My Favorite Writerly Things

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Fingers on keyboard and judgement from kittens
Bright neon notebooks where words will be written
Brown cups of coffee turned lighter with cream
These are a few of my favorite writerly things

And here are a few more:

Writerly Weather

I’ve seen a lot of writers comment that rainy days are ideal for them to write. Not for me. Rainy days are lazy days. The most I can hope to accomplish (besides staying awake) is reading a chapter or two from my favorite book. For me, sunny days are the best days for writing. The sun lights my writing space and keeps me in a positive, productive mood.

Novelty Pens

The pen is mightier than the sword, especially when it has a bobble on top. Whether it’s neon colored, topped with a feather, or odd-shaped, a novelty pen inspires me to write. My favorite pens right now are my Inside Out pens which allow me to write in colors that express my current mood. (Current mood is yellow).

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee!

Or just caffeine in general. Though, in all honesty, my favorite caffeinated drink is coffee. My favorite roast is the House Blend Roast from Starbucks. I just grounded a fresh batch so we’re all set for the weekend. Star Wars coffee creamers make it even better.

Cats

Where would a writer be without their feline companion. Critic more like. Cats have a tendency to sit near the computer screen, narrow their eyes at the screen, and cast judgement. I know my cats do. They also like to sit on the keyboard, inserting strange gibberish into my writing. But I don’t know where I’d be without them.

My Computer

I used to draft all of my novels on notebooks, but my hand started cramping too much. Plus, my desire to go back and scratch out everything I just wrote became too great. Now I do all of my work on the computer. It’s my notebook, my radio, and my social outlet. If it died today my world would just end.

Notebooks

Even though I do all of my writing on the computer, I still like to complete my outlines in notebooks, especially cute ones with pictures of cats or Disney characters on the front. Neon ones are also fun. There’s something about that binder in hand and the immediate connection between the mind and the paper that makes thoughts come easier. Don’t you think?

Movie Soundtracks

Most of the time I write in silence . . . unless my nephew is up and about. LOL. In that case, I try to drown out the sound of Legos crashing and action figures smashing with music. Movie soundtracks are my favorite, especially instrumental numbers. Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore, and Yo Yo Ma are some of my favorite composers.

Books

For good measure, I like to keep a pile of books nearby . . . for no apparent reason other than looking like an author. LOL. Actually, I like to keep references near at hand just in case. I hate getting up out of my seat.

Useless Geegaw

I like to keep my desk cluttered with useless geegaw. Whether it’s a Funko Pop Vinyl figure or a Lucky Cat figurine, if it’s in my way it’s making my day!

Motivational Quotes

I have a tack-board just above my desk covered in photos, business cards, and motivational quotes to keep me inspired.

Well, that’s about it for me. What are your favorite writerly things? Feel free to share in the comments below. And as always have a wonderful weekend!

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Friday Fun: Fill in the Blanks

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Let’s play a game. No, not a love game. A writing game. If your week has gone anything like mine, you’re probably in need of a break and a little fun.

Here’s how to play: Read the questions below and fill in the blanks. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Most importantly, have fun!


The best part of being a writer is [blank].

The worst part of being a writer is [blank].

If I wasn’t a writer I would be a [blank].

The best way to drink coffee is with [blank] cream and [blank] sugar.

My favorite beverage while I’m writing is [blank].

My favorite non-writing past time is [blank].

I like to nap for [blank] hours per day.

My main character’s name is [blank], but my favorite character’s name is [blank].

[Blank] is the book I wish I’d written.

Of all the stories I’ve written, [blank] is my favorite.

If I could incorporate any fictional character from some other work of fiction or film into mine it would be [blank] from [blank].

If I could bring any of my fictional characters to life it would be [blank].

On average, I write about [blank] words per day.

While I’m writing, I like to listen to [blank] for inspiration.

The author who most inspired my writing is [blank].

I would consider myself a [blank] writer.

The best word to describe my writing is [blank].

Sometimes, when I’m writing, I’d rather be [blank].


Not too hard, right? In case you’re curious, here are my answers to the questions:

The best part of being a writer is creating.

The worst part of being a writer is marketing.

If I wasn’t a writer I would be a well-rested person.

The best way to drink coffee is with 2 cream and 0 sugar.

My favorite beverage while I’m writing is coffee.

My favorite non-writing past time is reading.

I like to nap for 1 hours per day.

My main character’s name is Mongrel, but my favorite character’s name is Margo.

Empress by Karen Miller is the book I wish I’d written.

Of all the stories I’ve written, The Wizard’s Gambit is my favorite.

If I could incorporate any fictional character from some other work of fiction or film into mine it would be Tyrion from Game of Thrones.

If I could bring any of my fictional characters to life it would be Littlehammer. (She’s a hoot).

On average, I write about 1,000 words per day.

While I’m writing, I like to listen to movie soundtracks for inspiration.

The author who most inspired my writing is Terry Pratchett.

I would consider myself a decent writer.

The best word to describe my writing is supercalafajalistickexpialadojus.

Sometimes, when I’m writing, I’d rather be napping.


