A Great Way to Start a Story

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“It was a beautiful day to die.”

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Three Reasons Why You Still Aren’t Writing and What to Do About It

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You hate the beginning/middle/end of your story

In fact, you hate it so much that you haven’t even bothered writing down the rest of the good stuff. You figure, if the beginning/middle/end sucks then the rest isn’t worth writing. Au contraire, if you hate the beginning of the story but have a killer ending, then go ahead and write “The beginning, it sucks, but I’ve written it now, so I’m moving on,” and then write the rest. Let your mind work on the beginning while you write the rest. Be open to inspiration while you work and you’ll be surprised the stuff that will come to you. I almost gave up on this website because I really hate some of the stuff I’ve written (including some stuff that other’s have told me they really liked), but that would be a waste. There is a lot of stuff still here that is awesome and moving forward it’ll get more awesome. Your story is the same. Just keep moving forward.

Solution: Write what you’ve got. Let your mind figure out the rest while you go. Also, be open to ideas from others and pay attention to your dreams.

Solution 2: Try expert essay paper writers here they might help.

You’ve spent so much time “studying” how to write that you’ve never actually written anything

There is a certain amount of studying that must be done. I’ve read several books and read different articles online all the time (I particularly liked Johny’s 14 Tips) all about grammar, writing, and editing, but there comes a time when you just have to write. When you have to put into practice what you’ve studied. Now’s the time.

Solution: Enough is enough. Just write.

You “don’t” have time to write

Pish posh. We all choose how we spend the time in our day. Not to say that life doesn’t sometimes get super crazy, but quit kidding yourself. If you really want to write then you find and make the time to do it. Now, if you’re having trouble prioritizing or you’re feeling overwhelmed with your workload, then maybe it’s time to delegate and/or let a few things go. We can’t do everything there is to do in this life, so we should prioritize and focus on the things we really want to accomplish. There are sacrifices you will have to make, but the pay off will be worth it.

Solution: Make time to write by prioritizing, delegating, letting go, and then writing for at least 15 minutes everyday. You can wake up an extra fifteen minutes and write for those fifteen minutes, give yourself half your lunch hour to eat and the other half to write, or stop watching that TV show you don’t even really like and write during that time instead.

You feel uninspired

(Yes, this is reason number four. You get a bonus!) I have a goal to post an article every week — whether it’s short or long doesn’t matter, just one a week. As of this morning I had no idea what I would write about this week, but I had a couple ideas and I always have drafts but I wasn’t really feeling any of those. Then I read the aforementioned article this morning and before I knew it I started writing and posting this one. Inspiration can come from anywhere.

Solution: Just be open to inspiration AND write when you receive it. You’ll keep getting inspiration when you act on it. This even works when you write and you’re feeling uninspired. Pretty soon you’ll be able to tap into that inspiration part of your spirit every time you sit down to write, BUT you have to make the time. You have to practice. You have to write.

There’s no more talking, thinking, or reading about it. If you’re a writer, then it’s time to write.

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(Please press “Pause.”)

So I had some grand plans for Art of the Written Word and started a whole bunch of things I was going to launch on the website. I jumped from project to project never quite, if I even came close, to finishing any of them. Finally I just stopped. I wasn’t even sure how or why I’d lost the passion to continue writing when this site is my little puppy! The passion went missing.

So everything went on pause.

Hindsight gave me the insight as to why: I didn’t know where things were going, I didn’t know where I wanted to go, and with some things I wasn’t sure I liked where they were or where they were going. I also wasn’t getting to express all I wanted, and didn’t like everything I’d expressed. It just didn’t jive.

I realized part of the reason was because some of the things I wanted to say didn’t fall into the category of “Art of the Written Word stuff” nor any of the many other sites I had. And those words that I wanted to say were screaming for attention and for a home. So after many months of nothing, I created a new site, Fancy Nancy Pants, where I could express those things that I couldn’t here.

And while it appeared that I did nothing for Art of the Written Word I actually did. I worked on some projects for clients, wrote some stuff in my head and on drafts, I even redesigned the site, but mostly I thought: I thought about the wheres and whats. I came up with ideas and discarded ones I decided against.

So I still don’t know all the wheres and whats, but I do know some of them. I want to share more about the writing process, word that get mixed up, and things that will help increase your creativity. I also plan on less: posting articles less often (still about once a week but the three–five times a week thing was killing me), and editing my posts less (this is just the blog after all, not my book).

So what did you learn these last couple months?

I learned a lot about me. I learned that sometimes it’s good to put things on pause so you can reconfigure your idea around it. It’s okay to try things and have them not work out. And it’s okay to come back to what you love with a new perspective.

Sometimes writing just takes time to think and experience life. But whatever put your project on hold, examine it, analyze it, come up with a solution, and then get back to it. Just don’t give up.

