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Ideas about Writing (that others had before me)

Write Every Day


I say: Try as I might, even with a blog that has the word 'daily' in it, I fail. If failure is the right word...

Others say: Write Every Day (search results)


Write What You Know


I say: Unless I'm writing semi-autobiographically or a non-fiction piece, this would limit my content. I love writing something that needs lots of research first. 
Then, when the skeleton of my story is ready for flesh, I can put myself into the scenes because the way I write as well as what I write has to come from what I know.

Others say: Write What You Know (search results)


Write What You Want to Read


I say: Received wisdom dictates I don't want to create fiction that alienates me as a reader. Yet, my best practice pieces have been in response to a prompt or lesson that requests a different genre or topic. When I read such pieces days, weeks, later I'm amazed! Was that really me?

Others say: Write What You Want to Read (search results)


Find Your Best Time to Write


I say: I'm neither disciplined nor well enough for such wise routine. I have to write when I feel like it.
Except when I catch myself out - such as now! I made myself think of a theme and get it written. The best reason I know for having a blog is being made to write for it.

Others say: Find Your Best Time to Write (search results)


Make Time for Artist Dates


I say: Having read The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron many years ago, and having referred to it many times since, the idea of making time to feed my creative self has born fruit. 
My Artist Dates consist of: reading, watching films, staring out of the window at the garden, being physically creative with paper and yarn...these simple home-based activities serve me well.
For dates beyond my front door, I am reliant on others. Though I may be housebound in body, yet I travel widely in my mind.

Julia says: Artist's Dates (search results)

Maximum ZZZeds

Oh, I've been waiting for you ... 


... my ultimate alliterative title in a long-standing and quasi serious but always tedious series! Here we are, at last. Guides' honour, I will never invent a tenuously linked theme or series again.

What Now?


You weren't expecting a journalistic exposé on the theme of ZZZeds, maximum or minimum, were you? Apart from the benefit of good sleep, honey bees and any Zedekiahs we may know, I have nothing more to say.

What Next?


I want to get back to basics; my blog title. This was meant to be the place where I
  • show up
  • free write
  • ponder
  • brainstorm
  • discuss
  • explain
  • invent
  • review
  • suggest
  • guide
  • invite
  • maybe, even, teach
  • certainly reach

so that a potential readership may be
  • entertained
  • provoked
  • challenged
  • offered ideas
  • given exercises
  • led to write

Further Thoughts


I've just looked back at the first post on this blog, The Inaugural Admission*, written in October 2013. I have had a medical mayhem of a journey since then so no wonder I've been going around in circles. Now, the underlying message is I want to refocus on the world of writing, writers and the written word.

Crafting with paper and yarn are my hobbies. I admire any crafter who becomes a designer, demonstrator, teacher or, indeed, writer. It's clearly not for me. Pop over to my Instagram account for updates about my texturally creative pastimes.

*Ah, you may say, the first post was alliteratively A ... it was indeed. Would you take another look at Abandoned Already? May history not repeat itself - yet again.





Being Ys Online

Ys At Last


I'm nearly through the alphabet in my non-daily dilemmas, albeit at infrequent and fragmentary intervals.  With a new-found wisdom about Y I love writing online and Y I love connecting with like-minded bloggers, posters and writers on the web, I've taken the example of those I admire and privately pledged to write a LOT more blog posts.

Y #1


Liz Hinds
from her own profile
In the early days of my online presence, (1998 onwards), I found a new friend easily - Liz Hinds who blogs at Finding Life Hard - when we virtually pitched up at an early writers' website. We've met several times and always know how to help each other when the need arises.

However, to my shame, while Liz has continued with the same blog, I've had several - children's books, book reviewing, writing, Multiple Sclerosis, cardmaking, my own thoughts...and on & on.

Something has to change.

Heather's
business graphic

Y #2


Move swiftly on from 1998 and I've made a new online connection through my growing love of crochet. Heather of The Patchwork Heart shares several similarities with me:

  • we are/were both teachers
  • we are both battling ill-health
  • we are both creative souls
  • we are/have both made small online businesses - mine is now mothballed, Heather's is taking on a new lease of life as she can devote more time and energy to the necessary administrative tasks that are required to make, promote and sell handmade items online.
  • this piece sums up Heather's new life with colour and crochet.
  • we both communicate through the written word via blogs and other social media including our Instagram feeds. I'm sdcrafter and Heather is thepatchworkheart.

Y #3


  • Y have I not stayed with one online project and watched it grow exponentially at its and my own rates?
  • Y do I falter every time I'm ill (many-a-time) or whenever I think I have a better idea?
  • Y don't I simply turn up at the keyboard day-to-day and write a new Daily Dilemma or Other Words?

