How to get writing again!

Scrolling through Tumblr (I follow the #amwriting) I found a post that I think would help writers, including myself. Thank you, Kira Martin, for your wonderful advice!

Hello! I am a writer that is fairly new to the game. I realized I wanted to write full time a few ago. Since then, I’ve been working on a book, that I consider to be my baby; the masterpiece that will create my overall brand. However, I struggle with the discipline of it all. I have such a hard time getting myself to just sit down and finish! I’m currently working on my 23rd chapter but I know I still have so much to go. Working 40 hours a week isn’t necessarily helping either. Advice?

[asked by Anonomous]

 

What you’re experiencing is what a lot of aspiring/newbie writers go through–you need to sit yourself down and come up with a plan of action. And because it’s my style, here’s a list to help with that plan of action:

1. Find your motivation. What inspires you? Why do you want to finish your book? Why do you want to write? Once you find your motivation, surround yourself with it. Realizing that you will never be a career writer unless you write your book is a good kick in the ass.

2. Make writing a habit. The way to form habits is to do them daily. Put aside an hour every day to focus on your manuscript—you can even set an alert in your phone. Be very clear to everyone that if they interrupt you during this time that their deaths are on their hands. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it becomes natural (the writing, not the interruption murders).

3. Set goals. Find what works for you. A page a day? 700 words? Set you goals as your phone’s lock screen. Put sticky notes on your mirror. Do a goal thermometer and scribble out a notch for each chapter/page you complete. Hang it somewhere where you’ll see it every day.

4. Create a ritual. What I’ve always done is play some music, open my document, and read what I last wrote. By now, when the music comes on, I know it’s time to get to business. Combined with my habit of listening to the same song on repeat for days, I once accidently conditioned myself to open my doc when I heard a certain song. Find whatever works for you.

5. Consider your future. How serious are you about being a writer? For any sort of dream, there are risks/stresses/extra work required for them to come into fruition. If you can’t find time to write, you need to think about what that means for the future. In five years where will you be if you continue down this path? Where do you want to be? What are sacrifices (time/energy/money) you might need to get there?

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8 Basics of Creative Writing

According to Kurt Vonnegut (Cat’s Cradle, Slaughterhouse Five), the following are eight basics of creative writing.

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that they will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things–reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them–in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just on person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

 

Now, I’m not saying that every single piece of writing you every create has to follow these basics…in fact, nothing you write has to follow these. Break the rules if you want.

Journal Prompts

As a writer, I thoroughly believe that keeping a journal is important. Journaling exercises our minds and our handwriting, along with keeping records (regardless of what our journal is about). This year, 2016, will be my fourth year journalling!

A few days ago, I was scrolling through Tumblr  and found this. I plan on doing it this year, to continue my journaling, and thought that I’d share it with you all!

 

