Wednesday, September 17, 2008

[ Writing ] :: I Think I Can, I Think I Can!

In light of NaNoWriMo that is coming up in November, (which means I will not be getting WotLK until December! But there's no way I can pump out the necessary... what? 1.7K words a day to reach 50K words by the end of the month if I get sucked into WotLK) I figured I might as well give my muse a boost by warming up in here.

Now, I know my biggest issue with writing is I don't have the concentration to sit and write for too long, unless I'm having a spur of muse (which happens a bit more than it did a few months ago, thankfully)... so lets explore just how to focus your mind and get it centered on writing anything -- whether it be a blog post, NaNo, or even your average essays and papers.
  1. Be Prepared! Take extra pencils, lots of paper, a power cord, some sort of drink (mine would be coffee or tea), maybe some munchies. Anything so you don't have to move about too much later.

  2. No Distractions. That means, go somewhere quiet, remote, or just anywhere you can't be possibly distracted. It also means to tell your roommate to turn down their music/put on headphones, turn off music you know you can't work to, and maybe even unplug your internet. Don't let yourself get distracted -- I know that my muse tends to go take a month or two of naps should I stop in the middle of a post. It should just be you, whatever you do your writing on, backup stuff so you don't have to move later, and your muse.

  3. Pre-Planning. If you're one of those people who must plan out what you're writing about, do it! Jot down any idea, no matter how lucrative, and maybe you'll have use for it farther down the line. Doing initial research here also helps. Maybe look into something to be able to write in depth about it!

  4. Just write. It doesn't matter what you're writing about -- anything can become something interesting, worth reading, if you just write what is on your mind. Don't worry about grammar, spelling, or anything of the like for now. Write! What you may find is that once you start writing, you'll just keep on writing.

  5. Breaks. If you need to stop, stop! Take a break, stretch your legs, and do something else/take care of other business while your muse recharges! I will, however, suggest either have a voice recorder, or a paper and a writing utensil, so that when your muse hits you, you have something to write your ideas down on before they go flying off into the abyss.

  6. Go Back. Fill in holes, check grammar and the like, do the rest of your research should you need it – now that you've gotten it rolling and have a clearer idea from what you need to learn/refine your idea before you impart your wisdom to an audience.

  7. Test Group. Try it out on friends, family, anyone. I enjoy some good, friendly advice before I show it to the world, for everyone to see and critique.

  8. Re-edit. Take your critiques and re-write/edit/add. You'll notice things that you didn't notice before about your work – I do, for sure.

  9. Repeat the last three several times until you're satisfied, and then show it to the world. Good work: you've put a lot of work into something fantabulous.
Now that you've got a roadmap, and before I go off and pre-write blog posts for when I know for sure I won't be able to, lets look on what to write on. Other than your traditional pen-and-paper style, and your old-fashioned Word (or other text document programs), I would suggest something a bit more geared toward writers of any kind:

For PC users: Page Four: "PageFour is a tabbed word processor and outliner for writers. It has a simple structure based around Notebooks. Each Notebook contains as many Folders and Pages as you wish, and is structured in whichever manner best suits YOU."
I highly suggest this one, for I use it myself. The pages allow me to break things down easily into chapters, to which I can quickly click and see what makes up the page. It has a "Scan Current Page", which will scan the page you opened up for overused words and phrases -- a god-send, I assure you, for I often fear of being redundant in my writing. With it's simple and clean format, it's very easy to use, and -- the best part is -- you never have to save! They auto-save for you. Snapshots are nice to use as well, for you can take a snapshot of a page, edit it, and if you don't like it, go to your snapshots and restore the page as it was before you started hacking and changing whatever you hacked and changed. Page four also makes reordering pages (which, for me, are chapters) in the story easier as well.

The application is free -- however, if you want more notebooks, you must actually buy the product. (It comes with three folders.)

And for Mac users: Schrivener: “As a writer's application, Scrivener is damn near perfect; it means outlines, treatments and then first drafts can be put together in the same application.”
Pretty much like Page Four, except that this is the fancier version for Mac users. It's got a bit more features than Page Four, such as Full Screen Editing and the cork board, but, unlike Page Four, after the thirty-day trial, one will need to pay for it in order to keep using it.

Well, you've got a road-map, hopefully a muse boost, and a new application to play with (I hope, anyway!). Enjoy your writing travels!


Rhoelyn said...

Argh. NaNo is back, already?! :( Who chose November for this thing? Could there BE a worse month? I want to do it, too...

Good luck. I'll enjoy it vicariously through you.


Lin said...

@rhoelyn I'm apparently terrible with comments. Anyway, though: yeah, it is. Unfortunately. And my reply write now is being squeezed between a writing session... and WoW time. -laughs-

And no, there really couldn't be.

Do keep enjoying. NaNo's ninja'ing the blog for the month, I believe!