And I’m free…free falling!

Free fall writing, that is.

I live quite a routine life; go to work Monday – Friday, work out 5 times a week, drink lots of water, eat food at pretty regular times of the day, and all of this routine works well for me. Sometimes though, I need a bit of chaos in my life. I mentioned in a previous post that I am a pantser type of writer. To recap this term, it basically means someone who writes by the seat of his or her pants, as opposed to those who sit down and plot a story out.

This is where the free fall style of writing comes in.

With free fall writing, you grab a writing prompt, set a time limit and just write. Get the gunk and junk out of your head and onto the page and don’t stop to think about it.

There are a few reasons why I love free fall so much:

  1. You come up with so many ideas that you can scrap or build on later.
  2. Excercising this style of writing really pulls you out of your head and lets your creativity take the reins, producing the most random content.
  3. It’s a mess.

Note: the mess is undoubtedly the reason why I love free fall writing so much, and it’s incredibly important. We live in a world where everyone is posting their best versions of themselves on social media. While it’s lovely to look at, it is unbelievably unrealistic. The craft of writing is dirty, it’s messy, the words that come out are more often than not, complete crap. I don’t think there is one person in the world that can just write a perfect short story, or novel with just a first draft. It’s why it’s called a first draft, not final. In the first draft, there are gaps in the story, characters names might change mid-way through, the plot isn’t fully developed, whatever, it’s all a mess. And it’s real.

I’m going to share my free fall writing on this blog, and pieces of my first drafts. I want to show everyone that the first words on the paper are supposed to be garbage. It’s what comes after that defines you as a writer, the work you put in to make sense of the mess from the free fall writing. But, the story starts here, amid the chaos.

What kind of writer are you? Pantser? Plotter? A mix? What’s your favourite way to start building your story? Comment below and tell me!

Ps. I feel like I’ve made myself sound quite drab. I actually do a lot of things spontaneously, or out of the routine order of life. I write about all that in another blog though…

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Stoked about Scrivener

As I placed this into my post, I heard a choir of angels singing ‘hallelujah.’

I bought Scrivener when I first took on the Nanowrimo challenge in 2013, but only used it like a word processor. Not really getting any additional benefit out of it, I went back to using my trusty old Microsoft Word. I was a fool! A fool, I tell ya! I can also tell you, that feeling underwhelmed by the program was entirely my fault.

I recently opened it back up in an attempt to organize myself better with this next novel, which would ideally lead to making the revision process a bit easier. I dedicated a few hours to running over the tutorial and picked out just a few of the features I now absolutely love, to share with you.

  1. Character and setting sheets. Holy Hannah! These are fantastic! You can set up templates and just fill in the gaps, save it all into the same project and continually refer to them to stay on point and not mix up your details and descriptions. It’s even cooler when you use split screen and just have it open while you write. Simple things make me happy. Simple things that don’t let me change my character names throughout the book make me ecstatic.
  2. Meta data and keywords. These blew my mind. Which doesn’t take too much to do, apparently. :/ You can pick out keywords on pages that you’ll want to keep track of, set them in the Inspector, and easily be able to find when you last wrote about them, keeping your story and details aligned. You can also create a collection with all of these and view it all in a continuous page. Amazing, right?!
  3. Taking a screenshot in the Inspector before you edit anything. This keeps your old copy and if you hate the edits you made, or are worried about something you deleted that may have been integral to the story later, you can click ‘rollback’ and bam, your old work is back!

These are just a few of the features that I can recall and which stood out for me because of my own specific writing challenges. I imagine the more I use it and learn it, I’ll find more amazing pieces that make my writing a bit easier to manage.

If you’re interested in owning this, you can access Scrivener on PC, Mac, iPhones and iPads. I don’t know about other smartphones, I’m sure you can look and see if you’re really interested. If you can’t find it, email them, demand that this be made available to you because you deserve its amazingness (I believe it’s my duty as a writer, to create new words. You’re welcome.) in your very own life.

I’d love to hear about what programs or apps you use and why they sing to your wordsmithing (see above bracketed comment) heart. Comment below! Tell me!

New year, new blog?

As you can see, I’ve created a new blog! If you already follow my other one, don’t worry, I’m not getting rid of it. I’ll continue to post my personal adventures there, but I wanted to create a separate blog that focuses only on writing and thus, Angela’s bardic journey was born.

Follow this one if you want to read any of the following:

  • Creative writing – short stories, flash fiction and excerpts from novels I’m working on.
  • Published work – articles I’ve written, or if my creative writing is published (saying it out loud will make it happen, right?).
  • Info about conferences, workshops and retreats I’m going to, or went to.
  • My writing process, struggles (img_2277), achievements, etc.
  • Reviews or thoughts about books I’ve read that either fueled my writing, or were just generally interesting to me (Blogging for Writers by Robin Houghton inspired this new blog and post).

I’m interested in hearing about my fellow writer’s experiences and processes, so please feel free to comment on my posts or email me directly if you want to chat.

Write on, friends!