Monday, September 22, 2014

Writing Prompts and Banned Books

This is a good week to look at using writing prompts and having fun with them. Why is it a good week? Just because.

Writing prompts can certainly spiral our creativity forward, especially if we feel stuck.
Here are a few to get the creative juices flowing:

  • Start a sentence with the word 'oranges'. 
  • You arrive home to the smell of chocolate chip cookies baking...but you live alone. 
  • Start a sentence with, "He had $5.67." 

On top of all this crazy fun with prompts, it's Banned Books Week! Check this link out to view challenged books from the past. I think I was surprised to see Captain Underpants on the list. Really?

Happy writing!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Illuminating the Path

What can you do today to take the next step in your writing career?
Why haven't you taken that step?
What are you waiting for?

We can easily blame our lack of progress on being too busy; maybe protest about how there are not enough hours in the day. We can all blame the juggling of home and family life, and the toll it takes on us. We can complain that we are too tired, or not feeling creative enough. Maybe the house needs cleaning or the kids need to be shuffled off to hockey or ballet.

I have said every single one of these things, and have always put it off for another day. And then ,one morning, you wake up and realize that a week, a month, or a year has passed.

The truth of the matter is that the only person who can make progress in your writing career is you!  Sometimes you have to let the dishes sit. Sometimes it means taking your writing to the kids' swimming lessons. Maybe it means staying up an extra half hour or getting up earlier just to get a page in. The fact is, it's doable. Determine what is important and make a plan to do it. If it's important to you, you will make time for it.

If lack of creativity is a factor, find something that will get the creativity flowing. Maybe it's doodling or colouring. Maybe it's listening to music or reading a chapter of a book you enjoy. I find 'free writing' is always helpful. Free writing is simply writing whatever is on your mind. Just go with it. When I do this, I find the words begin to flow and my characters start talking.

So, what is the next step that you can take to progress your writing further?
Does it mean starting the book? Finishing it? Editing? Proofreading? Contacting an agent or publisher? Or self publishing?

Whatever that step is, take it and own it.
When you are done with that step, take the next one.
And then the next...till the path illuminates itself for you.

Keep on writing! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Money or Passion

A number of years ago, when I was doing a lot of freelance work, I had numerous requests for my writing services. Some were from students who were looking for someone to write their paper for them. Others legitimately needed my assistance with writing and editing. And then there were those who hinged their retirement plan on writing a best selling book and living off the royalties forever.   

One person in particular emailed me and wanted me to write her story pro bono. She was in dire straits and needed money, and she was sure her story would net her an income, which she desperately needed because she was unable to work due to an injury. 

This is what a lot of people don't understand: Because you have an interesting story to tell doesn't automatically guarantee a publishing contract. The writing of the story is a long process. Lots of time energy, blood, sweat, and tears goes into writing a book. Writers paint a picture with words so the reader can use their imagination and understand exactly what the writer is writing about. Clearly, this can be very challenging. 

Also, no writer should work for free. Your hairstylist, your dentist, your plumber ... they all don't work for free. Unless you are collaborating with someone, you should be paid for your efforts.   

The biggest thing of all is that the book may not make money, especially if the author has no desire to market or promote it. 

So, what are you writing for? When you write because you have a passion for it, a drive for it, then it will show in your writing, and your readers will know you are writing from your authentic self. 

If you are writing only because you think you will be offered a 6-figure advance, then you are writing for the wrong reasons. 

Happy Writing! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Your Calling

I know I haven't been focusing on this blog for a long while; but, I promise, I will from now on.

What have I been doing with my time? I've been focusing on an area of writing that has been calling my name for a couple of years. I have been focusing on relationships, love, self love, and everything else that comes with it over at my blog Soul Love Awakening.

Ever since my fiance passed away almost 3 years ago, and after having a large variety of relationship experiences from great to not really great, I felt a passion and an inspiration to assist others by writing what I know.

What should a writer write about? Many writers struggle with this. Some writing projects seem like a struggle and it's difficult to find the flow.

Keep in mind that writing what you know is part of finding your niche. The other part is to write what is guiding you. Sometimes, it's a topic you aren't entirely familiar with, but you feel that you need to pursue it. And, sometimes, inspiration shows up and we don't know what it wants or where it's going. So, we drop it, thinking it's just a crazy thought when we really should dig deeper.

Inspiration can lead you in a whole new direction you never expected if you have the courage to follow it.

What is it that is inspiring you? What writing project has been on your mind for a long time and doesn't seem to go away? Maybe it's time to pursue it.

Happy Writing!