Quick Chat: Self Doubt As a Creative Person

Self doubt is something everyone feels from time to time, creative or not, and it has been something that has been keeping me from feeling motivated to outline and write lately. I do want to write, I really do. It feels like forever since I have sat down and just explored another world apart from our own, but the pressure to make all those words not just good but great is something I have been dealing with lately. Currently I am a high school student finishing up my grade eleven year, which means next year I have to start making choices about where I want to go next in my life. I know I want to be a writer, but that isn’t something you get handed to you even if you do go to post-secondary school for it. Since that is the case, I feel like I have to start going hard with writing and produce amazing pieces that I can actually build a career off of and that is exactly when the self doubt starts trickling in. My current thought process when it comes to writing is that if it isn’t good enough in that moment, it means I am not good enough either. Obviously I know that is not the case, and that writing takes lots of revising to make it readable, but as a student with expectations from others apart from myself I cannot seem to register that. Lucky for me I have time, but that doesn’t seem to help with my self doubt. I have been trying to change how I view my writing (or not writing) by doing these three things whenever I get stressed thinking about it:

  1. Taking long walks
  2. Reading
  3. Listening to writing podcasts and audiobooks

These three things have really been helping me gain perspective and insight on my writing and future. The walks help me organize my thoughts, reading helps me refuel my creativity and give me more ideas for my own writing, and listening to a writing podcast or audiobook simply inspires me. I also have to remind myself that I can’t do it all. It is hard being a full-time student, a blogger, a reader, and a writer, trying to fit all that in each day. Slowly I am getting better at it but everyday is still a challenge because if I don’t succeed in it all, I am left with a bitter taste in my mouth that is self doubt. If any of you feel similar remember that you aren’t alone! Creative people everywhere face the same struggle as we do, and guess what, soon you will learn to diminish that little voice in your head that tells you you aren’t good enough, it just takes time. All you can do is keep creating and everything will work out in the way it is supposed to.

Thanks for joining me on this jumbled ramble and I hope you enjoyed it! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post where I talk about books that I keep putting off: Intimidating TBR Tag!

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Should You Take a Creative Break?

Is it okay to take a creative break? Will it affect my creativity? 

Those are two questions I find myself asking a lot and guess what, it is okay to take a creative break and it won’t affect your creative process or love for creativity. If you love to be creative that won’t change even if you take a few days off or even an entire week off. Sometimes we just need to take a step back, do something else and then come back to it later because it will still be there when you get back, waiting for you.

I always struggled with taking breaks from writing and blogging because I was scared that I when I came back I wouldn’t be as in love with it or motivated about it as I am now. Only recently have I realized how wrong I was though! I need a break every so often because I don’t want to burn myself out or put too much stress on my shoulders. If you do that, and put too much pressure on your creative passion, then you might start hating it anyways and it will be because you didn’t take a break. Sometimes I take a break because I want some time to just aimlessly think about a project I am working on, or even time to think about anything but my project!

Today’s post is kind of a ramble, but something that all us creative people need to be reminded of. I also wanted to tie this in with some news that my blogging schedule will not be very consistent for the next while. This inconsistency might only last a week or it might last a month, but I just need some time to not feel stressed about putting a blog post out every day and I also need some time to think of some more content! My goal is to post at least two or three blog posts a week still, and I might come to the conclusion by the end of my “break” that two to three posts a week will become a new schedule. I love putting out a lot of blog posts a week, but it is challenging and I don’t want to regurgitate information I already have on my blog.

Anyways, that is all for my blog post today and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Reading + Writing Update

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Things All Writers Need

Below are a few different things that I believe all writers need. These things are books, podcasts, TV shows, and really anything that I feel enhances your creativity. Make sure you check out all the links I provided below because you will not regret it!

NaNoWriMo

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If you are a writer and haven’t heard about NaNoWriMo…I don’t know where you’ve been because it is huge! NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is a writing event that inspires writers from around the world to attempt a 50,000 word draft in one, single month. This takes place in November every year, but they also have events like Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July every year. However, instead of aiming to hit 50,000 words, you can choose your word goal. Anyways there are also goodies for participants and winners, and overall it is just an amazing writing experience.

Creative Writing Exercises for Dummies by Maggie Hamand

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This is a book on writing that is filled with useful tips on the craft of writing as well as motivation and marketing. You will also find lots of writing exercises to get your creativity flowing, and that are also a lot of fun! This is a book that will get you pumped and ready to write with ideas practically flowing from your fingertips.

Myths & Monsters

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Myths & Monsters is a TV series on Netflix that every writer is screaming at you to watch. While I am only a few episodes in, I can confidently recommend it to not only writers, but anyone interested in history as well. This show is filled with mythology from all different places like Greece, Rome, Egypt, and so much more, and focuses on literature and art from those times as well. The narrators go over valuable tips and ideas on story structure and also creating an entertaining quest like the ones in the original myths.

The Creative Penn Podcast

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Are you in need of a fantastic podcast where you will be overflowing with info by the time it switches off? Well definitely check out the Creative Penn podcast because it is just that! The host, Joanna Penn brings on so many great writers and creative people and I always enjoy listening to their conversations. I am pretty picky when it comes to writing podcasts but this is definitely a favourite of mine.

That is all for today but I hope you enjoyed! Make sure you also check out my last blog post: 5 Ways to Spark Your Creativity

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5 Ways to Spark Your Creativity

Before I jump into this post, I just wanted to thank you guys so much for 200 follows! It means so much to me and I appreciate you guys so much. Every like and comment still gets me really excited, and I love being able to connect with all of you who share the same interests as me. So again, thank you! 🙂

There is a lot of writing I want to get done over the course of this year, however there is not a lot of motivation and creativity to support that. To help not only me, but any of you who are also feeling stuck. Here is a list I have compiled of 5 ways to get your creative juices flowing and I hope it helps!

  1. Watch YouTube Videos On Writing – Watching writing vlogs or people talking about craft gets me extremely motivated to write. I did a post a few months back on some AuthorTubers (and a few BookTubers) I recommend so I will definitely leave that here for you to check out because you won’t be disappointed. These authors/youtubers are amazing and dedicated and soon you will find yourself also wanting to be amazing and dedicated.
  2. Do A Different Type of Art – I really am not an artistic person but I do enjoy collaging and sometimes when I get stumped creatively, I will bring out my collage stuff and start collaging. It is nice to just let go and pour myself into something other than my words. Also, collaging isn’t my passion so it is nice not putting ridiculous expectations on myself while doing it. Highly recommend picking up a hobby that doesn’t have to do with writing because you will benefit so much from it mentally and creatively.
  3. Listen to a Podcast – There are so many amazing podcasts on creativity, writing, and really everything you could ever want. Listening to the hosts bring in other creative people and interview them is so inspiring because they tell us how they too started at the bottom and rose to success. You can also learn a lot of valuable tips from podcasts apart from gaining back that creative spark.
  4. Write Out Your Future Goals – These can be goals you plan to accomplish in the next year or the next five years, but the point is to just write some creative things you want to get done at some point in your life. Writing these down will create an image of the future in your mind and you will suddenly be hit with a load of motivation full force. You will suddenly want to start trying to accomplish these goals, and even though you will probably lose that energy and motivation eventually, keep looking back at your goals whenever you feel that motivation sinking away.
  5. Take a Trip to the Library or Bookstore – Just being surrounded by books inspires me to write. I see all of the books that are published by others who just sat down and wrote the damn thing, and it makes me want to do just that. You can also get a book or two out of going to the bookstore which is another great way to get back into your creative groove!

Those are 5 ways to spark your creativity and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Audiobook TBR

Happy writing 🙂

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Perks of Writing Short Fiction

Today’s post is inspired by a podcast I listened to and that is “How to Make Money Writing Short Fiction With Douglas Smith” from the podcast The Creative Penn. I am still new to this podcast but so far I am loving it, so if you are looking for a podcast about creativity and writing definitely check it out!

Anyways, I started out writing short fiction and still tend to stick to it as the longest length of story I have written was only 50,000 words…but that is ok! Since I have written a lot of short fiction, I decided to share some perks of starting with short fiction and continuing with it because there are a few. The overall message of this blog post is to start writing short fiction!

