Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Set Up Your Environment for Writing Success

Hello writers! Some of you may already know this, but maybe some of you have never heard this before.

Before you even start writing, you need to set up your environment for writing success!

“Set up your environment?” What do I mean by that?

Here’s the thing, my ideal environment to write in is up in the mountains of Big Bear, sitting on the deck of a two story cabin, the sky blue and the breeze light with birds chirping in the background with a cup of hot tea in my hands. However, as a full time professor, teacher, writer, and fiance, my chances for retreating to the mountains are minimized. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t manipulate my current environment.

 

What I find helpful is setting up a specific space. This space should be somewhere that you often find yourself when you are really ready to write. Maybe it’s your bedroom/dorm room, maybe it’s that coffee shop down the street, maybe it’s outdoors, or maybe it’s on the floor of your kid’s nursery (because you know as soon as you leave, they’ll wake up).

For me, that is my kitchen table. There is plenty of room for me to spread out my laptop, my notebook, my resources, and hey! easy access to food and tea! I don’t have a home office so this table has quickly become my office space. Be inventive with your writing space! Make it your own, make it familiar, and make it encouraging to your writing process.

Image result for book on kitchen table

But before I can start writing I find that I need music. For me, that means turning on Pandora and clicking on The Hunger Games soundtrack playlist which has already been modified by my thumbs up and down. These familiar songs automatically switch my brain into writing mode.

Music is such a great motivator! Maybe you don’t have a specific playlist that comes to mind. Have you considered playing gaming music (specifically boss level music). If you aren’t sure what this means, in video games there is specific music that comes on when a character faces the ultimate bad-guy; this music has been specifically created to motivate the gamer and keep them engaged. In the same way, if you are having a hard time staying motivated, consider playing music from a popular video game. There are no lyrics to distract you (most likely) and it’s been specifically created to keep the listener activated in their task.

If that’s not your thing, consider playing soothing music in the background or simply your favorite playlist. Whatever you decide, try to keep it consistent. That way, when you hear the familiar music, you will automatically think that it is time to write!

This one might not be applicable to everyone, some of you might prefer to work in complete silence and that is okay! Whatever you do, try to control your environment the best you can. This might not always be possible so the important thing is to keep writing.

*If you enjoyed today’s Writing Tip be sure to check out additional tips under the “Writing Tips” category on my home menu!

Write down in the comments how YOU plan to set your environment! 

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Writing Tips

When Writer’s Block is Caused by a Lack of Time

As noted in the introductory blog, “5 Reasons Behind Writer’s Block,” there are several reasons why writers are often prevented from writing. The six primary reasons include:

  • Lack of Time to Write
  • Sickness
  • Work
  • Lack of Creativity
  • Home Responsibilities
  • ***Fear*** (I am adding this in response to the comments I received on the original post)

The first step to overcoming Writer’s Block comes from the need to discover why the writer is blocked in the first place. Once you have establish the why you can work on how to move forward.

Lack of Time = Intentional Scheduling

clock, hours, minutes

If your writing is suffering from a lack of Time issue then the issue might actually be your scheduling.

There are indeed few people with airtight schedules that hold no wriggle room; however, the majority of us are a bit more flexible. There are various ways that we can adjust our schedules to allow at least 15 minutes of writing time a day.

  • For instance, wake up 15 minutes early or go to bed 15 minutes late. Use that time to write every single day.
  • Don’t want to miss out on sleep? Do you watch TV? Perhaps it’s time to cut out a show, or record it and watch it later that way you can cut out the commercials and use that extra 15 minutes to write.
  • Have a facebook, an instagram, a WordPress, a Twitter, AND other social media sites? Limit your time on them! Yes, they are great and resourceful, but if you are spending hours online with “no time to write,” then something has got to change.

I’ll be honest. I have used the excuse “I don’t have the time” to really mean “I didn’t make the time.” Don’t do that, but instead intentionally schedule writing periods for every day. This will not only give you time to write, but if you do it at the same time every day, it will also help you form a habit.

