Tag Archives: writing ideas

#MondayBlogs Feeling Down About Writing? Here’s How To Write Again!

2 Jan

Recently, I felt down about writing. When I sat at the computer, the words didn’t flow, and when I walked away, the urge to try again was gone. I struggled and searched for the reason I was struggling and continued to struggle again. Honestly, my “down” period was caused by the holidays, and let’s be honest, 2016 was one hot mess. But now that we’re into 2017—and many of us are typing at full speed ahead to meet our New Year’s resolutions—there’s bound to be a time when you feel down again.

How can you feel better about writing when you aren’t feeling so great?

Well, there are plenty of ways. In fact, there are so many ways, I asked my fellow Clean Teen Publishing authors to share their secrets to get back on the keyboard.

1. Listen to Music

Music is a really big way for me to get back into writing. Certain songs or arrangements feel suited to different characters or situations, and that usually gets the words flowing with some regularity again. – Molly Bilinski, debut author of Lady of Sherwood (April, 2017)

When I’m struggling to write, or inspiration has left me, I always return to the old reliable; music. I go on the hunt for new music and spend time finding songs that match the mood and tone of my WIP. There is nothing more therapeutic then finding a song and suddenly having clarity. – Susan Harris, best-selling author of Skin and Bones 

2. Play!

Whenever I’m down, I find that it’s usually because I’m taking everything too seriously and I’m too busy “adulting” to appreciate the fun in life. I need to get back to that “kid” space where anything goes and nothing is crushingly important. You’re just playing to play, having fun and going where it takes you – Jennifer Derrick, author of Avenging Fate

I always encourage writer friends to find another creative outlet. As creative spirits, writing is not all we can or should do. Create something else, craft, sew, crochet, whatever, but cultivate that creative spirit in another way. We can channel our inspiration in so many ways. – Lila Felix, author of Lightning Forgotten

3. Remind Yourself Why You Write

I reread something that I’m really proud of writing, usually something from at least a couple years ago. Sometimes remembering how great that felt can spring new ideas to mind. And sometimes it just reminds you that you have survived bad times before, and were still able to write something amazing. – Kendra Sanders, author of Dating An Alien Pop Star

“The moment you quit is the moment you fail.” I’ve been living by this mantra since September 1, 2010, the day I started writing the first novel I ever finished. Since then, I’ve had my fair share of discouraging moments, but I can honestly say I’ve never seriously considered quitting. Because if I quit, I fail. I’ve got too many stories to tell to let that happen. – Tamara Grantham, award-winning author of Dreamthief

So what’s my advice?

Along with all of these wonderful writers, I think stepping away, listening to music, reading your favorite book, or visiting your favorite café can help clear your mind of whatever’s holding you back. Sometimes, it just takes time, and I have to remind myself that writing is not a race—that my mental and physical health is important, too. Sounds simple, but it isn’t.

I always joke that I’m a Triple A personality. I’m constantly working, and if you catch me during a rare moment off, I’m probably thinking about working. (I could really use a hobby outside of reading and writing, but alas, I love them so much.) For me, visiting Barnes & Noble or a library and just surrounding myself with books can calm my soul. In the end though, one thought always finds its way back to me.

Be sure to visit all the awesome Clean Teen authors who made this post possible, and of course, good luck getting back on the keyboard.

It might be difficult. It might feel impossible today. But every day is the start of something new and wonderful, and every novel starts with one word.

~SAT

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Challenge Your Inspirations

17 Nov

Fact of the Day: this is my 200th post.

If you follow my Facebook Author Page, then you already saw the photo I’m about to share. But this is at the beginning for a reason:

Yesterday, after sharing my journal excerpt that inspired Seconds Before Sunrise (The Timely Death Trilogy), Minutes Before Sunset hit #586 in Books > Romance > Paranormal on Amazon.com! Thank you for sharing my dreams with me.

#586

#586

So, yes, thank you so much! It’s an amazing feeling to know my inspiration can inspire others, and that’s why I wanted to say this: although my dreams inspire me, you all are my ultimate inspiration. Your support, encouragement, and kind words continuously bring a smile to my face.

