A Word to the Wise

“A word to the wise” is an idiom that we’ve all heard at one point or another in our lives.

My first thought?
It’s used to emphasize someone has given instruction or is about to provide useful information. So I think its appropriate for Amanda’s next challenge: give your very best advice.

I feel as though advice is subjective in many ways. What works for you might not work for me. What I do find, however, is that we all have nuggets of information that are invaluable from our experiences, trials, and successes. And when we share them with others, we find that we’re not the only ones it can work for or even better, that we’re not alone in our struggles. Whatever our method, we all have something that we’ve learned or that could potentially be useful.

Which brings me to my version. :D

Explore your options.
There is no right or wrong way to start with your writing. Maybe you woke up this morning and decided you want to write a novel, or perhaps you’ve been writing since you were in second grade. Wherever you are coming from, you have different opportunities and ways to write.

What do I mean by this?
Well, maybe you are into writing poems or songs. Perhaps you’d like to send a letter to someone you love or write about characters from a movie you enjoy. Maybe you want to write about an intergalactic space station that’s been attacked by an invading neighbor planet of aliens. Better still, you’ve decided to create a character in your mind that has found themselves lost in the jungle of a prehistoric era. Are you into history? You want to write about World War I? Perfect! Whatever your interests, you can make it happen.

Choose a project.
The great thing about writing? The sky is the limit. No one can tell you what to write except you. So now? You get to take a moment and think about those previous examples you thought of, and you get to do something with it. Every character needs their story told, right?

Take that imagination of yours and put it to good use. Find what peaks your interest.

I believe in you.

Make a commitment.
If you have to, create a contract with yourself and hold yourself accountable. Maybe it’s marking a calendar with specific goals, or telling someone that you’re going to write a novel.

I tend to tell my friends and family that I’m starting a new project. Or, I’ll post it here, on my blog, letting the world know. Tell yourself that you owe yourself a dollar for every day you miss. Better yet – Find someone you can trust to keep you honest and pay them a dollar for every day you forget to write.

And follow through.

However you can hold yourself accountable, that’s the method you should choose.

Set yourself up for success.
There have been many times where I have let myself suffer to get those words on the page. I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to stay hydrated, eat a balanced meal, sleep, and stay in the right state of mind. Taking care of yourself is, in the end, taking care of your writing. And you’ll feel refreshed because of it.

Plus, if you’re sad and writing something happy, it won’t come out the way you plan. Which leaves you more to edit later in the long run or you’ll end up hating what you’ve worked so hard on in the first place.

Create a writing environment.
Not only is taking care of yourself valuable, but there are ways that you can prepare an area to help you stay productive.  Set aside a place to write and create a playlist that works well with your project. Decorate your space in a welcome and inviting way so that you want to go to that area to write. Remove distractions, and temptations to be distracted, so that when you sit down to write you can focus on it.

Be realistic in your goals.
Choosing a daily number of words that you know can be done on -any- day is a sure-fire way to make sure that you will complete it. If you know that you only have the patience for about a hundred words, set your goal for that, and when you pass 100 words with flying colors, you can be proud of yourself for pushing the limits on those extra days. It’s always okay to write more. But you should never feel like you -have- to get so many words on a page. If 100 words, every day, doesn’t work for you, lower it. If it’s too small, raise it. If you’re not sure? Find a number generator online and use that instead. Switch it up every other week.

It’s always up to you.
Whatever you think is best for you and your projects.

Set a time that works for you and your schedule. If you are more alert and focused in the morning, try to make your writing time in the morning for maximum productivity. Are you a night owl? Best make that writing time at night.

Cater to what you know is good for you.

Throw your inner editor out the freaking window. xD
Unless you’re editing a work in progress, that internal editor needs to pack up and get the heck out. We are trying to be creative here, we don’t need Debbie-Downers to come in and steal the thunder.

