Tuesday Tip

Standard

tip#1Saturday, I encouraged you to write even when you don’t feel like it, but I didn’t explain how exactly. It’s easier said than done, and there isn’t one answer. There are more than one ways to start a fire.

Identify why you don’t feel like writing. For some of you it will be easy to pinpoint the cause.

  1. You just don’t know what to write
  2.  You had a bad day at work
  3.  You had a fight with a spouse, sibling, or parent
  4. You are experiencing a loss or illness.

While it would be nice to put writing on hold until all your problems sort themselves out, you have to keep going. You do have to face your problems, but writing can be the perfect distraction from the things distracting you from writing. I know that sounds like a tongue twister, doesn’t it.

Outline

To get back into writing, start with an outline. You can outline the entire book, a chapter, or just what is going to happen in the scene you need to write.

Example: Buttercup goes on a horse ride and encounters three strangers on the road claiming to be lost circus performers.

I can hear your collective groans. I know a lot of people hate outlining. If you don’t like to outline, just call it summarizing. Same thing really.

Get some rest

It’s hard enough writing when you don’t feel like it. Now try forcing the words with no energy. If the thought of writing with no motivation makes you want to lie down and take a nap, go right ahead. Take a nap or a quick break. Once you’re recharged, get back to it.

Skip to the good parts

Someone once told me I had to watch “Brokeback Mountain.” I didn’t feel like watching it, so I skipped to the good parts. You know which parts I’m talking about. Don’t make me go into detail. It was a long movie, and I was just curious to see how Hollywood was going to pull that off. So I watched, collectively, about twenty minutes of the movie.

Sometimes, I feel this way about my own writing. I don’t want to write a particular scene because it’s boring. You can identify, I’m sure. Maybe you don’t want to write at all; perhaps it’s just the scene you are working on.

I prefer to write linearly from the beginning to the end. This is also how I eat cake and pizza. I start at one end and work my way back. Some people like to eat the icing-covered edge first or the crust of the pizza. They may even eat the bubble out of the center or scrape the icing off the top. This is how some people write. Feel free to skip to a scene you could feel motivated to write.

Play a movie or music

Whether it’s your inspiration, background noise, or the soundtrack to your novel, a movie or music can help you write. I like Pandora and YouTube. I created a separate playlist for each character.

Read to write

Reading can be very relaxing, inspirational, and motivating. A good habit to start: Read before you write. Everyday, I read ten minutes before I start writing.

Write

That’s right, just write. The very act of writing will help your writing flow. Be prepared to write utter crap. Be prepared to only write a hundred words.

There are numerous other ways to force yourself to write. Force is such an ugly word. How about motivate. Do what works for you. You must write. Remember you can’t wait for things to get better, for more time, or for more motivation. If you wait, it may never happen.

You, that’s right, you, staring at your computer screen. You’re reading this blog, you’re on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, IWasteSoMuchTime.com. Close the extra browsers, like or comment below, and then get back to writing, right now.

Beware Bad Covers

Standard

We’re taught at a young age not to judge a person based on their appearance or a book by its cover. I hate to admit, when it comes to men and books, I prefer the ones with good faces. It’s not that I wouldn’t date an ugly man or read an ugly book, but I’m more drawn to the ones that are appealing. Before you judge me or worse, unfollow me, ask yourself, have you ever judged a book because of an ugly cover? What about a reader or an author? Do you think that people who read ugly books have bad taste, or that authors who write books with bad covers are bad writers?

Look, I’m sure the ugly books are full of personality, but I just don’t notice them because of their competition. I’ll admit I’ve picked up some books based on cover alone: “The Prince of Thorns” series, for example.

Are we too quick to defend ugly books? Is a bad book cover ever indicative of a bad book. The long and short of it is YES. A bad cover could be the result of an author cutting cost. If they cut corners on the cover, they most likely cut corners on rewrites and editing as well. In that case, what you see is what you get. Not to say there aren’t writers who cut corners on everything BUT the cover, thus tricking you into buying their book only to discover that it has all the quality of a cheap chocolate bar: pretty foil wrapping on the outside, waxy plastic-tasting chocolate on the inside.

Before you brand me as a book bigot, I’ve read some ugly books. In middleschool I read “Kris’s War” which was about a resistance group in Denmark during the second World War. It was a great book, but the cover was hideous. When I read it, I held it low so people would not see because it looked like a cheezy sci fi from the 70’s. Anyone who saw it made a face or a comment. They asked “What are you reading?” in the same tone one might say “Dear God, what is that thing!”

Just to prove I’m not biased, I’m currently reading another book with a bad cover (bad is a generous word). Terry Pratchett’s books don’t typically have great covers to start with; however, “Guards, Guards” has got to be the worst. It’s too colorful and confusing, and the characters look terrible (I don’t even know which characters they are supposed to be).

While we’re on the topic of bad covers, don’t underestimate the power of a bad title. For example, what automatically comes to mind when you read “Cooking with Pooh.” I hope it was the Disney character.

What’s the worst cover you’ve ever seen? Hopefully it’s not the cover of your own book. Here are a few I found on the web or (for shame) on my bookshelf.

Every book in the “Wheel of Time” series. Sorry, Robert Jordan.

This is why I hid this book from the light of day: I hate covers with floating heads.

time-ninja-cover1 paperbackyes paperback10 paperback07 hwn_merlinsr guards-guards-2 dsc03783 glad be      bad-book-cover-design-example