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writing

Don’t Worry, But I Do

Worry. I do it a lot and maybe you do as well. My worries are that I’ll not be financially stable enough to continue pursuing writing, that I’ll have to plunge myself so hard into my job that I’ll never have enough time or energy to write a whole book as it should be written. I recently read an article about not worrying. The article was All the Good Worry Accomplishes by Cynthia Rutchi. This article did, much to my delight, give a few tips on how to overcome worry, but here today I’d like to present a few more ways to kick worry to the curb.

Challenge Your Worries

The article How to Stop Worrying on Helpguide.org has many insights about worry and how to handle it. The section that stood out to me the most, however, was about challenging worrying. I once had a working partner who saw how stressed and worried I would get when things weren’t panning out the way we’d hoped. One day she finally sat down with me and said (this is translated to English, she spoke in Portuguese):

If you can fix it, don’t worry, because there’s something you can do to change it.

If you can’t fix it, don’t worry, because there’s nothing you can do to change it.

-anonymous

There are so many things that are outside of our control and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. However, it’s important to embrace what you can change over what you cannot. What you can change is what to take action on.

But, don’t forget, you can’t write a book faster than you write a book. So, I say this to myself and others, stop stressing. You’re working hard and learning along the way. When it’s ready, it’ll be ready, and all you can do is write and edit that thing.

Not Everything Is Cause And Effect

We like answers and reason. People want to know that their lives are within their control and that if they do A and B they will get C. It gives us a sense of security to know this. However, when things don’t go our way, it leads to the sense that we’ve done something wrong and we’ve failed.

But, not everything is cause and effect.

Timing, personal preference, there are so many things that lead to success and failure, especially in an industry that focuses on the arts and human understanding. And so, we sometimes have to accept that things are not within our control.

While poking around, I have noticed on the internet that many people talk about “embracing a higher power” to overcome worry. People like a being who, makes sense of nonsense, makes good things from bad experiences, and puts order to disorder. Hey, there’s nothing shameful in needing extra help in our lives. If you are overwhelmed by anxiety and you simply can’t overcome it, perhaps there is something to be said for embracing the unknown.

There is nonsense in life, nonsense out of our control, and we have to grow comfortable with that idea before we’ll really be able to let go of worry.

Learning To Suffer Only Once

Now, I know worrying is bad! I wholeheartedly agree that worry is more trouble than good. In fact, Newt Scamander’s line in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them was on the nose.

Worrying means you suffer twice.

– Newt Scamander

I agree wholeheartedly, Newt. I really do. But that doesn’t mean I know how to stop worrying! Knowing something is bad, and not doing it, are two entirely different things. If additions to harmful drugs aren’t enough to show us that, I don’t know what is. So, hopefully the suggestions in this article will help you overcome your worries and only suffer once moving forward.

What do you do to stop worrying? Drop comments in the section below to share how you beat the heat of mental pressures.

Categories
writing

5 Motivational Writing Songs

Having trouble staying motivated through your writing sprints? Well, here are five songs about the action of writing to pump you up and keep you motivated.

1. Rough Draft by Sarah Solovay

“One day, the real thing might blow you away” – Rough Draft

A story always starts somewhere. Don’t be afraid to have a sloppy start. After all, they say that a first draft is just you telling yourself the story as you know it. Once you’ve written your rough draft, you can revise and shape it.

2. Word Crimes by Weird Al

We gotta do revisions, and one of the revisions we gotta do is line editing. I love this weird and quirky song that gets me ready to get the hard work done.

3. Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield

This song is perhaps a bit old and overplayed, but it’s still good. Here unwritten sounds motivational. If you’re having a bad day and you’re struggling to put words on the page, perhaps this song is the one to get your spirits up in the clouds once more.

4. You’re Gonna Know My Name by Watt White

“Just wanna tell my story” – You’re Gonna Know My Name

Sometimes you just wanna tell your story. So listen to this song to get yourself pumped up. No fear. Plunge forward into your plot and come out the other side victorious.

5. Man on a Mission by Oh the Larceny

“Bleed until I own this dream; build it like you’ve never seen” – Man on a Mission

You don’t need permission. If you’re having a hard day, this song’s sure to get you kicking against the morbs. Sometimes all it takes is a reminder that you’re on a mission to get this finished.

What are some songs that you listen to while writing to motivate yourself on your projects? Take a moment and share in the comments down below.

Categories
writing

Writing Romance: As Easy As Math?

Last year, I went to LTUE and attended several days’ worth of panels. It was both enlightening and inspiring but one of my favorite panels was called “Writing a Romance is like Writing a Math Proof.” The panelist mainly discussed LOTR and one of the romances that didn’t make it into the movie (and how much of a shame that was). However, they made some very important points, some of which I would like to talk about today.

