• All,  Lesson Learned,  Life,  Tools and Tips,  Writing

    how to know when you need a break

    Sometimes I think the words “slow down” aren’t in my vocabulary. I don’t say this to brag on myself or puff myself up; I actually see it as a problem, as I face writer’s burnout more often than I should and spend days spinning my wheels over the same problems when a good weekend off would do the trick. Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s something great about testing your limits, and if you want to accomplish anything, at some point you have to lay out your goals and stick to your intentions. But if you have a similar personality to me and don’t know when to quit, or…

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  • All,  Reading,  Tools and Tips,  Writing

    5 books to make you a better writer

    Every writer knows she must read well to write well. Any and all books, really, but there’s something incredible about reading a well-known (or not so well-known) writer’s experience and being able to empathize with their choices, emotions, and habits. Because if you feel the way other writers feel when they’re slugging through a bout of writer’s block or dealing with the fear of being unoriginal, that makes you a writer, right? If you’re looking for that feeling of, “Hey, I’ve been through that,” or if you just want some tips on how to polish your writing (or how to start in the first place), here are five books that…

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  • Tools and Tips,  Writing

    my dystopian playlist

    If you’ve read my past posts, you know I used to despise listening to music while I worked. I’ve converted, thank goodness, and honestly, I have no idea what was wrong with me back then. Ambient music has become my very favorite tool for a productive writing session, as it helps me imagine environments, draw out emotions, and stay focused. I have my go-to’s, music I will listen to for any type of writing, but since my current work-in-progress is set in a futuristic utopia, I’ve tried to incorporate that ~vibe~ to my playlist. Here are some of my current favorites. Skyrim Even if you aren’t a gamer, the Skyrim…

  • Tools and Tips,  Writing

    creating a writing ritual

    So we’ve covered the importance of establishing a writing schedule for achieving your writing goals, but I want to expand and look at the importance of writing rituals. You can consider schedules and rituals two sides of the same coin, but they do differ, and it’s important to grasp the distinction in order to make the best use of these tools. While schedules set aside time in your day for writing, rituals establish the conditions under which your body and mind expect writing to occur. Let me explain. Alright, so you know when to write because you have a neat and awesome schedule, which you stick to perfectly every day, of course. Let’s say you…

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  • All,  Tools and Tips,  Writing

    10 quotes that will make you want to write

    I owe a great amount to other people’s words. I don’t think I would have given the idea of writing a novel much thought had it not been for Stephen King telling me (through his memoir, of course, and my dreams a little bit) to just start, write 2000 words a day, just sit down and write it all out and worry about dolling it up later. Seeing how other writers have struggled with the process, overcome self-doubt, battled perfectionism, and formed their own writing rituals is helpful in those time when I’m down on my writing or fretful over the future. If you need a little help kicking self-doubt…

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  • All,  Tools and Tips,  Writing

    3 great ways to find your writing voice

    One of the strongest fears most creatives face is the fear of being unoriginal. I’m not talking about accidentally stealing a fellow writer’s words and finding yourself slammed with a plagiarism lawsuit, rather that dread of being seen only in another’s shadow, your work forever tainted as “storebrand” fiction. Wal-Mart Tootie Fruities to Kellogg’s Froot Loops. The best way to avoid the generic label and stand out as a writer is to know your writing voice, which is challenging because, well, it’s yours. It’s like trying to truly hear the sound of your own vocal chords, truly see your reflection in the mirror. Often you’re too close to the situation to…

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  • All,  Tools and Tips,  Writing

    4 tips for faster writing

    If one of your 2019 goals is to start writing (or to start writing more — or to stop procrastinating your writing), you might have dipped your toes into the writing waters to see how they feel, and you may have found them to be colder and rockier than you’d like. One of those biting realities of writing that I tend to struggle with is how slow the process can be. For some reason, when I sit down in front of that blinking cursor and blank page, the words don’t come as freely as they did in my head, and I find myself backtracking, editing, biting my nails, worrying about the…

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  • All,  Editing,  Tools and Tips,  Writing

    a strengths-based approach to editing

    Like most writers, editing is not my favorite part of the job. The work is never-ending and slow-going; the words and moments begin to lose their magic; and I never quite feel like I’m producing something the way I do when I’m drafting. The worst part this go around, however, has been the crippling self-doubt that has followed all my picking and probing and persistent criticism. I’ve encountered this before in editing, and with shorter projects the self-doubt is usually short-lived, but with this novel it seems only to get worse every day as the editing end seems nowhere in sight. Will I finish this book?  Is it good enough?  Is…

  • All,  Life,  Tools and Tips,  Writing

    setting up a writer’s notebook

    You may have noticed by now that I’m planner and that I love to keep things neat and tidy, even in my writing world. While total structure is out of the question when it comes to creative writing, I’ve been able to keep a sliver of organization by using writing notebooks. Like most writers, I’ve always kept a notebook handy to log thoughts and inspiration, conversations and revisions (and by notebook, I mean anything to write on — slips of paper, notecards, paper napkins, the back of your hand). I’m of the notion that notetaking and freewriting, writing without the pressure of the craft, are essential to healthy creativity, and…

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  • All,  Characters,  Tools and Tips,  Writing

    mbti for richer characters

    Annnnnnd we’re back with characters. What can I say? Creating deep and interesting characters is one of my favorite parts of starting a new writing project and is one of the most important parts of forming a flavorful plot. Usually, an idea for a character is what sends me flying to my computer for a five-hour writing binge at two in the morning (okay, I exaggerate, but that’s how it feels). I have this lively person in my head with a bright and loud voice and I just need to get down some of the things he’s telling me. From there, some semblance of a story follows, especially when I…