writers block

No warmups – just write!

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There is a lot of advice out there about preparing to sit down and write your book. Some people tell you to free write or journal beforehand. They say to just write about anything that comes to mind. I’ve sort of tried this and it’s okay. But I guess I didn’t love it, or I’d still be doing it and this blog post would be totally different.

This advice is usually meant for someone suffering from Writers’ Block. To help them get unstuck and back into the swing of things. To get their mind muscle back into writing again. And this may work for you. But I don’t think we need to free write every time we sit down to write.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this advice. It’s just that it doesn’t always apply. Or it doesn’t always work for us as writers. I think maybe we have to look at other factors, like the time we have available to write. I have plenty of time, but a lot of people don’t. You might only have an hour or less per day. Or an hour a week. However much time you have, it is precious. If you spend that time writing about something totally unrelated to your story, then you won’t get your story written.

As I’ve said in a previous post about writing faster, a good idea is to plan ahead and know exactly what you’re going to write about in your allotted time. Then sit down in the chair and just do it. Planning ahead really helps to eliminate Writers’ Block, because you know what you’re going to be writing about. It’s in your head already. You might have been thinking about the scene you want to write on your way home from work, and now that you’ve set aside time to write, it all just pours out onto the keyboard.

If you do find you need to write something to help with Writers’ Block or there’s something you’re stuck on, try writing about something related to your story. Those words won’t be wasted. You could write a totally unrelated scene, a scene depicting something that happened in one of your characters’ lives in their childhood, an “interview” with the main character or the antagonist, or anything you can think of. And don’t forget, you don’t have to write your scenes in chronological order either. You might be having trouble writing a scene because you keep on thinking about this other scene that is more exciting because it’s a fight scene or something. Go ahead. Write it. Just do it!

You’re the author. You’re the boss.

As we write, we establish our own routine and we learn how we like to do things and what works for us. What works for you? Do you like journaling or free writing? Add your comments below and we can start a discussion.

I hope this has been helpful to you.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

Know your characters

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I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos lately to improve my writing and one thing that stands out to me is that you have to know your characters before you start writing.

I haven’t really done this much in the past (for my first book, Tamisan) and I think it lead me to “Writers’ Block” and total dead ends and just hours of not knowing what to write. It ends up being very frustrating. And a waste of a lot of time.

After reading posts on Live Write Thrive, which is a fantastic website by author, editor, and writing coach, CS Lakin, I started writing character sketches for the main characters in my first novel, Tamisan, by using her templates, and the difference it made was amazing.

I know a lot of people like to pants their way through things and “discover” their characters’ personalities as the story progresses, but besides it being harder to do, you end up with a character that is flat and one-dimensional at the start of the book, and someone who is more complex and three-dimensional by the end. Then how do you go back and make them more realistic and interesting afterwards? It’s not easy. And it takes longer to write your book.

For my short story, The Alien, which is up on Wattpad.com, I took the time to delve into the characters more and I noticed how much easier things were. I knew their backstories and a bit about their likes and dislikes and even their attitudes. Lilliana is a bit of a smart aleck and it showed in my writing. Even something as simple as nicknames that they have for each other just flowed easily. It was the most natural thing in the world for one of the crew members to walk into the room and say, “Hey, Wildcat. Ready to get outta here?”

So, of course, with my work-in-progress, I have been spending the time to get to know my characters a lot more and I’ve even developed Character Development Sheets based on some that I downloaded from Live Write Thrive. (Ms Lakin has to take most of the credit – I just tweaked the one she made.) I’ve even created a World Building template based on a couple of websites that gave some great info on what should be included in your world building. So I’m all set.

Now that I’ve finished with those things, I’m back to writing. I can’t wait till it’s finished. I plan to keep you posted on my progress.

What do you think? Do you agree with what I’ve said? Let me know in the comments.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.