The Un-WED Writer

I recently read an article by David Jose Older (find it here) that has completely changed my life ~ my writing life ~ in huge ways. ツ

I am the worst procrastinator.....but the best at it, unfortunately. For so long I've told myself that if I'd just sit down and write EVERY day, it would become a habit and then problem solved!

Except telling myself that never solved the problem. No matter how many times I reminded myself to start writing (just 3 weeks to get the habit started...easy, right?!) never happened. That highly regarded golden writing rule did not seem to be in the stars for me.

The guilt came on like a slow burn threatening to devour what was left of my motivation. Wherever I looked, smart, talented people were telling me I need to write every day (WED)! And they knew what they were talking about...even worse, they actually DID it themselves! What the hell was wrong with me?! How could I consider myself a writer if I couldn't even commit to writing every day? Writing is my why was this so hard?

Because I'm a failure.

That's what I began telling myself. I fail as a writer if I can't manage to write just a little EVERY day. And it became a vicious cycle because the last thing I wanted to do was write after I'd convinced myself that I'm such a horrible failure. Why bother if I sucked so much?

All that crap thinking left the building when I came across this article. ツ BOOM! It started off by calling the WED rule "nonsense". O_O  That immediately grabbed my attention and sparked a little light at the end of my tunnel of guilt and failure. He wrote about NOT giving yourself hell over it.....but forgiving yourself instead. Give yourself a pass for not meeting some made-up metric in writing that is completely unattainable for some of us. It was so freeing to read those I had broken out of the WED chains that kept me bound...and unproductive.

It's not about creating forced habits...but it's not about waiting for your muse, either. The secret to productive writing lies somewhere in between. The best thing you can do for yourself is find your personal writing rhythm. It's kind of like finding your writing voice. It's not something you can go looking for, just have to pay close attention. When do you usually find the time to write? When do you do your best writing? When is the most challenging time for you to write? Set your writing schedule to what works best for you.....totally personalize it. Make your own way and trust that flow when you find it. Trust yourself to know when you should be writing and when it's time to take a break.

Once you do find your rhythm, it will become second nature to you....almost like a habit. ツ


Hope This Helps

I'm not a writing expert lol...but I have learned some useful info and gained valuable experience over the past 5-6 years.   I'd like to pass along some of my favorite tips. I hope they can be of benefit to you in your writing adventure!  

1)   Adverbs are NOT evil!
a writing expert, but I have learned some useful info and gained valuable experience over the past 5-6 years.

Stephen King doesn't read my blog so I don't have to worry when I say this. Adverbs are cool. They, like any other words, are fine in moderation. Of course you don't want to use them gratuitously....and you do want to show not tell....but adverbs are ok as long as you don't go overboard. Seriously.

2)   Purple prose, flowery phrases, and all that crap.

Writing is an art. You want to make it beautiful...or edgy...or sexy...or funny. Knowing your voice and your theme is great. Just don't let yourself get carried away.
Clarity is an important part of writing because at it's core, writing is about communication. If your writing isn't clear, you have a miscommunication. No good. The more words you stuff into a sentence, the greater chance its meaning will become muddled. Your communication lines will get all jammed up. Yes, you are an amazing writer with the capability to create the most extravagant, heartfelt, deep, meaningful sentences....but don't.
This doesn't mean you should write boring sentences...far from it. But you should trim those sentences where you can. You, as a writer, will know when you're getting flowery. If not, your betas will.

3)   Backstory is important.

I spend a LOT of time on backstory. So much so that I am planning a historical fiction novel based on the backstory I have compiled for the Solitary Sky Series! Even though this is the stuff that doesn't end up in your story, it's good to get it all fleshed out. It will help you as you write the story. It can be a source of trivia for readers. It bolsters the authenticity of your world and your characters to yourself so you will write them with more authenticity and make them seem real. When you know their detailed history, you become clear about their motivations and character. That will reflect in your writing.
Plus it can be fun! Getting to know more about your characters is like finding out about a long lost relative. They have a life and history of their own that you are discovering and delighting in.

4)   Retrace your steps.

This is a little trick I read about somewhere. Editing is not the fun part of writing. Editing and formatting, to me, are the price we pay for the freedom to write. So any little tips or tricks for editing are welcome at my writing desk.
When I have read my chapters over and over, I skip over errors, fill in missing words in my head, and basically I'm useless. So I start reading my paragraphs BACKwards! It seems like it wouldn't make sense...and it won't if you're content editing. But when you are just reading for spelling errors and such, reading backwards forces you to pay more attention to each individual word as you read. You are more likely to notice those errors.
Don't give up your beta readers, lol...but give them less work to do!


5)   Learn the you can break them properly.

I've read SO many rules. So many contradicting rules, it was super confusing when I was starting out. I am typically a rule-follower. So I wanted to learn all the rules to be the very best writer I could be. Then one rule would cancel out rule I'd already broken throughout my book...I started to freak out! 0_0
Soon I realized there were no hard and fast rules in writing. There are great guidelines...and helpful rules of thumb. But there's not one rule in writing that you can't break. Some of the very best writers have. Some of the most brilliant have, too.
Learn the rules. know the rules. But let your creativity reign and break the rules that get in the way of your literary vision.

PS: The same goes for advice. You will get loads of advice, all well-intended. Be thankful and considerate...but in the end YOU decide what ends up in print.

Now, here's a bonus tip from my writer-husband with a day job...Jeff!

Create a protagonist in which your reader becomes emotionally invested. Despite any flaws you may bestow upon them, the reader should care what they go through. Part of establishing that connection is putting your protagonist through a living hell...introducing conflict in heavy doses. This may seem harsh, but it's necessary. Reading how your protagonist confronts and defeats the challenges will endear your reader to him/her. Their connection will be firmly established.

Thank you, Jeff! And thank you for reading my blog. Please comment and/or share! ♥ 


Writing Prompt Challenge

I found a great writing prompt challenge on Write to Done.


Challenge accepted!

Last Train

"Just leave! I never want to see you again!"
Rebecca could still remember the expression on Michael's face as she'd hurled those words at him. Shock. Hurt. Sadness. She was furious at him for doing the one thing he knew would hurt her most. He cheated on her. But no, it wasn't simply cheating. It had to be in grand Michael fashion. He boffed her little sister, Alison.

"Becca, we didn't know what we were doing...we were so drunk. Michael was there and we were talking one minute, then-"
She cut Alison off. She didn't want to hear any lurid details of their disgusting tryst. Just knowing it happened was enough. Her heart was breaking. She'd had everything planned out. They would date for six months to a year. Become engaged and hold their wedding within one year. But Michael bulldozed all her careful planning for a one off with her baby sister. All her dreams of marrying her first love...her best friend...and the hottest guy in Dallas weren't merely dashed. They were disintegrated.

She didn't blame Alison. Her sister had always been a little wild, but she'd never tried to steal her boyfriends.  No, Alison was an innocent in all this. Until Rebecca accidentally intercepted a text she'd sent to Michael.

Our night meant everything to me.
I know you were passed out, but I
could tell how much you wanted me.

"Alison, why would you do this to me? To Michael?!"
Rebecca thought finding out Michael had sex with Alison was the worst feeling in the world. No, this was the worst. Betrayal twice over by her own sister. Life seemed surreal in that moment. Michael hadn't done anything wrong after all. She'd tossed him out before giving him a chance to explain. She'd been blinded by rage. Now Michael was off living in California, hundreds of miles away.  She'd lost her true love forever.

Or had she?

Rebecca packed a small suitcase and headed for the station. She grabbed a ticket and ran to meet the incoming train...the last train to California.