Behind the Scenes: Writing

I love writing. Well, usually. Sometimes I hate writing. It can be really hard and sometimes I hate every word I write, and every word I think about writing. It can be… uh… unreasonable? Haha. Sometimes I forget why I’m writing a particular story.

I try to write just one story at a time so I can focus on it better. When this happens I try to make sure I (at least while I’m writing or in my free time) come of with things that will continually remind me (and hopefully inspire me!) to continue writing that story. How do I do this?

I’m so glad you asked, because that’s what I’m talking about today!

Staying inspired can be done in different ways, and I think I’ve written a post about it before (if not more than one).

One of my favorite ways to stay inspired and to think through my story is through music. Especially if I can listen to it in the car. It’s a thirty minute drive to work and almost an hour, so if I can listen to music that’ll help me smooth out plot holes or understand my characters better, that’s cool!

For The Masquerade Maid I listened to a variety of music. To truly be at my best writing and brainstorm abilities I have to be listening to the right music. The problem is… the ‘right’ music is different for every story. I feel like usually for the first couple of chapters (if not longer) I’m listening to a combination of all the music I can find until I find the one that makes me think, “Yes! This is it!”

To make matters even more complicated, it isn’t necessarily music my main characters would listen to… I was writing a WWII story once and was listening to Owl City. For The Masquerade Maid I originally listened to a bit of Adele. (When I was going back through it I really didn’t feel like Adele was right… but then I found Sleeping At Last and from what I heard I thought, “YES THIS IS PERFECT”. Finding the right music is really a challenge for me. Especially since I write better if I listen to music… but listening to the wrong music is distracting- while listening to the right music helps-…. it’s just complicated. XD)

I think I’ve said this before, but I also love visual things! So… I like Pinterest. Sometimes my storyboards are a mix of things that I think could possibly/maybe have something to do with the story. And sometimes… my boards are perfect. It’s like looking at pictures that someone took of my story. Boards like that are amazing because I can see characters and places and read quotes that really put me in the mood for my story!

That being said, I’ve just changed the board I have for The Masquerade Maid from being secret to being public– which means you can go have a look at how I imagine a lot of things looking in my story! (not everything is perfectly like how I imagined it, but it is still close and gives you an idea)

If you want to go ahead and look at the storyboard you can just click here and it will take you there!

That’s it for today! Do you have a favorite Sleeping at Last song, or favorite music you listen to while you write? Do you have pinterest boards for you stories? I’d love to see them!

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Story Reveal: The Masquerade Maid

Hello!

Today I come to you with an exciting announcement…

You get to read one of my stories! It’s not being published (at least not yet XD), but I’m going to post it on my blog, one chapter at a time once or twice a week! Tuesdays will be my day to post, and Thursdays if I want to give you an extra chapter, or don’t want to make you wait through a cliff hanger too long. (I’m still editing the story, and I had forgotten some of the cliff hangers that happen XD)

Anyways. This story isn’t going to be perfect. It’s an old NaNoWriMo story (where you try to write 50,000 words in the month of November. My focus then was getting the words written, not to get good words, haha) There are going to be errors, and misspellings, and probably plot holes. But I’m trying to be okay with that, because I want to do this for fun! Not for stress… Haha.

The title is The Masquerade Maid. It’s a Cinderella re-telling (or that was the inspiration for it.)

Possible Cover 3

Blurb:

Prince Chopelin has been groomed for the throne Eridonces since birth. His twenty-first birthday is approaching, though, and with it looming closer, the pressure to choose a wife increases. With someone after his life, and the ever increasing threat of war, Chopelin can’t help but wrestle with continual feelings of discontent.
Elinora has always felt ignored by her father, until one day he announces he is going to Eridonces and she is coming with him. While at the castle, Elinora keeps to herself until her father volunteers her to help the maids. While working in the castle she has several run-ins with the prince, which starts her wondering how life would be different if she wasn’t just a maid.
Life throws Elinora and Chopelin unexpected heartbreak and challenges, but will they be able to find contentment in their life or always be looking for something new?

Like I said, this isn’t going to be perfect. I haven’t put nearly as much time and effort into this story (vs. a story I’m interested in publishing eventually maybe). This is something I’m excited to do for fun, and hopefully something other people might enjoy as well. 🙂

All this to say, look out for the 1st chapter of The Masquerade Maid coming at you next Tuesday!

