Must-Haves

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It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means another IWSG Day! In the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, we get together (at least) once a month to exchange stories along the writing journey. This month’s optional question asks us what five things we have in our writing space. For me, there are just a couple of things I absolutely need: music and liquid refreshment.

Everything else is optional. For example: a computer. Sometimes, I like to write by hand. Sometimes, I even write on the go by recording words onto an audio file. The medium doesn’t really matter all that much. Sometimes, I need access to research and a dictionary. Sometimes, though, those things only get in the way.

For example, am I the only person who occasionally falls into the rabbit hole of etymology? Words are interesting – but they’re not always the point. Where did the phrase down the rabbit hole come from anyway – did it start with Charles Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll? Or was it around before that? Interested literary minds want to know!

7006060_medium_1444880011Picture from the actual Bunny Trail in Williamsburg, Virginia. You’re welcome.

Distractions are everywhere. And they multiply. Like … rabbits. I could literally spend all day doing this. But, no. No.

What about you? What are things you must have on hand in order to write? What are the things that you maybe think you need – but only in moderation?

IWSG: Constructive Writing

InsecureWritersSupportGroup2It’s once again the first Wednesday of the month, and that means IWSG Day in the Spookiest Month of All – October!  Every first Wednesday, members of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group get together to discuss our fear, hopes, and accomplishments.

This month I’m taking on the (optional) question of the month: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

Short answer: yes! Of course it has. Longer answer: Here are three kinds of writing I use to help deal with serious situations and how they’re different.

1. Journaling (aka aimless ranting). The first way that I use writing to move past something major, whether for good or ill, is to journal about it. I’ve found journaling is a great way for me to get that excess energy out and maybe eventually turn all of that stuff in my head into something that I might want to share with someone else someday.

2. Outlining/Pro-con lists. Another way I use writing is to outline a problem or question.  For example, when deciding to buy a house, I used a side-by-side list for the two locations I had in mind, so I could really weigh the pros and cons of each. Outlining like this is really good practice for streamlining my writing, too.

3. Narrative Fiction. Last but not least, for big problems I often use narrative fiction to  roleplay. What if this or that were true? What would that look like? In fiction, I can write about being someone or something (say a unicorn or a dragon) that I’m not. I can also let seriously messed-up hypothetical situations play out without anyone actually being hurt. What if I  went crazy and said all the things I wanted to say? Nothing good, which is terrible for real life but excellent for drama.

Those are the three kinds of writing I write in response to major life events. What about you? Has writing ever helped you through something? If so, how?

IWSG: September Is Here!

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So it’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means IWSG Day and I completely forgot due to … I really don’t have a good excuse, except I’ve been busy. Writing-wise, I’ve been doing a lot of editing and backstory. Among other hopefully more productive things, I dug the first novel I ever wrote out of the trashbin of history and have been giving it a look over.

One of the things that strikes me is that when I first started writing I had much less skill but a lot more energy. I spent a lot of time working on details and a lot of energy taking chances, writing the kind of story I know better(?) than to take on now. It’s been an interesting experience.

So that’s what I have to say this month. Have you ever dug an old piece of writing out of the past? Has it ever made you see how you’ve grown (or at least changed…) as a writer?

Hope everyone has a great September!

IWSG: Stories Are Great!

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Due to a family emergency, this past month has been kind of crazy. While we were out at lunch at a place I normally don’t go to, after leaving the hospital – again – me and my family member both got cute story cubes as part of our Kid’s Meals.

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Then, an adorable little girl came up to us and explained how it works in this way kids have of wanting to make sure everyone in the world gets to share their fun. Basically, you roll the cube and whatever side lands up, you make up a story based on the picture. Then another person (or yourself if you’re alone!) rolls and adds to the story.

So we took turns and built a really lame, really funny story.

It made me think about all of these inspiration games I sometimes play as a writer – like using prompts for inspiration. It isn’t just writers either, apparently. People love telling stories. Stories are awesome. They can bring some light into a dark time, and they can bring people together. And that’s all I have to say right now. Emotionally and in all ways I’m totally wrung out, but I do want to say that Stories Are Great!

What do you think?

IWSG: Titles Are Hard

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It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means <drum roll> IWSG Day!

This month’s optional question is: which is harder to come up with, a book title or the name of a character? To me, the obvious answer is

Title of course.

Don’t get me wrong. Character names can be tricky. I once changed a character name to be more authentic, despite feeling as if “she” wanted to be called another name. I firmly believe in accepting what my characters say to me, except when I don’t.

Titles on the other hand…. Yikes. One thing I learned from non-fiction copywriting: sometimes you need to start at the end. Sometimes, it’s best to put off the title or intro paragraph until you know what the story is “really all about.” I don’t always know what I’m going to say until I’m done saying it.

Titles are tricky. Characters can change, and characters don’t always have to match their names. But titles are forever.

What do you think, fellow writers? Which is harder to write? Do names just come naturally to you? I wish they just came naturally for me!

IWSG: Springspiration!

It’s the first Wednesday in May and so far what a month it is. Due to the weird weather we’ve been having in the Northeastern United States, I keep having these dreams lately that we have snow in May – and I mean a lot of snow. Last night, I dreamed we were having a blizzard and I had to cancel plans because of it. That said, in reality, the weather has been great, finally getting a warm. For now….

This month’s optional IWSG question asks whether we write better in springtime. And absolutely! Actually, I do a lot of things a lot better in springtime, like spring cleaning, long leisurely walks, occasionally yard work. This year feels different though. Trees are finally starting to grow leaves but it’s taking them a while.

This spring feels, in a way, more so – because it’s been such a long time coming, and now I’m so glad it’s finally here. I hope. For real this time. (It may still start snowing again….)

How about you? Is it spring where you are? Does spring make you feel inspired?

 

Zebra

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Zebra

What’s black and white and red all over?
That’s right: me.

Note to self. Do not fall asleep where little sister can get to you.
Further note to self. Two words: permanent marker.
Correction, make that three words: permanent, marker, and revenge.

 

This is my last post for the A-Z Challenge! Hope everyone has had a great April. I really need to go visit other blogs now. Already got to read some fun stuff.

Happy May (almost!)