All the snow has melted and you find this key on the ground. Tell me where it belongs…
As with every writer, we like our habits, our certain ways and order. According to psychology studies, we are habitual animals to begin with. Habits are what keep us normal. Every writing ritual will be different from writer to writer, but that is what makes us different in our writing process from others. Our writing process is our own due to the habits we develop to write.
For my writing ritual, which I would like to share is doing a lot of different things and at random, but it is always the same things.
Here is my list: I keep a creative journal, but mostly filled with judgment on I see and the universe’s wisdom I hear.
- I write a loooooot to prompts, usually to images of worlds I would love to live in
- Reseaaarch a toooooon–you can never be too prepared.
- Write different scenes of my book: I go from linear to circular all the time when writing. Linear writing is writing the book chronologically and straight through. Circular writing is moving from one chapter to a different chapter and not writing the story in order—writing and coloring in the lines isn’t always fun
- Go for a hike or for a walk by the river, nature brings back the magic my pixie dust needs
- Collaborate writing a poem or exquisite corpse with someone—gather other sentences to steal from other writers (there doesn’t have to be shame in that)
- Read a book/poem/flash story—studying others always helps
- Do a draft—get them creative juices flowing! Magic is more magical when there is more imagination
- Brainstorm alone or with a friend, two brains are truly better than one
- Sit my butt in a chair and force myself to write no matter what! But writer’s block usually defeats me when I go head-to-head
- Clean or garden–there is something about dirt and roots that transfers the worlds magic back into my hands
- Sit down at an actual typewriter and bleed to the muses…which usually ends in shambles and with the keys getting stuck and the paper crumpled
Write in the comments below, I want to know and learn what your ritual is…
In season three, episode six of borrowed solace: the podcast, Addey was joined by Zulie Rane–freelance content creator, ghostwriter, YouTuber, and cat mom. Addey and Zulie talked all things writing online including some of her tips for writing on Medium, how she started her freelance writing business, and what it’s like talking about writing on YouTube.
If you’d like to learn more about Zulie, you can find her online in the following places:
Her website, ZulieWrites.com
Write Your Future, a collaborative weekly newsletter
Her YouTube Channel
And, of course, we’d love to hear from you. Pretend we are relaxing at the park now that spring seems to have finally sprung–what did you learn from this week’s episode of the podcast? Leave us a comment down below to let us know!
Welcome back to season three of the podcast! We’re coming back strong with our first episode since our hiatus, all about freelance writing and content creation with Zulie Rane. Zulie is a freelance content creator, ghostwriter, YouTuber, cat mom, and a wealth of information for all things writing online–take a listen to learn more!
I am in the middle of furiously editing my novel manuscript, so editing is on my brain lately. As many writers will attest (me included!) editing is not always fun. I wouldn’t say it’s the bane of my existence exactly, but there are some days it comes pretty close.
As I have struggled through editing these past several weeks, I’ve been wondering how everyone does it. There seem to be a million different ways to edit, and that’s because, of course, there are a million different writers out there! Some writers have rough rough drafts, some writers have clean rough drafts. Some love getting into the nitty gritty of syntax, sentence structure, and grammar right away, whereas others put it off until the last minute or hire out someone else to take on line edits. There’s so much variation in how we, as writers, edit out stories, and so I’m curious: how do you edit?
Don’t worry, I’m not asking the question without planning to reciprocate and explain my own process so far. Here’s how I edit:
Much of my time so far has been taken up simply by re-reading all the words I wrote. It’s more time consuming than you would think, especially with a full-length novel draft. I’ve been going word by word (yes, all 70,000 something of them) and sentence by sentence, noticing where I let myself get too long winded (I’ve learned that my wordiness is my downfall) or where I didn’t make clear who I was writing about. Only after I work on making my prose less jumbly can I dive into the details of characterization and plot–at least, that’s how editing goes for me.
Here in Colorado, we have a lot of potholes. A lot of potholes. When you’re driving down the street, humming along to your favorite song and keeping an eye on traffic, sometimes it’s easy to miss the crater in the middle of your lane. And when you hit that crater, causing the steering wheel to jerk beyond your control momentarily, you send a little prayer up to heaven that your tire didn’t just spring a leak (at least, that’s what I do!)
When you’re writing your first draft, you’re often in a similar state of mind–typing happily away when you hit a good writing streak, paying attention to which words to use and the right punctuation for dialogue. Inevitably, you’re going to miss the potholes in your story. I know I did! As I’ve been going back through and reading everything, I’ve noticed the small spots in the story where I need to fill in some gaps, and I’ve also noticed the gaping holes in the road of my story where I changed someone’s name half way through or forgot a character was supposed to be dead less than a year, not more than three. You’re mind can get distracted when writing that first draft, so go back through and fill in those potholes so your future reader has a much smoother ride.
Figure Out What’s Lacking
I decided to use a new web-based software for my editing, Fictionary, this go around, and it’s helped me identify some parts of my writing that were lacking. The way the program is set up allows for you to note different sensory details, objects, and character motivations in every scene and chapter. While it’s not always the most intuitive in picking these things out (it is computer-based software, after all) I’ve found some of the questions it asks as I weed through each scene to be very helpful. I’ve learned that I don’t mention scent very often in my descriptions, something that I am aiming to focus on as I edit. On the flip side, I often use touch to describe things, which is something Fictionary doesn’t pick out as a particular thing to note. Either way, I’ve found it helpful to think through scenes in terms of what is and isn’t there. It’s helped me appreciate the things I am good at in drafting each scene, and strengthen my writing by picking out what’s missing again and again.
