Writing Naturally

22 Jul

You know those times when you really get into the zone and just write for hours, and it just flows? When you don’t even think about it and you just produce paragraphs? It doesn’t come often to most people, but when you do manage to get into that state, it’s the best feeling in the world.
Each person is different, of course, and what works for one does not necessarily work for anyone else, but sometimes getting into the zone can be nothing more than a matter of putting together the right circumstances. I just had one those amazing “in the zone” writing sessions, so I’ll try to recreate the experience.
I’ve found myself writing in the strangest places and times, so when someone said they were driving to the beach this morning, I picked up my computer and got in the car. The weather’s pretty hot, so the beach was crowded. My friend went to the beach, and I went in search of a quiet place to work. There’s a wave-breaker surrounding the coast of the beach where I was at, so I walked along that. The wave-breaker consists of a few hundred two-ton cement blocks in weird, intertwining shapes, with a lighthouse at the very end of the pier. That’s where I sat. I climbed down the cement blocks, and found myself a comfortable position.
The sea was running a little high, so the waves sprayed a fine mist with each crash. Once in a while the water got all the way up to where I was sitting. The sun was baking down, and I was encased in a salty, briny sea-smell. You wouldn’t think that any writing could get done in a place like that. But it was perfect. I ended up sitting in that exact position for about five hours. In one sitting, I wrote three chapter of a book and an article. It was an amazing feeling.

Flagler Beach

Flagler Beach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes, getting out your comfort zone can be the best thing to give your muse a little nudge. If you move out of your box, it can help you think out of the box. And it can also help you learn a little more about what helps you write. I know for a fact that I’ll be heading out to write in nature a little more often, just because I felt how awesome it was. So give it a try. Write in a place you’ve never written before. In a forest, at the beach, at the top of a mountain. Go somewhere else to write, and watch your writing go somewhere it’s never gone before.

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The Music of Our Words

14 Jul

 

What do you listen to when you write? Do you listen to music? Or to white noise? The sea or windchimes or birdsong? Or to nothing at all?

This morning mine is Tartanic (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2HMKpOYel4&feature=share&list=PL16EFDDBDFDFC7E2B) and Cast in Bronze (http://www.youtube.com/user/CarillonBellsMan)

Have you ever thought of changing up what you listen to? How would it change your writing? The tempo? The message?

This morning I’ve been playing around with music and creating my own mix to listen to over the next few weeks, and I’ve found that I can create in myself differnt moods even within my writing that kind of go along with what I’m listening to. I know it plays a role in how the words flow and how I lose myself in the writing, but I hadn’t realized that I can influence myself with what I’m listening to.

I’ve started taking one minute videos every (okay, almost every) day of something that strikes me. Some mornings it is the birds at sunrise, sometimes the cicadas at sunset. Others a moment caught when I’m out doing something with my family. I have my phone with me always and I capture moments in time that I think maybe I would like to be able to call back to mind easily later. I use these videos much like music on my iPod or on YouTube, to call a certain mood or frame of mind back to now.

How do you use the tools that you have at hand? How could you? I know in my life, I’m busy enough that I may not take the time at any given moment to capture the words that I maybe could capture but I capture a few words (sometimes on audio on my phone, sometimes as a note, sometimes just as a picture stolen in a second) and call back the memory later, when I have just a little more time.

There are shortcuts and tools all around us, what music can you capture today?  How can you make your words dance?

 

Regarding You

3 Jul
Sometimes I feel as if I’m standing at the edge of a cliff. High above the clouds, an incomprehensible drop before me, the formless ground far below a hazy blue. Alone. I stand high on my perch and write, little notes. Each note an opinion, an idea, a suggestion. One by one, I write the notes, fold them into little paper airplanes, and send the soaring over the edge, to be found by Whom It May Concern. That’s what writing for a blog feels like to me sometimes.
Other times it’s as if I’m in a dark, musty little room half buried in the ground. A small grating at the top of the wall lets in light. By the light of the dusty rays I scribble my opinions, my ideas, my suggestions. One by one I shove the notes out through the grating, straining to reach. As each note squeezes out, it is grabbed by fingers of passerby walking along the street above my cellar. I strain to hear but cannot make out the words. That’s what writing for a blog feels like other times.
I have so many things I want to say, so much to tell you, reader. But I cannot see you. You hover just out of reach, out of sight yet not out of mind . I know you’re reading what I’m writing, but I don’t know you. What do you want to hear? What do you want to know about?
Tell me. You have the option of stooping down and talking out me in my hidden cellar, of sending my paper airplanes back up on a gust of Internet. Tell me what you want to hear about. Tell me what about your writing, and how you do it. Give me a hint what you want me to write about.
P.S – I just read what I wrote above, and, wheew, talk about melodrama, right?

English: Paper airplane

English: Paper airplane (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But I’m not going to change it, that’s really what I feel like. So tell me. Leave a comment about what you want me to write about, or even ask a specific question. That’s what The Writing Corp is for, and what it’s all about.

