Use It or Lose It

In this piece I ask, do we need to turn up to our page each day?

Use it or lose it, is a phrase that is often heard in relation to having learnt something new, and retaining what has been learnt. It is also said in regard to our brain, to keep it sharp, tackling cross-words / word searches or puzzles daily is a wonderful exercise. 

But when it comes to writing, does it apply? If you do not sit and write each day will your creativity be any less? This thought came to me at about two a.m. in the morning when it appears that’s when most inspiration strikes for writers. I had not written daily for a few weeks now and I wondered if this would affect my writing ability. Would I get back to my routine with my laptop, spilling my thoughts on to the screen easily enough or would I struggle with it all.

So do I agree with the use it phrase or not?

I do not believe my creativity in storytelling will disappear if I do not write daily. I do feel however, it loses its shine. If I haven’t put pen to paper or tapped on my keyboard each day, then my words and thoughts flow slower. They are sluggish, reluctant to appear. My thoughts and ideas are still there, but they emerge in a more meandering way. They enjoy making me work for abandoning them, so it feels.

Whereas if I give a dedicated time to my writing and turn up each day to face the blank page, then my words rush out, at times faster than I can write or type them. There’s never a moment without some plot twist or character action or a story idea in a writer’s mind, it is unending. But as I said earlier, these ideas do not play fair with a writer if they have not interacted with each other for a while.

So yes, it is important to use your writing talent each day, no matter for fifteen minutes or a few hours. Go meet your page, face it and make those ideas and characters come out to play with you. If you only make notes or a list, it is turning on the tap of words. Otherwise you will have many a sleepless night, sorry you didn’t write it all down.

Happy writing.

Where to start with Character

In this post I share basic and simple ways to create your characters, whether for short stories/novels. I’ve included also a basic CV that you can use while working on who will be in the story.

TIPS ON CREATING A CHARACTER

  • Introduce your main character in the opening of your story.
  • My notebook with details of the characters of my first novel, My Husband’s Sin

    Characters through their dialogue move the story forward and gives an insight into their personalities. Their slang, tone, vocabulary, all is unique to that person.

  • Write someone who the reader will identify with, then give that character a crisis to overcome and so your story begins.
  • Naming your character, put thought into it. Make sure the names you choose suit the era of the story (make sure it’s in existence for the time set, modern may not have been heard of historically)
  • When thinking about the characters in your story, it helps to make a CV, so you can refer to it when moments of recall escape you, be it the simple colour of their eyes to which leg was their tattoo on.

CHARACTER’S CV:  A character’s CV is a list of their features, likes, dislikes family status etc. 

  • Eye colour, Hair, Height, Age
  • Temperament
  • Date of birth
  • Moral/ethical/religious beliefs
  • Political stance
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Habits good or bad, (biting nails,)
  • Quirks or eccentricities
  • Likes/Dislikes
  • Fears/Phobias
  • Short or long-term goals in life
  • Hope and dreams
  • Look at people around you, what are they wearing? How do they behave?
  • Look in magazines, cut out photos that resemble your character (See accompanying image for mine)
  • Where does your character live?
  • What is his/her family relationship like? With friends, work colleagues?
  • What does he/she work at?
  • Where did they go to school/university?