So, if you have to find a cage or buy a lock, take your inner editor and put him/her where they belong. They will be fine, just leave them a snack and some reading material to keep them busy.

This is the time to get all of your fantastic ideas out on paper.

Or computer. :P

Just write.
Forget about everything else and only write. It doesn’t matter if it’s spelled correctly or the words are in the right order. At this moment in time, your only concern is taking all of those images and words out of your head and putting them into a story. We’re not aiming for perfection, just for it to get written.

Our inner editors would love nothing more than to prevent productivity because they have a lot to say. But this isn’t their time to shine. We can always schedule the time to do that another day. Right now? We’re just gonna get those words on the page.

Having that mentality really frees the story inside of you and grants you the power to focus on your character and what they need to say.

Everything else?
It comes later.

Jodi Picoult said it best.
“You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank one.”

So get to writing.

Make it fun!
Take your characters and writing on adventures to new places. Take a day and spend it interviewing your characters. Try writing something in a genre you’ve never written before. Talk out your characters with other writers. Maybe even get one or two to roleplay with you. Create a challenge with one of your fellow writer buddies.
You can try word wards, sprints, and crawls.

You will find success by using different tools and methods, and by taking the time to write, especially if its fun. (:

 

 

If I were being honest, I could probably think of more things to write about here. Like I said, advice is subjective. But for now, I feel like leaving this with you is enough to get you started. If you’re interested in reading a bit more, I posted something similar a few years back which you can find here.

Hopefully, something in this post has struck a chord with you and you feel empowered to write, even if it’s only 100 words. (: What are some things you think would be helpful for a new author. Any advice you think I missed? Leave it below in the comments. Either way, I challenge you to start writing something today.

Good luck, my darlings. I know you can do it.

Until Next Time,
Shay

 

A Raven’s Tale

This short story is brought to you by Prompt Night on Discord.
(:
Prompt Kudos to Gianna Robbin

~*~

Raven shifted uncomfortably in the chair as she slid her silky black hair over to the left shoulder. A few curls bounced loose with the movement, but she ignored them as she attempted to switch her focus towards the front of the room. Their lessons ran unusually long today, causing her to grow impatient.

Leaning her head into her hand, she watched as Professor Evanora discussed ways to use ginger. The alternative medical class had proven helpful earlier on in the year when they discussed hangover cures and homeopathic ways to cure minor ailments, but some of the more recent courses seemed to have lost their flair. Checking the time, Raven rolled her crimson eyes. If the professor didn’t stop talking soon, they would miss their entire lunch hour. Her patience wore thin as she tapped her black french tipped nails on the edge of her desk.

“Are we inconveniencing you, Miss Addington?”

Raven made eye contact with Professor Evanora before sitting straight. “Not at all, professor. I simply noticed the time, is all.” Professor Evanora raised an eyebrow in response to her sarcasm. “Is that so?” Raven nodded. “Well, I’m sorry to inform you, Miss Addington, but we’re not on your time frame. The class proceeds until I have finished.” Professor Evanora turned around and scrawled an assignment on the board with a piece of chalk. “Fifteen extra pages of reading tonight, since Miss Addington has far too much time on her hands.”

The class groaned. Raven rolled her eyes and shoved her books into her brown, leather saddle bag. It barely filled the main compartment, but she loved the oversized item. She retrieved a small vile from the front, side pocket, and opened the bottle. Pouring the liquid over her wrist, she drew a symbol within it and muttered:

“A curse to make you suffer, without a lengthy pause,
And just a pinch of anger, for all the pain you cause.
Mess with me, and my own time, I’ll sacrifice and take what’s mine,
Don’t be a bitch, or you will see, a harsher outcome, so let it be.”

Raven bit her inner cheek and waited for her mouth to fill with blood before licking the symbol on her wrist. She watched as the scarlet fluid mixed with the clear liquid and smiled a wicked grin. She crossed her arms and waited for the lunch bell to signal the next class. “Ah, yes, you all may go. I trust that you’ll enjoy the readings tonight. Thank you again, Miss Addington, for your continued support in education.”

