14 Reasons Writers Write

14 Reasons Writers Write lists reasons why writers write.

When I was a young girl, I was an avid Nancy Drew fan. I would consume a book in a day. I loved mysteries and I think this greatly influenced my initial desire to write. My first serious effort was in grade six and resulted in encouragement from my teacher and I’ve been writing in some way, shape or form ever since then.

So that’s the short and sweet version of my story. But, why do others write?

Reasons Writers Write

Writers write to:

  1. Satisfy a need. For some of us, writing equates to scratching an itch.
  2. Escape from reality. When we write we can sometimes tune out everything going on around us. The tropical paradise setting of a novel can be an amazing escape from a sink full of dishes, can’t it?
  3. As an artistic outlet. Some people paint. Some people sing. Some of us write.
  4. Communicate.
  5. Influence others. Books can start trends (vampire novels or handcuffs anyone?) and share knowledge that can influence readers.
  6. Create the kind of stories they like to read. I love a really good ghost story with a great back story. The type of story that is believable, in theory, and interesting without gruesome special effects. There aren’t a lot of stories out there like this so I think I’m going to have to write my own!
  7. Silence “the voices” in their heads. Do your characters talk to you? Do you nag you to write down their stories? Mine do.
  8. Express themselves. Some people are quiet and feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts through their writing.
  9. Make sense of a situation. Ever explored your thoughts and feelings in a diary?
  10. Be happy. Some people are miserable if they don’t write regularly.
  11. Help others. When we write about our experiences and share what we know, we can sometimes assist others who are dealing with the same issues.
  12. Educate others. Others can learn from your knowledge if you write about it.
  13. Gain exposure and, maybe even fame. Some writers write because they desire this.
  14. Leave something behind. It’s a nice thought to leave something behind, even if only for our family and friends, to remember us by, isn’t it? I’d love to discover a novel written by my great-grandmother even if it was only a first draft stuffed in a shoe box in the attic.

So, can you think of any other reasons people write? Let me know in the comments so I can add it to the list.

Photo credit: Pixabay

The Weary Writer

It’s been a long day. Well, actually it’s been a long couple of days.

It’s tax time here in Canada and between procrastinating, something I’m very good at when I want to be, and being genuinely busy, the deadline has crept up on me. So half my weekend was devoted to rounding up receipts, adding up figures and alternating between madly scribbling down numbers and scratching my head.

Today wasn’t much less hectic, work-wise or personally, and I’m tired. Pooped. Zonked. Drained. Done in and done for. Beat, dog tired and drooping. Get the picture?

I still need to write my blog post to stick to my schedule, albeit a self-imposed schedule, because it’s important to follow thru. It’s important to meet deadlines and it’s important to be accountable to my readers.

But, I don’t feel like writing. I really really really don’t, and if I had just a bit more energy, I might consider throwing a tantrum like a two year old child and throw myself on the floor. But if I did that now, someone would have to help me get up off the floor, or they could just leave me there and maybe toss me a pillow and blanket?

Ever have days like that?

So, I’ve downed a bottle of water to rehydrate myself. Sometimes that helps wake up my brain. At this time of the day I don’t dare try caffeine or I’ll never sleep when I actually do get to hit the sheets.

And, I’m here, at my laptop, staring at the screen trying to think of something fascinating to say, or witty if I can’t manage fascinating, or boring if I can’t manage either of those, but if the latter at least I tried.

Can’t bat a thousand every time, but maybe I can still score an “A” for effort?

So, what can I learn from this?

  1. I’m human, not a machine, and there will be days when I struggle to do it all.
  2. It’s more important to try than to walk away and throw your hands up in the air.
  3. You’re not going to bat it out of the park every time, but with practice and determination there will be more homeruns than foul balls.
  4. When I get tired I start using sports idioms like I know what I’m talking about. Anyone who knows me can tell you how funny that is.

And, now I’m going to bid you adieu and go to bed.

Nite, nite…..

ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

Photo credit: Pixabay

Who Would You Pick If You Could Channel a Writer?

Who Would You Pick If You Could Channel a Writer? If you could contact a deceased writer for guidance with your writing, who would you pick? Shakespeare? Agatha Christie? Charles Dickens?

Last weekend I had an intuitive reading. An intuitive reading, if you’re not familiar with the term, is the same as a psychic reading or a medium reading.

The whole idea of spiritualism, spirit guides and guardian angels is something that has interested me for a long time. I don’t buy into it 100% but I have had a couple of things happen in the last year or so that have me believing more than ever that there’s something to all of this stuff and I’d like to learn more before making up my mind conclusively.

I know a lot of you will think I’m completely nuts, and that’s okay. There are days that I would agree with you!

