Tag Archives: Writer

The Inertia of Not Doing.

20 Mar
Just Do It | Nike x Lau

Just Do It | Nike x Lau (Photo credit: achimh)

For writers, it is not uncommon to look at the blinking  prompt at the beginning of  your line and all the white space underneath and feel overwhelmed. I am sure that is something that all writers and bloggers have had to deal with at one point or another. It might not even be the dreaded “block” as much as just the inertia of not doing. When you spend a lot of time away from the keyboard, it can feel impossible to return. You become very aware of how long it has been since you last tapped the keys. The molehill of inconvience becomes the mountain of insecurity, doubt and real anxiety.  You start to think that it is just too hard to get back at it and doubt your ability to return to the routine.

 

English: QWERTY keyboard, on 2007 Sony Vaio la...

English: QWERTY keyboard, on 2007 Sony Vaio laptop computer. Français : Le clavier QWERTY d’un ordinateur portable Sony Vaio de 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)So what do you do to get writing again?

Nike was on to something when they offered the veritable and incredibly simple advice, Just Do It,

It can be as simple as that. Sit down and write the first 250 Words that come to mind. Do some freewriting. The best way to get back on to the horse is with a leap and wrap both legs around the belly and ride. It can be as simple as that. Once, you are back in the practice of dumping 250 words in the morning then the page won’t seem quite as intimidating when you want to do some real writing.  If you can’t do 250 words then do any amount that you can but once you start you will find that 250 words are hardly any at all. Look at this entry so far and I am just barely over 250. Two short paragraphs will get you there. Take a shot you have nothing to lose and your writing habit to gain. So, get back to it and remember the truest of truisms:

 

WRITERS WRITE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday is Tricky: Writer’s Block

9 Oct

Mondays are “Meet My Guest Blogger Monday” like this so Tuesday? Tuesday is tricky. No really, “Tuesday is Tricky: Tips and Tricks” is the second theme day of the week.  It will be some form of tips or tricks about writing. Today, let’s take a look at…

Tips and Tricks to Beat Writer’s Block

1. Make a date with your writing desk. Nothing ever gets done unless we plan it. Plan to take a certain time of the day and make it yours for writing. I know..I know…you don’t have time! No one does. Yet we manage to watch TV, play online, and make it to the gym. If you are a writer then shouldn’t writing time be a priority to TV and the internet and at least as important for your health as time at the gym? Say yes and make a plan to devote a part of the day to writing.

2. Write words. Lots of them. It isn’t enough to just block off time for writing if you are not actually spending those hours writing. Set a small word goal for day one and then aim to increase it by 100 every day until you get to a comfortable spot. Remember that writing badly is better than not writing at all. There is always revision later. 

3. Write first, Rewrite later. Writing and rewriting are distinctly different tasks. Focus on getting your work written before you begin the rewriting. These are tasks for different days. Stop rewriting the same page for a week and force yourself to write badly first and rewrite later. LATER!

4. Juggle. Have multiple projects going at once. Give one as much as you can until you are stuck and then start another. I usually have a blog post or two going at once. I have flash fiction challenges and the WIP (and some smaller short fiction things). If I can’t make one work with me at the moment, I don’t panic. I put it down and pick up another.

5. Write (when it isn’t writing time). Once in a while, forget you regular writing time and trade it with gym time or some other time of the day. Attack your enemy from another direction. Flank those freaky words and come in from a corner of the battlefield that they would never expect. It’s like a mental ambush!

6. Write it out of order. Nothing says that you have to write it in the order that you want it read. Write the middle first or the end then go to the beginning. Mix it up. Write the part that wants out first. Then use that to build the rest.

7. Regular FreewritingMake time to freewrite every day. Freewriting is like priming the mental pump. Read this or this. That’s forced one shot writing. Do it freely and forget the grammar rules or spelling. Forget anything but getting words on the page. There is also this.  Now read all of my opinions on Freewriting and I have a lot of them. Freewriting is a must have tool in a writer’s toolbox. You must be willing to write for the love of writing. Rewriting is for later.