I know I often mention how inspired I am by dreams—how my novels are derived from my nightmares—but today I wanted to talk about four other ways writers can find inspiration. Who knows? Maybe you’ll try one outside of your usual inspiration and find a new love you would’ve never expected:

People:

Unless you’re a hermit, people are all around us. Society holds teachers, parents, kids, cops, doctors, hippies, and so many other kinds. And they can all be heroes. (They can also be villains.) I think psychology is one of the fundamentals to life—and it transfers to writing. Knowing how people work or where they come from can help create more realistic and rounded characters—especially if you get to know more unique individuals. Taking a moment to talk to someone you never thought you’d talk to might end up in a novel one day.

Events/Stories:

As a child, I clearly remember reading an article over an eight-year-old organ donor who saved ten lives. This story struck me as beautifully tragic, but it is so alike to the 2008 movie “Seven Pounds” that I wondered if maybe the writer saw an article just like I had. Basing a story off of news events is pretty common. But there are also tales, mythology, classical literature, legends, and more. Recently, for instance, I shared “6 Baffling Discoveries that Science Can’t Explain.” The point of this was simple: mysteries from real life can often inspire fiction or the famous Mark Twain quote, “Truth is stranger than fiction.”

Traveling:

Most people wish they could do more of this, but it’s expensive and time consuming. If you can, great! Travel away. I find traveling to be one of the most energizing life experiences, but, like many, I can’t do it as much as I’d like. Thank goodness for the internet. The World Wide Web has hundreds—millions—of websites dedicated to traveling and/or learning about other countries. It’s not as authentic, of course, but it can spark the imagination. One of the best articles I read recently was “He Was Arrested 20 Times For This. But I Think It’s TOTALLY Worth It.” The article follows photographer, Dan Marbaix, as he travels the world, trespassing into abandoned locations. Just seeing these unsettling photos is enough to make your mind wander.

Drugs & Alcohol:

I am, by no means, encouraging this. Again, I am not encouraging this. I’m actually very against using anything that can be potentially harmful for inspiration. But, nevertheless, this is a commonly used tool. In fact, there are entire articles dedicated to this topic, including this one, “Top 10 Substance-Addled Writers.” Reasons for this seem to be simple: drugs altar the mind and body. It can often relax the creative walls artists put up. But I think there are better and healthier ways than this.

So what to do?

Try talking to someone you wouldn’t usually talk to. Try going somewhere you haven’t been before or somewhere you never thought you’d like to go. Read about cultures you’ve never been interested in. Or, if you have extra time and money, travel somewhere.

If you share your story and/or a unique idea in the comments, you might be the one picked to be a guest blogger!

~SAT

Writing Tips From My Film Class.

6 Aug

As many of you know, I am about to go into my last semester at the University of Kansas. (I cannot wait to graduate!) School is a big part of my life right now, so that’s why I like to share my favorite books that we read during my classes. Since my summer semester just ended, I thought I’d do that again–except there’s one big difference: it was History of the International Sound to Film. Basically, we watched a lot of movies during the World War II era (before, during, and right after.)

Before I begin, you might be asking: what does this have to do with writing? I’m getting to that. I promise.

When I need more writing tips, I cuddle with Bogart.

When I need more writing tips, I cuddle with Bogart.

There were too many movies to post on one page (seriously) so I’m only sharing my favorites:

  • Under the Roofs of Paris (Rene Clair, 1930, France)
  • The Private Life of Henry VIII (Alexander Korda, 1933, Britain)
  • Listen to Britain (Humphrey Jennings & Stewart McAllister, 1942)
  • Alexander Nevsky (Sergei Eisenstein, 1938)
  • Port of Shadows (Marcel Carne, 1938)
  • The Bicycle Thief (Vittorio De Sica, 1948)
I also put writing tips on my Facebook Page!

I also put writing tips on my Facebook Page!

I don’t think I would’ve ever seen these movies if it weren’t for that class, although I wish I could say I would’ve. They were very enlightening in the sense that I do love older movies, yet I’ve never really watched the ones that were used politically from other countries during the war. It puts a twist on things, and it made me think. So this is where I get into writing tips. I’m always trying to find new ways to look at writing, and, when I look at life a little differently, I decide to line it up with writing. In this case, I thought about two things:

1. Silent Films: Imagine how difficult getting a story across must be when you cannot even tell the story. It’s like playing charades. As writers, we don’t necessarily have to worry about this, because our job is to tell the story. But what if we took a step back? What if we had to make a silent film out of the story? Imagine what would come across the clearest, what would be the most difficult, and how you would set things up to describe everything. I tried this prompt myself, and I might share it in the future ;] But, for now, all I will say is that it forces more emotions to come to the surface (and it might even help you change those pesky scenes that didn’t quite feel right and/or cut them completely)

2. The Other Side: Like I said, most of these films were foreign, so it was interesting to see how the rest of the world artistically displayed the war. Even more interesting? They all had the basic concepts laid out the same. However, I thought you could try an interesting prompt: imagine your story is being told by the other side, (in this case, by the enemy, or someone near the enemy.) How would they see things? Maybe they aren’t so evil, after all.

