Some great ideas here if November has you in a bit of a writing slump. Enjoy this great guest post by Tonya R. Moore at A Writer’s Path.
by Tonya R. Moore
Brainstorming is generally the first step of the writing process. When planning a story, brainstorming helps to spark creativity and helps us to come up with new and original ideas or maybe even put news twists on old ideas.
Here’s a list of 5 ways I generally go about brainstorming story ideas:
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Please drop by my new site with all of this content plus much more at http://wrightingwords.com.
Loved this post by talented writer, Lori Straus. I’m dusting off my journal right now!
I don’t usually reblog, but I think the Magic Spreadsheet described in the following blog would be a great motivator for writers. You and a couple of writing friends could design your own spreadsheet to share on Dropbox or something similar. When you reach a milestone, you can all celebrate with a coffee date or a movie. Teachers could use the spreadsheet idea with rewards along the way for longer projects to encourage students to not leave the majority of the work until the last minute.
I’m actually thinking about trying this on my own. Once school starts, I tend to give up a bit on my writing goals, but even at my busiest, I should be able to write 250 words a day. Hmmm. I’ll let you know what I decide.
If you try something like this with a writing group, or your class, or you’re already using the Magic Spreadsheet, please add a comment to let us know how it worked for you. Berger has updated her progress with the spreadsheet, and you can read about her success here: http://micheleberger.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/motivation-momentum-more-my-results-with-the-magic-spreadsheet-why-you-should-try-it/
June provides a great time for us to review the goals, commitments and visions we made at the beginning of the year. Do we even remember the commitments we made in January? Do our goals still take our breath away? Have we already accomplished some of them?
When you think about your writing goals are you feeling a sense of ‘Woo-hoo’ or ‘Uh-oh’? I hope you’re on the side of joy and excitement. If not, then it may be time to take stock of your writing strategies thus far and make some adjustments. There is still plenty of time to meet the writing goals that you set at the beginning of the year. This month, I’m going to suggest some tips that can support your writing.
Tip #1: Track your daily word count using the ‘Magic Spreadsheet’ (or your own system).
I discovered the Magic Spreadsheet from author Mur Lafferty
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I’m in the process of upgrading my website and moving it to a new web host. I’m fairly tech savvy, but these things still make me nervous. Not everything always goes smoothly, as you know.
The new website address is http://wrightingwords.com. At least it will be when it’s set up. I hope!
Fingers crossed that this won’t be too complicated a process!
Hope to see you soon at the new location.
A huge THANKS to all the people from 172 countries who drop by to visit my website! This morning, my website surpassed 100,000 page views. A big day for me! It’s a pleasure spending time with you. I hope you and/or your students and/or your children are having fun with the writing prompts and are making use of the other resources here. It’s exciting for me to see how many creative people there are out there, and how many people love to write stories. I wish you lots of fun and wonderful surprises as you pursue your writing and teaching goals.
I’ve been doing some of my own writing lately: some short stories for boys for a self-pub project, and an adaptation of Frankenstein for an ESL publisher that I’ve worked with before. I was planning a relaxing summer, but the adaptation, the stories, plus another large freelance gig, are keeping me busy–and, as it turns out, too busy. I chug along at full speed for a certain amount of time and then just hit a wall. Today is “wall” day.
All I hear is the clock ticking and the worrying thoughts in my head about how I’m going to get everything done on deadline and still find some time to relax, too. Well, guess what? Part of that break is happening today. Time to take a deep breath, get the calendar out, and plan the work–and–the down time.
Plowing through, head down, shoulders up and tense as can be is my usual approach to projects and deadlines. I always want to get the job done the day it’s assigned; however, I’m learning to stop before I get too carried away. It’s time to break the work down into small bites and find a little balance. I’m going back to a favourite blog post by Kristi Holl, “How to Recover Your Writing Energy–All Day Long!” She offers some excellent strategies for helping pace a busy day, and I definitely need to listen to that advice today.
If you have some tips for pacing a busy writing (or anything else) life, please share. I’m sure I’m not alone in needing some help with this one.
Have a great, writerly day!
PS. Lots of photos in the blog today. I got a new smartphone and have been playing with the camera. 🙂
Since we’re half way through the year, now’s a good time to check in with your writing goals How close are you to achieving the goals you set back in January? Have your goals changed? Did some events or people come into your life to take away your writing time? Now is not the time to fret over time passed or lost. Celebrate what you did accomplish and spend a little time over the next few days thinking about the next six months.
Maybe the goals you set were unrealistic for your lifestyle, or schedule, or personality. Is there one small thing that you could change that would free up some writing time? Is there a TV show that you are still watching in reruns even though you’ve seen every episode? Can you delay checking your email, Facebook, etc. in the morning and give yourself a half hour of time at the beginning of your day? Skipping that time in front of a screen and heading for your writing project could give you a scheduled time every week (or day!) in which to put some words on paper. Maybe writing in your journal while you’re having lunch or just before bed will be all you can do to keep the writing flowing during a busy summer. Even a small number of words, as few as 250 a day, can leave you with a decent-sized manuscript at the end of six months.
