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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

How To Avoid A Meltdown

I started a new telesales job on Sunday and although I love it, so far it has left me feeling rather frazzled. I didn't know I spent so much time writing until I've spent it in my other job working. The job is flexible in the sense I don't have to work set hours, so in theory I still have time for my writing. But like any other normal person (when have I ever considered myself normal?), I want to devote all my energy into this job until I get settled.

But I thought I would still have the time and the inclination to write. And then I realised I'm not superhuman, and yes, I do need an adequate amount of sleep to function. Something has got to give and my big question is what's that going to be?

In order to prevent myself from going absolutely stark raving mad, I decided to write a list. I thought I would use the same strategy as I use to write my books and plan and outline my life so I can see just how much I have to do without feeling like the walls are closing in on me.

It was only when I composed this list did I realise how much stuff I actually do that's not essential. Things like watch television. Who needs a TV to survive? Reading magazines and having coffee with friends. Surfing useless social media sites like Facebook. Feeding and walking the dogs (okay, I'm joking here - I would never neglect my dogs) but my point is I desperately need to prioritise my life more. I do housework every day because of my boyfriend's dust allergy but instead I'll just buy him a dust mask. I also like to read a lot but I guess I can cut down on that as well. All these things do not pay the bills so I need to focus on the stuff that can pay the bills and give that priority.

So, how do you cope when life feels overwhelming?

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

How To Become A Prolific Writer

Many people think that in order to become a prolific writer you have to write full time. I thought this myself until I started meeting lots of successful writers who had full time jobs. Back then I wondered how they did it; be so involved in work and then to come back home and start writing.

But then I realised these writers had traits in common. They follow a strict routine. They probably write everyday. They write regularly so they always have a constant flow of ideas floating around their head.

They probably write after using an outline to map out ideas. (Before you pantsers send me hatemail to object to this, I'm going to insert a clause here to say I know this isn't always the case but I am an outline writer so I'll stick to what I know). Writers who outline say once they've finished they just have to fill in the blanks in their first draft. They write their first draft to get the story down on paper. Then they go back to edit and rewrite it while ignoring the voice of self doubt that tells them their writing is rubbish. Through ignoring this voice they continue to put pen to paper, thus improving their confidence. They just sit down and write, producing one book after another.

If you really, really want to write you'll always find a way. I know one writer who took ten years to finish his first novel. Now it's available in a major U.K. bookstore. People who make excuses why they don't write all have one thing in common: their heart really isn't in it. They use the excuse of being too busy with other things in their life so that's why they fail to write. Sometimes I think you can write better with a little bit of outside pressure. There's just enough stress to get you focused. I know I can write more efficiently when I have a looming deadline in front of me.

Are you a prolific writer?

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

What Is Your Favourite Point Of View?

I am almost 6,000 words into my third book and I am finding it easier than ever to write. I don't know if this is because it's my third piece of work and I am better because of the practice I've had writing my previous two books, or because it's a complete work of fiction. But I have noticed all three books have one thing in common - they all have the same point of view (POV).

I have noticed during the time I've been writing seriously that most books are narrated from a third person POV. Of course, POV depends a lot on the genre of the book as some POV's are better suited to books like crime and chick lit.

I've always preferred the first person POV because I feel more connected to the book. You feel as if you have been let into someone's life as the style of narration is so personal. I've always said for my first two books I wanted the reader to feel as if they've met a close friend who they haven't seen for a while and they spend that time having a good catch up. I wanted my readers to feel like they're in their friend's house, having coffee with them while they have their feet up.

But first person POV isn't suited to everyone and every book. A lot of writers say that this style of narration is very limiting because the reader only gets to see what's inside one character's head. First person is written from the protagonist's POV, so it's always their take on the story. You don't get to see other people's opinions.

I think the majority of writers like their readers to really know all of their characters so they use third person POV. I think this POV is maybe best suited in giving an all round balanced view of the story.

So what is your favorite POV? Do you use different POV depending on the type of book you are writing? Do you find some POV's easier to write than others?

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Reasons Why Writing On Paper Is A Good Idea

No matter what I write, whether it's a book or a blog post, I will always write the first draft on paper.
Some days my writing will always flow quicker than others. Sometimes it can take hours just to write one single sentence. But my mind is always fully engaged in a very complex thought pattern, brain storming ideas and sorting them out into some kind of order. I find it much easier to pen these thoughts onto paper rather than type them into my computer, mainly because I focus too much on where the next key is instead of where my next idea will come from.

Staring at a blank screen also does nothing for my creative juices. It's as if someone is holding the delete button down in my mind, preventing me from typing a single sentence. I find just looking at the brightness of the screen wipes my mind blank in one swift movement.

I love writing words down on paper. I love the process of shaping out each letter into a word. I find it helps me to think of the following sentences much easier than it would just to type them. Writing stimulates my creativity. I have more time to ponder mid sentence, and as a result I am often a slow writer. But when I finish the first draft I often find little needs doing in my second one. I think this is because my focus has been entirely on the creative process and I haven't been distracted doing unnecessary editing in this early stage.

What do you think? Are you a first draft pen and paper writer? Please share your thoughts and experiences.