Who knows? Maybe you can combine the two and come up with a silent expression from the other side. That would be something, even if it were only for you to see. 

~SAT

P.S. Please support these wonderful writers and readers who’ve interviewed me and read Minutes Before Sunset:

Interview: 

Urban fantasy and paranormal romance writer, S.L. Stacy, took a moment to interview me, and it was lovely. My favorite (and fun) question? “If you could be bffs (best friends forever) with any fictional character, who would it be?” Find out who I picked here.

Reviews:

KatrPilr: Writer, Life-Living Extraordinaire: “The concept of Minutes Before Sunset is a breath of fresh air in a YA genre crowded with werewolves and vampires. Shannon A. Thompson artfully weaves two worlds together from two different perspectives: Eric’s, and Jessica’s. The result is well-rounded, in-depth characters, and a seamless story, while still retaining enough mystery to keep me wanting more.” Read the rest here.

Joe Hinojosa, Random thoughts from a random mind: “Thematically, the story deals with issues of prophecy and destiny, responsibility and free-will, and friendship and love. It deals with how people compartmentalize their lives, keeping a public face while at the same time harboring a private identity…Honestly, I have to say that it was an enjoyable read, so much so that I immediately read it again.” Read the rest here.

I’m always available for interviews and reviews at ShannonAThompson@aol.com. I will share it on all of my websites, and I will also supply you with a free ebook copy of Minutes Before Sunset. (My dream right now is to do an interview after someone has read it and asks about details in the book. Wink. Wink.)

But I’m off to complete more edits of Seconds Before Sunrise! Can’t wait for the release this fall!

~SAT 

Writing and Airports

4 Aug

Writing and airports. What do they have in common? I’m sure I could come up with a creative joke, but I’d rather move right on to this writing prompt. For the past few weeks, I’ve been spending a lot of time in, out, and around airports. Those little moments brought lingering thoughts of potential plots and/or characters. Why? Because I was surrounded by new people every second, and getting out of the house can truly clear the clouded mind.

This is why I want to talk about “people watching.” I think it’s a commonly used phrase, but if you haven’t heard it before it means exactly what it sounds like: watching people. A lot of people do this for all kinds of reasons: to learn, to recognize behavioral patterns, etc. But I think this is a great opportunity for writers, because writers put a lot of pressure on themselves within their stories to make it as believable as possible (even if it’s completely fiction.) So how do writers get around this conundrum of creating the illusion of fiction seeming factual?

We study. We research. We talk to anyone we know who might have experience in the topics or attitudes we want to write about. But what happens when this inspiration runs out, and we get writer’s block?

We have to find a way around it.

I just took my father to the airport for a trip to Alaska. Traveling is a great way to spark the writing flame too. This is from our trip to DC in 2010.

I just took my father to the airport for a trip to Alaska. Traveling is a great way to spark the writing flame too. This is from our trip to DC in 2010.

Now, I have to clarify that I really believe writer’s block comes from one of two things:

1. Forcing something to happen.

2. Putting pressures on yourself for all kinds of reasons.

But I still think we get out of writer’s block by taking a step back and returning to the simple love of writing–or, what I call, the imagination.

Airports are full of imagination opportunities: different people, coming and going to who knows where. Possibility excites me, and writing in airports brought a sense of freedom I forget to practice sometimes. In a way, this writing prompt is less about writing in airports and more about switching things up. For instance, if you always write at home, try going to the coffee shop a few days in a row. I say a few days in a row, because it often takes some time to feel comfortable enough with the new area to fall in to the fluidity of writing.

This is why I have a journal specifically for traveling. I seem to notice more when I’m traveling, because I’m attempting to take everything in all of the time. Some of my favorite writing is while I’m in moments like this, because I can focus ten times more than I can on a day-to-day basis.

So write while your on vacation this summer. Try going to a new place to reignite your passion for the imagination–like an airport or park. You might be surprised–your writing can change, even if only for a moment.

~SAT

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