Writing Update

So, I’m going to be honest here, in that I haven’t really been writing or working on either of my story drafts. Instead, I’ve been thinking focusing on this site, and posting more on Prose.

It does frustrate me that I can’t get myself to focus on these drafts, but at the same time, I have been writing everyday. I’ve been creating in some form or another, plus there’s only so much anybody’s brain can handle creativity-wise.

And that’s okay.

Maybe I should take this as an opportunity to take a step back and see if this is just a temporary issue, or if it’s a sign of a much a larger issue at hand.

Maybe I am over exerting my creativity, or maybe… I’m just not interested in those ideas anymore. Or at least, how I have those ideas written out right now.

Only time can tell.

(As of today March 25th, I feel a lot more motivated to tackle editing on Afterlife, so that’s a good sign).

Now, I know it may seem to not be a good idea to talk about how I’m struggling with my writing in a public forum where ANYONE can read it, but it’s important to discuss the struggle that comes along with writing. I was reading a Twitter thread from Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha Trilogy, Six of CrowsKing of Scars), and she was talking about how misleading social media can be when it comes to successful authors. She mentions all the behind the scene struggles that she faced even after  Shadow and Bone hit the NYT Bestsellers list at #8 (this is in 2012, where YA and MG both shared the same list and there were only 10 slots on this list, for context). Yet, based on how she presents herself on social media, you would never have guessed that. She goes on book tours, attends a lot of book/writing events, and has written a lot of successful series.

Here’s the Twitter thread if you want to read the whole thing through:

After reading through another one of her other Twitter threads, this one is interesting and along the same lines:

We all are aware of how in the age of social media, it’s common for everyone to only post about our triumphs rather than our failures. I’ve noticed though that more people are talking about it recently than before, but I still think we need this reminder every so often.

By posting only when we succeed, we create this illusion that we never failed in our lives. Even though logically that makes absolutely no sense, because we are also constantly reminded about how superficial social media can be. However, it can be hard to remember this in the moment, when your scrolling through one of  the various social media platforms, and all you see are people celebrating their achievements in their life. It’s easy to forget that they struggled in some way to get to that part in their life, which is why they want to celebrate and share with everyone at that moment.

Don’t sit there and wallow in self pity just because someone succeeded and you haven’t. You don’t know their whole backstory, and they probably don’t know yours. Remember, that failures can lead to their own kind of success, even if it’s not the kind of success you imagined initially. Be proud of your accomplishments, and don’t hesitate to celebrate and share it. While you’re at it, be supportive of your friends and peers in their success, with all the negativity in the world, it’s always good to spread some positivity around.

However, if you notice that social media is seriously affecting you mentally, take a step back and stay away for some time. Focus on yourself if you need to, because it’s hard to be supportive of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself in the long run.

And on that note… That’s all I got for today! Thanks for reading, and I will see ya in the next post!

 

Erin 🙂

Twitter: @ENordhof

Prose: https://theprose.com/ennord

 

 

Creative Dumping Ground #3

Hey everybody! So I’ve been trying to do a challenge every day on Prose, so I don’t really have much to add on this creative dump, besides some videos I made!

I know that I mentioned that I wanted to try vlogging and all that fun stuff, but I realized that I am pretty awkward in front of the camera… SO I made some practice videos to get myself used to talking in front of the camera and all that good stuff. I figured, you guys can get a taste of the process I’m going through with this, and maybe laugh (or cringe inwardly and click away) from my videos haha ;D

Just so you know, none of these videos are edited, because I haven’t found a good video editor that I liked yet (and is also on my computer), so you’ll get to appreciate these videos in their natural, raw form ;D

Anyways, I’m going to include the links in this post, because the version of WordPress that I am using doesn’t support videos being directly put on the site (That’s what happens when you get the free version of anything, you’re very limited on what you can do with it).

Here are the links, I hope you enjoy!

Reading Update:

 

Reading Notes from My Phone:

 

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see ya in the next post!

 

 

Erin 🙂

Twitter: @ENordhof

Prose: https://theprose.com/ennord

 

Voice Week #2

Hey everybody I’m back to, once again, talk about voice! As I said last week, I have a character that I wanted to develop a little further, so I decided to go ahead and try one of the exercises I found online.

The exercise that I used this week is from the website: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/10/28/plot-and-character/

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Character Background

I am working on a character named Geoffrey (Jeff for short), who basically works as a guide for Death. As a guide, he helps souls who have died and get them adjusted to the Afterlife in one way or another. This means that he’s not necessarily from this time period, but he has worked with many different kinds of people over the years, so, he has picked up various slang terms during his time (granted some of it is out of date).