Happy Writing Everyone!

How to you plan to adjust your schedule to include more writing time?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Five Common Reasons Behind Writer’s Block

There are several reasons why authors and poets may find themselves face-to-faced with that notorious villain known as “Writer’s Block.” Writer’s Block can last for a couple of minutes, a couple of hours, a couple of days, or even months.

Image result for nick writing gif

Here are some various reasons why people might face writer’s block:

  • Lack of Time to Write – trying to find time in our busy schedules can sometimes feel impossible. Many of us do not make money from our writing and so we have to sacrifice our time by going to school or work or elsewhere.
  • Sickness – we all get it. Some of us are lucky to only catch colds or flus while some of us struggle from chronic sickness and lethargy.
  • Lack of Creativity – it’s happened to every writer I know. Sometimes our well of creativity simply dries up without rhyme or reason, but that does not mean that we don’t continue to try.
  • Work – as I mentioned before. For many of us, writing is not our job. Also, for some of us, we are split between our love for writing and the enjoyment we find in our jobs.
  • Home Responsibilities – are you a parent? A sister? A brother? A spouse? An aunt? An uncle? A child? Whoever you are, I’m going to bet that you have some form or another of responsibilities at home that tug on your time and attention.

For one reason or another, writers will almost always hit that inevitable wall.

Wall

The first step to overcoming Writer’s Block comes from the need to discover why the writer is blocked in the first place. Once you have establish the why you can work on the how to move forward. Over the next few weeks, I plan on addressing each of these concerns (as listed above) with some tips and tricks on how to combat writer’s block. You won’t want to miss this!

Which of the above reasons do you struggle with the most? Be sure to leave your comments below!

Happy Writing!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Accepting Failure

Let me be honest. Failure is going to be a part of your writing career. It just is. And let me honest again. Failure is going to be a part of life.

We are humans, we cannot succeed at everything, all the time.

So, before you begin your career as an author, an artist, a composer, a teacher, whatever you choose, accept that at some point you will fail.

Failure today does not mean that you cannot succeed tomorrow. – KaylaAnn

Failure is only a moment in time, a response to a singular incident. Failure does not define you or your career. The best option, and really the only option you have to success, is to accept failure and then move on from it.

Sometimes our failures will be small. For example, I failed a lot of my daily word count goals between the months of November – January. However, I did not let that stop me. I did not throw my hands in the air and say, “Well, I failed, it’s over!” Nope, I moved forward and planned to begin writing in earnest again.

Sometimes our failures will be big. For example, I’ve just recently received my review from my third reader and let’s just say, it wasn’t great. Now, I’m stuck where I have two decisions and either decision will require drastic change to my manuscript. However, that does not mean that I give up, I pick myself back up (after I cried my eyes out) and I get ready to face the problem head on.

So accept failure, but do not let it define you. Do not let it stop you. Do not let it hinder your progress. Acknowledge it, learn from it, be strengthened by it.

I’ll keep you updated on my book, The Agency Games, once I have some more information. Please wish me luck and keep me in your prayers as I work toward this goal and attempt to decide what is best for my manuscript.

Accept Failure but Never Stop Moving Forward.

Blogs / Life, The Agency Games

The Agency Games: Update on the Third Reader (Blogmas: “It’s a Holiday Gift!)

Hello Everyone!

Today, I am taking a break from our regularly scheduled Blogmas posts to keep you updated on the publishing process for my book The Agency Games. For those of you who are new to my blog (Welcome!), The Agency Games is a nonfiction analysis of the popular Hunger Games series where I investigate human agency and how it affects primary characters such as Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Cinna, Prim, Rue, Finnick, Mags, Joanna, Beetee, and more!

Anyhow, as many of you might remember, I am currently in the “Peer Review” stage of the publishing process. I have two readers who reviewed my book back in August. One of them loved it and the other was not impressed. So the publication house sent out my book to a third reader to be the tie breaker. However, back in November, when I was supposed to receive my feedback, my third reader backed out due to health reasons and so the clock was set back once again as I waited for the publication house to locate a new third reader.

