Don’t tell people about your story!
I can’t remember where I read this one, but it made me stop and think, and go ‘oh.’ The reason it did this, is that it makes so much sense to me, it actually helped with my motivation tenfold. The theory behind this is, that if you tell people your story, you become less motivated to tell it on paper. I do this so much, get a fantastic story idea; I get so excited that I can’t keep it too myself, so I end up whipping it out in every conversation that I have. Much to the annoyance of my close family and friends. I used to do anything to bring my book up into conversation with someone, to wait, grinning at them for them to say,
“So Kate, what’s this story about?” Often, with that, a much needed look of interest crosses their face; the one we writers crave to see, only for me to rant away by saying,
“Well, now let me tell you!” and off I would go rambling away all the plot points and character development, I could muster into one conversation.
The thing is though, it did make me stop writing, because I had already told my story, and got the satisfaction of someone saying it was enjoyable. Suddenly the content became boring because I had already listened to myself tell it, over and over and over again.
I have started doing the opposite, where instead of blurting it all out I keep it rather simple, like a one sentence summary, for example: A girl, accidentally involved in a murder investigation, tries to fight her deteriorating mental health, to the point she is unbreakably tied to the victim.
This is a thrown together way I tell people about my story, to which I get lots of, oos are ahhs, when I am asked to elaborate, I simply say, you will have to read it when I am finished.
There are two people in my life that I slip chapters to as I finish them, these people are important people, but they mainly just read it and tell me if they can follow it. I ask them to say no more, reason being, I want to get a first draft done before editing it. It won’t save me time to edit it now, I find it more distracting than anything else. They both make notes and keep them to one side so when I’m finished writing I have some pointers.
Listen to music to set the mood of your writing
So this one is easy, I think most writers do this, so if you don’t you are missing out! This is something I value irrefutably, but I try to not put as much effort into organising a writing playlist as I used to, it took me so much time; I could spend days and days procrastinating by making playlists. So now I do something different, I don’t have a writer’s playlist! Which I’m sure many of you have, I have actually found that I put on a random playlist, of music that generally is around the mood I want to establish in the writing. I don’t know what songs are coming next some of them I have never heard before; the great thing about this is it gives my writing a vibrancy of tones, as I subconsciously write to the beat and feeling of each song.
I try to steer away from picking the same playlists all the time, because I like the random effect it has on my writing. I know writers all have different ways of listening to, and visualising the text they are working on. Some seem to see it in their heads like a film, where as others hear it as if it were an audiobook or on the radio. I see everything like a film is playing out, so when I hear music it adds to the scene and I start to depict the emotions and mood much easier.
My platform for listening to music is YouTube, I’m not actually sure how many people do this, most people I talk to seem to use Spotify, for some reason I have never been able to get on with it. I like YouTube because I find it really easy to search for what I need. For example if I need indie or electronica (or even dubstep or drum and bass) songs, I listen to channels that specify in that genre of music. In terms of indie, I tend to listen to an Alex Rainbird playlists, for a bit of everything, Suicide Sheep, if I want some music without words I like Lucas King. There are plenty of others but I would say these are the main channels that I use.
More likely than not I am sure I’m going to get loads of you thinking ‘she can get any of that on Spotify’. Yes I know I more than likely can, but I don’t want to, I like YouTube! (My friends are repeatedly telling me to use Spotify, to the point it’s now principal that I don’t.)
Extra motivational tip:
Read your work out loud to yourself (or your dog or cat). Sometimes if I am stuck, and can’t get in the mood to write, I’ll read a chapter out loud. It gets me back into the swing of things, I can hear how people talk (sometimes I may or may not imitate their voices,) It really helps especially if my conversations sound a bit robotic, if I read them out loud to myself, I can hear how it sounds and decide if my characters are acting like normal people, or robotic imaginings. To listen to your own story sometimes surprises you too, sometimes you don’t actually realise how good you are at writing, it is a huge self-esteem boost when you realise you can write a book, well, if you try.
So thank you for reading, if I sound boastful and you feel you’re lagging behind me, you really aren’t, I have managed all of 300 words in February (so far) taking my word count up to 27,500, so far. I am planning to get back on it, I’ve been spending a lot more time recently focusing on how to improve my blog (starting with regular updates). Hopefully at some point this year I will also become self-hosted and have a fancy webpage (my brother in law is creating on for me). So I will be moving forward with the book, more over February as I find more of a rhythm.
All photography by Victoria Langford (please check her out she is a great friend of mine)