I was recently watching Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitts Creek Farewell on Netflix, and I strongly recommend it to any fans out there, but they made a lot of really great points in terms of character development.
No one knows better than authors and writers how important a good backstory is. And for a show like Schitts Creek, from the first episode until the last, you are still learning new things about the characters and I think that is what made it so addicting and real. In the documentary they discuss how they worked on the backstory for weeks before they started filming because they didn’t want to move on until they knew exactly who these characters really were.
As writers and authors I encourage you to do that with your work. List out your characters attributes and their individual backstories to fully understand who they are, perhaps before you even start writing. As readers we want to consume an emotional investment on the characters, and in order to do that we need more than x, y, and z! We need to fill in the cracks!
Think about it as if you were casting your own show for your book. How would the character portray themselves in a room, what would they wear, and how would they talk? All of these things play such an important role in a reader’s mind.
And as always have fun in creating them! They are a piece of your own imagination afterall!
As most of us have made our homes our temporary work locations, setting up a space where you can actually get work done is very important. While our beds may be our safe havens and comfy places, hop out of there and find something that more or less resembles your real work space. I know it may be a faint memory, but you can do this!
Everyone’s situation is different, which is very understandable. While some may have a whole room dedicated to their work space, others have to round up whatever free space they have. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make it just as comfortable. My recommendation is to create an uplifting space. Put a few words of encouragement or photos around you, light your favorite candle and try and go about your daily routine as best as possible.
As time goes on you will find out what works best for you. Is it too noisy in your space? Try and work with headphones on. Do you get distracted easily? Play around with different locations, and create more of a day to day outline. We can do this together! Let us know what works best for you!
With technology comes plenty of responsibility…or distractions. Mainly the latter. When it comes to writing and technology, distractions aren’t needed.
Focus should be your best friend! This is where Freedom comes in.
Freedom is an app you can purchase by year or with a Forever plan. This app can be used across devices and operating systems. You have the ability to block the entire internet, block apps, websites, and review your sessions while Freedom is activated. With a premium account, you can utilize a schedule and receive perks!
Overall, Freedom can be used for any type of work but we think it would be most helpful towards your writing career. It will help you control your distractions! Social media? Blocked! Your favorite online store? Blocked! Video streaming services? Blocked! (It’s also good for your health to control your digital habits, but that’s just a plus.)
With Freedom, you select your devices, set your schedule, and block whatever keeps you from meeting your word quota.
I am a multitasker. While I may not be good at it most of the time, I enjoy using multiple parts of my brain at once. My new form of multitasking is doing just about anything while listening to an audio book.
There are so many opportunities throughout the day to incorporate listening to your audio book. Why settle for one when you can have more fun, am I right?
Some of my daily encounters of such multitasking include: getting ready in the morning, going to the gym, cooking dinner and while I do my nightly scroll through social media. Now I understand, sometimes it is hard to focus your brain on more than one thing at a time, but it is always something you can get used to. You will quickly discover some simple changes that will make the task easier for you.
For instance, I found that when listening to my audio book at the gym I had to make sure I had the right headphones. At first I was using some rinky-dink ones where I could hear my surroundings all too much to a point I lost concentration, and they would constantly be falling out. While I do not need complete silence in order to listen I do tend to block out just about everything that I can so I can truly enjoy it, and that tends to work better when they can also stay on my ears.
For me, I feel like when I listen along with doing other activities It makes me feel more accomplished and self fulfilled. I get to listen to many books and it keeps my ‘must listen to’ list flowing.
There are other ways to incorporate listening to audiobooks into your daily schedule you just have to find the best times for you!
Another day, another writing exercise. It’s the middle of the week and you know what that means: it’s a great time for the mind to slow down and speak for itself. Time to get some tea, your favorite coffee and sit in a comfy nook with a fresh page. A stream of consciousness exercise can get you into relaxation mode or it can help you release the many thoughts running through your head every day. All you have to do is scribble every thought, feeling and perspective that pops into your head without filtering it out. This kind of writing can help you find perspectives, ideas, and innately human emotions you can eventually use for your next imaginative story or for the foundations of a new book.
If you’re a lover of James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, or Proust then you know exactly what a stream of consciousness can look like in a novel. Writing in a stream of consciousness monologue may seem easy, though, unless you’ve mastered the writing style using your own monologue, attempting one with a made up character can be difficult. Mastering this kind of monologue starts with you. How can you start practicing non-stop mind splurging on the page?
You can sit in a quiet place outside where there is earthly activity influencing your thoughts. While you are on public transport, listen in to people’s conversations, write how you feel in that moment, what’s going on. Put all feelings, perspectives, emotions and quick thoughts down on the page. It may not make sense at all, but when you look back, the scribbles could be helpful toward your next story. Don’t second guess yourself, even if it is a terrible thought, get it out on the page. Using Stream of Consciousness writing has proven useful for stress, anxiety and depression, and a nice additive to draining your brain are the stories, characters or ideas that come from the exercise. Seize the moment and allow all thoughts to fall through the brain drain without redirecting them to the trash.
Once you’ve gotten this activity down, using a stream of consciousness exercise with a made up character can help you get in their heads and portray their traits, actions and thoughts in an accurate and straightforward manner to your readers. Before you use SOC (Stream of Consciousness) on your character, think of the situation they’re in, what traits you’d like them to have, think of their history and why they may function in the way they do. As I said, it may seem easy, but writing in a SOC with a made up character can be a challenge. The more you get in their head and challenge yourself with a variety of situations the character may face, then the more realistic and relatable a character will seem.
Get ready to stumble, trip and fall through the crazy, funny and wild parts of your brain. This writing Wednesday, challenge yourself to a stream of consciousness exercise. you’ll get more out of it than solely writing practice, you may even find your truest feelings and thoughts on a situation, or find a new perspective your brain has been waiting to reveal from your subconscious. Open your brain and drain all those uninhibited thoughts and feelings with your favorite notebook and pen in hand.
I am more of a put it on paper kind of person. I can visualize what is going on in my head better once it is written down. If you are the same, keeping a reading journal can be helpful on your literary journey.
Here are a few starting tips and ideas!
First, picking out your journal. There are of course so many options! Choosing between having a bullet journal or a regular lined journal will probably be your hardest choice. Bullet journals are currently very popular because they allow the writer to be more creative and offer more of a DIY layout. Having a lined journal will still keep things organized in a more structured way and will help you maintain your journal in an orderly manner.
Other things to consider when making your journal
Do you want to stick to one writing utensil
Use color coding
Will you include hand drawn or printed pictures
Where will you keep your journal – will you keep it with you to write thoughts and ideas throughout the day
I recommend starting your journal with a list. Those are my favorites! Lists, lists, lists. What you are currently reading, what you want to read- and the doors open from there. Having a clear list of where you’ve been and where you want to go will help you in the long run.
From there the opportunities are endless and you can start creating reading goals for yourself. It’s a good idea to start with some basic goals. For example, how many books do you want to read in a month or year? Once you have an idea of where you are going, you can start to plan how you are going to get there with more specific lists or different categories. You might have a list that focuses on specific genres of books that are going to be featured on the big screen.
Remember this is your journal and it is there to help you in what you deem important. Some other reading journal ideas can be keeping a reading log.
Write a short summary about what you read
Write what you liked about the book
Log your favorite pages or quotes
Once you get the hang of what you like to log and what you don’t it really becomes your own.
Get inspired. Go on Pinterest and Google and get ideas of your own. My personal favorite spot for inspiration is #bujoforbooklover on Instagram. There is a whole world out there dedicated to journaling.
This is a space for your own thoughts and ideas, go crazy!