Afraid of NaNo??

Lacock Abbey, I was excited to see that Harry Potter was shot here!

A scene from the cathedral in my novel. (I actually took this picture in England when I was there!)

Are You Afraid?

Earlier today I had to answer the question “What do you fear most with NaNoWrimo…”. My answer about then was something like “I am afraid I will never finish my novel.” and “Oh, that people wouldn’t enjoy it.” Or even “That my characters won’t be interesting enough!” Do you ever have answers like this floating around in your mind?

Most of us do!

Today I just wanted to leave you with a short blog entry. But not just with a short blog entry… below I have placed an inspirational quote and a few websites that I have found inspiration and helpful. They are super helpful especially for during NaNoWrimo.

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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

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Websites

Need a timer to time writing sprints? Set it for 30 minutes to see how much you can write in that amount of time. http://e.ggtimer.com/

Are you writing a compilation of short stories during NaNo? http://bluemonkeywriting.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/guest-writer-prose-tales/

Want to know what will add extra words? *Couch* Deep Point Of View *Cough* http://bluemonkeywriting.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/tapping-into-your-characters-blood-flow/

Not inspired? http://seriouslywrite.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/how-to-get-inspired-in-less-than.html

Why you shouldn’t give up on your novel!!! http://www.writingforward.com/news-announcements/guest-posts/why-you-shouldnt-give-up-on-your-novel

Be sure to get up and move! :) http://bluemonkeywriting.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/the-seven-deadly-sins-for-writers-part-1/

Guest Post

Chech out my latest guest post on writing blog Write It Sideways. http://writeitsideways.com/boost-your-writing-creativity-with-a-camera/

And if you are doing NaNo add me as a Buddy! :)

How to use your life experience to make real-life-like characters… 2nd Day of Devin’s Writing Routine Exercise

The past few days have been days where I have had issues starting to write. Sometimes it’s a combination of “I don’t feel like writing!” or “I don’t want to write, right now.” or “How am I going to say this in an interesting way.”

Day two of Devin’s Writing Routine Exercise – 

First of all before, I give you the report on my writing. I will let ya know how my weekend went. I went to the Sunshine Coast on the weekend with my boyfriend to spend time with his dad. It was a nice relaxing weekend and a very nice break from the city. On late Satday night I had gone to bed a tad late and then a few hours later, Johan knocked on my door asking if I’d like to go watch the sun rise. I was so lethargic and tired, but I am glad we did, because it was definitely beautiful. :)

This is what it looked like, at first.

A bit later. It was amazing how fast the sun peaked over the horizon. It was so nice, and we listened to “Here comes the sun…” by the Beatles. It totally fit the mood. :)

So, I believe that it was most definitely worth the getting up to go see it.

It was so cold up there. I am so happy that I wore a sweater and sweatpants. Here are Johan’s frozen little fingers from taking so many pictures. But, he had thought ahead before and made Hot Milo. (Which was amazing!!) and warming…

I was so proud of myself because this weekend, I designed my own landing page for the welcome tab on my facebook writing page. :) Check it out and let me know what you think. Also, if you aren’t following me on my facebook page, press like to follow.

This is the picture that you will see on my welcome page if you have “liked” me. :)

When Monday rolled by – I was really tired and didn’t really wake up at 5am. I mean this was expected that there would be days when I didn’t want to wake up to write, right? Well, it happened. But, even though i hadn’t woken up at 5am… I still made sure I got my word count in. I wrote 1,555 words. Another thing I really learned extremely yesterday (Monday) is the pain that my character was suffering.

I was writing and found a song that really connected me to my character Elfria, when I get further into the book I will be sure to share a little bit with you all.
Here is the video, by the 2 Cellos. It is titled: Hurt.

I listened to it and while writing, my fingers started typing faster and my eyes got wider as my character came to life. Her thoughts became mine and her feelings – well, I was feeling them.

My character was dealing with the first time that she was crushed. You know that horrible moment in your life when you like someone and they don’t like you back? Well,  I have experienced both types. The first option is feeling crushed because you like someone and they simply just don’t like you back like that. The second one, is that you like someone and they play on your emotions and cause you more pain – while leading you more astray. They will never love you, but they don’t care about bringing you down a rocky path if they can enjoy playing on your emotions. So, that is what my character was going through. Which reminds me of a quote I came across by Ernest Hemingway just recently. (I want to apologize for his language… but it is true.)

You especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously.
But when you get the damned hurt, use it-don’t cheat with it. -Ernest Hemingway

This is a quote stated like a true writer who experienced some hard times. So, Day 2 of my writing Routine Exercise is being dedicated to pulling from your own experiences to write.

Pulling from your life to write

  1. Remember –
    Think back on emotional (good and bad memories) and write down things like.
    “I remember when my cat died.”
    “I remember when I saw my boyfriend for the first time.”
    “I remember when I lost my best friend.”
    Do- Write down a bunch of “I remembers” and go through them and pick one at a time. Then write the experience out.
    Remember to write about how you felt, who was there, how something happened.
    Maybe it’s not a memory that brings back emotions to you, it could also be a song, smell, or food.
  2. Literally use your own feelings – the book that I am working on is a paranormal/fantasy book, so of course it is set in a different world and there are magical creatures in it as well. But, that doesn’t mean that my “Real Life feelings” can’t help me in my “other-world” writing.
    Do– When you feel happy, sad, depressed, lonely, or any other emotion write about it.
    Sit down and write it.
    Write it to get past it… and you will be amazed at how you will be able to use those distinct emotions and feelings in your writings.
  3. Place yourself in your character’s shoes – what is he/she dealing with?
    Relate to her/him – by thinking back to moments when you also dealt with similar things.
    Do– Read over an area where your character is dealing with an emotional issue. Then think back, to a similar time in your life. Is it realistic? (e.g. Is your character really as sad as they should be about their mother’s death?)

I hope that these tips help you when writing about trials and emotional times that your characters may be going through.

Do you struggle with writing about your character’s problems and emotions? If so what kind of things help you get in the mood of your characters? Music? No Music? Anything else?
 

Here Johan and I are in the sun-rays when we were watching the sun come up on Saturday morning. It was beautiful! :)

Pointers on Post-It-Note Plotting – Devin’s Writing Routine Exercise Day 1 – Turnout :)

“The hard part about writing a novel is finishing it.” -Ernest Hemingway

Hello Everyone,

Today was the first day of my writing challenge. And I can imagine you all want to know how it went? I woke up at 5am. Yes, I actually did it. Spent a little while checking emails and updates and then I went straight to work. Outside my window the sky was a dark blue colour – definitely a twilight colour. I find something very magical and intriguing about the dark blue sky. I wrote 2,209 words all before 7:30am. When I saw how fast the words were appearing on the page, I realized that this baby wants to get written. :) Which I am so excited about.

Some pointers for Devin’s Writing Routine Exercise

  1. Stop writing when you know what will happen next – Ernest Hemmingway once said that he stops writing when he knows where he will start up the next day. I have been trying this the last few times I have been writing and it works rather well. You should try it, if you haven’t yet! :) I am excited for my next 5am morning start on Monday and who knows maybe I can get out more than 2,000 words then.
  2. Plot is Purdy Important – Plot has always confused me because some people argue whether their stories are character driven or plot driven. If I would have to choose which one, I think I would be a character drives the story sort of writer. But with this story I have been plotting out ahead of time what I am going to write. What about you? Do you write character driven or plot driven stories? In the picture you will be able to see that I am plotting with post it notes. It’s kind of a nice little break away from the computer/notebook. I write with the word processing program Scrivener and it is also a very, VERY, VERRRRY great program for plotting, character development, and writing your actual novel. I don’t really use Microsoft Word anymore. Many other famous writers use Scrivener now too. If you haven’t checked out Scrivener, do so! I promise it will make a difference in your writing time and organization. (There is a 30-day trial on the website.)

    I decided to use post-it-notes and my open bare wall for plotting. A nice way to get away from the computer and still work on your book plot. I know that some other people use index cards.


  3. Colour– use some colour, it will help your senses and creativity flow. Colour coding topics, characters and much more always helps me keep things straight. :)

    I believe that colour really helps you while being creative. So, when writing why not write in colour. Colour code certain topics, themes, or characters to find them easier! :)

    Colour Coding… :)

    Here is an example of the colour coding and the post-it-note plotting.

    I will be sure to post more hints and ideas next week when I post the next Devin’s Writing Routine Exercise Day 2 turn out on Monday. :)

    There was a part this morning where I was so engrossed in my story; I was writing about an owl and i was in a dark forest at night. Then all of a sudden there was a noise near my window on the clothes line. It was a black crow… he fell off the clothes-line or something. Weird bird, but he gave me a fright. A bit later a bush turkey strolled on by on the fence separating the houses. A bush turkey? I couldn’t believe it. I usually see cats walking on the fence, but a bush turkey? Since, I am telling you a little bit about my neighborhood birds I may as well also throw in that there was another crow on the roof of the house next door and it was carrying a piece of bread – like a full piece. These strange birds. Haha… but yes, that was random. It all started with me getting scared because of a noise and what I was writing.

