I think I lost my imagination

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I’ve never written a children’s book before. I’ve always written stories about rebel teenagers going on magical adventures. I’ve written stories about college kids struggling with identity issues. But never a children’s book. I thought I wouldn’t be able to relate, that the plot would be too simple, too playful, too something.

But fast forward an odd number of years and two kids later and I find myself sitting on the floor reading a children’s book. In fact, I’ve probably read more children’s books these past few years than I have “adult” or YA novels. Now, I find myself engrossed in the pictures. I find myself varying the tone of my voice as I read aloud to the kids. I find myself asking them what’s going on in the picture. What do they see? What are the characters doing?

I guess it’s only right that I write a children’s book now.

But the thing is, I’m stuck. I wrote a few paragraphs the other day. Reading it now, I don’t like it. I want to delete it and start over. The characters are in my head. The basic plot is too. But I just can’t get the words out.

So, what do I do? Previously, I would just push forward and do what I do best: RAMBLE. Oh my, how I do love to ramble on and on and on.

I think what the problem is is that I feel a bit more restricted writing a children’s book, or even attempting to write on. Children’s books are shorter than an adult or YA novel. According to Google, children’s book are about 1000 pages. Only 1000 pages. I’ve written essays in college that were way longer than that. How am I supposed to be concise enough to write and get my point across in only 1000 pages? It seems impossible.

I think the only solution here is to just write. Just write. I shouldn’t worry about how long it is, or if there is too much detail. I should just write, get the story out, and then edit it later. I can shorten it in the rewriting/editing stage.

But another thing! I feel so much pressure. The only thing I’ve written lately are blog entries. I’ve barely written fiction. I think the last time I wrote fiction was Nanowrimo a few years ago.

So, I’m a bit rusty. I remember being in school and I would write pages upon pages of stories for English class. I used to just love dreaming and imagining the characters and plot. Sometimes I would let the characters run away from me. I used to be so proud to have an overactive imagination. Now, I don’t know where my imagination is. I feel like it ran away from me. How do I get it back?

When inspiration hits in the most unusual of places…

Today as I laid down in the bed, my daughter handed me this toy (picture above). I remember buying this for my daughter about two years ago at JC Penny. At the time I thought it was cute. I still think that it’s cute. What’s not to like? It’s a tiny lamb with giant spectacles and vivid sparkling green eyes. It’s wearing a blue blazer over a gray dress. At the time, I thought that it looked like a teacher. I even thought it would be an excellent prop for my online teaching.

But today, I glanced at it and I saw another use for it. I’m talking about the children’s book that’s still in my head. No, it hasn’t been written down yet. I made an attempt to write a few paragraphs. But then I deleted those paragraphs the next day. I wasn’t happy with that attempt.

But I think this stuffed animal — this toy — could be a character in my children’s book. I spent the next hour or so just imagining and thinking about it. It’s a writer. It has been stuck in this house for a long time when it encounters —-

I see it as a writer. As an old, spinster lady who loves cats. Okay, maybe that’s too much of a stereotype.

But the point is, I think I got my second main character! I was originally going to write about a group of mouse-sized people who functions as a family. But this will work much better. Less people for one. For another, I can develop this character better.

I will try to write again tonight while my baby boy is sleeping.

I just love ideas that come to you randomly from the most unexpected places and people.

5 Top Things You Must Do Before Sitting Down to Write a Book

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So, you’ve done it! You’ve decided that you want to write a book. You sit down at your desk, in front of your computer, fingers poised over the keyboard, but then you pause. You stop. You think. All you have is a wish, a want, and a dream. You want to create. You want to write a book. But that’s all.

Well, I have news for you ladies and gentlemen. It’s not enough to just want to write a book. You need something more. You can’t just want it. You’ve got to be prepared. After all it is when preparation meets good writing that a great book starts to take shape.

