Tag Archives: ideas

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

The Twesome Loop

I managed to hide away in my local library last night prior to my writers meeting and work on revisions for my reincarnation romance, The Twesome Loop. With twenty-two pages revised, 510 words added (I don’t count deleted ones!) I felt satisfied at it’s progress. Now I have found a superb cover designer I’m already thinking of a cover for this novel, the illustrated one was the NaNoWriMo proof copy. This novel is one I will be finalizing (hopefully) at the writers retreat later this month. Countdown is on to 18th May…

Our meeting was fun and I shared a part chapter of Twesome, which was well received. It always bolsters an author’s confidence when their words are liked.

My ghost writing project will have several changes made this week, although as I am accompanying my daughter to her reptile show all weekend I doubt I will get any writing done until the evenings.

Books:

The Other Life

The Other Life by Ellen Meister- I finished this book, thoroughly enjoyed it. Here is my review on Goodreads.

Love the struggle Quinn has in this story, whether to stay with her current family life or switch to a more glamorous one, she once had. There are many factors for and against in both lives and this narrative beautifully demonstrates that.
Mothering has its challenges and Quinn has to make some hard choices, so even if you are not into ‘alternative or parallel worlds’ this story will capture you.

Her Fearful Symmentry by Audrey Niffenegger. I am now absorbed by this tale, which is set in London, England on the outskirts of Highgate Cemetery of all places. Obviously this appeals to my warped sense of drama.

Symmentry

While I was at Authors for Indies on Saturday at the Sherwood Park Bookworm, I requested a book with a reincarnation theme. Luckily for me, Leanne the owner found it so it is now on my TBR pile.

Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn      

Reincarnation

How many books do you read in connection with or research for, your current work in progress?

Writing Tips:

Keep a journal or notebook handy at all times so you can jot down all of your brilliant ideas. If you’ve got a smartphone, make sure it’s loaded with a note-taking app. A voice-recording app also comes in handy for recording notes and ideas.

Personally I keep a notebook beside my bed and one in my handbag/purse all the time – when an idea strikes it is best to write it down – later it will allude you!

Make sure you have a dictionary and thesaurus available whenever you are writing.

Do you have a favorite writing tip you would like to share?

When the Muse Won’t Stop Talking…


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I enjoyed a spur of the moment road trip on Saturday with my dear friend, Linda. We traveled west towards the Rocky Mountains and a lesser popular highway (some unpaved). As writers we notice everything – landscapes, flora and fauna and glimpses of everyday life as we pass by (or in our case stop!) It had been several weeks since we traveled together in that direction and we saw astounding differences in the places visited. This was due to the amount of rain the area has experienced – dry dusty tracks were now mud filled, dried up ponds and stream beds now torrents of water and a beaver lodge, which had been high and dry was now partly submerged. It shows that nothing stays the same – observation is key to a writer.

Part of our discussions during our 11 hour trip was narratives we are working on and the many put aside projects, snippets of ideas and future novels still to be realized. I remembered that some time ago a writer friend had stated that “I’m not sure I have anything to write at the moment. I cannot comprehend this. I have a folder of ‘writing pieces’ on  my laptop – several hundred in fact – all of which have not seen the light of day for some time. I have come up with an idea for these short stories – but that will be a project once I have edited, revised and completed the four novels I am working on this year! (Yes I know I am a lunatic.)

If you have a similar problem to mine and suffer with ‘too much inspiration’ then maybe these strategies might help.

a) Leave the chaos of your writing space with pen and paper or recording device and go for a walk. Once you are in a new environment the most exciting and prominent idea(s) will stay with you. Write or record them and let your imagination flourish with them for a while.

b) Restrict your time on musing about new ideas by setting yourself a time limit. Even a ten minute burst of inspirational writing will ensure you get the idea down but not ‘waste’ too much time on it. Once it is written put it to one side and continue with your current project, safe in the knowledge the idea has been dealt with.

c) Take some time to really dissect the new idea. Can you envisage the plot arc, the ending, the characters? If the majority of the narrative reveals itself to you, then mark it down as your next project. However, if the idea is vague, do not pursue it – just jot down the outline and file it.

d) Utilize your passion when defining whether an idea is worth reflection. If it excites you or is on a subject you feel passionate about then it should be considered in depth.

e) Get yourself an idea board. Organize each idea into genre or categories and when a new plot, character or scene comes to you place it with the other components of that particular story.

f) Bounce your ideas off a few trusted friends or members of your writing group.