8. Pick up on the hint! Did you get my #1 most important tip to beating writer’s block? I said it over and over in each tip. Rewriting is not the same as writing. You build the house before you paint it. You must have words on the page before you can revise them. Tattoo that on your hand (or just put a post it note on your screen): REWRITE LATER!

**************************************************************************************************

If you haven’t yet, please connect with me on social media:

Please follow this blog by email or on your WordPress reader page (or both). If you found this information valuable then please feel free to share it with others. I provided the share buttons so you bring the shares.

As always your comments are appreciated.

A Day In The Life of A Real Writer

8 Oct

Okay, so we all knew it would happen some day! Sean needed a little credibility so he sought out some established “real writer” to lend a guest post and some much needed “actual content” to this blog. So I called up my distant cousin,  Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy, the Rebel Writer (actually no known relation) to fill in for me on a new segment that the kids are calling, “Meet My Guest Writer”.

Forget glamour.  Erase any notions or preconceived ideas about fun.  Writing is work.  And yes, it can be enjoyable.  I love what I do and can’t imagine returning to working nine to five for a corporation or business.  But it’s also time consuming, frustrating, and at times difficult.  I prefer the rewarding moments over the hard but in this business, you’ll have both.

Rewind my life a few years and I dabbled in writing.  Although I wrote almost every day and turned out a lot of stories, articles, and other literary efforts, many of which found published homes and earned me a little money, I didn’t approach it as a job.  If there’s any secret to my success, a turning point moment, it’s when I decided to treat writing as if it were a paying job.

I made up my mind and decided it was time to get serious.  The housework took a back seat to writing and I began keeping a routine, a strict one.  I stopped for a lunch break at the same time each day and within six months I signed my first book contract.  Two years and two months later, I signed my thirtieth this week.  Most are full-length novels by any standard and a few are what is sometimes called novellas.  These days, more and more people just call them “books”.  All are available as eBooks, four are also available in paperback.  I also have work in more than twenty-five anthologies and several short story credits including a few in national publications.

So if you want to make it in this business, make writing a job.

For the curious, here’s a rundown of how my basic day begins. I get up early, as in before daylight.  I’m also a mom so I rise before the kids and after a cup or two of coffee to get my mind alert, I check emails.  I also start a to-do list for the coming day.  After I feed and get my children out the door to the bus, I spent several hours either writing or doing writing-related tasks.  It can include editing, filling out cover art forms, writing blurbs, keeping up with my four blogs, using social networking to keep up with other writers and the reading community, and other details.  I may pause long enough to start the laundry or let my Jack Russell terrier out into the yard but otherwise I work until lunch.  After a brief stop, I bring in the mail and get back to work for several more hours.  Then it’s time to meet the kids, cook supper, talk to my husband when he gets home.  After dinner, I pay bills, play a little online, keep up with friends, and make phone calls to family.  Sometimes I get a little more work done, sometimes not.

My schedule doesn’t vary much even on weekends.  I’ve been known to work on holidays too, at least a few hours worth.  If I go on vacation, it’s usually a working trip with a visit at a writer’s conference or research for an upcoming project.  And the laptop goes along too.

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t hobnob with the rich and famous, attend galas, ride around in my limo and I’m far from rich.  I’ve done a few local television appearances but I’ve yet to mark The Tonight Show off my bucket list.

I work long, often hard hours but I enjoy what I do.  Reader feedback makes a positive impact too.  I often urge people to remember I’m not home watching television or playing Farmville.  I’m working because writing is a job and once I began to give it the same respect as any other employment, my career moved in new directions.

Contact and links:

leeannwriter@gmail.com

Twitter: leeannwriter

Facebook: my personal page is Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy plus I just kicked off an author page – From Sweet to Heat: The Romance of Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

https://www.facebook.com/pages/From-Sweet-To-Heat-The-Romance-of-Lee-Ann-Sontheimer-Murphy/287540748010934?ref=hl

Website/blog: http://leeannsontheimermurphywriterauthor.blogpspot.com

Blog: Rebel Writer: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

http://leeannsontheimermurphy.blogspot.com

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Lee-Ann-Sontheimer-Murphy/e/B004JPBM6I

Now that you have had a taste of a “real writer”, can you ever go back? 

