Did NaNoWriMo and NaPoWriMo wear you out?
I don’t think so, because even during NaNo and NaPo writing was just mehalksjfskjf
I have been in such a writing slump lately. I don’t know why and I’m don’t know how to get out of it.
She seems to think you
have been reincarnated as a cardinal
but I can’t help wonder, if it’s true
then which one flying by the window
is now the real you
or if your soul has been rent
and you are now every cardinal I see.
Pieces of you singing to each other
fighting for space in the yard, there waiting for me
- Talk to a monkey - Explain what you’re really trying to say to a stuffed animal or cardboard cutout.
- Do something important that’s very easy - Is there a small part of your project you could finish quickly that would move things forward?
- Try freewriting - Sit down and write anything for an arbitrary period of time—say, 10 minutes to start. Don’t stop, no matter what. Cover the monitor with a manila folder if you have to. Keep writing, even if you know what you’re typing is gibberish, full of misspellings, and grammatically psychopathic. Get your hand moving and your brain will think it’s writing. Which it is. See?
- Take a walk - Get out of your writing brain for 10 minutes. Think about bunnies. Breathe.
- Take a shower; change clothes - Give yourself a truly clean start.
- Write from a persona - Lend your voice to a writing personality who isn’t you. Doesn’t have to be a pirate or anything—just try seeing your topic from someone else’s perspective, style, and interest.
- Get away from the computer; Write someplace new - If you’ve been staring at the screen and nothing is happening, walk away. Shut down the computer. Take one pen and one notebook, and go somewhere new.
- Quit beating yourself up - You can’t create when you feel ass-whipped. Stop visualizing catastrophes, and focus on positive outcomes.
- Stretch - Maybe try vacuuming your lungs too.
- Add one ritual behavior - Get a glass of water exactly every 20 minutes. Do pushups. Eat a Tootsie Roll every paragraph. Add physical structure.
- Listen to new music - Try something instrumental and rhythmic that you’ve never heard before. Put it on repeat, then stop fiddling with iTunes until your draft is done.
- Write crap - Accept that your first draft will suck, and just go with it. Finish something.
- Unplug the router - Metafilter and Boing Boing aren’t helping you right now. Turn off the Interweb and close every application you don’t need. Consider creating a new user account on your computer with none of your familiar apps or configurations.
- Write the middle - Stop whining over a perfect lead, and write the next part or the part after that. Write your favorite part. Write the cover letter or email you’ll send when it’s done.
- Do one chore - Sweep the floor or take out the recycling. Try something lightly physical to remind you that you know how to do things.
- Make a pointless rule - You can’t end sentences with words that begin with a vowel. Or you can’t have more than one word over eight letters in any paragraph. Limits create focus and change your perspective.
- Work on the title - Quickly make up five distinctly different titles. Meditate on them. What bugs you about the one you like least?
- Write five words - Literally. Put five completley random words on a piece of paper. Write five more words. Try a sentence. Could be about anything. A block ends when you start making words on a page.
Both screaming and hissing whispers
strain the throat, scratch it raw
Looking for you, the one gone
I shout until I’m dizzy and tired
then rest on the ground and hum my call
and when I cough blood from the cuts
in my chest and my throat as they burn
I will press my fingers against my lips
and hushed, write your name in red on the floor
Anonymous asked: How do you write a confession without it containing cliches?
This feels like a trick question, but…
To write a confession without cliche:
- Step One: Write a scene with a confession in it.
- Step Two: Identify any cliches you might have written.
- Step Three: Edit out the cliches.
And you’re done! A lot of writers forget about the power of the editing process for identifying and removing unwanted aspects of their work. Editing is extremely important. It is vital to remember that you don’t have to get everything right in the first sitting.
First drafts exist to put the canvas on the easel; rewriting is where the actual painting gets done.
But back to confessions. It is doubly difficult to answer your question with any degree of detail because there are tons of different kinds of confessions and not all confessions are created equally.
- There are the religious kind like those the Catholic Church is famous for.
- There are legal confessions like the ones made in a court of law or lawyer’s office or prison.
