Ideas Don’t Stop Coming to the Creative Mind

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I think most writers have suffered from  writer’s block at some point in their career. It’s frustrating and can be a IMG_6669blow to one’s confidence, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. When we’re stuck, we need to change tactics to overcome the wall our brain has built to hold all those glorious ideas at bay.

Try your hand at free writing. Grab a crisp sheet of paper or a nearby napkin and jot down any and all thoughts that come to mind, regardless of whether or not they relate to your work in progress. You never know what’s going to come out. A turn of phrase or an odd idea can knock a hole into that wall and commingle with those previously repressed ideas, getting the words flowing again.

You can also try outlining. If you’re stuck on a specific area, skip past it and outline future chapters. If you’ve got ideas for those, mark the spot in your manuscript and move ahead. When you come back later, it will be easier to figure out how to connect the two.

Start re-reading. Go back to the beginning of your story and re-read it.  I find it helps reacquaint me  with the characters, their motives and smaller plot points I may have forgotten along the way.

If you’ve got a writing buddy, ask them to write up a few interview questions and answer them as your characters.  You might be surprised that the answers you come up with may move your story in a whole new directions, skirting around that wall or taking the secret tunnel underneath it.

When you’re the creative type, the ideas may get sidetracked, or seem elusive, but they never really stop coming. Our minds are turned on by the things around us: a beautiful landscape, an unusual looking person, a song, a television show, etc. When your pen runs out of ink, you don’t just throw your hands up and say “I’m done!”, you get another pen. When you’re struck by writer’s block, you find that other pen! You change your tactics and go about the writing process in a different way to work past it.

What tactics do you use to get past the dreaded writer’s block?

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Don’t Overfill Your Plate

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IMG_6623It’s not unusual for a writer to be knee deep in a manuscript when they’re struck with a brandy new sparkly idea.  That idea will sneak up on you in the shower. It will invade your dreams and try to work its way into your conversations.  It will use its literary wiles to try and lure you away from what you’re already working on.

Should you do it?

I know it’s tempting and it has certainly worked out for some, but I know others who have this problem chronically and therefore they never end up finishing a story.  It’s a shame but avoidable!

You need to focus, follow through and finish up that original project before you go back to that overflowing idea plate for more. Definitely take the time and jot down all the ideas and thoughts you have for that new idea and then put it into the freezer of your mind to be thawed and heated up when the time is right.

If you decide it really can’t wait, then focus on that idea alone and come back to your original project once you’ve finished. There are certainly people who can handle more than one project at a time, but I feel your writing can suffer when you’re trying to eat everything off that plate at once. You don’t want to choke! One at a time is best. Give it your all and then be fresh to finish up other projects.

How do you handle new ideas that pop up during current projects?

Feed Your Brain, As Well As Your Body

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imageThere’s lots of talk about feeding body and soul, about being healthy and putting the right stuff in to get good stuff out, but what about feeding the brain? There have been studies to say that keeping an active mind helps one to keep sharp as they age. There are even websites like Lumosity that use games to help keep the brain working.

In 2013, Huffington Post had an article stating that a survey was presented to 1,000 adults and the results show that 28% of the population had not read a book in the past year. Another 25% only read between 1 and 5 books in the previous year. Only 8% stated they had read over 50 books in the past year.

Now I understand people are busy and not a whole lot of us have the time for 50 books in a year (ahh I miss my years of reading between 150-200 books a year…). I get TV watching is relaxing and easier for most. I’m no stranger to couch potato ways and I’m quite familiar with binge watching shows on Netflix (although I pride myself in not getting one of those “You’ve been watching for X amt of hours, are you okay?” messages…). While you can certainly learn things from television, especially if you’re watching an educational kind of show (Shark Week, anyone?)  reading will work a different part of the brain.

Have you ever been excited to see one of your favorite books is being turned into a movie, but then are disappointed with the outcome? That main character looks nothing like you imagined.  That town? You expected it to look more desolate and rundown. Why? Because when you read the book your brain took the author’s words and worked up an image in your mind about what those characters looked like and how that town was depicted.  Your image may not exactly mirror the one the author had in mind, but that’s okay.  The perk of reading is that you get to visit and visualize new worlds and people in your own way. You are using your imagination, something that many seem to forget they have once they enter the Tween years.  To be imaginative is not a downfall. It’s not childish or immature. It’s creative, artistic, and good for the mind, body and soul.

Reading not only feeds your brain but gives you things to discuss and debate with other likeminded folks.  It can help you turn a non-reader onto something amazing. It can inspire you to create art, fan fiction and all sorts of other projects based on the world you step into when you flip through those pages.

Newspaper and magazine articles and non-fiction books certainly feed your brain as well, but fiction allows for the imagination to spark and grow ideas and images to accompany an author’s story. If you’re going to be health conscious, be sure to feed all aspects of the body, including the all important brain!

How many books do your feed your brain with in a year?

I’m Back, Bitches!

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im back

Of course I mean bitches in the “you’re my awesome fans and writing buddies and I’ve missed you dearly” way!

Things in life are still very much up in the air (wedding is…gah! 52 days away!) but I have somehow been squeezing in time to write. Driven  is officially done and sent out. Fingers crossed I get good news back on it.

I’ve come back to my Errand Girl series, working on edits and finishing up the last story. I’ve got some fabulous covers ready to get them out as soon as they’re finished. Maybe I will do a cover reveal soon. I really do love the way they turned out.

I want to get back into regular blogging as well. I feel like I’ve fallen out of the loop with a lot of great authors I had been friends with and worked with, and that makes me sad.  I’m officially opening the blog up to interviews, cover reveals, book releases, etc. as well covering topics of interest. I may have disappeared a bit from social media, but I’ve been reading and writing and following the industry news, so if there’s any topic people would specifically like me to cover, please let me know.

I’m glad to be back in the scene. I’ve missed you guys and I’m excited to reconnect and share new stuff with you all!

Life Imitates Art

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My kind friend and fellow author, Bobby Mathews, recently linked me to an article stating “life imitates (your) art”.  I was surprised to see it was a story of a New Jersey high school senior, wrestling champ, that recently came out during his college scouting tour.

While the article doesn’t give me a whole lot of insight into Alec Donovan’s inner thoughts and struggles to compare to Ian, it does state that he was suicidal at a time, showing me that they may have had a lot of the same concerns and fears. Thankfully, Alec was helped past his dark times by a good, non-judgmental friend.

His story and Ian’s may have a lot more in common than the surface items. I hope he didn’t abuse his body with binge and purge or starvation. I hope his family was accepting and supportive of his life choices and decisions.  I hope he wasn’t given a hard time by teammates or school peers.

I’m always impressed with the courage it takes for someone to come out, especially when it’s an athlete in a sport where they have had to hide themselves for years. I wish the best for Alec and his future and I’m going to try to get a copy of Heavyweight to him, not only because he may find some solace in the fact that there is someone to relate to, even if that someone is fictional, but because we’re practically neighbors! Maybe he’s even seen the book in the local libraries.

Check out Alec’s story