Tag Archives: Writing Advice

Avoiding the “Suck Dragon” while writing

start writing no matter what

I’d thought a great deal about what works for me as a writer while I was planning out my writing room. I wanted a place where my creativity could soar, where I could focus on my writing without being distracted, and that was organized in such a way that everything I needed was right at my fingertips.

I’ve written in diner’s, coffee shops, work, the living room, the dining room, in a cubby in the corner of my bedroom, in a vehicle while traveling, in my very own room meant for writing/studying/etc (for the brief period of time I lived alone and my second bedroom was my study–then my daughter moved back in with me, then she moved out again, and then I moved in with my now husband and I once again had my own space but then my son moved in with us…)…And I’ve even written while in the bathroom, or in line at the grocery store on a notepad, or on napkins at a restaurant. It’s not that I can’t write in my own space. It’s that I feel much more focused and creative when I have my own space, and that space is organized.

When I first began planning what I’d do with the room after my son moved out I thought I’d paint the walls a pretty shade of purple and paint my bookcases white, maybe paint my desk a darker shade of purple, but my (step) daughter’s favorite color is also purple and I didn’t want both bedrooms painted purple, especially since our comforter and drapes are lavender and we plan on painting the walls of our bedroom a silvery grey with a touch of lavender in it–that would have meant all three bedrooms of our home would be a purple hue. Way too much purple for my husband who prefers dark blue, taupe, eggshell, or GOD FORBID white walls.

When I asked him about painting the walls, after we first moved in, he wasn’t that enthusiastic. He dislikes painting. I love painting. I love color. My first step was the next to the smallest room in the house–the main bathroom. I have a shower curtain with ducks on it. I bought it when I left the ex of ten years and got my own place. I wanted something fun. Something playful. I added a few rubber duckies, two pictures with ducks, painted the walls yellow, added yellow rugs, (our floor in the bathroom is red), and Wa La, a fun cheerful bathroom. I even painted the brown cabinets white. He was amazed by how much better it looked, and agreed that we could redo each room, but we’d go one room at a time. Things happened, and we weren’t able to afford to start another room. Then my son moved out 2 weeks ago when he left to go to boot-camp for the Army.

Now that my writing space is almost finished, I need to seal the top of my desk with a clear coat so that it won’t get scratched, paint the top of my husband’s desk dark grey, and move my desk in here and arrange the closet so that my son’s large FS TV will fit in there and be out of the way (and safe from my 18 mth old grandson’s curious little hands), I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to avoid some of the suck dragon’s that have been plaguing my writing.

Having your creativity sucked right out of you, writer’s block, lack of focus, ADD or ADHD aside—well, it leaves you feeling like crap. Like maybe you’re not really a writer, or at least not a good one. Or maybe you don’t really have what it takes. Or maybe you just need to do this, or get this, or maybe what you need is your own writing space… LOL! Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. That little voice in your head says, it’s not where you write that matters…It’s not what you write on…It’s not what you write with…But for some of us, we need that space of our own. I squelched that little voice in my head the moment I set my computer up on my husband’s desk (to use until I could get mine in here) and began writing. I felt the creative juices overflowing. Ideas where running rampant in my head.

I am one of those people who needs inspiration, motivation, focus, calm, organization, and freedom to write. Stuck in the corner of my bedroom in that little cubby my husband had so thoughtfully arranged was great for NaNo, but it wasn’t working long-term, nor was having my writing space in the dining room where there were so many distractions. Now the little voice in my head often says, “Stop hunching over your keyboard and sit back and relax a little. Oh, and take those cups to the sing too!” I’m working on a whole new novel. I put NaNo’s novel away for now. Maybe I’ll go back to it later. I’m on chapter 3 of my new novel and it’s headed in the direction I want, at least so far. I’m working on some of the minor characters, and working on my dialogue (I have to remind myself to show and not tell). It’s all a work in progress though. I don’t expect any of my novels to be best sellers, I’ll just be happy when it’s finished, completely, and in print and publishable. Maybe I’ll self publish and no one but my husband, my family, and friends will ever read it, or maybe I’ll find an agent and a publisher. That doesn’t really matter to me. I’ve found my way and I’m happy just writing.


