As a person who is constantly trying to immerse herself in the writing world, I keep hearing about how important it is to write every day. Well, this hasn’t been so easy for me because I usually suffer from writers block. If I feel blocked, I get frustrated easily and end up doing something else entirely. This is certainly not the best way to begin a writing career!
So in my desperate need of ideas, I’ve “cheated” a little bit. I’m guilty of going to one of those websites that generates an idea for you to write about. They look something like this-“Write about two strangers who are in a restaurant. The tone is mysterious and the activity they are doing is studying.” And I’ve even downloaded apps that give you ideas of what to write about. I’m not trying to bash these forms of inspiration. These may work for you. But they don’t do much for me.
Just this morning I got an email from a writing idea website I subscribed to. I opened it and was ready to be inspired! However, none of the ideas spoke to me. I find this happens to me very often. Prompts are fun to help get me started but they seldom lead to any meaningful and fulfilling writing projects. I’ve realized that the stories I write from prompts, aren’t really from my heart. And so, I have a hard time finishing most of them. I’ve become so use to turning to these cheats, that I’ve silenced the stories I already have inside.
So…I’ve been trying to use less prompts! A couple weeks ago, I was at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles for my sister’s graduation. While I was waiting in the lobby, the decorations were so beautiful and the artwork on the ceiling and fountain made me feel inspired. I took pictures of my favorite parts of the lobby and knew I had an idea brewing. A few days later, I sat down and wanted to write something new. I remembered the pictures of the 92 year old hotel I took and began writing a short story about a character who had to stay there. I finished writing it in a couple hours and actually, I’m pretty excited about it. And guess what? I didn’t use a generator or anything! Something about the hotel touched me and I had to write about it. I’ve found that to search within yourself for a story is exciting! It could be a memorable event from your past, a piece of a conversation you heard that has stuck with you or an experience or person that has touched your life.
I think that writing prompts have their place in a writer’s life, but we shouldn’t rely on them too much. Instead, we need to look at ourselves. Prompts are an easy way to get an idea and they are certainly easier than searching within yourself for a story. But I really believe that to be great writers, we should listen to the stories that we already have inside of us. Whether you are a poet, novelist, short story writer or some other creative being, I think it’s so important to write what’s in your heart; what has touched you the most. Those ideas will make the best pieces of writing. So learn a lesson from me…don’t always resort to quick ways of inspiration, look inside yourself first.
Where do you get your writing inspiration? Have you ever tried one of those prompt generators?
Something I love doing is going to the beach. I haven’t gone in about two years, so a few days ago I decided to pack up my things and go. Every time I do, I have a fantasy of laying on the sand, with the ocean breeze blowing in my hair, the sun lightly kissing my skin, enjoying the hypnotic sound of the waves hitting the shore….
I would have my notebook, a few pencils (in case one of many of them happen to break in some freak accident) a few pens and my imagination. Then I’d take a sip of lemonade, take a look at the beautiful ocean and begin to immerse myself in my story world.
But the reality is whenever I write at the beach, something always distracts me. That horrid sound a seagull makes when it wants your bag of chips, the loud group of high schoolers next to you who decided they would bring their schools entire football team to the beach or simply the great atmosphere is enough to be distracting.
This time when I went, I was able to read a chapter of a writing book I recently purchased but that was all I was able to do. This time it wasn’t a seagull or a loud group of people. It was the ocean itself. I ended up leaving my stuff on the shore to go and play in the water. Feeling the cool water on my skin felt wonderful and seeing the sparkling waves all around me was so relaxing. I ended up leaving the beach with a head full of sand, a face full of salt and an empty notebook. It wasn’t at all what I had planned when I decided to go to the beach to write but it was still a lot of fun.
In the meantime, the place where I feel the most comfortable and creative is in my room at my writing desk. Maybe sometime in the future I’ll be able to live out my beach writing fantasy 🙂
Is there a special place you would like to escape to write?
Do you like your writing time to be in a quiet place or do you mind a little chaos?
Five. That number might not mean anything to you, but to me it represents so much. What exactly it represents has changed for me many times. First that number represents the number of times that my work has been rejected. Which means, it is the number of times I failed. The stories I worked so hard on and spent so much time crafting and laboring over… I did all of that just to receive emails that looked like this:
“Thank you for sending your story “Enter Title Here” and we thank you for your interest in our literary magazine… Due to the large number of submissions… we read through many and we are sorry to say that we are not able to use yours at this time….We wish you luck in all your writing projects.”
Of course they are much more professional than that. That was just off the top of my head!
Recently, I sent a manuscript to a litmag I really like and when I got my rejection email….that’s right, you guessed it. I cried. Who cares if i’m an adult…it really hurt me! I knew before I sent my work out that I was going to get rejected many, MANY times. But I didn’t realize it would feel so crappy. I thought I knew what I was signing up for when I decided I wanted to become a writer, but until it actually happens, you can never really be prepared for the sting that comes with getting your work rejected. Rejection. The word looks ugly and it tastes bitter. But its something all of us writers and artists will have to learn to deal with at some point.