Keep writing!

(Now you can press “Play!”)

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Inspiring Creativity: Breakfast

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I’d just made breakfast: I had an egg and a big ol’ pile of cut up strawberries on my plate and a pancake cooking on the griddle. I was very happily eating the food on my plate when something on it moved. There was a bug in my strawberries! I’m not sure how many there were or how many I ate. Appetite: gone. I somehow choked down the egg and then dumped my strawberries in the trash. :( I got a fresh plate and began eating my pancake which was really good. The only problem was I’d made a blueberry pancake and I kept wondering what insects and insect parts – having had statistics I knew that food processors have a certain insect parts per food quotient they have to be under: meaning all our food has insect parts – I was downing.#/p>

As I recanted my story to others I heard some pretty interesting stories back: a bandage in a hodgepodge stew made for/by three families, a fly in a store-bought sandwich, a dead bug in a cereal box, weevils in rice, weevils in spaghetti made for a date!

My breakfast experience itself was not a fun one — I’m not even sure what kind of bug it was — but the stories I heard were worth the experience.

What’s your bug in food story? Share with us in the comments!

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Personal Note: The Manner of Happiness

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To those to whom this content is familiar: for some reason the original of this post didn’t get included in the The Hunger Games#/em>with a group of excellent friends.#/em>I read the books needing to know what happened to Peeta, and I had to watch the movie so I could see the differences between it and the book. I was a little disappointed with some of the things that got cut, but I still really liked it. I think it is always fun to see a movie that’s made from a book. There are things you can do in a book you can’t do in a movie and vice versa. It’s like you get to “see” part of the story that couldn’t be told in the book.

I was busy posting lots of stuff last week: help with writing your rough draft including motivation and tips, and I finished writing my . Don’t you just love me! So I wasn’t able to get around to much this week. Sorry.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think life is freakishly hard. Sometimes it is really difficult to even pretend to be okay when everything around you feels like you’re at ground zero, ash in the air, and nothing left but burnt earth. I’ve been very angry lately and you may see a bit of a difference in my upcoming posts. I’m just so sick of it all. Something has to change.

My little sister, who  is currently serving a mission in El Salvador, writes emails every Monday to us. I got this little tidbit from her a few weeks ago:

2 Ne 5:27: And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.

And it came to pass. This too shall pass. I must believe. Happiness shall come to pass too and hopefully come to stay.


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The Scariest Moment

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“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” ~Stephen King

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Don’t Be Embarrassed: The First Part of the Writing Process Is Usually Rough…

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… a rough draft that is! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).

Some writers never even start the writing process because they are afraid at some level that their writing won’t be good enough. Other brave writers begin the writing process but then become mistakenly embarrassed by their rough draft and never work on it to make it better, and won’t even let ! She believed it was so bad that she didn’t even want to show it to me.

Getting over your embarrassment

Just write! But it’s not that simple is it? I know it isn’t because this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about just writing your first draft, but it has continued to be, and I’m sure it will continue to be, an issue. I already have another article about this very topic in the drafts.

If it helps, many a writer gets frustrated with the rough draft. Stupid first drafts. Grumble, grumble…

For me I know my first draft usually isn’t going to be my best writing. My writing gets great in the rewrite. But before you can rewrite you have to write. I recently posted this on my Facebook page:

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” ~Mark Victor Hansen

The first draft isn’t your one and only. This isn’t high school! The first draft is supposed to be rough, even dangerous around the edges. It’s suppose to be so terrible and so awfully brave that it jumps head first off Mount Everest without even folding itself into a proper paper airplane first.

Every rough draft can become a great final piece, a masterpiece, but you first have to put whatever is in that head of yours into the world so you can look at it! Let me let you in on a little writing secret that I “hinted” at earlier: most rough drafts are terrible! That’s the nature of the beast, and it’s okay. Don’t judge your story by what it is the first time, judge it by what it’s going to become: something incredibly awesome! Remember: don’t think of the first draft as your one and only. It’s a rough draft, so sharp it can cut you just by looking at it! That’s why you hire an editor! You might want to buy her a box of bandages though, just to be nice.

Besides all that, in all likelihood your story probably isn’t as bad as you think it is. We’re usually our own worst critic. Even if it is bad, you can always make it better. But remember you can’t make it better if it doesn’t exist at all!

Action Creates

By the way, Mark Victor Hansen, the guy I quoted earlier, is the cofounder of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Does that tell you anything? If Mark Victor Hansen says it doesn’t have to be perfect to start and he co-created a million (is it billion now?) dollar industry, then it doesn’t have to be perfect to start! Boldness has genius and beauty in it.

“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Action creates. Write! Make it rough. And when you find yourself paralyzed or at your end for self-editing, get yourself a great editor or writer coach who will help you through the writing process.

