Saturday Sayings #1

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~Maya Angelou

I love this quote. Absolutely adore it. As writers, can you think of anything worse? I’ll see something cool and think, “that would make a fun story“. Then I’m done and back to whatever I was doing. Every so often though, an idea will plant itself in the back of my mind. It starts out small, but grows and grows until it has enveloped my mind to the point that I can’t think about anything else until I get it out. While those stories can be exhausting and demanding, I love them because of the passion that comes with them.

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Distractions from writing

Everything is a distraction! Here are my top five and for a bonus, here’s #6!

Sleep.
There are nights that I’m really getting into the story and I don’t want to stop. The kids and hubby are in bed, the house is quiet, I’m comfy huddled over my laptop. Then the sandman shows up and I’m rubbing my eyes and wondering why there are two screens instead of one. If I didn’t get half my ideas while I’m sleeping, I would be much more annoyed with it!

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Setting SMART goals

“Write a novel.” That’s the first goal we have. Great, but the novel isn’t going to be written the first time we sit our butts in that chair. We need to plan how we’re going to get from point A to point B. We need goals. Life gets thrown at us. Babies, vacations, work, death, keeping up the house. There are thousands of things to distract us. If we have goals, it will give us something reach for.

Goals will only help us if they’re within reach. Just like when you’re running and you say, “I’ll run to that mailbox”, then you reach it and set a further goal, “I can make it to that light post”. We need to break our writing down into reasonable goals. When writing your goals, make sure they are SMART.

S – Specific. A goal isn’t going to do you any good if you don’t know for sure what the goal is.

M – Measurable. If you can’t measure your goal, there is no way to see if you are achieving it.

A – Attainable. It has to be realistic. If you say you’re going to write a 125,000 word high fantasy novel in one week, you’re going to be disappointed.

R – Relevant. If your goal isn’t relevant to what you’re working on, it’s not going to do you any good.

T – Time-stamped. Give yourself an ending point of when you want your goal completed.

An example of a SMART goal would be: I’m going to write *500 words/day M-F on my NA paranormal novel.

It’s specific- you state exactly what you want to do.

It’s measurable- you can track those 500 words.

It’s attainable- *this would be attainable if this were a comfortable amount for you to complete. If the most you know you’ll have time for each day is 250, then 500 wouldn’t be attainable.

It’s relevant- it’s a goal that is getting you closer to your ultimate goal of finishing your novel and getting published.

It’s time-stamped- not only are you going to write 500 words, but you’re going to do it M-F

What SMART goals are you going to set?

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Dealing with Writer’s Block

As I struggled to decide what I should post about, I had a brilliant idea of writing about what to do when you can’t write! All of us at some point or another have frozen with our fingers curled over the keyboard, twitching this way and that, trying to decide which combination of letters, numbers, and/or punctuation to punch in. The common term for this is ‘writer’s block’. For some it can last minutes, others days, weeks, months, etc. I decided to hit the dictionary to see what the how writer’s block is described. Here’s what I found:

*Merriam-Webster.com

writer’s block
noun
Definition of WRITER’S BLOCK
: a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece
First Known Use of WRITER’S BLOCK
1950
So, pretty much it’s all in our heads. It’s like there’s some evil witch in our head that closes the door to the world that is trying to make its way out of us. It’s the evil witch that locks Rapunzel up in the tower and refuses to let us rescue her. Why does this happen? What are we to do?
Sometimes I lose perspective on a story if I’m concentrating on it too much. I need to step back and take a break. I need to let the evil witch let her guard down while I get juiced up and can break through her wall of thorns surrounding the castle.
Other times, the evil witch will drop you on the outside of a maze with the castle in the middle. Your story starts flowing as you go through the twists and turns. Then you face plant into a dead in. Do you give up? Heck no! You go back and see where you/your story took a wrong turn and try a different approach.
You keep going and going, until you get to the end and save Rapunzel. Or, in my case, some super sexy guy with a few tattoos that was only kept from me because of… Whoa, sorry. Got caught up in the moment there. You get the point. Don’t let writer’s block kick your butt, kick back and eventually you’ll get through.
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Character Names

It doesn’t matter if you’re a plotter or a pantser. Or if you come up with the storyline before the characters. At some point, you’re going to have to name every character in your book. From the lead to the little guy who’s the comic relief. Just like naming a child, naming your characters is important and can be a time consuming process. You don’t want to be typing a name over and over that you hate. Unless it’s the antagonist. Then it’s okay to hate them. 😉 Another thing to consider is where they’re from. If your character is comes from a very traditional family in the south, his name probably isn’t going to be Jermagesty or Kal-El. The same goes for age. If your trying to come up with a name for somebody’s grandparents, they will be more along the lines of Thomas and Cheryl than Mason and Ava.

Do your research. Check out the Social Security Administration site for names popular by years and/or decades. Trying to find a name based on country or ancestry? Try this site. One of my favorite tools to use when I need a random name for someone who’s not as important in my novel, but still needs a name, is a baby naming book I got when I was pregnant with my oldest.

That’s all great, but what if I’m writing a fantasy/sci-fi/space opera/WoW novel? Well, there are resources for those, too! Try this one and this one. I have personally used both in coming up with names in my WIPs. The second one even has a generator for coming up with names for places. What other resources have you found useful when coming up with name?

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My Favorite Quote

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. – Maya Angelou

I love this quote. It’s even the screen saver on my desktop. Those who aren’t writers probably won’t understand the truth behind this statement. Those of us who are… well, you know what I’m talking about.

A story may start off as something small; a dream, a commercial you saw on tv, a pin on Pinterest. Then it slowly begins to build and build, until it’s a whirling tornado of a whole other world inside of you, begging to get out. It occupies your mind during lunch meetings, while you’re doing the dishes, while you sleep. It keeps crawling its way to the front of your subconcious until you finally give and pour your soul out on paper.

You get so enthralled in the demands of your characters, their problems, their joys. They won’t stop hounding you until you’ve given them closure. They want the world to know what they’re going through and you’re the only one who can translate for them.

What’s your favorite quote?