Keep Writing (Even when you think it is bad)

I write this to myself as much as I do to any of my readers. It can be difficult to get yourself to write. This may be odd coming from a writer but it is the sad truth of the matter. Writing is not all unicorns and dragons. Sometimes getting your word count can be drudgery. In order to write better, you need to write more. 

Get Rid of Distractions

It can be difficult to focus on writing when other things are vying for your attention. I know that I often write with multiple other things going on at a time. I will have my phone and that alone is a huge distraction because I am tempted to check my messages or hop on social media. However, this is not conducive to writing. 

You need to get rid of distractions so that you are able to immerse yourself in the story and focus on what you are doing. Interruptions will through you further out of the story than you think. If you can immerse yourself in your story then your writing will improve and the more words you get on the page the better your drafts will be.

Set Goals For yourself 

You can often feel like you are floundering in the directionless ocean of words with no end in sight. A way to avoid this feeling is to set daily, weekly, and monthly. It can also be helpful to give yourself deadlines. This is especially necessary for unpublished writers. They need to get there stories written without any outside force or person driving them to the end. 

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. (but that doesn’t mean that writing sprints aren’t a useful tool, they are!) Your daily goals can be plotting, word count, time, or scene related. I find that it is helpful to have more than one of these goals, such as time and word count, in order to further your writing. If you focus solely on time, your wordcount could suffer. If you focus solely on word count, you could waste time and not be focused which will affect the quality of your work. 

Draw in Inspiration

It can be difficult to write when you are drained or feeling uninspired. This means you need to figure out where you draw inspiration from. Reading your favorite authors can be a great source of inspiration. See have they write and figure out the breakdown of their writing style so that you can understand your own style better. 

There are many different places to find inspiration and ideas. Go for a walk with your dog, garden, paint, cook or bake. Do something creative and stimulating but not mentally draining. When you write, it takes a lot of mental energy so you will want to conserve mental energy in author areas, while still being creative. 

Make a Working Idea Page to Consolidate Your New Ideas

What do you do with the ideas that you come up with, it’s too much to write at once? I use a working idea page. This is where I dump lists of ideas that I come up with throughout the day. I know that they are safe there and I can come back and grab any one of them when I need something to write. This can be useful because it means you will never run out of ideas because you wrote them down when you initially thought of them. 

Revise!

The bottom line is, you must revise. The first draft will not be what you end up with and that is a good thing because it is often a mess. That is okay. The point of drafting is getting words and ideas on the page and not to spin gold. Do not compare your rough draft to other author’s finished products. They have done revisions and that is a good thing. You will need to revise as well. 

How do you motivate yourself to write?

Stay safe loves!

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.

Email me at evilholmess@gmail.com

Give me a follow on Instagram @evi.l.holmes 

Follow me on twitter @RealEvilHolmes

-Evi. L. Holmes

My First Draft Sucks :( (No this not a working title)

First drafts aren’t supposed to be gold. They are messy and that is a good thing. You have to write a lot in order to write well. This means many messy drafts and a lot of revision before you get something even close to decent. Everyone else has to go through it too. Find other writers and commiserate with them and share encouragements. 

I just completed a full draft of my short story!

I felt really good about completing it and I knew there were issues with it but I completed 90% of the story in two days. That was quite an achievement for me. So, I decided to send it to my Alpha reader. Last night her responses began to roll in. I made the mistake of reading them. She had read and commented on half of the story and has not gotten to the rest of it yet. (so I don’t know if she thinks it is at all good or not)

Don’t stunt your creativity with criticism, learn from it instead

I did exactly what you shouldn’t do. I should have left the story alone for a few more days. Instead, I stopped myself from working on my next story. I had an idea that was pressing on my mind and not letting me sleep and instead of writing it, I looked at comments that only served to discourage me and tell me that my draft was bad. 

In reality, the storyline is good, the plot is interesting, and the theme is compelling to my target audience. Where it lacks is in the literary elements,  sophistication of prose and character development. Most importantly, I told it too much as a description rather than intertwining character, plot, and scene to create a brilliant tapestry rather than three different colored rags.