Sure you can! And you will! See you tomorrow!

*********************************************************************************

If you haven’t yet, please connect with me on social media:

Please follow this blog by email or on your WordPress reader page (or both). Thank my “cousin” for lending me some much-needed quality content by sharing with all of your friends! This time it is not a polite request, it is a mandate. I brought the share buttons so you bring the shares,buddy!

As always your comments are appreciated.

Excelsior. Peace Out.

Build a Better Brand Platform: 30 Day Challenge (Day 19)

19 Sep

Have you seen The Karate Kid? Do you remember the scene when Mr. Miyagi shows a defiant Daniel-san that all the seemingly meaningless and tedious tasks he had been doing while training were actually lessons and part of a greater whole.  Today is the day we put it all together.


For today’s challenge write a blog post and include a call to action  -possibly to leave comments , to sign up for your email feed  or to use the share buttons  to share with others. Share the post  on Facebook , Twitter  and Linked In . Don’t forget to think SEO  as this will help increase the number of positive hits when you search your name. It is a good routine to share a blog post  every day. You should write a new post at least once a week. Be consistent. Engage your readers regularly This is the way you will define yourself  to your readers and reach your ultimate goals.

You thought you were taking “baby steps”? It looks like you are tap-dancing to me,kid.

The main cast of The A-Team. Clockwise from to...

The main cast of The A-Team. Clockwise from top: H. M. Murdock, B. A. Baracus, Hannibal Smith and Templeton “Face” Peck. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As Hannibal from A-Team was fond of saying, “I love it when a plan comes together!

(Reference MNINB Day 19)

*********************************************************************************

If you haven’t yet, please connect with me on social media:

Please follow this blog by email or on your WordPress reader page (or both). If you found this information valuable then please feel free to share it with others. I provided the share buttons so you bring the shares.

As always your comments are appreciated.

Build a Better Brand Platform: 30 Day Challenge (Day 6)

6 Sep

Okay, pals!

If you look in the right sidebar then you will see a blogroll list. These are blogs by writers and for writers that I have been reading. I am sure you have your own list of “must follow” blogs.

Visit A Blog and Comment:

The mission should you choose to accept it is simple. So far the focus has been on you. Now it is time to look at another writer. Visit the blog of a writer that you admire (or one of my blogroll if you are stuck) and leave a comment. You can comment here but it doesn’t count for the challenge. Leave a comment that adds value. Relate the blog back to your own experience and share that in the comments. Be sure to add your own blog URL to the comment but make your comment more than just an invitation to read your blog, make the comment make your blog look inviting by adding the value of your own experiences and opinions.

Do this today but over time make it a habit that you do everyday. Read other writers/bloggers and examine what they write and relate it to yourself. Leave meaningful comments and invite them (and their readers) back to your blog. This builds a network and spreads that net just that much wider.

Remember if you haven’t yet to leave your twitter handle here and your blog URL here. I will be compiling these into lists that I will publish to help you expand your reach as much as I can help do that. Also please connect with me on FACEBOOK, Twitter and LinkedIn.

If you found value in this at all then please share with others.

Freewriting Friday (8/31)

31 Aug
English: Print of Princess Charlotte of Wales ...

English: Print of Princess Charlotte of Wales as a young girl. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey Guys!

I had almost forgot but this is “Freewriting Friday”. If you are not familiar with the concept of freewriting or the challenge I have set for Fridays, then please feel free to click the link and travel back in time to last Friday when I explained the value of freewriting as a tool in the writer’s toolbox and as a weapon against writer’s block. I also set the topic for this week’s challenge to write about:

“Writer’s Block as if it was something material and part of the physical world.”

