Hi! As you are reading this, I am writing. Or.. I am writing right now, so that you can read this. Does that mean that I am a writer? Nope. I like to pretend that I am a writer though, because I like to write. I wrote a lot of “Books” in primary school, yeah, series of fantasy books, (Illustrated by myself of course) comics and a journal. I’ve written unprofessionally for many many years now. As many of you have. I have a lot of respect for writers, therefore I don’t call myself one. I have published a few articles in the local papers, yes, and I’ve written some stage material that I’ve put on proffessionally yes, and I have handwritten journals for over a decade yes, but I have never published anything, never attempted to, I’ve never finished a novel, or been paid to write anything. But what the hell. I can still write!?
Since moving to Hawaii I’ve joined two Writers groups, One that we share and review and one that we SHUT UP AND WRITE. Yep. It’s the good old coming together in a coffee shop and doing basically what all those pretentious writers with their laptops in Starbucks do, that Family Guy so brillianty mocks;
The group I am in however, are actual writers, Ghostwriters, Journalists, Novelists, published writers that actually write for a living! And now I understand why they go out to a coffee shop, or somewhere you can plug yourself in, with wifi and drink your gusto. GETTING OUT OF THE HOUSE. I weirdly get more distracted in my own home than in a cafe. Also, doing it with a group of people, where we plug in our headphones, shut up and write together, I get HEAPS done! I guess a mix of the pressure you feel hearing the fast typing from those surrounding you, and the feeling of being kind of watched as if you are in an office helps. Ive come to love the people I write with now, we update each other and it’s a really supportive wonderful environment! I’ve finished a play I’ve been faffing with for two years, and I started writing it (properly) when I came here and joined this group. So I am very happy with the progress.
I find useful when I am writing to
- Map things Out, vaguely having a sense of where everything are going but leaving the journey ready to be explored along the way
- Getting to know the characters individually and outside the story, writing them down and then putting them together
- Just start. Trying REALLY hard not to judge myself too much or Stop myself at any time. First draft can be shit. SHIT. I am shaping the story and giving it a frame, merely getting the ideas on to a page.
- Using a tool like CeltX which is FREE and brilliant, to format it correctly whether it be a novel, comic, Screenplay or Stage play.
- Research as I go along, as doing a LOT of research at the same time gets boring and overwhelming to me. Yes I have to go back sometimes and correct things, but that only helps me see other possibilities in that part I’ve already written, something I note down for a second draft.
- Setting times in the day or week where my alarm goes off and I have to sit down and write as if my life depended on it.
- Going out somewhere with your laptop and charger and setting camp somewhere with wifi, snacks, coffee or Hot chocolate and just get inspired by the surroundings, or dive in to your own world while the rest of the world disappear around you.
- Going to a writers group during a process, once or twice a month, sharing a few pages in your material that you need advice on and get other writers to read it or read it out loud, and give you notes.
- Going to writers groups who just come together with their own projects sits down, checks in with each other, then shuts up and writes for a few hours.
- Having a few trusted friends who don’t write and who will take the time to read it and give you READERS notes
- Having a few trusted friends who DO write and who will take the time to read it and give you WRITERS notes
- If it’s a play getting actors to sit down with you and read it out loud for you. This for me is TOP notch. Although they don’t really have to be actors in my case.
- Listening to music that matches the mood or atmosphere and just get inspired by the emotions it gives you.
- Having both your laptop and pen and paper right next to you.
- Printing it all out to visually see each page and make notes on it.
- Taking a break when I feel uninspired, and write on something else, or not write at all.
- Look up random words that I’ve never used before and maybe never heard and get inspired.
Well, I’ve tried all the writing ways I can come up with, and I just come to the conclusion that it’s all good. I think my writing process benefits from variety. Finding ones own process can only be discovered through doing. Maybe writing in a group is not for you. But I have learned so much from getting tips and methods from other writers.
I find it VERY necessary to put it out there, for all you that still hand write at all, even if it is just notes and scribbles, If you like a bold point pen, as in, you like your letters to be bold, you NEED to try, the PILOT g2 1.0 pen! It is my favourite pen in the world, And I have tried all sorts, from fancy Parker pens, fountain pens, cheap byro’s and several ballpoint gel pens. I SWEAR, do yourself a favour, go to Walmart, Sams Club, Office Depot, Staples or Amazon and get yourself oe or TEN of these pens! Yes, the G2 0.7 is good, but it is the G2 1.0 that really makes all the difference.