Conclusions

  • it is all very well being Ys at last, but how many times have I had an epiphany of new thought and promised practice only to drop the project at the first hurdle of health hindrance, be it Multiple Sclerosis or the next major surgery? (no more please!)
  • what is different now? Y am I more confident that I can write my blog more regularly and engage with other bloggers more often?
    - Life is changing in the Davis Den. We are moving onto a place where I'll have onsite care 24/7 through the provisions of a retired (and wonderful) husband and the resident care team.
    - We will still live an independent lifestyle behind our own front door but the security of the building and the care will allow me to enjoy my hobbies more.
    - Writing and crafting are my main hobbies, closely coupled with reading. Each has its place in my ability to live with MS, to switch gear, to take time out from the daily humdrum.
    - And to enjoy my husband's retirement with him.
The proof will be in the number of blog posts and the statistics behind the writing.

eXpecting eXcellence

I know - naff title but we've reached X on my alliterative writing journey. Here we go...

eXcellence for me?


You know eXactly what this means - literally and for your own life. What does it mean for me? In terms of my writing life, although one thing tends to lead to another, if I am settled in my writing life, my personal life benefits. However, if I am unsettled in my personal life - health, relationships, daft daily dilemmas - I have to make myself write, knowing that the benefits far outweigh the effort I make. With any hobby or calling, there will be some sacrifice, a sense of duty to the craft. Not wanting to get out of bed does not write a novel. Unless you take writing devices with you. This is not conducive to good sleep. 

It has to be a fab-u-lous brainwave to get me out of slumber and into note-taking role. 

So, back to eXcellence. Put simply, if I write as well as I can, feel a high from rereading my work, knowing it is the best AND receive some kind of third-party feedback, then I KNOW my work has eXcellence running through it, like a silver thread weaving through a woollen tapestry. 

I may (do) need to return again and again to my prose, editing and fine-tuning the grammar, syntax, style, sense, and many other details. But I am content when I know there is that rich thread running through, sparkling on the front of my work and neat at the back. No loose ends, no tangles, no unfinished pieces of thread.

Most of the time, I settle for my own perspective on my work because feedback is not always available. Look at this blog; it is sadly lacking in comments

[Note to self: reopen Google+ page & be more diligent across other social media.]
Having recently changed my blogging focus from craft to writing, many contacts may lose interest because they do not share this quest for eXcellence in the written word,

this photograph (taken by Pete Davis) is a barn
in a rural landscape, made into a greetings card by me:
it represents the crossover point of my focus
 - card to barn (the latter is the theme of my novel)

eXcellence for you?


Many of my contacts are family members, friends and online buddies from sport, writing, papercafting, yarncrafting and many other interest groups. 

What particular form of eXcellence are you reaching for?

Whether you are a writer, potter, artist, crafter, knitter, needlecrafter, photographer, gardener, cook, baker or candlestick maker

  • have you had success in your field?
  • is there something you need to study?
  • are there fellow travellers in your interest group who can critique your achievements, provide the feedback that leads to eXcellence? 

Writing Wise #01

Background


This seems a good point to begin a mini series I've decided I want to add to this blog. I'm at the alliterative Ws and I want to record some of my writing tips. Writing Wise it is...

Rereading Your Work-in-Progress


As you plough through hundreds and thousands of words, are you beginning to lose track of your story? Do you try to read through in Read Mode and find you cannot resist the urge to switch back to Edit your work? You really want to read as a reader, not as a writer, but the typos and plot holes are screaming at you. Ignoring your Inner Critic can require drastic action.


Two Ideas


1 - Old-fashioned pen and paper notes


As you read your work on the screen (unless it is brief enough for a print run) resist the urge to edit by making notes on your crib sheet. Later on, you can have these by your side when you come to the proper editing stage. For now, you are only dealing with the sense, sound and signposts of your story.


2 - Newfangled pdf docs


This is my favourite way to read through a longer WIP. After you've saved the document in your usual format, in the usual place (hard disk, USB stick or cloud), export it to a pdf format. 

Now for my whizzy wheeze...email this new pdf file as an attachment to your Kindle email address. (Other e-readers are available).

Move right away from all editing methods - mobile, tablet, laptop, desktop, mainframe (I'm old enough to recall).
Read your Kindle version as though your work were already published. Except it isn't, so you might want to make pencil notes on paper of MAJOR errors ONLY.

Enjoy your work for what it will become one day - fully-fledged readable text.