365 Day Journal Challenge

  1. What is your number one goal this year?
  2. What are you most grateful for?
  3. Are you content?
  4. What is your best memory of last year?
  5. Can people change?
  6. What made you smile today?
  7. Who last called you on the phone?
  8. Who are you in love with?
  9. The best part of today was______
  10. What’s the hardest thing you’re dealing with?
  11. Today I wish I had more _____
  12. What made today unusual?
  13. What are you looking for from life?
  14. Who is the last people to tell you they loved you?
  15. What is your favorite piece of art you own?
  16. Whats the last thing you apologized for?
  17. On a scale of 1-10 how is your health?
  18. If you could do today over, would you change anything?
  19. I wish I had _____
  20. Last think you wanted but didn’t get.
  21. What mood were you in today?
  22. What was the last new thing you tried?
  23. My biggest hope is ______
  24. What has challenged your morals?
  25. What kind of car are you driving?
  26. List your pets.
  27. Today I felt really secure knowing ______
  28. Whose life did you make a difference in today?
  29. What is your super power?
  30. What is annoying you?
  31. What would have made today perfect?
  32. What stresses you?
  33. Your relationship status and how you feel about it.
  34. Where you’d like to be in ten years.
  35. Your views on drugs and alcohol.
  36. What is your zodiac sign? Does it fit your personality?
  37. What do you hope your future will be like?
  38. Write about your first love.
  39. Put your iPod on shuffle and write down the first ten songs that pop up.
  40. What were your highs and lows of the past year?
  41. Write a letter to your parents.
  42. Write a letter to your reflection in the mirror.
  43. Write a letter to someone who broke your heart.
  44. How important do you think education is?
  45. List five celebrities that you’re attracted to.
  46. What is your favorite movie? What is it about?
  47. What kind of person attracts you?
  48. A problem that you’ve had.
  49. Someone/something you miss.
  50. Someone who fascinates you and why?
  51. Who would you love to trade places with for a day and why?
  52. What is your most treasured item?
  53. Your biggest insecurity.
  54. Something that you want to do before you die.
  55. What is something that makes your heart break?
  56. Something that you’re extremely afraid of.
  57. What food are you craving right now?
  58. What was the last dream you remember about?
  59. A habit you wish you didn’t have.
  60. Describe the room you’re in right now.
  61. A dead person you’d like to talk to and why?
  62. Go look in the mirror. What’s the first thing you notice?
  63. What song makes you dance?
  64. Name a cartoon you loved as a kid.
  65. Your ultimate feast?
  66. Had any collections as a kid?
  67. What super power do you wish you had?
  68. Go up to your best friend, hand her this notebook and say “write anything about me.”
  69. How do you feel about gay marriage?
  70. What’s one thing you’d like to change about your school?
  71. How do you feel about abortion?
  72. If you could write a book what would it be about?
  73. Write about how your favorite book makes you feel.
  74. Write about how your favorite movie makes you feel.
  75. Write about how your favorite song makes you feel.
  76. Write a letter to your future husband.
  77. Write about what’s on your mind.
  78. Write about your elementary school.
  79. Write about middle school.
  80. Write about high school.
  81. What is your dream job? Write about it.
  82. What is one goal you have?
  83. What degree do you want in college (if you’re going), and why?
  84. What is your favorite color? How does it make you feel?
  85. List 20 things that make you happy.
  86. What’s your favorite recipe? How do you like to make it?
  87. Write about an odd holiday and how you would celebrate it.
  88. What’s your favorite animal? Why?
  89. Are you confident about how you look? Why/why not?
  90. Favorite T.V. show? Why?
  91. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
  92. Which fiction book/movie do you want to be true?
  93. If you were to die tomorrow, who would you spend your last day with? Why?
  94. What is one quote that inspires you the most?
  95. Are you introvert or extrovert?
  96. Things you can’t live without? Why?
  97. What is the first thing you notice about the opposite gender?
  98. If you were to spend the rest of your life with one person, who would it be? Why?
  99. What would you change about your physical appearance?
  100. What would you change about your personality?
  101. Describe one of your friends.
  102. What did you do today?
  103. If you could learn any language which would you choose?
  104. Five ways to win your heart?
  105. Something you feel strongly about.
  106. A book you love.
  107. Bullet your whole day.
  108. Things you want to say to an ex.
  109. What are your views on mainstream music?
  110. Five pet peeves.
  111. What did you eat today?
  112. Your family.
  113. Five guys you find attractive.
  114. What did you wear today?
  115. What is something you always think “what if…” about?
  116. What is something you’re proud of?
  117. Five items you lust after?
  118. What are your fears?
  119. What is your view on religion?
  120. A time you thought about ending your life.
  121. Write 30 interesting facts about yourself.
  122. What was a moment where you felt the most satisfied with your life?
  123. Discuss your first love and first kiss.
  124. What is your earliest memory?
  125. What are your favorite Tumblrs?
  126. Your beliefs.
  127. How have you changed in the past two years?
  128. Goals for the next 30 days?
  129. Your highs and lows of this month?
  130. I was…
  131. I am…
  132. I think….
  133. I wonder….
  134. I wish….
