Read a book. Be Happy :) #Writing #amwriting #reading #books

I am going to confess something…I love reading as much as I love writing…and I love writing an awful lot.

So I thought I would share some excellent reasons / excuses to read a little more.

It makes us better writers.

When we read we consciously and subconsciously pick up all kinds of amazing tips whether it is impactful word placement, a descriptive style, or story flow, reading a good book will help it all.

Expands our vocabulary and intelligence.

When we read we expose ourselves to new words, new ideas, and new perspectives. Every time we read a book we have an opportunity to learn.

It fires up our imagination.

When we read we meet new characters and travel to amazing places that can fire up our imagination.

It reduces stress.

Reading is known as a flow activity. This means that when we read we let our worldly troubles go and submerge ourselves in another world. Time passes swiftly…it’s a great way to make things like a boring daily commute bearable.

It makes us happy.

I think this goes without saying, but if you have a book with you adventure is only a few pages away.

How writing has changed through the ages

Writing in the modern era is very different to writing even fifty years ago. Technology, lifestyle, attitudes, and education have all played an important role.

Writing today ought to be easier, better and faster. But is this really so?

Research…

Enclycolpedia

Not so very long ago if you wanted to research something you…

a) Asked someone older and wiser (and trusted that they were not making the answer up)

b) Went to the library (assuming it was opening time)

c) Dragged out your Encyclopaedia Britannica (if you were lucky enough to have the set—or half the set…)

Research is infinitely easier in the modern world, all courtesy of the internet. For example, the other day I needed to find out how best and practically to carry an unconscious body on a horse—voila! Thus, providing a demonstration of why a writer’s internet history should never be used in a court of law.

Writing tools…

vintage typewriter

As a scrivener fan, I like to think I have embraced the benefits of modern day writing tools. Not so very long ago you were lucky if you had Microsoft Word. Not much help in structure or planning, but at least it can fix some of the typos and grammar, and for many writers it still holds pride of place. Prior to the introduction of computers, you probably used a typewriter! And before that pencil or quill and paper! And before that a hammer and chisel!

Distraction…

Procrastinating

The modern world contains a vast and ever emerging array of distractions. To compensate we deploy a vast and ever emerging array of distraction mitigating techniques! Sometimes our techniques work, and sometimes they don’t…I am pretty sure me writing this blog post is a distraction…and so is you reading it!

Education…

Education

Education is not such a clear cut conclusion for me. In some ways, the modern world with all its spell checkers and text talk jargon has depleted our basic writing skills. But, there is also an amazing array of blogs (except this one, which is in the above ‘distraction’ classification), free education, books, and other material available via the internet, and to a far wider portion of the population.

The time to write…

time to write

If you were a 15th century crofter, the chances are you probably couldn’t read and were far too busy tending to your turnips to dedicate time to writing. Even a hundred years ago the average person worked a 7 day week with little energy or enthusiasm for embracing their creative side. But, for many people in the modern world we have plenty of opportunity to write, although many of us who are not full time writers would definitely still like a lot more 🙂

Attitude…

writing caveman

Whatever the time or place, there have always been storytellers. They just did not necessarily write. I think the concept of the story and the storyteller has been part of human culture for as far back as we have considered ourselves to be human.

Our attitude to writing has changed over the ages though, and I believe we are far more prolific writers now than we have ever been, and that makes me wonder where we will go to next. Perhaps we will simply project our thoughts onto pages, or perhaps writing as we know it now will ultimately disappear.

 

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This is the only guide you need to help get your writing wriggle on! #amwriting

Are you stuck in a writerly rut? Struggling to to find motivation?

Look no further, this is the only guide you need to help get your writing wriggle on.

 1.The epic desk tidy!

We all know that taking the time to create a tidy desk is the road to writerly success!

Isn’t it?

Hmm…Well, maybe not in all cases…

writing is fun

2.The writer ritual!

Don’t have a writer ritual? No wonder you’re not meeting your target word count!

Because playing paticake with yourself is a sure fire winner!

The writer ritual

3. Enlist the help of your pets!

Ah…Is this even legal?

Pets helping writers

giphy-2

4. Hire a professional speed writing coach!

Phew! I’m exhausted just watching him…

ktpng

5. Prepare nutritious snacks to keep you going

The writers guide to snacks-d38jkap

Ok, maybe not…

writer nap

7. Take a course

If nothing else has worked so far this course will set you up for writing success!

