I Don’t Feel Like Writing, Yet Here I Am.

Here we are again.

I don’t feel like writing.

I have been awake since 4:30 AM and it is now 9 PM. I did not choose to wake up this early, in fact I very much would have liked to not have gotten out of bed at all. It doesn’t help that today turned into one of those “everything that could have gone wrong will go wrong” days. Oh, and it’s also Monday.

I’m tired. I’m upset for reasons not relevant to this blog post. I’m anxious, I’m frustrated, and honestly, I’m cold and my big fluffy loaf of a dog WON’T CUDDLE WITH ME.

The last thing I want to be doing right now is sitting upright in an uncomfortable chair in front of a bright computer screen typing words that have to make sense just in case someone happens to someday stumble upon and attempt to read them.

But there is more than one reason I am sitting here, upright in an uncomfortable chair in front of a bright computer screen typing words I hope you will someday read.

Mostly I just love being able to share what I am feeling and thinking about as a writer, always with the goal of helping you solve a problem or acknowledge you are in need of a solution to an issue. Even on days I don’t want to share what my “real” writing life is like, that’s the whole reason I started this blog in the first place. To leave out the lows and the worsts just wouldn’t be helpful or fair.

So here I am, telling you that I do not feel like writing.

And yet here I am, somehow, still, writing.

Continue reading “I Don’t Feel Like Writing, Yet Here I Am.”

What to Do When You’re a Frustrated, FedUp Writer With Big Feelings

The only way out is by screaming as you write each word.

1. Ask yourself: “Am I really too frustrated/fed up/angry/annoyed to write this thing due tomorrow?”

2. If the answer is “yes,” don’t just let it all build up inside.

3. You’ve probably been told this a million times, but seriously, creative people have these brains for a reason. Convert your emotional energy into creative energy.

4. How? By sitting down and starting to create something, of course!

Continue reading “What to Do When You’re a Frustrated, FedUp Writer With Big Feelings”

Writers: Know the Difference Between Prioritizing and Procrastinating

Knowing the difference can … make all the difference?

It’s 10:33 p.m. You should have finished your work for the day three hours ago (ah, the freelancing while also jugging a full-time job because ADULTING life). But instead of finishing your work early and spending the rest of the evening looking up hilarious GIFs about writing, you spent an hour looking up hilarious GIFS about writing instead of finishing your work first.

You silly, silly human.

This, in case you didn’t already know (or didn’t want to admit just how well you know … you know, from personal experience), is called procrastination. And it’s a pretty awful thing when we’re not doing it intentionally.

Procrastination, however, is not the same thing as prioritizing. If it’s 10:33 p.m. and you still have one more blog post to finish, but it’s because you have been spending the past few hours working on editing something for a client who asked oh so very nicely for a quick turnaround, you did not procrastinate on the blog post. Before, the blog post simply was not your main priority.

Continue reading “Writers: Know the Difference Between Prioritizing and Procrastinating”

12 Things Writers Should Never Do, Never, Ever, No Matter What

NEVER.

1. Write all day every day for the sake of writing all day every day.

2. Quit a job to make more time for writing.

3. Quit a beloved hobby to make more time for writing.

4. Give up rest time to make more time for writing.

Continue reading “12 Things Writers Should Never Do, Never, Ever, No Matter What”

How to Make Your Words More Memorable

How will people remember your words?

I don’t know what to write about tonight.

This happens sometimes. Usually I have no problem sitting down and cranking out a post on schedule to make sure I don’t fall behind. And to make sure you always have something writing related to read about, as if there aren’t already dozens of blogs about writing already out there, most of them probably more insightful than mine.

Trying to make your voice heard as a writer, especially online, is hard. This isn’t a revolutionary statement. Everyone has something to say about every topic. Everyone has an opinion they feel the need to share — and one they have every right to share, mind you.

What makes you different? What makes ME different?

A better question in moments like these might be: What is it about the way you say things that will make people remember it well enough so that they can’t forget you no matter how hard they might try? Continue reading “How to Make Your Words More Memorable”

This Is Not Going to Go the Way You Think

And guess what? You still have to write.

I had plans. Big plans. Solid, definite, “nothing can stop me from doing this the way I want” plans.

And then, as it so often happens with things we are the most excited about, everything came crashing down around me. Suddenly my plans were in pieces and I did not know how to handle it.

Sure, this was nothing all that serious — I planned on spending an entire morning writing and for reasons completely out of my control, zero words were written that morning.

