A Balancing Act

You can’t do a good job, if your job is all you do.” – Unknown

Like everything else you need a balance between writing and life. It’s a proven fact that too much of a good thing can be lethal and that goes for spending all your time writing as well. You sit behind that desk, pouring out word after word and eventually the well runs dry.

It can also hurt you in the other sense as well. You spend so much time digging around in your work and you wind up ignoring your family and friends. Before you know it you’ve isolated everything and your kids are probably screaming for your attention.

When my kids were younger (I’m talking terrible two and troublesome threes stages) I found that it was a literal circus trying to spend time with them and finding a moment to write. Back then it was a hobby and not so much something I was looking to make a career, so it was easier to push aside the writing and focus on the family.

Mostly by writing down a few words while the kids were napping or when they were distracted and didn’t need my immediate attention. Which wasn’t often but like I said, the writing was more of a hobby then and not such a big deal.

Now a days, I’m looking to publish my first novel and trying to perfect my WIP to be that novel, while still maintaining family and friends. The kids are older and are in school most of the day and the husband now works mornings. So I split my time. Mornings are for house work and blogs. Writing is for the afternoon, when I have a couple of hours before I have to pick up the kids. Evenings are for families. It’s when the kids and husband come home and we focus on homework and other such things.

Friends get mixed in there somewhere in the evenings and I only work full time on Saturday and Sunday. I’ve got it nicely blocked out and the only thing that sucks away my time is my ever persistent procrastination. It’s getting a bit out of hand, and I’m in search of a way to keep myself accountable. This blog helps, but once the blog is written and posted there’s still all that time to do nothing but binge watch TV.

That’s a discussion for another time.

For now, here’s a few tips that might help you (and myself) to keep from tipping the scales.

 Schedule your day: 

Blocking out your time is always an option. Either through your phone, computer, or (my personal favorite) inside of a little notebook. Spend the night before setting up some sort of schedule that goes through your typical day: work, family, etc. Map it out to know when you have those empty slots that you can fit a bit of writing in to. This is particularly useful if you have a family and full time job, or are going to school.

As I’ve mentioned above, having kids makes this all the harder to do because we never know what those tiny creatures have planned, but you can still find ways to push in time for your writing without the kids screaming at you for attention.

Make a day of it.

If you have that option.

Take a day out of the week, let everyone know that you have plans, and focus solely on your writing.

Point is, make your writing a priority and schedule it into your day like you would anything else of importance. That’s going to help you figure out when’s the best time to focus solely on writing that and then allow you to move on to something else for the day. It also helps you create the habit of actually sitting down to write when your suppose to.

Let people know

If writing is more then just a hobby, or you really enjoy your writing time. Let people know what you are doing and ask them to get back with you at another time. The point of finding balance is to make time for everyone and everything in your life. As much as possible anyways.

If they’re friends, they’ll understand.

Treating your writing time like a normal work schedule and informing others lets them know you are serious about your work and allows for less unwarranted distractions to pop up.

Sometimes it’s unavoidable

Life Happens. Things are going to come flying at you and some times they are unavoidable. You have to put something one the back burner to focus on what’s more important. Rather that’s crunching out the words for a deadline that is steady looming over you, or closing the word document so that you can focus more on your family and friends.

In either case, don’t feel guilty. It’s life. And it’s all a balancing act.

Until next time.

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Catching those winged creatures

That’s where these ideas come from. Little fairies, or storks…..whatever….come and drop these story idea into our heads and then leave us with this nugget of an idea that we have to somehow expand upon. It could be a line, a scene, or just a place.

The exact science hasn’t been worked out.

We’re just running around trying to catch these flying creatures so that we can squeeze new ideas out of them. Sometimes the tiny creatures get revenge by chunking multiple ideas at once and we’re left with a steady stream of half-written ideas and an overflowing ideas box.

And let’s not get us started on the when and where they decide to show up. I can’t count how many times I’ve been at work helping take care of a resident and something pops into my head and I just want to drop everything and run to the nearest pen and paper.

Luckily, this has never gotten me into any kind of trouble, but it just goes to show that inspiration waits for no man.

So throwing down some easy tips for inspiration isn’t really a thing that can happen, even though it’s been asked a million times. Some of my best advice, and typically works for me, is to read a book.

