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

 

The Start of a New Year

Attention!

Attention…

It is January 28!

We are well on our way to the rest of the year, folks. Three weeks have passed and the new year’s resolutions for most have died off or disappeared. What have the last few weeks held in store for you? How has your year treated you so far? Are you sticking with your new year’s resolutions? Have you accomplished any goals?

My year has proved busy, successful and well, unexpected. I’ve…

Worked quite a bit,
Gone to the stock show,
Drank approximately 32 ounces of water every day (or more),
Attended a mammoth game,
Had a few beers,
Encouraged a few writer friends to pursue their dreams and keep going,
Helped organize and clean an office,
Tried a new restaurant,
Started taking an online marketing course,
Actively participated in watching football,
Mourned Alan Rickman’s death,
Drank some wine,
Played some Sims 3 and Sims 4,
Started cooking at home more,
Started packing better lunches for work,
Posted more social media content,
Took more pictures,
And drew a panda (featured image), just to list a few.

All in all? It’s not a bad start. Drinking water, for me, was a big one. I was lucky if I managed to drink 8 ounces all day. Now I’m finishing off at least 32 ounces, or more, within the day before five o’clock.

And football?
Oh man, football. I’m not a huge fan. Never really have been, but I made a point to try and attempt to pay attention, know the scores and be enthusiastic when the right team scored.

I didn’t set any specific new year resolutions, necessarily. Why? Partly, I was lazy in planning and didn’t know what I wanted to fix. I’m a mess in so many areas and when looking in the mirror, I couldn’t figure out where to start.

With that in mind, it seemed hopeless. I felt like I should have some sort of epic, award-winning moment in my life that would spill all of the knowledge I needed as soon as the clock struck midnight.

Do you know what really happened? I watched the ball drop and then glanced around the faces on the television to see their reactions. Most were laughing and having a blast. Then my gaze focused on Demi Lovato’s expression on the screen.

Her smile turned upside down, but only in the corners of her mouth. Her eyes lost the glimmer for a few small seconds. I watched her look around and she seemed unhappy, envious of those around her. For a moment, I knew that we were in the same boat. We were disappointed. The confetti fell from the sky and people were everywhere but there were no award-winning moments, no grandiose light shows nor words of wisdom.

Now, I don’t know her personally. I’ve never met her or had the pleasure of conversing with her. But I know what unhappy looks like. I felt like I could relate with the “so… this is it” expression. It was as if she didn’t want to enjoy the moment she was in, though everyone else around her was. I could relate. It was as if we both realized one thing…

It was just another year, another time, another midnight.

Every year, we get older. Every year, we watch the time fade and we wonder what happened. I didn’t want to feel like that anymore and personally decided to make this year one find and enjoy the things that I love. I want to learn more about me and do what I want to do. I hope beyond all hope that I am wrong about Demi and that maybe she really wasn’t feeling well. Or maybe she naturally smiles like that. I will never know for certain.

What I do know?
Life is far too short to not enjoy what we’re doing with it.

You only get one life, one moment to take that chance, one shot to make your life what you want it to be.

What will your face look like next year, when you watch the ball drop for another year? Will you regret what you’ve done? Or will your entire body be filled with elation that everyone around you can’t help but smile with you? Are you doing what makes you happy? Something you’re passionate about?

If not, what are you waiting for?

Don’t wait for everyone else. If you do, you’ll be standing in a crowded room on New Year’s Eve wondering what your life means. You run the risk of being unhappy or disappointed with the “new year.”

Embrace this life.

Embrace you.

Until next time, my darlings…

– Shay <3