Thought this title might cause some confusion or at least
give you a chance to think about it. As writers, we have been told to
read and read all books. Not just in your genre, but in other genres
that may be unfamiliar to us. This gives us a chance to observe
different styles, different words, and the opportunity to see how
writers put them together. Reading out of your comfort zone increases
the writer's ability to visualize, stretch the imagination, and push
their writing to the 'edge.'Sometimes this takes a writer to a different
and scary part of their experience. What's to say that men cannot write
fantastic romance or women can't write about racing cars? Getting out of
our comfort zone take courage and practice.
What about readers becoming writers? Who's to say yes or no. Have you
read a book and thought, "I could do better than that." Then sat down at
blank screen and the keyboard waiting for you to pounce on the keys. This
can be a frightening experience and you realize how this can scare you
away from writing.
I used to go into a library and head for the same content...murder,
detective genres. Then, I became interested in the same genre with a
lot of romance intertwined. Sometimes, I headed toward the non-fiction
or historic novels such as Personal History, autobiography of Katharine
Graham, or Savage Beauty, the life of Edna ST. Vincent Millay to name a
few. Did this change my writing? Yes and No. I became more concerned
about words I chose to use.
Yes, I read a lot of books and keep a running list in my possession at
all times. This is a turn-around list. I keep the authors and can add
any new one at any time. My version is listed under their names by
titles I have read. Sure saves time returning a read book.
Take a look at your own reading and writing and see how this influences
you and your writing. What new avenues this has helped you cross and
how you did it.
I'd love to hear from you and get your ideas. With your permission I
will have a post to compliment all of you readers and writers.
On a personal note, the first author I remember reading is ZANE GREY.
HAPPY READING. HAPPY WRITING. AND A VERY HAPPY YOU.
You walk by your desk, stare at the computer and close your eyes. Even the thought of writing is uninviting. You need more words filling the manuscript and all you have is a blank mind. Empty today, so you walk away. Even your shoulders are heavy as the muse lays more guilt on each one.
Distraction is what you need, BUT it has to be a healthy distraction. Not just a passing idea that lasts a few minutes, but one to jump-start your creative endeavors. You feel shame and clench your fingers. It makes a writer feel unworthy of their words as peers will be disappointed in them.
Hey, wake up and think of something that interests you. Yes, YOU. Now is the time to revisit areas in your memory and pull yourselves up out of the quicksand. Writing is a solitary endeavor and you need a little social life.This will give you a boost forward. Ladies, remember the lunches with friends and guys remember the runs with your friends. These bring back memories of good times before writing took over your lives. Taking time for a social life will improve your writing.
How long has it been since you dug in the dirt? Gardening can grow flower, vegetables as well as your thoughts. This is a ‘healthy’ distraction. Ladies, what about knitting or crocheting like you did eons ago. Or, maybe you dabbled in the paints. Try again. Guys, remember how you used to ‘tinker’ with the car, lawn mower or fix the drip inside the home? When a writer turns to other matters, the pride in their work is returned in abundance. This is what our writing should do for us.
This reminded me of the ‘Adult Coloring Book’. No one is looking over our shoulders to check for coloring outside the line. It is fun and frees the mind at the same time.
Healthy distractions open up thoughts and bursts your energy. These keep your mind alert and excited. When they are release you will find your characters respond to the new freedom.
Watch Out…Healthy Distractions turned loose can invigorate each scene, each page and you will have happy characters and your writing will flow. You will never look at your desk and computer with despair, but elation at the ideas abounding in your head.
Yes, I believe we all do research to a certain point. We need to know the place where our story takes place and the surrounding area. Or do we?
As creative writers, we create, and in fiction we can make our characters our own. But does everything have to be accurate? Our creativity can come alive in a make-believe place. This is the place where our characters will live, love, argue, be torn apart by some event, meet again from our own creative thoughts.
I enjoy making up my village, town or city. I can name the streets whatever seems right to me and my characters. It can be in the mountains, by the ocean, a hot desert feel, and the stores are from creative imagination. It is like making a blueprint for your surroundings.
Sometimes, making up the place the characters become alive. Not the cookie-cutter characters. It is like you are giving them freedom to be who they are. Soon they realize this and watch out. Their actions and spontaneity are off the page. They like being unleashed.
They are in a new place, meeting new and different people, and they love the independence you give them. As a writer, you create emotions and your characters show your fingers which keys to hit. Go with them and see your story take twists and turns. The writer has an idea of who, what, when, and where the story/novel should go. When it takes off on another path, our characters run with the story and it is hard to keep the fingers moving so fast over the keys. (Don’t worry. You can edit later.) Let them have free rein to romp, run, and roam. Your story has changed because of the freedom you are giving your characters. You are writing fiction.
On the other side, Non-Fiction research is necessary and important. You need to know all the facts you can, and still give the characters a chance to show themselves as real people in a period unfamiliar to others.