  135. I save…
  136. I always….
  137. I cant imagine….
  138. I believe….
  139. I promise….
  140. I love….
  141. What is the weather like?
  142. Where do you work?
  143. What is your favorite season? Why?
  144. What is your favorite place outdoors?
  145. Your hobby.
  146. What are your chores?
  147. In the garden…
  148. What makes you giggle?
  149. Something pretty?
  150. What is your favorite city?
  151. 10 facts about the city you live in.
  152. Favorite person.
  153. What is your favorite poem?
  154. Use the letters of your name to spell out characteristics
  155. What was the last movie you saw?
  156. 10 reasons why you love something/someone/someplace.
  157. 10 favorite songs.
  158. Who inspires you?
  159. What would your perfect world be like?
  160. What are some things you are looking forward to?
  161. I will not be defined by…
  162. Say thank you to someone.
  163. Happiness is…
  164. How do you love?
  165. What are some different roles that you play in life?
  166. If you could design the house of your dreams, what would it look like?
  167. If you could scream something at the top of your lungs right now, what would it be?
  168. What does this season feel/smell/sound/look/taste like?
  169. When was the last time you went out and just played?
  170. Who am i?
  171. What would you do with three wishes?
  172. I wish someone told me…
  173. Do you believe in fate?
  174. What was the best you ever gave?
  175. What is the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for you?
  176. What do you love most about where you live?
  177. When you think back to your childhood, what moment first comes to mind?
  178. What makes you glow?
  179. Which song do you have on repeat right now?
  180. How do you make decisions?
  181. What were you doing this time last year?
  182. What’s your favorite holiday?
  183. When you close your eyes and imagine yourself as passionate, giddy, inspired and joyful… what are you doing/creating in that moment?
  184. What am I taking for granted?
  185. What brings you joy?
  186. What sparks your creativity?
  187. What do you never want to forget?
  188. What kind of goddess are you?
  189. What are you crossing your fingers for?
  190. Why did I do that?
  191. What three words would someone use to describe me?
  192. Do you have a recurring dream? What is it?
  193. What are your favorite days of summer/winter filled with?
  194. What have you found lately?
  195. On my walls I would write…
  196. Have you had a hug today?
  197. What is something you don’t understand, but you want to?
  198. How can I be kinder to myself?
  199. If you had a free day with NO restrictions, what would you choose to do?
  200. What is your latest obsession?
  201. What gives you hope?
  202. What’s on your to-do list this week?
  203. What is the truth?
  204. What makes you you?
  205. What is the last good book you read?
  206. What was my worst hairstyle experience to date?
  207. What keeps me awake at night?
  208. What was the last brave thing you did?
  209. What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
  210. What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
  211. If you could do it all again, would you change anything?
  212. When I look into my eyes I see…
  213. Do you believe in fairies?
  214. Are you afraid of change?
  215. Who do you sometimes compare yourself to?
  216. What’s the most sensible thing you’ve ever heard someone say?
  217. What gets you excited about life?
  218. What life lesson did you learn the hard way?
  219. An important person in your life.
  220. What’s a secret wish you have?
  221. What masks do you wear?
  222. A word. (open the dictionary and pick one at random)
  223. The things I love about my life are…
  224. What are your thoughts on cosmetic or plastic surgery?
  225. Describe someone who you would consider a hero.
  226. What effect does music have on you?
  227. Describe your daily routine when you get out of bed in the morning.
  228. What five traits do people first notice when they meet you for the first time?
  229. List 3 things that went right (or wrong) today.
  230. If you could tell they world just one thing, what would you say?
  231. Do you believe in love at first sight?
  232. What would you do if you were president of the United States?
  233. You have an extra $100,000 to give away; you cannot spend it on yourself. What would you do with the money?
  234. What qualities make a best friend?
  235. What is something you do well?
  236. What is something you are optimistic about?
  237. What do you think if 3D movies?
  238. What do you think about people who are inconsiderate of others?
  239. What do you think of someone who has bad manners?
  240. What do you think of people who take advantage of others?
  241. What do you think about when you cant fall asleep?
  242. I wish I had a million… Then I would….
  243. I wish I on… because…
  244. I wish I could forget the time i…. because…
  245. I wish I could see… because…
  246. I wish I could learn…. Because…
  247. I wish I had enough money to….
  248. I wish animals could… if they could then….
  249. If all my wishes came true, I would…
  250. Think of a teacher, relative, or adult that you respect and want to impress. What is it about that person that makes you want to do well for them?
  251. Would you rather live in another era or culture? Explain.
  252. Have you ever felt lost? Literally or figuratively? Explain.
  253. Describe your bedroom. How does it describe you?
  254. If you could spend an hour with the president, what are 10 questions you would like to ask him?
  255. Describe your favorite band/artist. What makes them so great?
  256. How do you feel about using humans in medical research?
  257. What book setting would you like to visit if you could?