Try reading some historical fiction, or science fiction, or read that middle-grade book. Anything that isn’t your normal cup of tea. Broaden your horizons. Jump off that cliff. (Don’t actually do that, that’s not how you catch those darned winged beasts.)

Listen to some new music. Pull out those old 60’s albums, or try looking for bands from another country. I use to listen to a lot of Japanese Rock and still get inspired by that music from time to time.

Go for a walk! Get out of the house and make up your own adventure. I read a scene in Stephen King’s IT where the kids are just walking through the woods, and suddenly they are on a safari and it was flipping great! Complete change of pace and bit of the imagination working all at once.

Give it a try. Go in the backyard with your kids and see where your kids take you.

Careful though, if they are anything like my kids you’ll wind up in an episode of The Walking Dead.

Actually, go on an adventure. If you have the time and the money, actually go on a trip. Across country or the next county. Doesn’t really matter. Just go and do something, you’ll be amazed at what you might actually see.

(Seriously, there is some crazy shit out there.)

While you are at it, do some people watching. Maybe ease drop a bit. Just don’t get caught, or jump into their conversations. That get’s awkward. Trust me. I know this for a fact. (You could also wind up with a new set of friends, so….)

You are getting the gists here, right? There is no right or wrong way to hunt down those little-winged creatures, but can’t just sit around waiting for them to fly through your open window either.

Happy writing fellow scribblers,

Until next time!

Review and Onward

Past three months have been interesting. Somewhere between wanting/needing to get stuff done and slowly realizing that time is slipping by. I only just realized it’s the end of March and Easter is on Sunday.
Go figure.
That being said, I haven’t been idle. Going through my previous goals I’ve managed to mark off a handful and also added some more.
I tend to keep these goals few and short because I know my attention span and tendency to do nothing.

1. Beta reads/ Revisions (Completed the Beta/CP reads and have started on revisions. I’m only chapter two and have been sitting on it for a month. Hence why I try to keep things short.)
2. Researching Agents and Publishers (Sort of finished. I’ve looked into websites to find agents, and have made a list of do’s and don’ts for querying.)
3. Blog Regularly (I’ve done this. Immediately, not the two times a week as I said, but at least once a week. I know I a missed a couple of days but I’m getting better.)
4. Buying a camera (Surprisingly, I have a camera being shipped in the mail as I write this and hopefully be able to get back to vlogging.)
5. Staying regular on Social Media. (This could go back with the blogging, but being active on social media. I think I’m getting better at this, probably not, but I’m still trying.)
6. Eating healthier and being more active. (Definitely an off and on thing going on here. I’ve been trying to stay consistent and am doing better.)

Those are the goals that I placed at the beginning of January and you can see that I’ve got most of them at least half-way done. Some of them are going to be put on hold, others are going to be a ‘to be continued’ type thing. So here’s a list of things that I plan to work on work on in the next quarter.
1. Finish revisions on Stop the Raven. ← Yes, still a work in progress.
2. Start finding agents that would be interested in STR.
3. Start Vlog back up. ← with a camera this will be easier.
4. Work on a new series for my blog.
5. Look into making the new series as a hashtag for Twitter. ← we’ll see about this.
6. Save for a trip with the kids. ← Got to make those memories with the kids.
7. Game night with kids. ← We started a game night with some friends and my oldest has been interested in doing the same at home.
8. Read at least three books. ← Considering I haven’t read one book in three months this might be pushing it.
9. Continue eating healthier and being more active.
10. Push husband to start up his own gaming stream, and join him on some games. ← this is something he wants to do and I’m looking forward to seeing how this works out.

 

Those are my goals for the next three months. Again, nothing extremely hard, most of it continuations of what I’ve already been doing. Let’s see if I get more productive. I’ve started keeping a schedule to stay on track and it’s working in other bits of my life, so hopefully, it’ll start working in my writing career as well.
June will be my check-in time, so until then, I’ll continue my regular postings.

Til next time.

Revamping That Character

Okay, so you’ve got this character that’s sitting in your story. You like them, their there after all. They didn’t get killed off, or did they? Either way, you get through your WIP and realize this character has far more potential then you originally thought. They’ve shown some sass, or heart, or whatever it is that caught your attention and you kinda want to go with it.