(Sidenote: while I’m going to try to post a chapter weekly, life happens… just wanted to throw that disclaimer out there. 🙂 )

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Fallen Leaves by Tessa Emily Hall ~ Book Review

Today I’m going to a book review on Tessa Hall’s Fallen Leaves, the sequel to Purple Moon. I’ve been looking forward to the sequel of Purple Moon ever since I first heard Tessa was planning one. XD

Fallen Leaves

Back cover:

Selena Taylor thought her only worry this fall was starting her junior year at a new arts school in North Carolina, miles away from home. But when she finds out her mom could graduate from rehab sooner than expected even worse, she could work for her former nothing-but-trouble boss—Selena’s determined to create a new life for them. Back in her childhood Kentucky hometown.

Step one? Track down her dad and brother that she hasn’t seen in eight years. Her anxiety is put to the test, though, when she unveils a truth that could threaten her dreams. Add to that an art competition that pushes her outside of her comfort zone and a girl who seems determined to come between Selena and her hopeful boyfriend.

Soon Selena must decide whether or not to continue her search for her dad and brother. But is there any hope that the ruins of her broken family could be resurrected? And how could God possibly have a purpose in the midst of these changing seasons?

My Review:

It had been awhile since I had spent time with Selena and her friends, so at first I got just a couple of the characters mixed up (which is my fault, not the authors! I tend to get characters confused easily XD). I remembered Selena and some of the things she went through. It was nice to see how the things in Purple Moon still affected her, whether in a positive or a negative way, and how that was affecting what she was going through currently. Selena was forced to go through things that pushed her, and sometimes took her out of her comfort zone. She learned, as we all have, that just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean life is automatically easy.

I really like how Tessa Emily Hall showed Selena’s struggle, and oftentimes I really related. There were times I was reading and I thought, “That’s what I’m going through/went through.” Selena had challenges and her results didn’t come easily just because she’s a fictional character. Selena struggled, she hurt, she learned… and as  reader I appreciated it.

I also appreciated how at the end it wasn’t all perfect. While at the end Selena does come to a pretty good place, but she still has a lot of questions and uncertainties about her future… which means there is going to be a third book, I hope. 🙂

I give Fallen Leaves 5 out of 5 stars, and I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary YA. You don’t have to read Purple Moon first, but I think that it is nice to really understand Selena.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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Writer’s Block and Trusting God

So, it’s been awhile.

Anyway, usually I’m busy with work and school, and even when I’m not doing work or school, I usually want to do something else other than blog… and it doesn’t feel like my life is that interesting because, as I said, it’s usually just work and school… 🙂

Anyways, hi, I’m here for a minute. 🙂

Writing blog posts hasn’t  been the only thing that I’ve been neglecting. I’m sure you can gather that I am a big fan of books, reading them and writing them! I’ve been semi-seriously writing since I was thirteen… at this point I kind of assumed writing was just going to be something I would always like.

Any you know the weird thing?

About a year or so ago I stopped writing. I might write a few words here or there, but I hated them. I had ideas but they seemed boring. When I had the time to do something that wasn’t work or school, I’d usually opt to do other things that weren’t writing.

And while I didn’t want to write and I was doing other things by choice… I wanted to want to write. People say when you have writers block you’re supposed to keep writing– and that’s the only way to get over it! But I tried that. Several times. And I still was not enjoying it. It still didn’t go away.

There was a little part of me that was disappointed. “If I’m not  writer, what am I?” I started seriously writing when I was thirteen. Most of my online ‘friends’ or people I follow/talk to are all writers. Being a writer was something I knew I wanted to do… until I decided I didn’t.

It’s weird to explain because even though I didn’t want to write and it was all my choice, I was disappointed because, I wanted to want to write.

Being a writer isn’t all of my identity, but it’s kind of a big part of it. Sure, I have a job and I am a college student but… my job and my school aren’t exactly something that I love (usually…).

Eventually I realized that being a writer is the same as any other part of my life. It belongs God, and I needed to hand it over to Him.

(Just this morning I saw a writer saying the same thing. Being a writer shouldn’t be our whole identity. Our identity should be in God. A really good reminder about anything)

And so… I wasn’t worried. I was still disappointed and I still tried to write but there was still a little voice in my head that was like, “Maybe I’m done writing, maybe everything I wrote is it.” And that is okay. Maybe my stories wouldn’t go out in the world, and that’s okay. I wrote what I wanted to write and I had fun, and isn’t that kind of the point of hobbies?

