Writing Wednesday: Prompt

WW Prompt

Here’s today’s Writing Wednesday Prompt:

setting (3).JPG

Examples of ways to use this picture seed:

1. Write a scene that takes place in this setting.

2. Write a setting description based on the above picture. Try to include all five senses. Whatever your instincts or preferences for setting and detail, try to over-exaggerate the scene.

If you write something from this prompt, by all means let me know! Feel free to share what you wrote, if you want!

**If you’re looking for more like this, you might want to check out the story seeds posts I wrote for NaNoPrep a few years ago. They are not specific to NaNoWriMo, and each contains a list of several different types of prompts or ways to generate story ideas. You can find them here: Story Seeds 1, Story Seeds 2, Story Seeds 3, Story Seeds 4**

Moar Notebooks!

To make a long story short, I have a bit of a notebook collection. A current count shows 15 empty notebooks, and probably close to that many either filled or currently being filled. I just can’t help myself when I’m out, whether at a mall, a gift shop, or just about any store that has any selection of notebooks or stationery. In the last couple of years, I have tried to cut down on buying any, but I’ve still made some purchases.

I’ve shared my collection on my blog twice now, and I realized a few weeks ago that I have bought 6 more since the 2nd post. So rather than wait until I have 10 to post about, since I like to share the story behind each notebook and don’t want the post to be as long as last time, I decided now as a good time for a post.

(Follow the links to see the first and second posts about my collection)

notebook 1

This is my first official Moleskine notebook (and only so far). My husband and I were at Barnes and Noble and I saw their display of them and told my husband how they were a famous brand of notebooks. As often happens when I show interest in something in front of my husband, he insisted I get one. I haven’t started using it yet, but have plans for it to replace my NaNoWriMo notebook that is more than half full now, because it’s the same shape and size (that’s a compulsion with me).


notebook 2

I don’t actually have much to say about this one. I’m pretty sure my husband bought it for me when I wasn’t with him and surprised me with it. He introduced me to Pokemon when we got married (in fact, he basically introduced me to the whole world of geek), so it’s quite fitting, really. It’s empty, and probably will be for a while.


notebook 3

I can’t try to shame anyone who hasn’t seen Stranger Things, because when the first season was out, it took me about a year to get around to watching it, even though my husband and many others I knew said how great it was. My husband found this notebook (at Walmart, of all places) a week or so before season 3 came out last month. The cover is actually from season 1 though, which I was glad for, because I didn’t like season 2 quite as much, and didn’t know yet what I’d think about season 3.


notebook 4anotebook 4b

The next 3 notebooks were all bought on the same weekend anniversary trip my husband and I took last month. As soon as I saw this notebook, I knew I had to have it…there was really no question. The book can be closed with the leather lace, wrapping it around the book, and then around/under the leaf on the front. The green is a soft material, and the right picture shows the quote that is on the inside cover. It wasn’t even until after I bought it and looked at it more that I realized that what you see here is actually a book cover, inside which is a plain notebook with a cardboard front and back cover that can be removed when it’s filled, so the out LoTR-themed cover can be re-used. So it was even better than I thought when I first found it! I’m pretty much in love with it. I have no idea what I’m going to use it for, but I think I have to start using it very soon.


notebook 5aI found this book in the clearance section of Barnes & Noble. It might seem strange to many, but it piqued my interest. It’s a guest book, meant to be used for whatever guest books are normally used for. But inside, there are lines like in any notebook, and somehow the unique shape of it, and even the word “GUESTS” on the cover and each page, led me to have all sorts of ideas about the inspiration that could come while writing in it. So it was worth it for a clearance price. (My husband tried to tell me he didn’t think I was weird, but I could tell he did.)


notebook 6anotebook 6b

The final notebook for this post was found in a bargain store. I told myself not to go to the office supplies area, but I just couldn’t help myself (I never can). The wood grain cover was enough to at least draw my attention, but I would have put it back and walked away had I not opened it and seen the inside cover. My estimate is that the map is from around the time of the French & Indian War, though I admit I haven’t looked it up or anything. Either way, I really liked the look of it, so now it’s part of my collection.

I’ve noticed that I’m not the only writer who has a plethora of notebooks, so feel free to show me yours!

Weekly Writing Update: August pt. 1

*See announcement about blog title at bottom of post.
Sunday: 1 hour, 21 minutes doing writing practice from 2 prompts
Monday: 1 hour, 5 minutes revising “Outcast
Tuesday: 43 minutes revising “Outcast”
Wednesday: 1 hour, 16 minutes revising “Outcast”
Thursday: 1 hour, 4 minutes revising “Outcast”
Friday: 30 minutes reviewing outlines for 2 other Pithea books
Saturday: 1 hours, 12 minutes revising “Outcast”

Friday I needed a break from “Outcast,” especially after some stresses from the day. I started thinking about NaNoWriMo and wondered what I might write in November. I have a few Pithea books that need redrafted and a few that need revised. But for NaNoWriMo, I prefer to go the traditional route of writing a brand new novel from scratch. That really only leaves me with one option right now–a book that I have a preliminary outline for that takes place after the 7 that are on the list in the above link. So instead of working on “Outcast,” I took some time to read over the outline for that book and refresh my mind on it, as well as the book that comes right before it and will have a lot of connection to it. It was a nice break from “Outcast” revision, while still keeping my mind in the same space.

