Let Freedom Ring!

With technology comes plenty of responsibility…or distractions. Mainly the latter. When it comes to writing and technology, distractions aren’t needed.

Focus should be your best friend!
This is where Freedom comes in.

Freedom is an app you can purchase by year or with a Forever plan. This app can be used across devices and operating systems. You have the ability to block the entire internet, block apps, websites, and review your sessions while Freedom is activated. With a premium account, you can utilize a schedule and receive perks!

Overall, Freedom can be used for any type of work but we think it would be most helpful towards your writing career. It will help you control your distractions! Social media? Blocked! Your favorite online store? Blocked! Video streaming services? Blocked! (It’s also good for your health to control your digital habits, but that’s just a plus.)

With Freedom, you select your devices, set your schedule, and block whatever keeps you from meeting your word quota.

Your manuscript will thank you later.

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Listen While You Work

I am a multitasker. While I may not be good at it most of the time, I enjoy using multiple parts of my brain at once. My new form of multitasking is doing just about anything while listening to an audio book. 

There are so many opportunities throughout the day to incorporate listening to your audio book. Why settle for one when you can have more fun, am I right?

Some of my daily encounters of such multitasking include: getting ready in the morning, going to the gym, cooking dinner and  while I do my nightly scroll through social media. Now I understand, sometimes it is hard to focus your brain on more than one thing at a time, but it is always something you can get used to. You will quickly discover some simple changes that will make the task easier for you

For instance, I found that when listening to my audio book at the gym I had to make sure I had the right headphones. At first I was using some rinky-dink ones where I could hear my surroundings all too much to a point I lost concentration, and they would constantly be falling out. While I do not need complete silence in order to listen I do tend to block out just about everything that I can so I can truly enjoy it, and that tends to work better when they can also stay on my ears. 

For me, I feel like when I listen along with doing other activities It makes me feel more accomplished and self fulfilled. I get to listen to many books and it keeps my ‘must listen to’ list flowing. 

There are other ways to incorporate listening to audiobooks into your daily schedule you just have to find the best times for you!

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Brain Drain

Another day, another writing exercise. It’s the middle of the week and you know what that means: it’s a great time for the mind to slow down and speak for itself. Time to get some tea, your favorite coffee and sit in a comfy nook with a fresh page. A stream of consciousness exercise can get you into relaxation mode or it can help you release the many thoughts running through your head every day. All you have to do is scribble every thought, feeling and perspective that pops into your head without filtering it out. This kind of writing can help you find perspectives, ideas, and innately human emotions you can eventually use for your next imaginative story or for the foundations of a new book.

If you’re a lover of James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, or Proust then you know exactly what a stream of consciousness can look like in a novel. Writing in a stream of consciousness monologue may seem easy, though, unless you’ve mastered the writing style using your own monologue, attempting one with a made up character can be difficult. Mastering this kind of monologue starts with you. How can you start practicing non-stop mind splurging on the page? 


You can sit in a quiet place outside where there is earthly activity influencing your thoughts. While you are on public transport, listen in to people’s conversations, write how you feel in that moment, what’s going on. Put all feelings, perspectives, emotions and quick thoughts down on the page. It may not make sense at all, but when you look back, the scribbles could be helpful toward your next story. Don’t second guess yourself, even if it is a terrible thought, get it out on the page. Using Stream of Consciousness writing has proven useful for stress, anxiety and depression, and a nice additive to draining your brain are the stories, characters or ideas that come from the exercise. Seize the moment and allow all thoughts to fall through the brain drain without redirecting them to the trash.

Once you’ve gotten this activity down, using a stream of consciousness exercise with a made up character can help you get in their heads and portray their traits, actions and thoughts in an accurate and straightforward manner to your readers. Before you use SOC (Stream of Consciousness) on your character, think of the situation they’re in, what traits you’d like them to have, think of their history and why they may function in the way they do. As I said, it may seem easy, but writing in a SOC with a made up character can be a challenge. The more you get in their head and challenge yourself with a variety of situations the character may face, then the more realistic and relatable a character will seem. 

Get ready to stumble, trip and fall through the crazy, funny and wild parts of your brain. This writing Wednesday, challenge yourself to a stream of consciousness exercise. you’ll get more out of it than solely writing practice, you may even find your truest feelings and thoughts on a situation, or find a new perspective your brain has been waiting to reveal from your subconscious. Open your brain and drain all those uninhibited thoughts and feelings with your favorite notebook and pen in hand.  

Put It On Paper – A Reading Journal Guide

I am more of a put it on paper kind of person. I can visualize what is going on in my head better once it is written down. If you are the same, keeping a reading journal can be helpful on your literary journey. 

Here are a few starting tips and ideas!

First, picking out your journal. There are of course so many options! Choosing between having a bullet journal or a regular lined journal will probably be your hardest choice. Bullet journals are currently very popular because they allow the writer to be more creative and offer more of a DIY layout. Having a lined journal will still keep things organized in a more structured way and will help you maintain your journal in an orderly manner. 

Other things to consider when making your journal

  • Do you want to stick to one writing utensil
  • Use color coding
  • Will you include hand drawn or printed pictures
  • Where will you keep your journal – will you keep it with you to write thoughts and ideas throughout the day 

I recommend starting your journal with a list. Those are my favorites! Lists, lists, lists. What you are currently reading, what you want to read- and the doors open from there. Having a clear list of where you’ve been and where you want to go will help you in the long run. 

From there the opportunities are endless and you can start creating reading goals for yourself. It’s a good idea to start with some basic goals. For example, how many books do you want to read in a month or year? Once you have an idea of where you are going, you can start to plan how you are going to get there with more specific lists or different categories. You might have a list that focuses on specific genres of books that are going to be featured on the big screen. 