My main problem with him was that I had a vague idea of his back story, his motivations, and even of what era he was from. I wanted to find an exercise that could help me further develop at least one of these points, that way it can give me a place to start in developing the other two parts.

The exercise on terribleminds.com is an interesting one, because it isn’t just an average character development of giving a character’s name, age, height etc. Instead, it had you focus on the character through creating a tagline for them (how would someone else perceive them) and then from there figure out the characters conflict, the obstacles/complications preventing them from achieving their goal etc. I only got as far as conflict, and then I see what kind of character Jeff would be.

*Last week I did show you how I wrote out the exercise and everything, but this week I’m not including that because with developing Jeff more, I also got to develop the plot a little more. So in other words, there are too many spoilers included in his character development for me to just casually post about it online.*

The Rating

Overall, I would rate this exercise a 5/5 for character development. I think this is an interesting exercise that makes you think about the motivation of the character, and how that fits into the plot of the story. It’s very different from other exercises that I found or tried, which is also a huge plus. If the basic character development exercises haven’t really helped you in the past, then I would definitely recommend trying this one out.

Side Note:

In case you haven’t noticed, I frequently do not finish these exercises. It’s not because I think the exercise is useless or anything, actually I think it’s the opposite of that. If I can use an exercise to inspire me, I consider it a great exercise. This also means that if I need more help in the future, I can refer back to this exercise and keep going with it if I need to. The whole point of writing is to be creative, and sometimes we need to find different ways to inspire ourselves to do that. This can range from reading, to using writing prompts, to finding different writing exercises to improve your craft, all of it is important when working on writing a story.

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Basically, you do you, as you are the one who knows best how to get yourself writing.If you need to go through the entire exercise, then go through the entire thing. If you need to just work on it bit by bit as your inspiration ebbs and flows, then do that. The whole point of using writing exercises and prompts is to help make your mind work in a different way and to give it some direction.

 

 

Anyways, now that I’m done rambling, that’s all I got for this post! Thank you for reading, I’ll see ya guys in the next one!

Erin 🙂

Twitter: @ENordhof

Prose: https://theprose.com/ennord

Creative Dumping Ground #2

I hope you’re ready for another post of me throwing a bunch of random things into one post, because I am!

As I have been writing a lot more recently, there aren’t going to be as many small tidbits of random writing as there were in the last one (Which could be good because that means I’ve been exercising my creative writing muscle… WOOHOO!)

I remember when I was in my junior year of college, I had so much reading to do for class that it made me not want to read for fun. I was super bummed (of course), and when I talked about it with the lady I was interning at the time, Lisa (she makes handcrafted soaps and she’s really awesome! I linked her website at the end of this post), she told me how sometimes it’s best to give your brain a break and find other hobbies that don’t use the same parts of the brain.

Basically, give yourself a break, find new hobbies that excite you (especially if you feel stuck in a rut with your current one) because it could ultimately give you a spark of inspiration or appreciation that you haven’t felt for a while.

Anyways, now that I got that out of the way, enjoy some random photos and things!

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When I worked as a barista, a coworker and I tried to come up with a cool drink for… I think Halloween (Besides what Starbucks had come up with) and this was it. Took that photo and edited with some crazy effects I found on my computer’s photo editing software.

 

-Please don’t forget me. If there’s one wish that I have, it’s that you remember me and all that we shared.

 

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Picture I took at the Wild Animal Park in San Diego. I always love going there 🙂 Plus I love editing landscape photos

 

-In the grand scheme of it all, we just want to be seen. Not necessarily by the whole world, but at least by one person.

There are people who spend their whole lives being seen by those around them, and then there are the people like us. Those who just blend in, and fade into the background so easily.

 

Thanks for reading, see ya in the next post!

Erin 🙂

If you want to check out Lisa’s soaps: https://courageoussoap.com/

Twitter: @ENordhof

Prose: https://theprose.com/ennord

Let’s Talk About ‘Voice’

So… What exactly is Voice, you might ask?

To answer this question, first you must understand that there are two different kinds of Voice. The first is the voice of the author, it’s the way their style and word choice and sentence structure communicates not just their ideas, but themselves also. It’s what either makes readers love the author, or what may turn readers away.

The second Voice is the voice of the character. This is more relevant when writing a story, because the voice of the character obviously affects the dialogue (based on the character’s personality, how will they interact with the other characters in the story?), but also if you are writing in first person, it is what guides the story.

Why is it important?

If the voice in the story is strong, it can draw people in. It can help propel the story forward, and it keep people invested, even if the plot itself is at a slow point.

