Mandy Eve-Barnett's Official Blog

Inspiration for Writers & Building A Community ©

Idea Factory or Empty Void..?

December 30, 2014
mandyevebarnett


images (4)

APOLOGIES this post should have gone out yesterday! I was reveling in my day off…

A recent comment by a writer I know stunned me into silence. What did they say you may ask? This is the statement :

I’m not sure I have anything to write at the moment.

If you are like me the the fact of this sentence is mind blowing. How can you have nothing to write I thought. I have so many ideas in my head I worry I may not get them all written before I go to MUSE central!

Maybe it was not a lack of ideas my friend had but the problem of deciding which one to pursue? Many of us have numerous story ideas bouncing around inside our heads.This may seem a good problem to have, however, too many ideas and no focus can be just as debilitating as staring at a blank page or screen. Symptoms can include indecision, procrastination, failure to meet deadlines, insomnia and anxiety.

The problem is how do we ensure these golden nuggets are not lost?  We endeavor to keep them by making frantic notes but musing over where they could possibly lead to can lead to devastating interruption to our current project. So how do we identify if this ‘new’ idea is worth pursuing?

There are many strategies we can employ to decide on which are best to keep  – here are a few to try:

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 the WIP.

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.”          

Juggling Family and Writing Commitments…

January 22, 2014
mandyevebarnett


reblog

Many of us have to juggle family commitments while writing. Finding the ‘perfect’ balance between the two is always a challenge. You may be in the depths of a scene when a small hand lands on your lap and pleading eyes look up at you. Can you delay the toddler’s wants for your own? Do you crumble and leave the narrative in the hope you will remember the details later?

No matter what age your children are or how involved your partner, there is always a demand for your attention. There will be times when you just want to immerse yourself in your creativity, undisturbed. These three blog posts cover some of the emotions and stresses felt. As well as tips on how to organize your time productively.

http://thewriteconversation.blogspot.ca/2013/07/prioritiesjuggling-family-commitments.html

http://itsjustalittlething.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/on-fighting-sentiment

http://thewritersalleys.blogspot.ca/2010/06/juggling-summer-days-and-writing.html

Juggling Summer

How do you manage to juggle your family life and writing life?

As your children become older, is it easier?

Can you rely on a partner, friend or family member to entertain while you write?

What tips can you share?

Nothing is Impenetrable – Or Impossible…

December 15, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Impenetrable – definition: incapable of being penetrated, pierced, breached or broken into

When we think about new directions in our life, there is a tendency to fill our minds with ‘what if’ and ‘should I’ thoughts. Fear of the unknown is nothing to be ashamed of, embrace it. Consider the rock face. Solid and seemingly impenetrable but over time tiny pebbles moved with the force of water, can wear that rock down. At first it is only a shallow dip but then it becomes deeper and deeper until eventually a hole through that rock face appears.

pebblepool

Whatever goals you want to achieve, they can be realized with thorough research and planning. The trick is to make small steps towards it instead of trying to get there in one fell swoop. ‘Mighty oaks from little acorns grow’  – yes, it is an old saying but nevertheless true. Take time to contemplate what you really want and visualize it. Once you have the goal clearly defined work your way backwards.

What do you need to do now to get there?

Use a graph or a timeline for your goal. Once it is set out visually it is easier to focus and plot your progress. Each step takes you nearer to your ultimate goal and that is encouragement we all need.

Smart_goals_1

My goal for 2014 is to develop my freelance writing business. I have some doubts – time management, bidding on jobs, building a portfolio – to name a few. I have begun researching other freelancers and gaining knowledge from their expertise and experiences. I have already created a freelance binder where I am filing useful articles, blogs, and any information that is useful. My aim is to be as confident as possible before embarking on this venture. Plunging in blindly will result in failure, so time taken to prepare is an investment. To date, I have collaborated in creating a Vision Statement for the local Council and written articles on a wide variety of subjects on Strathcona Connect, an internet magazine. My blog post per day for 2013 has also given me valuable experience in creating interesting articles from just one word! I don’t expect to be able to leave full time work for quite some time but gradually I will build my business to the point that I will be able to.

Do you have goals for 2014?

Did you achieve your goals for 2013?

How did you plan for them? Care to share your technique?

hag stone1

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Are You A Dutiful Writer..?

December 6, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Dutiful – definition: filled with or motivated by a sense of duty

Image found at Utopia Moment by Jack Ruttan…unfortunately link has crashed.

Dutiful writer

Writing about 2,000 words in three hours every morning, ‘Casino Royale’ dutifully produced itself. I wrote nothing and made no corrections until the book was finished. If I had looked back at what I had written the day before I might have despaired. Ian Fleming

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/11/20/daily-routines-writers/

http://ollinmorales.com/2012/12/26/schedule/

Please visit these links – great tips.

I must admit I do not have a set schedule although having to submit a blog post every day and creating a prompt every Saturday does take some organizing. I do try to write at least five days a week, even if it is only a short response to a prompt or a revision to a current project.  My target for 2014 will be a more ‘structured’ writing week to include more freelance opportunities. I am still pondering the frequency of my blog posts and the theme. Writing just when the muse whispers would probably not be as productive as having a schedule but we have to balance when we are inspired as well. My initial thought is – Monday and Friday evenings split between editing my current and previous manuscript and commenting on fellow writers projects. Wednesday evenings focus on freelance work, promotion and submissions. Saturday prompt onto writing website – http://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com and Sunday creating blog posts for the following week. Will I keep to this or refine it? Who knows…it is after all a work in progress.

What is your writing schedule? Do you have one?

Any tips for keeping dutiful?

Just as a side note I’m keeping myself warm today – weather warnings in affect – we have a -40 wind chill – flesh freezes in 10 minutes! Keep warm and safe everyone.

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NaNoWriMo Quandary…

October 15, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Quandary – definition: a state of confusion, perplexity, or uncertainty, especially as to what to do : dilemma

nanowrimo

Many of us are in a quandary over whether to participate in National Novel Writing Month this year or not. It may be a first dip into these frantic 30 days of writing or it is a known entity. Either way, we must consider how we will manage to write at least 1667 words a day. Time management is paramount in finishing NaNoWriMo – a lapse in creating the required amount of words for a day results in even more panic as we are then on catch up mode.

How do you plan?

Are there meals in the freeze ready for the family? Have you plastered your writing space with ‘do not disturb’ signs? Have you registered for local NaNo meet ups? How much plotting and planning have you done?

Whatever your preparations, I wish you luck and please feel free to contact with me as a buddy – MandyB, Edmonton.

Here are some other NaNoWriMo links:

http://crimsonleague.com/2013/10/15/4-fantastic-reasons-to-sign-up-for-national-novel-writing-month/

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/preparing-for-nanowrimo-feeding-the-muse-to-go-the-distance/

http://nickelcrow.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/national-novel-writing-month-coming-soon/

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