How to get yourself out of a Slump

I would be lying if I said I did not have a slump yesterday and this morning when I got up to write at 6 am. However, the best way to push yourself out of a writing slump is by brainstorming or writing something. Last night I wrote an 800-word outline for a romance novel. This morning I tried to write my first chapter and I wrote 120 words and it felt flat like a generic Romance. In my mind, it seemed wonderful and fresh. As I wrote the outline I was excited about the characters. But my inciting incident has elicited no emotion from myself and definitely wouldn’t touch the reader. So, I opened up a new document, grabbed an idea from my working idea page and started to write ideas based upon it. This story may never happen but it gets me writing something. I have a writer’s block document where I write scenes for the same reason. It doesn’t matter how you do it but writing can be a quick reset for your creativity and mental state. 

Get an Alpha reader that is Strong in things you are weak on

My Alpha reader is a very literary focused reader. She reads a lot of the “great books.” These include ancient texts as well as books like East of Eden, Pride, and Prejudice, and Shakespeare. She reads broadly and has good taste in all things literary. I focus more on Science Fiction and Fantasy (although I do read many of the great books as well). This is why she is such an asset and helpful friend to send my stories to. 

She can point out the flaws in my fantasy stories from a literary point of view. This is such a benefit because it makes my stories rounded out and clean. She tells me when my stories are juvenile and where my sentence structure is too similar for the good of the flow. A word she loves to use for my stories is “chunky.” She is wonderful at seeing things that I cannot. Get yourself a brutally honest Alpha reader but make sure that you are up to being challenged. 

Don’t think about perfection when you draft or you will never get started

Finish a piece! If this means writing a short story when you consider yourself a novelist, such as me, do it. Finishing a piece will give you confidence to work on your longer pieces and invest time in yourself and your writing (remember not to dwell on comments from your readers or don’t send your short story out right away). There are other benefits to writing short stories. You can publish them in literary magazines and then use those publications in your query letters for novels. There is no right way to write. Everyone gets there by a different path. Keep drafting, keep writing, and finish the dang project. You will get there! It will probably be messy. You will need to revise and rewrite, but at least you will be able to edit it once it is on the page. Part of the reason why first drafts are not always the cleanest is the fact that you have to force yourself to write at times and this makes the dialogue simple and the characters flat. THAT IS WHAT EDITING IS FOR. You aren’t etching your story in stone. You are most likely typing it on the computer which means it is easy to revise without having to rewrite. Write it out and then write it again but better. 

Have you ever been discouraged by a critique that you asked for? How do you get yourself out of a slump? What things do you need to look for in a reader to shore up your flaws? How do you feel about drafting?

Stay safe loves!

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.

Email me at evilholmess@gmail.com

Give me a follow on Instagram @evi.l.holmes 

Follow me on twitter @RealEvilHolmes

-Evi. L. Holmes

Social Distancing and the Introverted life

It is amazing to me how crazy self-quarantine and social distancing makes people. Our society is being flipped on its head because the world is made for extroverts. When there is a disaster, what do people do? They congregate, they come together, and they definitely don’t isolate themselves. 

The method to stem the spread of this virus is exactly the opposite of what is natural for society. However, introverts (like myself) are reveling in the copious amount of alone time. (I fully intend to spend time writing since I can’t do my real job and maybe by the end of this I’ll have a manuscript. One can dream!)

What does a day look like under quarantine?

I still have classes online. There are certain times when I still have to go online to meet with my classes. This is rather annoying to me. I find myself more likely to fall asleep. I have never fallen asleep during class before. However, the drone of an online class is enough to force anyone to sleep.

I am, also, reading a lot more. All of my books are back together after more than a year of only have a portion of my collection, we now share the same room. I am not sure if this is a benefit or a detriment. They whisper to me. Which is helpful with writing, to a degree, but is detrimental to my sleep. Last night, when I was trying to fall asleep, my mind was whirring and new ideas for my novels kept hitting my brain and I knew I needed to write them time because they would not remain until morning. All that to say, I am trying my best to take this extra time and use it to work on my stories and read books that have been on my TBR list for way too long. 