  258. In what ways do you sometimes wish to act to be a better friend, but don’t? Why do you find yourself unable to do these things?
  259. Where would you go to relax and why?
  260. Where would you most like the watch the sun come up? Why?
  261. What are some colors you see the most in your everyday life?
  262. What are things that you wish people knew about you without your having to tell them
  263. If you suddenly gained the ability to tell whether someone was lying, would you use it?
  264. What foreign countries have you been to? Which ones do you want to go to?
  265. Tell about a habit that you picked up from a family member or friend.
  266. Think of five things that are usually endearing or touching.
  267. Why do you always do this to me?
  268. What is your take on soul mates?
  269. Dear past me…
  270. Dear future me…
  271. Nobody know that I …
  272. How do you deal with anger?
  273. How easy is it for you to forgive those who have caused you pain?
  274. Traditions.
  275. What grand adventure do you wish to go on?
  276. How do you stand out from the crowd?
  277. How would you describe yourself?
  278. Who would you trust with your deepest, darkest secrets?
  279. Did you ever hold an unpopular opinion or belief? With what results?
  280. 10 popular things that you could not care less about.
  281. Is there anything you “just know” and have no explainable or rational way to explain how you know it?
  282. What music album would be used for a movie about your life?
  283. What’s the worst mistake or decision you have ever made? What could you have done differently?
  284. Name a totally useless possession and how you came to acquire it.
  285. If you invented a device that could fix one problem you are facing right now, would you use it? What problem would you like to solve?
  286. Have you ever carved your name or initials into a tree or stone?
  287. What has inspired you to hold on when all looked lost?
  288. How are you feeling today?
  289. What are the qualities that you possess that make you so wonderful?
  290. Name something you lost or gave away that can never be replaced.
  291. Would you rather live a short life full of wonderful memories or a long life with no significant experiences in it?
  292. If you could do one thing with no one finding out, what would it be?
  293. What’s your favorite quote?  What do you think it says about you?
  294. Do you like how people see you?
  295. Have you ever fallen out of love?
  296. What’s your favorite number?
  297. If you were a crayon what color would you be?
  298. Do you have any tattoos? Do you want any? What do they mean to you?
  299. What is your definition of beauty?
  300. What’s the best present you’ve ever received?
  301. What’s your favorite part of your body?
  302. Do you have a best friend?
  303. Would you rather have a relationship with love or one with sex? Why?
  304. Do you want to get married?
  305. Do you want to have kids?
  306. Have you ever cried for no reason?
  307. What is your favorite month?
  308. Are you too shy to ask someone out?
  309. Are you missing someone?
  310. Do you believe in ghosts?
  311. If your life was a game, what game would it be?
  312. What would you say is your most prominent physical feature?
  313. What is your relationship like with your parents?
  314. Do you have any nicknames? What are they?
  315. What is the worst injury you’ve ever had?
  316. Do you believe that first true love never dies?
  317. What kind of person are you?
  318. How can you prove your love to someone?
  319. Do you have trust issues?
  320. Are you good at holding back your tears?
  321. Have you ever experienced being hysterical?
  322. What would your dream date be like?
  323. Two people you want to be with right now.
  324. How do you do your hair/makeup? Why?
  325. Write about your first crush. Who was it?
  326. What would you name your kids if you have any?
  327. What is your opinion on cheating on people?
  328. Get something off your chest.
  329. When was the last time you cried?
  330. What do you think about most?
  331. What’s a sound you hate? Love?
  332. Do you have any strange phobias?
  333. Do you prefer being behind the camera or in front of the camera?
  334. What was the last lie you told?
  335. Do you believe in karma?
  336. What is your greatest weakness? Strength?
  337. Are you easy to get along with?
  338. Name something that makes you happy.
  339. Name something that makes you furious.
  340. What do you say in an awkward silence?
  341. What was your longest relationship? Who was it with?
  342. When was the last time you really laughed?
  343. How many people can you tell just about everything? Who are they?
  344. What do you miss most about childhood?
  345. What is your middle name? How do you feel about it?
  346. Does your name define you?
  347. What is your favorite word? Why?
  348. What is your favorite Disney movie?
  349. Which is your favorite Disney princess? Why?
  350. Favorite time of day?
  351. Do you like your style? Do you want to change it? What would you change it to?
  352. If you had the option to be rich and famous would you take it?
  353. Who are you closest to?
  354. Describe the best day of your life so far.
  355. Write a letter to someone contemplating suicide.
  356. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?
  357. What do you worry about the most?
  358. What’s your favorite song? What does it say about you?
  359. What do you want to do with your life?
  360. What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve ever had?
  361. What has been your favorite concert you’ve ever attended?
  362. How do you think people see you?
  363. What would pop into someone’s mind when they hear your name?
  364. What has changed in the last year?
  365. What were the highs and lows of this year?