In the mean time, here’s…

Four things that will help you finish your first draft quicker and better:

  1. Make a quick outline of your story FIRST. This will help your stream of consciousness flow in all the right directions. The outline should include every chapter from beginning to end, the breakdown of each chapter, and their format. You can make it a bullet list or make a map. Whatever helps you visualize the story best.#/li>
  2. Now that the outline is written you’ll have an idea of how long your story will be. Now set a goal date to have your entire story written by. Break down how much you will need to write and schedule all the time you’ll need. Write your goal date on your calendar then post it to Facebook (you could even post it to my Facebook page!) or tweet your goal date. That will give you accountability. As you begin writing you can even post status updates like: “Killing the hero tonight? How will he ever save his love now?” Or, “Don’t bother me. The villain is busy.”
  3. Set a timer and have a word count goal within that time. For instance, try to write 1000 words in 30 minutes.
  4. Don’t judge. Just write. Allow your thoughts to flow. If something doesn’t sound all that great, instead of trying to fix it up just writer coach to give her some ideas in structuring her book before she began rewriting it. I talked her through some solutions and she scheduled time every day to write and then told me her goal date — which is written in my calendar. Once her new rough draft is complete we’ll begin the editing phase and then she’ll publish her book. Yeah!

    Find some motivation that works for you

    Whether it’s setting a goal date, giving yourself a no-judgement break, hiring a writer coach, or visualizing the possibilities, find what works for you and helps you write.

    There are a hundred ways to skin a cat! What do you do when you’re not happy with your first draft or are having trouble getting through it? Let us know how you skin your first draft (Or does your rough draft skin your cat??)#/em>in the comments below.

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Editing with Word Advanced Tip: Comparing Documents

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I use the compare documents feature quite a bit while editing. It can be really helpful in keeping track of all the changes you make when editing, especially in large documents or when you have multiple editors and versions. Watch the video below for how to set up this cool feature. And for those wondering, OpenOffice also has this capability.

Get the free money saving report

If you want the document I am using in the vid you can download it for FREE when you sign up for the wickedly awesome Art of the Written Word Newise.

What about you?

What features do you use in Word, OpenOffice, or any other software that make writing and editing easier? Please share by either responding to the video or commenting below. Thanks for sharing!

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Nancy Recommends — 10 Easy Self-Editing Tips

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I am so excited. I just finished writing 10 Easy Self-Editing Tips that Will $ave You Money and Improve Your Writing. This is a multi-part course which does just what it says: it helps you save money while improving your writing. That’s because you’ll spend less money on an editor because your editor won’t have to do as much work, thus charge you less. Besides that, every writer needs to know how to edit their own work, and if you really want to be a great writer you need to be a great editor. The best writers are always the best editors: they know how to manipulate their stories to make them even better.

The best part of the report though is not that it’ll do what it says, but that it’s also free! I told you I was nice, didn’t I? :) Just sign up for the thank me now or later. Whichever works best for you.

What about you?

What ideas or solutions do you have for editing your own work? I know you have some great ideas! Please share them in the comments and I’ll incorporate the best in a future Bonus Tips! report in which you’ll get credit if you post your name too.

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How to Get More Done, Faster

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Set a date — I’m not talking about a wedding date either, though some of my friends are getting married. — a goal date to have your book, in rough draft# editor (like me!) to help you with the editing and rewriting. Once you’ve set your rough draft goal date, set your finalized goal date too. Usually this step takes just as long, if not longer, than the initial write because you’ll have multiple people picking apart your wonderful creative writing. Don’t get dismayed by this. It will help you make your story better. It’s also just something to keep in mind when setting your goal dates.

If you like, you can do the journalism thing and set a soft deadline: a deadline that if you miss it it’s okay. Just be sure to also set a later hard deadline for your rough draft that you don’t budge on. If it helps, you can use a positive incentive (like going out to ice cream with a friend) for when you complete your book’s rough draft, and a negative reinforcer (like having to give money to a charity or political party you absolutely detest) if you don’t make your creative writing deadline. Accountability works wonders.

Also, I know it sounds weird, but setting a date can even help you overcome writer’s block. As silly as it sounds, having that hard deadline to have your book done by will force your mind to come up with creative writing solutions. I think you’ll even surprise yourself with the creative writing solutions you come up with.

Want to get a lot more written a lot quicker? Set a date. It’s been shown that people always work faster with a timer. Well an end date is a timer too. Once the date is set you can take a week off to do all the creative writing you need to do to finish your book, or maybe all you’ll need is an extended weekend. You can write a book in 30, 10, seven, or even just three days. It can be done. It has been, and you can do it.

Setting a goal date can help you achieve anything that you want faster.

I believe in your story, your power, your book!

Okay, I’m done. Nancy out.

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