How am I affected as an introvert?

I thought that I would be completely unaffected, or be better off. However, I have realized that, although I love my alone time, people are a great source of inspiration and ideas. I need to observe the way that humans act and interact, which is difficult under quarantine. I, also, have trouble being stuck at home with two of my rather extroverted siblings. (my little sister, the social butterfly, is not fairing well which is in and of itself an interesting thing to study). 

How to roll with the punches

Every day it seems that there is a new development…or five. It can be a little bit overwhelming. However, for me, I just ignore most of it. We have been told to stay home and my schooling is all online. This means that I am stuck where I am, for the time being. Whenever things get to be too much, I just grab one of my books, curl up, and read. It calms me down and times flies more quickly when I read. Time, as a concept, under quarantine is an odd thing. It feels like there is tons of time but, at the same time, there is no time to do anything. Finding your new normal is the name of the game. Try to build a little structure in your day. I am working my way up to getting up between 4am and 5am so I can write before class and get in a quick workout. 

How to make a positive out of the chaos (I am feeding on the chaos)

Throughout this experience thus far, I have felt an odd sort of energy. My whole life I have felt like I was playing on autopilot. I am a survivalist who found survival too easy. There was no challenge (this may sound bad but I was bored). However, now we have something to struggle against, not as one country but as the world. Unfortunately, it is not something that you can really fight. I thought the “apocalypse” would be more interesting. I thought that I would be able to grab a baseball bat and hit the “beasts” that attacked us. There would be tactics involved. There would be things that I could actually fight. I can’t fight germs other than by staying inside, which feels like doing nothing. So, I am left with chaotic energy and being stuck inside (Side note: I am a true neutral but everyone who I asked about what they thought I was said I am chaotic evil without hesitation. This is interesting because that is how I wish to come off. Comment below if you would like a post dedicated to the 9 alignments). This means I need to channel that chaos into my writing and make it better through the energy. I would suggest finding something that that you find interesting, a creative outlet, and give yourself your own purpose in this “purposeless” downtime. 

What are some goals for this Quasi-break? (it’s not a real break because I have online classes. 

Write, write, write! I have to work on my stories. I am writing random scenes. Coming up with ideas. Cataloging. The other day I went through the 400+ notes on my phone and wrote down all my ideas on a “working ideas” google doc. That page is over seven pages and 3,000 words of just ideas. There is so much that I have going on in my mind that it can be difficult to sit down and actually start writing because I don’t know where to begin. Writing is something so deeply important to me and I am looking at this time as a gift for my writing. When else would I get so much time to just write? Take advantage of this time. 

READING! I have so many books that I have not had the time to read due to the copious amount of reading that I had to do for the honors college in school. Now I have time. The biggest issue is balancing my time between reading and writing. I have a tendency to get wrapped up in one or the other and I do not want to spend all my time reading because I have books to write. 

Other things 🙂 I want to do some art: sketching, painting, and crafts. I like to book bind, so I am working on that craft. Another thing that I want to spend some time on is exercise. It is necessary to keep moving. All of the other things that I mentioned doing were stationary activities and it is necessary to offset that by setting times to exercise and stretch deliberately.

What are you doing during quarantine? Are you reading or watching anything good? What creative outlets are you utilizing?

Stay safe loves!

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.

Email me at evilholmess@gmail.com

Give me a follow on Instagram @evi.l.holmes 

Follow me on twitter @RealEvilHolmes

-Evi. L. Holmes

NANO WRIMO is Almost Upon Us

Hello lovely humans,

There have been so many things going on in my life right now. We are in the middle of October which means I have been doing a drawing each day for Inktober on my personal Instagram and looking ahead we seen November looming near. Nano Wrimo is almost upon us. I am going to try to write as much as I can on my book or a new story. I am not sure how much I will be able to post on here. However, I would love your imput.