I won Camp NaNoWriMo, on Tuesday, July 30th, which is just so much less exciting than winning NaNoWriMo proper. Oh well, it’s coming soon! Anyway, I finished the month with an average of 1 hour, 15 minutes worked per day, which makes sense, since the 1st half of the month, I worked 90 minutes per day, and the 2nd half of the month I worked 60 minutes per day (plus some extra to make up for getting behind in the 1st half).

2019-Apr Camp Winner-Facebook-Cover

*Now for an announcement! My blog has been titled “Keeping Procrastination at Bay” since I started it 5 years ago. The original purpose of the blog was to give myself a semi-public location to hold myself accountable to working on my writing. In the last year or so, and especially the last month, it has evolved to a point where I only post weekly updates on my writing work, because I’d rather post things that people can actually get some use out of. I realized this week that the blog title makes no sense anymore. I changed it to “A Journey of Words” because I’ve added reading posts to my writing posts, and overall, words are a big part of my life, and my blog, now.

Weekly Writing Update: July pt. 4

Sunday: 1 hour, 23 minutes revising “Outcast
Monday: 1 hour, 12 minutes revising “Outcast”
Tuesday: 1 hour, 12 minutes revising “Outcast”
Wednesday: 1 hour, 4 minutes revising “Outcast”
Thursday: 1 hour revising “Outcast”
Friday: 1 hour, 14 minutes revising “Outcast”
Saturday: 1 hours, 2 minutes revising “Outcast”

I spent over half of this week putting changes from the first half of revisions into the computer, partly so I didn’t have to do the entire story’s worth later, and partly so I could get an idea of how many words I’d added. It wasn’t many, but a few thousand is better than going down in word count.

I then went back to revising and am now about 2/3-3/4 of the way through the draft. When this draft is done, I’ll likely go back through and read the entire thing at a quicker pace, since I added several new scenes, get my story structure and scenes straightened out, and then see if I can recruit the TCSTB to be my first beta-readers and get an idea of where the story stands and how much work it needs. It’s been quite a while since we revised “Pithea” together though, and we’re all in very different places in our lives, so I don’t have any illusions about the possibility of us working together intensively like we did then. But I still highly value their feedback.

I was able to get caught up to par for Camp NaNoWriMo, making up the deficit I had going into this week.  There are 4 days left now, so I’m confident of a win (maybe even a slightly early finish).

2019-camp

Weekly Writing Update: July pt. 3

Sunday: none
Monday: 1 hour, 25 minutes revising “Outcast
Tuesday: 1 hour, 15 minutes revising “Outcast,” as well as writing up some character profiles for the same book
Wednesday: 1 hour, 10 minutes revising “Outcast”
Thursday: 1 hour, 11 minutes revising “Outcast”
Friday: 1 hour, 7 minutes revising “Outcast”
Saturday: 1 hours, 13 minutes revising “Outcast”

I’m through half of this revision of “Outcast.” I am now putting the changes I made on paper, and the new scenes, into the computer, so I can get an idea of what kind of word count I’m up to. The first draft was not long enough for this type of novel, so I’m hoping the extra scenes I have planned will fill it out. But I am pretty sure it will still be a little short, and I’ll have to brainstorm some more content.

On Monday, some changes to my evening routine made me realize that I wasn’t going to be able to continue with a goal of 90 minutes per day for Camp NaNoWriMo. So I did the math to figure out what to change my total goal to, in order to keep the first 14 days at 90 minutes, but have the rest of the month with a goal of 60 minutes per day. This leaves me a little behind still, but I couldn’t keep the pace of 90 minutes, behind or not.

2019-camp

Writing Wednesday: Prompt

WW Prompt

Here’s today’s Writing Wednesday Prompt:

hand-water

If you write something from this prompt, by all means let me know! Feel free to share what you wrote, if you want!

**If you’re looking for more like this, you might want to check out the story seeds posts I wrote for NaNoPrep a few years ago. They are not specific to NaNoWriMo, and each contains a list of several different types of prompts or ways to generate story ideas. You can find them here: Story Seeds 1, Story Seeds 2, Story Seeds 3, Story Seeds 4**

Weekly Writing Update: July pt. 2

Sunday: 1 hour, 30 minutes revising “Outcast.”
Monday: 1 hour, 34 minutes revising “Outcast.”
Tuesday: 2 hours revising “Outcast.”
Wednesday: none
Thursday: 1 hour, 41 minutes revising “Outcast.”
Friday: 1 hour, 38 minutes revising “Outcast.”
Saturday: 3 hours, 40 minutes revising “Outcast.”