Now, I present you with my 750 words or more. Remember that spelling and grammar errors are allowed and forgive them. Here is my attempt from last Friday’s challenge.

Once upon a time there was a young queen who said,”If only, my lonely days would end and I might have a child,” but never had one. “I would call her Story and she would be beautiful and her voice so sweet that all would come to hear her recite”, pledged the young queen as a tear ran down her cheek.

It happened once as the young queen was bathing, a large frog leaped from the water onto her breast. “Queen Muse, your wish shall be fulfilled, before twelve full cycles of the moon have passed,you shall birth a daughter. You may name her ‘Story’ as you have planned and it is true that none shall be able to resist the lure of her voice and shall travel far to hear her recitations.”

What the frog had told her had came true, and the young queen had discovered she was with child and began to recite short fables and long epics as she rubbed her hands over her round belly. It came that she had a little girl who was so pretty and words so mesmerizing that the queen could not contain her joy and ordered a great banquet.

She invited her kin from near and far, friends and ambassadors from all of the other kingdoms and lands that bordered. She invited also the greatest bards of the village that they might be kind and well-disposed towards the child. There were thirteen of them but she only had twelve silver lyres with which to gift them, so one of them had to be left at home as she could not be embarassed.

The feast was held and the bards brought gifts with which to bestow the young princess- one gave words, another wit, one richness of tone, and so on with everything one might wish for Story. When eleven of the bards made their tribute, suddenly the thirteenth bard entered the hall and said not a word to the others or the queen and spoke directly to the child, “Your words are wistful and kind but on your thirteenth winter, your lips will fall mute and the cold winds shall blow fiercely and entrap you within a block of frigid and unbreakable ice. All may see your beauty and imagine your voice but never hear you from within”. And without saying another word, he left wrapping his cloak around him tightly.

Shocked and frightened, but the twelfth bard, whose good words were yet to be spoken walked forward and knowing he could not undo the evil sentence, but could perhaps soften it he said, “This truth is truer than true, winter’s breath is cold and bluer that blue, but if the right words are told your skin will take a rosier hue and then Story you will know precisely what you shall do”

So each winter, the queen made her castle more secure and boarded up the windows and put curtains across the doors. She spoke with wise women and magi too but all agreed that none could prevent the sad truth.

Meanwhile the gifts of the bards were generously fulfilled on the young girl, for her recitations were perfect in every detail and crowds would gather in the spring and summer just to hear her speak ten words of poetry.

It happened that on the very day when she was thirteen years old, that the queen was away in the east and though she hurried her envoys to bring her home that the young princess Story was alone.

She always wondered about the bricked off dining hall and the tower above it and though she knew she was forbidden, she climbed up the narrow winding-staircase, and reached a little door. An old iron key was in the lock but when Story turned it the door went wide.

There was a tiny desk and a tiny scribe.

“Who are you?”, the young princess spoke.

“I am the writer of the tale”, the goblin answered. His eyes two tiny black marbles rolled towards her and he pierced her finger upon his quill. He wrote in blood upon his parchment.

The young princess fell to the floor and the winds ripped the boards right from the windows and the doors and ice pierced the thatch and all around young Story grew a pile of ice that froze into place and became solid as glass. Though you could still see the surprise on her face, none could hear another word from her lips. Sadly, the writer spoke and “This is my block”.

Luminous and bright the ice held her tight and though all knew that story lied within through this winter and then hundreds more, the young princesses freedom none could restore. The castle fell into disrepair and the kingdom into poverty and the block was carried down and placed at the center of the hall. The twelve bards of the kingdom had each tried their most magical words but they echoed and boomed but no reply was ever heard. Historians and storytellers from the world wide would come and recite to the princess inside but none could seem to break the spell and the princess was locked in her own forzen hell.

The queen after most of a century collapsed over that granite hard ice block with her daughter inside finally giving up all hope in bleak sadness she died.