It is thought a ‘problem’ to have too many ideas – they densely populate our minds. Crowding out each other and jostling for attention. It can be frustrating when we are embroiled in a current project. We hastily jot down the details of the new idea, too frightened to leave it to chance that we will remember it later. This removes our mind set from progressing with our existing work, if only for a short time. These ‘breaks’ can either be a good thing – returning refreshed and with renewed vigor or a bad thing – lured into the new project and dissatisfied with our current work in progress.

How do you handle the sparse and dense periods of your writing life?

What obscure stimulus has sparked an idea for you? 

How do you approach new ideas? Frantic notes? Plot arc? Character descriptions?

Have you experienced a story unwilling to stay quiet?

new idea

“The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out.  Every mind is a building filled with archaic furniture. Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.”          

Stress Blocks Creativity…


We all tread this writing journey with a certain amount of trepidation. Even the most successful authors have concerns.

Will my novel be good enough? Is the story strong?

Will I get good reviews? Have I written my best?

Is there another novel inside me?

It is human nature to agonize over these worries but with support from family, friends and a writing group you can lessen them.

stressed

What makes you most anxious in your writing life?

Unfortunately, stress has a detrimental effect on the creative process so we must try to elevate it. There are a few simple methods to help us.

Firstly, walk away from the project and find somewhere quiet to take some deep breaths.

When our body is stressed it tends to hyperventilate with short low breaths. Breath slowly and deeply.

If possible, take a day away from the project – obviously this isn’t always possible – but try to take at least an hour.

Time away enjoying something else refreshes the brain.

If the thought of leaving the project adds to your stress, take notes of how you want to proceed. They will help get you back into the mindset and you have a reference to guide you.

Focus on each step instead of overwhelming  yourself with the ‘whole’ project.

Give yourself a reasonable time frame.

If it helps map out each step from start to finish – you have set goals per day, week or month – but ensure you have factored in extra time for each one. That way if a step takes longer than anticipated you still have a buffer of time to complete it.

How do you cope with stress?

This link has some great ideas – http://theadventurouswriter.com/blogwriting/8-stress-management-tips-for-writers/

What are your de-stress methods?

Take A Break Mug Showing Relaxing Or Tiredness

That Feeling Of Being In Limbo…A Writing Malaise


directionless

We all feel directionless from time to time, whether it is work related boredom, a relationship stagnating or our writing process requires refreshing. We suffer the emotion and frustration in different ways depending on its source.

As for a writing malaise there are tools to get us back on track. We can employ the multitude of writing prompts available via the internet, whether they are pictures, sentences or random words to spark our imagination. There are word games we can purchase as well. And of course there are the numerous ‘filed’ ideas on our computer or notebooks that can be read through and reworked. Or we can explore the outside world for inspiration. Even the experience of quietly sitting in a cafe, library or other public place and people watching can spark a new idea or story.

Another ‘trick’ is to rewrite or create a story but change your usual genre or even the gender of the main character. A different perspective harnesses our creativity and ensures enthusiasm in writing again.

My current malaise is more overload than a lack of inspiration. With freelance clients, reviewing a friends new novel and a manuscript progressing tantalizingly slowly on top of ‘normal’ life, work, chores, family etc. etc. I feel discouraged coupled with anxiousness at what needs to be done and the apathy I am feeling. I need a break from the ‘norm’ to refresh and renew.

What methods have you used to ‘refresh’ your Muse?

Awake the God Thoth again!

thoth 1thoth 2

Promotional Items for Book Marketing – My Latest Rumble Promo and Ideas for Ockleberries Promo too…


Every year I run a coloring competition for my children’s picture book, Rumble’s First Scare. After choosing the picture for the competition, I have to decide on what the prize will be that accompanies a free copy of the book. In past year’s I have given hand-made Rumble puppets, a Rumble bag filled with squishy toy ‘pets’ just like Rumble’s own and this year I have T-shirts as well as hand-made hats. Both of these last items can be offered for sale at any time of course, but I like to meet the winners of the coloring competition, when possible, so have the prizes available at the annual Words in the Park event in Sherwood Park, Alberta. http://words.sclibrary.ab.ca/

I was excited to find a crafter, who volunteered her services to make these marvelous Rumble hats (see below) and production is under way. If you can’t wait until October, send me a PM and I can reserve you one. They are fantastic unique gifts for Halloween too.

