usually used to help writers grow followers, but it can be used to make an offer like reading books for reviews or a place to post links for published works, author websites, or blogs.

#writerslife I love seeing all the different types of lifestyles that writers have. This tag can be writers talking about what sort of writing routine they have, where they write, or just about writing stuff in general.

#pitmad This tag is mostly used three times a year during the Twitter Pitch Party, but it’s great fun to get in on. It’s so fantastic to see so many people either participate by putting up a pitch, or fellow writers who help retweet pitches to get more exposure for the pitchers. Then agents and publishers can like the pitches they want to approach for a potential book deal. The next one this year is December 5th. You can go to pitchwars.org for more information.

Those are the top writer Twitter tags that I keep an eye out for. Do you have any writer Twitter tags you favor? Feel free to post them below!

Want to connect with me on Twitter? Come say hi at @Awesome_Dawn. See you there!