Be Flexible With Your Tools

Every writer has a favorite method of putting words on paper.

Some like composition books and a #2 pencil. Some love a pretty moleskin journal and a nice, easy flowing pen. Some love laptops and some are cool with a tablet on a go and some still use good old typewriters.

I am a computer geek by day, so naturally I started with laptop. I thought that the ability to erase and replace words, cut and paste and move paragraphs around would be so awesome. However all I got a confirmation of doubt and self-criticism, when an ever-helpful word processing program began highlighting in green and red every grammatical and syntax error I have made, and an elusive word count was front and center. I began to dread writing as every time I opened the file, as if it was the judgement day and eventually I stopped writing all together.

One day I was at my favorite book store and I noticed a pretty journal that I just couldn’t take my eyes off of. I bought it and decided that this was my new writing method where I will not be judged and scribbling is welcomed. To my amazement, the trick worked. I began to write in it almost every day. It was a perfect size and fit in any of the bags I used, so it followed me everywhere. I used it so much that eventually one of the covers fell off and I had to tape it together. I ended up filling it up till last page and then buying another one of the same kind to finish my novel. Retyping handwritten pages was a hassle, but I didn’t mind. I found a method that worked for me.

Eventually I went back to my laptop and disabled spelling and grammar checking as well as display of word count. My laptop is small and fits into any bag  just like my journal did so I drag it everywhere. Having typed up my previous novel on it along with the judgement augmentation in a form of disabled features brought me and my laptop closer together and now I write on it freely.

I still keep some pretty journals handy as sometimes their covers inspire me to write and I want to have an option of switching from computer to paper whenever I feel like not to get stuck on a single writing preference and limit myself.

What is your favorite surface to write on? What tricks do you use to relax before writing that first word of the day?

 

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A Perfect Writing Spot

Once upon a time I was obsessed with finding a perfect writing spot.

I was only beginning to write my first novel and the level of self-doubt was off the charts. I didn’t know what to write, I feared that I will run out of ideas after each chapter, I was worried about the plot or lack thereof, I was looking for an inspiration.

So I began to scour books about writing, blogs about writing, go to classes about writing to find out what is that perfect combination of place and time that successful writers use to get their writing flow.

Over and over I came across writers mentioning a special writing place. For some it was an office with the door locked, an attic getaway for others, a special spot in the house of some kind, etc. Knowing how often I get interrupted at home and completely lose my train of thought, I went ‘A-huh!’, I must be missing a special writing spot! Having a designated place will surely make a world of difference.

And off I went. I inspected my house. Unfortunately, my house is small, so there was no talk about a separate office with a locked door. Garage was too creepy at night, plus it had spiders. The only thing I could think of was having a designated corner where everyone will be ordered to leave me alone 9-10 pm every night. I went to stores in search of that special inspirational arm-chair and the lamp, oh, you should have seen all the bookmarks I had on my browser.

Well, I didn’t end up buying an arm-chair and a lamp. They were pricey and the corner I had available was too small to fit anything comfortable that I found.

Being kind of down about the whole thing I thought: ‘How would I even know that the magic chair would do the trick? How about those moms that wrote in their mini-vans while waiting on the kids at the soccer practice? How about writers that write in the noisy coffee shops? Or students writing their poetry in the dorm while their roommates blasting heavy metal right into their ear?’

So I decided: place doesn’t create me, I create the place. The perfect magical writing spot will be anywhere I decide to sit down and write. And then I went ahead and wrote sitting on the couch at 5 am, and in my car while my daughter was at the practice at 7 pm, I wrote in the park and at the restaurant, I wrote while my daughter was napping in the afternoon and while the house was quiet at midnight.

And an interesting thing happened. Inspiration seemed to visit me more often, it became easy to grab my notebook, or open my laptop and just start pouring the words out. The anxiety subsided, the ideas keep on coming and I look forward to each of my writing moment instead of dreading it. It looks like my perfect writing spot was inside me all along.

What is your special writing spot? How is the location affects your writing?

 

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When The Unexpected . . .

Thank you for the honor!

crimsonprose

With CFS, the unexpected tends to trigger immediate panic. And it was unexpected when Judy of Janthina Images presented me with the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. My head wouldn’t grasp it.

It was late in the evening, and my mind was tightly focused on what I was doing. I had spent the day checking the links in the first 5 posts in a series of eight on Crimsons History, followed by setting the schedule so they’d publish over Christmas and New Year. Though the posts are a ‘labour of love’  still I was feeling flagged. But I wasn’t yet done. I had 12 graphics to upload and schedule, again to run over the Festive Season.

I think I garbled a thank you. I probably repeated it several times after. I will repeat it now, just to be sure. I thank you Janthina Images. (If you’ve not checked out her…

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Every Month I Do My Own NaNo

Writing is a hard work that requires patience, dedication, discipline and sometime just plain juice to run on. As a full-time working mom of two with a husband and a house in tow, I often find myself depleted of energy and looking for excuses not to write.

Here are my favorite excuses:

  • I have to do laundry
  • It’s too noisy in here and I am constantly interrupted
  • It was a stressful day at work and my soul is dead
  • I have a headache (I heard this one works for avoiding sex too!)
  • I need an inspiration

But of course, as we all know, excuses are just what they are, excuses, reasons we find to avoid sitting down and getting vulnerable in front of a blank page. In the past six months with an extremely stressful project at work (excuses) I came home exhausted and couldn’t find it in myself to write. Then November came around and with it the NaNoWriMo, something I wanted to do for a long time. However with the long hours at work I knew I was setting myself up for failure by aiming to do the 50K, so I decided to do my own NaNo.

I decided that I will write a 1,000 words every day and see how far I can get. Since I knew that evenings in my household were too crazy for writing, I had to find time elsewhere. I changed my sleeping schedule and began getting up at 5am, which gave me a solid hour of writing in a complete peace. I also wrote at lunch time in my car and during my daughter’s practices.

Writing begets writing and the more I wrote, the easier it was to write. In the whole month of November I only skipped 4 days of my writing routine and when it was all said and done I had 30K done, definitely more than I have ever done in a month.

I loved the idea so much that I decided to do my own NaNo every month. Even when I don’t produce 30K a month, I have a better writing numbers than I ever had, and what’s more important, I look forward to writing every day.

I wish you the same!

 

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