A Friendly Reminder-Just Write!

It seems like it’s been a long time since I truly sat down to write. I’ve been doing posts, but mainly older blogs revisited or simple quotes.

My life has been hectic over the last year or so, and it’s been maybe a little too easy for me to say, “I just don’t have the time to write”. I allowed one day to grow into two days and then three and on and on and on.

Before I knew it, I was barely writing at all. I now fully understand why many professional writers encourage you to write every day.

We all have days or personal situations to arise that hinder us from getting to the keyboard. I’m not condemning anyone for taking a needed day off. Life happens!

The problem I had, was the longer I went without writing, the easier it became to put it off. I had become so engulfed with what was going on around me, that I had pushed writing to the side.

Something that I truly enjoyed doing had become an afterthought. Should I write today or not. The answer was usually not.

I am back in the game and wanted to warn those who follow my blog, listen to the experts.

Write! Write! Write! Hopefully, you got that. Just Write!

-Jan R

A Friendly Reminder-Just Write!

Use Point of View to Make the Connection!

In the past I’ve emphasized the importance of character development. In order for a reader to take interest in your work, they have to relate to your hero or heroine. They have to form a connection.

I recently read an article on Point of View that caught my attention and got me to thinking. I of course opened my blog page and began to type. I had to share it with you.

Most writers don’t realize how important Point of View is in forming an emotional connection between the reader and characters in their novel. When you’re in the character’s head, you’re not just following along, you’re developing a relationship.

When you are drawn in to their thought process, you feel like everything that’s happening to your character is happening to you. You will become invested in your character and their journey, even if they’re walking through a mediocre plot.

Some things to keep in mind when using Point of View to develop your characters.

  • Are you telling your reader what’s going on or letting the characters show it themselves?
  • Are you using filter words such as heard, thought, knew, saw, believed, felt? If you are, you are probably not in your character’s head.
  • Are you using all 5 senses?
  • Are you naming emotions or showing how your character is feeling?

Make the connection! Use your tools wisely! Something to think about.

-Jan R

Use Point of View to Make the Connection!

Don’t Be Pretentious!

Is your writing pretentious? Do you write to impress others, or is your writing real? I’ve written several blogs on pretentious writing, but I’ve never used those words to describe it.

So what is pretentious writing? It’s writing that uses those million dollar words. You know, the ones that leave the rest of us scratching our heads and wondering what we just read.

Pretentious writing is something you probably learned in college or high school. It may work great in technical or scientific magazines, and would probably fly in government documents or procedural manuals, but please don’t try to pass it on in a fictional novel.  Your attempts to make yourself sound sophisticated will actually backfire and make you appear unsophisticated.

Think of the novels you read. Do they use a lot of flowery prose and million dollar words? The answer is probably no. What the author has done is mastered eloquence. He/she can make even the most simple sentence waltz across the page. Something I’m still working on 🙂

One of my favorite blogs from the past year is Grammar Is A Must-But Lose That English Teacher Writing! If you have the time, I would encourage you to go back and read it. My posts are short, so it won’t take but a few minutes.

I’m not anti-Thesaurus by the way. I think the Thesaurus is a great writing tool. I open it when I find myself using the same word over and over, or when I’m looking for a word that’s a better fit for what I’m trying to say. I don’t use it to sprinkle million dollar words throughout my prose when simple ones will do.

Well I think I’ve beaten this subject to death, and have no doubt you understand what the point of this blog is.

Hope it got you thinking.

-Jan R

Don’t Be Pretentious!

Surviving The Sting – Revisited

I write a lot about rejection, because it is a part of life if you are an unpublished author seeking a literary agent or publishing contract. Many would be authors allow a simple rejection to end their attempts at writing. Their thought – I must not be good enough. Well maybe that’s true, but odds are it is not.

Manuscripts are rejected for numerous reasons, and many have nothing to do with your work. So what are you suppose to do if you receive a rejection?

  • Admit it hurts.
  • Allow yourself time to grieve, but never take more than a week,
  • Nurture your artist. Read a good book, take a walk, eat some chocolate… TLC is a good thing, but don’t wallow in self-pity.
  • Share your news and disappointment with close friends and family who will understand and offer encouragement.
  • If you must, write a rebuttal to the editor or literary agent, but don’t send it. Tear it up and throw it in the trash. Your only response should be a thank you for their time and consideration.
  • Remember, just because your work wasn’t right for that particular editor or agent, doesn’t mean it won’t be right for another.
  • Just because it isn’t ready for publication, doesn’t mean you can’t make it publishable

A writer not being able to deal with rejection, is like a doctor not being able to deal with death. It’s going to happen, and like successful authors, you will have to learn to live with it.

-Jan R

Surviving The Sting – Revisited

I Need More Time!

Time in business

I’ve said on numerous occasions, “If I only had more time.” Well we all have the same 24 hours, but we don’t all have the same energy level or focus. Some days I surpass my  expectations, and some days I find myself struggling. I can’t concentrate on what my husband is saying, much less writing or editing my work.

So what’s the problem? Poor choices. In my attempt to increase my available time during the day, I sometimes skip things that I don’t consider important. I’m not the only one; we all try to manage the clock, and many times to our own detriment.

You ever skip a meal, because you don’t have time to eat? What makes you think you can run on empty? Did you know that skipping just one meal can cause your blood-sugar levels to nose dive, and if you decide to skip breakfast, you may never get out of the starting gate. This strategy will cost you time by decreasing your productivity and your ability to concentrate.

What about staying up a little later at night to complete your work? Everybody’s in bed, and it’s the best time to work, right? According to a study published in the New York times, getting 6 hours sleep a night can reduce our functioning to the level of someone legally drunk. Most adults need 7 to 10 hours of sleep each night to function at optimum capacity.

What about giving up your free time? Who needs weekends or evenings?   There is a law of diminishing returns with your energy level. You can only push yourself so far before you start losing focus, attention, and performance. Do you ever wonder why you get the best ideas when you’re taking a shower? It’s because you’re relaxing. Relaxation drives creativity.

We think that by managing our time we can make more of it, but time is fixed. Energy levels are not. That’s why you can complete more in 30 hours than 50 tired hours.

If you want to do your best, you have to take care of yourself.  Skipping meals, sleep, and working 70 hours a week, will not increase your productivity.

Managing energy is far more effective than managing time-Michael Hyatt.

Something to think about.

-Jan R

I Need More Time!