Friday, November 27, 2009

Establishing Deadlines

I've decided I've been sitting around too much doing absolutely nothing, so I've decided to give myself a deadline of when I'm going to start submitting Haven.

I don't know why I didn't do it sooner. Working to a schedule/deadline is a good way to motivate and get the project finished. I know that this imaginary deadline is really pushing me to get off my butt and actually do something.

Are deadlines a good thing? And, once a deadline is made is it easy to keep them?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Word of Mouth counts...

Recently I've been told of a restaurant that is sort of near where I live. I plan on going just because of the hype I've heard about it. The one who told me said he travels 45minutes just to go there.

This restaurant is just a little Mexican restaurant that's practically situated in the middle of nowhere, and yet they still serve over 200 people a night, and yet they apparently don't advertise.

This is a great example of word of mouth spreading and grabbing more attention. I know restaurant service and writing are two different things (I should know, I do both at the moment), but they desired outcome is the same... offering a service, whether it's food or a good read, and hoping that the customer/reader will want more, and will hopefully tell their friends about it.

How important is word of mouth and other forms of advertising? When you write a story is it easy to grab someone's attention? Probably these days with the internet so readily available that anyone can place their work up and be seen, but what keeps bringing the people back for more? Or, what causes someone to pass on news of the story to their friends?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Don't Put It Off...

After spending all morning doing some well overdue Spring cleaning, it has got me thinking as to why the hell I didn't do it earlier. I can tell you it would probably have saved me a whole lot of time and hassle if I had done it when it really needed it.

Why do we put things off? Procrastination is another word for finding something better to do - even if you're just wasting time. I was bad for leaving things till the last minute. It was always fun doing the assignment in school at the last minute, and hey, I was a crammer. What is a crammer? It is someone who can study the night before a test and still come away with good marks (not great, which I probably could of got if I would have given myself more time).

Just like school, projects, and even housework, if there's something that needs to be done, it probably deserves more time and concentration than the latest YouTube video (even though they are pretty tempting)... don't live life just saying "one more day won't hurt" because when does that one more day end?

The best way to conquer the evils of "procrastination" is to set a goal. My goal for my current manuscript is that I'm going to have it ready by the end of November, otherwise I'll still be working on it for another 5 years.

Another way would be to cut my access to the internet - but I think that's a tad too drastic, and I can't live without the blogs and forums for too long.

What are some ways to avoid procrastination, especially with an internet full of time-wasting distractions? Or are you the ones who says "I'll do it tomorrow?"

Friday, November 20, 2009

Geeking it Out

I know the weekend isn't here yet, but hey, I work all weekend, so on my days off I decided I needed a little downtime. I think my eyes are going square from staring at the computer screen every second I've got off... At least I'm nearly done with my revisions...

So, I decided I needed a break and went to the video store to get some rentals, and I felt like such a geek... Harry Potter and Star Trek (I hadn't watched any of the previous Star Trek's, so I didn't know what was supposed to be happening). I also picked up Crank 2, so that lowers the Geek level (even though I haven't watched it yet).

So, here's a question. What are some things you do to relax, whether it's after a hard days work or just get away from life for a bit?

Monday, November 16, 2009

An important lesson learned...

I've been going great guns with editing Haven, but when we had a power surge at home I leant a very, very valuable lesson - The importance of backing up files...

I had done over a hundred pages of rewrites (and I did save it like a good little girl) and when the power went off, so did the computer... okay, all I had to do was reset the computer if I saved it, didn't I? It's not as simple as that.

When I went to turn the computer on, it refused to load. I even tried putting it in safety mode just so I could get the novel off the damn machine. But, it refused to load. So after swearing a few times and my brother trying to calm me down before I really put the thing in an early grave, it decided to start - a whole 20 minutes after pressing the power button for the fifth time.

The first thing I did was to email me the file (after checking that it was still operational... it was). I always force myself to save at regular intervals, but after this mornings ordeal, I'm going to have roughly three backups (or wherever I can manage to save it) so I always have a copy of it... the only problem is, and I have done this before, working off an old file and realising after another 100 pages of rewrites.

So, where do people back up their files and how many backups do you have? Or, are some like me and stressout when the only machine with a copy crashes?

But for me, this little ordeal has taught me that backing up files is a good habit to get into.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The big question...

What is the big question? And no, it's not a proposal for marriage. It's a question that comes up all the time when a decision is to be made, I know I've been asking it a lot at the moment.


As soon as anyone reaches a decision about anything that question always lingers in the back of the mind (if you're human anyway). What if you took the job? What if you study nursing instead of music? The questions are endless, and the answers are never definite because no one will ever know what the outcome would have been if another path had been taken.

I have learned to never look back otherwise I'll never get past the "What if" question and wonder if I've made the right choice.

But, taking this question is great when applying it to writing. Just like people in real-life, the "What if" question creates obstacles for the character and brings life to them... well, no two people makes the same choices. They can choose identical paths, but the reason they are there can be very different.

What would the world be like without the "What if" dilemma? Do you think people would have the freedom to choose the right path that suits them?

Interesting question, what would life actually be like if you didn't have to, or couldn't, make choices?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I Did It...

What did I do, I hear you ask. I actually got of my butt (I've been really comfortable lately that I didn't want to change anything), got me a synopsis and entered Haven into a contest...

Now comes the waiting...

And, I'd better say a big thanks to my brother who submitted it since I was at work when the contest opened and apparently it closed 90 seconds after opening.