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been reading a book entitled Ask Your Guides by Sonia Choquette which explains the differences between guardian angels and spirit guides and how communication with them works.

According to the book, it’s perfectly acceptable to call upon a deceased expert in a field where you want help or advice.

So, for example, if you’re having an electrical problem and you had an electrician in the family who has passed on, you can still ask for their help and guidance with fixing it. So keep all of that in mind and let’s discuss your favourite writers. Are you a big fan of Ernest Hemmingway? How about Shakespeare or Emily Bronte or maybe Agatha Christie?

Just imagine for a minute that you could channel your favourite deceased writer and ask for their guidance. Come on, we writers have imaginations, well at least fiction writers do, so I know you can do this. Close your eyes and just imagine the chance to have a chat, perhaps telepathically, with Laura Ingalls Wilder or maybe Charles Dickens. Even if you don’t believe in the possibility of any of this happening, isn’t it an interesting thought?

What would your favourite writer say to you? How would she or he evaluate your writing? Would they be impressed or would they suggest major changes? Maybe they’d be in awe of your efforts? If you could ask them anything, what would it be?

Who Do You Write Like?

Maybe you already write like somebody famous? Check out I Write Like. If you copy and paste a sample of your writing a box on this site and click on the Analyze button, it will tell you who you write like.

I copied this blog post into the Analyzer and apparently I write like H. P. Lovecraft. Why not copy one of your own blog posts or a section of your book into the Analyzer to find out what it says about your writing? Let me know in the comments. And, if you’ve channeled a famous writer, I’d love to know about that, too!

A Comma! A Comma! My Meaning for a Comma!

A Comma! A Comma! My Meaning for a Comma! explains how a missing or misplaced comma can entirely change the meaning of your writing.

If you’ve been following the news this week, you know that England is going all out to rebury the body of Richard III. Much pomp and pageantry is involved with a parade and the lying in state of his coffin at Leicester Cathedral. His skeletal remains were found under a car park in 2012.

Shakespeare immortalized Richard III in his play of the same name and most of us have heard the quote from this play “A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!” This memorable line is used at the point in the play where Richard III is about to meet his fate at the hands of the future Henry VII, all for the lack of a horse implying that he was going to lose it all, i.e. his kingdom, for lack of something relatively insignificant by comparison.

As writers we put a great deal of thought into our work. Sometimes without even realizing it, we select wording and vocabulary that sound good and flow well together even before we commit them to paper or a computer keyboard. We research our topic if we’re writing nonfiction, our characters and settings if we’re writing fiction, usually intending to create a particular tone and/or relay a particular message.

But sometimes, sometimes we can completely change the meaning of what we intended to say, because we forget to add or correctly position a mere comma.

How’s this for an example?

Let’s eat, John. versus Let’s eat John.

Learn More About Commas

Here are a few sites where you can read more about the proper use and placement of commas:

And, a couple of sites where you can laugh at the impact a poorly placed, or altogether missing, comma can make:

So, be mindful of your punctuation, in particular the lowly comma. It’s placement can make a huge difference. “A comma! A comma! My meaning for a comma!

Photo credit: William Hogarth [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

9 Motivating Mantras for Writers

9 Motivating Mantras for Writers lists nine mantras to encourage writers.

Sooner or later all writers get discouraged and need something to kick them in the butt to get them back on track.

A mantra is “a sacred utterance, numinous sound, or a syllable, word, phonemes, or group of words believed by some to have psychological and spiritual power.”

So, here’s a list of mantras just for writers. If you’re at a point in your writing that you need one to help you out of a rut or to spur you on with your project, I hope you can find something here that does the trick. Otherwise, you might want to bookmark this page for a day when you need that little extra nudge to help you with your writing.

I think therefore I am.

Fake it till you make it.

Just be.

Make it happen.

Just do it.

If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.

One word at a time…

Get it down.

And remember:

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. — Confucius

Do you have a favourite mantra that helps you? Tell us in the comments.

Photocredit: Pixabay

Do Your Characters Pass the Test?

Do Your Characters Pass the Test? Why not test your characters’ mental health using online mental health quizzes to see if they possess the disorders and symptoms you want them to have?

When we create our characters, we get to decide everything about them. If they’re main characters instrumental to our plotline, we might go so far as to decide when and where they were born, if they were bullied in school, if they were bullies in school, whether they suffer from insomnia as adults, and everything in between and beyond that.

To write convincing characters, we need to be able to get into our characters’ heads and know how they’d react in particular situations. Depending on our storyline and our characters, sometimes we need them to be depressed, schizophrenic, or suffer from insomnia or obsessive compulsive disorder for example. Perfectly normal people aren’t always very interesting to write or read about, are they?