- There are personal confessions wherein the character admits something to himself.
- There are confessions wherein a character admits something to someone else.
- There are confessions of love.
- There are confessions to loved ones which vary in gravity, as in confessing an infidelity to a lover or a dislike of fried chicken to a grandmother famous for her fried chicken.
And many, many more. They each have their own associated cliches to watch out for, so I’d advise you to be aware of those cliches most associated with your type of confession as you write.
Along the same lines, a confession doesn’t necessarily indicate remorse. After all, the definition draws a clear line between the two meanings of “confession”.
- A formal statement admitting that one is guilty of a crime.
- An admission or acknowledgment that one has done something that one is ashamed or embarrassed about.
There is a fundamental difference between confession of guilt and a confession out of guilt. In the first definition, the character is simply stating his guilt; in the second, he is driven to confession by his guilt.
Check out TVTropes for a bunch of pages dedicated to tropes about confessions. Here is a selection of what they’ve got on the subject:
- Idiotic Partner Confession
- Death Bed Confession
- Sarcastic Confession
- Engineered Public Confession
- Ignored Confession
- Accidental Public Confession
- Mistaken Confession
- Last Confession Wins
- Confession Deferred
- Love Confession
- Confess In Confidence
Seriously, check out their site. There’s a distinct possibility that you will get caught in their never-ending network of links, but it’s worth it.
Thank you for your question! If you have further questions or a comment to add, hit us up!
Leonard S. Marcus: “What do you tell young people who say they want to write?”
Tamora Pierce: “I say that you have to find your own way of doing things. One reason that I read so many books about how other writers work is that I want to be able to tell kids, “So-and-So does it this way. So-and-So does it this other way. And I do it still another way.” I want kids to realize that there are a variety of possibilities and that we all have to try different things to keep learning.
I say, Immature artists imitate; mature artists steal! And I say, If you don’t like something you wrote six months ago, that’s good because it means you have been getting better as a writer. I say that my own favourite book is the one I’ve just published because it is the one in which I feel I got the most things right.
I say, Write what you’re most comfortable writing, whether it’s fantasy stories or nature stories or something else. I also say, The hardest and most important thing to learn is to listen to your gut. That’s really hard because your gut is really quiet and a lot of other things are really loud. But the thing that makes you want to write knows a lot more about what it’s doing that you do, and you have to find some way to trust that thing, even when you’re telling yourself, “I stink!” And I say, keep writing.”
reminder to self.
Sometimes you think you don’t have the ability to write the story you want to write. But, it’s your story. You’re the only one who can write it. Your abilities and skills and style are perfect for this story, because it belongs to you.
5 Ways to be a Happier Creative
We all know the tortured artist schtick. To be honest, I can be a downer sometimes myself, but I think it would be terrible for us to all perpetuate the idea that being creative and miserable are mutually exclusive.
So here’s to being creative and actually enjoying it:
1. Refuse to See Your Entire Life Either as a Success or a Failure
The idea here is to never buy into the lie that your life is either successful or failing in terms of your creative output. Think of the most successful creative person you can, if you look closely you can see a series of successes and failures.
The best way for me to look at the creative life is as a series of projects which can be successful in some ways and fail in other ways. For instance, some projects are really successful in the development of your skill but not financially advantageous.
Also, don’t believe that there is some level of success where you have now “arrived” or attained a level of success which can never been denied to you, like being hailed a “creative genius” with endless financial gain, forever. I could tell you many examples of artists and musicians who seem like they have “arrived” with one project and then completely fail the next.
2. Make Something Everyday
Will Bryant says something like, “I make stuff because if I don’t I get sad”. A silly and profound statement. Last year I did a daily drawing project where I created a new character every weekday. I found this statement to ring very true.
This practice gave me a sense of creative productivity every single day, which is a serious morale booster. Even if you don’t show anyone, it can help you feel prolific and unlimited in your creative abilities, which in turn increases your confidence.