Now It’s Your Turn
Now that you’ve heard a little bit about my editing process so far, I want to hear from you! What are you currently editing? What’s the process been like for you so far as you make your way through this tedious process? And finally, what tips do you have to share? Although editing is still not my favorite thing in the world to do on a nice evening after work, I’m learning the value of it even more with a full-length manuscript, and I’m eager to hear your take.
Recently, I’ve felt the heavy weight of “writer’s block” bearing down on me. Between life, preparing for upcoming classes, and working on the print version of hinterlands, I’ve found what little inspiration I’ve managed to scrounge up slinks away. To get back that creative energy, even if it’s only a smidgen, I’ve been listening to music. Have you rolled your eyes yet? This is the part where you’re probably throwing your hands in the air shouting at the screen, “How is that anything new!?” It’s not. We all know it’s not. It might not even be the sound that’s inspiring, maybe it’s the visuals of the music video. Maybe it’s the vibrations of the bass through the floorboards beneath your feet. Maybe it’s just the lyrics. Whatever it is, whatever strikes your fancy and gives you that inspiration—hold on to it. Because I’m about to ask you to write.
Was that all an elaborate, and no doubt inelegant means of shoehorning in a prompt that pertains to music. Yes, yes it was. Doesn’t mean I didn’t mean any of it. I actually have been listening to music—well just one song really…on repeat. And as I do so, I write what I interpret the song as. Then the next day I do it again, only this time I try to interpret it in a different way. I try to see how many stories one song can inspire; and how many different ways I can view one thing. And once I feel I have no more stories for that song, I move onto the next.
So…I’m asking you to do the same. Find that song that really gets you going and write as many different stories about it as you can.
You may have noticed that the podcast has been on a bit of a longer holiday break than expected. Our time off from the podcast went from a short break to a long break, but we are coming back and, dare I say it, are coming back better than ever! We’re excited to interview more people, talk about even more writerly topics, and interact with you, dear listeners, even more than before. So stay tuned for what’s to come in the next few weeks. We can’t wait!
Currently we are working on branding and marketing! We want to learn more about what makes
people read the journal. If you are interested in providing feedback, please email us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would like to know what makes you read the journal, if you would recommend it to others, and what we could do better.
The print version of “hinterlands” is coming along nicely, it’s taken a lot longer than we expected, but Amber is working hard. This year we will be working on two print projects. We will be doing a contest/giveaway and will have preordering available, so watch for those details! The second print project will be a collection and insight into what makes a story or poem really good with stories and poems from the past, essays on the author’s crafts from the present, and writing prompts for the future to create, too! Watch for more information to come.
We are restarting the podcast! Addey is working hard recruiting guests, if you want to be one, just email us for more information on how. We are also launching as a part of the podcasts a new segment called story time! One week a month, a story or poem from a past journal will be read. An exclusive interview with the author to dive into their craft and work will be a part of it, too!
Planners and workbooks to come! I am working hard on putting together writing planners and story workbooks for writers to use when creating, keeping projects on track, and having fun organizing the chaos of life. It will be an easy, but needed, place to keep lists of characters, plot ideas, poems you have written, what you have sent out for submissions, a congratulations page when you get published, etc. Look for more insights to come soon!
Spring 2021 journal, we are now in phase two with edits. We want to honor the authors and poets that were accepted into the journal. We take care with edits to make the manuscript the best it can be! After edits are done and returned, time for phrase three: putting the journal together. We are going with a western, train, Wyoming, gold-digging, cliffing stone-carving kind of theme! It will look better than it sounds…stay tuned for sneak peeks coming up in the next few weeks.
And as always, please reach out to us editors on social media or via email if you have any questions, concerns, or want to participate in even more ways with the journal!
If you live in the US, there’s been a lot of snow lately. A lot of snow. Here are borrowed solace all of us editors live in areas where there’s typically snow this time of year, so we are used to it in some ways (our hearts and prayers are with those in the south and in Texas who aren’t used to these frigid temperatures and are dealing with awful problems from this weather), and in other ways, we’re still a bit…over it, just like many of you.
While we’re dealing with cold and snow, snow, and more snow, it definitely allows for lots of time to think about and work on creative endeavors. The nice thing about writing is that you don’t even have to have electricity to do it (though we sincerely hope all of you have electricity right now!) a pen and paper will do. You can create worlds with just some ink and paper, or a keyboard and a monitor.
So whether you are battling the flakes that have already fallen to the ground or are bracing for another round of the white, fluffy stuff to fall from the sky, don’t fight it–use it to inspire you and spend that extra time bundled up indoors to write. Start a new story about a futuristic universe where snow is as valuable as gold. Think about how settlers during the great westward expansion battled blizzards on the Oregon Trail and create the characters who would have been there. Take your first-hand experiences and write about them creatively, scribbling pages that one day might end up in your memoir.
There’s inspiration all around us, and this snowy weather we’re experiencing is no exception. Even if you simply take advantage of the extra time you might be facing stuck indoors right now to write more words in that novel you’ve been working on, or polish up a poetry collection you’re preparing to send to publishers, snow can serve all of us as writers.
If all you’re thinking about and all you’re dealing with right now is snow, snow, snow, don’t let it go to waste. Find inspiration where you’re at–even if that’s buried under inches (or feet) of powdery white stuff.
We have selected the finalists for the Spring 2021 journal. For everyone who submitted, you will receive a decision soon in the submissions manager or via email. Congratulations on those who were selected. Keep an eye out for those acceptance emails as the editors move into phase 2: the editing process.
We challenged ourselves with this journal as we are going to try and do all of the background art ourselves. We are headed to Wyoming in a few weeks for some outside adventure, and to safely embrace the cold, maybe snow, and beautiful sites Wyoming has to offer (we may also dabble in what South Dakota has to offer, too). We are also staying in a supposedly haunted hotel, maybe some ghost blogs/stories to come!