How long passed? It depends on who is telling the tale but one winter when all was white with snow and the air pierced by hail, a young traveller sought shelter inside of a ruined castle hall. All the tapestries torn and the furniture burned for warmth, the young man sat against a solid block off ice that was now fogged white. He brought his cape close around his body and pulled from his satchel a pen and a bound pad that he had inherited from his father who had inherited it before and he began to read a story that started a hundred years or more before in a forgotten kingdom with a long-dead queen and thoughtless act and an evil deed.

See his father had been a bard as his father before and each had sat and written just a little bit more. As the young bard read he realized that he was within just such a hall and though the block was covered in leaves from fall and piles of snow, he brushed them away and just had to know.

Inside was a young frail dark-haired child, no older than he and her eyes were wide and her blue lips slightly parted as if in middle of a word.

He opened his ink bottle. It was more than half frozen and dipped in his pen and then her began the tale again. Only as he wrote and he got to this moment and he got to this part he could hear nothing but the beat of his heart.

He wrote quickly as if he could not waste a moment and despite his haste chose each word wisely and finished the tale and as he did he could see the princess was not quite so pale.

Her skin began to become bright as spring roses and her lips like blood. As she warmed the blocked began to sweat and then pour and puddles began to appear on the floor and suddenly as if winter was over and never to return a warm wind blew and spring had returned.

From Story’s soft mouth came the words that she meant to speak those centuries before. She whispered them now into the ears of the young bard who had freed her, “Who is this story for?”

Done. So now let’s see yours?

Please link your answers to last week’s challenge in the comments here. The challenge for this next Friday is to write about:

“Google Image Search the word, ‘resplendent’  and choose the image you like best and then ‘voracious’ and your favorite for that word  and write a story involving the two images. Try not to use the two words in the story.”

Ready? Go!

I will check back with next Freewriting Friday.

We Lonely Writers

30 Aug

“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness, but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day. 
” –Ernest Hemingway

The writing profession is reeking with this loneliness. All our lives we spend in discoursing with ourselves. . . . The loneliest people in the world we writers are. Except that, while we are conversing and laughing with ourselves, we manage to shed our loneliness . . . to scatter it as we go along. –H.L. Mencken

Imagine the writer: typing away the night while others are sleeping, toiling away in the darkness with the only light being that of  the cyclops eye of the  computer monitor, his hands pouncing and leaping upon the keys like a wounded caribou, his eyes bloodshot, his fragrance that of the sweat and tears of a lonesome man who hides away with his word. He goes out only long enough to collect his mail or gather provisions of groceries for another marathon session of creativity. His “real” world is the one of his mind. The other world is but Plato’s shadows on a wall moving in and out of focus only as he needs them.

Yikes!

I didn’t sign on for that. It is a romanticized (or is that the right word?) portrait of the life of a writer. Must we really be this solitary? Focused,yes! Determined,yes! Solitary? I hope not.

Tonight, I plan to meet some other writers. A meetup is planned for a “Happy Hour for OKC Scribes” and I have to admit this is my first attempt to network with other writers in person. I am a member of some active writing groups on Linked In and a few professional societies for writers but I have not yet made the leap to pressing the flesh with real-live writers.

I am hoping that the experience is one of growth for me and finding like-minded individuals with experiences and advice to share. I am looking for those impartial eyes to read a piece and tell me what they “really think” of my writing. I need that constructive criticism and coaching. I am also looking to make some friends but not necessarily in the same people. Friends are sometimes the very worst editors.

I promise to update you on how it turned out.

What do you think are writers the hermits that we are portrayed as? Does a life as a writer mean solitary confinement with our only hope for escape in the imaginary worlds we create for ourselves outside our cells? Are any of you in writing groups? What are the advantages and disadvantages of these groups? Please share your experiences in the comments.

Writer with a “Day Job”

29 Aug

Let’s face it, unless you have a book on the New York Times Best Seller‘s list, a healthy trust fund or a hardworking spouse that doesn’t mind supporting you until you are a household name then you probably need to work a “day job“.