Raven raised her left eyebrow with a polite smile. Never skipping a beat, she stood and added, “Of course, Professor Evanora. Anything to make you feel as though you’re successful in this classroom.” She could hear the responses of the rest of her classmates, watched Professor Evanora’s face fall, and confidently exited the room. She smirked as she made her way through the hallway knowing full well that they’d call her to the headmaster’s office. ‘It’s worth it,” she thought as she reached her history class.

Sure enough, Raven found herself in Headmaster Myrick’s office. He paged for her halfway through the hour, and she was excused from class to discuss the incident. Her mood did not falter as he reprimanded her behavior. Instead, she planned the many ways she would get revenge with Professor Evanora. The headmaster let her off with a warning, but she found that she couldn’t care how he handled the situation. She would do it all over again if given the opportunity.

When the day finished, Raven found Castalia walking towards the door. “Cas, wait up!” She turned and grinned when she saw Raven. “Hey girl, heard you got into some trouble today with Professor Evanora.”  Raven rolled her eyes. “Eh, it’s nothing I couldn’t handle.”

They shared a giggle before exiting the building. “Good. Glad to hear it.” The girls headed toward the river, enjoying the sunlight. “Are we meeting with the others today?” It was a typical question for this time of day, but Raven wasn’t quite sure. “Have you reached out to Kyna or Amethyst? I haven’t seen or heard anything from either one all day.”

Castalia shook her head no. “Nope, I believe they skipped today.” Raven nodded. “Sounds like them. I’ll give them a call.” She reached for her cell and dialed the number for Amethyst. It rang a few times then Amethyst’s voicemail picked up.

“Hey, it’s your girl, Amethyst. I can’t come to the phone right now but leave a message, and I’ll send love like I always do!”

Raven waited for the beep then shrugged at Castalia. “Am, it’s Raven. I’m calling to see if we’re meeting this afternoon? Text me when you get this. Bye!”

“I wouldn’t bother calling Kyna. They’re probably out at a party or something. These two need a leash.” Castalia performed the charade of a leash connecting with a collar and yanked it backward for added effect, causing Raven to laugh. “Well, we can head back to the shrine, if you want?”

“I can’t. Dad’s being a pill and wants me home by four. If not, they will ground me for a month. Supposedly, they have some news to tell us.” Raven released a sigh and hugged her friend. “Well, if you must. I guess I’ll see you guys tomorrow then.” Castalia nodded. “Of course! You still have to tell me what happened with Professor Evanora.”

Raven smiled. “Well, it’s only the beginning. I have a plan that will make her wish she never crossed me.” Castalia shook her head in a sympathetic but approving way. “Audentes fortuna iuvat.” Raven pointed to the sky with a grin and answered, “Acta non verba.” Then they waved and parted ways.

Raven noticed that her parents were already gone when she arrived home. Her father had a business trip that she’d known about for weeks but her mother should have been at the house. Irritated, she slammed the door and headed to her room.

She set her saddle bag on its stand and opened her notebook full of spells. Taking a few seconds to write her curse from earlier in the day, she let the anger scatter. Lighting five candles, she drew a pentagram on the ground in chalk before setting her black metal chair in the center.

Raven staged the candles in each of the points before changing from her school uniform into a satin, lacey black dress that she’d fabricated for such a moment as this. The main bodice was an almost see-through, diamond-shaped corset, beaded with different gems, shells, and diamonds she’d collected over the years. It used to have sleeves, but she removed them and added a cape that draped over the length of her body, plus some.

The flames from the candles cast an eerie glow over her flesh as it peered through the various openings in the gown. She savored the power she felt as she entered her haven. Her curly locks cascaded over her shoulders as she inhaled and reached for her pendant, holding it to the moon up above. Her gaze wandered through the skylight as she began her chant.