But you’ve written an entire book around the fact that they’re shy and quiet and kind of in the background until you realize that that doesn’t make a bit of sense.

You know that whole advice about how secondary characters need to be written like they’re telling their own story, yeah, well you get the idea.

So you decide to revamp and that requires getting a new identity for your character. Maybe not an all-new identity, they can keep their name, and their background if it still works for the story, that just leaves you with their personality. Their reactions to certain events and their attitude toward other characters. It’s not an easy process. I’ve done it twice now, well three, if you want to count the time I revamped the same character twice. It doesn’t get easier because you have to comb through your manuscript and decide if that reaction in that scene still fits or does it need to be completely rewritten. More often then not it needs to be completely redone.

So here are a few ideas to help with recreating a new character.

1. Have the character take another personality test.

Yes, this can be time-consuming, but if you are really wanting to know which direction this character is going it might be worth a shot. If you really want to go crazy, you could even decide on a birthday and pick a zodiac sign for them, or vice versa. I’m sure there are ways to quickly look up the various zodiac personalities and pick a birthday from there.

Kinda sounds like a fun idea.

2. Find the character’s defining moment.

You know that scene that really made you love the character. The one that made you realize they were going to make the cut or even that one moment that you realized you’ve completely underestimated that character. Find it. Make it stand out so that others will notice them as well and possibly even fall in love with them. This will also require you to comb through every scene that character is in and ensure that it all matches up with what you having coming for them. If they don’t have one, give them one. There’s got to be something that you can expand upon, or add. As long as it’s not fluff. Avoid all that glitter fluff.

3. Write out the character’s own outline.

This can happen in a number of ways. Any form of outline would really work and allow you to see from start to beginning how this character’s major plot points and all the bits in between. This, of course, would also require you to completely rip apart that story you’ve been working on just to add in all these bits. So this would probably work best for a major character, but if you are one of those writers that map every little detail out, all the way down to why the snail crossed the road, well it’s always an open option.

4. Do some character exercises.

Okay, so you’ve got this crazy ass character that won’t leave you alone. Begging you to give him a bigger better role. Okay. Fine. Throw them through the hoops. Put him through a series of character exercises. Not literally, of course, unless your stories some kind of military/ superhero type of story. Which is cool could work.

A few that I would suggest for those other stories is maybe a bit of truth or dare. Dive into their heads and see what they would and wouldn’t do. What they’d be willing to admit to. Have them witness a crime, or find themselves in a situation where it’s a save one or save all situation. Send them on a date and have another character say “So tell me about yourself.” There are a dozen ways for this to work and you just have to google Character Development Exercises to find the one that works for you.

Now, none of this actually has to end up in your story, this is just you doing some digging. Getting into your character’s head to find the juices bits that can be used, but you can still have fun.

5. Make them the hero of their own story

In the end, that’s what the four other ideas are boiling down to. If they are the hero, make them be a hero. If they’re a side character, make them a hero in their story. Look at it from their perspective. The whole the plot, the other characters, all of it from that insignificant perspective. You’d be amazed at what comes out when viewed from that scope.

Altogether, have fun. Enjoy your time with those characters because, from what I understand, you’re going to miss them one day.

Until next time, happy writing

Patience is Key

I’ve found myself searching for a great deal of patience this past couple of weeks.

Patience with my kids because they are home for the week for spring break and want to bicker over every little thing that they can think of. From what game they’re going to play, to how they are going to play said game and right on to who’s going to take a bath and drain said bath water when it’s the next person’s turn. (Yes, this is a regular argument despite me telling the person who took the bath to drain the water.) Top that off with them randomly getting sick and you’ve got my week in a nutshell.

Patience with the husband who is off for the week. Though he’s got a new computer and video gaming system and isn’t really that bad.

Patience with the mail system because I have several packages coming and they just seem to take forever to ship and deliver.

Lastly, patience with myself because I keep stopping and going on my WIP. I know what I want to do with my story and the changes I want to make. I even have most of them written down and staring at me, mostly. Until I actually get going and then I do this stop and go dance that has me sitting there an hour later with only a little over three hundred words written out. I did this the other night and tweeted about it.