That’s all for now! I hope you had fun with this activity! Feel free to share your answers in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

Something to Read on Tolkien Reading Day

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Today is Tolkien Reading day, and so I’ll be spending my day off revisiting some of my favorite works … and trying to get a little writing done as well.

Last year’s theme was “friendship” which I found rather uplifting. This year’s theme is … less uplifting: life, death, and immortality.

My sister shared a rather interesting blog post on the subject and how it ties to Tolkien’s life. Click here to check it out.

But before you go, I’m curious to know, what are you reading for Tolkien Reading Day?

 

 

 

Past the Point of No Return and How to Make the Most of Your Writing Time

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We’re halfway through the month of November. And for those of use participating in NaNoWriMo, that means only two more weeks left to reach our  word count goal of 50k!

Take it from here, Phantom:

Past the point of no return, no backward glances
Our games of make-believe are at an end
Past all thought of if or when, no use resisting
Abandon thought and let the dream descend

Anyway . . .

For those participants (like me) who are way behind, now might be the time to throw in the towel—I mean, reassess your goals, reorganize your outline, and recharge for the final sprint.

Keep in mind, NaNoWriMo is about more than just word count; it’s about making time for your creative endeavors and developing good writing habits.

Granted, winning is nice, so here’s some advice you might apply in the next few weeks to make the most of your writing time and reach your NaNoWriMo word count goal:

  1. Make a plan
    • Outline the rest of your story
    • Plan before each writing session what you’re going to do
  2. Create your “ideal” conditions
    • Make space on your desk, couch, kitchen table, wherever
    • Secure silence or play music
    • Adjust the thermostat
    • Stay home or go to a coffee shop, library, whatever
  3. Remove distractions
    • Put away cell phones
    • Turn off the television and/or Netflix
    • Avoid social media
    • Be upfront with family and friends
    • Lock the cat and/or dog in the closet
  4. Have your writing supplies ready
    • Coffee and snacks within arms reach
    • Notebooks, pencils, other writing supplies
    • Laptop charger
    • Notes and/or concept art within sight (consider a tackboard)
  5. Use the tools you are comfortable with
    • Keyboard or paper and pen
    • Word Document or Scrivener
  6. Get in the zone
    • Ignore your inner critic
    • Don’t get obsessed with word count
    • Write the scenes/chapters that inspire you
    • Read a scene/chapter before you start
    • Don’t check the clock; use a timer

Whether you’ve got one hour to write or three, these tips should help you make the most of your time and reach  your NaNoWriMo word count goal! And if you’ve got some tips to add to the list, please share them in the comments below.

Thank you and have a great weekend!

 

How Impulsiveness Can Boost Your Creativity: A Guest Post by Linda Craig

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Have you ever felt the random urge to dump a milk carton over your head? Or to break into song in the middle of the office? Do you have strong opinions about, well, everything? Are you also a writer? Then today’s guest post will prove interesting to you. Linda, Craig, freelance writer, has provided a delightful article about impulsiveness and how it can boost your creativity. Please enjoy!


When you think about your favorite writers, you’ll notice they have something in common: they manage to evoke strong emotions in the reader. An author wouldn’t be capable of achieving that effect if he didn’t experience impulses himself. Someone with cold, distant personality could never write a powerful novel.

Creative writing is closely intertwined with sense, awareness, pleasure, and emotional reactions. According to psychologists, writing can be an impulse itself. This condition, known as hypergraphia, is characterized by an intense urge to write. This drive is different from the usual emotions all people experience every day. A writer recognizes this desire that doesn’t allow him to do anything else. Impulsiveness tortures him, but he feels desperate when he loses it.

Turn Impulse to Inspiration!

You can turn every negative personality trait into a positive one. Are you getting frustrated when you’re watching the news? You are very opinionated about the moral values of the new generation? According to the silver lining theory, negative attributes can boost your performance.

When you get emotional, nervous, or even aggressive, try not to direct those impulses towards other people. This doesn’t mean that you should numb your feelings down. You already have a canal – writing! Use that internal hurricane to drive your writing practice. You can turn the situation into a chapter of your book, or you can save it as an idea for a new project.

How to Boost Creativity through Impulsiveness

  1. Cherish the gift!

Dostoevsky, Hemingway, Camus, Remarque… all great writers had strong impulses. When emotions urge you to write, you should not fight them. Suppressing them will result with more frustration, anger and despair. Writing is the only thing that can heal you. Identify your feelings and express them in words. They don’t fit into your current project? No problem; write a blog or a personal diary.

  1. Don’t try to put the impulse under a schedule

You created a daily to-do list that instructs you to sleep 8 hours per day and write from 9 to 5? That scheme never works for authors. You cannot schedule emotions and inspiration. The point of getting more creative is to learn how to follow your instincts. You wake up in the middle of the night with a strong urge to write something about the dream you had? Who cares about the schedule? Write!

  1. Turn everything into writing

Writers are not spared from problems. They are often challenged by their partners, critics, readers, and everyone else in their surroundings. Hemingway witnessed a terrible war that revolutionized his understanding of life and humanity. His masterpieces deal with the aftermath. Great authors know how to create something beautiful out of their frustration.