These were taken from Here
Other Ideas Here
And another list Here

Choose your list based on your preferences 🙂

 

As you can see, there are three differents lists, for up to three years of journaling!

Have fun and comment below which list you are going to be using!

Five Things Every Protagonist Needs

I was scrolling through Twitter today and saw a tweet by Createspace that I simply could not help but be drawn to, as an author. I thought that Createspace’s blog post on ways to strengthen a protagonist was so good that I had to share it with you guys!

~~~~~

You’re writing a book, and you have a main character you love. You take this character on a journey, and you think your plot is solid. All the hard work shows as you reread your story and give yourself a pat on the back. When you send your manuscript to beta readers or a critique group, you get feedback you weren’t expecting: Your protagonist is weak. The horror! How could this possibly be? It could be reasonable that you are missing some key points when developing a strong main character. I’m here to break down five things every protagonist needs to help keep your main character on point.

1. Comfort

Is your character comfortable? In other words, are you writing a character the reader will be comfortable getting to know? Is your character likable or interesting? A dull main character is not going to engage your reader if you don’t make him or her favorable enough to carry the book. Make sure that your MC has qualities that will let the reader cheer for them when faced with difficult situations or empathize with them when they don’t achieve their goals. Your MC needs to be your reader’s “friend.”

2. Clear Goals

The protag isn’t worth a lick if they don’t have a clear goal. Make sure to set the stage for a dream or goal the main character wants to fulfill. Whether it be small or big, they have to have some kind of motivation to move the plot of the book forward. Or else they are left spinning their wheels.

3. Reality

You must create a character that is real. This goes hand and hand with comfort. Show your character’s weaknesses, their downfalls, personality flaws, and little things that set them apart from the rest. Nobody is perfect, or you’ll have a Mary Sue or Marty Stu on your hands. If you have an MC who looks like an Adonis but has a chipped front tooth, that’s realistic. Give your character a workable personality so your readers view him as a hero and a real person at the same time. Mr. or Mrs. Perfect can get old very fast.

4. Conflict is Key

If everything is hunky-dory in your story, what’s the point of reading it? You need conflict to keep the reader interested and willing to see how your protagonist will overcome it. Everyone wants to root for their hero, so give them a reason to. Conflict can happen because of the choices your characters make or something they can’t prevent from happening. I like to label them as motivated conflict and unmotivated conflict. Motivated conflict is based on a character’s personal weakness that could be preventable. For instance, your protagonist is an arrogant star quarterback who expects to win the big game, but conflict happens when said character misses a key play, letting down his whole team and losing his scholarship in the process.  Unmotivated conflict is when your main character is happy; just landed the perfect job, has the perfect house, the perfect significant other. Everything is great for them. Until they find out they lost their job, their spouse leaves them, and the bank threatens to foreclose on their house. This is something the character has no control over happening.

5. Growth

This is the most vital aspect a protagonist needs in any book. If your main character doesn’t exhibit some kind of growth—whether it’s learning from their weaknesses or overcoming their earlier conflict—the reader will be left unsatisfied. It’s like eating a large, delicious meal but being left starving afterward. Show your characters overcoming their obstacles and emotionally growing as they do.

~~~~~

This blog post can be found at this link!