If you have any ideas as to whether I should write a new story, install segments of rough cut fiction each day for Nano Wrimo (or realistically larger portions every few days), focus on writing my novel so that I can get it out to you and others like you in a more timely manor, or any other idea that you may think of. I could also do a poem every day or something like that. I do not want to forgo posting but I do wish to make headway on my novel.

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.

My email is evilholmess@gmail.com

My Instagram is @evi.l.holmes 

-Evi L. Holmes

Creative Writing Ventures: Update

As promised, this post is going to be a brief, general overview of some outside creative writing projects that I am currently working on. If this is something you like, please let me know and I will continue to update you on my progress as I work towards various goals. 

Novels and Worldbuilding

This is, naturally, the largest project in the queue of projects that I have dreamt of. I am currently working on a series of novels that are spanning two eras with a large gap in between. I am drafting outlines for the series in the free time (I know what free time, right?). I am very excited about this project but there is much worldbuilding I must accomplish before attempting to right more than the few scenes that I currently have. I know this is very little information, but you may ask questions and I will answer them if I do not believe it will harm my prospects for publication because we would not want that.

Creative Short Stories

I have so many ideas that would work in a short story format and have contemplated posting some of them on this blog once I have completed them to a satisfactory level. If this is something you all would be interested in, please let me know. There are too many ideas to list here and besides, it is better for them to be a surprise anyway.

The Overflow and Outpouring of my Overactive Brain and Imagination: Should I give you another window into the madness of my mind?

How much of my brain do you want to be able to see? This blog only scratches the very surface of the madness that goes on daily inside of my mind. As the “first movers” of this blog, I want you guys to help shape this blog into what you believe will be beneficial to you. I would love to share more with you but it would be fun for you all to set the scale of how much I let you in on. 

What do you guys want me to do for you? 

I am ultimately here for you. I want to make this little patch of the internet a bright place for people to congregate and just think and learn and be creative. I want to make an impact on the people of this world in a positive manner and writing is one way I believed I could do so. You know what I want from this, so, now it is your turn to let me see what you want as well. 

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.

My email is evilholmess@gmail.com

My Instagram is @evi.l.holmes 

-Evi. L. Holmes

Back To School: Update

It has been a while since I was able to post on here and I am sorry for that. My life is currently hectic and crazy. I am back at University and that means that my time is rather limited. This means I will, unfortunately, be less able to post every week as I would like to. Instead of the long-form posts, I have been making, instead, I might write shorter posts to keep engaging with you, my audience. 

What is happening in my life.

As I stated earlier I am back at university and therefore quite busy. I am taking an overload of credits as well as maintaining a job and extracurricular activities. This leaves me very little time to write for fun. (I am currently jotting this down waiting for a class to start in five minutes). You will be glad to know that I am still writing quite a lot. I am taking some reading and writing-intensive courses so this should help to improve my writing for your benefit. I will try to be more diligent about doing small posts on random thoughts that I have but bare with me this semester. It is going to be a bumpy ride. 

Some stuff that is a little bit more exciting

I am working on some creative writing pieces whenever I can get a chance to. I am not going to go into much detail about what they are but just know I have things in the works. I will do an update post on my other work very soon. 

What do you want to see me write about?

I would love your input on any aspect of my writing. What do you want me to write about? Do you like the long-form better or would you prefer shorter posts that you could read quickly? Please feel free to comment or email me any ideas you have or what you would like me to talk about. 

Are you back in school? Are you excited or dreading this semester?

My email is evilholmess@gmail.com

My Instagram is @evi.l.holmes 

-Evi. L. Holmes

Tolkien Movie Review and Other Thoughts

Yup, that’s right, It’s movie review time! *SPOILERS* duh but honestly of you have not seen this movie by now do you even like tolkien? 🙂

On Tolkien 

(this will be brief as I fully intend to write about him in great length in multiple posts.)

