Tag Archives: short post

Routine

My professor for fiction writing, years ago, told us that the key to writing daily was to get into a routine. Find a specific time of day you want to write and do it, every day.

Except every time I tried, I failed. I continue in some amalgam of a routine, writing usually at night, going into the late hours and hedging into my sleep, more often than not. But I can’t set a rigorous schedule. As you’ll see in the article I link, there are some who agree with me.

But then there are those who don’t. Who speak highly of the routine, of a set schedule of how and when to write and have much to say of the benefits of it.

Either way, I invite you to read the gorgeous piece of The Psychology of Writing and the Cognitive Science of the Perfect Daily Routine by Brainpickings.

-The Novice Wordsmith

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Intimidated

There are days where I feel enlivened and encouraged to go above and beyond for all of my goals in writing and in all other aspects of my life.

And then there are days like today, where I just feel like it’s pointless to try and want to step back from holding up all of these hopes and thoughts and enthusiasms to let my arms rest. When there isn’t much of an end in sight, you get a little hopeless, and today is one of those days.

Unfortunate as it is.

I can be optimistic, but on any other day than today.

The Novice Wordsmith

Prompt: Double Dare

I want to point out first that the intention isn’t to say that you need to do both, just that there’s two here when normally there’s only one! Though that’s not to say you can’t if you want to!

New Year’s focused: Write a story where each of the notable events of 2014, big and small, make an appearance somehow. You could be walking through town, a favorite hero could be talking to a friend or co-worker, or it could be a reflective piece. The goal is to highlight your previous year and look back at everything you did and that happened.

Non-New Year’s focused: Figure out something you would never do, and then write someone ( a character on your roster or someone else completely random and new) doing that. Do they like it? How much different is their experience from how you would encounter it?

Happy writing and, of course, happy 2015!

-The Novice Wordsmith

New Year’s Quiet

I was going to write something long and profound but I couldn’t muster up the desire after I got home from work. It was coming along beautifully, but I may have it wait for Friday or so.

With that, it’s been very quiet around wordpress because of the holidays, so I figured that waiting for the lull to pass might be a better idea. A short prompt/dare will be up on Thursday, as per usual, though, and like I said, I might write something on Friday.

For now, I hope everyone enjoys their new year celebrations! Be safe and happy new year!

-The Novice Wordsmith

Dare: Summarize

Today’s dare is not character or plot centric, but in consideration of your whole novel(s), short stories, or scripts, or articles.

When you pick up a book, look at the back or the inside flap, and you’ll see, obviously, a summary of what’s going on. This pulls you in, gives you an idea of what you’re about to read, and a glimpse at what is about to happen within the pages. They are what we rely on when we decide if we want to read a book or not, usually.

Write a cover summary like this for one of your works. How would you word the conflict? Think about how engaging the first sentence is, would you want to keep reading on?

Don’t hesitate to look at examples, either. There’s a format and a tone typical to those brief pieces.

If you’ve already done something like this before, think about how you felt about it. Would you do anything differently? Do you like doing it, or would you rather have someone else do it for you?

This exercise, as I see it, is a good way to help you look at your work at a different angle. Summarizing, you are able to make broad strokes about what’s contained in all of your thousands (or less than) of words. Though vague, it helps to come up with a bigger picture. In that, it forces you to think about what are the most important points of the work.

If your weakest point is summarizing, or you have a big piece of work in front of you, this can also be a very helpful exercise, seeing as it helps you pick out what to mention and what needs or doesn’t require any wordspace.

Most of all, good luck, if you plan to take on the challenge!

-The Novice Wordsmith

Recovery

The past couple of Decembers have been the same for me in that I usually take them to do less writing than I did in November. After writing 50k+ words in a single month, even if I’m in love with the piece, I need a break.

Whether it’s hours on a game or watching movies, shows, and doing something mindless, or maybe reading, I indulge all sorts of different stimuli. Though I still manage to write– trying to keep up daily– it dwindles in quantity by a bit to accommodate my tiredness. Whatever it takes to recoup.

Which, after looking at it that way, sounds a lot like burnout. And that is a dangerous, awful little devil thing, but it happens, and sometimes it’s hard to avoid.

