Contributed by Weegee Sachtjen
"Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any." – Orson Scott Card
It's been around for over 400 years, but I recently stumbled upon a word that I think embodies the creative writing process to a "T".
form an idea of; imagine or conceive.
form ideas; think.
Ideate comes from the Greek verb, idein, which means to see. The sight-insight connection of the idea and ideal comes from the clever Greek philosopher Plato.
He believed that a true philosopher can see the authentic nature of things and see their true form, their ideal form.
A friend of mine once said that we write, "not to explain the world but to explore it."
Writing is about imagining what could be between uncommon events. It's about seeing a vague outline of drama in the everyday interactions between neighbours. It is finding the common denominator in our lives.
It takes a bit of curiosity. A sense of wonder. An inquisitive mind.
It takes looking beneath our surface layers to our true form, our ideal form.
And writing from there.
"Learn as much by writing as by reading." Lord Acton
Contributed by Weegee Sachtjen
A strange thing happens when the temperature starts to warm. As the days get longer and brighter, I find it harder to focus on word counts and synonyms. Bird songs and floral scents drift through my office like a siren’s call, forcing a mental block on dialogue creation.
In short, summer has a way of distracting me as a writer. I feel that while there is more sunlight in my days, I am spending less time at the keyboard.
I hope you are better disciplined than me—that you are able to power through your character development without heeding to the subtle lure of summer. If this is you, I am jealous.
For those who cave to temptation and abandon your work-in-progress for a daily dose of vitamin D, I have come up with a few tips to help us through the summertime writing blues:
1) Create a Summer Writing Ritual
Do you have a process or ritual that begins your writing segment of the day? Maybe it is listening to music. Perhaps it is an intricate step-by-step procedure that unlocks your muse. During the summer months, change it up. Bring summer into the ritual. Play Sudoku outside in the sun’s rays before disappearing into your office for your daily writing frenzy. Don’t avoid summer. Incorporate it.
2) Reward System
I believe in knocking out my writing (or chores) and then coasting for the rest of the day. It is easier for me to “get ‘er done” in the morning and enjoy what summer has to offer in the afternoon. I consider it my reward for a word count well done. Use summer to motivate you to power through your daily writing.
3) Walk It Out
Writers write even when they aren’t at the keyboard. Get out. Take a walk. Soak in the sounds of summer for twenty minutes. By the time you are back to your computer, you will be ready to write.
4) Writers’ Day Out
It’s easy to want to stay inside and pour out your thoughts during winter when the temps are low and the ambiance is dreary. Summer injects colour into our world. People still rush about but more leisurely. Take the time to enjoy it. Get out once a week for a peek at the world and all the inspiration it has to offer. An intentionally planned day out can actually help keep you focused for the rest of the week.
5) Enjoy It
Sure, summer reduces our word counts by way of vacations, visiting friends and patio evenings. But it also brings the counter-balance to our winter hibernations. It is how we connect with others and even ourselves. Take the time to enjoy it.
Contributed by Weegee Sachtjen
It’s Friday night and you’ve just arrived at a kicking cocktail party. As you wander through the crowd, you see faces you recognize. Friends, family, coworkers and even your three best friends from second grade are there. Each one of them brought a few of their associates, former sig others and their 2.3 children.
The music is loud but you are able to catch snippets of people talking about the kitten who was afraid of snow, the pasta they ordered from the new Italian restaurant down the road and the Sharpie picture their four year old drew on the bathroom wall. There are even a few heated political debates.
Standing in the middle of the room, you say the words you have been waiting to say for years: “My first book is finished and is now available for purchase.”
A few of the people near you look up from their discussion on the X-Files series reboot to give you a “thumbs up” sign. Your Aunt Jan on your momma’s side gives you a smiley face.
Not the response you were looking for, you climb on to the table and cup your hands around your mouth and shout, “I wrote a book. It’s awesome. Read it.”
“Cool,” your second cousin twice removed says as he pushes his way toward what looks like a bowl made out of bacon. You notice a few more thumbs up. Someone you don’t know gives you a nod.
Sound like a nightmare way to spend a Friday night? Unfortunately, this is every day for a self-published author trying to promote themselves or their new novel.
I know you know the importance of engaging the audience via social media, Amazon, Goodreads, blogs and websites. But where do you begin? Here are three tips to get you started:
Pick the Platform You Like Using
Most authors feel they have to be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Aunt Jan’s Kitty Corner Forum. While every platform offers you a different audience, it will drain you. The key here is to know that you don’t have to be on ALL OF THEM. Dig Facebook? Awesome. Love tweeting? #Fantastic. Pick the one YOU like and feel most comfortable using. If you like doing it, you will do it.
Share the Process
Start early and small. Create an “author account” and invite friends and family to like it. Talk about the writing process. Share your highs and lows on your chosen platform, even if it is only to Aunt Jan on your momma’s side. Gradually, you will build up a loyal fan base that is as eager to hear “I wrote a book” as you are to say it. They will hear you over the kitten videos and bacon bowls.
Know Your Strengths
Knowing what it is you are good at will help determine HOW you want to market your book. Some people love interacting with others at book readings, signings, festivals and launch parties. Other people express themselves better from behind a screen—start a blog, follow and comment on other blogs, and write press releases. Focus on what you do well and enjoy it. Your self-published promotion will be less Friday freakshow and more comfortable for everyone.
See you at the next mixer!
Contributed by: Weegee Sachtjen
What makes you a writer?
Some feel you aren’t a writer until you are paid for your craft. Others feel it comes down to the end result of being published.
The truth of it is, writing is not a paycheck or a title. It’s an obsession.
You’re a writer because you feel a compulsion to explore the world around you. You’re a writer because you feel the overwhelming need to share the way your best friend laughs when she is uncomfortable, the way your neighbour has to check the front door four times before leaving for work or that dark side buried in the heart of all of us.
You’re a writer because you obsess over dialogue while walking the dog. You mentally rephrase sentences to make them concise, clear and fierce. You are a writer because you can recreate any memory into a short story in vivid detail.
You’re a writer because it is how you connect. You feel the need to output your viewpoint as a way of processing the world around you. You write to explain the “whys” of the world. You write to say “me too” to others who may be fighting the same struggle.
Lastly, you’re a writer because you can’t stop. You may have every reason to throw in the towel. You could have a stack of rejection letters and a negative bank account but you will still be driven to continue to write.
You’re a writer not because you write. It’s because you HAVE to write.
Socialize With Us