Friday, November 29, 2013

Need a writing nudge today? Here it is.

Need a reason to write today?  Got no ideas?
Here's a cool exercise you might want to participate in after (or before) your Black Friday shopping frenzy.
Flash Fiction Writing 200 words at a time
It's easy... well,  it may not be that easy. But it could be fun!   Are you up for the challenge?    One time ... Just 200 words.... who is with me?

Terrible Minds is just a good writing blog in general.  Definitely worth a follow.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A $2 writing tool that really works

    The sight of an index card used to make me wince.
    Those white rectangles conjured up horrible high school memories of doing term papers on topics I didn't give a damn about at age 17 --  and still don't.
    But you couldn't just bypass the index cards  .... Nooooooo.   You had to turn them in with your paper to PROVE you'd done the research and not just copied some stuff from an encyclopedia.  So, essentially what should have taken just one night of cramming, took two.   One night to fake the damn index cards and then a second night to write the paper -- which severely cut into my MTV time.
    Now, I have a different relationship with index cards.
    I freakin love them.
    A multicolor set is a great brainstorming tool when starting a new writing project -- especially a large one.
    One idea, quote, joke, random thought,  snatch of dialogue on each note card.
    No judgments.  Just let your mind be free.
    You can carry blank index cards  with you.  You never know when genius will strike.
     Sure, this can also be done using Evernote on your phone.  (I love Evernote for joke writing).    But there is something thrilling about physically arranging and rearranging the cards and watching your ideas fall into place.   It's a confidence boost.
     Plus, the cards take away the anxiety of actually "Sitting Down to Write the Perfect_____________ (fill in the blank)". You are writing it, but your brain doesn't know it yet because you aren't stuck staring at a computer screen waiting for brilliance to strike.
     And the best part is,  when you DO sit down to write, the index cards  lead the way -- offering little treasures and prompts you may have forgotten otherwise.

 Not bad for a couple of bucks.
 Maybe my old English teachers did know what they were doing?  Nahhhhhhhh

P.S. For those of you who still have a index card phobia, here is another nifty trick I have used to get the ideas flowing.  Making thought clouds. 

Screw you, Writer's Block

Three things that  work for me almost 99 percent of the time:
    1.   Doing another activity (walking, drawing, painting...)
    2.   Speaking the words I can't get on paper out loud, starting with "You know what would be cool..."   Somehow hearing what I want to stay makes it more clear to me. 
    3. Just write the parts I do KNOW. Don't always start at the beginning!

   What works for you?  

"Writers write" ... sometimes

  "Writers write."
   I know.  I know.  
   But no one every mentions that we also bitch and moan about it,  sweat over it and try to come up with some guilt-reducing excuses not to do it:  "I can't start until I get a fresh new notebook!"    (I have a drawer full of them.)
   But then eventually I write.  It feels good.  Great actually.  And I ask myself, "Why did I put this off?   It's fun!"   
    Until I get stuck ... and take a one-day break.  That can't hurt, right?   It turns into two days,  three days,  10 days,  a month.   What happened?   The cycle has started again.
   I hear myself saying:    "I can't start again until I get a fresh notebook!"    Even though all my work is done on a laptop.  Pathetic.    (21 Signs You Are Procrastinating...
   What gives?   When I am being paid to write,  I barrel through just fine.  I'm focused.  On task.  No problem. 
   But with my own writing projects... uh... 
   Now to be fair, I do eventually get there ...
   And I'm only going to pass along tips that have really worked for me.  I encourage readers of the blog to do the same.  
   Now, if you are one of those people  who has always carved out 8 hours a day to write and are finishing your projects with ease and fulfilling your wildest creative dreams ... then this blog probably ain't for you. 
     If you're struggling or ever struggled, to start or finish a writing project stick around.   And let's figure out this thing together.  
     I've got two specs,  a screenplay and a play to finish.
     So,  I guess I'm off to buy fresh new notebooks....?
     Let's hear what you're working on...