A journal/blog about my journey as a writer.
|This is where I journal about my journey as a writer - the things I learn, the things that frustrate me, the things that run through my mind. Sit down and enjoy the journey with me! And if you find something that has a question or inspires you in some way, I would love to hear about it! Share with me! As writers, we are all on this journey together...we may be in different stretches of the journey, but we are all on the journey of being writers.|
As a writer, one of the issues I have to deal with is how to handle distractions. It’s difficult to try to write when you have so many other things trying to get your attention. Just remember, what works for me may not work for you. Use what works for you.
Instant messenger apps on the cell phone or on the computer can be a HUGE distraction. I’ve learned that if I allow these apps to run in the background, it allows me to work on my writing and check them as needed. For some folks, turning off the instant messenger may be the best option. If it distracts you and keeps you from writing, then do what you have to in order to prioritize your writing.
For me, my worst distraction happens to be noise. Certain background noise is fine and even helps me write. But there are other noises that distract me so much, I can’t write. If I can’t concentrate, I can’t be the best writer I am capable of. So for me, I have to schedule times to write when I know those noises won’t get in the way.
Another thing that can keep me from being able to concentrate on my writing is when there are other things that need to be taken care of such as housework, grocery shopping, car repairs, etc. My best option is to minimize these. Take some time to make sure that chores are done, groceries are bought and that my car is running top notch. By addressing these before I sit down to write, they no longer become a distraction.
For many people, family can be a distraction. Kids need to be fed, spouse needs attention…you know the routine. For me, I encourage my family to write with me. And I try to write when the kids are at school so that when they are home, I can concentrate on them. My family is priority one, writing is secondary. But I have learned to work it so that I can concentrate on both.
You know what distracts you and keeps you from writing. Learn how to work around them. Find ways to minimize distractions so you can concentrate on writing.
Until Next Time,
Two years ago, I learned a very valuable lesson. With the best of intentions, I set a goal of completing three entire manuscripts and beginning the submission process on all three by the end of February, 2014. I set this goal on December 22nd, 2013. However, I failed to take into consideration how difficult achieving this goal would be while simultaneously raising three children under the age of nine, taking care of our home and caring for a very ill fiancé. Over the course of a few days, I came to the frustrating realization that no matter how much effort I put forth, there is no way I would reach my goal by February 28, 2014.
This year, I got back to my writing and decided that I needed to set goals, so I needed a plan on setting realistic goals. Logically, the first step would be to identify the goal. The key here is to be specific. Simply stating that I want to write a book is not enough. I need to decide the topic of the book, how many words or pages I want it to be and have specific dates to have the rough drafts and final copy done. I also need to identify my target audience – who do I want to read the book and why I am writing the book in the first place.
I will then need to determine a way to measure my progress to reaching this goal. Using the example of writing a book, I can determine progress by word count, page count or by using the goal dates. One option would be to set a daily word count goal and keep track of each goal daily.
The first two steps are a good way to help insure the goal is obtainable or reachable – in other words, realistic. However, I must remember to take into account the possible obstacles to reaching my goal. Such obstacles could be poor time management, interpersonal relations, or an outside job – basically anything that could get in the way of reaching my goal. These need to considered carefully. This is the third part to setting realistic goals. It covers both attainable and realistic goals.
The last thing to do when setting a goal is to create a time frame – a time line, if you will. If there’s no specific date set, then there is no sense of urgency to completing the goal, thereby opening the door for complacency to set in. By setting a time line, the unconscious mind is set into motion to begin working on the goal.
These are strategies that I have begun to use in my goal-setting. I also use worksheets I’ve created to help me measure my progress in reaching my goals. This is a personal choice, so I encourage you to experiment and use what works for you.
How do you set and reach your goals?
Until next time,
|Time management is simply what we do with our time, how we plan our activities and allows us to keep track of how we spend our time.
Time management is good because it allows us to allot our time to specific activities, helps us keep track of how we spend our waking moments, and affords us the opportunity to evaluate whether or not our method of time management works.
Some people like a strict schedule – in fact, there are those who thrive on such structured time. Then there are those who – like me, are unable to keep to such strict regimens despite our best efforts.
Some writers – myself included – do better just to keep a time log of the time we spend writing, and keep all of our appointments in a portable calendar, whether it be on a smartphone or otherwise.