I stopped sending my work out to litmags. Its only temporary until I can freshen up my work and let my wounds heal. Part of that healing process is not being hard on myself. From now on, every time my work gets rejected, I write the number down where I can see it.
Five isn’t the number of times I failed. It is simply the number of times that I tried. I wanted something and I went for it! It also represents the number of times I allowed myself to share my work with someone else. Which is something that is hard because my writing is very personal to me. And even though an editor hasn’t published my work yet, that doesn’t mean that my work sucks or that my ideas are bad. (Well, maybe that’s what it means 😉 It also means I have another chance to try again. And I will continue to try until I get to where I want to be. Getting published is something that I really desire, so my only option is to continue doing what I love.
I recently read something about getting rejected. When it happens, immediately send that manuscript to another magazine. I thought that was so great and empowering! What a way to take control of your writing career! Just because a few say “no”, doesn’t mean that’s the end. There are plenty of other publishers out there and you just have to find the right one for your story. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway!
For those of you who have not submitted your writing yet, what’s stopping you? When do you think you’ll be ready to take that step?
Hello everyone! I wanted to share with you another website that has been a blessing in my writing life. I’m sure many of you have already heard of it but I’m going to share anyway! It’s called Writers Digest and I find myself on that website every week it seems! They have great books on writing as well as tutorials, writing tips, webinars and contests.
Last year I entered a short story contest (didn’t win) but it was still fun to try. This summer, Writers Digest is having their 84th annual writing competition. So if you have a piece that you feel is ready to be submitted, I invite you to do so!
Here’s a breakdown of the prizes…
1 grand prize winner will receive:
- $5,000 cash
- An announcement on the cover of Writer’s Digest
- An interview with the author in Writers Digest
- One on one attention from four editors or agents
- A paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York
- A 30 minute platform strategy consultation
- And a 1 year subscription to Writers Digest tutorials
In addition to the grand prize winner, there are spots for 10 winner’s total. 1st through 10th place winners will receive: $1,000-$100 cash, gift cards and discounts to the Writer’s Digest shop.
Here are the categories that will be allowed:
- Inspirational Writing (Spiritual/Religious)
- Memoirs/Personal Essay
- Magazine Feature Article
- Genre Short Story (Mystery, Romance, etc.)
- Mainstream/Literary Short Story
- Rhyming Poetry
- Non-rhyming Poetry
- Stage Play
- Television/Movie Script
- Children’s/Young Adult Fiction
The early bird deadline is May 4th
$15 for poetry entries and $25 for manuscript entries
The regular deadline is June 5th
$20 for poetry entries and $30 for manuscript entries
To see a list of rules and how to enter please visit this link:
Hello out there! Yesterday I was in need of encouragement with my writing and then the Lord let me stumble upon an article that immediately made me feel better. It listed 23 tips from famous writers to inspire emerging ones. Here, I’ve picked out my three favorites and if you like, see the link below to read the other 20 great tips.
Joyce Carol Oates
“Be daring, take on anything. Don’t labor over little cameo works in which every word is to be perfect. Technique holds a reader from sentence to sentence, but only content will stay in his mind.”
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”
“On writing, my advice is the same to all. If you want to be a writer, write. Write and write and write. If you stop, start again. Save everything that you write. If you feel blocked, write through it until you feel your creative juices flowing again. Write. Writing is what makes a writer, nothing more and nothing less. — Ignore critics. Critics are a dime a dozen. Anybody can be a critic. Writers are priceless. —- Go where the pleasure is in your writing. Go where the pain is. Write the book you would like to read. Write the book you have been trying to find but have not found. But write. And remember, there are no rules for our profession. Ignore rules. Ignore what I say here if it doesn’t help you. Do it your own way. — Every writer knows fear and discouragement. Just write. — The world is crying for new writing. It is crying for fresh and original voices and new characters and new stories. If you won’t write the classics of tomorrow, well, we will not have any. Good luck.”
To check out the rest, head over to this site: http://www.aerogrammestudio.com/2013/07/19/23-tips-from-famous-writers-for-new-and-emerging-authors/
Hello everyone, I’m Tori! I created this little blog because I’m an emerging writer who hopes to become published someday. I’m in the beginning of my writing journey and thought I’d share it with anyone who is interested, as well as meet other new and experienced writers. I have fallen in love with the writing world, but so often I find myself lost and overwhelmed. This year it is my goal to learn as much as possible about both the business of writing and the craft of writing. I promise to share posts about:
- Publishing trends
- Writing craft
- Great books/websites for writers,
- Little inspirations to encourage,
- Writing contests,
- Places to submit your writing,
- Platform creation
…the list goes on and on. (No wonder I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed!)…anyway, happy writing! -Toria