Well, it’s kind of a long story, but I’ve been sick recently. For a long time actually. For months. If not a year/years. And after going through some hard stuff that I’m not getting into today, I finally found a doctor who found out what was wrong, at least partly. He was able to actually help me. After a few weeks I started to feel healthy.

I can’t explain how wonderful it feels to be healthy. To have absolutely no pain? Weird. Amazing. A miracle really. (Sometimes I’m just so happy about feeling healthy and being on track to being healthy almost fulltime… I have to go up to my mom and just tell her, “I’m so happy.” Because I am, and have to share it.)

And then one day while I was still weak from being sick, I was on my laptop and… I wanted to write. I wanted to work on so many projects, it was almost like my brain was on hyperdrive to make up for all the time my creativity was dead. I kind of have an idea of what I want to do next, what story to finish first, what I want to do to further my life as a writer… all because I felt healthy.

So that just made me even happier. I hadn’t realized the my physical health would effect something like my creativity so drastically… but it was like it completely took the writer out of me.

There are still times I get bored with my story, and I still don’t like any of the words I write… that’s just part of being a writer. The thing is, though, that I do write, I want write. If I’m not editing one story, I want to be writing one, or planning future writing projects or writing related projects. The part of my brain that makes me a writer is awake again, and it’s so nice.

But whether I write or not, my identity needs to be in Christ. Recently I’ve had time to think, and one of the things I’ve been thinking about is how, “God has a plan.” Whatever I might be going through, no matter what anyone is going through, He has a plan.

So for now I’ll write and do writerly things. And if I need to take a break, I’ll take another break.

Another thing I’ve been thinking about, as I think about how sick I was, is “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” And while in one sense, that is absolutely false. While I was recovering I was so so weak (I still am, just now I can walk around the house by myself… just to give you a sense of how weak I was.) Mentally, though, I do feel stronger. I told my mom, “Now that I’m healthy, I feel like I can do anything.” (okay, so not any physical labor. I still get out of breath making my bed…) But as I said, I have ideas and plans for writing and editing, and I’ve already started sort of planning this years Inkling to Write.

I guess all this to say, it’s important to hand everything to God. Even the things that are important to you (Especially those things!!). I’ve been told, “Put God first and everything else will fall into place.” And that includes hobbies, dreams, aspirations. 🙂

 

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Make Them Feel ~ Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett Picture.jpg

About the Author: Homeschooled since kindergarten, Taylor Bennett is the seventeen-year-old author of Porch Swing Girl, which will be released by Mountain Brook Ink on May 1st. When she’s not reading or writing, Taylor can be found playing her violin or taking walks in the beautiful Oregon countryside. She loves to connect with readers via her author website, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (her favorite!), Pinterest, and Goodreads.

There’s a favorite quote of mine—one of the famous ones—that says:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
And, while this is especially true in real life, it also holds a nugget of wisdom for us as writers.
I can’t always perfectly recount the plotline of a favorite book, nor can I recite especially witty sections of dialogue from memory. I don’t always remember the name of a beloved character, or their height or eye color. Sometimes I read a book that just sticks with me, for reasons I can’t understand.
And that is my ultimate goal as a writer.
I want to create stories that make people feel—one way or another. I don’t care if they remember my characters, if they can quote their favorite scene verbatim. It doesn’t matter to me whether they read the book a million times or can recall the plot from memory.
No, I just want to leave them with something. A feeling, a mood, a memory.
There are books that I read years ago, books that are tucked high on a shelf that I haven’t thought of in ages. But some of those books, though the plotline has grown hazy and I no longer know every character by name, are still in my heart.
They’re in my heart when I hear the chime of an ice cream truck, see the flicker of a firefly or hear the far-off bark of a dog. Something about these books, those on my elite list of favorites, sticks with me. It strikes straight to my heart and all I can say is that it makes me feel something so deep, so beautiful, that I can’t deny my love for that book.
So, how do we, as authors, craft stories and tell tales that evoke such strong feelings and word-pictures that they stick with our readers for years to come?
Let me count the ways…

1. Make a list.
Really!! Make a list—almost an aesthetic of sorts, but without the pictures—of the little (or big!) things you want to stand out in your story. Small bits of description or little truths that you can turn into unexpected beauty. If I made a list for my debut novel, Porch Swing Girl, it might have gone like this:
• Half-melted shave ice
• Pink Converse
• Sunset-painted skies
• Long talks and hard truths
• Hair blown by the breeze
• Shakas (AKA the hang loose sign)
• Overgrown hibiscus bushes
• Sand between toes
• Splintery porch swings
• Early mornings and late nights
• Unanswered texts
• Handmade bracelets
• Etc.
Get the picture? Think about your story—all the little bits and pieces that make it distinctly yours, everything that makes it beautiful—and put it into words. Stephanie Morrill (author of The Lost Girl of Astor Street) calls it a “book love list” and it is such a good idea. You can make it as concrete or abstract as you’d like, but it’s a great way to help you figure out the true heart of your book before you begin writing.