My life so far has seen me try many occupations. I have worked in a mail room, cooked pizzas for a fast food delivery place, done door-to-door political canvassing, been a tutor at a junior college, bar bouncer and worked my way from the kid who dipped fish out of the aquarium tanks with a net to assistant manager of a big-box retail store.

Most recently, I did a short stint as an outdoor construction laborer. I tore down and installed seamless rain-guttering. I must not have been too good at it as I stopped getting called for jobs. Just yesterday, I was hired by a Christian-owned hobby supply store as a backroom stock man (stock “boy” is too pejorative I guess). It is hard physical work but the gig is temporary and seasonal as they only hired me to get through their busy holiday season. I am looking at picking up work as a substitute teacher and of course I am trying to pick up even more freelance writing work.

Freelance writing is sort of a hustle and you have to constantly be looking for and following up leads on new work. When the new work just isn’t there then you need the dreaded “day job”.  I’m a writer but to pay the bills I will do just about anything.

Nothing is sexier than saying, “Hey, I’m a writer”…right?

My needs are few. Food in the fridge and comfortable place to sit are really the only priorities. Give me an internet connection and a lap top to write on and I am happy. Still with these few needs, the bills need paid.

What did famous writers do to pay the bills? An article in Flavorwire revealed the Strange Day Jobs of Authors Before They Were Famous.  Writers struggling to get their first works published are often told “Don’t Quit Your Day Job” but just what kinds of crazy jobs do you imagine those writers had. I will make a column of famous writers and a column of possible employment and try to match them up. When you are done guessing then click on the article in Flavorwire to check your answers.

J.D. Salinger                                                        Singer

George Saunders                                               Floor Model at Bloomingdale’s

Franz Kafka                                                         School Janitor

Tom McCarthy                                                    Exterminator

John Steinbeck                                                   Managed a Saab Dealership

John D’Agata                                                       Garbageman (for one day!)

William Faulkner                                              Guinea Pig for CIA Psych Experiments

T.S. Eliot                                                                Busboy

Robert Frost                                                         Doctor with a Full-time Practice                                                      

Jack London                                                         Selling Dental Products By Phone

 Ken Kesey                                                              “Oyster Pirate” and Hobo

Langston Hughes                                                 Changing Light Bulb Filaments

William Carlos Williams                                  Lloyd’s Bank of London

Nicholas Sparks                                                    University Postmaster

Wells Tower                                                            Condom Shop (NOT sex shop)

Kurt Vonnegut                                                        Guided Tours of a Fish Hatchery

Siri Hustvedt                                                           Nude Model

Steven King                                                              Workmen’s Accident Insurance

William S. Burroughs .                                        Worked in a Slaughterhouse

James Joyce                                                             Worked on a Swedish Luxury Liner

Remember that the “day jobs” and authors are mixed up but see how many you can guess before you check the answers.

What “day jobs” do you work? What is the craziest “day job” that you have had to work? What is the “day job” for a writer? Is working a “day job” a help or a hindrance to a career as a professional writer? What do you think? Leave your answers in the comments.

Writer In Waiting

28 Aug
The Importance of Being Earnest (1952 film)

The Importance of Being Earnest (1952 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When an old friend from high school, Dawn Alexander asked to profile me in her blog, Writer In Waiting, my only reservation was that she not post any pictures of me in costume in a one-act play competition we performed in where I played Dr. Chasuble (with an embarrassing lisp) in The Importance of Being Earnest. The bad lisp was an affectation. The cheesy high school mustache was all mine. She agreed to this single caveat.

The Q&A was fairly short. My answers were a little lengthy. When am I likely to be interviewed again soon?

Enjoy the profile and poke around her blog. She is like many of us a “writer in waiting”.

Join her for “Tell Me Your Story Tuesdays”,”Thinking About Thursdays”, and “Friday Plot Swap”.

Oh, and if she brings out that picture, I might have a picture or two of my own. Does big-hair-and-blue-eyeshadow  ring a bell, Dawn? It keeps you humble to have a few friends that know where the bodies are buried (because they helped you bury them).

%d bloggers like this: