The Instance of Gold

What is it to us if people view our work? Does it actually matter how many hits our site takes, or how much recognition we get from fans?

The answer is yes, it does matter. Everyone wants to be noticed whether they want to admit it to themselves or not. It’s the way our human minds work. To feel respected and honored at finding out that people appreciate all the hard work that we do.

Because, my fellow bloggers, we do work hard.

We follow our dreams whether it is writing, painting, or socializing. We step foot into a world where no one else dares to go, because they see it as foolish and not the “correct” way of life.  The biggest thing that separates us is that we have a dream. A dream to be bigger, and greater, than we are right now. To achieve what seems to be the impossible, but we know deep down in our hearts that our dream is true.

Can you feel it. That raw energy coursing through your bones as you do the thing you love. Writers getting a sensual high when they’re on the brink of a tremendous idea, just like when painters feel the rhythm in their brush as they paint the flowers.

It may take time for you to notice it, or for you to find the one thing that makes up your dream in life.

The reason I’m bringing this up on this very special day is that I have finally found my purpose. I’ve known for years that I wanted to be a writer. Storming the impossible book industry that is incredibly hard to break through.  It was today though, while I was sitting in class that I realized I don’t need to follow the “correct” way of life anymore.

Why should I waste my time learning things that I don’t care to learn about. Why shouldn’t I focus my energy on figuring out the book industry now instead of learning about the history of a writer who has been dead for over 100 years?

For many, we may feel the pressure to follow the way our societies want us to go. They may force school down your throat, or shove a big paying job in your hands, and tell you to be happy because you are successful….

But is that truly being successful?

Because if you aren’t able to do the one thing that makes you happy, is that a success!?!

I’ve learned through life, as a creative person, that I don’t belong in the social majority. Writing should be my life, and it WILL be my life all because of a dream to be great.

I’m not trying to tell anyone that they need to quit school or leave their jobs, but what I’m trying to show you is that just because it’s the norm, does NOT mean you have to follow the rules.

Rules are made to break. And when you finally see that your heart and soul are with you on this journey those rules will vanish completely.

Follow your heart and know that with each step you take it gf-heartbrings you closer to your dreams.

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Am I Meant To Be A Writer?

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Are you prepared to come face to face with the one question that has tortured the best of us? Wondering if you are good enough to make it in the world of writing. There never has been a question so vile and yet so beautiful to your soul.  At the beginning this  question made me toss and turn in bed until the light began streaming through my blinds. This question tortured me as I finished my first book doubtful of its worth. I always thought I writing came naturally, but I never thought I was meant to be one until now.

You may ask me, “How on earth do you know you’re meant to be a writer A. Willow? Did God come down and tell you this is what you are  going to do? Did He already plan out your life so you know you’ll be comfortable financially?”

My answer to you is a bit long, but the short answer is this “I can Feel it!”

If you are unsure of if you want to be a writer in your life, then listen close. I will reveal what it takes, how hard it is, and what your life will most likely look like.

I have researched to the point of exhaustion, and I am still learning everyday forcing myself to learn about the writing world. The truth is making it as a writer for a living is hard work.  If you write beautiful stories, if you structure a poem perfectly, or even if you think of the greatest character in the world, if this comes to you naturally then hooray for you. But that won’t be enough!

The writing industry in this decade is excruciatingly hard to be apart of and even harder to be successful. That is why I am trying to show you that if you are not already working hard then you need to. It’s just like everything else in this world,  if you don’t work for it you will not get anywhere.  It’s not just about writing every day, it’s about promoting yourself everyday.

I learned from a very helpful book  that you are your own marketer. You are the best person to promote your work, sell your work, and find the best agents, publishers and etc.  So to put it blatantly, besides working hard to write everyday, the hardest part is to promote yourself everyday.

In future posts I will tell you how to promote yourself.

The next thing you need to know is that writing can take a toll on you emotionally as well as mentally.

You may begin sending out your works, start a blog you think will generate popularity quickly, and even read out your poetry expecting a huge applause. Now, when I tell you this next part I truly wish the world worked different. It saddens me to say that more than likely these beautiful things of recognition, appreciation, and excitement for your writing probably won’t come right away. People will reject your work, your blog may start off with no followers, and you may not get a standing ovation and just a few scattered claps from the audience.

This is normal. Yes, I just said that you are a normal writer, but don’t be offended. Most of us start off normal, and must gain enough experience, and/or followers to witness all the beautiful things I mentioned above.

Yet again this has to do with building your platform, but to build your platform you need to understand that you do begin at the bottom no matter how awesomely fantastic your work may be.

Writing doesn’t just take talent, it takes a lot of time, energy, and sometimes even emotional stress.

Hopefully I didn’t scare you away by telling you what it takes to be a writer, because the overall outcome of writing is rewarding.

It may be different for everyone, but I want to tell you why I want to be a writer. Honestly there is no one answer that will tell you if this is the path you should take, but I can give you one definition of knowing.

If you feel like writing is your life, a part of breathing in and out, the sense that life fades away as soon as your pen touches paper.That is when you know you are a writer.

Writing for me is like writing out my soul. Feeling the words mold into my heart and I breathe them back out into the air to tell everyone about what I am experiencing.  There is no feeling that comes even remotely close as I type words onto a page. The reward is the feeling of beauty and wonder as you see your work. Creating a world in your head and exploring it as you find it on your page.

Writing is a gift only a few of us have, but it’s the ones that pursue it that are truly magical. You may be a writer at heart, but it takes a warrior to become a writer in this world.

Do you feel that warrior within you?

For me I don’t have it everyday, but I am struggling to bring that warrior to my everyday life. Please let me know if you feel the warrior within yourself, and what you find helps you overcome the challenges of being a writer.

Your blogging friend,

A. Willow

Having Dialogue Anxiety?

Hello fellow writers,

For some of us dialogue comes to us easily and it’s the first thing we think of. Others of us may struggle with certain words in a phrase but know the basic idea of what we want to write. Then there are the unfortunate who don’t have a clue what the characters are going to say.

I have experienced all three of these in the writing of my books, and I’m here to give you some helpful tips as well as advice on why it may not be working for you.

When it comes down to dialogue and getting it right really depends on how well you know your characters. So please take this into consideration as I give the examples below.

Scenario 1: You know exactly what your characters are going to say and can write out conversations easily-

Congratulations! This means you know your characters very well, but you still must be careful. When you start getting used to your characters word choices you can become redundant and continually say the same things over and over again. Don’t worry though, first write everything out: finish the book, chapter, or sentence that’s in your head. Although, to avoid a catastrophe of words you must go back after a long break, and reread everything. You may be surprised how many “Aha’s, So’s and But’s” you find consistently within a chapter.This is when you must reshape and mold the words so your dialogue can flourish.

Scenario 2: You kinda sort know what you want to say, but you kinda sorta need help.

All you need to do is write, write, write. Even if you don’t know what your characters are going to say exactly, the best way to figure it out is to write out the scene. Even if the dialogue doesn’t match your characters personalities you know what is going to happen. This action forces you to get everything off your chest and its the editing part that can get a little difficult. Look over the dialogue and just continue to edit until you get your characters voice. Although I must warn you, if you try editing ten minutes after you write it, all you are going to do is frustrate yourself and be thrown into a dark place you won’t want to be in. My advice to you is skip over this section if you want to continue writing, wait a few days (a week is best) and then go back and think as hard as you want to on the dialogue. It’s never good to get dialogue anxiety and the best way to avoid dialogue becoming your enemy is by leaving it alone for a while.

If that still doesn’t help, and you can’t even write out the scene then you my dear friend are having writers block. Its at the point where you know what you want to write, you know how you want the scene to go, but you just can’t think of how to write it out.

If you need more help on writers block please visit my other posts that will help you more thoroughly:  Writers Block and How to Handle it.

Scenario 3: Your characters are elusive and there is nowhere you can go without saying to yourself, “Dang, I know what he will do but how the hell does he respond to this?”

Dialogue is hard enough as it is, but when you don’t know your characters as well as you should dialogue nearly becomes an impossibility. Think of it this way, when you are talking with a friend or a family member, you always seem to know what they’re going to say . Are you psychic!?! Sadly, your probably not. You just know that person very well, and if you know your characters well you’ll know what they’ll say in any situation. Your characters need to become your best friends, your family, and the people you know best. If you don’t know them well enough then you NEED to.

My best advice for you is to go explore the world. If someone you know acts like your character go become their best friend for a week. If your character is like a TV show star then go stalk them for a month (the character on TV, NOT the actual star. I am not encouraging you to go lurk outside someones house!) If you don’t have a clue  on anyone who is like your character, then you have to go take risks and adventurous endeavors.

For example:photo

If your single go date people you never even thought you would be interested in. You don’t have to be into them, but I will tell you this. Dating someone is going to let a lot more doors open for you then just listening in on conversations. When you date someone you get very personal and hopefully honest with the other person. You begin to notice their little quirks on the third date and possibly even learn why they’re tormented by large dogs.

Here is why I know this can work.

For about a year I was stuck on my second novel in my series. I knew what I wanted the protagonist to be like, I knew what skills he would have, but I had no clue how he would react or what he would say, because to be honest I had never met a guy like this before. Then one day an opportunity arose and a guy asked me on a few dates. To be honest I wasn’t completely into him, but I thought why not give him a chance.

That chance turned into me finally being able to step out of my writers block and write-write-write until my book was finally complete.

Meeting new people gives you the chance to meet the character you never knew!

So whether you are stuck with what to say, or if it comes fluidly, you must look over every detail. Get out into the world, listen to conversations, and explore. Dialogue may not be your top priority but it’s very important to your book, short story, or novel.

The Problems with Being a Writer

A. Willow

Ever since the dawn of time, writers have struggled to survive.

We each have our own style of writing, a way we like to do things, and a certain audience we are searching for. We strive to become noticed, or talked to about our work, to see what other people are thinking and if you have changed any one small person in some way. Once people start reading our work we begin to love our job, and we take pride in what we do.

The burden of this task doesn’t lay in the writing though, it lies on the outside.

For centuries we have seen, or read about the penny-less writer. Starving artists who have no choice in the matter of doing something else because they know deep down in their hearts that they are meant to write.

So here we all are, poorer than we had hoped, but feel helpless in the matter because no matter what your family and friends say, no matter how many times people bash at your life choices, you have no choice but to write with all your heart.

Choosing the path to follow your heart and dreams is one of the many sacrifices we must make in this world. We could have went to school to be some sort of doctor, even with a little interest, but where would you be now? You picked the writer path because you loved writing, and when you type your words on a page it feels like your fulfilling your life with meaning.

In this world, we are supposed to strive to become wealthy, long lived, and have so many expensive hobbies that we can’t even keep track of them all.

But imagine, if we didn’t live in this world. Imagine a place where money didn’t matter, and all anyone cared about was the passion they filled their lives with. A place where everyone followed their hearts and nobody second guessed themselves as to what to do, because they could see their soul as clear as day.

*Sigh

But we do not live a part of that world…not now at least. Because beyond the boundaries of our human race’s small minds, we can’t see everything no matter how smart you think you are. Everyone may think they have life and our surroundings all figured out, but in truth I doubt God or the Divine, or whatever you believe in gave us the minds to understand everything. For if we did understand everything we wouldn’t have wars to see what religion is right, we wouldn’t keep a stock of food for months when people are starving somewhere else, and we wouldn’t doubt that love surrounds all of us, but it takes a time a serenity to grasp it.

So for me at least, and perhaps for many of the other writers out there. I am not just writing for myself, or for the people I think might be able to get me rich or whatever….but I am writing for my soul. For I feel deep down, within my very core, that I’m meant to write words to help people understand that love isn’t just a myth of this world, and that every war does come with a consequence.

Each of us writers have our own reason to write, some unseen force pulling us along to tell a story to the world. I hope you find yours, and you learn from your own writing just like I am.

To me, it doesn’t matter if I am  penny-less and striving to get by in this world, but what matters is that I strive to show the world how much love and passion there truly is out there.

Goodbye my fellow writers, and if you’ve found your own reason for writing let me know. It’s a special gift our creator gave us to write out our feelings in song, and it’s just as special to share it.

Love Always,

     A. Willow

 

A Scene’s Complexity

imageWhat makes your writing unique?

Is it the way you spill it onto a page or could it possibly be the types of things you focus on?

Everyone is unique in their own way, and when it comes to the image inside your head, nobody else is going to have the same thing.

The landscape falls with just enough sunlight to stretch across the grass. The flowers, blooming red, symbolize the new beginning to my life. Stress has overcome all the senses, but soon a tranquil breath will wash over and release me from this heavy burden. 

Seeing an image like this one in your head is all your own, and something you might want to share with the world. But how do we effectively put a strong image into words? No matter how hard you try, you probably won’t give every person the same exact picture that’s inside your own mind, but you can try to get close.

Here are the things you should be thinking about while writing a scene.

1. The mood-

You must insinuate the mood you are feeling while you see this image. Does it seem to lift your spirits when you do see that sunrise. Can you feel the taste of freedom in the soft flowing air?

OR- Is it a drastic change where darkness sets in and you feel lost. Its feels as though your trapped in a dark cave with no light around you. You can only feel the course dank walls of your tormented enclosure?

Try to make your audience feel the way you do. Once you’ve achieved that you are getting closer to showing your audience the essence of your scene.

2. Vivid Description-

Now the question is what do you want to focus on? Is the narrator focusing on one object?

The coffee cup was still dripping with condensation. Letting the water slide down the side, and drip off the edge of the table. It’s as if the cup knew he felt the stress of his job beginning already without even taking a sip of his black bitter coffee. The cup was white, like his pale face, and resembled the staleness of life he had possessed over his many years of greed. The cup was a symbol of his life, and he knew that eventually the cup would drain down his throat dry without any comfort from the outside world. 