I’m just past 1/3 of the way through this revision of “Outcast,” based solely on page count. This week contained a lot of writing new scenes, so I didn’t go through pages as quickly, but made a lot more progress than it appears.

I am just about caught up to where I should be for Camp NaNoWriMo , only 13 minutes behind. I worked extra on Tuesday, since I was already behind, and then couldn’t work on Wednesday, due to feeling utterly terrible and going to bed really early. Saturday I worked off and on whenever I could throughout the day to try to catch back up.

And more importantly than anything else, I am really enjoying how this story is shaping up! It has long been one of my favorite completed works of mine, and it is only getting better and stronger as I revise.2019-camp

Writing Wednesday: Prompt

WW Prompt

Here’s today’s Writing Wednesday Prompt:

Include all of the following words in a scene:
news
argument
silence
stop
neighbors

bonus: pineapple

If you write something from this prompt, by all means let me know! Feel free to share what you wrote, if you want!

**If you’re looking for more like this, you might want to check out the story seeds posts I wrote for NaNoPrep a few years ago. They are not specific to NaNoWriMo, and each contains a list of several different types of prompts or ways to generate story ideas. You can find them here: Story Seeds 1, Story Seeds 2, Story Seeds 3, Story Seeds 4**

Weekly Writing Update: July pt. 1

Tuesday: 1 hour, 30 minutes revising “Outcast.”
Wednesday: 1 hour, 33 minutes revising “Outcast.”
Thursday: 2 hours, 30 minutes revising “Outcast.”
Friday: none
Saturday: none

This week’s update is a bit shorter than they’ll be in the future, since I started tracking it on Tuesday, and normally it’ll start on Sunday. I’m about 1/4 of the way through this revision of “Outcast,” based solely on page count.

I set my average daily goal for Camp NaNoWriMo at 90 minutes. Because my husband and I were gone Friday & Saturday to celebrate our anniversary, I worked extra on Thursday to get ahead. I thought I might still do a little work through the weekend, but I didn’t. So I’m a little behind now, and probably won’t work any extra today, because I’m tired from the weekend. (I’ll be happy if I hit 90 minutes tonight.)

2019-camp

Writing Wednesday: Joy of Discovery (or A Cure for Writer’s Block)

WW Joy of Discovery

Some time in the last couple of years, even as I struggled to maintain a writing habit (and for a while, failed completely), I have realize something that I didn’t know in my first 10 years of writing–at least not consciously: the joy of discovery is my absolute favorite thing about writing. I’ve also found discovery in writing to be the exact opposite, and in some ways the cure, for writer’s block.

Discovery, at least to me, is when things click or become more clear. A character pops up that wasn’t planned, but is clearly the answer to everything. You come up with a backstory that actually makes the character’s current actions make sense. You figure out how to fill in the saggy middle with actual, interesting plot. These are just some examples of those moments that can be exhilarating, exciting, and can even cause a rush of adrenaline.

Some people call this a “Eureka moment” or an “‘Aha!’ moment.” I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t bring up NaNoWriMo and mention that they have a badge that participants can award themselves if this happens during their writing in November.

aha

This is my favorite badge…

Why is this my favorite thing about writing? Probably because of how often it comes when I’m at a particularly low point in my writing. This is not always the case, but more often than not, the biggest, or at least most exhilarating moments of discovery come when I’m experiencing what most would consider “writer’s block.”

I have discovered that writer’s block most often happens when I’m struggling to break through a confusing, uncertain, or even boring section of a story. This can happen during any stage of writing–dreaming, planning, writing, or even revising. When that happens, I turn to a variety of tricks to try to figure out what I’m missing. Sometimes it leads to an “Aha!” moment, sometimes just a calmer, more basic answer to my question so I can move on. And to be clear, the joy of discovery is not only relegated to the exciting moments. Though discovery is almost always at least a little exciting to me.

Before I close, I’ll mention a few tricks that I use to try to coax those moments of discovery. I’ll address some more in-depth in future Writing Wednesday posts, but here are a few that don’t require as much explanation:

  • freewrite (especially with a prompt)
  • change your writing medium (for example, from computer/device to handwriting, or vice versa)
  • change your writing environment
  • listen to some music that reminds you of what you’re writing
  • read
  • keep asking yourself the questions you need to answer while going about the rest of your day
  • don’t decide to give up and come back when “inspiration strikes”

What about you? What tricks do you use to break through when you’re stuck? Have you had your own “Aha!” moments? What is your favorite thing about writing?