Welcome to the sixth month of the year! I can’t believe it. It’s officially June and that means beach reads, porch reads, and even on the plane to vacation reads. July’s Camp NaNoWriMo is right around the corner and rapidly approaching. There are lots of new releases coming out in June, and very few books to film (actually I cheated, there were none, but Jurassic World kind of counts?).
Make sure you get out and enjoy the sun, but don’t forget your book!
the book report
Last month I highlighted a new celebrity penned book by Anna Kendrick, this month, let's talk about another wonderful actress, Mindy Kaling. This will be Mindy’s second book release, her first, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)", was a memoir and rated nearly four stars. “Why Not Me?” is a collection of essays that are sure to have you laughing. It’s scheduled for release on September 9th. Make sure to read the full Huffington Post article for more information.
Have you ever wondered why writers use fake names? Pen names? Noms de plume? Well now you can learn about some of the most famous and most active pen name using authors with a handy infographic. Dr. Seuss was created after a drinking scandal at Dartmouth. A common reason for them is for women to hide their gender. Many authors change their names to make them more pronounceable. Read about more famous pen named authors and leave a comment here with what your pen name would be if you used one!
It has been awhile since I’ve had an article spotlight on the blog, so here’s a great one. 7 Lessons You Need to Learn When Writing Your Book written by Maria Ross. I’ll admit to having learned a few of these lessons… and to not have learned a few of them yet either. (Specifically number 1) Here’s a few of my favorite points from her article, make sure to visit Huffington Post and give it a full read.
1. Discipline your muse:
Sorry, folks. Inspiration doesn't always just "strike" especially when you're on deadline. If you sit down and start writing, just like showing up to a job, you'll produce brilliance on some days and crap on others. And if you need to take a break one day, take it. Ditch the guilt and then get back to the work tomorrow.
2. Commit out loud:
People need to understand your schedule may be different. You might not be at your spouse's beck and call and you may have to pass up on certain activities. How do you make this happen? Not by hiding your writing in the dark of night, but by sharing your goal with the people in your life. State your intentions out loud so you not only force yourself to commit but you set others' expectations of your time and attention.
3. Get comfortable with feedback:
No one is perfect and every writer will tell you that good writing is re-writing. You need objective outsiders to review your work, especially from professional editors and proofreaders. What may make sense in your own head could leave readers scratching theirs.
4. Picture your reader:
It helps to identify your audience as a real person: picture an actual reader. You absolutely need to be clear about for whom you are writing and what they will get. What questions might they have? What information would they want to know? What would move, delight or inspire them?
5. Prepare for diverse reactions:
This one was a shocker. Turns out, the people I thought would be most excited by my book writing efforts expressed passing interest (if that) and others who I thought wouldn't give a damn became my best cheerleaders. At first, it really irritated me and, honestly, made chipped away at my confidence. Here I was, doing something that absolutely petrified me, and it was like certain people close to me were not even acknowledging it. But I finally learned that my big dream was big to me and people are usually just doing the best they know how. They have their own lives to live and dreams to pursue and may not even realize how deeply their reactions (or non-reactions) are hurting you.
6. Prepare for self-doubt....often:
This is natural when you follow a dream. Someone once said that if you're scared, then you know you're doing the right thing. Every writer has at one point during the writing process thought, "What the hell am I doing?" But if you believe in yourself, your knowledge, and your story -- and never lose sight of the value it will provide -- that will help you stay the course.
Everyone's a little different...
What's your motivator?
Happy May the fourth everyone! Last month was crazy and it made me realize how much I really enjoy the blog of mine.
If you haven't had a chance to check out my progress from Camp NaNoWriMo, you can read my two update posts (midway and finish). This month I’ve got some great stuff planned! New book reviews, a series of reader interviews, and Fiction Friday posts with all new content from Keeper’s! Stay tuned for that excitement, but for now… let’s get back to the news!
the book report
I tend to stay away from politics on this blog as just the mere mention of the word can spark anger and debate, but I think this article is one every reader can agree with. More children need more books. Books are the keys to learning, imagination and creative thinking, and there’s nothing negative that can come from that. So when Obama announced his support for providing e-books to low income students, you bet I am on-board.
As a writer words fascinate me, honestly, it’s part of the job and when creative uses of words, or new word creations find their way to me I giggle and feel the need to share them with the world. The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows invented three new words to use for some very sad emotions, all three are amazing and really seem to encapsulate the feeling of their definitions. If those words have you down, try Rhett and Link’s YouTube video, on 6 Words That Don’t Exist in English. Their humor and wit makes their creative and frankly, crazy, words all the more interesting and fun to watch.
