3 Things to Consider When Creating a Writing Space

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My Writing Area for Camp Nanowrimo July 2016!

I’m so excited to share my Writing Area! It took me several grueling hours to decide where I wanted it and actually make it work. Luckily, my sweetie was very understanding. ‘Cause I wasn’t a Southern Sweetheart during the process. I’m pretty sure I actually sounded like a Sailor, but we’ll edit all of that out of our story.

P.S. My Writing Area is legitimately in the back of my food pantry, which thankfully has doors AND lighting. Hellloooooo late nights without fur-babies interrupting me.

I’m one of those people who function best with a routine. I need a specific TIME to write every day as well as a specific PLACE.

Here’s the three things I considered when putting together my Writing Area.

 

  1. Consider your COMFORT        

Comfort, for me at least, is a must. But, I can’t be TOO comfortable, like laying on my bed, or I’ll literally be in dream land before I’ve finished writing a page. I’m one of those people who can fall asleep within minutes-be jealous.

So, I needed a desk or table to designate as my writing spot.

 

2. Consider your CONCENTRATION

I know there are people out there that can tune the rest of the world out and write to their little heart’s content. I do not count myself among these luckily people. I get distracted way to easy, and then I get frustrated because I’m distracted, angry at what or whom ever distracted me and then I’m too perturbed to really focus on my writing. (I’m delightful to live with, I know. Love You, Baby!)

I needed a place that I could shut the rest of my household out, human and animal alike. So…..my options were very limited. It was a draw between the bathroom (man, that would have been an interesting post!) and the pantry.

Hello, canned goods! Ya’ll are gonna have to move along.

I spent my Saturday rearranging and consolidating my pantry shelves so that I could remove the largest one to make room to sit comfortably.

 

3. Consider CONSISTENCY

I’ve always thought it would be amazing to slip away to a coffee shop to do my writing, but realistically that couldn’t happen daily!

If I want to form a daily habit I needed a place I could go to daily, that wouldn’t cost money or vary from day-to-day.

Ease of access is also an important thing to consider.

I had thought about leaving the long shelf in place and just sliding it back and forth…but that would have taken like 10 minutes to move everything every day…and way too much effort that SHOULD be used on keeping myself motivated to write.

 

What are you planning to do for a Writing Area?

Do you have any tips for creating those crucial writing habits?

 

♠♥♣♦

 

 

 

 

 

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After You

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What’s Good:
Like the book before it, After You is a refreshing and emotional piece of writing. Parts of it were very raw in the emotional sense, which helps the Reader to relate to the grief the characters learn to overcome throughout the story. The author portrays the cycle of grieving beautifully and insures it’s not given a negative filter—just an honest one.

What’s Amiss:
This truly was a beautiful book, but for me it paled in the shadow of its first installment. It lacked the mystery and drive of Me Before You, and at times seemed to be spiraling without much direction. If I had considered this as a stand alone I would have enjoyed it much more. I was hoping for a continuation of the energy in Me Before You and was left disappointed.

Enthrall.

tumblr_lgneieo4Z11qbmnbho1_500     In all of the books that I’ve fallen in love with, none have captured me more fully than the ones that have enthralled me. It is when I live and breathe the life of the character that I am completely hooked. When reading through other author’s work, take note of different techniques they use to enthrall their readers.

Do they leave their reader with questions that just have to be answered? There have been several books that have kept me reading just to know the answer to a single question, whether it be why, how, or when. Try to incorporate an overall enthralling element of your character. This element can easily change as the character (and story) develops. A character can be overly emotional, overly protective, or inadequately cautious. They can make decisions that completely shock the reader, or they can turn out to be the exact opposite of what the reader assumes they are.

When a reader is enthralled in a story, they’re really enthralled in that specific character’s life. Driven by the need to know what happens next, they continue to read the book or series. Enthrall your readers. Give them just enough detail to ignite their imaginations, and then help it run away with them. You want your reader to be sitting at the edge of their seats, cheering for or running with your character. They should feel the pain that your character feels and sense the danger. Develop your character to speak directly to your intended reader’s imagination and emotions, and they’ll quickly become enthralled with every aspect of your story.

