So You Want to Be a Writer? Here’s 10 Things You Need to Know

So you think you’re pretty decent with words and you enjoy telling stories, and you want to be a writer.

You should think you might want to be a writer. Here’s what you need to know about being one.

(Note: This post is mostly cynical humor as I speak out about the harsh reality of being a writer. Because in reality it’s not all sunshine and rainbows; it’s more like no sun and rainclouds––which can still be pretty cool.)

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Bullet Journal: Organization for Creatives

I’ve published a few bullet journal posts in the past with my writing bullet journal (which disappeared and hasn’t been attained since) and my first regular bullet journal (which I tried to use to put my life in order and that fell apart). It took me a while to pick up bullet journaling again, but a couple months ago, I saw the perfect color one at Barnes and Noble. I thought about that teal-colored notebook from Barnes and Noble for a whole week and finally decided to give bullet journaling another try. And boy, am I glad I did.

You can use a bullet journal for anything. You can use it any way you want (check out this website to get a gist of how the original bullet journal works), and the best part about it is, you can get as creative and artsy as you want. Time management, class schedules, year planner, homework due dates, food planning, daily journal, story/plot ideas, character caches, monthly overviews, blog schedule––all in one place. Cool, right? Pinterest is a great place to start for journaling tips and prompts, and inspiration of page layouts (and super fancy lettering and art that I could certainly never pull off but like to pin anyways because it looks pretty and who knows, maybe if I miraculously have some time on my hands, I could try). As a writer, blogger, student who works part time, and a human who tries to have a life, bullet journaling has really helped me with time management, priortizing tasks, and getting things done. And it’s also a creative outlet.

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July #WIPjoy – Netherworld

Bethany Jennings, a wonderful blogger, Christian writer, and homeschool mom (wow! talk about being an inspiration) has this hashtag called #WIpjoy, in which she comes up with a question for each day in whatever month it happens (usually three times a year). The last WIPjoy was in January, and I blog posted about my WIP Fiction’s Lie. This month, however, I’m switching over to Netherworld, because it’s been around way longer than any other story I’ve been working on, and it’s my favorite to think, write, and talk about.

So, without more ado, here are some answers to some favorite WIPjoy questions concerning Netherworld. I did tweet a few of these, but failed majorly to answer them all on Twitter.

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Twenty One Pilots and Expessing Your Belief Through Art

The song “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots was put on my mental list of “questionable songs that might be good.” Only until recently, it was moved up to my mental list of “Personal Top 21 Songs.”

Okay, maybe not 21, but somewhere around that number. Shortly afterward, Twenty One Pilots became one of my six favorite music artists. Being a music freak who likes so many different types of music, making the top 6 is saying something. But it wasn’t just the music or the genre (if you could use the word “genre” in relevance to this particular band) that I liked about them. It was what they stood for and how their faith and encouragement to others showed in their lyrics and even the style of music. As a writer, this excited me way more than it probably should have. It was all I could talk about (and post on Facebook) for a few days.

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Aesthetic Boards for Writers: A Guest Post by Harley Rae

This is Susannah, jumping in really quick to introduce this guest post by Harley Rae. I have been ridiculously busy in the last several weeks, what with school, musical theater, etc. that I haven’t been able to post for a long time. Thankfully, the amazing human Harley was willing to lighten the burden of this dangerous dilemma by writing up something awesome for this Tuesday to learn from and enjoy!

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Finding Neverland – A Guest Post by Brianna Merrit

Today I have a fabulous treat for you: I’ve asked the lovely writer Brianna Merrit to guest post on my blog! She has some wonderful inspiration and epic encouragement to share with you all and I am honored to have her do just that on my blog. Go ahead and enjoy! (Warning: Use fairy dust in moderation but don’t be afraid to fly.)

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Three 2017 Year Goals for the Writer

When I think of “New Year’s Resolutions,” I think of all the people who set new goals as to 1) learn something new, 2) lose weight, 3) eat healtheir, 4) be less stressed, and the list goes on. Those are really good thing to pursue, but this post is not about those types of goals. Plus, “New Year’s Resolutions” is way too cliche (ask all the humans).