2. Pinterest it!
I’m a huge fan of the aesthetic. I love scrolling through other authors’ inspiration boards, and I absolutely looove creating boards for future books in my free time. (So now you know what I do when I’m not writing! I’m brainstorming future books on Pinterest…)
Creating an aesthetic can really affect how you write—it can bring a depth and richness to your description, especially if your story takes place in a location you’ve never visited before.
Making a Pinterest board can also be a great way to store research about topics your book might address (grief, a certain hobby, etc.) and it also allows you to “see” your story while you write.

3. Find the theme
I’m not talking about being preachy, or even deciding on the “moral” of your story before you start writing. In fact, I’d strongly encourage you to NOT pick a moral or lesson for your story until you’ve written at least the first draft. Books tend to have minds of their own, and oftentimes they present us with much deeper, more profound messages than we could ever come up with.
When I say the “theme” I mean the heart. The true meat of the story, a part of it that goes beyond the plot, the message—all of it.
Ask yourself: What do I want readers to remember most about my book?
Here’s an example:
One of the big takeaway points in Porch Swing Girl is: Sometimes God’s plans for our life are more different than we could imagine—but that doesn’t mean they can’t be beautiful.
But I consider the theme—the true heart of the story to be more than that. The heart behind Porch Swing Girl is about love and loss, friends and family and friends that become family. It’s about the realization that we were made to do more than just exist. It’s about hope and heartache and the beauty that can only come from ashes. It’s about everything that makes life beautiful and how—sometimes—those things aren’t what they seem.
In short, though the theme might be directly related to the moral of the story, it’s deeper—more abstract. If your reader remembers the theme, there’s a greater chance that the lesson included in the story will touch their heart more than you ever could have imagined.

4. What else?
There are plenty of other ways to ensure that you craft a story that stays snugly in your reader’s heart for years. Some of them—like creating wonderfully quirky characters and spinning a tangled web of mindblowing plot twists—are widely covered by a multitude of authors. Others—those spellbinding little bits of magic that get woven between the pages of our favorite books—can only be learned with time.
So get out there, dear writers, and live a life filled with wonder.
Read.
Write.
Dream.
Fill notebooks with words and scrapbooks with memories. Live out loud and fill your heart and soul with wonder. And then, when you sit down to write, use those feelings, those memories, those emotions—use them in ways you never thought possible to touch more hearts than you ever could have imagined.

Porch Swing Girl

What if friendship cost you everything?

Stranded in Hawaii after the death of her mother, sixteen-year-old Olive Galloway is desperate to escape. She has to get back to Boston before her dad loses all common sense and sells the family house. But plane tickets cost money—something Olive gravely lacks.
With the help of Brander, the fussy youth group worship leader, and Jazz, a mysterious girl with a passion for all things Hawaiian, Olive lands a summer job at the Shave Ice Shack and launches a scheme to buy a plane ticket home before the end of the summer.

But when Jazz reveals a painful secret, Olive’s plans are challenged. Jazz needs money. A lot of it. Olive and Brander are determined to help their friend but, when their fundraising efforts are thwarted, Olive is caught in the middle. To help Jazz means giving up her ticket home. And time is running out.

You can order Porch Swing Girl on Amazon now! 😀

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Slaying the Sequel Monster ~Abigayle Claire

I’m excited to share this article by Abigayle Claire– I found it full of useful information (just as I had hoped– I asked her specifically to write something on sequels)

About the Author: Abigayle has been a writer ever since her mother taught her how to hold a pencil. However, she devoted more time to reading words with her green eyes than penning them with her left hand. Inspired by a crazy dream at the age of sixteen, she set off on a journey to self-publish her first novel, Martin Hospitality. Since then, Abigayle has devoted herself to sharing what she has learned through the mediums of freelance editing and her blog theleft-handedytpist.blogspot.com … when period drama films are not calling more loudly. None of her successes, including winning a 2017 Readers’ Favorite Award, would be possible without the support of her Savior, large family, and online community.