Vexed Voice Vanished

The Truth


I've just finished re-reading my writing journals. There is a common theme; my vexed voice, whining, self-analysing verging on self-loathing. It is not a positive thing at all. It isn't a deep worry, as such.

More a waste of time - and paper. Attractive notebooks deserve prettier prose.


The Way


In 2010, I followed an ecourse called Heartwork by Kate Johnson. The journal that accompanied me through the course - where I did the work, as they say, these days - was positive without being sickening or untruthful. 

My self-worth clearly received a boost. I came away from the course with new ways, I wanted to write, to create cards (see Shirley Davis Crafts) and to live peacefully through the mayhem that is Multiple Sclerosis. 

There was a clear peace of mind in my writing.

The Life


Today. Now. After three years of awfulness in terms of illness and surgery, I am as free as ever (with MS) to follow my passion.

Once I've zipped up these alliteratively titled posts, I will examine the pieces of writing hidden away in my notebooks. Some of them deserve some airing/editing/reading.

I suppose what I am telling you is I studied mindfulness before it was created, marketed and hyped out of self-recognition - and adopted by the NHS.

Sadly, I cannot find the original ecourse as the writer no longer upkeeps her blog. This is what I've found on the blog of Kelly Rae Roberts where I first read about Heartwork.

My name is Kate Johnson, and I began Heartwork to encourage the creativity inherent in all of us. I started by wondering, what are the obstacles we create that keep us from feeling able to fully express ourselves? How do we gently and compassionately set aside self-doubts and feelings of insufficiency to just get to it? So many of us are trying to find some sort of balance between the pragmatic (must make money to eat and be clothed) and the creative sides of ourselves. I want so much to fuse the two into a more holistic life.
I think and write a lot about identity and the creative process, and would love it if you'd stop by. Also, artwork is welcome! Please let me know if you have an image that I could use with full attribution, and I would be delighted to do so. I recently took a bit of my own advice and now I have a new Etsy site with a few paintings. Soon there will be cards and prints too.I also blog at i-cant-whistle.blogspot.com, and intuitiveleadership.blogspot.com.



Please accept my apologies to all Bible readers for borrowing John 3:16, albeit in the wrong order.




Utterly Unique

That's You, and It's Me


We are all unique, so how anyone ever sees a person who reminds them of another is amazing. And how we recall faces and names is such an enormous undertaking, I can't really understand why I feel let-down enough to apologise when I don't recognise someone I haven't seen for ages, after they bump into me in the supermarket and expect me to remember their life history. Especially as they demonstrate their inability to remember mine.

Making People Up


Creating characters. That's what fiction-writers do. And those made-up people have to be utterly unique. Or supposedly so. Using bits of Bob and the mannerisms of Martin to describe your leading man is rife with pitfalls. Hence the damage limitation on the title sheet. 

It goes like this...I didn't mean to use someone with the same name as your father who happens to also love fishing for trout in the River Dee and always drinks his whisky neat. It was an accident as I don't even know your father...unless he's that dude I rammed with my trolley in Sainsburys last week. Certainly, the way that man overreacted gave me an idea for how my hero will behave when so-and-so does something-or-other happens...

this teaching resource site shows exactly what
the character creation process is like
- in this case, for school pupils -

Showing Without Telling


Creating characters that are winning and wonderful is a marvellous mix of playing God and having a Mastermind database of a brain. Even the tiniest mole on that woman's face might one day give me the perfect reason for my heroine to be in Harley Street on that particular day and that time...not at home when her husband calls in during the afternoon to surprise her and finds she is not in the house, nor the garden and she isn't answering her mobile. 

That one small mole is a physical trait but how it is used on and by the characters, as part of my storyline; how he or she reacts; what decisions are made...all these elements will show my reader what is going on. I leave them with the work of joining the clues and mannerisms to make a picture of my characters in their heads as they read. 

Telling Without Showing


I could tell you exactly how my characters look, speak, feel...how they behave in many situations...who they enjoy being with and what that person looks like...who it is that they hate, as well. And the result will be bland and unedifying to both me as the author and you as the reader.

My characters have to be Utterly Unique in appearance and in the way they function as Human Beings/Human Doings. But, unless I try my hand at sci-fi, they are likely to remind you of someone-real-or-other...but you won't be bumping into them in the supermarket.

Unless, of course, one of my books (the ones I haven't yet completed at time of writing) is ever televised or screened. In which case, I hope there are actors out there who are uniquely placed to play MY characters.

Note: yes, it has been months since I last wrote a post on DD&OW. I've just come out of three years of various surgeries, recoveries and difficult days. I did not have cancer so there is no need to ponder further. It is just good to be back.