I’ve come up with some goals for you as a writer. Any writer. You may write only in your journal or you may be a bestselling author, I don’t care. Every kind of writer should set certain goals that will help them to, in the long run, become a better writer. And it doesn’t even have to start on January 1.

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Don’t Write What You Know

I’m sure a lot of you have heard the quote “Write what you know.” I believe Mark Twain originally said it.

Well, I hate to go against a well known saying by a prestigious author, but I don’t think it’s a quote writers should live by, even though I believe it does make sense to some extent.

Why?

Well, I just wrote this whole blog post explaining why, so keep your hair on.

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Let’s start with taking Twain’s little piece of advice seriously … and literally. Let’s say you, as a writer, decided to follow the tip, and started writing only what you knew. You came up with a pretty good story. Fantastic. Job well done. This means that this story is completely and wholly yours, it originated from your own thoughts and knowledge about the world. No one else influenced you besides what your mind already stored up. Great.

But this also means you didn’t do any research. You didn’t explore. You didn’t ask for help. And You most likely didn’t write a fantasy or science fiction novel.

Because writing a fantasy or science fiction novel or any kind of speculative fiction is basically writing what you don’t know. Writing in this genre means doing lots of research. It means using inspiration that you look for and find in books, movies, music, the news, other people, etc. You’re reading articles on diseases, basic econimcs, spaceship terminology and weapon diagrams. You’re writing about things that could never happen in real life like space, time travel, wizards, magic, whatever you usually find in a fantasy or sci-fi novel, and all of this goes completely against what you knew before. You’re learning things about reality as you incorporate them into your novel, but you’re also making up stuff. You’re delving into the world of the unknown to create different worlds, different creatures, different types of magic and powers. Did you know any of this? No. You’re writing what you don’t know. And it’s fun.

So, am I telling you to write speculative fiction? After all, the title of the post says “Don’t write what you know.”

Well, that isn’t the point. No matter what genre you’re working on, there’s plenty of room to write things you don’t know. And you could have a lot of fun with that, even writing realistic stories about real-ife people in the mundane world we live in. You’re going to have to do some research to add to your knowledge, but you’re also going to explore. You’re going to be writing about people you don’t know, things you didn’t know, you’ll be writing a whole story you didn’t know beforehand, even.

The point is to explore. Write outside the box. Try new things. Come up with your own ideas that no one has ever come up with and don’t be afraid to. If you’re used to doing it the other way, try writing a bunch of nonsense. Things that you wouldn’t believe could actually happen, and you’ll be writing things you never knew about. If you’ve never written that way, I suggest you try it. It’s a lot of fun and you’ll even discover things about real life along the way. Dig in. Write what you don’t know, and you won’t want to go back.(Guaranteed.)

Mark Twain wrote outside the box. He explored. He wrote books about traveling back into time: Heck, he wrote about a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s court! So in the end, write what you know. But you’re also going to have to explore the unknown. Dive in. Just don’t keep your sanity in check because us writers. We just don’t do sane.

 

How do you write? Do you know everything you write? Or do you write of things you’ve never known about and take the time to explore while doing it? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic, even if you’re not a writer, and all your agreements or disagreements. In the meantime, thanks for reading. I owe you a spot of tea.

Write Like Your Characters Really Exist

My NaNoWriMo story (which is going unexpectedly well, thanks for asking) is about a writer who ditches a novel he has been working on for several years. His characters approach him in reality with the purpose of encouraging to finish his novel in order to complete their story. Because without their story, the characters, who apparently really do exist, will be forgotten and eventually die.

In my novel, the universe simply can’t handle souls with no story. Thank goodness we have one.

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Writing Medieval Fantasy with Celtic Music (Playlist Included)

Medieval fantasy is my overall favorite genre. It incorporates a fantasy setting and a ficticious version of history from such time periods. Examples include Lord of the Rings, Ranger’s Apprentice, The Chronicles of Narnia, Robin Hood, The Name of the Wind, The Chronicles of Prydain, the Inheritance Cycle, etc. Pretty much anything that has to do with castles, dragons, rangers, epic battles and journeys on horseback. Stereotypically speaking, there are usually heroic persons in mysterious hoods, capes, and/or cloaks, ancient British Isles settings, a sad lack of technology with an abundance of magical superpowers and prehistoic weapons, you get the picture.

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