Do you listen to anything while you are writing? More specifically, do you listen to music while you write? I have found that it helps inspire certain types of scenes. For example, if you are writing a romantic scene, you might listen to some easy listening type of music. Also, if you need inspiration for danger within a scene, you could listen to music that brings across that feeling of foreboding.
Years ago I was listening to some music while writing some poetry. As a happy surprise, when reading the poem later after it was finished, I was told by others that they could “hear” a song while reading it because there was a cadence to the words as they read them.
Add music to your “playdough” mix of words. The results may surprise you.
While you write, you accumulate many many pages of writings. Some of them you use and some of them you don’t. You may even keep a journal with your ideas in it. Or, you might also have a three ring binder you keep notes and writings in. After some months or years, you publish a novel or two. What do YOU do with your notes and writings after you’ve published your book(s)? Do you keep them? Do you throw them away?
If you throw them away, that’s your choice. You are well within your rights to do that. BUT, that means later you can’t go back and look over them when you need inspiration. Yes, inspiration. Let’s say you’re in the middle of writing book 3 and you are stuck. Will you have those old writings to draw from? You never know what might get your “gears” going again.
On Twitter the other day an author I follow asked this question: ‘In four words, why do you write?’ I tried to answer this in four words, and I couldn’t do it. Why? I couldn’t find the right words. My mind went blank. Then later I realized, I couldn’t quite capture the joy writing gives me using any amount of words. It makes me feel that great internally. Inside, when I write, my self-worth heightens, my joy and excitement about creating something heightens. Yes, it may need to be worked on and rewritten later to perfect it, but that’s part of the fun. So, if I had to choose four words to explain why I write, I would choose these:
Do you warm up your writing engine before you start working on your writing project? I guess I would have to say, for me, it’s split 50/50. Sometimes I will warm up and sometimes I won’t. It all depends on whether or not the creative juices are flowing when I sit down to write. If I know what I’m going to write next in my work in progress (WIP), I don’t do a warm up. If I’m stuck, I do a warm up. That will get the ideas flowing again.
Types of Warmup Exercises
Writing a blog article
Write a poem
Look at a painting/picture:
Describe the setting
Describe what’s is going on (Remember, a picture is worth 1000 words)
Write a poem using your descriptions (Who knows, you might be able to use it in your WIP)
Take a walk in a cemetery. Speculate about the people who once lived. What do you think they looked like? What do you think they did for a living? How do you think they died and/or what’s the story behind it? Come up with scenarios/stories regarding random people. Did they know each other? If so, what was their relationship? You could go on and on with this.
Go to the beach. What do you see? What connections can you make with what’s in front of you? Maybe the people you see walking along the beach are sea people. If so, why are they there on the beach? What’s their story? (FEEL FREE TO STEAL THIS IDEA IF YOU LIKE)
Don’t be daunted by the blank page ever again. The only reason the blank page is a stopper is because nothing is there. So put something in your head first before you look at that blank page, then you’ll be able to readily transfer it to the blank page when you look at it.
Whether you know it or not, you leave tracks of yourself in places. No, I don’t mean visible tracks. Although, I bet that’s what many of you were thinking after you read that sentence, LOL. Seriously though, when we write and others read our work, something from you is left behind. It could be a mental picture, an emotion, a thought(s) or opinion about the story or stories, a yearning to read more (or less). Whatever it is you leave behind, a mark is left, and it’s a mark no other writer can leave.
Each writer has his/her own mark that is indigenous to them. No other writer can replicate it no matter how hard they try. It’s all in your word choice and expressions you use. When someone edits your work, be sure they don’t alter the YOU you put in it. If they do, then they’re putting themselves in it, and you don’t want that. I don’t think they do this on purpose. It’s something that happens and we need to be aware of it. But hey, you might like what they did with it and keep the changes they made.
Leaving a mark also means giving of yourself, so others can take the good you pass on and use it. Maybe it will inspire them to become a writer. That happened with me. When I was in middle school, I read a short story my older sister wrote about a young girl who goes and stays with her grandpa for the summer. It was a very heart warming story, and it left me wanting to write like that too. Although, I don’t write like her. I write like me, and I write fantasy fiction. That’s the only story she ever wrote, and I wish she wrote more. She’d make a great children’s author. But I was inspired by her because of the MARK she left by her own writing.
Everyone has an odyssey of sorts. If you are still in your 20’s, your odyssey is still in the beginning stages. If your are older, say in your 50’s, your odyssey is still in progress, but you have quite a life journey up to that point even more so.
We all have experiences that lead us somewhere. Maybe yours led you exactly to the point at which you wanted to be, even though how you got there wasn’t the road you wanted to take. Or, maybe it was. If you’re a writer, your odyssey is chucked full of material from which you can choose to include in your story. This goes along with a post I did earlier that talked about writing what you know. Today I want to touch on the variety of events in one’s journey/odyssey. I’ll use my own as an example.
My odyssey is in 2 parts. The first part started out in the beautiful state of Michigan, which is where I’m from. There isn’t a lack of places to camp and swim because of the huge coastline due to the lakes we have access to year round. As a result, my family camped quite a bit. The explorations, hiking, bike riding, fishing, and swimming added to the adventures. One summer at the age of 16 was the last camping trip me and my family went on together. An incident happened involving me. A moment of tragedy can happen in an instant but last a lifetime. This began the beginning of my second odyssey. From this point forward there was much I had to overcome, and it wasn’t easy. I, like many human beings, made right decisions and wrong decisions. These decisions helped me to learn and grow from. They gave me something to reflect on and use in order to mature and end up at a place in my life that leaves me saying to myself, “I made it. The journey was rough, but I made it.”
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t still decisions and mistakes to be made, but at least now I have some concrete lessons to base my decision making process on. I’m more informed. Even more, I have something I can reflect on by using these experiences in my books, which is what I did in my novel The Triunix of Time. The book isn’t about my life, but some truths lay within it. In your stories, you will embed your own truths, as many writers do. What I found by doing this is that these bits of truth enrich the story itself because you are leaving your mark. Your feelings regarding them come through to the reader by way of your story characters, your descriptions, and the like.
Don’t use all of your odyssey in one story/book (unless you’re writing an autobiography). Use them as they apply to the story you’re writing. This way, in future books/stories you will have more to use.
What inspires you? Is it a beach somewhere? Is it on a balcony overlooking palm trees and a beautiful garden? Is it on your couch at home in the comfort of your living room and your imagination? I’ve done my story writing at my kitchen table a few times, but truthfully, it’s difficult for me to be creative that way. I love being comfortable, so on my couch it is. If I’m writing while at a beach or outside at a park, I’d rather take my writing journal and put pen to paper. We all have our preferred modes of writing. What’s yours?
Another way to find inspiration is to use Pinterest. Yes, Pinterest. I do this. I have private boards for my fiction writing use. In each of these private boards I have sections for each type part of my story I’m working on.
These sections include:
For great information on how use Pinterest for your writing, click the 4:45 minute YouTube link below.
I would love to hear about what inspires you and what your favorite places to write are, so please feel free to comment.