The scene gave me such trouble that I was ecstatic to actually to have finished it. It was only later, as I’m lying in bed, that I kicked myself for not forcing myself to write more. I could have stayed up and written out the next scene. Could have even started on the next chapter, or at least make up the to-do list of changes that needed to be done. I didn’t. I simply went to bed and the next morning I got up and watched youtube videos. Something else I’ve been kicking myself for but I haven’t done anything about the problem.

So being patient with myself and my ever-present procrastination is there.

All that being said, this isn’t much of an update or even some sort of how to. More of a reminder to myself and whoever needs it that great things don’t happen overnight. That it’s okay to be a turtle writer, and not rush through things if want them to be perfect.

Patience is key with anything good in life.

Take care and until next time.

Wendy

A few tips to improve your writing

              Or…what I’m doing to improve my writing. Maybe there’s a thing or two in here that will help you as well.  Who knows.

Now I know what your thinking.

Didn’t you just do a blog like this a couple of weeks ago?

Yes. Yes, I did, but this one is going to get into more specifics. The last one was more of a reminder of how things could get easier.

These blogs are essentially me talking to myself, so you may get some repeats. My apologizes in advance.

Moving on.

When looking over your MS, rather it is the first time or the hundredth it can still feel daunting and you do need that game plan. Hence that last posts, that sounds eerily similar to this one. What people don’t tell you is where to find those game plans. How to improve your writing.

Last week was a lot of google searching for me. Looking up how to’s and re-watching a bunch of different videos. Kind of feels like I wasted a good amount of time I could have been reworking that manuscript, but really it wasn’t. I needed a starting point. A compass of sorts that would point me in the right direction.

A lot of the feedback that I got on my MS was about my grammar and what not. Probably should have slapped a warning label on it and said, “not yet grammarly correct.” That was my own fault but since then, I’ve searched and searched. There’s the obvious choices, Elements of Style, and Self Editing for Fiction Writers, for those that are looking. Both on Amazon and both highly recommended.

Then there’s other options: blogs and websites. SkillShare is a good source for dozens of videos to help freshen up on grammar and sentence structure. There’s also a website called LousyWriter.com that focuses on improving your grammar. If you’re anything like me, it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. It really wouldn’t hurt anything but maybe your ego when you finally admit you need help.

Those are just sights I have filed away and saved for later when I decide to go through my manuscript and nitpick the hell out of it.

For now, I’m focusing on the second most mentioned issue with my MS.

My characters.

I knew going into this story, like way back in the first draft, that my MC and the supporting characters were not the good guys. Not really. At first, I struggled with this. Asking myself “aren’t I supposed to be writing the good guys?” But going back through and trying to write my MC and any of the supporting casts as good guys, and turning them into victims to support their decisions didn’t feel right.

So, I embraced it. Watched (what feels like) hundreds of shows with anti-heroes and read up on what makes them lovable and looked into different blogs that talked about making the perfect anti-hero and it worked.

Writer’s Digest, Writers Edit, and the Writepractice.com are some good places to start. Watching some of your favorite bad guys gone good and asking yourself why they do the things they do wouldn’t hurt either if you too want to make that wonderful anti-hero.

For the most part people like my characters. Which is great! I wanted people to like my little villains and question them and wonder just on what track they’re supposed to be on. It’s all good….mostly. What I didn’t expect was for people to say that my MC comes across as heartless and say that she loses focus in the story. I wanted people to question her, not believe she’s a total sociopath, or whatever.

Great. Okay. How to fix that?

Well….I’m basically in a ” you tell me” type of space. I’ve gotten suggestions. The book, Creating Characters Arcs, on Amazon is a good place to start and since then I’ve looked into other ways.

Rachel Stephens on Youtube creates her characters using the plot embryo by Dan Harmon. Basically plotting out each character’s story individually. Not a bad place to start, especially if you’ve got the time. I do. I just feel like I’m going to be lazy on this one and search out another method.

There’s also the Myers-Briggs 16 Personalities that I’ve written down in my bullet journal, along with the plot embryo and a few other things, that I’m going to attempt to use to flush out a few of my minor characters. See where I could take them. Make them more likable and have them take charge of a situation.