    Have any of you ever scared yourselves, when writing? Has it ever made you jump?

How to stay inspired in a less than colourful world…

As a writer I know there are times when we come to a screeching dead halt in our writing, where we can’t find any inspiration. At those moments when we are running low on inspiration and feel empty we look out into the world around us for inspiration and find a world falling apart. At dry times we see soldiers fighting in wars across the seas, homeless people on the streets, and starving children in Africa and ask ourselves how we can get inspired.

I have found myself in this position many times and have wondered, how can I make a difference with my writing anyways? How do I get myself out of this situation? I know that when these questions start to circle around in my mind I have a bad habit of setting my pen down or getting up to leave my computer. Which isn’t what I should do. Instead I should pull inspiration out of the un-colorful world. At this moment I can imagine that many questions are forming in your minds, like:  “Devin, how do I stay inspired in a less than colorful world? How can I get inspiration when everything around me is so uninspiring?” or something like, “How can I make color when I have none?”

These are some tough questions, but I do have answers for them. When I find myself in a funk and can’t get inspired I look deeper into the issue and that gives me inspiration and story ideas. With the soldiers who are fighting in wars across the sea, I find myself thinking about a few things. Who are they? What are their stories? Were they married? What are their struggles and emotions? Or with the homeless people on the streets, how did they become homeless? What are their stories and who are they? Why do they continue to stay on the streets? What do they go through in a day?

As soon as I ask myself these questions my mind starts reeling with ideas, thoughts, characters, and plots. I want to make a difference in my reader’s lives and I know you do too. We need to remember that our less than colorful world needs our color, since we add color to the world with our words. Here are some other ideas to help draw inspiration when you don’t feel inspired.

1. Go for a walk in the wilderness 

-Nature has a way of bringing out the light, when you see all the issues that our world has, you get brought back to how our world should be.

“We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the  wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thunder-cloud, and the rain.” -Henry David Thoreau -My mom always told me that fresh air clears the mind and she was definitely right when she said that, besides you can get heaps of color, just by stepping out into the woods. Listen to the sounds. What do you hear? What do you see? Look at all of the details.

2. Delve deeply into something else that will open your mind creatively 

-Do you enjoy drawing, painting?

-Play an instrument

-Get up and move- exercise!

3. Get away from your normal setting

-A few weeks ago I went on a weekend trip with a friend and I got filled up with ideas to write. I went to the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I am from a rural Minnesotan town so going into the metropolis changed my atmosphere. I saw different people and settings. By getting away from your normal setting you will find new ideas for stories, settings, and characters.

4. Get enough sleep

-You have all probably heard this before, but they say if you sleep enough hours in a day, that you will have a better chance of remembering your dreams. Dreams can inspire!

5. Get out and volunteer

-Seeing good in tough situations can work wonders, it may even give you a new story idea, a new character or setting! Use the emotions you see in people as well. Such as the pain in the homeless man’s eyes. Or the tears that come to his eyes when you ask how he is doing.

6. Emotion

-Use the emotion you experience (When you feel depressed, write about how you feel and how it affects you. You never know when that will help you with a character you are writing later.

7. Silence

-Go someplace and seek silence. Light some candles and meditate. Listen to relaxing music.

8. Take an online journey of inspiring blogs and websites. 

Check out inspiring pictures or my newest addiction = pinterest. You can find interesting ideas for characters and settings.

9. Read a good book (check out Goodreads.com) 

10. Change your outlook…

-When things are dark, dreary, or uninspiring change your point of view, change your outlook…

11. Ask yourself the hard questions

-Best Selling Author Steven James once said, “You don’t have a story until you have conflict.” Since we live in a world where conflicting things happen, we must pull inspiration out of the darkness around us by asking ourselves the hard questions.

12. If you still don’t feel inspired… 

-And you have searched for it. Don’t quit writing, continue to show up and write every day! When I am low on inspiration I make a goal of writing 2,000 words a day. At least I am showing up and when I read back over it, sometimes I am surprised with what I’ve written!

P.S. The picture at the top inspired me while writing a scene in the last chapter that I just wrote for my book “The Created Ones”, so I thought I would share this awesome picture with you guys! :)