  • They Are Easier to Get Published – There are an endless amount of literary magazines and contests that only want short fiction. Not novellas or novels but stories that are short and sweet. It is a lot harder to make money off of a novel, which requires a lot more time and effort, so why not try out short fiction and see how much you like it. I am not saying to give up novel writing because I still love writing novels, or at least trying to, but there is no reason why you can’t try both. If you need literary magazine recommendations, here is a past blog post I wrote recommending some.
  • They Require Less Time – As I said, short fiction is short and sweet. It requires less time to outline, write and edit. It can take you a two or so days to write the first draft, and two or so days to write the second and third draft, and then two or so days to edit! Of course it depends how much time you have and how you write, but it doesn’t matter because it will still take less time than a novel. However, despite taking less time to craft, I would not say it is much easier because compacting a fleshed out story in a few thousand words…well, that takes skills!
  • You Become a Better Writer – Since short stories take so little time to write compared to a novel, it means you can write more of them and when you write more, you become a stronger writer. You get better at story structure, dialogue, fleshing out characters, etc, etc and more comfortable with your writing. You also find your writing voice a lot quicker, but if you want some other tips check out a blog post I wrote last week here.
  • You Can Experiment With Genres – Diving into the world of short stories allows you to experiment with different genres easier. You can tread the waters of sci-fi or contemporary, and if it’s not for you oh well, it was only a thousand words or so. If you write a novel and half way through realize it isn’t working because maybe sci-fi isn’t for you…well that is about 40,000 words down the drain.
  • It Is More Rewarding – I don’t know about you, but I feel very accomplished and productive when I complete a story and since writing short fiction is quicker, I end up feeling productive a lot. It doesn’t have to be ready to publish, but just having a finished story on your laptop is nice.

That is all for today’s blog post and I hope you enjoyed. Sorry I wasn’t able to post something early but at least I am posting now. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Reading + Writing Update!

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Finding Your Voice

What does it mean to “find your voice”? Well, today I am going to share with you how I found my writing voice and some tips that might help you find your own. Finding your voice in writing is something that comes with time, but it will come. It is all about being patient and persistent. After three years of actively writing, I feel like I am confident enough to share this with you, so I hope you enjoy and are able to take something away from this!

I didn’t realize until a few months ago that I had finally developed a clear and strong writing voice. It was when I was “forcing” myself to pump out stories for my creative writing class that I realized the words sounded like me. When I looked at stories written by me 3 years ago, it was like looking at a picture of myself ten years ago when I was six with a bad hair cut. Luckily, I like to think I have gotten a lot better by now. The point is, finding your voice is like finding that one piece of yourself that has been missing all along, and when it finally falls into place, everything clicks. Its the same with writing and discovering your voice. It all just suddenly makes sense. The good thing is, is that anyone can find their writing voice, and it may take more or less time than the person slamming their keyboard next to you. The important thing is to not give up, keep going. You’ll find it when the time is right.

Finding your voice can be frustrating, and while like I said, it will come with time, sometimes we want to speed that time up. If you want to find your writing voice fast, here are a few tips that I used in order to find my voice and some that you can follow to find yours too:

WRITE! – How easy is this? Super easy because if you are a writer that means you like to write. Shocker, right? No, but seriously. It is because I started writing so much these past few months that my writing voice really developed and became strong. I started setting goals and submitting to literary magazines and contests (which is how I sometimes motivate myself to write) and that is when I noticed a shift. Just sit down and write, and if you spend time doing that then you are on the right track.

Take a Writing Class – When it comes to finding your voice, developing editing skills, etc, the more technical craft side of writing, a writing class is a phenomenal way to lasso your voice and reel it in. I am taking a Creative Writing 12 class (almost done though, fingers crossed I finish by the end of March) and because you are being forced to not only write but analyze other people’s work, your sound really starts shining through.

Journal – When you journal you are writing about yourself. Through words you recap your day or your feelings, but the point is that writing about yourself means you are writing in your voice. Does that make sense? Not only is journalling a great way to find your voice, but it is also incredibly therapeutic! Try it out sometime.

Read, Read, Read – By reading other people’s work, and reading in their voice, you will be surprised that it will help you find your own. You also realize what not to do when reading other people’s books, and how you can improve as a writer yourself. If you are a writer you are also a reader though, so this one like writing, should be a no brainer for you!

Experiment: Write in New Genres and Styles  – Test the waters, find out what works best for you. Maybe you have always wrote fiction, but by branching out and writing creative non-fiction or poetry you developed a voice quicker. Or maybe you always write fantasy but once you try another genre like sci-fi, something just clicks and you are one step closer to solidifying your writing voice. Sometimes the genre you think is best for you really isn’t, so give different genres and styles a try! The point is, this tip is beneficial even if you already have discovered your voice.

That is all I have for you today and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out yesterday’s blog post: January 2018 Wrap Up and remember to keep on writing 🙂

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My Writing Routine!

I made a blog post about my writing routine sometime in 2017, but it has changed a lot in the last month so I decided to make a revamped version so you guys can see what my process of writing looks like! I hope you enjoy and make sure to comment what your writing routine looks like.

6:00pm

Lately I have been writing at this coffee shop like three minutes from my house. It’s big, quiet and has lots of cute writing nooks. Since I go there to write multiple times a week, I usually just order a green tea so I don’t run out of money by next week. Once I have my tea, I open Spotify on my phone and listen to Spotify’s “Productive Morning” playlist because it is a massive playlist of calm music. I cannot write easily to music with lyrics, which is why I like this playlist so much, so if you are in search of a playlist like that then check it out!

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6:15pm

By now I have my music playing, my tea, and my Word document open on my computer so I dive into writing. I try not to write with any particular goal in mind, because I have realized that it is a lot harder for me to write with the pressure of reaching a goal of say 1000 words. Despite that, it is unusual for me to leave the coffee shop with at least 1000 words done.

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7:00-7:15pm

This is the time I usually finish writing for the night unless I am so distracted by my writing that I end up staying an extra thirty minutes or so. Sometimes this happens but I am usually too tired to stay any longer. As long as I get 1000 words down, I feel accomplished though!

That is all for my writing routine and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: 5 Resources for Writers!

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5 Resources for Writers!

The internet has created an insane amount of resources for writers, but here are 5 of my personal favourites to help narrow down the picking. I hope you enjoy!

Writing Exercises

Feeling stumped? Check out this website for writers where they have an endless supply of generators to get your creative juices flowing like random first line, character, plot generator, and a “what if” scenario. I could spend hours just playing with the generators, so this is definitely one of my go to websites when I have absolutely no idea what to write.

Pinterest 

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I could not make a writing resource post and not include Pinterest, because it is the holy grail when it comes to visualizing your story. Not only can you create boards of your story setting and characters, you can also scroll through their endless amount of creative writing prompts. When I really need to picture a setting or character of mine, I automatically go to Pinterest, and also if I want some writing prompts! Check out my Pinterest linked below because I have a board with a lot of writing prompts I have found over the past year.

WritersDigest

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If you are a writer, you have definitely checked out the WritersDigest website because it is amazing and so helpful. Not only do they have writing contests and classes, but they also have free writing downloads that are really interesting and helpful when it comes to striving to pursue writing. Some of my personal favourites of the free downloads are “How Do I Write and Sell Short Ficition” and “Selling Your Work Online”.

The Write Life

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I follow them on Twitter and I always look forward to the bits of information they give out, because it has really made me aware of things I wasn’t before, like the fact that you have to write a cover letter when submitting to literary magazines. What a life saver! On their website, you will find tips on freelancing, craft, blogging, marketing, and a few other things so definitely click their name and it will take you to their website!

Susan Dennard

Susan Dennard is the author of a few different YA books, one of the being the bestselling book “Truthwitch” and on her website is the motherload of writing advice. If you sign up to her newsletter, you will also occasionally receive newsletters on writing in your email (not very often though so don’t worry). Honestly, you could spend hours on her website soaking up every bit of information she has shared with us aspiring writers and I really encourage you to check it out!

Those are my 5 favourite writing resources that I always turn to when I need ideas or advice, and hopefully you found them helpful! If you have any writing resources you use, comment them below because I’m always looking for more. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Balancing Writing with a Writing Life

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Balancing Writing with a Writing Life

What I mean by “Balancing Writing with a Writing Life” is balancing your writing when your life is already filled with writing. For example, I am a high school student. I love to write my fiction stories and creative essays, but I also have to write essays and stories for school, and a lot of the time I feel creatively drained when I come home and sit down to write. Sometimes I can push through it, and force myself to write, but a lot of the times I give up for the night and say I will write tomorrow instead. I mean I already wrote an essay on Lord of the Flies for English today, so how about I give myself a break for today? This is okay some of the time, but if you let it, it will become a pattern of you putting off your writing due to the other writing you do daily. It may be because of school or your job so you have to do it, so here are some tips on balancing out your writing.

Set Aside Time in the Morning or Late Evening

This is obvious, but I had to get it out of the way. If you feel too drained when you come home from work or school to write, write in the morning before you go to work or school, or write a few hours after you get home. I know I feel super drained when I come home so I turn on Netflix for an hour or so, or YouTube or even sometimes read, and then by six or seven in the evening I am feeling better and ready to write! Don’t let your tiredness stop you, just allow yourself the few hours to rest because there is still time in the day to write.