Now for some lighter news! If anyone is not yet a fan of Anna Kendrick (follow her twitter, she’s amazing!) she is releasing a book of essays in the coming months. She’s most known for acting in Twilight, Pitch Perfect 1&2, and Into The Woods. She’s honest and jovial and her book, I’m sure, will not disappoint.
Lastly, let’s end on a fun note. Joe Hale is a crazy crazy creative. He’s authored the entirety of Alice in Wonderland through Emoji. Enjoy the wacky read!
Its been awhile since I’ve written a proper article spotlight, so lets change that. Quite a while ago I found this article and have been using its wisdom ever since, I do admit to forgetting to share out the tidbits with you. It was written by Writer’s Relief*, a service that can help author’s manage the business of their writing. Make sure to check out the full article via Huffington Post, below is only a snippet of the full article and it’s worth reading.
Diagnosis: Self-Doubt. We’ve all wondered at some point: What if I’m not any good? A writer’s self-doubt is tough to overcome.
Remedy: Letting others evaluate your work is necessary for constructive criticism and growth as a writer. You can start small by having a close friend or relative read your work. Taking that first step will give you the confidence to show your work to a broader audience.
Diagnosis: Impatient Attitude. We know, we know: You want your writing to reach as many readers as soon as possible. But impatience doesn’t just cause unnecessary stress -- it negatively affects your writing. Rushing will divert your focus from creating quality work to worrying about your typing speed.
Remedy: Take a chill-pill and relax, re-read, and rewrite. Take the time you need to achieve your goals without sacrificing quality!
*Note: I have not used the services provided by Writer's Relief, nor am I endorsing it or recommending it, I simply enjoyed their article via Huffington Post and wanted to share it with you.
Creativity is tricky and without inspiration it can be like trying to swim up stream, how do you overcome creativity block?
Share your tips and tricks in the comments below.
Today I want to share my excitement with you! I got a new totally beast laser printer to replace my, still amazing but not what I needed, old inkjet printer. … what do you mean why is that exciting?! Fine, let me tell you.
1. Remove the distractions. Nothing is more difficult than trying to write through distractions, find a way to avoid them. Write after the kids go to bed, before the spouse wakes up, or go to a coffee shop to work. Don’t forget social media. Log-out of Facebook, sign out of twitter, and if you have to… invest in an internet blocker.
2. *Write as if your readers are beside you, listening to the story unfold. I found when I got hung up on a passage of the story it would help to step back and just explain it, simply, out loud. Imagine you are explaining to a friend how events unfolded, and write it down verbatim. This helped me get over writing "humps," and moments where my prose would get convoluted.
5. Find something to inspire you while you write. Find a quiet and cozy space to curl up in or the perfect music to listen to. Make sure whatever you pick isn't too distracting though or you may end up doing more harm than good. I really enjoy writing at my gaming pc (my keyboard is super comfy) while listening to Battlestar Galactica's sound track, but I enjoy editing with my favorite red pen on my garden porch in the sun.
*As mentioned above, a few of these tips have been pulled from "13 Tips for Writing a Novel” by Chaker Khazaal. I am not claiming ownership of his words, make sure to check out his full list of 13 steps for more amazing insight.
Do you have your own tips/tricks for your creative process?
Share them in the comments below.
There's talk recently of the effects technology has begun having on our human bodies, poor posture from cell phone use, disrupted circadian rhythm from blue lights, and even being too busy can be seen as a disease. All of which I agree with. Just like any other addiction, moderation is the key to battling anything, removing it completely is not always a necessary response. My addiction is organization, and in 2015, I am working to channel my addiction into helping guide me, not create more anxiety.
I love schedules. I have schedules for my schedules. Really, I do. I have my 9-5 calendar for work and at 5 it switches to my home calendar. I have paper calendars, whiteboard calendars, digital calendars, multiple email ones, and sticky reminders and digital ones too. And to answer your question, yes I know I have a problem. Over the years I have tried many different ways to streamline my schedules and consolidate, even give them up entirely, but I can do it. I'm a coordinator for a group of people whose job it is extremely important, and that makes my job valuable and my scheduling fascination an asset.
Write, write, write, and then write some more. You can never write enough. Write all the time, and try to do it everyday. Even if it's a short stream of consciousness, write it down. Writing improvement requires practice and even though it may fill silly sometimes writing about nothing, do it anyway.
Create a schedule. Yup, you heard me, a schedule. Knowing that every Monday I have a commitment to publishing a blog/article/news post for you keeps me on track 90% of the time. I have those events scheduled, giving me some boundaries. But I've also created a few more relaxed boundaries too, such as at least one book review a week. This commitment I don't have tied down to a day of the week, but a seven day range is plenty enough of a guide rail to keep me going.