I am happy to announce that as of this past weekend, the editors have located a new third reader and I should be receiving my feedback sometime toward the end of January in the new year!

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Additionally, the editors have gone ahead and scheduled me a final due date for the revised and improved final draft of my book for April of 2019! It has been a long road, but one that I am so grateful to have the opportunity to walk!

Thank you all for sticking alongside me, encouraging me and supporting me. I sometimes wonder if this book will forever be in limbo (something that will one day happen but not today) and then other days, like today, I can imagine holding that physical representation of all my hard work in my hands. This book has become more than just my “first” book. Some of you may remember that my grandfather is currently dying from cancer and it’s hard, and sometimes, he is not all there. But other days, he is. The other day he asked me when I was going to start publishing my books because he always knew that I would succeed. My entire life, he has pushed me to reach for the stars and I am so grateful for that. He inspired me to work hard and to persevere. In a way, finishing this book has now become a testament to his influence on my life.

Excitement does not begin to describe how I feel. I am one step forward to becoming an official “published” author and I know that I would not be where I am today without the support of my family and friends!

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Allow Your Book To Evolve

When writing your book just know that your book WILL change.

Perhaps not a ton, perhaps only a little, or perhaps it will be a completely different book than the one you intended on writing in the first place, but one way or another, your book will evolve over time.

This isn’t a bad thing though. As you write, your ideas will grow and form. You might realize that what sounded like a great idea before doesn’t really work well in application. You may be hit with a sudden inspiration to go a different direction.

My advice?

Image result for do it gif

But in all seriousness, go for it! If you feel your book changing, you need to allow it. If you stick too tightly to your original plan, your writing will come out forced and it will sound that way to your readers. Take the new path and see where the new ideas lead you. If you hate them you can always go back and try again.

In other words, planning and outlining your book is important. But it is also just as important to allow your book to change and evolve as you write.

As you all know, I recently received my feedback from the publishers and they encouraged me to change and improve some chapters in my book. Through their suggestions, I have come up with new solutions and actually changed the entire chapter order of my book! And to be honest, it’s better for it!

Happy Writing Everyone!

***Enjoyed today’s tip? Check out my main page for more under the tab “Writing Tips”! Have any questions about today’s tip or writing in general? Leave your comments below!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Poetry

We are only Visitors

I watched you

As you squatted down

On bended knees

Viciously you chopped away

At the grass and weeds

Then, in a sharp

Turn

Your hands become

Undeniably gentle

As you unwrap the orange

Plastic, festive wrapping

And cut down the stems

Of the bouquet

Made up of

Warm, yellow sunflowers

Bright, purple blooms

Soft, coral tulips

Wrapped in a cocoon

Of vibrant greenery

You fill the metal canister

With water and food

For the flowers

Carefully you slide in the stems

And play and rearrange

Until you are

Satisfied

With the display

Of love and affection

And remembrance.

Blogs / Life

The Best Advice I Ever Received

When I was younger, my mother gave me the best advice I have ever received and I have tried to stick to it all my life. Often times, when I was scared of asking a question, my mother would say:

“Ask anyway. The worst thing they can do is say no.”

Now, when my mother said this, she wasn’t talking about writing, or blogging, or publishing, or anything like that. And yet, her words of wisdom apply to almost everything I do in my writing career.

Am I scared of getting feedback? Of course, I am! People can be mean.

But I ask for outside opinions anyway.

The worst thing they can do is say they don’t like it (not everyone will).

Am I scared of submitting my work to publishing houses? Of course!

But I ask for their response anyway.

They worst they can say is “no thank you.”

Am I terrified of being shut down? You bet!

But I still put myself and my work out there.

Just because the publishing world is hard, and the writing world can be mean, I cannot be afraid to ask. I cannot be afraid to follow my dreams. The worst thing anyone can tell me is “no” and yes, that “no” may suck when I receive it. In fact, I know it does! I have received my fair share of rejection letters and criticism telling me “no,” I’m not good enough or “no,” I don’t deserve to be published. But guess what?

