procrastination

The Round Tuit

The following was written by Writers in the Grove member, Lorelle VanFossen, based upon the prompt about “someday.”

My father brought home a plaque one day and hung it on the wall in the kitchen. We children stood around it and admired its shiny wood finish engraved with a wood burning tool with the words in burnt black letters, “tuit.”

“What is it?” My brother David asked in wonder.

“It’s a tuit.”

“What’s a twit?” My youngest sister, Cheryl asked with a lisp.

“Tu-it,” Janet corrected. “Toooo-it.”

“Twwwwwuuuu-it. Twit.”

“No, toooooo-it-it-it.”

“Twwwwwwooooo – ”

“Cut it out,” I poked both of them. “Dad, what’s a tuit?”

He leaned in toward us kids huddled in the kitchen, our eyes glued to the round wooden plaque. “This isn’t just any tuit. It’s a round tuit. I always told myself I’d get a round tuit and I finally did. Aren’t you proud of me?”

We turned our gaze from the plaque to him, and he waited.

David got it first and let out a moan, then I, then Janet. Cheryl needed it explained to her. It took about a week, but she finally got round tuit.

NaNoWriMo Tips: When Passive Voice Starts Winning

As you plow through NaNoWriMo, are you finding yourself writing with conditional verbs: should, would, haven’t, could, maybe, might? It might be time to redirect your energies because this is a symptom of running out of steam and inspiration.

This isn’t about editing your work during the NaNoWriMo month of November. It is about changing your writing tune midway if you find yourself using passive voice in your writing.

This isn’t about a character who uses passive voice when they speak and in their actions.

This is about being unclear and unsure about what you are writing. It is about you losing confidence in your writing.

Switch immediately to active voice using action and active verbs. Don’t let your characters wonder through a fog of uncertainty. Put them in a place and let them thrive there with your word choices.

Still finding it difficult? Consider passive voice as a symptom. Here are some solutions.

  • Return to your original premise, the concept that sent you down this path. Has it changed? Evolved? Lost its way?
  • Have you swung off the path and meandered down a tangent? Switching to passive voice could be a sign that you are losing confidence in this story line, not the entire story. Find your way back, or start a new tangent and follow that.
  • Are you losing interest in your character(s)? Consider making another attempt at their character personality and descriptions and find what’s missing. Have you fallen out of love with them? Find a way to love them, or change them into someone you can love again.
  • Leave the story and dig into the back story, the history, the politics, the society in and around your story. It’s called worldbuilding. Like a child playing with tinker toys or legos, build the universe in and around your story to find the passion again.
  • Ask yourself why. It is that simple. Why are you using soft, cautious, careful words in your writing? Is it your story? Characters? Self-confidence? Guilt? Procrastination? Something is getting in your way and this is a symptom. Identify it sooner rather than later and get our your mental bulldozer to clear the path so you can keep writing.

You can find more writing tips, NaNoWriMo prompts, and writing tips for NaNoWriMo on our Writers in the Grove site.

NaNoWriMo Tips: This is Supposed to Be Fun

NaNoWriMo, learning something new, taking classes, starting a new hobby, no matter what you do, there will always come the moment when you want to just quit. You’ve had it. It’s not fun any more.

Keep going.

Yes, you can take a break, write about something else, go for a walk, skip a day, reward yourself with a treat, but keep going.

Runners and endurance sports participants often hit what is known as the wall or the bonk, a point where their body’s energies can no longer sustain their actions. Before the body gets to that point, however, there is another kind of wall they hit. This one is when the body feels like it can’t take any more, and it wants to crap up and quit, but experienced athletes know that this is just a warning sign and not the true crash. If they push through it, on the other side is a sense of euphoria, moving becomes second nature, breathing is easier, and they get a burst of energy.

When writers hit the wall, they can’t take it any more, sometimes on the other side of that, if they just push through, there is euphoria and a burst of creative energy that keeps them going.

Writer’s walls are usually psychological rather than physical, though if you’ve been sitting for 10 hours, it’s physical. Get up and move. The psychological walls are usually self-doubt, loss of confidence, or just plain stuck.

You’ve probably already developed the tools to deal with your occasional self-doubt and confidence issues, but what about when you are just stuck? The story ain’t going nowhere.

You can push through and hope to figure it out, or take a break and let the mind rest.

Sleep is a good solution, allowing the mind to process as it rests and flushes out toxins. So is taking a walk, exercising, just letting the mind go and the body take over.

There is another method promoted by Cheryl Richardson, author of the bestselling Life Makeover series. She suggests using the power of the mind to make an appointment with yourself. Give your brain an assignment, a task, something to mull over, and set an appointment at, say, 6PM tonight or 6:30AM the next morning. Instruct your mind that you show up, on time, ready for the answer. Put your unconscious to work. Between now and then, if your unconscious starts knocking early, tell it to wait until the appointed time. Amazingly, if you show up, the answer, solution, whatever you asked it to do, will be there, waiting. It takes a few tries, but it works.

Above all, when NaNoWriMo or any writing project starts to be hard work and not fun, remember this: it is supposed to be work. Work can be fun, but when you are working, you are working, and sometimes it is hard.

Don’t give in. Examine why it feels so hard right now when a few days ago it was a joyous experience. Identify the culprit, and find a way to find the passion again in what you are writing.

Keep going. Break through that wall. There is good stuff on the other side.

You can find more writing tips, NaNoWriMo prompts, and writing tips for NaNoWriMo on our Writers in the Grove site.

NaNoWriMo Tips: Battle Your Demons

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.

George Orwell

You can find more writing tips, NaNoWriMo prompts, and writing tips for NaNoWriMo on our Writers in the Grove site.

NaNoWriMo Tips: Avoid the Blank Page Woes

During NaNoWriMo, you will be writing every day. Returning over and over again to a blank screen or page can be intimidating.

Don’t let the blank page get in your way. Put the date at the top of the page and say out loud, “I’ve already started the page. It isn’t blank!”

Then start writing. One obstacle down.

You can find more writing tips, NaNoWriMo prompts, and writing tips for NaNoWriMo on our Writers in the Grove site.

Unlimited Health and Resources Were Available – Who Would I Be?

The following is by Diana Lubarsky, one of our active and prolific members. It is in response to the prompt, If You Had Unlimited Resources.

Spiral of clock.With all the funds I’ll ever need in my pocket, and health and conflict gone, I see myself shedding the skin of survival mode. I slip my thin, healthy young woman’s body from my yacht onto a kayak and peddle gently across the tepid Caribbean waters under a perfect blue sky. A gentle sun warms my back. No longer in survival mode, I am free at last to write of stars and sun, mountains and ethereal beauty; the sights I’ve been privileged to see; the God woven fabric of life.

But soon, I am bored. Inhaling beauty all day is like eating only sugar. My stomach aches. My gaze focuses beyond the magnificent harbor where I lounge, toward the teaming city; a place of dreams and despair, of fortunes lost and lives gambled.

At night I leave my silk shawl behind, scrub my face, don sackcloth, and enter the gates of the destitute. This is where I belong. Birthing babies, bandaging wounds, bringing hope … neck deep in sweat and blood.

Although the majesty of mountain peaks and orchestral music sing to my heart, the first cry of a slimy new born taking its first breath in my arms replenishes my soul.

I have learned, wealthy or not, I am a healer.