There are others who prefer not to keep a schedule at all – just to try their best to fit writing into their lives. For these folks, this works for them. However, I personally can't use this method because it lacks any form of discipline to write.
Then there are the little things like distractions – life, telephones, and appointments – anything that gets in the way of your writing time. You must learn how to deal with these effectively in order for time management to work. I have created my own little chart of different distractions and how I can deal with them so they don’t interfere with my writing time. This type of chart may or may not work for you.
This, like finding inspiration or finding a writing ritual, is a personal decision. Try out different things and see what works and what doesn’t. Once you find a method that works for you, use it.
I would love to hear what works for you!
Until next time,
|Have you ever heard the term, “Writing Ritual?” What does that mean for those of us who are writers?
A writing ritual is a tool that can used to clear your mind of clutter so you can work your craft without anything to hold you back. It is a step or series of steps that you can take just before you sit down to write or right after you get done writing. Or you can use a writing ritual both before and after you write.
Before you decide on a ritual, there are three things to consider. They are your environment, the time you write best and your behavior before, during and after you write.
Let’s start out with your environment. What helps you concentrate? What helps your creativity soar? Is it music? Silence? The sound of a waterfall? You don’t want an environment that is so stimulating or distracting that it puts you on edge or makes you jittery. You also don’t want an environment that is so dull that it lulls you to sleep. Experiment with different variables in your environment such as the place you write and the sounds that are around you. If it works for you, use it to your advantage.
What time of day are you the most creative? Is it in the wee hours of the morning before the sun comes up? Late at night when the moon is full? The middle of the day? Again, take some time to think about this and write when you are most creative.
The hardest part of this is to pinpoint behavior. Take a few minutes to reflect on behaviors you exhibit when you write. What do you do while writing and being creative? These certain behaviors become part of your “writing ritual.” Do you drink coffee? Do you write with a certain color pen on a specific type of paper? Do you sit at the computer and type until you can’t type anymore? Do you set a timer and write until it goes off?
My personal writing ritual varies based on the type of writing I am doing. If I am doing a nonfiction piece, I start out doing a half hour of research to get my mind thinking about the topic at hand. While working on a short story, I reread the story to get my mind into character. With poetry, I write when the inspiration hits me. When writing a novel, I read the last chapter I have written or go over character profiles before I begin to write.
So tell me, what’s your writing ritual?
Until next time,
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|As a writer, I am always on the prowl for inspiration to write about. On a good day, I can find the inspiration I need almost anywhere:
• Watching nature
• Observing my surroundings
• In the music I listen to
• In the things I read
• Conversations I hear or am involved in
• News and current events around the world and locally
• The people I encounter on a daily basis.
But what do you do when it seems like nothing inspires you? Where do you find that spark? For me, the best method to finding my inspirations is to first identify what my problem is. What is it that blocks me from being inspired? This is different for every person, as is what does inspire us. For me, the most common blocks to my inspiration are too many distractions, depression, lack of sleep and laziness.
So then the question becomes, “How do we get rid of these blocks to our inspiration?” This is difficult to answer; the blocks can differ drastically from one moment to the next. I tend to write down snippets of my muse when it hits and then walk away from it for awhile. Other times, I will use what I call a “Writing Ritual.” We will talk about this more in a later post, but it is basically a routine I use before I sit down to write to help clear clutter out of my mind. Still, other times, I will listen to certain types of music and meditate. Writing prompts also work well to give inspiration, but personally, I use these only sparingly – usually when nothing else works. It’s best to use what works for you.
Finding inspiration to write about is difficult for some people, easier for others. As writers, we have a responsibility to respond to inspiration with our given gifts of putting words on paper in a meaningful way. Finding inspiration, while sometimes difficult, is something all writers should strive to do on a daily basis. However, there are times when the muse just won’t work – and in that case, it’s okay to take a break from writing for a period of time. However, one must never give up. Take a day or two away from writing and see if you come back refreshed. I sometimes do this and have found that it helps me. Remember, the key here is to use what works for you to your advantage.
One thing I use for inspiration is music. The lyrics alone are enough to spark some type of poem or story. Some of these snippets are as short as one word. Others have been a verse I’ve heard.
So, what inspires you?
Until next time,