Through the Eyes of a Writer

We all see the world in different ways. Some of us pay more attention to the people around us, what they wear, how often they smile; while others of us notice the way the sunlight hits the trees or how you can smell Starbucks coffee from the other side of the mall.

These differences often depend on our personalities or the things we consider most important, and writers are no different. Just like other “types” of people (for lack of a better term), we see the world in a way that others don’t.What’s it like to see through the eyes of a writer? I’ll do my best to explain today.

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What I Learned from NaNoWriMo 2017

Well, readers… I did it. For the first time, I  participated in NaNoWriMo, and better yet, I won. If you’ve been following my 2017 NaNo journey, you’ll know that this is the first time I’ve set the goal of 50,000 words, and although I was nervous about it, I finally reached my goal, and two days early at that!

Of course, my story is nowhere near being complete, and it’s definitely going to take me some time to rework this idea and craft it into something I can hopefully one day share with the world. Chances are, whenever I make it to a final copy, it won’t look at all like what I wrote in November. But does that mean that participating in NaNo was in vain? Not at all! In fact, I learned a lot about myself and my writing in the past month, and today, I’d like to share those lessons with you.

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Types of Writer Friends

As the timeless wisdom of The Legend of Zelda says, “It’s dangerous to go alone!” So why do we writers think we can do this all on our own, anyway? Is it because a majority of us are introverts and hiss at the thought of socializing with others? Or is it because we’ve accepted that we’re societal pariahs and must brave this life alone?

dangerous to go alone

Good news, my fellow writers – we don’t actually have to go it alone! A few months ago, I wrote about benefits of having writer friends, but what are your options? Fortunately for you, I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the types of writer friends you may encounter in the wild, complete with gifs.

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NaNoWriMo Survival Kit

Well my fellow writers, this is it: In just a few short days, NaNoWriMo 2017 will begin, and many of us will be spending more-than-usual amounts of time in front of our computers, typing away until our fingers hurt or we realize we need to eat something.

Writing 50,000 words in thirty days is not an easy task. I can’t speak completely from experience, since all of my NaNoWriMos in the past have allowed me to customize my goal, but the number is daunting. Fortunately, however, it’s not impossible. All you need are the right tools.

Using my own experience, and consulting a few of my friends that are NaNo veterans, I’ve compiled a list of things to include in your NaNoWriMo “Survival Kit.” Hopefully these will be applicable whether you’re a plotter or a pantser (read this post for an explanation), or whether this is your first time or tenth time.

Here’s what I recommend for your NaNoWriMo Survival Kit:

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Writing Lessons From Wolves At The Gate

In this series, I’ve already covered writing lessons from books, video games, and even a musical. As you can probably tell, I like to draw from some unconventional sources, because I believe that anything can teach us about writing, from books to movies to music to video games. They all tell stories, just in different ways.

Not long ago, I talked about what can be learned from the musical Hamilton, which tells its story through music. This week, I’m going to discuss music again, but in a different light.

Wolves At The Gate (WATG) is a hardcore band from Cedarville, Ohio. I first saw them when they opened for RED a few years ago, and I saw them more recently at Uprise Fest last year. Though I love many hardcore bands, there are few that I’ve really connected with like WATG, and they’ve become one of my favorites. Not only does their music sound amazing, but the lyrics and themes are so artfully put together, and so today, I’d like to talk about what writing lessons we can learn from their music.

Note: I know many in my audience aren’t fans of hardcore music, so I’ll be providing links to lyrics and to the songs themselves. Feel free to listen to them, but you won’t be missing out on the point of the post if you would rather just read the lyrics.

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Worldbuilding Lessons from The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda is a franchise that has been around since the beginning of video games. The first entry in the series featured a massive overworld like nothing the world had seen before, and since then, the land of Hyrule has just gotten bigger and better. The Zelda franchise has become my go-to inspiration anything involving worldbuilding, especially fantasy settings like my story for this year’s NaNoWriMo. No matter what game you’re playing, the Zelda series has some great examples of excellent worldbuilding. I’ve learned a lot from these games, and so today, I’d like to share that with you.

So what worldbuilding aspects does The Legend of Zelda do well?

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Writing Lessons From Hamilton

Not long ago, I was listening to Hamilton: An American Musical non-stop all the way through, and while I was listening, I realized three fundamental (writing) truths at the exact same time.

Forced references aside, for those unfamiliar with it, Hamilton is a hip-hop musical that tells the story of the American historical figure Alexander Hamilton. The musical gained popularity when it first debuted on Broadway in 2015 due to its unique music, diverse cast, fascinating story, and modern relevancy. I’ve been interested in it for a few months now, and while listening to it, I’ve noticed there are a lot of great storytelling lessons to be learned from it.

Hamilton is heavily based on historical events, and for the most part is accurate to the facts. However, it is still fictionalized in some ways, and for the purpose of this blog post, I’m focusing on the way that characters, events, and storytelling is presented in the musical. If I say something that’s inaccurate to history, just remember that I’m solely basing these observations on the musical.

Also, as a minor disclaimer: if you haven’t listened to Hamilton before, there are a number of instances with crude language, so just know that going in.

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A Few of My Favorite Writing Blogs

When I was a kid, I had a blog just for my own amusement that went through various phases of activity and inactivity. Eventually, I put that website to rest for good and moved on. But I’m back in the blogosphere, which begs the question: What inspired me to blog again?

My blogging revival, so to speak, has a lot to do with myself personally becoming more involved in the blogging community as I entered my final year of high school. As a writer hoping to improve my craft, I looked to writing blogs for tips and advice to help me in my journey. Reading posts from these different sites is what inspired me to start up a new blog, and to this day, I’m still learning a lot from them with each post.

Today, I want to share a few of my favorite writing blogs with you. Not all of them are the ones that initially inspired me to blog again, but they all provide assistance and encouragement for me as I continue to grow as a writer.

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3 Benefits of Writer Friends

Writing is often thought of as a solitary activity. When you think of a writer, do you think of a person who sits at their desk until the early hours of the morning, the room only lit by the soft glow of their laptop? Sometimes, especially during events like NaNoWriMo, we do shut ourselves away from the world, but that isn’t always the case.

Contrary to popular belief, writers actually rely on each other quite a bit. Without the support, encouragement, and feedback that other writers provide, we probably wouldn’t get as far as we do. At the very least, we wouldn’t grow much as writers. Having someone to challenge us and show us where we can improve is crucial, otherwise our writing would always stay the same, and where’s the fun in that?

Having writer friends is important for a number of reasons, but in the end, it all comes down to three main benefits. What are they, you ask? Read on to find out!

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7 Lessons I Learned from a Local Author Fair

If I asked you to describe a published author, what would you say? Would you think of someone famous, with their book on every shelf, living in the big city and going on book signing tours across the country? Sure, that may describe a portion of the published authors in the world, but that certainly isn’t true of every single one. Oftentimes, there are published authors living right in our hometown, we just don’t know it.

The area I live in has a population of a little over 800,000, and though we have our fair share of cities and attractions, it’s not a super famous area (except for a misnamed Billy Joel song). When I learned the library in my town was holding a Local Author Fair, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Were there really that many authors from our area? I decided to check it out though. It gave me the opportunity to listen to an author panel and speak with a few of the writers, and I certainly learned a lot.

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