1–You Need a GREAT Idea

Perhaps the most important thing you need is a GREAT idea. You need inspiration. You need to activate that imagination. You need to dream. Dream of another world with people who have wants, needs, conflicts, all that stuff. Become a part of that world. Turn that GREAT idea into a world fueled by electrifying imagination.

2–You Need to Research

Once you have that GREAT idea, you need to do your research. If you are writing from the perspective of a cancer patient, it might be a good idea to jump on the internet and research cancer. Read books and articles about the doctors, patients, and their family members who have personally experienced this devastating tragedy. Literally put yourself into their shoes. Feel what it feels to be in that situation. Do what it takes to learn as much as possible about what you plan to write. After all, the best writers should always write what they know. Don’t speculate or guess. Fact check and fact check again. And then write with your emotions.

3–Get To Know the REAL MVP’s

Sit down and list the names of the characters, particularly the main characters. Who will be the main characters? Write a paragraph or a draw a diagram of their likes, dislikes, and personality? What do they like to do? What makes them angry? What do they behave the way they do? Get to know your characters the same way that you get to know a friend. After all, these characters, these people, will be in your head and out for the next three… six…nine months, or possibly several years. They will be like family to you. In fact, closer than family. So definitely take the time to get to know them. You won’t be sorry that you did!

4–Outlining

Your teachers have probably told you again and again the importance of outlining before writing that killer A+ essay. Well, writing a story or a novel is no different. It is just as important to write an awesome outline. It doesn’t have to be very detailed. Though the more detailed the better! But at least write down what you hope to write or cover in each chapter or section. Most importantly, write down where you hope to begin and where you hope for the characters to end up. Sometimes knowing where you are heading to can be very helpful. That way you are leading, or writing up, to the end. It can help to keep you on track so that you won’t deviate your plot too much throughout the writing process.

5–Write!

No, no, no, it’s not time to start writing the actual story or book yet. Instead take the time to write an epilogue or the last paragraph or chapter. Where do you hope the character(s) will be? What will they be like after journeying through the pages of your book? How much will they have changed? Will they still be alive? Will they be happy?


What do you do before writing a book or a short story?

It is all coming full circle

My baby boy.

I can’t remember the exact moment that I wanted to be a writer. I do know that my first short story happened when I was in fourth grade. It was about a little boy. I can’t remember the details now. But it was a very generic, less than one page, double-spaced story. It wasn’t very good.

But ultimately my interest in writing became more pronounced after reading books such as Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, The Baby-Sitters’ Club series, The Dear America Series, and, of course, Harry Potter. These were hands down my favorite books from the elementary to the middle school era. I loved these books for very different reasons.

I loved Anne Frank’s Diary because she really spoke to me at that age. I was a soon to be teenager who was trying to figure out my place in the world, like Anne Frank who was doing the same but in much, much more trying, difficult, devastating circumstances.

I loved The Baby-Sitters’ Club series as well as The Baby-Sitters’ Club Little Sisters series because these books were fun, engaging, and so relatable. I was able to either relate to Kristy and Mary-Ann and I wanted to be like artistic Claudia and sophisticated Stacy. I wanted to start a babysitters club like them, never mind the fact that I had no first hand experience with babies, being an only child.

And then there was the Dear America series. These books featured a fictional historical figure. I loved reading these books and learning about what had happened in America thousands of years ago from the point of views of girls like me. These books probably gave me my love of historical fiction.

These books were all very important to me and my childhood. I tried to emulate these books as I started to write longer stories than the short story I wrote at the tender age of eight or nine. I came to find that I really enjoyed it. I loved writing and getting lost in a story. It gave me the same satisfaction as reading a book. But the only difference was that with writing I was in control. I was the captain of this ship and I could steer it any way I chose.

But I’ve never written a children’s book. I’ve always written a YA book or short stories. I’ve always written books about teenagers and young adults and their families. But this time, at this point in my life, writing a children’s book seems fitting. It even seems fitting that I got my inspiration from my nearly seven month old baby boy.

It is all coming full circle now. And I love it.