When the busy holiday weekends are over, here are some writing prompts for you to think about for the rest of the month–or for the next six. 🙂
1. Use one, some, or all of the following words in a story or poem:
a) blue, floor, mirror, shoe, ribbon, fear
b) screen, shine, cover, window, ink, push
2. Here are some opening sentences for you to try:
- Prom met all expectations.
- “Turn that off now!”
- Waiting stinks.
- The boys found the body right after lunch.
- “What’s in the bag?”
- Sirens echoed through the valley.
3. See if you can think of a story or poem to go with one of these titles: Love’s Embers, Brook’s Brothers, Chase, Blue, The Last Tower, Mouse House, One Small Moment, Candle Power, Apple Days
4. Can you think of a scene to go with these lines of dialogue?
- That’s mine.
- Are you sure?
- Are you sure you want to ask that question?
- I thought your magic would help us to get out of here.
- I thought it would, too.
- So, what’s the matter?
- Someone’s using stronger magic.
- You said you had the key.
- I do.
- Then why don’t you use it?
- I’m not sure I want to know what’s on the other side of the door.
Hope you all have a writerly week ahead.
Inspired by writer Laura Best’s recent post, I’m going to answer the question she ended with: Has anything small made your day recently?
I don’t know if the events of last week count as small (I thought they were a pretty big deal), but they certainly made my day–and my week!
Two weeks ago I agreed to do some work for a new client. I was very excited about this new company, which had contacted me out of the blue and promised work soon. The project was confirmed two Thursdays ago and required interviews with three different people, but I didn’t start getting the contact information and article topics until last this past Monday. I got the last person’s contact on Tuesday, so the soonest I could do the interview was Wednesday. The articles were due on Friday. I got a note from the marketing person on Wednesday saying that she’d talked to her boss, and because she’d got the information to me a bit late, and because she was taking an extra long holiday weekend, that they were giving me an extension to this Thursday. They didn’t want to rush the project. Okay. I’ve been freelancing for a long time now, and I’ve never, ever, had a client do that. Needless to say I really want to make this client happy, and hope that they will send more work my way.
Last week my application was due for an e-writer-in-residence position with a nearby library. The application package included two reference letters. I asked my local teen librarian and a teacher, whom I’ve known for many years and whose school I had visited several times, to write letters for me. Thinking of what they wrote, still makes me blush, but reading those letters definitely made my day.
I was also offered a writing gig for a current client. I love working with this client, but his company’s contracts never include the 13% HST (sales tax) that I have to send to Canada Revenue on the freelance work that I do. The last few times, I have deducted the tax from my fee, but this time, the fee was such that I’d be losing an amount that would represent quite a few hours of hard work being done, basically, for free. The client and I had a great phone call about the project (he’s very creative and supportive) and he said he’d take care of my contract concerns–no problem. Such a relief! The new contract was in my inbox within a couple of hours.
It has definitely been a special week. I hope that you find moments in the weeks to come that “make your day,” too.
I’m happy to say that advanced reader copies of Writing Fiction: A Guide for Pre-Teens are on their way to me by snail mail. If you would interested in a PDF version for review purposes, please let me know. I would be happy to have you review the book for your blog, your teachers/homeschoolers newsletter, and especially for Amazon when the book is finally online.
If you’ve been considering starting to journal as a way to enhance your writing or just to see where it leads you, I’ve included some great links below to get you started. I’ve used my journal a lot lately to brainstorm ideas for a short story, as well as, a Kindle book series. I’m developing the series while taking a course from Kristen Eckstein (http://ultimatebookcoach.com/) The information that I’ve been getting throughout the month-long series (Kindle in 30 Challenge) has been invaluable. Though I got the course at a discounted price during a promotion, the full price doesn’t come close to covering the amazing value of the content. Plus, she adds other free content and discounts to writers in the group. Drop by her site to see what I mean. There’s lots of free content available there, too.
1. Journal Through the Summer Part I by Kristi Holl
“Journaling is meant to be fun. Don’t put expectations on yourself during journaling time. Forget about your performance, and don’t critique yourself. Relax. Let go. Writers need a place to write where ‘enjoyment’ is the only requirement.”
2. Journal Through the Summer Part 2
3. Journal Prompts: You, Your Life, Your Dreams
“On this page, you’ll find journal prompts for writing about yourself and your unique perspective. At the bottom of this page are links to more journal writing prompts on different subjects.”
4. Mining Your Mind: Journal Techniques for Writers
By Ruth Folit
“Writers practice the advice of Sir Francis Bacon, even if they are not aware of his precise words: ‘A (wo)man would do well to carry a pencil in his pocket and write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought are commonly the most valuable and should be secured because they seldom return.’
“Most writers carry a notebook, scraps of paper, old envelopes, to jot down ‘thoughts of the moment.’ A journal is another medium in which a writer can keep a record, albeit a slightly more unified one.”
If you would like to know when Writing Fiction: A Guide for Pre-Teens comes out, please fill out the following form. I promise that you will not be bombarded with spam emails, just the odd thing that I come across that you might find useful, such as a sample chapter or a link to a great writing resource. Thanks!