But, unless we are depressed (or have been), schizophrenic, or suffer from insomnia or obsessive compulsive disorder, or whatever, how do we know we’re accurately portraying our characters in our stories?

Why not put your characters to the test—literally!

Online Mental Health Quizzes

There are a number of sites online offering an assortment of mental health questionnaires.

  1. Find a quiz online appropriate for your character and their mental health condition. For example if your character is supposed to have Attention Deficit Disorder try this test.
  2. Be your character and answer the quiz.

Did your character pass the test?

Online Mental Health Quizzes

Here’s a list of sites where you can find mental health quizzes. You do not need to create an account to use these quizzes and can remain anonymous.

  1. Psychological Tests & Quizzes – This site offers tests to diagnose the following symptoms and disorders for OCD, PTSD, ADD, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia and many other conditions.
  2. Online Psychological Tests – This site offers tests in the following categories: Bipolar Disorder, Personality Disorders, Addictions, Depression, ADHD, Eating Disorders, Thought Disorders, and more.

Let me know if your characters pass the test in the comments below.

Photo credit: Pixabay

14 Free Ebooks on Writing, Marketing, Publishing and Motivation for Writers

14 Free Ebooks on Writing, Marketing, Publishing and Motivation for Writers – a list of 14 ebooks written and complied by industry experts offering information and guidance on a variety of topics ranging from writing, marketing, publishing, and being just plain motivated to stay the course.

Below is a list of 14 ebooks for writers written and complied by industry experts offering information and guidance on a variety of topics ranging from writing, marketing, publishing, and being just plain motivated to stay the course.

To receive some of these ebooks, you will have to sign up for a free subscriptionn first.

I have visited a lot of these blogs and have downloaded and read many of the free ebooks listed below. A few of the others were tracked down just for this article and I haven’t had a chance to read them yet so if you do please let us know what you think.

I think there’s a lot of good stuff here.

Writing, Publishing, Marketing and Motivation for Writers

  1. Free Guides on Publishing available at BookBaby.com
  2. Shave 10 Hours Off Your Work Week available at MichaelHyatt.com
  3. Guide + Workbook, How To Write Better Stories available at Jennifer Blanchard
  4. 14 Prompts available at The Write Practice
  5. The Nearly Ultimate Guide to Better Writing available at Write to Done
  6. How to Get Published, How to Increase Book Sales available at Best Seller Labs.com
  7. 10 Things You Need to Know About Self-Publishing available at The Book Designer
  8. Author 2.0 Blueprint available at The Creative Penn
  9. Twitter Just For Writers: The Ultimate How-to Guide for Authors available at Social Media Just For Writers
  10. 279 Days to Overnight Success available at Chris Guillebeau
  11. Smashwords Book Marketing Guide available at Smashwords.com
  12. Write Good or Die by Scott Nicholson
  13. Time Management for Creative People available at Wishful Thinking
  14. The Cheap Retreat Workbook by Catharine Bramkamp

Photo credit: DSC_0590 via photopin (license)

4 Great Resources to Help You Name Your Characters

4 Great Resources to Help You Name Your Characters lists four online resources offering multiple tools to help with naming characters from various eras and ethnic backgrounds.

Trying to name characters for your novel? It can be a challenge sometimes to select appropriate names for your characters especially if you’re trying to find ones from a particular era or ethnic origin. The list below offers some great tools to help you do this.

  1. Writing historical fiction? Check out the Social Security Baby Names site. This is an American site so may not work for everyone. The data is compiled from US born Social Security applicants from 1879. You can search:
    • Baby Name Data including:
      • Change in popularity of baby names
      • Popular names by decade
      • Popular names by state
      • Popular names in US territories
      • Top 5 names over the last 100 years
    • Top 20 all the way up to the top 1,000 names for any given year after 1879
    • The popularity of a particular name from 1900 onward
  2. Wikipedia offers lists of international first names that are currently popular.
  3. The Family Education site allows you to search for:
  4. Behind the Name offers several tools including:

So next time you’re scratching your head trying to come up with an amazing name for your heroine, hero or villain, check out these sites.

Know of any other sites to add to the list? Let me know in the comments.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Do Writers Play an Imitation Game with the Truth?

Do writers sometimes embellish or omit facts to make true stories more interesting and if they do, is this acceptable?

Bletchley Park was among the many sights we visited when we lived in England. We spent the better part of a day there and I must confess, although I love history and did the Jack the Ripper walking tour in London twice, not being familiar with the story of Alan Turing and how he helped to decipher the messages sent by the Germans during WWII, I found the excursion rather boring.