If you are interested in the books mentioned above, please check them out here:

Perhaps This Will Be The One

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It was your typical, hot, muggy Florida day. So, the kids and I went to the pool to cool off. But it was when I was sitting on the steps in the pool, playing Barbies with my daughter, that I came up with a possible character for a short story or a children’s book. The character is inspired by my six month old son.

I don’t know if this idea has been done before. Maybe it has. Maybe it hasn’t. But I am a writer, and I need to write. I need to get my words out there in a printed medium for the world to see. Perhaps this will be the one.

It’s amazing what ideas you can get from such an ordinary day.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

What is Writing?

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Writing is an art. Like all forms of art, writing lets people express themselves. People can express their opinions, thoughts, and dreams. It is a release, the kind that expires and explodes after a long hard at work. It is what you do when there is nothing to do. It is like a companion that never goes away, but is there. Its very presence is even more important sometimes than the very act of it.

Ever since I was young, I always wanted to be a writer. I didn’t know if I was good at it. I didn’t know if I wanted to be a writer because people said I should. I wasn’t really good at drawing or painting, but wanted to be good at creating something, even if it’s with words.

Creating with words is such a beautiful thing. It can sometimes be as powerful as a tangible piece of art. Something that is created with words takes shape in the most powerful instrument of all: the mind. Anything that is created, shaped, and formed in the mind has got to be pretty influential. Anything that is then passed from mind to mind is mind blowing and breathtaking and just so amazing.

Writing allows us to share thoughts and opinions with others. Thanks to this blog, I can do just that. I can write without fear. I can write with courage on things that I like or feel passionate about. I can write to strengthen my own writing skills. I can write just for me. If other people read my words, then that’s just a bonus.

I’ve been feeling like I need to write a book. I’m 31. I thought I would have been published by now. But that’s not it. I want to write something and spread my message around to the world. But what can a left handed 31 year old multiracial/Hapa woman tell people? What valuable message can I share with the world? What kind of book can I write? Should I write fiction? Non-fiction? An autobiography or a memoir?

What is right for me at this stage? Or am I trying too hard?

These are the thoughts that are going through my mind.

What do you think? What should I write about? What do you like to write about? What message would you share with the world?

Writing is Magical

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Throughout the life of this blog, I’ve mentioned (time and again) that I love to write. I’ve told you about my experience participating in Nanowrimo. I’ve told you about how much I love to make-believe. And, believe me, writing is a big part of make believe.

But more than that, I enjoy the feeling that I get when I sit down in front of my laptop or my pen poised over paper as I prepare to write a word, a paragraph and the beginnings of a story. It’s a wonderful feeling of anticipation. I feel as if I am standing on the edge of a cliff about to jump without knowing what’s below.

Writing is the same way. When you write, you take risks. You start off with a single word, a single idea, or a short snippet of dialogue. This eventually grows larger as you write. It eventually fills out as you create a new world composed of an entirely unique set of characters and places.

And this all came about from a single word, a single idea, or a short snippet of dialogue. This is why writing is truly magical.

3 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

 

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We’ve all been there. You set aside time to write. You spend all day thinking about that moment when you can finally put your pen to paper, or your fingers to the keyboard, and write. You spend all day fantasizing about your main character, Lily. You wouldn’t dare to admit this in public but you often walk around pretending that you are Lily and adopting her mannerisms and habits. You let her take over your being, your essence, so that when you finally do sit down to write, you are disappointed that the words do not come.

You type her name, and then the next word, a verb. But then, you shake your head. You delete that last word. And then, you stare at the screen, at the blank, very white Word document. You can see the words that are there but they just won’t come. The words are stuck. You are stuck. How do you unblock yourself?

Well, my friend, I’ve been there. On more than one occasion. On several occasions, actually. And I’m here to tell you what do to get over writer’s block.

