Reposting this again. I’m working on my book and about 40,000 words in…I forgot how much I enjoy writing fiction.
I’m going to try and write a little bit every day in addition to my more formal articles and blog posts. I’m also getting better at reading and engaging with other bloggers here on WordPress – so, don’t be surprised if you get a follow from me, or a comment.
For about two months, I didn’t get any new followers on here and that was discouraging. I went into my settings to see if I could change anything, and I turned on “indexing” again. Low and behold, I got a few new followers this week, more likes and engagement. Maybe that was the key. I’m also using more tags and sharing more in depth posts too rather than just whiny blog posts. But you know, sometimes you still might see those whiny blog posts because I’m whiny – but only sometimes.
Today, I thought I would respond to some comments I’ve gotten in the last year.
You’ve got such talent – why not use it?
I often hear from friends that, “You’re such a good writer!” Or “How can you write so easily?” Or even from WordPress chat – “Have you ever thought about writing a book? You’ve written so much!” – that compliment made my day!
When I was working, I started taking some professional and business writing courses through my job. I was doing a lot of research in the evenings and weekends too. Then I got sick, and lost funding for education. Now, I take free courses when I can and watch a lot of tutorials online to better my craft.
Writing is a craft. It’s a form of art and expression. I think the hard part of writing is just finding your voice and style. Or a genre that really brings out your passion. I think that’s important. Finding things you are passionate about. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I still have pages of stories that I made up when I was in elementary school, and they still make me laugh.
Part of the struggle is my identity. I have no problem using my real name for this blog even if I leave out my last name. But when it comes to fiction, I’d prefer to use a penname. A lot of writers do this. I’ve come up with a new name for books – that’s just a warning for you. It’s a family name and one that I really like. I often use the name “Jen” when online in chat rooms – I always liked the name Jenny and so, I think I’ll stick with that for fictional stories.
I think if I was writing more technical books, I’d use my real name, but my family is really weird when it comes to posting online and sharing private stories. This is more to avoid family drama.
I’ve written “smut” in the past under a completely different username. I might get into that again, but we’ll see. People can be harsh when it comes to reviews!
Books and short stories
This past weekend, I started writing a book about my dreams and nightmares. I got nearly 7,300 words written – with lots of typos. I sent those few chapters to a friend and she loved it. I’ve been itching to get back into fiction writing. I have several short horror stories I’ve written over the past five years but haven’t finished any of them.
I’m starting to go through those stories to see what I can salvage and turn into short novels. I’m working on my first horror novel and I’m pretty pumped. I hope if it’s well received, I can turn it into a series. I’ve always wanted to write a book and what better time to do it now.
Think of it like a teen drama series. A coming of age story about a teen who struggles with depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. The inspiration came from my own teenage years. But — inspired by series like The Vampire Diaries. It will have a supernatural flair to it. And hopefully, a monster of the month or book kind of theme.
I LOVE horror movies – always have. Why not combine the two things I love most in this world. Writing, and the supernatural. By age thirteen, I had read almost all of Stephen King’s books, and enjoyed other authors like Dean Knootz, Christopher Pike and John Grisham.
How I come up with ideas and characters
Last night, I couldn’t sleep and went to bed at 2 am. And just like when I was a kid, I kept having visions of these characters in my head and carried out entire scenes and chapters of dialogue. Many people have said that I have a gift for writing and does it come so easily to me.
I honestly don’t know! My brain has always been wired like this and sometimes it just doesn’t shut off. It also interrupts with sleep. As a kid, I used to make up entire worlds and characters that would play out in my head before I fell asleep.
I think part of it was from reading so much as a teen. I always had a book in my hand. Now that I’ve started reading again, the urge to write is just there- gnawing at me. I realized after re-reading Forever by Judy Blume, that she influenced a lot of my style. Only she made writing look easy and she had a lot of great books.
My mother, and my dad’s mother, were both great writers. My grandmother wrote a short book about her journey to Canada. And my mother, wanted to write a book. She was always making notes or lists. I think I got the reading bug from her too as I often borrowed books from “mum’s library”. If you want to read more about that journey, I wrote up a post to honour her yesterday.
My dad was a great speech writer. He always gave heartfelt speeches at family events. He knew how to make an entire room full of people cry – even the men would tear up. I’m glad we got some of those speeches on camera.
Practice daily writing
Last night, I got about four chapters done in the new book and 4,500 words. I’m trying to aim for at least 5,000 words daily. Some days might be more. I also type insanely fast at like 99 words per minute on a good day. If I’m having a bad day or week, I might not write at all.
I will definitely be blogging often as ideas come to me. I find the more that I write, the more ideas easily flow. I try and keep a sticky note or notepad near by at all times for these moments of creativity bursts.
I will often meditate before writing to relax my anxious mind. And I listen to meditative music while writing like brain entrainment or Native American flute music. Nothing with lyrics. Just relaxing meditation music. It really does help.
Set alarms for breaks
The problem with writing for me is that I can write for hours without taking a break. I’ve already been writing for two hours here in this blog today, and this will be my second article of the day. I have about 12 draft posts too for you that I need to finish off.
The ideas just keep coming to me and I have to get them out when it happens. That’s the way most artists are I think. You go through long periods with nothing. Zero ideas. And then you wake up at 3 am and have to start writing.
I’ve started setting the alarm for every couple of hours for a stretch or pee break. I also have set meal times daily and try to stick to a schedule. Sometimes I need a nap during the day from the fatigue or just to lie down. And on warm days, I’ll take a break and go sit on the balcony and enjoy the weather. I also make sure to keep several drinks at the computer like my coffee or tea, water and whatever else I might feel like. This way I can stay hydrated which is important for health.
A healthy writer needs to find balance in all things. Otherwise, what’s the point???
Tips for great writing
- If you want to write — I suggest … JUST WRITE!
- Practice a little every day. Aim for 1,000 words daily and grow from there.
- Keep a note pad by your bed, so that if you get an idea for a character or story, jot it down.
- Use your dreams as inspiration. After all, I’m writing a whole book based off some nightmares I’ve had. That’s how Stephen King started writing too.
- Read! A lot! When you aren’t writing, READ. Read anything you can get your hands on for inspiration. Read from a variety of authors, multiple genres until you discover your favorite genre. Then write in that genre!
- Take an online writing course in creative writing
- Join a writer’s forum and learn from other writers
- Use weekly writing prompts to create new stories or open yourself up to other ideas
- Learn! Learn about new subjects that interest you. Watch documentaries, movies or read about those subjects.
But more importantly, and this might be the best advice I was ever given.
Write about your passions. Write what you already know. Writing will come more easily to you, the more you do it. And that’s why I write here daily in this blog. I don’t care so much about reader fatigue anymore. When I have an idea, I just need to write it down and share my thoughts.
I’m researching some tools for indie writers and authors like myself, stay tuned – I will share that with you soon!