Posts Tagged With: writer’s block

Where do you prefer to do your writing?

Deskwork

Where to write…at home? the office? your local coffee shop? For some, the answer is obvious while others need to outweigh the pros and cons of each. It might seem unimportant, but where you do your writing makes a lot of difference – it can motivate you to write that new chapter, or send you into the perils of Writer’s Block. So you need to decide which place is the best for you so you can write effectively without any distractions.

I personally don’t write in one place alone; I actually write more in my local coffee shop than I do at home. Why? Because I’m more motivated to write and there’s no temptation to go online or do something else unrelated. Being around other people late at night in a coffee shop helps me write more and I often get through most of a chapter in one hour of writing. Though at times I do write at home, but I simply prefer writing elsewhere.

Are you struggling to find the best place to write? I’ll offer you some of the advantages and disadvantages to writing at home and a coffee shop. Hopefully it will help, but in the end you must decide what works best for YOU.

At Home

Pros

  • no time limit; can write as much as you need without worrying about closing time
  • quiet, and private (assuming you live alone)
  • can take a washroom/snack break without worrying about leaving your computer unguarded
  • can write in your PJs without embarrassment
  • FREE

Cons

  • distractions (partner, roommate and kids constantly bugging you for something)
  • temptation to go on to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
  • lack of fresh air (if you write all day)
  • encourages house arrest

In a Coffee Shop

Pros

  • time limit – it closes eventually, which makes you write faster.
  • gets you away from the distractions of family
  • can buy a snack or a drink if you need it
  • can get more writing done, especially if you leave the battery charger at home because you’re on a time limit
  • no temptation to go online (best to turn off your WiFi so you won’t be tempted)

Cons

  • expensive – coffee ain’t free!
  • distractions from other patrons
  • can’t leave your stuff unguarded (unless you really trust the person sitting next to you)
  • time limit – you can’t stay forever
  • getting there – traffic and weather can make this tough sometimes
  • space – at times all the seats are taken (this happens to me a lot)

 

Well there you have it. So choose wisely and happy writing. And one other thing: I’d like to offer some tips to those that like the idea of writing in a coffee shop

  • try to go in the evening – fewer people there at that time
  • leave your plug at home so you know you only have so much time to write
  • go during the week. Weekends are usually more busy.
  • if it gets too loud, stop writing and pack it up. You can always go back another time.

 

 

Categories: Writing & Inspiration | Tags: , , , , ,

What Should You Write About?

Happy Halloween! Now, I’ve heard this a lot, especially at my writing groups: “I’ve always wanted to write, but not sure what to write about.” With so many things to write about, how do you choose that perfect story? Most people in this situation write autobiographies because they know themselves best. But what if you don’t want to write that? What if you want to write fiction? Being a writer myself, I only have one answer: “Write what is real to you.” This is your story, which means it belongs to no one else. You are the sole author and have absolute control over what goes into your story, so make it something that you can see inside and out.

Another thing to remember is to be a leader, not a follower. Don’t write your stories in genres simply because they are best-sellers, especially if you are not passionate about that genre. It makes no sense to write a fantasy novel when your passion mystery. I remember my first writing group and the leader told me that my story won’t sell and that I need to write things similar to the Hunger Games. My genre is Young Adult, and he was into literature – I guess he just didn’t like the YA market in general. Point is, listen to your heart and not someone else, even if they know a lot about the writing market. If you’re wondering, I left the group awhile back and it was the best thing I did for my writing career. It’s your story, and you’ve got to share it with the world. Here are a few suggestions to help decide what you want to write about:

1. Put your passion into your story. I know a writer who loves horses and has her story set where the characters have to car for injured horses. Animals, cars, sports, anything you know and love can be used as a theme or even a tool that revolves around your characters.

2. A favorite place. Do you have a particular place you love and know inside and out? Use that as a setting for one or multiple stories. Your story will be enriched and it is a perfect chance to educate your readers about your special place. My novel takes place in Florida, where I have gone on vacation since I was three. Another idea is to use a certain time period (Ancient Greece, the Middle Ages, etc) that you are fascinated with.

3. Someone special. Similar to a favorite place, you could write about someone close to you or someone you admire. It could be an athlete or a famous politician. Or even someone you met briefly that just had that special impact on you, could make for an attention-grabbing character.

4. Something personal. Can you think of a personal moment in your life that changed it forever? Perhaps you’re living with some disability or other hardship. Although it might be painful to relive it, it would make for an interesting story. For certain, you would be appealing to the reader’s pathos or emotions.

5. Your professional side. Perhaps you’ve been a fireman, a police officer, or in the army. Why not write a story where the characters have the same careers as you do? Again this will enrich the story, and it gives you the opportunity to experience your career on the written page. Plus, you won’t have to do any research about the character’s job since you know it so well. This is assuming you actually like your job.

Whatever you choose to write about, make sure it is something meaningful and real to you. Even if someone else is writing about a similar piece, remember that only you can describe it. Remember a lyric from Natasha Bedingfield’s song, “Unwritten”: “No one can speak the words on your lips.” No one can write the words on your hands. Also be sure to do your research on a subject, if you need it. And finally remember once you have chosen a topic, read books that cover that topic.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Writer’s Block – An author’s pet peeve

You’ve probably been in this situation at some point in your life: You’re sitting in front of a computer screen, fingers hovering over the keyboard, but you can’t type a word. You’re frozen, as that lovely idea you’ve had inside your head just won’t come out onto paper.  After yet another cup of coffee or what have you, you crumple up paper after paper in frustration as you say to yourself “Nope! That won’t work!” Diagnosis? Writer’s Block. It creeps up on us writers, when we least expect it. So how do you beat it? With so many tip out there, how do you know which one’s right for you? Truth is, there is no right answer because everyone has different abilities and styles. Having been struck by Writer’s Block countless times (especially in high school) myself, I’d like to share with you a few things.

  1. Choose your writing time wisely. By this, I mean write when you are most alert and productive. Some function in the morning, while others choose to write well into the wee hours of the night. For me, it depends day-to-day but I usually like to write in the evenings. So decide which time of the day works best for you. Moreover, if an idea suddenly comes to you at say 3AM, then get up and start plugging away while it’s fresh in your mind assuming you can get yourself out of bed.
  2. Jot it down! Carry a small notebook with you wherever you go and write down your ideas. You never know when an idea will suddenly just pop in your head, so it’s important to be prepared. It’s easy to say, “Oh, I’ll remember it later,” but believe me you’ll forget it. Better yet, record those new ideas into your tablet, iPhone, Blackberry, etc. This way, you’ll have all those written ideas in front of you when you’re ready to put pen to the paper.
  3. Plan an outline. Some writers prefer to sit in front of the computer and simply write what comes to them, which is perfectly fine. Me, I like to plan an outline of each chapter ahead of time. This means, I jot down in point form the main highlights of each chapter from the opening line to the last sentence. And if you’re writing a novel, this is a good habit to into. You have something in stone to follow, and you’re less likely to get stuck for ideas. After all, you want to spend more time typing and less time staring off into space.
  4. Don’t fight it. Sometimes, Writer’s Block comes and you just can’t shake it. Nothing wrong with that, and when it does happen just power down your laptop and go back to writing later. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get that book finished, just as long as you do. Writing isn’t a race, it is a journey just like life. If you aren’t able to write one day, you can go back to it another day. Us writers have those “off” days when we just can’t get that chapter done or that idea won’t come out. Accept it and know that there’s always tomorrow.

Hope this has been helpful. Happy writing!

Categories: Life | Tags: , ,

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