You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Writing’ tag.
This writer especially. Down with the old ways. More guest posts and blog tours. Bite the bullet and use social media the way my kids do. With a little gentle urging from Trestle Press (Giovanni Gelati) I’m doing just that.
I’m also trying a new approach to getting my writing out there. Working with Trestle, I’m going to serialize Element 42, a novel I’ve been working on for several years. The truth is that in this market, it’s too long for traditional science fiction publishing, but this book means too much to me not to find a way to make it available to readers. I plan to have the first installment ready by the end of July, and we’re going to release new ones every three weeks thereafter.
So get ready to meet Steve and Brock (a benevolent alien), and the Luugs (some not so benevolent aliens). And you’ll see telepathy and telekinetics in action, not just as parlor tricks, but as powerful means of communication that are sometimes good and sometimes dangerous. Mostly, get ready to search for the meaning of life for humanity. Element 42 dares to ask some tough questions: how did we get here? Does God exist? It even proposes some answers.
After three science fiction novels and a political thriller, I’ve also decided to write something different. I know Giovanni will approve. I recently published A Boy and His Dog – An Unfinished Love Story, a short memoir about…well, the title is pretty self-explanatory. I’ve since penned the first eight chapters of a full-length memoir about traveling through life. Literally. Traveling on trains and airplanes and in automobiles, and the experiences I encountered along the way. I’m finding that my life’s been a lot more interesting than I thought. It’s definitely time to try something new.
Sometimes I think writers are their own worst obstacle when writing. We’re either too busy, too tired, or too preoccupied to write. These can be valid reasons, but I learned that if you resort to them enough times, they turn into excuses and fallbacks to a pattern of non-writing. If left unchecked, these excuses have potential to become writer’s block.
This post shares my different methods in being proactive with writing. Feel free to share your own suggestions as well.
- Keep the ball moving.
At times when I come home from a day’s work, my energy just drains away. Being in the comfort of my home makes feel safe and at ease…but it also makes me lazy if I let the feeling dominate my mental state. It’s worse when you have a bad day; you are more prone to relax and make excuses as to why not to bother writing that day.
What I do to help combat this is to first be aware of the work adrenaline that’s running through me. Once I’m mindful of the energy, I try to keep it alive when I arrive home. I imagine having a ball of moving energy that reflects my adrenaline and to keep it running as long as possible. I even utilize mind tricks, thinking that I’m still working and can’t afford to stop. Resist the urge to sit down even for a second (stay away from that TV!), until you’re ready to write. Hopefully this technique should push you into the writing seat, though this technique can also help with other areas of procrastination.
- Just jump in… just write it… just do it.
Another method that helps me to my keyboard is to develop the habit to simply “jump in” without thinking and just write. Clear your mind of any second guessing, doubts and fears and just write. It sounds cliché, but there’s a reason why this works. At times, a writer’s inner critic and a desire for perfection makes you hesitant to write a scene you are unsure about. My method of beating this is plowing through my doubt and gagging the critic. Write whatever comes into your head, even if you think the sentence you’re writing bothers you, or that you’re writing nonsense. The trick is to jump start your brain into thinking ideas. You might be surprised by what you produce and besides, you can always edit your work later. If you have problems, think of past accomplishments you once considered impossible; your current dilemma is no different.
- Rewards system
This method I utilize the most. Sometimes, I gravitate to other activities, like browsing the internet, watching TV, or playing my 360, when I could be writing. To balance this out, whenever I write, I use my stopwatch. It stays on as long as I write, only stopping whenever I’m taking a break. The time I accumulate by writing goes toward my free time, which I use a timer to rundown. One twist I do is that the free time I gain from a day’s writing doesn’t transfer over to free time until the next day. That way, I find myself less tempted in going back and forth within the day. Check your cell phones, iPods, and other handheld devices to see if they have both a stopwatch and a timer.
- Positive Energy & Atmosphere music
Probably the most important element in keeping yourself writing (and all aspects in life) is having the right attitude. Depression, frustration, and stress that lingers can quickly deplete anyone’s writing energy. You can combat this by keeping positive and having positive people around you. For example, writer groups (the right ones) are a great source of inspiration and positive encouragement for writing. Always keep reminding yourself of why you wanted to write and what inspires you to continue. Try to retain the wonder and excitement of it. Reading over some of your previous works might also help.
Lastly, I love listening to atmosphere and relaxing music while I write. It might prove useful when writing in an area with distracting noises. I personally prefer listening to music without lyrics when I write (other words usually distract me), but everyone has different preferences.
I’m aware that sometimes just having the motivation to write isn’t enough to get people to write. There are writers struggling with time restraints, families, schools, and other obligations or even all of the above, which make it near impossible to write. Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution for those situations. Perhaps someone can comment on that, but the only thing I suggest is that if you find some time and the will to do it, the way will open. I hope my suggestions help you on your writing endeavors.
The first science fiction books I ever read were Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer’s When Worlds Collide and After Worlds Collide, back when I was nine years old. (Yes, I was annoyingly precocious.) They hooked me for life on the genre. They’re period pieces, quite dated in terms of social values, particularly the role of women, but given that they were written in the early days of the Depression, that’s to be expected. Re-reading them (the original and the sequel) over the years, they seem quaint but they’re still highly entertaining, and in my view brilliant works for their time.
Reading them for the first time in the 1950s, aside from the great adventure of escaping Earth as it was being destroyed and reaching another planet safely, I was struck by the authors’ prescience. In After Worlds Collide, each of Earth’s major powers sends a mission that establishes a settlement on the new planet, so we have the Americans, the Brits, the French, (who, of course, crashed,) the Germans, Italians, and Japanese, (the Chinese burned up in the atmosphere). Amazingly, writing in 1933, the authors predicted World War II played out on the new planet with startling accuracy, even to the extent of Italy starting out on the side of Germany and Japan, and switching sides in the middle of the war. That blew my young mind (I was ten by then) and as I said, I was forever hooked. But then, Philip Wylie was a pretty sharp guy.
If you know any young people (or older people, for that matter) who are looking for something different, I highly recommend these two books.