Tips and Tricks, WordSmith Musings, writing

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Tips and Tricks, writing

Quick Tip #11

Writing a villain?

Within the first meeting, include these three things to make them terrifying but utterly compelling to readers.

  1. A dangerous or “evil” conviction they hold and why
  2. Something they have lost as a result
  3. Something/someone they love (not obsessed, that’s different) or care about deeply (people are generally best but it still works with objects)

 

Tips and Tricks, writing

5 Tips for Making and Maintaining a Writing Schedule

Writing isn’t easy. I think most writers will agree with me. Some days, words seem to fly from your fingers and other times, you stare at the screen blankly. I get it. One of the best ways to combat that is to have some sort of writing schedule. Now, this should be extremely customizable to your lifestyle and schedule, but it needs to exist. Or else, you may find next week that you haven’t looked at your writing once in the past seven days.

Here are my five tips for making and then maintaining your schedule.

 

1. Put it on the calendar

This one may seem simple, but it can have a great impact. Sit down with your planner, google calendar, phone, whatever it is and find the times where you have free time. Whether it is for a half hour or three hours, put it in as an event. By making it something physically scheduled, you’ll be less likely to forget or ignore it.

 2. Tell others about it

One of the leading causes of distraction can be other people. And it may just be that they don’t realize what is going on. Make sure the people around you know what you’re doing and that it’s important to you. If they know that from 9-10 am, you’re writing, they won’t bother you (hopefully). But if you don’t tell them, they won’t know! Plus, it’ll create some great accountability on top of being distraction-free.

3. Be realistic

If you haven’t written in a long time, planning to write for five hours straight is probably not feasible. Know your limits. Schedule an hour or two and gauge from that. If you set your goals unrealistically in the beginning, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment which can lead to completely forgoing any schedule. Instead, set your goals conservatively and then you can expand from there as you see your capacity.

4. Outline your time

There should always be flexibility in your writing schedule, but it can be extremely helpful to have a general outline of what you want to do. Every week, I try to write a to-do list of things I want to accomplish. “Write four chapters of The Lightbringer”, “write a short story about Asena“, “journal twice”, “write a story from a prompt“. Things like that can help me have focus and allow me to check things off, which can be extremely motivational!

5. Don’t edit

This can be one of the most detrimental things to a writing schedule. If you are not to the editing stage (completely finished your first draft), editing simply is a rabbit trail that you can get lost down. You’ll spend hours fixing this one thing, that leads to the next and suddenly its been a month since you’ve written anything. Finish writing your first draft before you edit. Editing will be necessary then, but if you don’t have the bones to work with, you’re just rearranging things and not writing! Often times, editing prematurely can end with a half finished book that never sees the light of day or a final chapter.

 

I hope these helped. If you have any ideas, please share them in the comments below. If you’re looking for more Tips and Tricks, check out some of my other articles!

Tips and Tricks, WordSmith Musings, writing

5 Tips for Writing About Covid-19

It seems like everywhere I turn this past week, someone is writing about Covid-19. And I get it, there’s a lot to figure out and understand in this unprecedented time. People’s lives are being changed, whether they now have children at home for the next few weeks or they are working remote or their college classes are suddenly online or they are in quarantine or worse, they’re sick. It is a lot of change and everyone is trying to figure out and write about what comes next.

As bloggers and writers, we have a few things we should keep in mind. Below are my five steps to writing about Covid-19.

1. Fact Check

One of the most important things to do right now is fact-check your posts. If you are writing about statistics, accounts, cases, reactions, or ways to prevent, make sure you are using reliable sources. Right now is not the time to be using questionable resources to try and drive followers. (There is never a good time, let’s be real) Your followers will be implementing the ideas you write about, or telling these stories to friends, relatives, and acquaintances. You want them to be spreading true and helpful information, not something that could get someone sick or worse. Bonus points for linking all of your sources!

2. Keep your audience in mind

This is not the time to be dumping loads of information on your readers that is not relevant to their lives. Trust me, they are being overloaded right now. Make sure your articles are targeted specifically to your niche and audience. If you write about parenting, talk about things parents can do with their kids during this three week break. If you write about food, talk about meals that can be made with your regular staple ingredients. If you write about travel, talk about what travel looks like right now. Stay in your niche, as tempting as it is to post about anything and everything.

3. Share your story

Don’t be afraid to tell people that this is affecting you as well. People want authenticity and ideas. In blogging, it tends to be helpful if your audience relates to you, but especially now. Covid-19 is affecting you somehow. Don’t whine, but be factual. It can be a single post or it can be small tidbits to sprinkle in a bunch of posts, whatever feels natural.

4. Don’t try to break news

A blog or website is not the place for breaking news updates. People are receiving this through news sources and the posts will time out. There is little re-read value for these type of posts so you will see little traffic on them after the first few hours. Instead, write articles for your readers about what they can do in regards to the news being brought. If you’ve just been informed that K-12 schools are closing, talk about what parents can do. Don’t try to be the one to inform people that schools are closing.

5. Don’t make every article about Covid-19

Yes, Covid-19 is impacting many areas of life, but if the only thing your blog is talking about is Covid-19, people may stop listening. We are being inundated with information right now and that can be overwhelming. Try instead to have it be a single piece or something mentioned within your articles, rather than a focal point of your stories.

 

I hope these tips help as you write and continue to think about writing about Covid-19. If you have any other tips or thoughts, please share below in the comments!

Tips and Tricks, writing

Quick Tip #9

If you need to re-read your story to remember exactly what has happened, don’t re-read more than three to five pages. Instead, try to write descriptive headings for your chapters or section breaks (you can make them clever later). Read the headings and don’t get sucked into your own story or the desire to edit what you’ve already done. Just keep plugging on.

Check out more Tips and Tricks for your story!

Tips and Tricks, writing

Quick Tip # 5

Don’t just tell us what eye color they had. That won’t give us very much insight into the character.

Instead tell us if their eyes are shifty, soft, wrinkled, deep, watery, bloodshot, or other descriptors.

This will let us know more about them as a character and leads you into an easy way to either forecast action or explain personality.

Tips and Tricks, writing

Quick Tip #4

If you get stuck in your story, ask yourself three questions.

1) “What does my character want?”

2) “How can I make that difficult to achieve?”

3) ”What are the consequences if they don’t get it?”

Proceed to make each answer more intense than the last time you asked and go from there.