 

I admire all of you who have ever written a sequel. In my mind it’s quite the feat (like slaying a dragon or sea monster). For those of who haven’t written a sequel, sequel-writers deserve to have all our inkwells poured out on their feet. Or maybe you’re like me and you fall in the middle: trying to write a sequel.

All writing has its ups and downs, of course. No draft is easy, but I’ve found sequels to be particularly challenging. So maybe this post can be your special armor or sneaky enchantment you need to slay the monster yourself.

Why I think sequels are hard

I published my first novel Martin Hospitality because I enjoyed writing it and it came together. (Again, not as easy as it sounds, but generally speaking.) I have a gazillion story ideas like the rest of you, but I’m going to spend the most time on the ones I think will come together.

Because I have other ideas for the characters and because my readers enjoy them, I intend for there to be one if not two more books in the series. So I’m currently working on the sequel to Martin Hospitality. Actually, I’ve been working on it off and on for the last year. *dies*

I thought writing a sequel might be easier, and for some of you it might be. After all, it’s the same world/universe and characters. It’s a lot less creating from scratch. But that’s exactly where I hit my main roadblock—I’ve already taken my characters so far, it’s hard for me to take them further still. Gotta love character arcs.

How to make it easier on yourself

I think I made some initial mistakes that stunted my writing initially and led to my burnout last year. Trust me, you want to avoid burnout if at all possible. I don’t typically have to do full rewrites, but I started completely over on draft one after setting it aside for awhile. You want to avoid starting over again and again too.

So here are some things to try to make writing a sequel easier:

1. Ask yourself if a sequel is necessary. I honestly don’t think Martin Hospitality needs a sequel anymore. It never did. People just want more, and I had some scene ideas, so I thought why not.

2. Don’t make promises. Had I not promised people a sequel, I might not be writing a sequel … Not that you can’t change your mind as a writer—plans do change. But it’s even harder to go back on what you have in print (front title page: MARTIN HOSPITALITY Martin Generations Book #1) than what you say online.

3. P-L-O-T. I am a genuine plantser (half planning, half winging it), but you have to plan a sequel. I am convinced there is no other option. I cannot plan out everything to a tee, but scene cards, character sheets, personality typing, etc. all saved my life. Scene cards especially. Find your thing that will help get the jumbled fluff in your head at least into chronological order.

4. Consider timing. This might not be a problem with everyone, but my timeline is killing me … more and more quickly with each passing day. How do you jump ahead 10 years if Book 1 was a contemporary? Is it OK to skip years twice in one book? Do the concurrent events even line up for people’s ages? Yeah, those kind of problems.

5. Read the first book! I really resisted reading my own published novel. I published it, people liked it … I never had to flip past the title page for signing copies. It was great. Until I needed to know what color so-and-so’s eyes were. Or what mannerisms I’d given someone. Did that scene make it into the final draft? The only way to answer those questions is to reread the book. Plus, you’ll find a wealth of tidbits to springboard off of—things you accidentally set up for a sequel. 😉

6. Maybe plan out the whole series to begin with. There really should be more than “accidentally setting things up for a sequel.” I feel like the only writer on earth who wrote Book 1 without really planning Book 2. (To my credit, I did plan Book 3.) I think most of my character arc problems would be solved if I’d written with a sequel more at the forefront of my mind.

7. Don’t resolve it all!* If everything ties up, it’s a standalone, not Book 1. I’m not saying you have to have a cliffhanger, but there needs to be some stakes on the table still—not just loveable characters. The ending to Martin Hospitality is open, but there’s not much you need to read on for.

*there are some series that cater to being individual stories in a single world or with connected characters—such series don’t require the same intense connectedness.

8. Learn as you go. Obviously this is what I’ve had to do, and I won’t be able to cut the learning curve completely short for you either. Contrary to what it might have sounded like earlier, I don’t regret sticking with writing a sequel. It’s been an amazing test of patience and writing when I simply don’t feel like it. A wonderful pain. And, yes, I still intend to write other series. I’m just going to approach them differently.

