There is so much advice online for authors. The vast majority of it always seems to be focused on neurotypical authors. It’s something I’ve always found to be quite frustrating.
Much of that advice is often something that is no help to me at all. In fact, I’ve usually found it can be detrimental to my writing process. So I thought I’d share a few things that I’ve found work for me.
I’m not an expert in anything aside from my own process.
1. If writing blog posts feels like too much? Do bullet points.
2. Make a daily to-do lists and if even one thing is crossed off–that’s a win.
3. Do creative work in the morning. I seem to be at my most creative early in the day. Whatever your ‘on’ time is, do the writing stuff then.
4. If editing is causing anxiety, do one edit/one page/fix one issue per day until it’s done.
5. Using Pomodoro Study With Me videos as a way to get things done when I’m struggling to focus:
6. If emails are stressing me out, I close out my inbox. I’ve found the majority of emails can wait. The world doesn’t end if I can’t respond immediately.
7. Boundaries matter.
8. No matter what ‘all the experts’ say. I have to find a way to make social media work for me.
9. Some days, I just can’t write. There’s no shame in taking a break.
It’s been a while since I’ve played with a new set of characters. I’ve been writing series for so long. Just bouncing from one longish series to the next. And I love all those characters, but I’m ready to discover new ones.
One of the first things I always do when creating a new character is find a visual reference. I’m not brilliant an creating an image in my mind. Some people are visual, I am not.
I know it when I see it.
But I have to see it.
So usually, I start by scanning Pinterest or maybe I’ve already seen someone on a TV show or movie or even an AD that has a vibe.
And that’s usually where the character begins to develop.
Nine times out of ten. My characters come face first. Name second. Motts is one of the rare examples of a character whose name came to me first.
I always knew she was going to be Pineapple Mottley.
But aside from Motts, it’s usually face then name.
Once I’ve figured out the face of the character, I begin building out who they are. Their interests. Their personality. I have a list of questions that fill out with a whole host of details about them from what movies they watch to what their favourite curse words are.
The goal for me is to be able to start the first chapter of my WIP fairly confident in who the character is.
The ones I’ve been using are technically ‘study with me’ videos. But they work great for writing as well. I’ve also been trying to make sure I get up and stretch during the break time. I’m terrible at sitting for long periods without moving around.
I don’t remember what my word for 2020 was. Progress? It might’ve been ‘progress’. In all honesty, whatever it was, it’s become exhaustion.
Everything lately feels exhausting.
The number of conversations I’ve had with friends about waking up tired. It’s a common thread everyone seems to be experiencing. I keep reminding myself how we’re experiencing a globally traumatic and stressful event.
It would be more shocking if we weren’t having some level of exhaustion.
Stress wears you out.
Through the pandemic, I’ve dealt with:
– Missing days. Seriously. Has anyone else just lost track of what day it and then felt like you’ve completely Missed one of them?
– Weird dreams. I am the queen of the odd dream but since the pandemic, they’ve been extra strange.
– Increased anxiety and exhaustion.
– A perpetual emotional rollercoaster.
How I’m trying to deal with it?
Being kinder to myself. Indulging in video games and reading. Accepting that some days are just not going to be productive ones.
No matter what all those ‘goal gurus’ claim. In the face of fear and anxiety, sometimes you don’t need to push through. Some days, you have to find a way to relax.