Sunday, November 10, 2013

my "Spot"

I have a "Spot."

Do you have a spot? Or an item? Or a hat? I don't know... something?

I have a "Spot," and when I'm in that "Spot" it means that I'm in writing mode. Sitting there in front of that ancient mac computer at that chunky desk in an ratty desk chair turns my brain into writer mode.

Or... I used to have a spot.

A few years ago, the computer quit and my parents sold the desk and the chair. Naturally, it was about the time I went away for college. But along with the sale of the items that belonged to my spot, went my inspiration to write. I suffered from the worst writer's block for the next year. I had to force myself to write and I couldn't remember EVER having to force myself before.

So, I've decided to find a new spot... or maybe I'm going to buy a candle, or a jacket to wear, or a scarf... something to get a routine and rhythm into my writing. A regularity of some kind to turn the creative side of my head on.

So how about you? Do you have a spot?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Taking It All In

It's been said that in order to write life, you must live life. Never were words spoken so truly. And being a teen writer, never will you experience so much that can feed your writing. Each day, you go to school and interact with those you love, hate, admire and envy. Emotion exudes from those interactions and it can flow into your characters easily if you harness it and let it go.

After all, writing is therapeutic, isn't it? As a high school student, I can't even begin to describe the roller coaster I went over. Day to day my friendships were turbulent. Without even realizing, my characters began to have turbulent friendships. Struggles that I faced showed themselves in my protagonists. But how else can a fictional problem begin to feel real unless it is written out of experience?

Don't let life scare you.

Most of us writers are introverts. Life seems easier for us when we are in our comfort zones. Being challenged is a scary thing. But when you become so sedentary and stop moving almost altogether, you'll begin to notice that like a water spigot, your ability to write will turn on and off, and writers' block can set in. Worst nightmare right?

And honestly... God doesn't want us to hide at home either. That's hardly the life He imagined for you. Like me, you can make excuses about how writing CHRISTIAN fiction is fulfilling His calling for you, OR you can realize that our greatest calling is to live heaven here on earth. That means investing and working on those HARD relationships. It means going outside and praising God for the beauty he created all around us. LIVE LIFE. No matter how hard. The creativity and realness will flow from it.



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

we're all readers here

We can talk about writing well all we want to, but our desire to write stems from the fact that as children, we fell in love with books. So here's my question to you... what is your favorite book? Of all time? comment with the title and author. Why is it your favorite?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Write Real

One of the strangest oddities about being a writer stems from our strange propensity to write about life rather than live it. Rationally, writing is how we process the world. It's our little hole through which we view things. It alters the light through which we showcase our thoughts and emotions.

But what about REAL life? Not just the life we write about. Certainly the life we write about is altered and effected by real life. But in order to KEEP writing about life, we have to keep living it. Go outside, sit on a park bench, go to a restaurant, go shopping or take a hike. GET OUT. Live real life. Take note of the little details of everyday life so that you can better describe it in your stories.

One of the things I like to do is carry around a small notebook with me - one that snaps or ties closed. Every time I experience some noteworthy moment - even something as odd as feeling perturbed over the person sitting in the pew behind me poking me with their foot because the put their feet up to rest on my pew. Things like that. Jot down the exact feeling you get when your crush waves at you at school. Write down all those moments! They'll help you add something real to your writing.

When real emotions and experiences are littered throughout your writing, your reader will pause when their read it and smile because they KNOW that feeling you wrote about. they experience it in their own lives.

Write Real. Write something that isn't so far fetched.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Advertising Christ Through Our Writing

I was at my younger brother’s little league game the other day. His team is sponsored by “Kleenex” and “Kelloggs”—and their uniforms proudly show it off. Why do major businesses often sponsor sports teams? They’re looking for some advertising. Think about it: Every time a little kid walks into a public place with his uniform on, he’s advertising the business that sponsored his team. Not only do people notice the business, they also notice that the business did something good for the community by sponsoring a team. So . . . I got to thinking. As a Christian writer, God is my biggest “sponsor.” All Christians have God’s sponsorship over everything they do. That’s pretty cool if you think about it. I also realized that we writers can learn a thing or two from the little league foundation. When God sponsors us, we need to advertise Him through our writing (forgive my business terms). Our writings (if we choose to show them to other people) are like baseball jerseys—people notice them, and when they “advertise” Christ, people notice that, too. If we are Christians, our writing can be used as an incredible missionary tool!

Monday, April 29, 2013

That Vague Little Thing Called Writer's Block

What happens when you just can't write... Ick. Such an awful realization. For us Seat-of-the-pantsers, it's like a death sentence. Plotters usually have an easier time getting back into the swing of things.

So what do you do? We live for writing. It's the very air we breathe sometimes. When that air is gone, life seems pretty empty. But somewhere out there, a solution has to be waiting.

Well, here's my ideas... the things that I do. Considering that I'm a Seat-of-the-pants writer, I can't promise that these things will help a Plotter.

  1. Often, we are inspired by seeing things around us and since Writer's Block stems from lack of inspiration or motivation, one of the counters to Writer's Block, is getting excited about a new story or an old one. Try watching a movie that has a similar or completely different plot. Sometimes different can give you new ideas. Or read a book. Same idea. And if the story is historical or themed... Go to a location that relates to the setting. Seeing my setting always gets me excited to start telling a story. Museums help too. They get the wheels in my head turning
  2. Other times, Writer's Block means you have no motivation to write whatsoever. That's a dreadful place to be. The best thing I can say, is sit down at your computer and type until you get yourself into a rhythm. Do some editing on old work. Just force yourself to focus. Eventually writing will become habit and the words will come a little easier. 
  3. Something else that helps... Move away from your current project and work on something else. I always have 2 stories that I work on simultaneously. One that is my primary project, and another that I use when I get Writer's Block. Working on something fresh takes my mind of wherever I got stuck on and gets it going. Eventually, the old project becomes appealing again. 
Well... that's what I do. If you have any other tips for Writer's Block, comment with your solution below. Let's ban together to defeat that vague little thing called Writer's Block!


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Test Time!

What makes books good or bad? Oftentimes, even we (writers) can’t really tell exactly what makes a book a winner. Sure, we know if there is an exciting plot, excellent imagery, or beautiful, poetic writing. But sometimes we can’t tell exactly what made this book appealing to us—and why it appealed to the people who published it. And if we can’t tell that for ourselves, how will we know how to make our own books or stories winners? I’m the type of girl who has a hard time putting down a book—even if it’s really mundane. I just can’t stand the thought of not finishing something. That has been to my determent, because I haven’t come to realize what it is in the book that makes me not want to keep reading. I just read on, no matter what. So I’ve started an exercise. When I go to the library, I head to my favorite section (definitely the Christian Historical Fiction) and I pick out three books. Two of them are books that I definitely want to read (usually ones that friends recommend or that I have a steadfast trust in the author). Then, for the third one, I pick a random book that I’ve never heard of. I read this book until 45 pages (I found out that this is usually the farthest point a bored reader will read to until they finally put it down). After that, I stop, and I write a paragraph in a designated notebook about why or why not I want to continue with this book. Is it a successful plot? Has the story engaged me from the beginning? Have the characters’ voices engaged me from the beginning? After I write my paragraph, I can use the pros I found in my own stories, and I can make sure not to use any of the cons I found, too. It’s a great exercise—and I’ve even found a few new favorite authors!