RumbleRumble hat

This year’s T-shirts are unique as well – the front says ‘I love Rumble and his bag of pets’ and the back says ‘Grab your Rumble at http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca

Rumble tshirt frontRumble tshirt back

 

I have ideas for my new children’s chapter book, Ockleberries to the Rescue, as well, which will be launched in October. As the story follows two magical woodland sprites, I want to fashion T-shirt designs but also some sort of toy, for younger children. I already have a couple of animal figurine and glitter filled light-up globes (which you might be able to make

out here – one is a rabbit and the other a squirrel) IMG_0233

What promotional items have you used for your books?

How successful have your promotional items been for you? 

I found this link, which is helpful:

http://writersrelief.com/blog/2014/05/make-promotional-items-stand-out-boost-sales/

Creative Catharsis…


Catharsis – definition: a feeling of release, purification, or purgation of the emotions (often through art)

emotional

I would love to hear from you all regarding your thoughts on how your ‘art’ effects your emotions or visa versa.

In my own experience, I have always been creative and have embraced numerous art forms in my life. Drawing and painting were my initial loves, which gradually progressed into sculpture and then a combination of the two. I dappled in knitting, crochet,  sewing, oil paints, charcoal and pencil drawings (some which were entered by my art teacher for an exam I have not thought possible), pottery and a few more ‘art and craft’ hobbies.

Writing, apart from a few stories for my children, was not something I considered at all. The reason? I have no idea to be truthful. I happened across a writing group once I emigrated to Canada and thought I could try it out among other offered groups and crafts.

As the saying goes I went from strength to strength after a couple of meetings and became ‘hooked’.

As a free flow writer my subconscious is the main source for the component of my stories. I have found that when I write I feel calm and happy. A day or so without writing finds me irritable and unhappy. That is the extent of my obsession and love of the craft.

This graph is fascinating and I will be studying it in detail later. There is a reason we have ‘body’ issues beyond the obvious after all.

I wish you joy in your writing as we head towards 2014 and another year of words, projects, manuscripts and fellowship.

What are your writing  plans for 2014?

Who Personifies an Idea for You..?


Personify – definition: 1. to represent a thing or idea in the form of a person; 2. to be an embodiment or incarnation of an idea; to typify

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There are many people throughout history who have made an impact on the global consciousness. I am sure you can name some more but these were the ones that came to my mind. The common thread is kindness and respect for those around us, whether in our immediate surroundings or further away.

Who did you think of?

Martin Luther King – I have a dream today.

Mahatma Ghandi – Where there is life there is love

John F Kenndey – Let us never negotiate out of fear but let us never fear to negotiate.

Charles Darwin – It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

Galileo Galilei – Where the senses fail us, reason must step in.

Dalai Lama – My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.

George Orwell – In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

Princess Diana – Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.

poster_women-for-blog

The Ideas Come – Sparsely or Densely…


Sparse – definition: not thickly or densely planted

graphs_complete_sparse

This post is, in some ways, a continuation of yesterday’s theme. When we are experiencing new places, people, cultures and the utter relaxation of a vacation, there is only a sparse amount of time, energy and actual willingness to distance ourselves from it all to write. The lure of vacation treats is strong – just go with it – refresh mind and body. I experienced this when I was in England. Apart from initializing pre-written and drafted blog posts once a day, I did no writing whatsoever for the whole two weeks. This is extremely rare for me but there was so much to enjoy and numerous people to see that it was not foremost in my mind. The bonus, of course, is the numerous photographs I took and events I experienced that can be incorporated into future projects.

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It is thought a ‘problem’ to have too many ideas – they densely populate our minds. Crowding out each other and jostling for attention. It can be frustrating when we are embroiled in a current project. We hastily jot down the details of the new idea, too frightened to leave it to chance that we will remember it later. This removes our mind set from progressing with our existing work, if only for a short time. These ‘breaks’ can either be a good thing – returning refreshed and with renewed vigor or a bad thing – lured into the new project and dissatisfied with the WIP.