Well, since I've taken this step, I might as well go all the way and actually start submitting it (I hear gasps of shock... I know, I'm shocked as well)... I guess I'm no longer going to be a closet (well, bedroom to be precise) writer anymore.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Eventful Night and Overactive Imagination

Well, I was on my way to work (didn't actually get there though) when I blew a tyre out on the motorway and the nearest place I could pull over was on an little section between the motorway and where people entered it.

You don't know how creative you get until you're stranded somewhere, feeling the car vibrate as cars (on both sides) rocket past at 110+ Km (68miles). Waiting the hour for a tow truck - and that's how long it takes for them to get to an emergency situation - my mind liked to wander, and not to pretty places either...

What if a car didn't see me and hits me at full on speed? What if the tow truck driver was some demented maniac (wouldn't you trust someone who's supposed to help you)? Like I said, not a pretty place I needed to be at the time, but has started to give me ideas for future stories/characters.

Needn't fear, I'm now safe at home (of course I didn't make it to work). After all the string of bad luck, I still managed to get that to turn around. The tow truck driver dropped me off at a petrol station, and after attempting to change the tyre one-handed (hey, I was on the phone with my parents at the time, trying to figure out where my car was hiding the jak) two nice cops pulled up and started to change it for me. So a little scare, a lot of grease (and I mean a lot, for some reason my face was covered in it) and a chance encounter gave me a lot of ideas to write about.

So, here's a question. Are there any situations that at the time seemed like a bad thing, but gave you some kind of inspiration? Do you find story ideas from real life and people you meet?

Finding Inspiration

Finding time to write is one thing, but finding what to write about is another matter entirely. Sometimes when I hit a brick wall and have absolutely no idea where to go next, I look to other sources for inspiration.

Maybe my next spark will come from music (at the moment I've got Evenescence, Nightwish and Disturbed on my playlist to get me in the right mood for my story), or if tunes won't do, I go out to the movies or browse some image galleries (images are great to get some ideas).

So, where do you find inspiration? Is there times where it's impossible to write, what do you do to get in the write mood to continue?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rewriting or Creating?

Well, at the moment I'm off to a tremendously terrible start to Nano, what with work and health issues I haven't really been able to do much. Now I'm caught at a crossroads. Should I continue my Nano path or go back to tweaking my WIP.

There's a reason why I'm contemplating revisiting my other novel. Haven is a completed novel that just needs a little work and has announced a Young Adult contest.

So, my dillema is, when do you choose to work on something old rather than starting a new piece? Is it as simple as flipping a coin to decide what to do? Or, is it more in the mindset you're in when you sit down?

All this decision-making is giving me a headache.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Flying Blind

Is it easier to write from an outline or off the top of your head? Well, for me, I usually have some sort of outline done up, even though I hardly ever stick to the outline. Just having something to help give me some sort of clue as to where the story's going to end up really helps me out.

But, stupid me. When it came to Nano I didn't even have much of an idea on November 1st that I didn't have enough time to create any outline. Now, I haven't a clue where I'm going to go. 2,000 words in and already I'm starting to doubt whether I can create any decent novel. I'm really biting my tongue at the moment because I feel like ditching my efforts for the second time (I can't do that or I'll end up with nothing at the end of the month).

When it comes to serious hit-the-wall writers block, what is the best way to get out of it? And that doesn't include ditching the little bit I've got, because I need something to work from.

After day one...

After getting off to a very, very, very, very, very... okay, one more very... bad start, I've managed to crawl up and get 1,711 words. And, the thing that amazes me the most is I think the story actually makes sense. I know, in-cred-i-ble.

Well, now I thinik I've deserved a good night sleep, mainly so I can get up bright and early in the morning and get a jump on tomorrows word count. The good thing about tomorrow is that I've got the entire day off (well, except for the bit where I promised that I'd do a bit of the house work... I know stupid me).

Yay for the start of Nano, and let's hope tomorrow is just as productive (but less riddled with despair). Well, nighty night out there in blog land, I think I've deserved a good rest after today.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

How to Turn that Inner Editor Off?

How should I know, I was hoping you could tell me.

The hardest part of NanoWriMo (except for the reaching 50,000 words thing) is tuning out the inner editor. I had written about 500 words before I told myself that was utter garbage and scrapped it.

The only way I can see myself doing well this year is to only care about the story being told, the sentence structure and grammar (and dare I say it, even spelling) can wait until revisions start in December.

Now, after chilling a bit (before I bite the head off my brother) and watching the Covenant for inspiration, I'm going to take a deep breath and try to get at least 1,000 words out before the day's through. Yes, I know I'll be behind, but I'll definitely be able to catch up tomorrow (I hope).

And let it begin...

Oh crap, it's now November 1st and I still don't have much of an idea where to go, I'm hoping that a lightning bolt will strike me at work and I'll be able to jump into it straight after.

I know I really should have been plotting and planning yesterday, but I didn't. I attended the Nano Kick off party for Brisbane (Australia) - yeah, that was fun, but didn't do much for giving me inspiration. Then, I went to Movie World's Halloween party, and after pushing through wall to wall crowds with limited visibility due to an overuse of the smoke machine I have bubkiss... I was really hoping that some of the mazes they had set up would spark an idea, but the closest thing I got was inserting evil clowns into the story, which my brother thought was a horrendous idea...

P.s. I must not scare easy because with all the screams pouring out of the mazes I expected to find something at least a little bit frightening (not that evil clowns aren't frightening when they're jumping around corners to scare you. Let's face it, clowns are just scary).

Now, I so hope I can come up with an idea so I have at least one word written before the day's out.
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