Voice is one of the few things I’ve been specifically commented and praised about. I have had friends who have read letters I wrote to them, and they say that when they read it, it sounds just like I am talking to them. They say that I just seem to write down every thought that I am thinking at that moment, and it seems like a (very one-sided) conversation.

That’s something that I want to accomplish when I develop a character’s voice. I want it to seem like the character is having a conversation with the reader, and at the same time, still guiding them through the story.

I’ve been successful doing that with some characters, and it’s been a lot of tough work getting it to work with others. One of the best ways to help develop the voice of a character is to know the character. I have done lots of different exercises to get to know my main character in the story I’m working on. However, I have other characters that I need to work with a bit more, because as I write and add to my WIP’s (Works in Progress), I learn and peel back different layers of my characters and what their motivations are, what decisions they would make in certain situations, how they would interact with certain characters. It’s a creative process, but also a craft that can be perfected.

That’s why I am going to start a mini series on developing character voice. Since I have a few characters that I need to develop anyways, I decided that I am going to try out different exercises that I find online, and let you guys know what works for me or not (And maybe help you figure out what will work best for you).

Since I already have used an online source to develop a character, I’ll go ahead and give you a mini preview of what I plan on doing with this.

Now, let’s get right into it!

Character Development #1: Amelia

Amelia is the main character in one of the stories I am currently working on. She is in her mid-twenties, with a college degree but no real career path in sight. Amelia has two best friends, Maya and Noah, who are her main support system. The reason I wanted to develop her character more is because this is a first person story, but it is from a dual perspective. The two characters are completely different from each other, but I still wanted to make sure that when you read Amelia’s perspective, not only could you immediately tell it was her, but also make sure that she is a realistic character, that has some complexity to her so that the reader remains interested in her story. This is especially important since the other perspective is that from Death (Yeah, I know that’s quite the… interesting perspective), and since Amelia is a character that is dealing with some issues that I’ve dealt with also, I want to make sure that I am not just writing a carbon copy of me (Basically, I want her to be her own person).

The website I used for her character development exercise is:  http://writingexercises.co.uk/charex.php

The only part of this that I had ended up using was writing the list of 10 Truths, 10 Lies, and 10 Bizarre facts about Amelia. At that point, that was pretty much all I needed to help me get a better idea of what Amelia herself was like, and how she would drive the story along, and interact with different characters and situations.

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The picture above are the lists, which I had handwritten because it’s more helpful me to write it down instead of typing it when I’m planning out my story and characters. Below is the list again, in an easier to read format:

Amelia

-Truths

  1. She’s sarcastic
  2. She’s unsatisfied
  3. She has loose ends (relationship wise, both with her parents and romantically)
  4. She’s a college grad
  5. She’s a realist
  6. She pines after guys who seem unattainable
  7. She’s a cynic
  8. She’s curious
  9. She’s always trying to learn
  10. She has a guard up around her heart

-Lies

  1. She’s courageous
  2. She’s rich
  3. She’s what society deems successful
  4. She’s happy
  5. She has her life together
  6. She’s sure of herself
  7. She’s confident about how her life will go
  8. She likes children
  9. She’s friendly
  10. She’s calm

-Bizarre

  1. She likes Cheetahs
  2. She doesn’t have a car
  3. Her favorite color is Orange
  4. She loves hot chocolate
  5. Her favorite movie is Moulin Rouge
  6. She hates mushrooms
  7. She doesn’t like tequila
  8. She dislikes the color brown
  9. She dislikes philosophy
  10. She doesn’t believe in God

I think that this was a good exercise for me to use to develop Amelia further because I already had an idea of what she was as a character, but I needed to flesh her out more and see her as a real person. Making these lists made me think more about not only what kind of personality Amelia has, but also a better idea of how all of this caused her to act the way she does in the story.

I would recommend making these lists if you already have a summary of what you character is like, and just need to get a better understanding of them. It helps to get you inside the mind of the character a little bit, especially if you are stuck and have no idea how the character may react to a certain situation in the story. It’s also a quick and simple exercise, so if you already spent a fair amount of time developing the character and just need a quick way to delve just a little deeper, this is perfect for just that.

Overall, I would give this a 4/5, as it is a quick easy exercise to help delve a little deeper into your character, but if you need to do a lot more to develop the character, I would recommend an exercise that makes you work with the character more.

 

Hopefully you enjoyed this little review, thank you for reading, and I will see you next time!
Erin 🙂

Twitter: @ENordhof

Prose: https://theprose.com/ennord

Creative Dumping Ground #1

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Random doodle

As someone who has a lot of thoughts and loves writing, I try and write them down as much as possible. This is my first collection of such thoughts.

