A Time to Write: Guest Post

I’m excited to share this post by my new writing friend! Let me tell you guys, it’s worth the effort to reach out and make these AMAZING connections. Enjoy!

A Time to Write

By Hope Ann

‘If something is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.’ The saying is old but true for almost every area of life, including writing.

There is so much business in life now days. Whether you’re in high school, collage, have a job, have several jobs, or are simply busy with life in general, not many of us have an abundance of spare time. And for those with a desire to write, even sitting down and concentrating on moving thoughts from mind to paper can be a challenge, never mind editing and publishing. Sometimes the thought of completing a book seems impossible. It’s not. Hard, maybe. But such a task is doable. The key to getting writing done, no matter how much time you have, is resolve.

If you want to write, resolve to write no matter what it takes. It all starts with the mental attitude; with setting a goal and then reaching that goal. Yes, it can be hard. But it’s called determination. It’s called character. And if you decide writing isn’t quite that important to you, that’s perfectly fine. Knowing that it is a hobby to start with will cut down on stress later if you’re not getting much done. If writing is a passion for you, however, then set your mind to it. Make it important. And simply do it.

But willpower is all very well; what about time? The answer is simple. Make it.

Almost everyone has something that you can condense or cut to give you a little extra time. Perhaps this calls for getting up ten minutes earlier, or foregoing a game or staking out some of the time you might normally spend on social media or reading a book. Perhaps you can write during a lunch break. Or make sure you’re focused while studying so you can afford to break off fifteen minutes earlier than normal. Granted, there may be occasions where there really is no time. But, if something is important, there is almost always a way to fit it in.

Along with making time, a second aid to getting writing done is deadlines. A deadline is a tool, not an enemy. It gives you an idea of how you are doing and helps relax the mind. There are all types of deadlines. You might resolve to write half a page a day. Or edit two chapters a week. Or research one publishing house (or self-publishing tactics) each day for a set time.

Make sure your deadlines are reasonable. You want them to help you, not to be another source of stress. And remember, even small amounts of consistent writing build up quicker than you’d expect. Five hundred words a day equal about three and a half pages a week which equal around fifteen pages a month and over ninety thousand words a year; long enough for a good size novel if you’re writing fiction or several e-books if you’re writing ‘how-to’ nonfiction.

Another plus with deadlines is that is you can encourage yourself if you are getting ahead. You can even write an extra few hundred words a few days ahead so you can take a day off without feeling guilty. Even writers with lots of time would benefit from setting themselves deadlines.

After making time and setting deadlines, make sure you make the most of your time.

Don’t waste the time set apart to write by letting your mind drift to other topics. Turn off your phone and e-mail. Sitting down one afternoon before starting your project to outline the article, story, or book, can also speed up your writing greatly because you don’t have to struggle with what comes next when you actually sit down to write.

Another tip you could make use of is speaking your book into a phone or recorder while driving or working, then simply type in what you’ve said later, or use a program to do it for you. This can drastically cut down on writing time, letting you ‘write’ a book in several hours (depending on the length).

If you’re in a noisy setting, learn how to focus on your writing. Listening to music helps me greatly with this, especially when I have several young siblings running back and forth. I’ve also learned how to switch from normal life to writing almost instantly. I don’t have to write for half-an-hour to get into the story.

Finally, write even when you don’t want to. All writers have days when they don’t want to write, but if one wrote only when they felt like it, it could take forever to get something done. Those are the days willpower is the most important. But you want to enjoy yourself to. Reward yourself for deadlines completed or mile markers in the book accomplished. Meet with other writers. Encourage each other. Have word wars, word races, or race against your own past records.

It doesn’t matter if you’re crushed for time or have endless amounts of it; writing is work. It is exciting. It is hard. It is thrilling. And it is so worthwhile. But in the end, it’s down to you. How much does it mean to you? Do you really want to write? Are you willing to do what it takes to get it done? If you are, make time, set deadlines, keep moving even when you don’t want to.

And write.

 

Hope Ann is a bow wielding, knife throwing, pen brandishing Christian authoress. Her favorite genres to read are write are fantasy and futuristic fiction. You can follower her at writinginthelightpublishing.com

 

Guest Post – Why I Love Developing Chractors

I’m REALLY excited to share this guest post with you guys from my friend J. S. Strange. His new book “Winter Smith: London is Burning.” came out today!  You can check out his blog on his website. Other media links and information can be found at the end of the blog.

So, without further ado, “Why I Love Developing Characters”.


Developing characters for a story is just as important as having a good plot. Your characters should drive your story. A book grows and functions on two things – a gripping story and gripping characters.

My favourite thing to do as a writer is create and develop my characters. I explore everything about them – their age, their likes and dislikes, their thoughts, their feelings, their opinions, sexualities, etc. I always aim to write characters that are flawed, different and relatable.

Even the scariest character I write needs to be flawed and even somewhat relatable. I want someone to read my novels and identify with at least one character in the book. If they don’t, then I haven’t done my job.

Everyone has a story to tell, some bigger than others, and that is no different when writing fictional characters. Whilst it’s great to develop a character and have them tell a story, you’ve got to keep in mind that this character’s story arc has to be central to the plot. You need to keep your story moving, and too much character development is distracting.

There are characters in my debut zombie novel that have personalities, but it’s the main characters that people know the most about. Take my character, Winter Smith, for example. Her parents were poor, but after hard work they built their business and became rich and famous. Winter was then thrust in to the limelight, where she doesn’t want to live. Whilst this isn’t about zombies, like my novel is, it adds depth to Winter. You know the life she led, and you know why she acts and thinks like she does. It adds that little bit more depth, and interest to who Winter is. You want to know why she hates attention. You want to know why she doesn’t get along with her parents. It doesn’t take away from what is happening in the story, but it adds to it and creates a relatable and realistic world.

You should always develop your characters. You could consider adding in their mannerisms. You could even mention scars they have. You could even set them up a small back-story – do they flinch from a touch? Is there a smell they hate? Little things like that make the character real. It takes a 2D character and makes them 3D.

As a writer, we need to make characters that are relatable. Everyone needs to know or at least met one of your characters before, in a different setting. You want someone to say, ‘Oh, the character in the book I’m reading reminds me of you!’ You don’t want someone to read your book and decide they can’t relate to the characters you’ve spent awhile writing.

What’s your favourite thing about being a writer?


Jack Strange is an author from the UK, who writes under the pen name J. S. Strange. His debut novel, ‘Winter Smith: London’s Burning’ is out now. Twitter: @JackSamStrange www.jsstrange.com Facebook: J.S. Strange