Wrapping It Up:  October

I've only been able to get a few extra stolen moments downstairs in my "office" and while away on vacation to try to get out a few posts this month.  I  again would love to say this is my new habit but I have no idea what each day or week to come will hold for me so I'm just taking it one day at a time....and hoping for the best- whatever that may be.

My Writing World

Once again it has been sparse, but I've still managed to work on blogging a bit.  Have you seen this month's posts?

Peaceful Reflections - October

Cold & Flu Season

Reflections on Homeschooling

Vacation In Florida

I did manage to catch up on critiques for my writing group while on vacation, but I still have not touched a manuscript of my own - not even on vacation- but an idea for one certainly sparked in my mind just today as I sat reading to my five-year old. And since I haven't even thought about a single idea for at least a month or two,  that's really something!

I had ignored the reminders on Facebook that PiBoIdMo 2015 is coming up. I just don't see myself being able to commit to the time at all. But once that idea sparked in my mind this morning for a  picture book, I thought about it.  Maybe I can take part? Just not to the full extent I have tried in past years. I guess there's no harm trying...except for the possibility of getting my hopes up and then frustrated.  So I really need to reconsider my goals. ...continue reading "October Wrap Up"

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Sometimes my ideas come from questions from other bloggers or readers.  I had two ideas given to me by my readers in the last few weeks.  Today's post is in answer to a question posed in a comment and went something like this: "How do you center yourself and clear your mind before writing?  I have a tough time clearing my thoughts..."  I was in a rush that day so I'm not sure I answered my reader in a very organized fashion so I'd thought I'd address it again here today.

First off, I told my reader, it all depends!  The days are so different!  I am just getting back into this writing thing...  I'm very serious about it but I do still place my family and God first.  So the writing, as much as I would love to do it 16 hours a day sometimes  (I do need to sleep too) and my ideas keep spilling over into my cooking hours and homeschool hours, I need to just squeeze it in when other things have been addressed.  So sometimes my mind flows with ideas and other days not so much.

Most importantly,  an active writer should always have a notebook on hand.  I have my main notebook/journal that everything gets written in, but I also have one at my bedside, one in the car and one in my purse.  This way, no matter where I am, I have paper handy to write things down and can transfer it to my main idea journal later.  I'm thinking of starting a 3 ring binder...so I can categorize the ideas better.

Now when it comes to actual writing time, there are days I can sit and the ideas just come... no prepping needed.  But there are days that I do need to prep....set the mood so to speak so that I can get that mind ready to flow.

  • Try to have a writing space. One that is comfortable and hopefully away from too many distractions if at all possible.  Right now  my place is at my computer at a desk. (I always dream about my own little room or a small cabin, an oasis of sort,  out back with a big comfy couch, chair, pretty white curtains, gorgeous antique writing desk, a stash of chocolate, tea, a maid....oops....getting carried away...) Sometimes I move my laptop around if the mood suits.  But at my desk I am surrounded by my materials... my files of manuscripts and ideas, my folder of resources I've saved for blogging material, my pencils, paper, dictionary and The Synonym Finder and books on writing, etc.
  • These are the times I make sure I sit down at my desk with a nice hot cup of tea (that's my preference.... I'm sure coffee does nicely for others!) and perhaps a bit of chocolate (any form.... brownie, chocolate bar, chocolate covered almonds, hot chocolate if it's cold... it's chocolate... it works in any shape! ) or a yummy snack that will keep me satisfied and not pulled back into the kitchen if my mind drifts.  I pick something soothing.... this isn't necessarily my time for raw veggies or a salad ( though that might be good too depending on the day) but, in other words, something that will make me go "hmmmmm....that's nice!" and plant a smile on my face.
  • Another mood setting technique is music.  If I'm writing pertaining to picture books, I might put in something of my toddler's into the computer or CD player.... Burl Ives for instance or the Wiggles or Raffi.... something that makes me feel lighthearted and energetic.  If I'm writing about Orthodoxy or a picture book related to my faith, then faith music may be more appropriate.  If I'm writing for a middle grade chapter book or YA, then I might choose something more upbeat or even depressing...depending on the character I'm trying to invent.  If I'm blogging...well, it could be a whole range of music!
  • Sometimes a little reading is in order.  If I have more than a few minutes of writing time, I may take some time to read for 10 or 15 minutes first...let my mind drift into the land of make-believe to open it up to a world that is not filled with my stress laden daily tasks and challenges...it's relaxing and has an effect on the creative mind! Reading other blogs may help sometimes or a few picture books if that's what I'm going to be working on.  Sometimes another writer's words may trigger something for me.  I don't mean I take their idea...that's not cool.  But in reading other material, it may trigger something I can work with.  For example, if I were reading a non-fictional article about George Washington, it may cause me to recall that old tale of how he chopped down a cherry tree and I might think...hmmmm... what if I were to write a chapter book about a little boy who 'accidentally' cuts down his mother's favorite apple tree or maybe just mows down her flower garden the first time he mows the lawn?  Ideas can come that way!
  • Find the right time of day, if possible, that you write best.  That doesn't always work for me...with the little guy running around and homeschool needs that pop up and day to day life like cooking( cooking from scratch takes time but I'm working on ways to make that less time consuming). If I'm able to write in the morning, I do know that I tend to do better, especially for creative writing for picture books and such. So I'm working on trying to figure out how to do that.  I'm actually acquiring a babysitter for one time a week so I know I do get to do that morning time at least once in a while.
  • Write about what you are passionate about!  If you think you should write an article about oil drilling because that seems to spark a lot of interest in people but you don't really know much about it, nor do you care, well, for heaven's sake find something else to write about!  It's one thing if it's a required assignment but if you are writing simply because you want to , then write what you want to write about! 

So these are a few tidbits from an amateur writer on how to get the mind ready to flow.  I hope something I've said here will help you.  Ask or read about what other writers do as well.  We all do things differently and what works for some may not work for all ....though I can't imagine chocolate not working 😉