Hello all and happy Thursday! I know that a lot of y’all readers are writers as well so I thought I’d create a discussion surrounding the writing process and how each writer is unique, going about their craft through various different pathways, while also hearing from those of you who decide to share your experiences in the comments below. I, myself, am an aspiring writer (both in fiction novels and poems) but I have been suffering through writing withdrawals as of late due to the crazy amount of work I have with my English classes as well as my duties as editor for various publications for my university campus. It has gotten so bad that my hands literally itch/shake and my chest hurts with the muscle tension that has built up from my ongoing anxiety (which the release through writing would usually dissipate). But, since I’m too busy to sit down and really focus on my writing, I thought I could at least talk about writing with y’all and see if anyone has any new techniques that I can use in the future (a.k.a the summer) when all this work load has been eased.
For starters, I tend to jot down little notes of inspiration in my phone’s memos. These little gems really help out later when I’m at a loss for inspiration and need something to help me start a new project. I jot down anything from snippets of dialogue to pieces of possible poems to general plot or character ideas with detailed descriptions for myself to remember later on. I know that lots of writers tend to carry around journals or notebooks for a similar purpose but when you’re on the go it is just another thing to carry around whereas a cellphone is something that most folks are already carrying around with them (though I’m always sure to backup all of my data into my Gmail account because I am super paranoid that I’ll lose all my work).
Another technique that really helps, though I know that it is super tedious and can be the bane of some writers’ existence, is constant and lengthy revision. Even though this seems like an absurdly obvious step, you’d be surprised just how many people don’t feel the need to revise or simply don’t take the time to do so though it could severely improve their work. The way I go about revision is saving each and every version of the same piece I make that way, if I end up hating what I’ve changed, I still have my original that I loved so much. This technique gives me the creative ability to do whatever outlandish thing I want to do to my piece without losing what my original intent was. By doing this, I am able to completely re-envision what my work is and (usually) end up learning so much about my piece, making it ten times better than it was before.
Something that works quite well for me in creating hyper realistic people within my fiction worlds (something I have often been told is a strength of mine within workshop settings) is creating extensive character profiles for each and every person within my piece and taking my time (sometimes up to a month) just getting to know my characters in depth. I’ll write little exercises to help me dive into them, I’ll have fun figuring out their zodiac signs and how that effects their personalities, and I’ll often type out a sort of dialogue of a conversation that I would have with the character and how they would come across to me. By going through all of this extensive work of figuring out my people, building fictional worlds and manufacturing plot lines comes quite easily to me because then I know what my world needs to do in order to cause conflict for my characters. After all, stories are about people and that means characters have to have precedence over all other aspects of craft (lol, this is just my opinion. I know many writers who emphasize setting or plot or some other aspect over character).
Going along with creating character profiles, I also believe in selling your soul to Pinterest. Pinterest has saved me so many times with just deep diving in there and looking at random pictures that spark inspiration, not only for what potential characters could look like, but also with settings (pictures of landscapes and structures especially). If you’re a writer, I suggest making Pinterest your best friend.
I’ve talked a lot about inspiration and how to come across inspiration but, what about when there are no creative juices flowing and writing gets stuck all up in your brain? Well, one way I deal with writer’s block is I take one of my old pieces, reread it to reorient myself within the world again, and then copy paste it into a new dock and mess it all up with weird ideas (usually the first ideas that pop into my head). Because I know that, at least for me but I know also for a lot of other writers, looking at a blank page is like staring down the barrel of a loaded gun. So, instead of starting a brand new doc and trying to figure out what it is that I want to write, I take something I’ve already written and copy it so that I can just write freely without thinking about anything. Usually after doing this I end up writing something that sparks my interest and then I have the confidence to start a new doc with the new idea in hand. From there, I write out a few pages of the new idea to sort of test it out and see if I like it, and then I become a writing machine again.
Some more basic techniques for building up important writer’s muscles are as follows: for help with creating organic and authentic dialogue, I tend to wander around and listen to other people’s conversations (though it’s a little creepy, it works wonders) so that I can hear what other people deem normal conversation language (I also do this with describing characters, just jot down whatever you can about how a random person looks and then you can use it later); for help with not knowing exactly what your trying to say (otherwise known as the struggle to organize cohesive thoughts), I usually just start writing around it, like writing everything that I know that I’m not trying to say that way it’s like I’ve gotten rid of all the possibilities that it isn’t so that I can get to what it is that I am trying to say; for help with developing the proper vibe, I usually just test out different points of view (1st, 2nd, 3rd, omniscient, subjective, objective); for help with dull beginnings, I usually test out different ways of entering into the story, for example through dialogue, through a description of setting or character, through action, through conflict, etc.
So, I’ve talked a lot about my own techniques and my process for writing but I really really want to hear from y’all who write and see what sorts of things that y’all do that may differ or even be similar to anything I do. If y’all have any questions or comments for me, please leave a comment down below and join in on the conversation. Thanks so much for reading y’all! Let me know anything you’d like to say in the comments below, you know I love hearing from y’all!
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