Wednesday, June 4, 2014

10 Points to Ponder Before You Write

You’re a writer. You know writing is all about self-discipline. Okay, it’s also about technique and talent, but I’m not blogging about those. Work with me here.

Ahem.

Writing is about self-discipline. Steely, hard-eyed, butt-in-the-chair-hands-on-the-keyboard discipline. I get that. But before you plant your butt in that chair have you…

10. Checked the level of your coffee supplies. Some say you can never have enough coffee; and they may be right. I say you know you’ve reached your coffee limit when your typing starts to look like this: “ttttttttttttttttttttthhhhhhhhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiisssssssssssss”.

9. Ensured your food drawer is stocked. Everyone has a food drawer; don’t try to deny it. Some say their drawers are full of healthy snacks. I say some lie. One word, my friend, one word: Chocolate.

8. Set your radio/computer/mp3/cd player to your preferred music. Some of us write to music; some don’t. I write to the dulcet tones of warring cats and the occasion yell of “Mum? Do we have any food?” I won’t share my reply to either party; use your imagination. You are a writer, aren’t you?

Which leads me to remind you to:

7. Warm up your imagination to get those creative juices flowing. Think about which film star would play the lead in your current work. Then think about meeting said film star and how you would carry off the meeting with aplomb and ease, whilst adorned in an outfit that says, “Yes, I look fabulous in a very nonchalant, it took me five minutes to throw together this outfit and I never need to go to the gym because I’m gifted with a wonderful metabolism" way.

6. Think about going to the gym. Dismiss it. Eat a cupcake. (see #9)

5. Do one last check of your social networks. After all, you’re about to turn off the internet and concentrate on your writing. One last check won’t hurt. Oh look, pictures of cupcakes.

4. The pictures of cupcakes have links to recipes. Check them out. You’re following through which is the hallmark of any good researcher. And every writer needs to research. You may be able to use this newfound cupcake knowledge in your current project. The readiness is all.

3. Pause for a moment to reflect on how Shakespeare has a line for almost every occasion.

2. Pause for another moment to reflect on how you resorted to using a Shakespearean line instead of being original and employing your own words.

1. Pause for a third moment to remind yourself that Shakespeare was a genius and his work is still relevant and being performed 425 years later. And since he lived in Elizabethan times, Will would have been drinking ale or wine, not coffee. Now there’s food for thought.


Elspeth Antonelli is an author and playwright. Her murder mystery games A Fatal Fairy Tale, Deadly Ever After and Curiouser and Curiouser are among the top-selling mystery games on the Internet. All thirteen of her murder mystery games and two audience-interactive plays are published by host-party.com. Her newest game, Once Upon a Murder, will be published by Red Herring Games. Her 'writing sheep' are being featured this year in a series of columns in the European writers' magazine Elias. Connect with her on Twitter at @elspethwrites or on Facebook at Elspeth Antonelli, Author.

20 comments:

  1. Thanks, Elspeth. You made me smile on a morning full of dark skies and pelting rain. But, hey, I'm inside, glued to the chair in front of the screen, keyboard at hand. But, almost as soon as I finish typing this, I'll be continuing the read-aloud edit I'm currently performing. Now, the question is, do I have coffee, tea, wine or ale to lubricate the vocal cords strained by all that reading out loud?

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    1. Thank you, Stuart. May I suggest reading aloud some portions in a funny voice? Seriously, it makes you more aware of the words. It's an old acting/directing trick.

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    2. Sounds like fun. I expect I'll get some odd looks from my wife and daughter as they pass my cubbyhole, but I get those anyway! I'll give it a try. Thanks.

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  2. Replies
    1. Think of it as another step in your writing process. That way you're being creative.

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  3. Don't drink coffee, wine, etc.; don't have a food drawer (it's a pantry); love researching yummy-looking recipes; can't miss what's new of Facebook; don't listen to music when writing (I tend to sing along, which creates some interesting "typos"; the only film stars I'm familiar with are either dead or way too old for the parts; but I sure can relate to those pauses. Love this, Elspeth! :-)

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    1. I'm pleased you enjoyed it, Linda. And I say you can imagine those film stars at any age you want.

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  4. Fun as usual, Elspeth. I do so enjoy your offerings here. I am partial to coffee and chocolate, although I have had to move the chocolate out of my desk drawer and into the refrigerator. It gets so blastedly hot here in Texas in the spring and summer and chocolate smudges on business cards just doesn't look very professional.

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    1. A very good argument for a small office refrigerator, wouldn't you say?

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    2. Good point, Elspeth. I may have to lose the desk to fit one in though. LOL

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    3. Write on top of the refrigerator, woman. Where are your priorities?

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  5. Elspeth - Thanks for those pieces of advice. I can't possibly agree more on the vital importance of steay supplies of coffee. Dark chocolate too. Without them nothing is possible. Oh, and sheep. ;-)

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    Replies
    1. I *did* write a reply...it's below. I hit the wrong button. Clearly, I need more coffee.

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  6. The sheep are, of course, a constant. Thanks for dropping by, Margot!

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  7. As long as you are "thinking" about your story, all of those are valid activities. :)

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    1. Indeed. Although I have to admit those quotation marks sting a bit.

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  8. I like coffee and chocolate, too. But I had to shut down my food drawer. This has caused me a lot of stress. What's the url for that cupcake site???

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    1. Research, Pat! And then there's comparing and contrasting the sites. This could take hours. Well done!

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  9. Very amusing post. I agree with most of it. The one I might not agree with is number 5. One last check on the social media is deadly. Usually it means you find yourself hours later still there.

    For me to get my juices flowing, I need to read what I wrote last. If I'm starting a new project, it's just a question of sitting down and writing the first 1000 words. There you go. Now, I've got something to read tomorrow.

    Thanks again for an amusing post that illustrates with humor the discipline all of us writers must enforce.

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    1. Thank *you* for taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate it. Happy writing!

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