I’m going to say up front, that this article is subjective. Perhaps you won’t agree with the points that were originally made or my expansions of those ideas. I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below. 😉

You Have To Prove No One Else Would Work

One of the most important things about writing romance is proving that no other character would work with this particular character. You want to show your readers, through empirical evidence, that this person is right for them while others simply aren’t. This falls under the rule of realistic attraction. There can be various reasons for love to blossom (which we’ll get into in a moment) but this is the key. Provide moments of proof. Not hypotheses, not suggestions, concrete evidence.

This also falls under show don’t tell. We don’t want to hear why one person is meant for another, we want to see it.

I will admit, this sometimes does set up an unrealistic expectation. Especially since, in real life, there isn’t always one person. Perhaps you disagree with this all together and think that there should be many characters a person can be with. However. Be aware that the more time you spend proving that your character could be with anyone is less time you can spend building the relationship between characters A and B.

It leads to a weaker plot overall.

These Characters Work For Healthy Reasons

Now, it is fun to see two characters who are entirely toxic for one another—for examples of toxic characters check out 19 Toxic Male Characters From Romantic Comedies To Stop Lusting Over by Olivia Truffaut-Wong. Also, it’s not only men that are toxic in relationships. Women can be just as bad. It goes both ways.

Anyhow, toxic characters are interesting and they definitely have their place in media. However, that’s not what we’re looking for in the genre of romance, now is it? We want to see that character A should be with character B because they bring out the best in each other. They build each other up, not tear each other down. They contribute to each other’s lives and goals in ways other than just physical.

And no, having sex is not what builds love. It can be the direct result of it, a desire born out of learning about another person, but it’s not what creates that love in the first place. Please, stop. Don’t do it.

It is alright to have a foil for your MCs. A third, and totally toxic person. But, please don’t play this off as a love triangle (this is a personal preference, but…). Especially in a genre more represented by female leads than others, it would be nice to see two genuinely good people but one of them just doesn’t work with the POV character. One of them doesn’t have to be abusive and jerkish to prove that they are not right. They could just be, not right.

An Example

This example is by no means perfect. But take a look at this romantic short.

In this short we see that 1. there is some empirical evidence as to why the first relationship doesn’t work. Everything started out fine. But, in the long run, they couldn’t see eye to eye and, ultimately, one of the partners was holding back. At times the one character does do mean things, but for the most part they are a regular person.

And thus, 2. we get a healthy solution from someone not willing to give all of themselves to another, but willing to share.

So, maybe writing romance isn’t math, maybe it’s more of a science? What do you think? If you haven’t already, go ahead and subscribe. And, don’t forget to share your thoughts below.

Categories
Novel writing

WIP Update

Finished with Arc 2 of my WIP? Maybe. It’s about the same length as it was before and I really wanted it to be longer than that. I suppose that the overall work being longer is satisfying. The overall work is sitting at 57,000 words right now so that means we’ve got a ways to go. For now, here’s what I’ve done.

Combined Characters

Sometimes you have too many side characters. This was the case with an old seer woman that the MC and group meet along the way. So, I wrote out the old woman and gave her lines to one of the other people in the group. This made things way simpler and meant that we got more time with the scenes that were important. I love the way this also gives Laima (the character who got the old woman’s lines) more personality and really affirms her religiousness. I hope she keeps developing in a good way over the course of the novel.

More Time With The BBEG

The BBEG (big bad evil gal) is very personable and, under different circumstances, might have been an ally. I really wanted to drive that idea home in this section. Although the reader met the BBEG in the beginning of the story, it wasn’t clear that she was the opposition. So, in the middle section I really wanted to explore what could have been. And build up how tragic a relationship she has with the MC.

Changes Yet To Come

It’s amazing how, even while writing, you think of things that need changed. I have a doc on the side in which I have written important things I need to change. I need to talk more about magic, and a spear, and get the character’s voices distinct. There’s a lot of work yet to go. But this is going from dirty draft, to draft one. So the main point right now is to expand things out to the proper length. Even though we’re at almost 60,000 we still gotta get closer to 80,000.

So, wish me luck and let me know how your own WIPs are going. Don’t forget to like and comment. What do you struggle with most on your drafts?

Categories
Friends Merch writing

I’ve Created a Patreon

I’ve started a Patreon under https://www.patreon.com/cwspalding. Join me on my writing journey and get exclusive inside looks at my work by supporting me today. I”ve also posted a link to my patreon on my landing page.

Join me on this journey, it’s going to be a long one, but it’ll be worth it down the road.