Make a Writing Plan

If you have a plan for your writing and you know where you want to go that day, it will be so much easier to sit down at your computer and write. You know where you have to go, what plot points you have to hit and where you can end for the day. Without a plan, you will feel lost and have no idea how to start (well sometimes) and guess what? You will probably just give up for the day and try again tomorrow. But no, we don’t want that. Have a plan, write it and then you are done for the day!

Dividing Up Your Writing Time

While your writing for school or work is really important, and you should put a lot of focus on it, your own writing is also really important because it is what you love! It doesn’t deserve to be pushed off to the side. There are some exceptions of course, like if you have finals or really important report you need to give to your boss tomorrow, but if its just homework, don’t let it bully you into leaving your writing for tomorrow. Divide up your time. Work on your paper for thirty minutes and then switch over to your own writing project. Do whatever feels right to you but just don’t ignore your writing, otherwise you won’t get anything accomplished with it!

Replenish Your Creative Well Often

I looove replenishing my “creative well”, as us artists say. It is fun and inspiring and relaxing. Replenishing your creative well can mean a variety of things like: blogging, reading, watching TV/movies, listening to music…really anything like that. It is so important to do this daily, especially after using your brain all day (whether you are using it creatively or not), but sometimes we get carried away and spend too much time replenishing our creative wells…In my opinion spending anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour is a good amount, but much more than that can lead to you never writing. Know when it is too much and you will be fine!

Partake in Activities That Do Not Require Much Creativity 

For me, this means going to the gym or hanging out with friends, and it is my time in the day where I can let loose and just relax. I am not worrying about my school work or feeling guilty about not writing at that exact moment, I am just existing! So try this out. Spend again, like an hour or so participating in something that doesn’t involve your creativity as much as writing, or even much of your brain. Go for a run or a walk, go shopping at the mall…the list is endless.

Those are 5 tips/tricks to balancing your writing when you already live a writing infused life. I hope they were helpful and that you enjoy it, and if you did please like this blog post so I know! Also, if you want me to check out your blog please put it in the comments because I am on the hunt for new blogs 🙂

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Jan + Feb 2018 Biannual Goals!

2018 is a year that has to be productive writing/reading/creative wise because the past two years have not been as exciting and productive as I would have hoped. I see a lot of AuthorTubers doing biannual goals and it got me really inspired to start doing them and share them with you guys so I stay accountable! As long as I complete 75% of my goals I will consider myself successful and hopefully I don’t get under that.

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For January and February, I have a total of 7 somewhat lofty goals which means I have to complete a minimum of 6:

  1. Submit to 6 Literary Magazines – Yes this is a lot but I really want to haveImage result for writing a strong first two months to 2018 and I know I can complete this goal, or at least get close to it. There are just so many literary magazines looking for submissions and so many I want to enter!
  2. Submit to 2 Writing Contests – Yep…more writing but like I mentioned in my “5 Goals Every Writer Should Set + How to Stay Accountable” it is important to strive for goals that are not too far out of reach, but still take you out of your comfort zone. Submitting these many stories definitely does that, but I know I will be able to get very close because obviously I love to write!
  3. Read 12 Books – Again, this goal is a lot. Especially since the end of January is the dreaded midterm Image result for readingseason for me. However, my reading goal for 2018 is 75 books and in order to do that I have to read 6 books a month so…yeah I need to read a lot!
  4. Publish 30 Blog Posts – Lately I have been flooded with new blog post ideas and my usual 3 blog posts a week just isn’t cutting it for me anymore! I need to write more and publish more each week so I have been thinking of resorting back to my 6 blog posts a week schedule so fingers crossed I can keep it up when school starts again next week.
  5. Journal 5x a Week – I love to journal. I find it relieving of stress and anxiety which is something I really, really need during the school time. During school I am really good at keeping up with journalling so I am sure I will be able to exceed this goal, but considering my other goals are pretty lofty, I want to be relax with the rest.
  6. Complete 3 Units of Creative Writing – I currently take a creative writing class online and have been slacking the past month. I love this class and really want to give it a lot of focus now and hopefully finish it pretty soon!Image result for gym
  7. Work Out 2x a Week – I hate going to the gym. However, I enjoy it while I am there and usually don’t leave for another two hours which is great! But getting myself there, especially during the school year is torture so despite going to the gym only 2 days isn’t a lot, I know it won’t be easy.

Those are my 7 goals for the months of January and February and I hope you enjoyed! I hope the first two months of 2018 are productive and fun and exciting for you, and comment below any goals you have for this year. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Reading/Writing Update!

(Again these are NOT my pictures and I do not take credit for them 🙂 )