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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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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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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Talking to Your Inner Dog

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

More than a few writers who are pet owners can tell you that they find inspiration in “conversations” that they have with their dogs (or cats or….)

But, what if you do not have a pet? Maybe you should consider having a conversation with your inner dog.

Preposterous ideas sometimes are the best ones for finding the creativity you need to engender a new work. What would your inner dog be like? Is it a poodle or a doberman? Is that really the kind of inner dog that you want?

And, once it is here, what would you say to it? If it could talk back, what would it say to you?

(Caveat: We have no affiliation of any kind with “Inner Dog TV” on Youtube.)

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Emotion Driven Writing

Posted on April 30, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Resistance, writing, Writing-Exercises | Tags: , , , , , , |

Extreme emotional states do not seem like good times for writing, but they can be the very best if you can focus yourself long enough to do it. Even the smallest snippets, maybe only a sentence or a phrase, can be a powerful seed for later development.

Whether you use a notepad or a word processor, learning to capture words in these moments can not only be healing but also be a source of inspiration for what may be some of your best work!

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Building Characters by Building a Secret Identity

Posted on April 29, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, writing, Writing-Exercises | Tags: , , , , |

Having trouble building characters for your fiction? Consider building a secret identity.

Consider what would happen if you needed to build a secret identity. How would you build your own witness protection program? Where would you move? Make a list of candidates of places to live, and research them. Make certain to pick at least a few places you have never lived, and consider somewhere like Lincoln, Nebraska instead of New York City.

Then consider what kind of person you would become if you moved there. If you have the time and money to do it, after you have written your preliminary character sketch, visit one of the places where you have never been. Take a camera and a notepad. Take pictures and make notes. Is it really the way you envisioned?

Who would you be in this new place? Once you can answer this, you may find you have new insights on how to build characters.

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Vocabulary Building

Posted on April 20, 2013. Filed under: Blogging, Writing-Exercises | Tags: , , , , , , |

A daily writing exercise can be a way to work on vocabulary building. Merriam-Webster online has a “Word of the Day” link. Here is another similar link. And here is one more.

For April 15th, from each of those sites come three words: “heinous,” “quell,” and “fashion.” One trick is to use all three in a sentence together:

Quell the heinous fashion: be true to yourself.

Or, alternatively:

Quell the fashion of the heinous: refuse to lower your standards.

I will leave the exercise to my readers to find a way to craft these words into poetry.

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Resistance

Posted on April 5, 2013. Filed under: Resistance, Staying-With-It, writing, Writing-Exercises | Tags: , , , , , |

Nanowrimo is not anywhere near, and I am focusing on a variant of the “morning pages” exercise of “The Artists Way.” I am writing 1000 Words a Day in the morning, and have been doing this for a few weeks.

At this point, I can say that what really stands out is what Julia Cameron calls “resistance.” In particular, this means the various weird things that happen to block the writing process. I am not talking about writer’s block in the ordinary sense where someone has trouble getting started.

While writer’s block can be part of “resistance,” often it is physical, such as suddenly feeling sleepy, or external, such as a dog getting into the trash precisely at the moment that you start to write.

Whatever it is, Julia Cameron has nailed down an important concept with her idea of resistance.

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D-Factor and Story Ideas

Posted on September 27, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

You have heard me write about d-factor before, and I will probably write about it again.  I discovered it when trying to quit smoking.  I do not know how it works, but I know it is “real” though intangible.

D-Factor, or “disruption factor,” shows up whenever I am trying to make a favorable change (I first recognized it years ago when I quit smoking) or am taking on an important new project.  Lately, I have been making a number of important changes, so it has been showing itself at a record rate.

The idea occurred to me that D-Factor could serve as a source of both story ideas and snippets to use in a story.  So, I think I will attempt to find some way to capture them (I say “attempt” because capturing D-Factor would be an important major project and, therefore, D-Factor would attack that).

So, I do not know where this will go, but I think I will give it a shot.

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