Setting Writing Goals, Writer Thoughts, Writing Tips

Deleting Words

The last couple of weeks I have been setting up a new laptop much to the cat’s amusement. It’s a cheap, easy to use replacement for the old secondhand one. That gave a warning before it was about to die. It didn’t take long for the cat to work out that the keyboard is low and comfortable to walk on. The cat’s favourite button is the ‘backspace’. It cannot understand why I have an issue with that. Needless to say it knows I have a habit of deleting the last two words I wrote.

Habits

Two words, and the writing session kicks in. Not what I was expecting to find, apparently I need an unfinished sentence… Hmm, I will have to think about that. Well what do you know, it works. Everyone has their own quirks and it’s taken a while to find mine. There are so many times when the process has had to stop and start. It makes finding the little nuances critical. It’s like finding that all important first step that leads to another, then another.

Keeping Track

There is nothing quite like keeping track and stickers are not for me. I have a highlighter pen, a calender, and jot down how many words I wrote. Gaps are part of the schedule, but it’s easier to acknowledge them than try and do too much. The cat has claimed half my desk and insists on glaring at me. While purring at the same time when I type away on the keyboard. The look says ‘you should be writing’. I continue because I really don’t want any more words deleted. Thank you cat for being so supportive and taking an interest in my keyboard.

Writer Thoughts, Writing Tips

Know Your Genre

Imagine you are making a mad dash because you are running late. You see an old friend who has heard you wrote a novel and wants to know more. You don’t have long and blurt out. ‘It’s a young adult fantasy series with dragons, wizards, and sorcery.’ Then wave goodbye. This is exactly how I describe my book to people when I am unsure if they like the genre. Guess what? Your first goal as a writer is to find out who is not your audience. When you know your genre you can whittle it down to the key bits of information. It is a starting point, like a secret code that is easily understood by your real audience. Key words in a genre can mean so much. It can help find your audience in a short space of time by relying on familiarity.

What Does a Genre Achieve?

So you have spent ages writing and are unsure about the genre of your story. The real issue with this is that you, the writer are your story’s biggest advocate. If you are unsure this can magnify the confusion many times over. A genre helps find an audience by using themes and styles that already exist. Every story may be a little different. The key is finding the familiar threads so you can explain it in a clear manner. It acts as a guide to let your audience know what to expect. More importantly it lets them know what not to expect.

Each Genre has a Style

I was wandering through a shop and saw a book with a cover that said ‘fantasy’. I checked the blurb to make sure and it suggested fantasy. You can imagine what happened next… It was paranormal romance. My point is, you don’t have to get the exact details right just the basics. When you choose a genre your choice is there to help your audience find your story. Your tagline, blurb and book cover all become an important message to your reader. Knowing your genre can add an extra layer of information to help your audience.

Writing Tips

When Doubt Creeps In

self-doubtSome days are like diving backwards through the darkness into a black pool. Creating a space where shadows creep in feeding self-doubt in the mind.  Writing can be a swinging pendulum where ups and downs cycle endlessly. Such is the complexity of holding onto a story for so long. Yet from the darkness the seeds of self-doubt can spark the greatest ideas. It is a paradox shifting with every moment. Somewhere between this the writer stands balancing hope and lingering doubt.

One Step Forward

The biggest tasks are accomplished one step at a time. Yet at the start it can be overwhelming. Time can make the end seem so far away. It can be disappointing when expectations are not met. One small setback can soon add up especially when dealing with a novel. It takes me close to a year to write a first draft. This gets broken down into little sizable chunks. Yet the big picture requires regular work to move forward. This is a challenge that can be daunting in the beginning.

Plan for the Down Time

It isn’t easy keeping the same pace or recognising patterns. There are times of the year when writing is not going to happen. Every year at the same time I wind down to a slow pace and switch to reading. Try as I might it happens, and it has been a struggle to let go of expectations. Instead the focus switches to other tasks. Keeping a ‘to do’ list has helped ease the sense of guilt.

Recognise Your Writing Pattern

There will always be occasions when life sneaks up on you. It is easy to get frustrated, but there may be a reason for needing to pause and take a break. Scheduling the down time allows me to focus on other tasks. That way the feeling of guilt over lost writing has not been as overwhelming. Writing is an enormous task. Don’t forget to give yourself permission to pause and recharge.

 

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