Procrastination for the writer

Happy writing 🙂

A writer’s guide to social media #writing #amwriting

Four and a half years ago I decided to publish a book. It took me nearly four years to make it happen. One of the first things I did at the beginning of this journey was to start a blog…and so began a separate journey into the delights of social media!

Over the four + years I have learnt an awful lot about social media and I thought I would share my insights in regards to writing. Some of the things I dabbled in have worked and some have not, and some are just no brainers that every writer should do.

My top 4 Social Media essentials for a writer!

  1. A blog or Book website: You don’t need to go crazy or even spend money. You can get a great blog (or book website) set up for free using either WordPress or Blogger. There are a few other freebies out there but these two are the big hitters and I have used both. I started blogging life on Blogger but switched over to WordPress soon after. I just found WordPress easier to use and more elegant in design, but that’s just my personal preference. It really doesn’t matter what you use as long as you start something. Blogging should be reasonably frequent. I used to be far more prolific, but once a week at least is fine. I find blogging a great way to get my creative brain working, and it’s a nice way to write about your thoughts and feelings independent to your book. If you are published, plan to publish, or just enjoy writing, I definitely recommend a blog. If you prefer not to deliver articles then I still recommend you have a site of some kind to share and showcase your book or writing. You can easily set up WordPress to have a statice front page (like a website) rather than the typical scrolling blog posts, and there are plenty of other options for free sites such as Wix.com. See: http://www.top10bestwebsitebuilders.com
  2. Twitter: Love it or loathe it, twitter is an awesome social media tool for writers. Whether it is building a following who share your interest or finding great articles, twitter has it all. I have met some wonderful writers through twitter. On twitter sharing is caring, so don’t be afraid to retweet other posts, comments, and books.
  3. Goodreads: If you are a writer and you don’t know what Goodreads is…you are seriously missing out. I was a member ages ago but I never made much use of it, and I really wish I had! If you are thinking of publishing my advice would be get active on Goodreads. Start sharing what you read and what you thought of it, and you will soon connect with other people who love the same books and genres. By the time you do come to publish you have a list of connections who already share a common interest, and so it’s not unreasonable to assume they might just give your book a go. Even if they don’t, Goodreads has a whole heap of forums to find beta readers, ways to share free copies of your book for reviews, and critique groups. Once you are published you can set up an Author dashboard where you can share your blog posts and connect your books. Goodreads members can flag your book as ‘To read’ and ‘Rate it’. Because Goodreads is global you get reviews from all over the world, unlike Amazon which is related to your particular store. And (unlike Amazon where family reviews are against policy) your nearest and dearest are free to leave reviews on Goodreads, they just show up as a ‘friend’ review.
  4. Facebook page: This is the last of my top social media. It’s pretty easy to set up a Facebook page, and you can share your blog posts and book news in one handy place. And everyone loves Facebook!

So, if you are a writer and serious about sharing your work you need to present your book related information in a media that appeals to a wide audience. A blog, Twitter, Goodreads and a Facebook page are a great start. Blogging is a weekly thing for me, but I generally post to Facebook and Twitter most days. And I pop onto Goodreads a couple of times a week to see what books my friends have read and any recommendations.

Top Supplementary media

Facebook groups: If you have not yet discovered Facebook writing and reading groups you are missing out. Facebook groups are like a online forums that conveniently sit inside Facebook. I love Facebook groups! Most groups contain support documents to help, for example the indie author group below has lists of book cover artists, editors, tips etc. Some examples of groups:

  1. Fantasy Writing Fanatics: Some great folks chewing the fat on all things related to fantasy writing
  2. Book Clubs: Folks who just plain love reading and share their favourite books and recommendations. There are hundreds of reader book clubs on Facebook.
  3. Indie Author Group: If you are an indie author and have a question someone here will have the answer. A great place to ask newbie questions about writing, editing, publishing, advertising, and anything else related to writing.
  4. There are hundreds of book sharing groups on Facebook for every genre you can imagine. While these are a little hit and miss in my opinion, it is worth checking out. Finding something genre specific is probably going to give you better impact. And I do think if you are running a promotion on your book it can help give you some exposure. For more book sharing groups See http://www.trainingauthors.com/facebook-groups-for-authors/

Other media options and what I thought

  1. Tumblr: I have a tumblr account, and my blog automatically posts to this for me so I still share that way. Tumblr feels a little like picture based blogging and so since I already have wordpress, I prefer to stick to that. There are some absolutely awesome Tumblr writer blogs though, but it’s just not a big or active option for me. If you are looking around for a blog tool it’s worth checking out as an alternative to Blogger or WordPress.
  2. Stumbleupon: I have an account and did dabble for a while. It’s useful to drive traffic to your blog, i.e. you can share your blog posts here. It’s also useful to find good articles. I have probably under utilised this myself and some people swear by it!
  3. Instagram: Is all about pictures so not necessarily the highest priority for a writer…I mostly post pictures of my cats! Not very writerly of me I know 🙂
  4. Pinterest: I quite like Pinterest, and it is a fun picture based way to find writing articles and to share. Not a big social media account for me, but it definitely has a good writing community and you can find some great articles here.