We saw the Enigma machine which had been captured from the Germans in WWII and wandered in and out of a couple of the little huts that had been used during the war by people intercepting and attempting to decode the enemy’s messages. There were dozens of these huts as I recall and most of them were in very poor condition evidentially abandoned when the war ended. The edifice of the main building (see the post image) struck me as being a bit of an architectural curiosity and that is about all that stands out in my mind about that day. Well, that and the kids and I sitting in the car bored while my husband eagerly explored the grounds a bit further.

Since then I’ve learned more about the significance of this place and the people who worked there and do regret that I didn’t make more of an effort to savour the moment. But it really wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago when we went to the cinema to see The Imitation Game that I learned the whole story, or well, perhaps the whole story of Hollywood’s version.

In The Imitation Game, conflict was created between characters where, apparently, it didn’t actually exist. I won’t go into great detail and spoil things if you haven’t seen the movie and would like to but basically, according to the articles that I will link to at the bottom of this post, the screenplay embellished some facts and left out some others presumably for the sake of entertainment.

This raises many questions in my mind:

  • Do writers have a responsibility to accurately depict historical events?
  • Is it acceptable to embellish and omit when it makes a true story more entertaining?
  • Is it more important to maintain the interest of an audience than to accurately portray every last details in a story?
  • Is it acceptable to embellish and omit minor points in a true story if that helps to keep your audience interested so that they can appreciate the main story, or in this case, the history lesson?

Much like the movie Titanic we know how it ends more or less, but the movie is very well done and I would encourage you to see it if you get the chance.

For More Information

How Accurate Is The Imitation Game?
An Alan Turing expert watches the “The Imitation Game” trailer
The Imitation Game: inventing a new slander to insult Alan Turing
COMPUTING MACHINERY AND INTELLIGENCE By A. M. Turing
Images of Bletchley Park, Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Brit Speak

A couple of mornings over the holidays we decided to be lazy and we had a lie-in.

Now if you’re from the UK, you know exactly what I mean, but if you’re from North America, you’re probably scratching your head and wondering if we’ve just invited a lot of friends over to sit around with big cups of coffee in the sunshine and share tall tales.

A lie-in, according to one online English dictionary, means a long stay in bed. Here in North America we call it sleeping in.

When we first moved to England, it took me a long time to figure out that when everyone kept saying to me “Are you all right?” or “All right?” it didn’t necessarily mean that I looked ill. I’d look in the mirror and check to see if I looked particularly tired or pale. Just to be sure I’d sometimes put on a bit more rouge or lipstick. Finally, it clicked! “Are you all right?” was just their way of saying “How are you?”

If you refer to someone as homely, you might want to check which side of the pond you’re on. In North America, homely is no compliment! It means unattractive or ugly. In Britain however, to be told that you’re homely means that you’re considered warm and friendly.

As you can imagine, we had quite a learning curve to be fluent in UK English and we were often gently teased by friends and acquaintances over our perceived misuse of their language.

Remember fanny packs? They were all the rage here in North America in the 1980’s. People used them to carry keys, wallets, cameras, snacks, and just about everything else that would fit into the small zippered bags that strapped on to our waists. Well to North Americans, a fanny is a person’s backside. In England it’s, well, uhm… a person’s frontside? Would that be a sufficiently tactful way to describe it?

Anyone who knows me knows that I frequently use the word “trousers” since living in England. Across the pond, pants = underwear. And, “sod?” Well, in North America we have Murphy’s Law and they have Sod’s Law. If someone calls you a sod, it isn’t a compliment, trust me on this. It also isn’t a brilliant thing to call up a store and ask them if they sell sod – as in grass! I did and there was this very uncomfortable silence until finally someone, stifling their amusement, said “Do you mean turf?”

Same thing with panty hose. Shortly after moving to the UK, I needed to buy panty hose. We went to a John Lewis’ (a very posh department store in the UK) and I asked one of the salespersons where I could find panty hose. Eventually, between us, we realized I meant “tights!”

And, I will never forget my hairdresser’s reaction when I asked for a shag. A shag was a hairstyle that was very common during the 1970’s here in North America. The hair was cut, almost chopped, into obvious layers. Shag was also a type of carpeting popular during the same time period. In the UK however, a shag is something considerably more up-close and personal! I did know about the UK meaning of shag, however, I thought that being a hairdresser he would be familiar with the hairstyle and know what I meant. He didn’t. Poor Nic! I nearly had to resuscitate him!

Potato, patotto, tomato, tamotto… English is the same language worldwide – but it’s a crazy old world, isn’t it?

If you’re writing dialogue for a British character in your novel, knowing these bits of slang and the differences in the meanings of some words might make the difference between credible dialogue and reaching your audience, or missing the mark and giving them a good giggle.

For More Information

Americans Are Barmy Over Britishisms

What Brits say v what they mean – handy de-coding device

(British) English Translated For Americans

Slang…

Differences between British, Canadian and American Spelling

Photo credit: Pixabay