As every other human being, you are allowed to suffer. However, you shouldn’t allow depression to drive you away from the work. Process your feelings and use them for the greater good. Impulsiveness can drive you towards a powerful creation.

Step away from your stiff schedule and learn how to appreciate impulsiveness as your writing muse.


LindaA brief bio: Linda Craig has a master’s degree in literature. She is currently working at assignment writing service Assignment Masters as a freelance blogger.

Follow the link to read more of her articles.

I want to thank Linda again for sharing her content on my blog. I look forward to future guest posts here on Lit Chic. See you all again on Friday!

Time + Work = Novel: A Pep Talk by Stephanie Perkins

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“Novels aren’t written by muses who come down through the ceiling and shoot magic through your fingers and out onto your laptop’s keyboard… They’re written with one simple equation:

Time + Work = Novel.”

Stephanie Perkins.

I thought this was a rather inspiring quote, going into the second week of NaNoWriMo 2015. I’m sure we could all use a pep talk, even those of us who aren’t participating in NaNoWriMo this year. Well, considering I’m waaaay behind on my word count right now, I’m not the one to offer a pep talk, but Stephanie Perkins can. Read the rest of it here.

Best of luck!

A Recap on October’s Author Events And Why I Think Authors Should Put Themselves Out There

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October was a busy month for me as an author. Not only did I release my latest title, The Wizard’s Gambit, but I also participated in several author events as well.

On October 17th, I hosted an online book launch party to celebrate with long-distant friends the release of my new book. During the party, I served virtual cake and drinks while sharing information about my new book.

The following week, I hosted a physical book launch party for family, friends, and fans at Half Moon Restaurant and Brewery in Kokomo. Almost twenty people showed up, I believe, several more than I expected. I actually ran out of room at the table and had to request more chairs!

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Dr. Who endorses this produce or service.

For those who were unable to attend the book launch party on Friday, they were invited to stop by my booth during Saturday’s comic convention. The event was held at our local community event center. Nearly 1,500 people walked through the doors that day. A small portion of them stopped by my booth and purchased a signed copy of my book. I made more than enough to cover my booth fees and any related expenses. Plus, I got lots of people to sign up for my newsletter. My book found itself into the hands of new readers as well as returning fans, who told me how much they enjoyed my first novel, The Quest for the Holy Something or Other. One fan, a high school student, informed me that she’d used my debut novel for a book report on comedic fiction. I was thrilled. Of all the events, this was probably the most successful, and I think it has a lot to do with the event I participated in the week before.

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Go geek or go home!

The week before Kokomo-Con, my sister and I were invited by one of our area school’s librarians to speak to her “geek group” about cosplay and Kokomo-Con. For many of these students, Kokomo-Con would be there first convention and cosplay event. So we created a fun powerpoint with information, photos, and advice for new cosplayers and presented it to the students after school during their club meeting. We talked about our own cosplay experience, the ups and downs, and offered some advice to new cosplayers and congoers. My sister even wore her new walking centaur costume. Of course I squeezed in some shameless self-promotion during the presentation.

The students loved us, and I saw many of them at my booth the following Saturday, eager to show off their costumes and learn more about my writing. I’m happy to say, I’ve been invited back to speak on writing/publishing/freelancing to her aspiring artists and writers. I can’t wait!

From my personal experience, I’d say author events are worth doing for one simple reason: to connect with readers. Writing is a solitary job and reading is a lonely activity. Put the reader and writer together and you get more than just a lonely reader and an invisible author, you get a connection.

Author events give authors a chance to engage readers in person, to see the reactions on their faces while describing their book. Readers get a chance to share their thoughts on the author’s work and to ask questions regarding the writing process. This interaction enhances the reader’s experience later on and inspires the author to keep writing. Plus, readers are more likely to purchase a book from someone they’ve actually met. Studies show that . . . somewhere. Just take my word for it.

For those of you who are planning on hosting an author’s event, I offer some simple advice:

  • Relax. Focus on having fun, not making sales.
  • Pump yourself up. Tell yourself this is going to be fun.
  • Lower your expectations. Face it, unless you’re Stephen King or George R. R. Martin, not that many people are going to care about your book, at least not right away.
  • Acknowledge the awkwardness of the situation or bring a friend along to lessen the embarrassment.
  • Drink a martini beforehand. Or take a Xanax.
  • Practice talking about your book BEFORE the event.
  • Offer free bookmarks and/or candy to lure people to your booth.
  • Smile and engage potential readers. Be social.
  • Decorate your booth with a tablecloth and eye-catching items to draw people’s attentions. Make sure your books are visible.
  • Provide incentives, like a giveaway, to encourage people to visit your booth and/or sign up for your newsletter.
  • Offer the book or books at a discounted price to entice them to purchase the book now rather than later.
  • Offer to sign books purchased in person.
  • Stay positive. Even if you want to die.

Authors, put yourselves out there. Schedule an event at your local library. Host a read-in at the popular coffee shop. Face down your fears so you can connect!