If you’re wondering, no I’m not going to do that long ass test for each character. I’ve managed to find an abbreviated route online and I’ll leave the link for you so that you can look at it yourself if you wish.

Myers-Briggs Personality Model Wikipedia

(Hint: It’s the picture box in the corner that gives the shortest explanation.)

There’s also the Emotion Thesaurus, Negative Traits Thesaurus, and a few others that I’ve mentioned before on my blog before that you could use for character and world building. Useful books. I own a couple myself.

The last and final wonderful source to improve your writing.

Feedback.

That’s the right.

The good old fashion form of letting someone else read your work and listening to what they have to say. Doesn’t mean you have to listen to every detail, it falls somewhere between your instinct on what works for the story and knowing when to admit that someone else might have a clearer eye on your work.

It varies, and trust me, it can be rough when you have to admit that the particular line you like doesn’t exactly work to your favor, but you’ll be thankful for those extra pairs of eyes.

I know I very much appreciate each and every person that trudged through my story to help make it better.

Best way to find these people is to head over to your favorite form of social media: Twitter, Tumblr, or even Goodreads and various forums to find Beta readers and Critique Partners. If you’re unsure where to start there’s a ton of videos on Youtube from some well-known authors like Kim Chance and Jenna Moreci that have great tips on finding Beta Readers and Critique Partners.

And remember, while you are doing all this research and crazy non-stop technical reading. Have fun and never stop improving!

Easing into Revisions

     

      Reworking your MS is never an easy feat. I’ve been through 3(?) revisions now. If you’re wanting to count the time I tore my MS to shreds and started over. Every time you would think it get’s easier. That this time around you’ll pull it all together and dive right in no questions asked.

It’s a lie we tell ourselves to make it easier, cause revising never get’s easier.

Even if it’s just doing simple grammar and spelling checks, it’s still a daunting task because you know you’re going to have to comb through 60.000 + word to find the ones that stick out like a sore thumb, and then do it again to find the ones that remained hidden from plain sight.

Not an easy task at all.

Especially when you want to throw in the rules of grammar that say ‘you can’t do this unless it’s after this….’ yada, yada, yada.

I hate grammar. I loved English class in high school because they would hand me a book and tell me to read, but otherwise, I hated it. Go figure I would find myself wanting to do something that requires I brush up on those skills. Which, after a recent bout of feedback, I am currently looking for ways to do so on a budget. Spending $100 some odd dollars on an online course that may or may not teach me anything useful is a bit questionable for me at the moment.

So any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

That being said, I have gone through the revisions process a few times, and though my grammar suffers, I’ve learned a few ways to go through this process without so much hassle.

First off, you have to have a game plan. Rather it is a simple start at point A and slowly migrate to points, B, C, and D, or writing out endless tasks lists with each every step spelled out for you is up to you.

Me, personally, I prefer the tasks list. I like having something tangible that I can look at. See where my big problem areas are and cross it off as I go. That’s why this time I’m doing my planning in my Bullet Journal. With lists, and collections and day to day tasks that need to be completed before I can move onto the next step. Ambitious, I know, but somethings got to work somewhere. Might as well start mapping it out and building up that plan to find out if it’ll fly or perish.

(probably perish, in a mountain of hot lava, never to be seen again.)

Once you have that extremely long list sitting in front of you or burned somewhere in your brain, you may find that the biggest issues are a bit too much to take on at the moment. That’s fine. Nobody said you had to work this thing in order or take on the biggest rewrites firsts. Start small, go over those pesky grammar spots, and cross those off your lists. Searching out inconsistencies, a name change here or the change of color to Micheal’s hair there. You know those small things that may or may not drive the readers mad. I for one am a sucker for consistency. If you have a dogs name as Louis on page four, it’d better not be Lenny or Barker on page sixty.

Then move to the bigger stuff. Those whole scenes that require you to completely rewrite, or that character that needs their head screwed on straight through the entire story. Those things can come later, when you are far more comfortable with making changes in your MS. Like being able to delete whole chapters, or characters, or whatever it is that’s going to make your story better. If you can’t make those major changes that you know will make your story ten times better just because you really love a particular scene, or line then you’re going to have problems. You have to be able to sacrifice your favorite scenes for the overall outcome of the book.

