Wasted Time

Here I am, you see, already barely making the once-a-week thing. *sighs*

Recently I’ve been busy (and a little unmotivated, as well), so much so that I haven’t been getting what you’d call substantial amounts of writing done.

Amount of Writing I Scored Last Week:

….Maybe if you collected it all it would fill two pages. Maybe. More or slightly less. Heh.

It takes insane amounts of self-control (and motivation, of course) to write. To refrain from checking when emails come in. Or taking a “quick break” to look over your inspiration boards on Pinterest. You’ll end up realizing you’ve wasted an hour in no time at all. Well, actually in an hour.

So, how to improve [and use wisely] your writing time? Here are a few ways:

  • Let everyone know you’re having writing time and ask not to be disturbed. This will ensure peace and quiet. Now to utilize this peace and quiet.
  • NO social media. At all. None.
  • Set yourself a specific goal. Fifteen to twenty minutes is a good goal, and relatively easy to achieve. If you’re one of those phenomenal intensive writers, an hour or more. And the lower you set the bar, the easier it will be to transcend. *smirks conspiratorially*
  • Turn of message notifications so the temptation isn’t even a problem.
  • NO self-deprecation. Yes, your writing probably does stink. Get over it. Just push through your insecurities and WRITE YOUR GARBAGE.

“If I waited for perfection I would never write a word.” – Margaret Atwood

  • I would say “Don’t stop to edit, correct your spelling/grammar, or to search the thesaurus for the perfect word; just mark the spot and come back later.” But that would be hypocritical. :D
  • Have a snack on hand so you won’t have to get up when hunger strikes. Preferably something sweet. Like chocolate. Very much like chocolate.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Listen to inspiring music. I love listening to sad/moody/dark/beautiful pieces that fuel strong emotions and make me want to cry…. Yes. Weird. It improves my writing, okay?
  • No breaks. Unless under specified circumstances:
  1. The house is on fire
  2. Space aliens invade
  3. Your brain is about to EXPLODE

If scenarios #1 or #2 qualify, immediately flee the house. If you’re experiencing scenario #3, congratulations. You’ve gotten some good writing/brainstorming/plotting done. That’s why you’re in such pain. Or else you’ve been sitting staring blankly at the computer screen for so long there’s been a system fail.

There we are. Another list. (Have I mentioned I love lists? Especially bullet-pointed lists.) Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

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Thanks for reading! If there’s anything you’d suggest to make writing time more productive, comment! I’d love to hear from you.

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Puzzle Pieces: fitting characters together

One more post this week. I’m on a roll. ;)

This post is going to be about writing. And I am slightly terrified to impart any kind of advice to anybody, as the magnitude of my own inexperience is…well, big. But here goes. (Maybe somebody will find this remotely helpful.)

One of a writer’s greatest challenges (at least in my case) is creating a strong bond between two characters. Whether it be love of the romantic sort, the admiration of an apprentice to his master, or the close affection of good friends, growing and developing a relationship between people is hard. Especially if the relationship starts out with a Princess Leia + Han Solo mindset…

Image result for why you stuck-up half-witted scruffy-looking nerf-herder

Here’s a list of questions I ask myself.

  1. One of the first signs that two characters are going to connect is usually a “click”. They have something in common. A common fear, a common desire, a common love. A common hobby. “Hey, you collect 1960s movie posters too?” Have your characters clicked through a shared interest or emotion?
  2. Does the hate/dislike/confusion/indifference they feel towards each other in the beginning blossom with head-scratching suddenness into warm endearment? Make sure you’ve maintained a smooth and consistent arc throughout the course of the story.
  3. Are you showing rather than telling? Body language, actions, speech, and thoughts should all be subtly used to communicate the growing bond.
  4. If there’s a lot of friction at first, keep it going even when they’ve fallen for each other. The closest of friendships still spark and sizzle at times. Are there enough disagreements to make the relationship realistic?
  5. Do your characters grow each other? A couple need to have interlocking personalities; fit together like puzzle pieces, each satisfying in the other what he/she is lacking. If Jen is quiet and shy, make Brad more outgoing. He’ll draw her out of herself and provide a stimulant. On the other hand, if Brad is over-the-top extroverted and drives people crazy because he’s loud and self-assured to the point of obnoxious, Jen might keep him down to earth and help him develop a sense of humility. That goes with friends too. Give the volatile fireball with anger management issues a level-headed, gentle friend who struggles to express his feelings. Make the friendship grow them into better people.

So there are some questions which have helped me in my bond-developing. I have a long way to go before I’ll be able to post any wildly eloquent writing advice here (ha ha, right), but hopefully this was a beneficial read and a good start. Have a wonderful weekend!

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