Being with a writer

Being married to a writer is not easy. For supplemental evidence look-up the words divorce and author in google. There is one thing that might help though. Understanding.
1. Not everything is about you, not everything is about your writing spouse/significant other. More times than not the writer is stuck in What if mode, observing a peculiar person or group of people, or even looking at a building sideways to see it in a different way.

2. When an idea strikes, it is like trying to ignore hot coals on your feet. More than once I have had to drop otherwise important grownup things to write something down.

3. You will never be the only other person in the room. Writers are often people who over analyze everything. Situations that would normally be peaceful conversations turn into long pauses between sentences, breaks from eye contact, and the widening of the eye’s related to your writer being somewhere else entirely. “What would this character do in this situation?”

4. You are the reason we are able to express ourselves this way. Writing when you are totally alone is torment. There really is nothing better than hearing about that troublesome customer for the fourth time when the world is consumed with drama, violence, or stress.

5. We fall into our stories. It is your job to help us know when to pull back. My wife put up with me falling into a story for 29 hours straight. I literally only got out of my chair long enough to use the restroom. Falling into our stories isn’t so bad though. The best things I have written were from a long trip into the characters world.

6. We keep weird hours. More than once, I have woke up and grabbed my notebook and began writing as something was clarified when my mind stripped away the school field trips, laundry, dishes, and other household chores.

7. We love you more than you will ever know. It is funny that someone who makes their living from words, suffers from the inability to express them verbally.

8. We have little time for the suck tube. If we had time to find out why one of those fake celebrities is getting divorced again, we wouldn’t have time to write. The TV really is one of the most horrible things in the USA for writers. You can change the channel five times and find the same plot with different characters on very different genre’s of TV show. We are more interested in a new idea from a book, quotes and ideas from our brothers and sisters making the music that fuels the mood of the story, and time spent people watching. I am sad to say to our beloved’s, but you too are people. We notice how upset you get when a known ego-centric jack monkey does exactly what you would expect them too.

9. There is a fine line between the unwritten writer and madness. The feeling that this story must come out isn’t some sort of platitude. It really must come out.

10. We can, and often will, lose a great story due to not being able to write it down. People may look at us funny as we take a notebook and pen on a date, stop in the middle of the mall to scribble down something important we just realized that may flesh out our character more, or write and walk at the same time. (to everyone I have bumped into this way, I am truly sorry)

In the end, if you take nothing away from this. Hot coals. It really is that imperative for us to express our ideas.

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Writing in New Bohemia

There is a major disconnect in the writer world. Drugs and drinking are held up like some sort of magic ladder to becoming famous. Growing up you are told the funny side of a famous old writer who wrote a masterpiece while on LSD. I see writers still trying to emulate this. There really is another way.

I found a magic fountain, it isn’t a new one, it was just new to me. I began doing Yoga and Meditation this summer. I still feel the writer pains, I still feel the demoralization of critics, trolls, and well meaning advice. The magic comes in by choosing to change my natural default setting. When I meditate I work on my self, not on the forces I can’t control. People are going to hate what I write. I can’t change that. Instead I work with what I can. I look at what they say, break it down to what they are really saying between the curses. Then I meditate or do yoga depending on how much I am worked up.

Writing comes from emotions. Sometimes, this leads to something beautiful. Even the happiest stories often come from a place of pain and wishing. The writer loses someone close to them. They write a story of redemption where their character defeats the odds that took the person they loved. The reader is overjoyed with the story of hope. They may never know the real story that is behind it. Most readers won’t even care.

Letting life happen, however it will, isn’t easy but it is simple. The only pain that reach you, is the one you let in. Things will happen. People will betray you. Acceptance is key. You need to let things come. How you deal with them is the only way they really can affect you. Write from your heart, write from your pain, write from any emotion that pushes you. Don’t let the pain become you, leave it on the page. No one will buy your story of every character dying, unless you magically became Shakespeare. There is too much perceived and real pain in the world. We as writers have a duty to take our pain and finding the outside perspective to find some kind of silver lining. The reader deserves to feel better by the end of the stories we write.

Putting Yoga and meditation into my life changed my writing. It has created a new atmosphere. I am able to write more prolifically. I have even found time to sleep again after years of insomnia. There is a reason so many writers are called Bohemian. It isn’t about becoming a poor artist. It is about the mind of the artist taking life’s pain and transforming it into a positive energy.