How do you handle the sparse and dense periods of your writing life?

P.S. the top graph is for Chris McMullen who loves writing problems shown as mathematical problems! http://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/

Rudimentary Ideas…Identify the Good Ones…


Rudimentary – definition 1)elementary, fundamental 2) very imperfectly developed or represented only by a small part compared to the fully developed form

“The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out.  Every mind is a building filled with archaic furniture. Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.”                         – Dee Hock

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We all struggle with becoming overwhelmed with ideas. Frantic notes and musing over where they could possibly lead interrupt our current project on a regular basis. So what is the trick to identifying if a new idea is worth pursuing? Here is a great post from Writer’s Digest, which may help a little. http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/write-first-chapter-get-started/too-many-ideas-syndrome

9 WAYS TO OVERCOME TOO MANY IDEAS SYNDROME

Some writers sit down in front of a blank computer screen and hope for inspiration to hit them out of the blue. Others have the opposite problem, with ideas for plot twists, article topics, greeting card taglines and even song lyrics buzzing incessantly in their heads. In fact, when I asked 10 writers if they considered themselves sufferers of Too Many Ideas Syndrome (TMIS), the answer from all was a resounding “Yes.”

TMIS may not seem much of a problem, especially in an occupation that requires new ideas popping up regularly in order to drive creativity. But having too many ideas and no focus can be just as debilitating to a writer as staring at nothingness, especially if the syndrome causes indecision, procrastination, failure to meet deadlines, insomnia and anxiety. You don’t hear much about TMIS because complaining about being too creative is like complaining about being on The New York Times bestseller list too often.

Imagine standing in the cereal aisle at the grocery store facing dozens of different breakfast options, trying to decide which one to buy. Should you go for the oat squares to reduce your cholesterol, even though you’re fairly certain they’ll taste like pine needles? Something with lots of sugar and a cartoon character on the box to remind you of your childhood? The bran flakes to keep you regular? There are so many choices and all of them seem good.

For many writers, that’s what it feels like every time they try to put words on a page. I know. I suffer from TMIS. At this very moment, my desk is covered with four freelance article ideas, a book outline, two greeting card projects and applications for seven writing competitions. Not to mention a list of baby names I’m using to try to name the characters in the musical I promised myself I’d finish soon.

Melissa Hart, author of The Assault of Laughter, says she’s been plagued with TMIS since she was 10 and her mother taught her how to write and submit a short story for publication. “Ever since then, my mind has been besieged with ideas for stories, novels, poems, magazine articles, op/ed pieces and children’s books. I wake up in the middle of the night with my head spinning. Sometimes I wish I’d chosen a more sensible career—like plumbing.”

There are strategies for coping with TMIS, and they aren’t as drastic as leaving the writing life for the snaking-the-drain life. Here are nine that may help you:

1. THE RED DRESS THEORY.
 I’ve been teaching this theory to my comedy-writing students for years. It’s based on the premise that at any party, there will be more women wearing black dresses than red ones—the red ones stand out and get attention. When faced with an overwhelming number of ideas, I try to evaluate them to see which one seems most like a red dress in a sea of black. For me, bold, brash ideas are almost always the ones that inspire and motivate me.

2. IT’S THE STUPID IDEA, STUPID. 
Tim Bete enjoys pursuing what he calls his stupid ideas. “My new book, Guide to Pirate Parenting, was the stupidest idea I ever had for a book,” he says. “But as the idea evolved, it became one of the best ideas. It just needed time to age. Time lets things percolate. If you keep thinking about a stupid idea over a long period of time, it may get legs—or, in my case, peg legs.” He may have a point. My bestselling book to date is Bedtime Stories for Dogs. That’s right—stories for dogs. Talk about crazy.

3. THIS IDEA HAS LEGS. Another way I deal with TMIS is to take my dogs for a walk. Not only do I think better on the move, but once I get away from the jumble of paper piled on my desk, things become clearer. I always carry a tape recorder so I can record ideas as I move. When I get back, whatever ideas I’ve been excited enough to talk about are those I’ll pursue first. Hart tucks a pen into her ponytail when she goes running so she can write good ideas on her hand while bad ideas fall by the wayside.

