Falling Behind

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing.

I fell behind this week. Due to a bad head cold, I spent two days in bed and even missed work on Monday. Sometimes life gets in the way, causing us to stop everything. So I fell behind in my writing and this is the first bit I’ve done so far this week. But, I’ve decided to use it to write. Let me explain.

What do you do if you fall behind? Do you have a positive outlook or do you go along with your negativity? Do you let that negativity fester or do you attempt to get it out? One of the best things to write about is our emotions. How we react to and how we feel about something says a great deal about the kind of person we are. And that helps us with our writing.

Often times, we can get stuck on a character (if we’re fiction writers) or an theme (non-fiction) and end up leaving that manuscript aside. But, when we’re falling behind due to a life event outside of our writing, that event can be the very thing that puts us back on track.

Write down how you feel when you’ve lagged behind. Give details and try to answer the Five W’s – Who, what, when where and why. Not only can you gain personal insight through this exercise, you can also use it when you’re building a character in a story. For non-fiction writers, you can use this as an exercise in getting the junk out so that you can have access to your theme. Then go back to your previous work-in-progress.

Remember that everything you go through can be used in your writing. Whether you’re developing a character or writing about life events. If you fall behind, use your personal experiences to catch you up and get back on track.

Happy Writing!

Taking on too much

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post is about taking on too much. Even if you are at the beginning of your writing journey, you can take on too much and be easily overwhelmed.

I spent Easter Sunday in City Island with my father, his girlfriend and my son. I was so excited about going because it had been years since I had been there. I spent many weekend afternoons there with my parents as a child and the magic of it hasn’t changed. And this time I was able to share it with my son.

Well, my eyes feasted themselves on a dozen fried shrimp, half a dozen raw clams and fries. Chasing all of that with a pina colada, I knew that I should’ve stopped halfway. I was shocked that I could walk back to the car as stuffed as I was. After running around at a local park, I was still stuffed, but not so much that I couldn’t add a strawberry ice cream sundae. See where I’m going with this Freshman Writers?

Instead of slowing down and really gauging how much I could take on (in this case – food), I kept going and going. Last night, I felt the effects of my chowdown and was sick to my stomach. It was a late lunch so I skipped dinner. Obviously, I skipped dinner.

The lesson here Freshman Writers is to see what is ahead of you, look at what you have on your plate right now and analyze what you can and cannot do. This same concept works for many situations, but especially for writers.

I recently had to let go of a possible writing job because I saw that I could not do the work. After all, with a full time job, part time job, my son and other responsibilities I have, there was no way that I could do the tasks outlined. So I let it go. It was hard because it was a decent paying job with opportunities for growth, but it wasn’t for me.

Freshman Writers, learn to see what you are capable of doing and how much time you have to devote to it. Writing can be a career; you just have to plan it out. And when you can’t, your best bet is to slow down, regroup and start over.

Happy Writing!

Pushing Through

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post piggy backs off of last week’s editorial about discipline.

I find myself struggling to find a groove with a new writing project. I always feel lost when I start something new until I find a rhythm that works for me. When talking about this with a friend, he told me to “push through” until I find that groove I’m looking for.

The writing process isn’t pretty, dainty or sunshine all the time. The same way we can’t keep ourselves from writing when the muse hits with inspiration, the exact opposite of that can be true. Especially for Freshman Writers like you.

We tend to want things now and forget that we have to invest. We writers have to work at writing in order to see the results we want. And sometimes that work requires us to push through challenges that keep us from writing. Whether it’s jumping into a new project (like the one I’m in) or trying to find your way to scoring that byline. You, Freshman Writers will have to push through those barriers that keep you from writing such as procrastination, boredom, or lack of confidence.

What are some ways that you push through Freshman Writers?

Happy Writing!

Having Faith

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing.

One of the challenges faced by writers of all levels is having faith in one’s ability to write well. We get stuck in “stinkin’ thinkin'” where we reflect on all the negatives of our work. “I can’t do this.” “Why would anyone want to read my article?” “This has already been done.”  I bet you’ve said one or all of these to yourself. I have.

There have been times when I’ve felt that my writing is not good enough; that no one would want to read what I have to share. How do you (and I) grow to have faith in yourself?

1. Think about compliments you’ve received. I kept my school papers and projects with teacher’s positive comments on them. When I need a boost, I read over them and see how good my writing is.

2. Write down all of your good qualities. Sometimes making a list of my positive qualities helps me see that I can do this writing thing. If you can’t think of any, ask your friends and family to let you know what are your best qualities.

3. Visualize yourself as a writer. Part of the reason some writers do not believe in their work is because they do not see themselves as writers. It took me a long time to say “I am a writer” out loud. I came to see myself as a writer after friends and family told me that they saw me as a writer. The faith that they had for me helped me have faith in myself.

4. Read books about it. I found that reading about other writers with the same problem, lack of faith in one’s writing, allowed me to acknowledge my fears and move past them. Two books that I recommend are The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear and Faith of a Writer.  The first book reviews all the things that keep us from writing. The second is one writer’s look at her own writing fears and faith in herself as a writer.

Having faith in yourself will be a challenge that you will face at one time or another. Several times if you’re anything like me. Hopefully these tips and books will help you see what is already there…That you have the tools you need to be a great writer.

Happy Writing!

Overwhelmed?

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post is about being overwhelmed and ways to overcome it.

All of us get overwhelmed from time to time. Whether it comes from family responsibilities, work or writing. We can fall behind due to different factors such as emergencies, illness, etc. How are some ways you can deal with this?

1. Plan. The first step to combatting the overwhelming feeling is to plan effectively. Create a writing plan that works around your schedule and utilizes your peak writing times. For me, that is in the mornings. When I get up early to write, I feel that my day has started off on the right foot. I have my writing time scheduled in my planner and it works well for me. Find what plan works for you.