If I have missed a social media account that you love please let me know. Or if you have other recommendations or feedback on the above I would also love to hear.

Want to connect on social media? 

Find me on Goodreads : G.L. Cromarty (Author)

Find me on Facebook: G.L. Cromarty (TheWritingChimp)

Find me on Twitter: @TheLittlebod

Find me on Instagram TheWritingChimp

Sharing is caring! Drop a link to your social media accounts in the comments below!

You know you’re a writer when you’ve found a million ways to procrastinate #writer #writing

You know you’re a writer when you’ve found a million ways to procrastinate…here are a few tips to help you spot the procrastination pitfalls.

Reading really is the perfect excuse for any writer because you can convince yourself that it is actually helping you to become a better writer. Yes, it certainly is, but sometimes you do need to put the book down and get back to your keyboard and write.

Snacks. If you want to keep your writing brain in tip-top working order you need a snack, right? Yes, until you realise you’ve eaten enough food for a small party, and then it’s time to explore the possibility that you might be letting procrastination creep in.

Daydreaming is the birthplace of all good plot ideas. But maybe if you’re daydreaming about ‘fetching another snack’, it’s time to get on with actually writing the book!

Editing! Is the worst form of writer procrastination. You know you need to start the next chapter, but it’s so enticing to pop back to what you did yesterday . . . just for a quick check. The next thing you know, you’ve taken a bulldozer to it . . . and you’re not making any new progress on the book!

Desk tidy. Yes, we have all been there and done that, but after your 23rd pencil readjustment, you know you really need to get back to your book!

What’s your favourite procrastination habit? 🙂

When to Kill Off a Character?

A question I have considered a time or to myself…I’m not averse to killing a character off  🙂

I’ve been working on one of my short stories lately, because I want to at least try to get something published this year…and I ran into a little snag. On Sunday, I finished a rough draft for it, but it didn’t seem complete. I had alluded to the idea that one of the characters does […]

https://amandagreyfiction.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/when-to-kill-off-a-character/

When you are a writer you explore everything #amwriting

I think as a writer, you have a naturally curious mind about all things, but in particular people. And when I say people, it is all people, both the real ones, and the fictitious ones we meet within the pages of a book or on the screen.

Before I became a writer, I would read the book on only one level. Aware of the story and the flow, and the characters and their adventure.

When I first began writing, I found myself paying greater attention to word choice and style. Later, it was some of the technical aspects of sentence structure that captured my attention. I explored what I liked, or what I felt worked particularly well, and then I would ask myself why this was so. I would often pause reading so I could consider a phrase rather than simply enjoying it and skipping straight past as a reader might.

Then I found yet another level in the character development, and the way that their journey plays out. I have always loved character arcs, and have always enjoyed the change a good arc brings in a holistic sense. Recently though, I have found myself studying the nuances of the character in a much greater detail. The common word choice certain characters have, or perhaps the way they rub their brow when they hear interesting news. A character who plays their cards close to their chest is most interesting when they  finally reveal a personal detail— and a sharer is most interesting when they choose not the share. These micro-levels of the arc are just as important. I review each aspect of their personality under a microscope, testing it, seeing what I like about it, or even what I don’t. I try to unravel all the reasons behind their actions, and again, find myself testing the arc—does each piece fit in with the greater whole? What works? Why does it work? And how can I use this knowledge myself.

Not all writers are equal, and not all draw us into the story as deeply. There are times, when despite my best efforts to read a book on every level, I lose myself and I am simply a reader. These are the best books, and the ones I return to so I can study them again with a writers eye.

There are, of course, many more layers to a story and to writing, some that I am aware of, and others that I am not. Our ignorance reveals itself during those times when you just feel joy in reading a book, yet the formula or ingredient that makes it so enjoyable eludes you. These moments have a magical quality, and you know there is some hidden aspect of the craft at work. You wish desperately to know what it is.

This ever evolving lens through which we view writing is what makes it so interesting, and I hope that I never stop learning.