I just saw a wonderful movie, Tolkien. If you are unfamiliar, the movie is a story about Tolkien’s life from late childhood to early adulthood. He is a brilliant Author, as anyone who has read his work can attest. He also was a brilliant Philologist. His ability with language was astounding and quite useful in has fantasy novels. Because of his gifts, he was able to create a whole language and fragments of others for his stories.  He has inspired and influenced many authors and much of the modern Fantasy genre has been shaped by his work, and is one of the many influnces on my own writing and a reason I write at all.

Cinematic Artistry and Visual Art

The depiction of how Tolkien saw the world was nothing short of epic. He saw dragons and the world of fairytales right alongside the world he was living in.  As he fought in the war there were monsters and dragons that cut through the gas in the same way that Smaug did on the misty mountain. They showed how he might have seen the world and how vast and beautiful his mind and imagination were. The visual nature of the movie helped to amplify the art that Tolkien did through sketching the world he saw in his head.

Writing, Language, and Inspiration

Something amazing the movie taught me was that language, culture, and history are inextricably linked. The way that Tolkien would come up with a word and that word had a whole story behind it and a specific story was mesmerizing. Language follows culture, the way we move our mouth and tongue as we speak, whether the sound is harsh, guttural, or lilted, and the myths, lore, and legends, they are all tied together beautifully and create such diversity among languages. The geography can even determine the sounds of speech. I have always wanted to create my own language but never got into it because I did not know where to start. The movie gave me an idea to just come up with a word and then write a story about it and eventually I will get used to that. Then I can begin to build the music and culture behind the language that builds the fabric of the world which created it. The ability to think of a word and make a world from the one little combination of letters has opened up a brand new way of writing and so many doors to new worlds that were always in my brain but I had no tools to write.

Acting and Characters

The actors who depicted him were brilliant in the masterful portrayal of a fantastical minded man. Nicholas Holt and Harry Gilby did a fantastic job of portraying the same person with continuity and such similarities that created an accurate depiction of how Tolkien might have been. I have always wished to have been born a boy and I think that part of this is because of my personality not fitting as a girl (but truthfully I would not fit as a boy either) and also because of the groups of boys and young men who had a certain bond that women just do not seem to acquire. This was portrayed in this movie. The group of school boys that Tolkien hung out with was a soceity unto itself. I love these kinds of relationships and this society forshadows the writing group the Tolkien would later be a part of alongside or C.S. Lewis. That group was called the Inklings.

Conclusion

Tolkien is such an inspiration so it is unsurprising that a movie about him would be inspirational. It is always a treat to see the person behind a really wonderful story and that is what the movie was able to do. It was also so helpful to see a potential way that he saw the world and how seeing things differently is not always a bad thing and it can actually be a defining feature and your greatest asset. There are common themes that I see in his life, in my life, and in the life of many writers that showed me that regardless of where I am in my journey I am still a writer. Many people do not realize that he did not publish Lord of the Rings until he was in his sixties. My take away is that everyone’s journey is different. In the words of Aslan (I know its Lewis and not Tolkien, but hey it fits) “things never happen the same way twice.” There will be things along the journey that mold you and events will always be different for you than for someone else. Do not compare to others but let their stories and experiences guide your own.

Personal Thoughts

This movie was part of the reason I got back into writing. It is rather difficult to stay in the same type of work for an extended period of time. I have so many interests and I tend to bounce around in them. This movie was able to show me that I want writing to be what I do primarily. This blog is only a small piece of this. Part of the reason I only publish once a week is because I am worldbuilding and writing some fantasty stories as well. I hope to publish some short stories but is difficult to get anywhere if I split my time between too many things. If I can publish a book then I will have more time to do all my writing because I will not have to work another job. Once I am done with school I hope to publish and then hopefully be able to give you some short stories. The most important thing is that I intend to write and continue writing. I only hope that someone will care enough to read my work.

What do you love about Tolkien? What did you think of the moview Tolkien?

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas. I am grateful for all your contributions.

My email is evilholmess@gmail.com

My Instagram is @evi.l.holmes 

-Evi. L. Holmes