2. Take it slow. Sometimes Freshman Writers want to rush through the writing process to get published. This does not work. By taking your time to study your writing process, you can better gauge how much work you can or cannot take on. You can also see how much writing you can do and change your goals to reflect your writing speed.

3. Take care of yourself. Eat right, get enough rest and schedule time to have fun. Being overwhelmed can be a result of too much work and no fun. Schedule time to relax and recharge your batteries regularly.

Hopefully, these tips will help you meet your goals and keep from being overwhelmed. Let me know how they work for you. Happy Writing!

Slowing Down

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing.

Today’s post is about slowing down. Writers often get ahead of themselves by rushing through. Rushing to get your work published can lead you to mistakes and poorly written work. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about taking your time to write.

I took my own advice and you can read about it here. As writers, we need to slow down and find what works for us. We have to use tools and strategies to produce our best writing.

If your feel hurried, your work will show it. Slowing down does not mean the work does not get finished, it means that you take the time to examine the steps you take to produce great writing. How can you slow down, Freshman Writers?

1. Carefully review writer’s guidelines. Take apart the requirements for the writing project.

2. Make sure to give yourself breaks whenever you feel overwhelmed or rushed.

3. Ask a writer pal for help. Go to online forums or call a friend if you need advice.

4. Give yourself plenty of time to include breaks. Whether you need a day or two or (like me) you need a week to focus on other tasks.

5. Know your limitations. I get scared when I take on a new project and without the extra time, I make mistakes. My limitation is rushing myself.

Hopefully, these tips will help you when you need to focus on your writing. To produce your best work, you need to know yourself. Happy Writing!

Safety & Security

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s editorial is about safety and security.

My Twitter account was hijacked yesterday afternoon. I found out when my online pals informed me that they received several naughty direct messages. I was shocked by it, but made the necessary changes to my account.

Since then, I’ve been wary of even sending out tweets. All of my pals were understanding of this, but I apologized anyway. What did I learn from the experience? That I need to make sure to change my password on a regular basis. I’ve been on Twitter for a year and a half. Even still, I had the same password.

While I’m discussing passwords here, Freshman Writers, be sure to update your spyware and security options to keep nasty hackers (like the one who hijacked my account) out of your hair.

Make sure to keep your passwords in a secure place and don’t share them with anyone. Common sense I know, but things happen. Also, be sure to have a spyware program that will check all any items downloaded on your computer. This way, you’ll keep your computer (and your writing) safe from viruses as well.

One last tip, don’t download anything from unknown emails or sites. If you don’t recognize the email address or your computer detects something strange on a website, avoid downloading. You’ll be thankful that you did.

Happy Writing!

Utilizing your energy

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing.

Today’s post is about using your energy to write. I found that when I put on my headphones and listen to inspirational music, I really am charged and can focus on writing.  Freshman writers often have a difficult time figuring out how to find time to write.

Not all writers have a specific peak writing period. Some writers can focus best in the morning, while others are night writers. Lol. Still others are grazers and write in short spurts throughout the day. Other writers are weekend warriors and write during days off from a 9-5 gig. In her book “Time to Write,” Kelly L. Stone writes about how writers can find writing time no matter what kind of schedule or responsibilities they may have.  Stone interviewed 100 writers to get their input on how they and you Freshman Writers can find the time to write and get things done.   

When is your peak writing time? What helps you get the most out of your writing time? How do you get yourself into the groove to write? However you may answer, you can get insight as to your peak writing times and use that to get as much writing done as possible.

Happy Writing!

Getting back to basics

Hiya Freshman Writers! I hope this finds you well and writing.

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. I do apologize for it. I’ve been in a severe writing funk that has lasted nearly two months. I’ve been thinking about how writers deal with writing funks/blocks/etc. And here’s what I came up with. What CAN you do to get out of a funk? Get back to basics.

Get back to the simplicities of being a writer. It sounds simple, but it isn’t. Or is it? You write therefore you are a writer. Sometimes we writers forget that. We forget to remind ourselves what we’re in this for. We forget our writing spirit.

Writers always need to take a break from writing and nurture their writing spirit. Its that energy inside of you that drives you; compels you to write. Whether it’s taking a class, reading a writing book or going on a writer’s retreat, there is always the need to get back to the reasons why you started writing in the first place. So here are some questions to get you thinking:

1. When did you start writing?

2. Why did you start writing?

3. What part of the writing process gets you most excited?

4. How do you keep up your writing spirit?

5. What do you think is most challenging about writing? The writing life? Being a writer?

I hope these questions will help you. These are the ones I’ve been asking myself during my hiatus. While I’ve answered some, others remain unanswered. I’m still evaluating; still meditating on it. Let me know what has been working for you. 🙂

Take care and happy writing!

What are you reading?

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and reading today. Yes, reading not writing. So much of the writer’s life is about the act of writing; learning about writing; getting better at writing. Reading is needed, too.

Not just for enterntainment, but to learn more about the writing process. Reading is fun and can help you Freshman Writers get back on track to writing.

When writers get into a slump or get stuck, reading can get you out of it. For the last couple of weeks or so, I’ve been pretty stuck. I haven’t been able to write articles and as you’ve noticed, I haven’t been posting here much either.

So, when I went to the bookstore to pick up a gift for a friend, I decided to get myself some reading material. I recently saw the commercial for the movie “The Time-Traveler’s Wife” and got the book. So far, a great read. I know that it is not my usual arena of writing (fiction), but I felt the need to escape a bit. Which is probably what the author hoped for, to help readers escape and fall into her story.

I hope to write books like this one day. Books that grab you by the throat and don’t let go until the story is over. Someday. 🙂

So Freshman Writers – what are you reading today?