Imitating Originality

2 Jul

All of the letter, and each of the word
They all have been said, which is odd and absurd
There are no more phrases which have not been used
So how are books new, readers happy, enthused?

How can it be, if no new words are said
That writing still lives, is awake and not dead?
If all we can do is invent permutations
How can there be new best selling sensations?

The answer’s complex, not really so simple
Take for example, the Germanic word ‘wimple’
You have oft heard it said, in relation to nuns
But have you seen it together with the Gaulish word ‘tuns’?

For that is the secret, and the solve to this riddle
The secret of words is neither end or the middle
No, the letters themselves, and the words represented
Are only important for the ideas they’ve presented

The story we hear, which perhaps makes us think
Or a vivid description of a terrible stink
Is not the result of an unheard letter
But the idea it reflects, which makes it much better

Therefore the answer to the question we’ve asked
Is the yoke with which every author is tasked
To take the old words and reset them anew
To create with what is, that is writing for true

Imitating Originality

2 Jul

All of the letter, and each of the word
They all have been said, which is odd and absurd
There are no more phrases which have not been used
So how are books new, readers happy, enthused?

How can it be, if no new words are said
That writing still lives, is awake and not dead?
If all we can do is invent permutations
How can there be new best selling sensations?

The answer’s complex, not really so simple
Take for example, the Germanic word ‘wimple’
You have oft heard it said, in relation to nuns
But have you seen it together with the Gaulish word ‘tuns’?

For that is the secret, and the solve to this riddle
The secret of words is neither end or the middle
No, the letters themselves, and the words represented
Are only important for the ideas they’ve presented

The story we hear, which perhaps makes us think
Or a vivid description of a terrible stink
Is not the result of an unheard letter
But the idea it reflects, which makes it much better

Therefore the answer to the question we’ve asked
Is the yoke with which every author is tasked
To take the old words and reset them anew
To create with what is, that is writing for true

Making Time To Take Time

28 Jun

Life has a way of getting away from you.  I am living proof of this.  Between doctors appointments and health concerns, Kids, vacations, work, cleaning and an occasional nap, life seems to take over my life.  
SO, I guess, today what I’m saying is as much to remind myself as to remind everyone else that it’s really important to take care of yourself mentally as well as taking care of everyone and everything in your life physically.  It might be way over stated and way over cliché, but if you don’t take time (even a little time, even stolen moments hiding in the bathroom at work) to nurture your mind (reading or writing, messaging yourself with your phone about things to write about, or better yet writing about them) you will quickly burn out and not be able to handle nearly as much of the other stuff either.  
Find what nurtures your creativity, and run with it.
Take time to take time.
And when you can’t take time, invent time to take.  Five minutes while the coffee is brewing, fifteen minutes while you are walking the dog, or even during your commute.  You can call yourself and leave yourself voice mail, record a voice memo, or use the voice recognition feature on your technology to record and translate a note.  Even a few words at a time are often enough to keep yourself sharp and start to meet your deadlines (the ones you set on yourself, or the ones imposed upon you).
Remember, this matters.  It matters because it matters to you.  It’s no one’s business but your own what you do in the bathroom…. and just think of what you can do with five or even ten minutes!
Write a haiku
describe the sounds around you
Better yet, capture the conversations you hear around you! (this is awesome to do in the bathroom because people kind of let there guards down).
You never know when you will have the occasion to be able to go back and realize that you can use whatever things you snatched in your five minutes here or there to add spice to your work!

Writing a Short Story

25 Jun
Nederlands: Het Short Story bushokje op transf...

Nederlands: Het Short Story bushokje op transferium Wittenberg in Stroe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I really like writing short stories, for two reasons – Firstly, you can write a whole storyline/plot from beginning to end in one sitting, which is very satisfying and also keeps the story more cohesive than most books tend to be. Secondly, I also like to have an ‘idea’, a sort of moral, lurking behind the story. Or even not lurking, just leaning nonchalantly against a lamp post. Whatever.

A friend of mine recently asked me how to write a short story, and I replied that I didn’t really know – I just wing it. After giving the matter some thought, I came up with some key points to writing a short story, which I’ll present to you forthwith, in the hopes that you find them useful. Or maybe just entertaining.

My short stories nearly always start out with a ‘what-if’ premise. For example, what would happen in a world where gravity manipulation technology was as widespread and simple as screen technology is in our world. I ask myself what would change, how would things be different, and that gives me an idea of how to build the story. This example would be a premise for a science fiction short story, but the idea holds true for any sort of story.

Once I have a premise, the next step is a character. What kind of character could present the idea behind the story in the most evocative manner? This step comes together with the idea behind the story – what am I trying to say with this story? Where is the story going?

After these basic building blocks have been supplied, I just plunge in. If you’re baking, you can’t be afraid of getting your hands dirty. Don’t be afraid of getting stuck in loopholes or writing contradictions. A good writer can write based on the premise and a loose idea of a storyline. Short stories are also generally short, so that there isn’t really ‘time’ to get mired in the storyline.