 

Evoke.

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When you are in the beginning stages of developing your Character it is important to take a step back from your own work and take the time to consider the work of others. Of your favorite characters that appear in other writings, what made them stand out to you? What kept them in your thoughts even as you moved on to other worlds and other characters?

To me, above all else, the characters that have stayed with me did so because they were able to evoke strong emotions. Some I hate, some I love. I cried with them. I questioned my entire world. I fell in love. I felt excruciating pain and heartbreak. I fought through clouds of doubt and fear and confusion, all alongside these characters that have remained with me long after I shelved their books.

After coming to this realization I had to ask myself HOW these characters, and thus these authors, were able to call upon my own emotions to get me involved in the story.The answer to this can become very complicated, but today I will leave you with a simplified response to think on.

People connect with characters that call upon their own emotions and experiences. This is why so many love stories sell- the general population has all been in love at one point or another. This is why we all have a heavy heart when a character loses a person or pet that they loved- we’ve all suffered loss. The author is able to Evoke emotions from us because they tap into our past experiences. Nothing is quite as sharp as the sting of a painful memory. Especially when you are reliving it through the character you’ve momentarily become.

No Man is an Island

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; 
It tolls for thee. 

John Donne

This, on its own, is a beautiful thought-provoking piece. It speaks of the interconnections of humankind, as well as the individuals futile attempts to break away from the rest. I believe, as I’m tossing my Rory around in my head day in and day out, that this is a very important thing to consider when building your characters. You must, before doing barely anything else, separate your main character from their world and all of the interconnections that are attached to it. Over and over again I catch myself trying to change something about Rory and stopping myself, just because I don’t want to lose a specific scene or event that I’ve envisioned. In limiting her to specific predetermined scenes I’m grossly stunting her potential to become the character that she’s supposed to be. I have to remove her from the world (or the several potential worlds) that I’ve previously placed her in and focus on her specifically. I can not focus on the plot, or the other characters, or anything else that will eventually come together to create her story. In the beginning it has to be about Her, and Her alone. If you’re like me, that is a lot easier said than done. My goal for tomorrow is to go through the (pathetically) large collection of books I have on writing and character building and come up with a general consensus of questions to ask and approaches to take on developing Rory as an island. She will gain her connections and her world as we go, but first she must stand on her own.

Approaches to Writing

There tends to be two distinct approaches to writing- starting with plot and starting with character. I, for the longest time, have done the former and am currently working towards the latter. Fighting towards it, really. As I’ve mentioned before, I have twenty plus story constructs written down in various space consuming notebooks, but only recently did I realize that every single one of them are missing the most important component- a character that is seemingly alive within the plot line. Sure, I have major events mapped out, sometimes all the way down to what my main characters will say within those major events, but a character is more than just a voice and a puppet. To be a successful writer you must be able to breathe life into your characters. They must stand alone, away from their authors, and they must evoke emotions from their readers. Readers must be able to relate, to feel what your characters are feeling. For them to be able to do that, your characters have to be as real as you can possible make them. All that being said, I will be exploring the process (yes, you can tell that I am extremely left brained, and it sometimes seeps into my planning. Luckily it tends to shy away from my actual writing.) of creating living, breathing, doing characters. I invite you to join me on this possibly hair pulling-ly frustrating journey, and I hope that at the end we all will have at least learned a thing or two about our most important tools- our Characters.

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A New Year, A New Start

The New Year is right around the corner. About this time every year people begin to reflect on what they want to change about themselves in the upcoming year. I would like to challenge each of you, as well as myself, to spend more of my time focusing energy on my dreams. Too many times the world beats the dreams from us with the daily grind of 9 to 5 jobs and the ever present financial crisis the majority of us live in. I’m not going to promise myself to blog and write every day, but I will promise myself to spend more time writing because it’s what I truly love. What change in your life would improve your happiness? I challenge you to make that change. The worst that could happen is remaining at your current level of contentment.

To a new year, a new adventure, and a new story.

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