Enjoy!

-It’s hard to write words of your own when someone else is whispering right in your ear, trying to overpower you with their own words.

-She had always had a temper, and everything was always black and white in her eyes. The only problem is that life is full of grey, and there isn’t always a black and white sort of answer.

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Edited photo of some doodles from my journal

-Soon she recognized the familiar curl of pain in her heart.

Jealousy.

It would begin pinging sharply in her chest, the pain trying to escape out into the world. It tried to use her words and actions as a conduit, but she wouldn’t allow it. Instead, the pinging continued, the intensity growing the longer she held back, until it gave up and slithered back down again, into the depths of her being.

It is a cruel thing, jealousy.

That’s why she held it prisoner within.

At least that’s what she tried to convince herself, because in the end, no one wants to admit that they are the prisoner of jealousy.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading my little snippets! See ya in the next post!

Erin 🙂

Twitter: @ENordhof

Prose: https://theprose.com/ennord

Writer’s Block… Yep I Hate it too

If you can’t tell from the title of this post, I am about to talk about the infamous WRITERS BLOCK.

Now for those of you lucky enough to never have experienced it and have absolutely no idea what I am talking about…

First of all, I am very jealous (How exactly have you never experienced it? TEACH ME YOUR WAYS).

Second of all, I feel like you might be lying to me, because even if you’ve never experienced writer’s block specifically, I bet that you have at some point, experienced at least some sort of creative block.

For those of you who have no idea what writer’s block is, basically it’s the label we give ourselves when we cannot come up with any idea from any point in the writing stage, whether it’s starting a new piece, to continuing one you’ve already been working on.

daylight desert drought dry
Here, this empty desert is your brain with writers block. Although there are some cool hills and things to make it a bit more exciting. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Just picture a flat empty desert where the occasional tumbleweed goes by, giving you hope that there is something interesting coming up on the horizon, then realizing that that’s not going to be the case.

For me, I notice that I experience the most writer’s block when I’m stressed or even burning out. When I used to work as a department manager at a grocery store, I barely wrote anything. I didn’t have the energy or mental capacity to write about anything besides how miserable and tired I was. When I dealt with some personal drama a while back, the stress I dealt with during that time made it hard for me to write about anything other than how awful I felt (as well as how awful I was. It was a fun time really).

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Hopefully adding some peaceful pictures might help you relax a little bit.

I recently quit a job of mine back in mid-January, and have been unemployed since, yet because of it, it’s the most creative I’ve been in a while. I started working more on two stories that I filed away for later, came up with two new story concepts, have been working on making a t-shirt quilt, I’ve been adding actual art to pieces that I’ve written (not that the art is any good… but I’m trying!). And all of that has been done in about a month and a half’s time. I’ve been more creative in a month and a half than I have in the past couple of years.

So what’s the whole point of this?

Stressing about writer’s block could actually be part of the reason why you’re even having it in the first place. Obviously I’m not going to sit here and tell you to quit your job and go on a writing retreat for a month (unless you’re in a position where you can do that, in which case if you want to, go for it!). I’m lucky enough that I have been able to save up money and I’m currently living at home, so I can take the time to pursue my creative interests and actually try and make something out of it.

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This cute baby elephant wants you to relax and be creative too!

However, my advice to you is this: if you want to be more creative, you need to find a way to de-stress yourself.  This could be taking a bath and spending some time by yourself, or something as simple as spending five minutes at night having a cup of tea and meditating. I don’t know what personally helps you to relax, but trust me, when you find a way to build relaxation time into your daily routine, you might notice that you generally feel a lot better. And when you feel a lot better, you may possibly even have the energy to  think and basically be creative.

Even if you aren’t necessarily worried about writer’s block,  giving yourself some relaxation time will help you in the long run to avoid burn out. I’ve seen so many social media posts complaining about the idea of constantly working and striving and achieving and  TO BE DOING SOMETHING WITH YOUR LIFE. As someone who has felt burned out many times and has now started taking the steps to get myself into a healthier mindset, I want to tell you to JUST BREATHE. Please, be kind to yourself and take a deep breath.

You don’t need to constantly be working to be successful.

You don’t need to work yourself to the point where you break.

Work smarter, not harder.

Letting yourself rest can be the best thing you do for yourself.

Now that I have gone and preached to the choir, now seem’s to be the time for me to sign off.

Thank you for reading, see ya in the next post!
Erin 🙂

Twitter: @ENordhof

Prose: https://theprose.com/ennord