It’s one of those ‘Go big or go home’ scenarios that we find ourselves in from time to time.

All that being said, sometimes it’s better to just take a step back from your MS. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Taking time away from any project can give you a better perspective. Getting feedback on your story and knowing what needs to be changed is no different.

Yes, after that initial read through of the all the feedback you may just want to shred your MS and delete every single string of its existence, but don’t.

Let it sit. Give yourself time to think of what needs to be done to improve the story and who knows, sometimes that time gives you a chance to think up better scenarios. Way to make the plot points stronger and far more exciting. Just give yourself some space to think and then, again, come back with a fresh head and willingness to work on something that you know is going to be great someday.

Growing Some Skin

No matter what field your in. What your hobbies include. At some point you are going to have to let someone else look at your work. Even if it’s that quilted blanket that you’ve been working on for months and your great aunt wants to inspect your stitching.

It probably wouldn’t hurt to let them. That way you can tell if your improving or just wasting your time .Most often then not, in the early stages of anything you do, you are just wasting your time. You’ve thrown yourself full force into something amazing and you come out the other end realizing that it’s probably a piece of shit and you have to decide rather or not it’s worth the time to fix it. Make it better and or just chunk it somewhere far away.

That’s where criticism comes in. And when you need to start growing those extra layers of skin.

Cause good lord are you gonna need them.

I’ve recently gotten feedback on my own WIP, Stop the Raven, and man did it make me cry. I mean officially over it, I’m done, break down. Not that the feedback was rude in anyway. It was all very helpful and I’m thankful that the people took the time to give such feedback.

It just made me realize how much work I still have to go. After a year of writing this story and doing my best to work out all the kinks inside of it, it brought me to tears that there might just be that much more work and I know after these edits there’s still so much more work to do.

I was this close to throwing in the towel and calling it a day. Saying I tried. I really did, but like I said, I’ve been working on this project for a year. To give up now would mean that all that time was wasted. Not something I’m looking forward to admitting. Also, everyone who gave the best feed back also gave some inspiring notes.

So, I’m not giving up.

Did the truth hurt?

Yes, I cried like a baby but it’s all good.

Woke up in the morning with a new layer of skin and…..

Okay, so it wasn’t the next morning, it was more like two days and 10 episodes of Criminal Minds later but you get the idea.

I got over it.

Decided that putting in the effort to fix what was needed out weighed having to start again with something new. Or doing nothing at all.

Never understood how I could sit there for years and say ,”Someday I’m gonna…”
Every time I’ve started saying that recently I reply with (To myself of course) “Well someday is today, sweetheart, so pick up those feet.”

Wipe those tears away, pull up those big girl britches and grow some skin. Cause the world is tough and you got to be tougher.

This turned into more of a rambling pep talk, but I hope you are getting the gist of it. Started this blog to show my writers journey. To document what I’ve learned and what I’m still musing over. So if it’s a pep talk for me hopefully it’s enough for you as well.

Til next time.

Finish Your Work

We all have files upon files of unfinished projects. For various reason we lose interest in whatever it is we’re working on. Family demands, work get’s chaotic, or we just lose motivation to work on that specific piece and before we know it it’s been shoved so far back on our shelves there’s a small village of dust bunnies living upon it.

There are some thing that you can’t avoid that keeps you from your projects. A family member get’s sick, or worse. Kids have after school / summer activities that demand your attention. Hell, kids demand your attention in general. I have two boys and when their out of school getting even the most basic of things finished becomes a challenge.

Of course we try to plan for this. We etch time out of our busy schedules and stubbornly state that we’re going to write everyday no matter what.

Yeah okay, Susan. What happens if you’re stranded in the middle of the Texas desert and being chased by a man with a chainsaw?

You gonna ask him to give you a few minutes so that you can write something?

I didn’t think so.

Geez, Susan.

Anyways, point is life is unpredictable. You as a person are unpredictable. What you thought cool and exciting six months ago now seems like the lamest thing ever since…..sliced bread.

( Yeah, that’s it. Stop starring at me.)