Setting my hands down is a hard thing to do. Keeping myself from running because I’ve pushed too hard a few days in a row is also very difficult, but they are the same in essence: recovery. You need to pause and rebuild to be able to go again.

Another thing is being able to write other stuff, which, NaNoWriMo, unless you decide to do more than one 50k novel a piece, then you’re stuck for 30 days with an idea, no matter how much you like it. That on its own can be a huge drain. Not having the pure freedom to move around and do something else feels like a lock, even if, like I said, you really enjoy the topic: sometimes you just have to let your mind wander elsewhere.

Days of frustration and restlessness and calamity and loud and blocked off can also be lumped in the category of things to recover from, though, from my experience, those take much less time. Bad days can still have an effect, and sometimes you just need to keep from pushing.

If you ask me, however, getting over writer’s block can be as simple as filling your head with new stimuli or as difficult as trying to figure out how to keep from feeling like writing is a huge chore. I have absolutely had friends who spent months not writing because they couldn’t get over their block, and part of me still wonders if they were even trying.

Some of these options require work, and some don’t. It depends on what ails you, really. It also depends on what you want to do.

I know I will never be part of the group that simply waits out the block instead of doing something about it, though, and I am very okay with that. As long as I get time to kick back when I don’t have to be in a frenzy.

-The Novice Wordsmith

Updates!

It’s been a more sparse week than usual, so I wanted to apologize for that, but I have news and some upcoming things happening!

In an attempt for variety and exposure, a couple new items will be added to the posts. I’ve been wondering how to do this for a little while and I think I know what I want to do now. One of the regular posts will be a follower/followed spotlight, for those blogs that are writing based, and some that aren’t. Which, another reason for this, is to vary up what I put on this blog, and to give more than just advice and prompts.

I want to be a font of knowledge, but I got worried that I was being too narrow and limiting myself by only writing posts of what I encounter and not taking from the already wide world of information that’s before me. That comes in the form of other, more successful bloggers (in many senses), and their own experiences, so I would start doing some reblogging as well, which I have always been very apprehensive about. It feels sort of like a cop out, but it is genuinely about expanding the blog.

So, actually reblogging things, and giving a showcase of blogs that I follow or of those that follow me! Also likely that I’ll start posting on Fridays again. Pending how busy the week is for me.

I am enjoying not having to write 1700+ words every day, though, and being able to take a short break from heavy duty writing feels good. I did manage to hit 50k on the 26th, but kept writing, albeit slowly and not as much, until the 30th. Like I said in an earlier post, I rewarded my struggle and efforts on the last day with a massive chocolate cupcake that was way too decadent and rich but so delicious.

I will probably never have one of those again because holy crap that’s unhealthy, but I was glad to indulge. Pictures were taken to document its enormity, even! I’ll put those up soon because cupcake. As soon as I learn how to resize them…

As always, if you have questions, comments or suggestions, they’re all welcome! Thank you for your patience with me this week!

-The Novice Wordsmith

Prompt: In Review

In spectacularly predictable fashion, this prompt is dedicated to looking back at the past year. Also unsurprisingly,  this is one of my favorite things to do, to see how much I’ve changed and any improvements or if maybe things didn’t go so well.

Hit pause and step back, look at things now. How many new characters did you introduce this year? Did you kill anyone off for good? Relationships have come and gone, and plotlines come in just the same, but what was the most exciting, surprising part of this year that opened up to you in your writing?

Your writing in general, has it gotten better? Have you published something or started publishing, or maybe you’ve gotten a following on your self-publishing, on Amazon or Wattpad?

Look over your shoulder at the past year, regard it, and pick out what you liked and didn’t like about it. Everything you finished and some things you let hang, what  you tried to accomplish and couldn’t manage, or never got to. All of the different stories you wrote, the challenges you took on, and what you found to be your best work of the year.

A year is a long time, but it can feel like it goes by so quick, and either way, so much can happen in all that time.

When you’re done looking backward, look ahead. Figure out what new goals to set for yourself this year. How far do you want to push yourself? What needs improvement? What needs to be toned down? Most of all, where do you see yourself in a year in terms of your writing?

Next week’s prompt won’t be as predictable, but I hope you enjoy this one anyway!

-The Novice Wordsmith