4. THE ASSIGNMENT IS DUE. Even if you don’t have a deadline, make one up. Too much time often exacerbates confusion and indecisiveness, especially when you’re faced with too many ideas. I’ve taught five-minute writing exercises in my classes for years and found they produce highly creative writing. Bete has similar advice: “Reduce the amount of time you have to write because less time means less wasted time on unproductive ideas.”

5. MIND OVER MIND. Many of the writers I spoke with rely heavily on their own imagination to cure TMIS. Susan Reinhardt, author of Don’t Sleep with a Bubba, thinks of her writing life as a garden. “I try to decide which of my ideas should be yanked out before they even make it to the page,” she says. Award-winning screenwriter Cynthia Whitcomb, who has sold 70 screenplays and seen 29 come to the screen, puts on a chef’s hat instead. Her advice: “Think of your ideas like pots on the stove in the kitchen of your creative mind. Lift the lids and look inside. One of them is always closest to being soup. Write that one first.”

6. GIVE IN TO PASSION. Many authors, especially nonfiction writers, gravitate to ideas about which they have the most passion. Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of bestselling women’s health books including her latest, Mother-Daughter Wisdom, says, “I go with the idea that brings me the most pleasure or has the most juice. For example, if I have to choose between writing about osteoporosis or writing about sex, I’m going to go with sex! But I also like to tackle subjects that bring up the crusader in me. I recently wrote about the HPV vaccine and why most women don’t need it.”

Wendy Maltz, a sex therapist who has written a number of self-help books, including The Sexual Healing Journey, says she writes only about things she feels passionate about. “I don’t even like writing, but I get all these ideas and writing is the best way to have the biggest social impact. I write out of a need to help, so I choose ideas that will benefit the most people and about which there is the least information available.”

7. ORGANIZE VISUALLY. Hart takes a very visual and organized approach to sorting through her ideas. “I’m a big fan of the bulletin-board approach. I have a huge board in my office. It helps me to be able to see my various projects. I can’t visualize computer files.” Many writers are highly visual and this approach can help a lot, especially if you color-code the cards pinned to your board.

8. GET (META) PHYSICAL. Dr. Northrup uses another kind of card to help her sort through her many ideas for projects. “I often make decisions using the Motherpeace Tarot card deck. Before cutting the cards, I ask for guidance. There’s no magic in these cards; they’re an intuition tool and help me get in touch with what my intuition is trying to tell me.”

9. THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR. Every writer needs a network of friends she can bounce ideas off of comfortably. There’s no quicker way to jettison a few ideas than pitching them to friends and have them give you that stare that says, “What else have you got?” Over the years, I’ve belonged to several writers’ groups but find I usually go back to the same three or four people for advice. I trust them to tell me the truth and help me sort good ideas from bad.

Have you tried any of these? Do you have a technique you can share?

What’s A Writers Main Problem..?


Surfeit – definition: 1) a supply that is more than enough : excess; 2) an enjoyment of something (as food or drink) beyond what is good or necessary; 3) disgust caused by excess

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I’m sure if we began making lists of writing problems the topics included would be – editing, conclusions, middle of the story arc, and character development to name just a few. However, I feel the main problem happens to be – too many ideas! It is almost a curse. We are concentrating on one project and numerous others are fighting for our attention. We make hurried notes in an attempt not to ‘lose’ the new idea. Then it is filed away with all the others. Gradually we come to realize our idea pile is growing exponentially.

When will we have the time to give them our full attention? Is it actually possible to nurture all of them into fulfilled projects?

Some may say it’s a good problem to have; if they are not a writer that is! Contrarily it actually has the opposite effect from the perceived one. We become frustrated as these new stories tussle for our attention, breaking into our thought processes at inconvenient moments. Worry begins to surface, what if by ignoring them they are lost forever? Should we spend time plotting them out then get back to our current project? When will we get time to enhance them all into cohesive stories?

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How do you cope with multiple ideas? What strategies do you use to keep them from invading your thoughts? Can you share any tips or experience that would help others?

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would also like to mention today a friend’s book as it deals with surfeit.  She has been exceptionally brave and told her story of addiction. An excess she has managed to ‘conquer’.

51JZvCn36QL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-70,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_http://www.amazon.com/Stone-Princess-Collection-Stories-ebook/dp/B00C4CVSWG