Renee Writes

Posts tagged Writer’s Life

#ISWG: New Motivation

For those who don’t know, the Insecure Writers Support Group is open to all writers to share their fears, doubts, and concerns, as well as your triumphs. So if you have something to share, visit the link at the end of this post!


 

I’ve been really struggling with my writing recently. As per normal, it’s because of brain fog issues related to Hashimoto’s Disease. It can be extremely frustrating, especially when I’m aching to write, but my brain is so muddled I cant focus.

But I’m always looking for ways around it, and every once in a while the universe comes through for me.

The other day, I got an email from the ProWritingAid crew. For those who don’t know, ProWritingAid is a really good editing tool. I use it regularly (along with a few others). They’re definitely worth checking out if you need help with checking grammar and other issues in your stories.

Anyway, one of the things they had in the email was a competition. They teamed up with BeemGee for the Plot of Gold competition. For 30 days you get a free premium BeemGee membership, and you have those 30 days to create an outline for a new novel. They send 10 emails over the 30 days with tasks you have to complete. The top winner gets a lifetime premium membership to both BeemGee and ProWritingAid, which would be absolutely perfect for me.

But here’s how it’s motivated me to get out of this slump I’ve been in! 

I’ve been working on trying to plan out my new novel series as well as the new serial, and well, when your brain doesn’t want to work, it’s really difficult to focus. The creativity side of things is still there, but I just can’t stay focused long enough to get what’s in my head onto the screen.  It’s also hard to stay focused on any one thing when you’ve got tons of things going on in there.

BeemGee is a browser-based story development tool. The thing that works great for me is it starts with the characters, and all of my stories are built from the characters up. So far I’m still on the first task, which is getting all your characters in there, but they make it so easy. I just have to answer each question… and there are dozens, as well as tutorials for each question to help you answer it. It goes deeper than the general questions you see on character sheets too.

But it also helps you build the plot and everything else involved in planning the story up to and including the outline. Each task in the competition is set to help you work through using their tool so that you get a finished outline in about 30 days. I’m actually going to plan out both stories I’m working on this way, so for the following few months, I only have to focus on writing.

Now that I have something that helps me to stay focused on the little tasks, I can finally get some headway on the big task. Maybe I’ll even be able to take part in NaNoWriMo this year. That’s always the hardest part of planning a story for me is staying focused. If you’re a story plotter, what is your biggest obstacle to getting your stories planned out? CC


Co-hosts for the October 4 posting of the IWSG are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!

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Grow a Thick Skin

grow-a-thick-skin

As authors, this is something we hear often, but I sometimes wonder if this is something that should always be necessary. When I hear it, there are times I feel those who say it are trying to give themselves permission to be rude and well… a jerk.

It is necessary when it comes to professional reviews and feedback. You will probably hear things you don’t like, but most of it will be constructive. These are the things we need to take to heart because it can help us greatly improve our writing. So if someone is giving you constructive criticism, even if you feel like telling them where to go at that moment, stop and consider what you can learn from them and thank them for the feedback.

You will also often get not so nice comments about your work, and it may not be constructive, but we have to remember that not everyone is going to like our work. Do you like every book you read? I know I don’t. And I’ve read things (like Twilight) that I loved, and a lot of other people hated. It happens and you can’t get around it. If people make negative comments about your work just because it’s not their thing, well… in truth, that’s their problem and not something you should concern yourself with. They don’t have to like it or read it.

There are others, however, who just say negative things about authors for the sole purpose of causing harm. Sometimes they even work in groups. These people are cyber-bullies. While you should just ignore what they say (at least online… as in don’t engage them publicly), it can be hurtful. If you’re affected, I don’t believe this is the time to “grow a thick skin.” Talk to friends and other authors (that you know and trust) about how you’re feeling, but do it privately. They can help you cope.

Growing a thick skin doesn’t mean you should ignore how you’re feeling when you’re being bullied or attacked on a public forum. What it does mean is that you shouldn’t let constructive criticism bring you down. Learn from it and allow it to make you a better writer.

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