Do you need encouragement to overcome Summertime blahs?

Time for me to review an oldie but goodie.

Sheet music

I’ve had the post-holiday blues. After returning from Europe and spending time with my daughter and granddaughters, I have no motivation.

Yet, my editor is waiting for my next picture book manuscript and I’m sitting here staring at my half-finished novel.

Sigh, so much to do and so little desire. Although my characters keep me awake every night. Instead of encouraging me, I feel as though these characters are little devils on my shoulder. LOLDevil on my shoulders

So, time to put action to words and take my own advice. Wish me luck.

Hope this review helps you too.

Do you need to overcome Summertime writer’s block?

How about, not 10, but 33 tips to jumpstart your writing?

The long, hot days make me lethargic. I want to play, putter around with my roses, or read a good book. Even my muse, complains it’s too damn hot to sit at a computer. Now, who am I to argue with inspiration?

Summer time fun bitmoji

But, writers must write.

So if you’re searching for something to help, keep reading.

I found a great answer on Quora. Who knows? After you read the article, even during these dog-days of summer, maybe you will find one that suits you.

Here’s my take on his 33 tips. The ones I think will help me are in red.

  1. Not me, I’m a start at the beginning kinda gal.
  2. Jot down the facts, just the facts. Cool idea.
  3. Now take a fact from #2 and turn it on its head. What if it’s a lie.
  4. Prompts? I love prompts.
  5. Free write, hmm might just work. Gonna give it a try. With #4 of course.
  6. Break? Took too many already this Summer.
  7. Get moving. But remember to come back to WIP.
  8. Meditate. Nah, not for me.
  9. Ditto. I don’t like confrontations. Even pleasant ones.
  10. Yay! Learned something new.  Oblique Strategies 
  11. I like it quiet when I write. But I’ll consider it.
  12. This I do, sometimes moving to my back porch.
  13. Write 10 ideas a day? Yikes. Too much pressure.
  14.  Outlandish ideas? Might work.
  15. Swipe File is a great idea. Setting up some today.
  16. Book is a cousin to #15, don’t like to duplicate work.
  17. Journal about feeling blocked. Too whiny.
  18. Timed writing? No, I’ve enough pressure see #13.
  19. Unplugging is something I should do more often.
  20. Pen & Paper, tried and true.
  21. Set a deadline and broadcast it. Geese more pressure.
  22. Make a brag list.
  23. Make a to-do list. I like lists. 
  24. Reread one of your favorites and rewrite for practice. I’ve done this to get juices flowing. Works.
  25. Write down how you feel about your WIP. Nope, see #17.
  26. Which parts of WIP is best and strongest?
  27. Look at which parts are weakest.
  28. Consider different POV. I’ve done this and it does help.
  29. Review annotations in books you’ve enjoyed for inspiration.
  30. Decide on what you’re trying to accomplish.
  31. Lists of single words to identify key themes.
  32. Stop editing. This is my hardest thing to overcome.
  33. Recite the prayer of the Muse? Not into that much Zen, see #8.

For more detailed descriptions and explanations, click and read:

How can an aspiring writer get around writer’s block? by Bryan Collins

Now your turn. Tell me…

Which one of the 33 tips did you relate to?

Is there one that caught your interest?

Are you ready to try something new?

Give me your thoughts on these ideas.

Don’t let the Summertime blues stall your creativity. Get writing!

I love reading your comments. 

Please head over and “like” my Facebook page at Facebook at jeanswriting . Or to connect with me, click the “write me” tab. Don’t forget you can follow me on StumbleUpon,  on Twitter @jeancogdell , and Amazon.com.

Please stop by and say “hey!”  I’ll leave a light on. 

What is the best secret to writing something original?

Use a formula.

Yep, you heard me right. Sounds contradictory I know. Why? Because we are creatures of comfort and formulas work.

I mean, who doesn’t have a favorite comfort food, favorite chair, a feel-good movie, or book? We enjoy the familiar.

A genre formula is a writer’s best friend.

Sticking to a genre formula lets the reader know what to expect. You know what to expect when you pick up a book by Stephen King, Patricia Cornwell, James Patterson or Danielle Steel.

Putting your own unique spin, touch or style is what makes a reader recognize your uniqueness.

Sort of like spaghetti sauce. Everyone knows it’s made with tomatoes, meat, and spices. But how the cook puts it all together will determine the flavor.

Remember, how you execute a story is what makes it unique.

  • You (the cook) make the difference.
  • Different isn’t always a good thing.
  • Readers want genre fiction they recognize and a world they feel comfortable visiting.
  • A little originality goes a long way, too much can be unnerving, even disturbing to some people.
  • Genre formulas and templates are a writers friend. Like a recipe for a cook.
  • Know the formulas.

Even if you write in more than one genre, it’s important to know and understand the formulas.

You are the secret ingredient. 

Want to know more about genres? Click on the links below.

Okay, time to talk:

Which genre do you write?

Do you know and understand the formulas?

Do you use a template for your writing? Formula outline for the genre?

Are you comfortable with one genre over others?

What do you think?

Genre Writing and Formulas By Rob Parnell
Advice for New Authors: Five sure-fire ways to find your book’s genre By Helena Halme
How To Write A Bestseller – According To The Formula By Peter Winkler

 

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Do you know the right way to kill a character?

Are you writing a mystery, who-done-it, legal thriller, or suspense story?

Then remember the devil is in the details.

In death, like pregnancy, there are no half-measures. After reading an article by Matt Knight, killing off one of my characters is more complicated than I realized. 

 

What did I learn from Matt?

  • There is a big difference between Murder, Manslaughter, and Homicide. And I need to understand the difference!

Feel free to save the above quick reference. 

His article goes into much more detail. I recommend you click and read. You never know when one of your characters might go off the rails and kill someone.

Murder, Manslaughter, or Homicide – What is the difference? By Matt Knight 

Is any of this new to you?

Are you planning on killing off a character?

Tell me what you think!

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How to get over the writer blues

Do you need to work through the winter blahs?

Well, I do.

Cooped up inside and too sick to write, my brain turned to mush. Every time I sit down to write takes a monumental effort. The words won’t come. But today, lo and behold, other writers came to my rescue.

This morning over coffee I opened my email and read…

How to Start and Keep Writing After a Long Break

Ask a question and someone has an answer. I really enjoyed reading READ TO WRITE STORIES and the suggestions in this blog post. And I can’t wait to get the recommended book.

There are a few exercise suggestions in the post. Some you may be familiar with, others may help jog your characters.

My favorite was DROP AND ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM.

Think about that for a minute. I’m sure y’all have been in a room where everyone tip-toed around an elephant.

After you read the article, tell me what you think.

How do you get back into the writing groove after a long break?

 

Want to read more tips on jump-starting your writing?

Click and read…

4 Left-Brain Exercises to Jumpstart Your Writing By: 

Stimulate Your Mind With These Writing Exercises!

12 Ways to Kick-Start Your Writing By CHARLOTTE RAINS DIXON

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