“No,” is just a word.

A no from one publisher (or more), a no from a reviewer (or more), is not the end! Accept their “no” and move on!  Don’t let the fear of hearing no, stop you from ever trying!

Image result for never let the fear of striking out sign

What question or dream are you giving up because you’re afraid to hear “no”?

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Responding to Criticism

Have you ever experienced that soul-crushing moment when you pour your heart out into prose and some one, usually an ambiguous someone, turns around and criticizes everything you’ve done? Often with more insult than advice?

Well then, congratulations, you’re a writer!

And if you hope to continue along in your journey as a writer, you are bound to have this experience again and again.

And again.

I know, that is not exactly reassuring, but don’t worry, there is good news coming! We have to first ask, why is criticism so common? Are we really that bad at writing? (Well, a writing group might not hurt . . .) But really, the reason behind most criticism is the fact that writing is subjective. 

Yes, there are general rules that all writers must observe. And yes, writers should present their best version of themselves in their writing. However, on a whole, writing is subjective. That is the only way to explain why some people absolutely HATE Harry Potter while the rest of the world loves it. It also helps explain why one of my readers loved my book while the other did not care for it at all.

Writing is Subjective.

Everyone has different tastes. For instance, I will never like horror novels, never, they are not my thing. So while I might hate that type of book, it does not make it a bad book to everyone.

Before you decide to submit your work, you need to prepare yourself for feedback both positive and negative. THERE WILL BE BOTH.

Here are a few ways that you can and should respond to criticism:

  • First, you need to anticipate a mixed review. Maybe the book is perfect in your eyes, but your readers will be seeing it differently, so allow yourself to acknowledge mixed reviews.
  • Next, you need to read through a shield. What does that mean? If someone is being overly-critical, read through their comments, ignore the rude insults, and cherry-pick out whatever can actually be constructive. Usually there is at least one suggestive that you can work on.
  • Finally, after picking out what you can work on, forget the rest! Don’t spend days wallowing over the negative feedback and don’t allow it to corrode your writing!

 

Have you faced rejection or negative feedback?

How did you respond to it?

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Waiting Out the Waiting Period

Any author or poet who has attempted to go the route of traditional publishing is familiar with that dreaded “waiting period.” You know which one I’m talking about. You spend all your time and effort into creating an amazing story, editing and revising until your eyes are bloodshot and your fingertips are raw.

Then you hit send.

And you wait.

And you wait.

And you wait.

If you are very lucky or very talented (and often a combination of both), you will hear back from the publishers 6-12 months later as they express interest in you or your book. You think, Huzzah! The waiting is over and my book will be published immediately!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is not how it works. After that initial waiting period and the good news, you’re in for more waiting periods. Your book will most likely go through several editing phrases and after that you have visual decisions such as cover and formatting. Your book will most likely not be published until a year or two after you hear back.

That is a LOT of waiting.

As someone intimately engulfed within this dreaded waiting period, let me give you some tips on how to survive it:

  1. Take a deep breath and stop opening up your email every single hour of every single day (Seriously, Kayla Ann, stop doing this.) It only makes you more antsy when you fixate on their response.
  2. Get outside and do something. I don’t care if it’s the gym (which is my favorite as it’s a great way to release pent up energy) or a walk with your pup, or minigolf, or going to the beach, or biking, or going to the mall. In some way, get out and do something physical.
  3. Get back inside and do something. (But you just said go outside! Yes, I did, keep reading.) After you have gotten rid of some of that nervous energy and you can actually focus, start working on a different project. Write your next book or create some blogging posts and schedule them for the future.
  4. Take another breath and repeat the steps above. Trust me, you’re going to be waiting for awhile. (I’ve also found that small, but frequent, amounts of chocolate can do wonders for your mood.)

Image result for i'm waiting gif

Anyone else ever been stuck in that waiting period?

How do you pass the time and maintain your flimsy grasp on reality?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.