Or

Is the narrator unable to focus strictly on one thing, where everything is in a blur?

I heard the phone ringing, but could only focus on the people around me. There was a girl talking so fast it was as though her red lips puffed out in a blur, the man next to her eyeing her goods on his way to his lower end table, the lady in purple drummed her fingernails against the counter impatiently, the man chomping on his gum so loudly it made my stomach twist in nausea …

“Excuse me, you gonna get that or what?” 

I heard the snarky comment from a flimsy girl, but my head grew fuzzy and everyone began turning into one big blur of solid movement. I didn’t realize what I was doing at the time, but instead of answering the bar’s phone like I was supposed to, I bolted out of the spinning room and coughed up my lunch from earlier. 

What was it with me and large impatient crowds?

By looking at these examples you can see a drastic difference when you focus on one main object or too many at one time.   Whether it be a really quick glance of a description, or a long enduring eye for everything in the room.

My last piece of advice on the matter is you should be able to feel the writing being soaked up by your story and not disturbing it. Even if the paragraph is phenomenally written, if it isn’t flowing with the story you might have to save it for a later date.

3. What Feels Right-

When writing out your scenes, don’t focus on anyone else’s opinion but your own. It’s hard enough to write everything by yourself, but when you have more than one voice in your head it can get stressful. All you need to do is close your eyes and visualize what you think you should focus on in your heart. If the writing is rough, and you don’t know how to fully describe whats in your head, just write down random words that make sense to you and the scene. Come back to it later, and fully edit in the sentences. Writing isn’t supposed to be perfect, its supposed to be an expression of thought.

If you want to share, I would love to see hear how it helped you and even share what you came up with.

Enjoy your scene writing,

A. Willow

Are You A Rebel Writer?

Are you one of those format writing junkies that can’t stray away from a perfectly structured sentence?

OR

Are you the type that says, “I don’t need formality I need Originality”, you stray away from the rules of writing and do your own thing?

I must say if you answered yes to the first one…YOU ARE B-O-R-I-N-G!

The second answer I define as a Rebel Writer, and I highly recommend you write this way, but there is a right way to be a rebel writer and definitely a wrong way.

1. Know Your Bounds-

As a writer you need to know the right way to do things. You must know correct punctuation, structure, formality, and grammar. If you struggle with this either surf the web, pick up a writing guide book, or click on the links below.

http://www.towson.edu/ows/sentencestruct.htm,

http://www.grammarbook.com/grammar/effWrite.asp,

Knowing the correct way to do things is important, because if you are being a rebel writer by accident…well then, you aren’t truly a rebel at all but more so an ignorant writer.

Learn the right way to write and your on your way to better writing!

2. Use Formality With A Rebellious Twist-

Balance is the key! People don’t want something completely foreign. They like to know that there is still something familiar within your writing as everything else, but then again, they don’t want something to be like EVERYTHING else.

So what you must do is stretch out your creativity and abuse the steps of the writing rules.

An example of this is through Dialogue.

Formal: “I’m so exited I can’t wait.”

Rebellious: “I’m sooo excited….I can’t wait!!!”

Be unique with your writing to show the audience what is happening instead of just telling. Here is another example for a paragraph.

Formal: I stepped foot into the pond and felt the cool water dance along my toes. I don’t think I have ever felt anything more chilling or more wonderful all at the same time. Suddenly around the bush I heard a crunching noise. I quickly pulled my toes out of the water and ran away in fear it was the ghost.

Rebellious: I stepped foot in the pond and felt the cool water dance along my toes. I don’t think I have ever felt anything more chilling, and yet more gloriously wonderful, all at the same time.

*Crunch

My heart raced, my vision blurred, and I felt frantic. What if….

I quickly pulled my toes out of the water and ran, too fast for my own pleasure, but I needed to. I looked behind me in fear that The GHOST was upon me.

What I have done is change the different sections to be a little more staggered. I try to envision how it would feel if I was in the characters position. At first it was slow, but then everything seemed to jump at you faster as you went. I didn’t completely change the paragraph because this way people will still be familiar reading it.

3. Be Cautious-

You should use your rebellious side, but with caution! You want to use it in your writing to mean something. You can’t just use it every time you get the chance to. Even in my example above I drenched it with too much Rebellious, but I needed to show you something.

Use your rebellious side sparingly and only when you want something to stand out.

Effective rebellious writers use it for uniqueness and to explain their story through their different way of showing. If you use it like I did above (too much of it) then it might appear as poor quality writing.

After what I have shown you today I hope you can stretch out your rebellious side, and use it effectively within your writing. Let me know if you have any questions, thoughts, or would like to ask for help.

See you next time,

A. Willow