Writer's Problems

Writing at Midnight

Midnight writing. Late night writing. Last minute writing. It goes by many names, but you all know what I’m talking about. That thing that happens when there’s an assignment or deadline the very next day and this piece of writing MUST be done, but as you stare at the screen, everything gets fuzzy and your head starts to drop and your eyes start to close and

zzzzzzzzz….

Yep. You feel me.

There was once when I wrote a paper at night, quickly edited it through blurred eyes, and submitted it just a couple minutes before the deadline. When I  read it the next day, there was a sentence in my conclusion that just

I don’t even know what it was supposed to say. It just… stopped. And it was IN MY CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH. Somehow, in my sleep depraved state, I completely and totally missed that. Yeahhhh, that was a good grade alright.

I figured that it might be helpful to have a couple tips on how to better write late night, last minute papers, so, here we go.

Tip #1: Just don’t.

The best way to avoid all the pain and agony and suffering is to just not do it. Be a good person. Write your assignments ahead of time. Submit them early. Sleep well and don’t become addicted to coffee. Have a wonderful life.

Don’t we wish.

But sometimes, that just isn’t possible. Like this weekend, for example, when I was called in twice to my two different jobs and in the span of three days, I worked 35 hours. It’s gonna be a good paycheck, but assignments did NOT get done and as a result, there was a last minute, late night writing spree. That leads us to

Tip #2: Just Write

When it’s that late at night and we’ve already worked hard that day, words just aren’t going to come out coherently. Don’t try to make them. It will only take longer and leave you feeling more frustrated at the end of it. Just think of your writing prompt or subject and let loose. Write over your word count too if you’re able. That way, when you cut out all the incoherent mumble jumble, you don’t have to figure out how to add 184 words.

Tip #3: Edit Out Loud

Yes, I mean exactly that. Read your paper out loud. When you are exhausted, things are blurring on the page and your brain isn’t thinking much more than, “can this please be over now????” But when you read it out loud, you bring more of your senses to the table, (eyes, ears, brain processing words to speak), and you will be able to catch more mistakes that if you’d just read it. I use this technique even when I’m not falling asleep and I always, ALWAYS, catch mistakes that I missed by just reading.

Tip #4: If Possible, Have Another Reader

I understand that’s not always possible. It may be 2am in the morning and your roommate (or sister in my case) is happily sleeping away. This is the time where you shake them awake in punishment for being a better student than you are and make them read it anyways. Yeah, no. It’s not always possible, but WHENEVER it is, always have another reader. Things are fresh to them and they may see things that you don’t. Also, they aren’t in love with that one paragraph that you just spent half an hour on and may tell you that it’s the worst paragraph they’ve ever seen. Clobber them over the head with a pillow, then go fix the paragraph because they’re probably right.

And then they were all masters and never got a grade under an A- again. 

The End

Don’t we wish.

But hopefully, if for some reason, you have to do any more late night writing, you’ll be a little better at it and have more success. Don’t worry. There’s only three more years of college to finish and then all of your career. 😉 

Do you have any funny late night writing stories? What happened? Do tell!

Writer's Problems

How To Tell If A Writer Has A New Idea

weirdwritersSometimes writers can be very… weird. Sometimes they just plain don’t make much sense at all. I’m here to help you figure out if your writing friend has a new idea floating around in their head. As a fellow writer, I think I know exactly how it goes. Continue reading “How To Tell If A Writer Has A New Idea”

NaNoWriMo, Writer's Problems, Writing Tips and Tricks

Tips for Preparing for NaNo

If you’re like me, you are watching the 1st of November come up a mixture of excitement, dread, happiness, sorrow. No doubt on Nov. 1st, we’ll all shout in both exhilaration and overwhelming fear. To help feel more excitement and less dread, here are a couple tips for surviving NaNo that I will be putting into use… Continue reading “Tips for Preparing for NaNo”

Writer's Problems

How to Keep on Track With School

School started up for me and for a lot of you too, I’m sure. Whether you love it or hate it, there’s not getting around it. It’s tricky, keeping everything else on track while working on school. Some of you may find that it’s easier to do anything when school’s around because it puts a schedule in your life. Others of you find it harder because school takes up your life. Either way, here are some tips to keep writing while doing school. Continue reading “How to Keep on Track With School”

Writer's Problems

Story Beginnings

One of the teams at the wagon train.

The other day, my mom, sisters, and I were the outriders for a wagon train in our part of the state. (It’s funny the wide range of places you can learn about writing!) After our waltz/drive around the neighborhood, we were talking to some of the teamsters. Ya know, swapping cowboy/horse stories and generally being friendly. One of the teamsters told a story that got me thinking about story beginnings.

One thing I’ve noticed about cowboy stories is that they usually start with the teller’s relation to the person in the story. That’s actually what got me thinking about the subject. My grandpa wasn’t there and I thought he’d get a kick out of the story. However, then I realized that it wouldn’t start off very interesting if I said, “so, the teamster that I just met yesterday–Mark, I think–well, his cousin had a farm with some Black Angus cows on it that he wanted to breed.” There had to be a more exciting way to start it than that! After all, it’s a mystery story, where the calves turn up the wrong color, and where a rogue steals the cows from their rightful, princely bull! Continue reading “Story Beginnings”

Writer's Problems

The Lovely World of Word Counts

Good morning! It was a beautiful day when I woke up at 5 AM. The black darkness… gorgeousness. If for some reason you can’t get up that early to see it, I’d suggest staring at a black piece of construction paper– there’ll be the same soul-enchanting effect. I will admit though, it was gorgeous when the sun started showing its face and flooding the landscape with it’s red rays. Try it sometime. Construction paper will not, unfortunately for some, have the same effect.

