Category Archives: Erin’s Thoughts

A.D.D.- A Writer’s Gift

It was a beautiful week and a half of vacation for my family and I. But, today was the day I had to get back to all my writing responsibilities. As a matter of fact, I had to chain myself to the computer seat tonight to make myself get back to work. And of course, I’m so misconbobulated from being away for those glorious days. If you saw me, you’d think I was the most ADD person you ever met at this moment. You can ask my buddies from the writers’ conference. They can tell you what I’m like when I’m hyped up on forgetfulness. I become a human ping pong ball.

Sometimes my writing gets that way too. I jump from one subject to the next. My characters forget they were sitting when I make them leap up to spar. Or they speak out of character for two pages until I’m forced to retract and put the words back in their mouths to start the conversation right.

I even give my character the wrong name when my ADD kicks in. One of my critique partners will be reading along and all the sudden someone from my previous book shows up on the page(embarrassing!). That puts my partners in quite a quandary, I’ll tell you.

So my answer to the craziness that only sometimes possesses me, oops sorry, a bit of an exaggeration there….

  1. The answer- stop.
  2. Take a deep breath…or two…maybe three.
  3. Start a list to keep on track.
  4. And fight the fidgets that do their best to capture me.
  5. No changing tasks until the previous one is completed.

If you struggle with this sometimes wonderful, sometimes infuriating condition you know that it can wreck your intentions to write. It can make your plans fall to pieces, and make you want to hit the wall with your forehead when you have to back track three times to remember what you were on your way to do.

But its flip side is the ability to hyper-focus. It may take me forever to get into the mode of writing, but once I do, I can crank out some serious work. The first two hours of moving, dancing, bouncing around turn into three times as many hours of productive work.

Thank you God for my attention disordered gift.

Staycation: To Do or Not To Do

This week, I’m taking a staycation. It’s going to be a glorious week of doing nothing, I hope. Scratch that. It’s a week of doing almost nothing. Okay, okay. Scratch that. If anyone knows me, they know I can’t sit around and do nothing even for vacation.

My best hope is to avoid my office. If I can. No peaking in at my computer, wondering what awaits my inbox. No stalking my husband’s computer to get one quick glimpse of Facebook.

I need a big break. A vacation of sorts. My world has whirled around with endless writing, blogging, checking emails, Facebook, and Twitter. You know that 360 shingle you hang when you’re really serious about writing.

So here goes my best effort. I pledge (hand on heart) to sit down and relax to the best of my ability. As long as I possibly can this week. I will not tiptoe to my laptop and work on my latest manuscript. I will not worry over the fact that it was supposed to be completed weeks ago. I will adhere to my oath to relax.

This is how I feel about relaxing!

Pray for me. It’s going to be a grueling week of sitting back and kicking up my feet.

The Emotional Side of Writing

There’s nothing like reading a book and laughing with the characters, crying when they have a tragedy, getting chills when suspense rocks them. It’s what makes us read late into the night when we should be sleeping. Gripping stories are why we can’t put a book down to start dinner when we should.

What sets those kind of books apart from the rest? What makes us forget our world for just a bit as we venture into another?

The answer is emotion. We need to feel like we can relate to the protagonist in the story on a personal level. Without it, we can’t connect. A storyline falls flat.

Here’s some tips to help inject more emotion into your writing:

  1. Show the character’s feelings.
    1. They put their hands on their hips.
    2. She slammed her fist on the table.
    3. He rubbed his neck and looked away.
  2. Dig deeper into why your character responds the way they do.
  3. Make sure your protagonist is flawed.
  4. Keep some of their past hidden until necessary. It’ll keep the reader guessing as to why they act, react, or overreact.
  5. Show that your character doesn’t have all the answers through their frustrations, wants, and needs.
  6. Keep their personality consistent. Avoid sudden shifts or you’ll lose the reader.
  7. Allow them to have some type of emotional victory even if the story doesn’t have a happy ending.

A great story has many elements, but one of the most important ones is using emotion to hurtle your story above the rest. Make us want to turn the pages. Give us something to connect with. Show us how your characters feel. If you use emotion to help tell your story, your writing won’t be just words, it’ll be a victory of connecting with your readers.