Writing-Exercises

What is your Word Limit?

Posted on June 4, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Resistance, Staying-With-It, writing, Writing-Exercises | Tags: , , |

For the past few months, I have been targeting 1000 words a day as my writing goal. While that worked for some time, the ultimate result was that I could not sustain it.

Since the real goal is a sustained pattern of daily writing, this goal did not work for long term purposes. A new goal of 500 words a day, using a software tool called “yEdit2” from Spacejock Software, has helped.

What is your daily word goal? If you have stopped writing, consider that you set your requirement too high. Set a lower limit and see if that works better.

Worried that a lower limit means that your aspirations are too low? Keep in mind that you can raise your limits later, once your daily habit of writing is better established.

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Repeating Obstacles

Posted on June 1, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Resistance, Staying-With-It, writing, Writing-Exercises, Writing-Tools |

Sooner or later, you will reach a period in your life where repeating obstacles will block your writing. These may be happy times, sad times, or just a comfortable vacation.

These periods may be the most dangerous of all, short of death, to your productivity. The key to overcoming these is building in ways to learn to restart. After you have been writing for some time, and your daily habit is established, you test the waters by taking the occasional day off.

If you can survive the occasional day off, then after you have been writing for a significant period (months), you should test the waters with a period of two or three days off. The restart will likely be difficult, but the lesson to be learned here is how to restart after missing.

These planned periods off and restarts will help insulate you from periods of repeating disruptions.

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It’s a Spring Day; Go out and Play!

Posted on May 28, 2013. Filed under: Staying-With-It, Writing-Exercises | Tags: |

It’s a spring day! Go out and play! Brandon Lee, in his last interview (made while filming “The Crow”) offered that when he looked at a full moon he sometimes wondered “how many times” would he see it again.

Life easily passes us by stuck in front of a computer or glued to a tablet or a smart phone. If you are doing too much of this, maybe you need to volunteer for a few months at a nursing home.

You will not find anyone there complaining that they did not work enough overtime. And, in the years to come, you will not find anyone complaining that they did not spend enough time glued to their computer or smart phone.

Take a tablet (paper, not electronic) with you out into the day and enjoy it for once. Maybe, just maybe, you will find the inspiration you need to write your very best writing ever.

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Relief in the Discomfort Past

Posted on May 22, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Opinions, Resistance, writing, Writing-Exercises | Tags: , , , , |

You may or may not believe in the ghost of Christmas past. But, we all have experienced relief in the discomfort past.

If you took the time to capture your discomfort when it was with you, you now have a chance to write about what it is like to have it gone. Did you take the air conditioner for granted. (This assumes you have one, and heat is an issue. Maybe you do not have one, or maybe you do not need one. I suspect this metaphor does not translate well to writers in Anchorage.)

Your word pictures from your time of discomfort now provide a context for your sense of relief. As you develop characters, don’t you think that they would go through the same process?

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Discomfort as a Source of Inspiration

Posted on May 20, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Staying-With-It, Writer-Tools, writing, Writing-Exercises, Writing-Tools |

Nobody seeks out discomfort, but if you have it then why not make it work for you.

Write about it. Describe it. Capture your beliefs, thoughts, feelings, actions, and consequences into words. How many ways can you write it, and re-write it, to describe your misery du jour?

Even if it is temporary, if you “bottle” your discomfort this way, you can capture an essence that can be far more vivid than anything you might possibly write when the air conditioner comes one.

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The Spammer as a Work of Fiction

Posted on May 16, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Writer-Tools, writing, Writing-Exercises, Writing-Tools | Tags: , , , , |

At some point, someone will start writing stories about spammers and trolls and other internet monsters and hobgoblins.

With a bit of ingenuity, they can be interesting characters. After all, as a writer you can paint them in any way you want. Fiction presents a canvas in which you can use broad strokes to produce the picture that you desire.

Imagine a spammers’ club. What picture of words would you paint?

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Breaks Are Dangerous

Posted on May 14, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Opinions, Resistance, Staying-With-It, writing, Writing-Exercises, Writing-Tools | Tags: , , , , |

Breaks are dangerous. The inevitable emergency or demanding situation calls, and your writing efforts cease. One day turns into two, and two turns into three.

Adapting an old saying, supposedly a Chinese saying about drinking alcohol, to writing “breaks”:

  • Writer takes a day off.
  • Day off takes a day off.
  • Day off takes a writer.
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When Your Inner Dog Won’t Bark Back

Posted on May 13, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Resistance, Staying-With-It, writing, Writing-Exercises, Writing-Tools | Tags: , , , , , |

Hemingway is reputed to have said “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

 

Now, typewriters are passe, and we have desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets (electronic), and cellular telephones with micro-blogging tools such as Twitter. Shouldn’t writing be easy?

 

 

But sometimes when you talk to your Inner Dog your Inner Dog won’t bark back. Looking at you in silence, not even a whimper emerges. What to do?

 

 

Maybe this is the moment to take a break.

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Emitting Words

Posted on May 12, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Resistance, Staying-With-It, Writing-Exercises, Writing-Tools | Tags: , , |

Some days, all you can do is emit words. Your daily writing task looms. It is an exercise, like athletes lifting weights or stretching. And, you know you must do your exercise.

But no words and no brilliant ideas seem to emerge. On these days, you must emit words. And, you can emit anything. It can be gobbledygook, randomness. If you are lucky, you can string it together into sentences. And, you might even string those together into paragraphs. Asking anything more than that can be too much. The job, on these days, is to emit words.

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Working with the Absent Self

Posted on May 3, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Writer-Tools, writing, Writing-Exercises, Writing-Tools | Tags: , , , , , , |

On the Writer Block blog, a wonderful piece was written about working with the absent antagonist.

Consider writing a piece, or several pieces, in which you work with the absent self. In this piece, you write about what people do, and say, when you are not present. What do they say about you? Or, do they think about you at all? Perhaps you are the center of your universe, but you are not the center of theirs.

What happens to the players in the drama of your life when you remove yourself from the equation? Are you as missed as you think you might be?

On the other hand, whose people do you touch that you tend not to notice. What about the person at the post office or people at the shops you frequent? If you were to move 1000 miles away, would your life or theirs be affected in some subtle way.

What happens when you write about your life, working with the absent self?

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