As a writer my biggest concern is lack of critique or even the incorrect type of critique. Now before you think I'm ungrateful for the people who help me with my writing, let me explain. Not all feedback is created equal and I thrive off of the great critique. Here's a great article I found that explains a bit more how find a great beta reader and as one how to help a writer by being a beta reader and providing feedback that is valuable.
Accept that honesty is the best policy. You want the person critiquing your work to be honest about the quality of your writing. That’s how you become a better writer.
But providing honest feedback doesn’t mean the reader offering the critique gets to be a snarky bully! Stay away from any critique partner whose big head comes with an equally big, disagreeable mouth.
Define boundaries. Be clear about what you expect from your critique partner.
And don’t forget that your beta reader will have some expectations too. Know up front how and when you’ll be expected to reciprocate.
Decide whether to meet in person or online. Both options have their benefits. Communicating online offers more scheduling flexibility and interacting online also gives your beta reader an opportunity to carefully word his or her comments and lets you take some time to process any criticisms before you respond.
However, meeting in person also has merits. Since writing is often a solitary pursuit, exchanging ideas face-to-face can offer a nice change of pace and lead to more productive results.
By carefully considering the person behind the critique, you’ll choose a partner who will offer unbiased advice and genuine encouragement, and ultimately improve your writing skills.
Are you a beta reader looking to support a fresh author?
Or are you an author looking for a beta reader?
Leave your information below or PM me and we can chat. :-)
Inspiration can strike from anywhere, and the more an author gets out and experiences life the more life they can add into their writing. Life experiences can shape an author who in turn create and infuse their characters with life and enrich their stories with depth and relatability. As an introvert, "going out" and experiencing life is something I tend to struggle with. The article below has a few suggestions to help find new story ideas that are both introvert and extrovert friendly, make sure to check out the entire article on Huffington Post.
Go for a Walk
No seriously, get up right now and go for a walk. We'll wait. If walking isn't an option, any moderate, repetitive exercise can provide similar benefits.
Freewriting--getting words down on paper without structure or limits--can unlock your creativity in unexpected ways.
It's easy to do: just grab a notebook or a blank word document, set a timer for ten or fifteen minutes, and write steadily until your time is up.
In his excellent book On Writing, Stephen King wrote, "If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that." Great writing can inspire you to new heights.
When you want to get some serious work done, turn off the TV, lock your phone in a drawer (in another room, if necessary). You'll be amazed at the ideas that emerge once you give yourself a little peace and quiet.
Observe and Record
Go out and spend twenty or thirty minutes watching people. Observe how they speak, the gestures they make, the clothes they wear. Make up little stories about them and their lives--give them names if you want to--and write down your thoughts and observations in a notebook.
Do you have other ways to get over creativity block? Share them in the comments below and you may just inspire someone else!
What exactly is a writer? As the months have passed by, I have found myself asking that question and having to defend writing as a practical job. I've found that writers are researchers, artists, interior decorators, counselors and infinite other things.
Check out the full article from Mary Novaria about what authors actually occupy their "free-time" with.
In the waiting room at the dentist, we pay attention to how people cross their legs, bite their lips and hold their purses; we notice the tone they take when speaking to children.
Even when we procrastinate, we are working, because we are so consciously aware of the fact that we are NOT producing in that moment but we're thinking about WHAT we're going to say when we actually do sit down at the computer. We can't even read for the sheer pleasure of it. Everything is a dissection.
And as we try to calm our brains enough to sleep at night we remember a forgotten detail and fumble in the dark for a pen or the notes app on our iPhone, jotting down some gem that, honestly, might not seem so noteworthy in the morning.
I ran across this fantastic article and have pulled out below some of my favorite passages. I highly encourage you to follow the link and keep reading, this article is well written, easy to relate to and relevant for any reader.
Self-knowledge: The most moving (and enduring) books you collect are those that become a mirror. This mirror is placed in front of you when you read something that has you nodding along and thinking, yes, that is how it is. You just found a part of yourself.
Presence: Reading helps you remain calm. It's as therapeutic as anything else. Once you start digging into a book that's caught your attention, time ceases to exist, your mind is completely immersed in what is in front of you.
Joy: Reading is a pleasure -- it ought to be. Nobody has any time to read books you don't like. Life is too short to read books that don't bring you joy, or worse, that don't matter at all. Read what enriches your life, and your life will change because of it.
Books can be powerful tools, what is one of your most memorable ways that a book has helped you grow or change. Share your feelings in the comments below.