June 1, 2018- We’ve all been there; we’re on our sixth cup of coffee, it’s two o’clock in the afternoon, and we’ve been staring at our blinking cursor on a blank page for almost an hour. The sound of our head thudding off our desk is the only sound except for the voice in our head that screams, “You’re a failure! You’re a no talent hack who can’t write!” And this is on a good day! Ok, maybe that’s just me. Nonetheless, we’ve all been stuck at one time or another while trying to write the next New York Times Best Seller. I want to arm you with some tools for your toolbox the next time you get stuck, so I’ll share with you my dirty little secrets for getting inspired!
- I change ANYTHING. Seriously. When I’m stuck creatively, I change anything that I possibly can. There were two weeks where I switched sides of the bed with my husband to see if I could get out of my creative writing rut and guess what? It worked! Why? Because any time you change up your perception, creativity happens! It’s true, sometimes the simplest switch in your routine is just the kick in the ass that you need. Also, try switching up your location, go to the mall, go for coffee, sit in nature for a while, do whatever it takes to get inspired.
- Read outside of your genre. If you’re writing non-fiction, read anything fiction based. If you are writing a thriller, read a romance, if you’re writing a romance, read a biography. Reading outside of your genre does two things to help your creativity, it expands your imagination, and it lets you take a much needed mental break. I write books that are psych thrillers, and sometimes I need a break from the genre so what do I do? I pick up the total opposite to read during my leisure. My choices have ranged from The Unauthorized Biography of Axl Rose to cozy romances, and everything in between. It works and lets me escape from the murders and dismemberments that I have created.
- Use writing prompts. The internet is full of writing prompts and my advice to you, if you’re stuck is to start writing ANYTHING. Scour the headlines for something that you can expand into a storyline, go on Pinterest and type in writing prompts and I can assure you that you’ll come up with something. Re-write one of your favourite fairytales or movies to have a completely different ending! The important thing is to write and keep writing.
What tips do you have for other aspiring authors? What’s the best advice that you can offer them to get unstuck? Sound off in the comments below!
March 8, 2018- I feel that the title to this particular post is slightly misleading. It’s not really a How-To type of post, but rather some real world tips on I personally finished two novels this year. I’m no different than you are. I have a family, pets, a household and I am the head of two companies and counting. I am a wife, a sister, an aunt, a daughter, a writer, a publisher, a public speaker, a teacher, and I enjoy lots of different hobbies in my free time, just like you! With all of these demands on my time, how is it even remotely possible that I’d be able to finish one novel in a year, let alone two? Here’s a not so secret, secret; I write when I can, wherever I can, when there are spaces in between.
That’s not saying that I’m not disciplined with my writing, but there are some days that get skipped because there are more pressing demands on my time. Personally, this is my process and this process will be different from author to author.
- I start with an idea– I have at least 6 notebooks that are packed to the brim with story ideas or as I like to call them, story starters. That’s not to say that I’ll use all of them or any of them, but this allows me to start brainstorming when inspiration strikes. I read them every now and again and more often than not, they lead me to begin forward motion on my writing.
- I create an outline-If anyone has sat in on any of my classes, they know how mental I am about outlining! Outlining allows me to know what the story is about, where it’s going, and how it ends. I don’t need to know every single detail, but I need a general idea and some good bones of the story to get a feel for it. Sometimes my outlines are elaborate, sometimes they’re simple. It depends and most of the time there is no rhyme or reason for which way I decide to do it.
- I write in between-As mentioned earlier in my post, I write in scraps of time that I manage to pull together here and there. I write in notebooks, and on pieces of napkin, on backs of discarded envelopes, and on my phone. I write wherever I can and whenever I can. I write while waiting in the doctors office, I write while on hold on a phone call, I write in my truck if I arrive ten minutes early to an appointment and I write in between meetings. THIS is the single most effective thing that I have ever done to finish my novels, because let’s face it, no one sits down to start and finish a novel all in one shot.
With all things considered, I urge you to write in a disciplined manner, setting aside blocks of time each day to tackle your novel, but don’t neglect those stolen moments.
December 1, 2017- I absolutely love coming across new writing prompts. Not only does it help writers sharpen their skills, but it also allows us to write about things that we may not normally write about. There are different types of writing prompts and here are a few examples below. Try a couple of these per day!