Remember this is your journal and it is there to help you in what you deem important. Some other reading journal ideas can be keeping a reading log.

  • Write a short summary about what you read
  • Write what you liked about the book
  • Log your favorite pages or quotes

Once you get the hang of what you like to log and what you don’t it really becomes your own. 

Get inspired. Go on Pinterest and Google and get ideas of your own. My personal favorite spot for inspiration is #bujoforbooklover on Instagram. There is a whole world out there dedicated to journaling. 

This is a space for your own thoughts and ideas, go crazy!

Writing Revelation

Zadie Smith“Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.”

 

 

New Year, New Writing

I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday season and a very happy new year! I cannot believe it’s already 2016, where does the time go (like, for real)? The start of each year gives everyone the perfect opportunity to take a moment out of their busy schedules to reflect on what has happened over the past year, what they accomplished, what they didn’t get to do, and what they want to change for the coming year. This is a really great time for writers to sit down and think about where they want to go with their work. Are you  happy with your current success? Do you need to make any major changes to make yourself more successful? Is there something new you have always been dying to try? Do you want to write more or less? Do you want to try your hand at shorter or longer works? The new year isn’t just the perfect time to reinvent yourself, it’s also the perfect time to reinvent your writing.

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If you are looking for a little new year inspiration, I came across a fun article on Business 2 Community this afternoon that gives some ideas for writer’s new year resolutions. Hopefully these suggestions will help inspire you to make your own changes. Change is the only way to continually see the results we want. If we become stagnant and comfortable, soon enough our ‘luck’ will run out.

  1. Write that ‘thing’ you have always been talking about. 

The best new year’s resolution for a writer is to stop talking and start writing. We all have that something that we have always talked about writing, but for whatever reason we haven’t picked up the pen yet. We may have even written countless other stories in the meantime, but that one project just can’t seem to make it’s way to fruitation. Think about what’s holding you back and throw that negativity out the window. 2016 is all about action and change, make it happen so you can move onto the next thing on that growing bucket list of yours.

2. Visit the places you write about or want to write about. 

The best way to effectively write a scene, chapter, or story is to write from experience. Plan a couple vacations or day trips this year to visit those places you write about. Spend some time writing in those places as well. Visual inspiration is often just the thing we need to bring our writing to life.

3. Read a book that has had a big impact.

Pick up a book that has made a difference. Read a book that has changed history, that has left many readers talking years after it’s publication. Think about why this particular book was so successful. Become part of it’s history and use it to create your own.

4. Learn a foreign language. 

This one is certainly a daring and daunting task, but one that could change the course of your writing forever. Learning how other languages construct sentences, how they use different words, and how they express emotions can open up countless new avenues for your own writing. You don’t need to become fluent is the language, just familiarizing yourself about a particular language’s ‘rules’ will teach you a lot in itself.

5. Study your own writing. 

Look back at what you have written over the past year and learn from it. Is there a particular mistake you catch yourself making over and over again? Are there certain words you use too much? Do you find all your characters to be eerily similar? Make note of the things that have worked well too. Your biggest teacher is often yourself.

Here’s to another great [writing] year! Write on.

Make Criticism Feel Good

One of the hardest parts of writing is the criticism that naturally comes along with it. Perhaps this even holds some of us back a bit. Writing makes you vulnerable. The whole point of writing is to pour your heart out onto the page (for days, months, or even years), put it out there for the world to see, and then wait for the reaction. We all hope for stellar reviews across the board and thousands of copies to be sold. But the reality is that no matter how perfect your writing is, there is always going to be someone who just doesn’t like it. It’s very hard to please everyone and that is one of the first things you need to accept if you are going to have a fulfilling and successful writing career. But, it’s not easy. Those comments hurt and often stick with us for years to come, popping into our mind most often at the worst possible time. Writing isn’t just about becoming a better writer, it’s also about becoming a better version of yourself. Writing teaches us many things and how to handle failure and negative criticism with class is just one of them.

I was so happy to see an article about criticism on Elite Daily yesterday- especially at this time year. Things are starting to wind down and we are starting to look into next year. We start setting our goals for the upcoming months, goals that most likely include more risk being taken and pushing yourself farther than you ever done before. With bigger risks often comes bigger criticism. But don’t worry, it’s not all bad. These pieces of criticism will most likely yield your greatest lessons. Here’s a few things that Merylee Sevilla has learned about enduring criticism.

  1. Critics will always exist.

There is always going to be someone out there that has something negative, no matter how big or small, to say about your work. The most important thing to remember is that they are criticizing you based on their own opinion. There are still many other people out there who absolutely love what you are doing- focus on that.

2. Grow tough skin.

Don’t let other people’s negativity get to you. Instead of feeling down or discouraged, use their criticism as energy. Energy to become a better writer and to perhaps win them over the next time around. Turn negativity into positivity.

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3. Learn how to become innovative.

There’s a lot of criticism out there about not being ‘original’ enough. It’s really hard to be original. With the ease of the internet, more stories are getting published each day than ever before. Take your focus from trying to be ‘original’ and start being ‘innovative.’ Put new spins on stories that have already been done, break the rules a little, and aim to surprise your readers. Innovation is a much more realistic and just as effective goal.

4. Just go for it.

Your biggest regret will be holding back. If you are afraid to publish a story because of the possible criticism that might come along with it, you are missing a huge opportunity. A negative comment might hurt for a few days but the pain of a missed opportunity will never go away. Be brave, be bold, and publish your work as you imagine it to be.

Write on.