Saturday, 25 April 2015

Unique perspectives #AtoZChallenge

This post is part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015. If this is something new to you, check out the website here to find out all you need to know.

My topics this year are covering studying and/or writing advice and guidance, to maybe help you as you cope with everything else in life.

 

Unique perspectives

When you really think about it, there are only so many themes or basic story plots that can be used for storytelling. But the sheer magnitude of stories out there in the world, and in so many different formats, just shows how many twists and turns can be taken.

What you can offer to your own version of these stories is your own unique perspective, brought on by your own experiences and life story. No two stories are going to be exactly the same, so you've always got your own bespoke set of characteristics to draw upon.

The trick is to have belief in these experiences, and to have the confidence to give an old story a new perspective, to be looked at in a new and exciting way.

There's always the danger of falling into the trap of writing what you think other people want to read. If you do this too much then you'll probably end up writing something that's already been done, in the pursuit of what's already established and popular. 

You need to try and steer clear of this, and just go with your own instincts. Write what you enjoy, and what you want to see in a story. There are so many audiences out there, there's bound to be one for your particular stories.


Thursday, 23 April 2015

Take time to rest #AtoZChallenge

This post is part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015. If this is something new to you, check out the website here to find out all you need to know.

My topics this year are covering studying and/or writing advice and guidance, to maybe help you as you cope with everything else in life.

 


Take time to rest

I'm very aware that I should be taking my own advice from this post. I have felt so unbelievably tired over the last week or two, at times I've felt like I've been in the middle of some kind of out of body experience, or that I'm merely a passenger within my mind just watching as I go about my every day life. Let me tell you, it can feel like a very unsettling place when I'm like that.

Life can be hectic enough for most people, trying to juggle family life, work life, social life. And here I am trying to study and write as well, on top of all that. Trying to keep all of these balls in the air really is just asking for trouble.

There is nothing wrong with trying to have all of these things in my life, but I have to realise that some things will take precedence over others, and at times I have to let it all go a bit and just have a rest.

For the past few days I've been trying to take it easier, not worrying if I don't get around to something, and enjoying being able to just sit down and do nothing. I'm beginning to feel the benefits, but it's still going to be a slow process.

If you are going to try and juggle a lot in your life, please make sure that you take the time to rest as well. Your body will feel all the better for it, and so will whatever it is you're trying to achieve. 

 

Self doubts #AtoZChallenge

This post is part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015. If this is something new to you, check out the website here to find out all you need to know.

My topics this year are covering studying and/or writing advice and guidance, to maybe help you as you cope with everything else in life.


 

Self doubts

We are all familiar with our self doubts, they usually muscle their way in and push Captain Confidence out while they're at it. It can only take the tiniest seed, which can fester and grow, to get in the way and stop us from doing what we really want to be doing.

Distance learning and writing can both be very solitary pursuits, which is the perfect environment for these pesky doubts to make themselves at home. At such times there isn't always someone on hand to help you out of the quagmire that they create, and you have to rely on your own mettle to drag yourself out of them.

We all know that we can be the best that we can be, and there will always be obstacles in the way trying to keep us from that. But as long as we keep battling through the low times, we know we'll be stronger for it and appreciate the good times all the more.


Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Read as well as write #AtoZChallenge

This post is part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015. If this is something new to you, check out the website here to find out all you need to know.

My topics this year are covering studying and/or writing advice and guidance, to maybe help you as you cope with everything else in life.






Read as well as write


We all know it, but reading goes hand in hand with writing. The more you read, especially in the area of your own interest and what you like to write, the better it will make your writing.

I haven't been reading anywhere near as much as I'd like to, but I still try and fit some in where I can. I've read books that I love that give me ideas and inspiration of what I'd like to achieve with my own stories. I've also read books that I was less keen on, but they've given me motivation too that something I would consider to be sub-standard has been put out there anyway. It gives me hope that I could achieve something.

The same goes for studying. It's useful to read around the subject you're learning, if you have the time, and to thoroughly go through any material you are given as part of those studies.

In the past I used to worry that when I was reading it meant I was wasting valuable time that could be spent studying or writing. But now I realise this isn't the case at all, and by reading I'm enhancing those skills the best way I can, and it'll all prove useful somewhere down the line.
 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Quality through quantity #AtoZChallenge

This post is part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015. If this is something new to you, check out the website here to find out all you need to know.

My topics this year are covering studying and/or writing advice and guidance, to maybe help you as you cope with everything else in life.

 


 Quality through quantity

In many things there is always the argument about quality versus quantity. In writing though, I believe that quantity definitely leads to quality. You know the old saying, 'practice makes perfect', and the more you write the better you'll get.

I started writing properly about five years ago, and when I read some of the things I was knocking together back then I realise just how far I've come. I'm sure a lot of experienced writers will agree with this, and I've even heard of writers completely binning everything they produced in their first years of writing.

In the beginning you are learning your craft, the same as you would with anything else, but it can seem more difficult to see the improvements in your writing. Unless you've been sending out for submission or competitions from day one and have seen increased acceptances, it's not always obvious, particularly in your own writing. You can be too close to it to notice its weak points.

But as long as you keep working away, the practice can only improve the quality as you become better at spotting where words can be cut, scenes improved and characters made more believeable.

 


Monday, 20 April 2015

Prepare yourself #AtoZChallenge


This post is part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015. If this is something new to you, check out the website here to find out all you need to know.

My topics this year are covering studying and/or writing advice and guidance, to maybe help you as you cope with everything else in life.


 

 Prepare yourself

Taking on a study module or large writing project can be quite an undertaking, so anything you can do to get yourself prepared for it can only be for the good.

I've found that even for short stories, the more preparation I can do before writing the first draft, the easier it is. Writing down background information for the characters, getting into their mindsets and motivations, makes it easier to write from each of their perspectives. Jotting down a scene by scene guide helps focus my drafting as well. I've tried being a pantster but it just doesn't work for me.

Preparing for studying is also essential. Some background for the subject can give you an idea of what you'll be focusing on, and getting to know your campus, or website and forums if you're distance learning can make the whole experience much more enjoyable.

I have nearly finished my current module for this year and have already signed up for my next one, Nineteenth Century Novels. We will be reading and studying quite a few books for that one, so I'm trying to get as prepared as I can by reading them all before hand.

In a lot of ways, the planning and preparation can take just as much, if not more, time than the actual studying or drafting!
  

Organisation #AtoZChallenge

This post is part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015. If this is something new to you, check out the website here to find out all you need to know.

My topics this year are covering studying and/or writing advice and guidance, to maybe help you as you cope with everything else in life.


 

Organisation

For studying and writing, a certain level of organisation is always beneficial. I'm not necessarily talking about the planning of work in your diary and working to deadlines, but more the ordering and filing of different aspects of your work.

When I first started out with my writing, I'd jot down various ideas on scraps of paper, or in one of my many, many notebooks I can't help but purchase. This wasn't particularly useful of course, it would take me ages to find anything again.

I've since adopted a much better filing system, putting ideas, first drafts, edits etc. all together in one folder, so I can sort through things more easily. It's particularly useful to keep all my idea notes in one place, then if I feel stuck I can sift through them to find something to work on.

I've done this electronically too, with the installation of Dropbox. This also means I can save things wherever I have my ideas and they all end up in the same place. 

It can be a long time between writing things down and coming back to them later, so it helps to keep them easily accessible. Since having children my memory is pretty shot, so I need anything I can get to help with these things!