Anyways, I was wondering what you all thought of the ever present word count. It seems like sometimes, a huge deal is made out of it, while other times it sits idly on the sidelines. What do you guys think about it? Is it worth the hype? Or should it be tucked away in a box in the attic? Continue reading “The Lovely World of Word Counts”

Uncategorized, Writer's Problems

Writing Apps

Our balloon being all American-y. 😛

Please excuse all the 4th of July references… this was supposed to be last week’s post.

‘Ello, y’all! How was your Independence Day? It was great for my family: morning balloon flight, relaxing in front of the TV (finally got my sisters to watch Night at the Museum), and then supper at Applebee’s. We were going to go on an evening balloon flight as well, but the winds were a bit too much, and so instead I got to eat Fiesta Lime Chicken! (Definitely try it out, guys. Delicious!)

Anywho. Today I want to talk about the different writing apps. I thought it would be interesting to see what you guys use and what is your favorites.

Word/Pages/Google Docs

I’ve never used Word… I have a Mac and so it’s Pages for me. However, I think the two are pretty close, as is Google Docs. This way is probably as simple as you can get on a computer. There’s a document, you type in it, format your headers however you want (if you want) and bingo. Your story takes form and you can write your heart out without any hassles or any wait.

However, sometimes we want things a little more than that. For example… if you do any research for your writing, you can’t keep it right there with your story. Character spotlights or info… also in another document.

Scrivener

Scrivener is created specifically for writers– awesomeness. That makes it a little more complicated than just Pages or Word. For example, each chapter (or scene if you so choose) is in a different “document” within the document. It makes it amazing for organizing chapters and/or writing chapter 31 before chapter 28. (I’ve never done that before. Huh uh. No way.)

Character sketches? They’ve already got an outline set up for you! (It’s a pretty basic one, but it works). Research? You can download web pages right into the document itself. It even has a subsection for “Places” if you want to use it. (I haven’t yet, but I completely intend to as I do more research into the ‘wheres’ of Death’s Whistle). Another downside… it costs money. Upside… I got it for a Christmas present about two years ago and haven’t stopped using it since then!

I like how it’s flexible, it’s easy enough for me to understand yet complex enough for all the features, and it’s always worked for me. If you don’t mind me saying, ich liebe es.

Storyist

I’ve never used Storyist, but I think it’s a lot like Scrivener, only for Macs. Have any of you bought/used Storyist? What do you think of it? Would you recommend it?

Pen and Notebook

This is most likely the easiest of all of them. Take a pen, take a notebook, write. (I just gave you the secret formula… use it wisely.) It does take longer, sometimes, than working on the computer. And then you have to copy it to the computer most often to edit it.

However… I like the notebook thing. When I pull out a brand new notebook or, as I like to call it, a brand new slate, you know I’m serious about the story. I don’t have a laptop (have you seen the prices for a nice one? I’m not that rich until my books hit New York Times Bestseller list) and so the story in the notebook is portable. I can work on it for a couple minutes while I wait for the rest of my family to get their supper, while I wait for my eyes to droop enough for sleep, while I wait for my toast to… toast. Yes, I do have to copy it into the computer. Yes, that can take a long time. However, copying everything, word for word, helps you to get a good look at your story that I don’t think you would ordinarily get. I find a lot of places to fix, boost, destroy when I do that.

I don’t do this with all stories. Listening to Destiny and Death’s Whistle weren’t written in a notebook, however, several of my other stories were and I think I’m starting to like it better and better.

What do you think?

What do you guys use? What’s your favorite? What would you like to try? Let me know! I’d love to talk about it!

Writer's Life, Writer's Problems

Making Time for Writing

Making time for writing… that might very well be the hardest part of being a writer. For me, it’s hard to make time simply because so much other stuff is going on around me. Just like the photo, lol. More than that, I also have other things, non-writing things, that take up a lot of my time. With all that going on in my life (and I’m sure your life too… unless I’m the only busy person in the world…), how is anyone supposed to get “non-urgent” things like writing done? Continue reading “Making Time for Writing”

A to Z 2017, Writer's Problems

U: Unify

Have you ever seen those unification scenes in movies? Where the fighting, bickering main characters finally get it together with their team and you finally know that everything is going to be okay? An example:

Yes. I am using Guardians of the Galaxy as an example cuz Vol. 2 comes out soon. 😉

The fact is… when this scene happens in the movie… everybody knows that everything is going to work out just fine. Ya know what I’m talking about?

Now the question is… how do you do this in writing? And, actually, do you even want to do it?

For example, maybe you’re writing a story where you don’t want everyone to know that it’s going to be okay until… it’s okay. (That is soooo me. Make you think that everyone’s going to die until… everyone dies. Or survives. You gotta wait to the end. :P)

What do you guys think? What is your style of writing?

A to Z 2017, Writer's Problems

D: Deadlines

Today’s letter is D, and the topic is deadlines. Eeek! Something that everyone just loves. Yeah right. But the fact of the matter is… there are way more funny memes for deadlines than there are for my ex-topic: determinism. I was trying to think of D theme and concluded that determinism would be a better, more inspiring topic, but that deadlines were funnier.

Example:

Have I proven my point? Thank you. *bows*

However much we hate deadlines…  some people (including me) work better under deadlines. I think I might have touched on it slightly in one of my other posts, but here I want to touch on it a bit more. Continue reading “D: Deadlines”