3. Be Authentic
This is huge. Many people have done amazing things in creativity and have received many rewards, successes and prizes for them. So there is a lot of incentive for YOU to be THEM. But the trick is knowing the truth: you CAN’T be them. Trying to be something you are not will make you feel like an old sock. You already know this, but I thought I’d remind you.
4. Know Your Purpose
Shooting aimlessly into the dark can feel like…shooting aimlessly into the dark. Your purpose doesn’t have to be mind meltingly important. I like the humble yet ambitious purpose the great Debbie Millman has taken upon herself to “try to make the supermarket more beautiful”.
Try to clarify what you want to achieve overall so that everything you do has a sense of purpose. Purpose equals meaning, and to most creatives I know, a sense of meaning is why they want to make art and why they DO NOT want to work in a factory.
5. Address and Defeat Your Fears
That dreadful fear is a bully that is killing your soul and it should be stood up to. Listen to it, don’t ignore it. Hear what it’s actually saying and then dismantle it. Talk to someone about it openly, if the fear is tied to reality, then face it and take it down with integrity. If it’s all lies, all smoke and mirrors then let it disappear in the cloud of smoke that it is. If you are doing super boring unadventurous work, you won’t have any fears at all…but who wants to do that?
Hope this makes you a bit happier today.
- Andy J. Miller
P.S. To tackle the piling up questions here on this tumblr I have started taking on 1 hour video creative coaching, for more info click here.
Thank you Andy ! I needed these reminders today.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
I am a hider from the sun
Houses and sunglasses
And it often hides from me
Clouds and horizons
But when we meet it’s like
We were made for each other
Anonymous asked you:
Do you have any tips on writing insane characters? I haven’t been able to balance insanity with a real personality. Back story was he killed his son in a fit of rage, his wife stays with him out of love and the knowledge that she can control him to an extent to stop him from hurting others. Is it possible to have a fully insane character with bouts of sanity?
I instantly thought of the movie “A Beautiful Mind”, which is brilliantly done in regards to watching the main character’s downward spiral—but I don’t want to spoil it.
Remember your character is a reflection of real people, and so your character should be as developed as any of your other characters. He should be many-sided, with desires, flaws, strengths, contrasting and complimenting elements with other characters, and the ability to change (whether for good or bad). The character he is in the beginning should not be the character he is by the end.
So, here are some questions to fortify his foundation:
- What is the source of your character’s insanity? What drove him to this point? Was it a mental disorder? Something that happened to him in his childhood? If you’ve decided on a mental disorder, there should be a clear progression of how he fell apart, but also keep in mind that, predominately, a mental disability isn’t enough to drive someone to murder. “Nurture” is just as important as “Nature”, so don’t rely on a disability alone, as it perpetuates an unrealistic and harmful notion that those with disabilities are inherently and unpredictably dangerous.
- Does he have the capacity to think logically? Is his thought process coherent and understandable? Is it sympathetic or twisted? How does his mind tick and why does it tick that way? Characters don’t have to be sympathetic, although it adds a human element that readers can associate and identify with (which consequently causes readers to question whether or not they’re rooting for this character). Consistency, however, is important. Readers need to understand how a character started at point A and ended up at point F – unless the character himself doesn’t even know (as an unreliable character/narrator, which is always good fun), and perhaps experiences such things as blackouts in memory.
- What does your character want? Does he want to stop hurting others? Does he want his wife to help him? What is he willing to do to achieve his goals? What’s stopping him? What’s standing in his way and how does he tackle it? Does he take medication to keep himself stable? Does he want to take this medication? Showing his struggles and his failures and how he gets back up, if he does, adds to his character dimension.
Do not let his insanity define him – rather, he should be the one to define his insanity through his actions. This goes for any character with an atypical lifestyle. People are not defined by what they are — they define what they are as people. The moments where he’s stable should reveal who he is.
Additionally, make sure it’s clear and believable why his wife still stays with him. What’s their history? Why does she love him? What does she see in him that compels her to stay? Is she staying with him because she loves him or is she staying with him because she’s afraid of him? How does she stop him from hurting others? How does it affect her?
Hope this helps! Any book recommendations from our followers?