The irony is that I’ve been struggling to finish this blog for a week now. I started when I had an upstart on an old story that has been sitting on my computer for nearly a year and I got inspired to tell myself to finish what I start.

That being said, it’s been a week and I’m still chastising myself.

The best way I’ve found to get stuff down is if I have a big note card taped to something right in front of me and I’m staring at it day in and day out. It’s how I finished the first draft of Stop the Raven.

How I continue finishing revisions and other necessary steps to getting this project published.

I find having a daily reminder staring at me tends to keep me going. Gives that small kick that I need to focus and get shit done.

Others might not find this to be very helpful. Sometimes it’s a friend or family member that motivates you one in of two ways.

  1. The person is really excited to read your work and that makes you want to complete said tasks just for them.

  2. The person doubts that you will even finish and thus inspires you to complete said tasks.

Let’s hope that you only have the first person in your life, seeing as Doubting Dan can be a tad annoying, and upsetting all in one roll.

Ignore Dan. He’s just going to bring you down.

Find some reason to sit down and finish what you start. Even if it’s just so you can say you finished it and shove it back into that forgotten shelf with that village of dust bunnies.

Sometimes it’s not possible. You stare at a piece for so long and you’ve lost it’s story. You don’t even know where you got the idea from much less how to even continue it. To make it worse, you’ve forgotten the characters, or their just not talking to you.

That’s fine. That happens from time to time. It doesn’t make you a bad writer. Most people do this. Stephen King wrote Under the Dome back in his early career –  in the 80’s  I want to say but don’t quote me on that – and realized the project was too big for him and shelved it. Came back to it years later and it turned out to be a great book. One of my favorites anyways.

You notice I mention King in here a lot. That’s cause I admire him and love his writing. Whenever I find myself not wanting to write I turn to his stories and interviews and find that I’m willing to continue working .

Go figure. I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way.

Try. Do your level best to cross that work off your lists. Even if you shelve it and never think about it again there’s a great satisfaction in putting a something in that complete pile. Even if it’s a piece of shit that no one’s going to read. It’s there for your knowledge anyhow.

But don’t beat yourself up to much if you can’t finish it. Move on to something that you know you’re going to stick with and finish. That will boost your morale and teach you something else about your writing process is.

Each finished or unfinished draft is a learning process. Something that you take with you on your way to be a bigger and better writer.

So go on. Go finish whichever project is currently inspiring you. That one that’s going to give you that giddy feeling in your stomach when you can cross it off and go on to the next phase.

Cause you know you really just want to finish that that work. 

Staying Confident

    The beginning of the year is a bit like staring at a blank page. Your not quite sure what’s going to happen or where you’re are going to be at the end of those 365 days. Sure you can plan it out step for step and hope for the best. Much like writers do when they outline a story, but at the end of it all life throws surprises at you.

At every corner there’s another twist or bend in the road and sometimes you find yourself back tracking to figure out just where you went wrong. There’s nothing wrong with this. There’s that phrase that goes around when life throws you a curve ball that says, “one step forward and two steps back.”

Or something like that.

The good part about it is you’ve still gained an inch or two. Doesn’t mean you have to cry redo. There’s still that tiny step forward that you managed to take each and every time and the point is you keep going. You’re going to make mistakes. Bad things are going to happen. You can cry about them, maybe even ponder them for a bit, but don’t settle on them.

Don’t let those bad things or horrible mistakes define you. Think on them when they happen. Learn from them and then go on. Keep reaching for whatever goals that you set for yourself at the beginning of the year and let the set backs go.

Easier said then done, I know but it is possible.

A bit of confidence helps in these situations. Even when your down and not sure what the hell your doing you can always fake that confidence.
Fake it til you make it.

Yes, I know I keep throwing random quotes at you but I hope your getting the message. There’s a hundred different sayings that tell us to keep moving. To keep striving. To not settle and they’ve been told to us all our lives.
Why?

Cause those people that told us are right. You have to fake ti til you make it. And yes it’s easier said then done but that’s why you do it. To prove to yourself that you can.

So this year, no matter what life throws at you. Take a deep breath, smile and tackle your goals with a vigor that would surprise your mother, or father. (or whatever figure head you have in your life.)

Here’s to making this New Year a great one!