Lastly, there’s one way to tell whether a short story is up to scratch. Your reader cannot know what will happen in the end. In my opinion, a twist ending, or at least an unexpected direction, is more important in a short story than in any other kind of writing. The idea of a short story, for me, is to get the reader thinking, to compress a lot of thought into a few hundred or thousand words.

The above points are my way of writing a short story, but every writer has their own style and way of writing. If you’re interested in reading some of my short stories, I’ve posted some on nesherehrman.wordpress.com/. For the truly interested, there is also an anthology of my short stories available on amazon, titled “Tales of Power”.

How To Write Well

23 Jun
Left Brain Simulation 7

Left Brain Simulation 7 (Photo credit: Paige Marie)

This is it. The post you’ve all been waiting for. No more tips, no more little tricks or techniques. No. This is the real meat and potatoes of how to write. The real deal. Ready?

Brace yourself…

There’s two things you need to do. Just two. The first is reading, and the second is writing. And I’m not kidding. I am one hundred percent serious. In order to learn how to write really well, you need to read a lot, and write a lot.

Think of it this way. Whenever you read, you’re looking at someone else’s writing. Someone wrote that. And if you’re reading a good book, then they also wrote it well. Don’t just enjoy it, learn from it. Analyze good writing to understand what makes it good. Try to understand what makes it funny, or easy to understand. Once you’ve done that, move on to part two. Writing.

I don’t mean that the next step is to write well. That would be step three, I suppose. No. What I mean is practice. Writing skill is like a muscle. Some people are born stronger – more talented – but no matter who you are, the more you use a muscle, the stronger it gets. And the more you write, the better your writing gets. So write a lot. Essays, ideas, short stories, novelettes, letters. Anything.

Your subconscious mind also plays a large part in your writing, supplying words, ideas and phrases automatically. So the more you write, the better your subconscious will get at writing. That’s why reading a lot is important too. Reading allows your subconscious to absorb, to take note of a clever turn of phrase or a good way to describe something.

So that’s it. Read a lot, and write a lot. That’s how to write well.

Inspiration!

20 Jun

So, I’m always up for different ideas that I can use to tickle my inspiration.  Sometimes they end up taking me places I didn’t plan on going, sometimes they make me realize that there are some topics I just can’t chase very far.

I buy books, I hound websites, and I just start writing about random things.

One of my favorite trilogies is Your First 1,000 Days in Writerspark/ Your First 2,000 Days in Writerspark/ Your First 3,000 Days in Writerspark.  Three years’ worth of prompts in each book!  These books were based on a Yahoo Group “Writerspark”.

The fabulous news is, the moderator of the group is back and they are, once again, accepting new members!  This morning, I got a deluge of new prompts!  I’m avidly looking forward to prompts showing up in my email box every day!  I’m just as avidly looking forward to being able to stretch my edges and explore ideas I might not have been able to come up with on my own.

I’m wading through the new prompts, pulling them into my own PDF so I can take them with me on my tablet device and write when I have a few minutes to stretch.

How about you?  Where to you get ideas when you need to find new ways to exercise your writing muscles?  To come up with angles on things that are a little different than what you are used to?

This Yahoo group is supportive and will provide constructive critiques for writing samples if anyone wants to take a chance on it.

As for me, I’m going to venture forth and write about my desk!

Exercise #3740

The Desk

Compose a piece of no more than 750 words that shows the contents of a desktop in such a way that the images provide a sense of the person who uses the desk.

Regarding The Subject Of Boring; A Title

16 Jun

We’ve discussed the importance of titles in the past, but I recently came across an article which was so badly titled that I had to say something on the subject. 

Generally speaking, there are several reasons why a title is important-  Firstly, it serves as a small sample of the whole so that a reader can decide whether to read the whole thing, based on the title. Basically, the title works as a sort of blurb. Secondly, the title also bears the weighty task of drawing people in, and for that, it has to be interesting.

To explain that point, allow me to draw your attention to a title which you’ve read recently. The title of this post. If you’ve forgotten, I’ll refresh your memory – “Regarding The Subject Of Boring; A Title”. Now, I know it’s a bad and uniteresting title, but why? What makes it bad?

Well, first of all, it sounds like it was written by a dusty, staid old professor who has written a larger number of articles than the the number of people who have ever read an article of his. It sounds like a discourse, a lecture. That’s bad. A title should pull you in, should catch your eye and interest you. A good title is an appetizer for the literary meal ahead. And if the appetizer is a stale cracker, who would want to eat the meal?

Incidentally, I had a hard time deciding whether I should give this post a bad title on purpose, since I was afraid it would work, and then nobody would read this. Maybe nobody will. If, however, you are reading this, then congratulations, my trust in you as a reader was well-placed. Thank you for reading despite a bad title. 

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