Of course, several of these can be issues even in standalones. However, for me, these issues have all come out more prominently in sequel-writing. But I’ll survive and so can you! I hope this will help you on your way to writing sequels because I’ve learned one thing through all this: the only thing harder than writing a sequel is writing a standalone.

~~~~~

Have you ever written (or tried to write) a sequel? Do you think it would be harder or easier for you than writing a standalone?


Readers’ Favorite 2017 Christian Fiction Honorable Mention

Gemma Ebworthy is eighteen, pregnant, and alone. Now that she’s been evicted, she finds herself sleeping in a barn, never dreaming that tomorrow could bring kindness of a life-changing magnitude.

The Martins aren’t a typical family–even for rural Kansas. With more kids than can be counted on one hand and a full-time farm, Gemma must make a lot of adjustments to fit in. But despite their many differences, Gemma finds herself drawn to this family and their radical Christian faith.

When Gemma’s past collides with her yet again, she must begin revealing her colorful history. With every detail Gemma concedes, she fears she will lose the Martins’ trust and the stable environment she desires for herself and her unborn child. Just how far can the Martins’ love and God’s forgiveness go?


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How to Keep Writing (Even When It’s Hard) ~ Stephanie Kehr

Stephanie Kehr.jpg

About the Author: Stephanie is a professional writer and former journalist who has a heart for sharing raw stories and encouraging authors to write for Jesus. Although she grew up reading books, writing them became her accidental passion. In addition to representing books through C.Y.L.E. Literary, she works on the publishing board for Illuminate YA (an imprint of LPC Books), and spends her quiet moments immersed in poetry or blogging about her adventures with God. Stephanie is a believer in hard work, audiobooks, chocolate, and dreaming big. To connect with her, visit her website: www.stephaniekehr.com.
You can connect with Stephanie through her blog, twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

 

I love writing. It’s my lifeblood—I basically cannot live without it. But we can all agree that writing is also hard. Really hard. No matter how much we adore it, it’s difficult to churn out word after word, edit after edit, and book after book only to face big critiques, small paychecks, and unpredictable careers.

With each new assignment and contract, I am reminded of how my writerly obligations are ever changing, growing, pausing, and pushing forward again. I often find myself adjusting the way I write, and the way I motivate myself around each hard moment. Now I’m getting used to the edits, and learning to love the unpredictability.

What are my secrets, you say? TELL ALL. Here are five ways I motivate myself to keep doing what I love, even when it’s hard.

1) Write a Story That’s Exciting Enough to Come Back to
You have to be passionate about the books you write. Believe me, you aren’t getting through fourteen drafts of a novel if you aren’t head-over-heels in love with it. If you’re struggling to keep going, remind yourself of all the reasons why you love your book, and why you’re passionate about it. Take a few minutes to “date” your plot and characters again, to get reconnected. Go back and review your original notes, and read your favorite scenes. Choosing to remember why you’re writing is one of the best ways to stay motivated, even when it’s hard.

2) Balance brain time with physical activities
Struggling to keep up your creativity? The body and brain connection is stronger than you think. Be intentional about physical activity, and never sit down for a long period of time without exercising before or after. Take a quick walk, jog, or hit the gym. Go swimming, biking, or play tennis with a friend. Exerting physical energy will reset your brain and rebuild your creative connections.

3) Don’t Overstimulate
Make time to be bored. Turn off the music, unplug from social media, and take a day away from friends and activities. Your brain needs time to stop processing information. In the age of technology, we’re constantly being fed new stimuli—read this, watch this, try this, learn this, create more—Sure, good things, but we need balance. Often the best ideas come when we’re sitting in a waiting room, taking a shower, or doing the dishes with nothing else to entertain us. Your brain needs a reboot from stimuli, too. Make sure you give it space to be bored so you can be better prepared to receive inspiration.

4) Be organized
Writing a book is incredibly overwhelming. If you allow yourself to get too overwhelmed, you’ll stifle creativity and motivation. Instead of focusing on all the words you don’t have yet, create a steady stress-free rhythm for your writing. Instead of spinning from tasks and ideas, slow down. Take a deep breath and calmly talk yourself through your priorities. Figure out how your brain works and how you can best encourage yourself to keep going. Break down your manuscript goals so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Listen to the same music, eat the same snacks, and write in the same places. Putting the same habits in place will make writing easier on those hard days.

5) Take really good care of yourself
Maybe your body isn’t trying to torture you by dulling your creative streak. Maybe it’s trying to tell you something. For a lot of us, writing is a basic need. We have to do it in order to stay sane. But there will be times when other basic needs come first. Things like physical health, children, stress, or mourning. Maybe your body is trying to let you know your creative energy needs to be placed somewhere else for a little bit. It’s always okay to take a break.

If all else fails, just determine to do it. Determine to write. There will be many days in your career when all the inspiration and motivation in the world won’t get you through a manuscript—but determination will. Stick your heels in, my friend. You can do this.
Let’s discuss! What motivates you to write?

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