  1. Write. 

Okay, this is a given. But it is really important. Even when the words just won’t come, I recommend that you designate a time. It can be at 6:00 in the morning, before you head off to work. Or, it can be at 3:00 in the middle of the night. Choose a time that works for you. And then, open up your Word document, or Google Docs, or whatever you use. You don’t have to work on the same writing project everyday. Instead, I recommend that you mix  it up a little. Work on your main writing project every other day. And then, for the rest of the days, use a random writing prompt generator such as this one.

In fact, for the past week, I have been writing every night at 9:00 PM. For an entire hour. I choose a random writing prompt and then I copy and paste into a Google Doc. And then, I write. I admit, sometimes I’ll sit there, staring at the computer screen, my fingers poised over the keyboard. And eventually, miraculously, the words will come.

By setting a deadline, as well as a prompt, I can make sure that I don’t succumb to writer’s block. Remember when it’s Nanowrimo time and you just have to write a minimum of 1667 words per day. Well, this is kind of the same thing. By telling yourself that you have to write a certain amount of words, about a certain topic, in a certain time frame, you are giving yourself purpose and a goal. And sometimes that is all that is needed.

2. Brainstorm.

Okay, you’ve tried to write. You’ve been staring at that computer screen for thirty minutes. You’ve probably hit the backspace button more times than you can count. But the right words just don’t seem to be coming. What do you do?

Well, remember in elementary school, when your teachers had you brainstorm? Take those fingers off the keyboard. Grab a piece of paper, or even just open a fresh new Word document.

And then, ask yourself this question: what is the topic about?

Say that this is your writing prompt: “Alcoholism is like crying.”

And then, type in, or write, “alcoholism” at the top of your page.

And then, write all the words that remind you of “alcoholism.” Remember that word association game that you played on online forums? Quick! What do you think of when you think of “alcoholism”? I think of: alcohol, beer, addiction, wine, cravings, disease, and so on.

Once you’ve exhausted all the words that you can think of that you remind you of alcoholism, then move on to a sub-category, such as “addiction” or “disease.” Do the same thing here. Keep doing this until you notice a pattern emerging.

For example: alcoholism –> addiction –> cravings –> passion –> love –> writing

Based off these six words, you could now write a story about a fifty-year-old writer who is an alcoholic. How does he cope? Does he use his writing to cope? In what way? Does anyone help with his disease? A family member, significant other, friend, child? How are they affected? What is his relationship with them?

See what I mean? Keep asking questions. Keep associating words with new words.

3. Take a Break.

But sometimes, the words still don’t come. What do you do then? Take a break. Go outside. Take a walk. Take your dog for a walk. Read a book. Eat a snack. Just do something that will get your mind off the writing project. Sometimes the best ideas come after we’ve taken a break.

Your break can be as short as five minutes or as long as a day. Just take a break and let your mind wander.

Let me know what you think! What have you tried? What works? What doesn’t work?

 

Freelance Writing: The Beginning

One of my new friends at SNHU changed my life… and potentially my future. She sent me an e-mail, which touched me to the very bottom of my heart. She remarked on my writing skills and suggested that I try ghost writing. She gave me a couple of sites to try. One of those sites was Textbroker.com.

This happened a month ago. A month later, I thought that I would write a blog about it. I’m not saying that I am an expect in this field. What I am saying, however, is that I’d like to share my experience so far and my hopes for the future.

But first, let me give you a brief overview. Textbroker is a content creation site. Writers can submit content. Organizations, groups, and individuals post writing jobs, which becomes available to the wider community at large.

Since joining Textbroker, I have written articles about a variety of subjects. I have written product descriptions. I have written blog articles. I have written reviews about restaurants and events. I have learned about Guinness products, retail positions, home organization, cleaning services, cat play structures, amongst some other topics. I have had to conduct research to learn more about the subject.

I am so thankful that writing for Textbroker is giving me the opportunity to refine my writing and research skills to create search engine optimized (SEO) articles. It’s only been a month and yet I’ve learned so much. I’m doing something that I enjoy — writing — and it’s wonderful. Doing this is giving me more confidence in my writing. I have high hopes for my writing future. I’m sure that Textbroker is the beginning of that long and windy road to publication.