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

 

It’s That Time of Year Again

NaNoWriMo has arrived.

They’ve reset everything for another year and Kick Off Parties begin tonight!

(Throw confetti, everyone!)

Below, you will find my commitment to my project, Silhouettes of Red. I will also post what my experience is with NaNoWriMo and writing this novel, throughout the month. If you’re willing to give it a go, visit: http://www.nanowrimo.org and sign up today! There’s still time. (:

Without further ado… My commitment.

~*~

Let this signify a testament and commitment. Everything written below is as if I wrote the words with my own two hands on pen and paper. This commitment will not be broken unless I pass or am severely injured to where I cannot write. (;

I, Shanna Rightsell, will write Silhouettes of Red for November while I participate in NaNoWriMo (also known as National Novel Writing Month). I will unravel the story of a serial killer, Edgar Bates, who has an odd obsession with blood. He has a strong desire for his story to be told, so I promise to write out all of his thoughts on paper, good or bad and will write his first draft to the best of my ability. I will attempt to make Silhouettes of Red a victory novel, meaning that I promise to push myself toward completing the first draft, in November. When I finish my first draft of Silhouettes of Red, I will celebrate with a blog post. (:

Throughout the month, I promise to write as much as I physically/mentally can throughout each week as I aim to reach my goal. I promise to focus the majority of my time, effort and energy to the project listed within and will attempt to lay aside distractions. My commitment shall include the restriction of television/movie watching, video-gaming, and general laziness until my word count has been reached for the day.

I vow to stick with my commitment until my project mentioned within is complete. This means that if I am unable to complete my novel through the NaNoWriMo program, I will continue to write until the book is finished. Within the NaNoWriMo program, I will track my words and progress to share with the world. Also, I promise to attempt to post a weekly blog with updates and a bonus excerpt for my fabulous readers. To which, if I fail to stick with my commitment or post a weekly blog with updates, I subject myself to public mockery from friends, loved ones and readers. If I’ve failed to write Silhouettes of Red (in part or in whole), then I will be subject to questions by readers, loved ones, and friends, that I must answer truthfully as punishment for not completing my project.

At this moment, I proclaim another novel to the world.

~*~

Goodbye, sanity.
Hello, Silhouettes of Red.

Let the writing begin. <3