I am not sharing this because I am all-knowing. I am not an expert. I am only sharing what works for me.

Disconnect

Disconnect

Disconnect
                          Shhhhhh

Turn off your phone. This sounds like a simple thing to do. Yet so many of us allow social everything invade our already engaged brains. I don’t mean turn the ringer down, I mean turn it off! I turned off my phone and my kindle (which annoyingly announces every time someone poops on Facebook) Down time is the hallmark of a good writing environment.

I have 3 children, they all have important needs every fifteen minutes. I have a beautiful wife, who loves to talk about what celebrity did what or whom. I hang a sign on the refrigerator, I hang a sign next to my office. Sadly my office has no door so that doesn’t help. Over time though they have all learned that creative time is important for my good mood as much as anything else. Allow yourself to disconnect for a while. You will be thankful you did and stand back and be amazed at what you did all by yourself.

Pacing Versus Rushing

Trying to move a story along is not always the easiest task. If you are a wordy person, you will want to describe every detail as you picture it. Before long, you will have forty pages with only three scenes. Throngs of bored readers, lamenting the death of fiction as we know it. I remind myself of this everyday that I write. Being wordy, is not being a good storyteller.

On the other side, I have had portions where a scene read more to the tune of a speed metal song. this is fine if it is a fight scene or something else that is meant to make your heart and eye’s race. This, however, it really horrible for that sensual love scene.

It is something I still deal with, enough information to put the reader in the scene, not so much they spend three pages reading about the petals of one flower.

What are your writing demons?

Game On Image
Game on!

Writing A Mentally Ill Character

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I have just begun a new serial involving a mentally ill antagonist. I had seven false starts, and weeks of research into her particular form of illness. I also chose to leave the door open to her not actually being delusional but still ill. It is the possibility of misdiagnosis that I feel will give more drama to the situation. The protagonist will have a lot to reconcile for himself, as well as suffer the consequences of his own fallacies. In my research I found so much variation in the disorder, that it has made much of my time fruitless. Of the twelve case studies I found, it appeared more like a catchall disorder for twelve very different people. What references do you prefer for medical insight for characters? I ended with a bit of an amalgamation of all twelve, as well as a childhood friend who was later diagnosed after a major break.  

Inspire me

I see this button with each post I publish. I get stuck and wish there was that button in my brain, then I found it. I started writing down random thoughts. Nothing as detailed as a character or plot device. Now when I get stuck I go back to my notebook. it is full of silly things I will never write. Sometimes though, I find a gem. I woke up one night with the thought in my head about a game I had played years ago. A phrase, that was never used in the game, popped into my head and made it into my notebook. “You’re only as insane as they are ignorant.” It has triggered an entire new story line for me and hopefully one that will sell. I love the characters and direction the story has taken, and hope others do as well. What inspires you? What jangles the writer in you, to get back on the keyboard, when you need to be up early? 

Planning ahead

I am the first to admit I am terrible at this. I will entertain the thought of getting ahead in my writing, then squirrel. We recently moved, as in there are still boxes piled around me as I type this. I had a four day long migraine, yadda, yadda, yadda.. I am sure I can come up with a hundred excuses. It doesn’t make them less valid. It also does not excuse my lack of planning ahead, writing ahead, thinking ahead. What besides self-imposed deadlines keeps you ahead in your work writing? Deadlines are my main mechanism, but I would love to hear other writer’s thoughts on this.

Character development

I had a recurring dream. It pointed out that I really should save the prince, or princess, from a bad fate. Even though in my dream the cost kept escalating. Are we inherently teachers? Doomed to live the same grade in school, seeing the same mistakes, helpless to only help the situation in hopes that the person learns. Is the story more importantly if we grow, or that we teach others to grow.
Being a writer, you hope your message rings true and others learn from it. So are we all doomed? Do we learn and move on? Ignoring the plight of the ones falling into that same trap. Saving the world and teaching goes hand in hand with writing. We want our characters to grow like children. Do we hold their hands in rescue?
Charles Ryburn Colp

Moving day

Oh I wish it were just a day. It has been two weeks in the making. We still have so much more to do. I got ahead on my writing so I could get this done and focus on it. That would be my only writing advice on this post. Get ahead when you have to. It takes a lot off of you when you don’t add the deadline pressures on top of all the insanity of moving. The new place is much nicer, and I have my own office now. Yay. Pictures will appear in a future post after we get things settled. Until then, No worries. 

Charles Colp