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Don’t wait for “Someday” to start writing

This is one of Bri’s earliest posts on the blog. I’m bringing it back now because it’s such a great motivator for all of us procrastinators out there… those dreamer, wanna-be writers who need to change mindset and become REAL writers. So read on, and get ready to turn “someday” into TODAY!

“‘Someday.’ That’s a dangerous word…It’s really just a code for ‘never.’”

Quick! Name that movie! If you guessed Knight and Day, you are correct! If not, well, better luck next time.

Have you ever used that word? “Someday, I’m going to…” Most of us have, and since you are reading this blog, I’m assuming the rest of the sentence has something to do with writing.

When is your someday? Is it after you graduate? After the kids graduate? Maybe you are planning your someday for after you get a raise or even after you retire.

For us writers, I’m willing to bet our someday almost always has to do with having more time. Let’s face it; writing takes up a lot of time! And worse, it’s focused time, alone time. It’s don’t-you-know-I-can’t-write-and-carry-on-a-conversation time. And who has that kind of time?

However, I think someday needs to be today. Seriously. If you wait around until someday comes around, you take the chance someday will never come, or if it does, isn’t what you thought it was. There will always be demands on your time, but when something is important to you, you make time for it. If writing is important, make time now for it.

Try this. There are 168 hours in a week. Can you find two for your writing? You’re a writer, you’re supposed to be creative, so think creatively! Here’s what I came up with off the top of my head (or, er, the hours I’ve been composing this in my head…)

  • Rent a movie for the kids once a week and write while they watch
  • Go to bed an hour later twice a week, or get up earlier (unless you are like me and you turn into either a zombie or Dr. Jekyll one hair away from morphing into Mr. Hyde. In that case, please sleep!)
  • Here’s something radical: don’t go on social media for a day! Every time you start to go on social media, do some writing instead
  • Carry a journal and a pen with you everywhere and anytime you have five minutes, do some brainstorming or outlining. Use your lunch hours and all that time waiting around for appointments or people
  • Make an appointment with yourself and keep it as if it was a doctor’s appointment
  • Anything else you can think of! Like I said, be creative. For most of us, the time is there if we make writing a priority

Get a calendar and flip ahead to a year from today. Writing just two hours a week, you can have a 50,000-100,000 word first draft done on that date. That’s better than finding another year gone and you still no closer to your writing goals, don’t you think? Revise it in the next year, and voila! Time to start looking for agents instead of waiting for someday.

Want to start writing but need help?  Ask us your questions in the comment below, or email us at sippitsisters@gmail.com!

Wednesday Writers’ Cafe: getting into your character’s shoes

Happy Wednesday, my writing companions of the world wide web! And welcome, as always, to the Writers’ Cafe!

I just had a moment. I looked down at my watch to check the date & experienced a just a teensy bit of a conniption when it dawned on me that Novel in November kicks off in a mere 19 days! But of course it was mostly a conniption of joy… obviously.

So Bri & I are making it our aim to distill all the hoards of writing exercises out there to bring you only the best, the most useful & inspiring to get the gears going on churning out your story in November. In fact, we feel a bit like Bilbo hunting the Arkenstone amidst the hoards of gems in Erebor! Only we haven’t got a dragon to reckon with… just a ticking clock, which is nearly as vicious

Anyway, earlier this week, Bri posted about starting points – ie. some stories begin with a character, others with a setting or a scenario or even a “what if?”. But wherever you begin your story, you want to set your rudder early on to writing the story that’s going to grab the attention & maybe even the hearts of your readers. And in order to do that, you must work hard at one crucial ingredient: your POV (point of view) character.

Why is the main character so critical? Because, fact is, readers (& most writers) are human. And the way we connect with a story is via shared experience & empathy with the the human or human-like character the story revolves around. Simple enough.

But creating that character that is both believable & interesting enough to get under your readers’ skin… not so simple.

But fear not! It is doable with effort. And here’s an exercise that’s going to help you out tremendously! Quick advisory note: If you’ve not yet filled out Bri’s character check-point list, you might want to do that first to set the foundations. Now for your assignment:

Spend 15-20 minutes  either 1) writing a journal entry as your main character, or 2) interview your main character.

You may wish to set the journal entry/ interview just before or after the inciting incident in your story (if you know what it is yet, of course… don’t worry if you don’t!).

When you’ve finished, read it back. Did anything surprise you about your character? Are there any little quirks you might build on in the story? Any shining character qualities you could build a scene around?

Now think about POV. If your character has a strong or interesting voice, maybe it’s worth considering writing in 1st person…?

Now off you go, and remember to ENJOY the exercise. You get to make a new friend of your very own creation. It’s like having an imaginary friend again!

And please, PLEASE let us know how it goes in the comments below. We’d love to meet your characters too!

tea-journals

“Wednesday” Writers’ Cafe: the best novel ever written

Friends, Countrymen, Fellow Writers…

I must beg your pardon on posting your Wednesday Writing prompt so late (so much so that we’re already greeting Thursday  here in the UK!). My feeble excuse is that my dear old laptop is at last showing its age this week. Wouldn’t you know it would kick in during our Annual Writing Retreat? Ah well… builds character, right?

But before it can act up again, here is a prompt that caught my eye whilst skimming the Jeff Gerke guide we’ve recommended to all you Novel in November participants, Write Your Novel in a Month. This one’s brilliant if you’re still searching for that spark of an idea that gives you tummy flutters of excitement & makes your fingers just itch to start typing. But even if you’re not quite ready to take the plunge of a month-long challenge, this exercise will get you dreaming about that perfect novel you hope to write…some day.

Hey, it all starts with a spark! So here it is:

Imagine you are given the key to the Room of Wonders and allowed to retrieve 10 items that you believe belong in the best novel ever written. What items will you collect?

Now go wild! Close your eyes and look around that Room. Then write down the 10 items that caught your mind’s eye & hang on to the list! It might just be the beginnings of your next awesome novel!

Oh yea, & need I mention we would LOVE to hear about your lists in the comments below? You know how nosy we are by now. 😉

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