But it was frustrating. I only have so much time in a day to do the things, and when I can’t do the things when I promised myself I would do the things — ESPECIALLY if I happened to be highly motivated to do the things in that moment — everything goes off the rails.

Or, at least, it used to.

Slowly, I am learning how to keep my sights on my goals and continue moving forward even when things don’t go the way I planned them out in my head.

Here’s what you need to know in order to begin to do the same.

Continue reading “This Is Not Going to Go the Way You Think”

Write Now, Fill In the Blanks Later

If you have to wonder if you should worry about it, you probably shouldn’t worry about it.

I’m currently 30,000 words into a story that has an embarrassing amount of “plot holes.”

Technically you can’t call something in a story a plot hole if you haven’t even finished writing the story yet. But the point is, there are missing pieces. Broken connections. Things about my characters and their backstories I don’t quite understand yet.

Yet, despite all the uncertainty I face each time I sit down to work on this story — is it a stand-alone book? Part of a series? Is it even a book at all? I don’t even know! — I just keep writing anyway.

Because here’s the truth most aspiring writers don’t want to hear: The only way to figure out how to make a story work is by writing a complete story. Even if it turns out a total mess.

Here’s why.

Continue reading “Write Now, Fill In the Blanks Later”

Writers: Your Day Job Doesn’t Have to Rule Your Life

This is a tough lesson to learn, but a worthwhile one.

You might think it does. But it doesn’t.

Growing up, the vast majority of us were probably told that getting an education, finding a stable, well-paying job, and starting a family were the most important things we could do for ourselves.

It’s not that these things don’t or can’t have value. The problem is that some people — such as creative people who would rather tell stories on paper than climb the corporate ladder or whatever — don’t always end up with a stable job they stick with for years on end.

When a full-time job becomes a “day job” — something you do while the sun is up so you can afford to eat and stay warm in the winter and buy more books, you know, all the priorities — there comes a point when you have to decide how much of your energy you can dedicate to that job and how much you have to reserve for your side projects.

You might genuinely care about your day job and want to do good work. There is no rule that says you can’t excel as an employee and work toward building a successful writing career when you clock out and go home.

But sometimes, our employers demand a lot from us. And while your day job may be extremely important — especially when it comes to the financial aspect of the 40+ hour work week.

When the pressures of having a day job while also being a working aspiring writer start to get you down, you know what you gotta do? Here are a few things that have worked for me. Hopefully they will help you, too. Continue reading “Writers: Your Day Job Doesn’t Have to Rule Your Life”

A Writer Never Stops Playing Pretend

Don’t ever stop pretending.

Children are not ashamed of playing make-believe. If it weren’t for those telling them it’s not socially acceptable to shamelessly promote their imaginations, they might never stop.

Maybe in some ways, we still never really do.

Writers make up stories. This is obvious — every story you have ever told has had some element of fiction added to it even if it was unnoticeably small. It is the job of a writer to pretend.

So the problem many adults have who dive into writing for the first time — or the first time in a long time, depending — is that they often have to re-train themselves to become comfortable with playing pretend.

For a long time, I was afraid to take my stories to their highest potential because I didn’t want them to be “too big.” Through no real fault of anyone in particular, I grew up being told to tone down my ideas, my excitement, my curiosity. “That will never happen” is a phrase I heard so often I just learned to believe it.

But the more I got into writing stories — it seemed to be the only thing I was ever good at, and became the only career path anyone ever encouraged me to pursue — the more I realized that if I wanted to be the best writer I could be, I needed to trust my imagination and set my big ideas free.

This started off small, of course. But that, it turns out, is how we grow.

Continue reading “A Writer Never Stops Playing Pretend”

I Accidentally Created An Alter Ego to Help Me Stay Positive About My Writing Struggles

Readers, meet Greg.

I can pretty much guarantee that exactly one person on this planet remembers my evil twin Greg, and that one person is — yep, you guessed it — me.

Back in 2009, I pretty much used this blog to not only talk about my writing life and provide some form of public accountability for myself, but also to — and I’m being completely open and honest here — completely mess around and find my “voice” as an aspiring writer.

This involved plenty of weird things, which you can still technically find here if you go all the way back to the beginning of this blog in the archives. (I’m not sure if you actually can, but I can, and these posts are still very much public, and I am very much not ashamed of them.)

One of the very strange — but surprisingly extremely effective — products of this time in my blogging history was the creation of Greg.

Continue reading “I Accidentally Created An Alter Ego to Help Me Stay Positive About My Writing Struggles”