I’ll be honest.  I usually come into these blog posts knowing exactly what I intend to write about, but this one is different.  I’m not entirely sure what I want to write about.  You see, at first I thought there were only so many topics related to writing that I could write about, and thus the list would inevitably run dry.  For a little while I feared I had finally reached that point.  But the thing is (at least in theory (or at least in a theory that I just created)), there should never be a lack of topics to write about.  There are so many nuances to writing, that books and books could be written on the subject and only begin to scratch the surface of the diverse craft.  So, how could it be that I’ve only written roughly ten blog post and I went into this one thinking I’d wrung the topic stone dry?  Well, I don’t know.  But I think it has a little something to do with the task itself.

That brings me to this week’s topic, which I literally just decided upon two minutes ago; blogging.  It’s a repetitive task.  Usually bloggers update their blog whenever they find the inspiration or whenever their readers expect them to, but considering I’m swamped with end of semester work and I have no dedicated readers (that I know of), neither of these factors play a role in my blogging.  What does, however, is my passion for it.  I enjoy free writing and luckily, that’s basically what I do for this blog.  I pick a broad topic and write as much as I can about it until I can’t anymore.  It’s fun, even when there are so many other things I need to be doing.  It’s an easy way to de-stress and let my creative juices flow.

It also helps that this is a topic that I enjoy discussing.  It’s easy for me to sit down and talk about it for a prolonged period of time.  This is probably the best piece of advice I can give to any blogger, whether you’re writing it for a class, an actual audience, or simply yourself: love it.  Otherwise it’s going to be brutally difficult experience trying to sit down for thirty minutes and write something substantial.  You’ll probably just end up spouting nonsense for a few paragraphs about nothing in particular, slap a catchy title onto it, upload it and call it good.  Sort of like I just did now, right?

Just kidding.  But seriously.  Make sure you chose a topic that you thoroughly enjoy before writing a blog.  If I hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have been able to get over this most recent obstacle.

Trying to keep my head above water,

~A Fellow Writer

A Few Words of Writing Wisdom

Telling a writer to focus is like telling a squirrel to stop protecting its nuts.  It’s not going to happen.  You see (I may just be the exception, but I doubt this is the case), us writers have way too many thoughts and ideas up there to keep them all straight.  So what happens if you’re working on what you’d call your “main project,” the story or novel you’ve decided you need to finish before you can allow yourself to start something new, and you have the sudden urge to take a break and work on something else.  Well, you do just that.  Your other project will be waiting eagerly for you to return, but in the meantime let those creative juices flow.

As I’m sure I said in an earlier post, this is also a great way to get over even the most severe cases of writer’s block.  If you’re stuck on a certain part in your current project, focusing your energy on something else for a while can often lead to newfound inspiration.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve used this exact method and days later found myself ten pages into a chapter I’d before thought was going to be impossible to write.  It might seem like an unproductive way to finish a story, but think of it like this:

When you finally finish your main project (because you will and you have to believe you will with all your heart) then your next one will already be partly written, ready for you to jump right in. 

That’s all for now,

A Fellow Writer.

The Subtle Art of Brainstorming

I can’t count the number of times I’ve found myself sitting in front of my computer, staring at the black cursor as it blinks upon a completely blank page, willing something worth writing about to pop into my head.  But the truth is, it won’t.  Through experience, I’ve discovered that I write best when I go into a session with a clear idea of what I plan to write.  (A session is what I call the periods of time I set aside to focus on just writing.)  Whether it’s a single scene or an entire chapter, I need to know what’s going to happen before I plop myself down at the computer with the intention of writing.  Otherwise, that blinking cursor won’t move an inch.

It would make sense then, that the first step in writing a novel is coming up with an idea.  This is the first of many choices I make when I write.  I need to choose something that my readers will connect with—something that will grab their attention and hold it until the last page.  I need to make my characters not only relatable, but flawed and unique.  I need to create a setting that is both remarkable and believable, so it paints a vivid picture in my reader’s head.  I need to develop a conflict that will make whoever reads about it feel connected to the story I’m trying to tell.  And finally, I need to choose something that I will enjoy writing, otherwise I know I won’t have any hope of finishing it.

As teenagers, my friend, Will, and I created our own world.  To this day, we continue to develop and expand upon its lands, its people, its magic, and most of all, its stories, but there was a time when none of it existed.  At least, in our minds.  We both loved to read and from this passion stemmed another: an unquenchable thirst for adventure.  We enjoyed exploring new places deep within the woods and losing ourselves in whatever stories we felt like telling.  Whether we were two hunters lost in a dangerous forest, or two knights sent to retrieve a princess from an evil sorcerer, our childhood was never devoid of fantastic quests and adventures.  There came a time, however, when we decided we were “too old” for such games and refocused our creativity into something more productive.  To this day, we still help each other in any way that we can.  Whether it’s running ideas by each other, or asking for an opinion on something we’ve written, we’re always eager to help the other along.  What I’m trying to say is that brainstorming isn’t something I can do while sitting in front of computer, or even by myself, for that matter.  Inspiration comes from experience, which is honestly true of anything.

Because I’ve been on a teen fic(tion) kick as of late, I’ve decided to take a stab at the genre and see where it takes me.  I’ve had the rough outline of an idea bouncing around inside of my head for a while, but it wasn’t until this opportunity presented itself that I decided to give it a whirl.  I suppose I’m cheating if I use a concept I’ve been toying with for a while since it means I’m not necessarily starting from “scratch,” but most of my stories begin this way.  I start with half an idea and let inspiration fill in the rest.  I plan to construct a city and create characters based off of places and people from my real life, then tie them into the story I’m writing.

So, what’s the idea I’ve come up with?  Well, books with teenage protagonists, such as Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and the Olympians, are some of my favorite to read.  This makes me certain I’d have fun writing a similar story.  Then I got to thinking, what if I built a story around a teenage male protagonist with a unique ability, just like these.  It will have to be unique, because this type of story has been written many times over, but I believe I can do it.  That’s all I’m working with now, but I have the first scene already envisioned in my head and I’m eager to begin writing it.

Expect to read the beginning of this project soon, which should be sometime within the week.  I’m really excited to start, so I’ll leave you here.  Just remember what I said.  Inspiration comes from experience, so get out there and explore everything that your world has to offer.

Until next time,

A fellow writer.