It’s a new month, which means it’s time for a new set of shocking, scandalous writer confessions. Not for the faint of heart, I assure you.
- Throughout the years, I’ve left myself cryptic notes to make later life more exciting. I recently found one hidden in my Zen garden box, with “Did I flip over in my sleep again?” written on one side and a Tim Burton-looking cockroach drawn on the other. I have no idea what this could mean, but it makes me want to write something.
- Personal motivation can be very delicate. I have certain pens assigned to certain notebooks, and one missing pen can stymie the day’s creative ambition to an embarrassing degree. “But I don’t want to mark things with the blue pen. But, ugh, I don’t want to start using a new pen–“
- Whenever I start a story, I go exploring for new music. That way I associate my project with those songs, and get into the right mindset as soon as they come on.
- Time never works for writers like you think it does. Use Excel or a print-out or a piece of paper, draw out a line for a character’s lifespan in units of your choice, and mark what happens where. You would be amazed what inconsistencies appear between events prior to and during the story proper. “Wait, what do you mean she had to be four when she got her powers?” Believe me, someone WILL be thinking about these things and someone WILL call you out on them.
- My interests change depend on what I’m writing about. For instance, I never was a huge fan of pirate fantasy or naval fiction until I started researching pirate ships for “Lost and Found,” at which point I suddenly found myself buying up Alexander Kent books. Go figure.
- You cannot write something well that you don’t love. If you’re in dread of working on your project, think about what would make you more excited to write it. Tailor a character’s interests, or maybe the settings. Find an interesting recurring detail or motif. Give it some spice. Love what you make.