So Bee, of Vivatramp fame, creative blogging goals and all round cutie pie, created a Writer tag. I haven't blogged in a little while but this really caught my attention and got me thinking about my writing process. It was a lot of fun and definitely gave me a kick to work on my routine as a writer. Definitely give it a go if you're interested!
1. WHAT DO YOU WRITE? WHAT GENRE? ANY REOCCURRING THEMES?
I generally just write prose, usually in novel form. I've tried poetry in the past but it just isn't something that happens for me. I'm interested in writing screenplays and graphic novels but for now my novels are what I'm investing my time and energy into. I tend to deal with quite dark themes but I'm also a fan of writing funny stuff with great female characters.
2. WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU TO WRITE?
Inspiration comes from a lot of places, but for me it's mostly internal. What makes me angry or upset? What messages do I want to send out into the world? Who deserves to have their story told? Also, it's never conscious, but I do find that when I look back on my writing, you can often tell what I was reading at the time, as the tone or style shifts slightly when I'm reading something I love and want to emulate it.
3. WHERE DO YOU WRITE, WHEN AND WITH WHAT?
When I was at Uni I would sometimes go to the library early in the morning and sit on the Humanities floor surrounded by bookshelves. I loved it and found that the quiet and seclusion of the early morning coupled with the feel of being surrounded by books was the perfect combination to get my creativity going and my motivation high. Now I tend to write on my laptop in bed or occasionally in a coffee shop if I can find a secluded little spot. I would love to try and find another library to work in.
In terms of tools, I write with ZenWriter on my laptop. It's really minimal and fills the screen so I can work without being distracted. It also has a few nice features that just makes writing a better experience. I also like to have softcover moleskines and coloured pens to work with, and usually have one for each project I want to work on. I have been known to write in the notes in my phone, white spaces on receipts and my own arms before too! I generally think if you create too much ritual around writing you'll just never get it done.
4. SOUND OR SILENCE WHEN WRITING?
SOUND. 100%. I like it to be sounds that I've chosen though, I will occasionally make my own playlists for projects on Spotify, or alternatively I go on YouTube and put on ASMR videos. There's just something pleasant about having a sweet lady talking softly about her plant collection, or a man repeating positive affirmations in the background, and it gives my ears something to do without distracting me.
5. HAVE YOU STUDIED WRITING? IF SO, WHAT WAS THAT LIKE? IF NOT, WHERE DO YOU FEEL YOU LEARNT YOUR CRAFT?
I did an English degree with Creative Writing, and honestly, it was the best time of my life. I've always been a reader, and I've always loved writing and had a vague fancy that I'd like to write books someday, but it was during those three years that I realised that it's really what I want to do with my life, and that I'm actually pretty good at it! I loved discussing people's work and talking to each other about ideas and improving together, and the support I got from my friends as fellow writers was just incredible. I spent every day excited about my future as a writer. I don't think you need to do a degree to 'learn' creative writing, to be honest I probably couldn't tell you much that I was 'taught'. But what I found was that being immersed in that experience constantly, and surrounded by people who take writing seriously, gives you the space and confidence to grow as a writer and come into your own. It was awesome.
6. WHAT DO YOUR FAMILY / FRIENDS THINK?
My friends are all incredibly supportive, and very active and vocal in spurring me on which is amazing, a few of them have the same goals which is amazing. My mother is the same and, although both of my parents do worry that writing is not usually a lucrative endeavor, I'm financially independent as I am so they're not panicking about me and are happy for me to pursue writing on the side. My father was very wary until he read some things that I'd written. I'm very lucky to have people that believe in me, and I really do believe that positive voices go a long way to helping someone achieve their ambitions
7. WHAT DO YOU FIND CHALLENGING?
I do find it quite difficult to settle into a routine where I write every day. And I annoy myself because every day that I write is a day closer to where I want to be. I can't send off a manuscript that doesn't exist! I'm getting better and creating a regular writing practice but it's still something I need to work on.
8. WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT WRITING?
It sounds shallow as balls but I love it when people like what I've written, and find it really resonates with them. I love the sense of achievement when something I've worked really hard on something and someone says it's good... which I suppose makes sense.
9. ANY TIPS FOR WRITERS BLOCK?
Honestly my main tip is not to be a baby about it. Writer's block is something you just have to power through. Sometimes it's better to write something stupid and terrible to kick start you moving through your story again. You can always go back and change and improve things. Also I tend to write things out of order, in scenes and sections, so if I find myself in a rut in one scene I'll just go and work on another, and once I come back to the bit where I got stuck, the block is gone and I can just keep going.
If the writer's block is just getting started, wanting to write but not knowing what, consume as much media as possible. What ideas really resonate with you? Which characters do you not feel got a fair deal? Are there any worlds, themes or even phrases that start the cogs turning in your head? All writing is influenced by what came before it, it's part of the beauty of literature, that it is this running story building upon itself. Consuming content that you love and want to emulate will help you formulate your own ideas.
10. WHAT ARE YOUR LIFE-LONG WRITING GOALS? WHAT ARE YOUR WRITING GOALS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR?
Eventually I would like to live off my writing. Maybe not forever, but I would like to be able to say one day that I supported myself completely as a writer. I want to be a published novelist and perhaps work on graphic novels and screenplays. For the rest of the year I want to work on my two current projects, and would like to have at least one of them ready for final touches and to be sent out early next year