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NaNoWriMo Survival Guide

If you haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo then check out the website, but in essence for over a decade now November has been the NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth. People from all over participate. All you have to do to win is write 50,000 words in a month. And here are some tips for how to win.


Note: These tips are not in any specific order….

  • Pick a genre. A working title. Write a synopsis (basically a sentence that sums up what your novel is going to be about).
  • If you’re a plotter then write at least a basic outline. Note: If you’re a pantser and you’re like me, you might want to at least write down a few key ideas about where you want your story to go, what’s going on with the character, and at least a few details that are important to the story. Or you can just wing it completely (but I tried that and I got stuck at the midpoint and was floundering around like a fish on land).
  • Find a place you can write. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a corner, in your very own writing room, at Starbuck’s, at the library, on your bed, or outside. Just somewhere that is your very own writing niche.
  • You’re going to at least need a pen or pencil and some paper. If you’re writing old school style then you’re good, but if you’re like me and you’re going to need a laptop, a desktop, or at least a typewriter or word processor (hey, there are writer’s who still write using a typewriter).  Note: if you have a Mac or Windows, I suggest you use Scrivener. It’s awesome and amazing, and perfect for writing whether you’re writing a thesis, a blog, a book, a script, etc. And they have a special for NaNoWriMo (a discount) and there’s a free trial version just for NaNoWriMo. Check them out.
  • Get yourself some rewards for short term goals and long term goals. For example, if you make your word count goal for the day allow yourself a piece of chocolate…If you WIN NaNoWriMo reward yourself with something you’ve been wanting (for me it was purchasing Scrivener, for another writer I know it was buying a new book). Each Friday if I’ve made my word count goal for the week I’ll be getting myself a White Chocolate Mocha venti from Starbucks with whipped cream. Haven’t decided on the big goal yet.
  • You’ll also want to stock up on coffee, or whatever other type of drink(s) you like. I’ll be getting extra coffee, half & half, and Splenda, as well as chocolate, water bottles, Dr. Pepper, popcorn, Twizzler’s, baby carrots, and a few other goodies.
  • You’ll also want to make sure that you get up from that chair, move around. Go outside and check the mail. Take a walk. You need to keep your blood flowing, it’s better for the brain and for you circulation.
  • Make sure you get plenty of rest. It seems like a good idea to pull all nighters when you’re on a roll, but you need your sleep. Besides, I often dream about my characters and that helps with ideas.
  • Write every day! If you write 1667 words a day you’ll make the 50K goal in 30 days, but please remember that Thanksgiving Day is in November and if you want to take a break on that day you’ll need write a little extra on some days.
  • Put your inner editor away. Do NOT edit during November. You can edit once NaNoWriMo is over.
  • Many people use the sprints and it works well for them. I don’t like them, but a lot of people do. There are word sprints on twitter, check them out.
  • Do your research before November. Don’t spend time during November doing research.
  • Save your novel in multiple ways, in multiple versions. I save mine as an attachment in my email, on a thumb drive, and on my hard-drive. You’ll be happy you saved it if something happens to your computer, and believe me you hear about it happening to at least a few people each NaNo.
  • Remember that pen and notebook…Well once you’ve completed your 1667 word count for the day go places, get out, have fun. Listen to conversations between strangers, people watch…Have FUN and take notes.
  • If you have a certain pair of pants, a favorite t-shirt or sweat shirt, hat, bedroom shoes, etc… Then wear it.
  • Tell your family and friends that you’re doing NaNoWriMo. 1. It makes you accountable, 2. Hopefully they’ll support you (I know husband did while I was working on my novel during April’s Camp NaNo.

Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Scrivener, Writing


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Writing: What, Where, How, When, and Why

I spent most of my life “wishing” I could write a book. When my husband said, “Do it.” I thought, “Why not?” I decided I’d participate in April’s Camp NaNoWriMo, and I won. YAY ME!!! Then I tried July’s but lost because family stuff intruded (my grandson’s first birthday, my birthday, and I got so into my book that the dead line came and went and I didn’t even notice even though I had made my goal, so I won but didn’t win, if you know what I mean?).

3 simple rules in life

Over the past six months I’ve read articles, books, ebooks, blogs…about writing, advice on writing, and I even bought Scrivener, which is the next best thing since coffee was invented. Though I really wish they’d put all the stuff in the Windows version that they have in the Mac version (I’d really love to have the icons). I’m actually outlining my novel for November’s NaNoWriMo and excited about it. I’m using a template that I found thanks to the Belinda Crawford’s post about how to open a Scrivener template (all of them aren’t accessible for some reason, no matter which way I tried) and Carolina Norrington’s Outline template.  Needless to say, I’m a BIG FAN of SCRIVENER!!!!

Snoopy There he is writing again

One of the first suggestions in most of the articles and books I’ve read was that you need a comfortable place to write. Your own little writing niche/corner/room (if you’re lucky)… for some of us it’s in a corner somewhere sitting at our desk, or on our bed with our laptop, or in our very own writing room (Come December 30th I’ll have our spare bedroom back because my son will be off to bootcamp for the Army and I’ll be moving my desk, computer, bookcases, etc out of various rooms in the house and into my own writing space. I’m going to paint the walls first, and buy myself a much needed new bookcase (you can never have enough bookcases).

Writing is magic stephen king

Stephen King stated in his book On Writing, that he writes every day. Writer’s write. It’s that simple.


Another thing writer’s should do, especially new writers, aspiring writers…We should market ourselves, brand ourselves, which means twitter, FB, blogs, etc. So I got a blog, a FB page, and now a twitter account (only I am not sure of what hash tags really are, such a newbie at this it makes me literally laugh-out-loud.) I’m guessing I’ll need to link my blog to twitter soon (somehow or other). I’ll google that soon enough.

stephen king quote

Now, WHAT do I use to write with? A desktop computer. A PC. An HP to be exact. Or I use a good old fashioned notebook, usually one of those black and white composition notebooks, although I do have a fancy journal, and a black gel pen. Once I’m to the editing stage I have a red pen for corrections, a blue pen for notations, and various colored highlighters. And SCRIVENER.


WHERE do I write? At my desk that sits in the corner of my bedroom, for now. LIke I said, after December 30th I’ll have my own study/writing room. YAY!  Or I write outside with my pen and notebook, or on the couch while my husband watches football, or whenever I’m somewhere other than home.


HOW do I write? One word at a time. (Insert smile here.) I use Scrivener. I also am more of a pantser than an outliner, but I’m working really hard on trying to change that. Right now I’m what I like to think of as a plotster…A hybrid of sorts.

I'm out of bed and I made it to the keyboard

WHEN do I write? Usually during the day or late at night, which means when I’m alone, or when my husband is asleep.

snoopy inspiration

WHY do I write? Silly question, but it’s one of those things that people ask. I love writing, my soul beckons me to write, the voices telling me to write will not quiet…the summons to write stirs within my being and has to be answered. BECAUSE I HAVE TO, BECAUSE I NEED TO, BECAUSE I WANT TO.

I write because there is a voice

Now I’m off to write some more of my outline for November’s NaNoWriMo, and  then try to finish chapter 1 of the book I’m currently working on, I put the other book aside for now because I was stuck. The main character decided she had different plans and wanted to be in a completely different novel with a completely different name.


Posted by on October 2, 2013 in Outlining, Scrivener, Uncategorized, Writing


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