Tag Archives: story telling

Woman having difficulty writing

Understanding Your Gifts, Talents, and Knowledge

Don’t know what to write about?

When people find out I am a writer, and particularly when they find out  I write novels, they often ask “How do you come up with your ideas?” Well, ideas aren’t usually my problem—focusing on ONE idea proves to be a challenge for me, but everyone is different. Some writers struggle to come up with ideas. Other people want to write, but don’t because they don’t feel they have any ideas or that their ideas aren’t good enough or worthy to write about. I say, NOT SO.

You have certain abilities, gifts, knowledge, and talents that make you unique. Everyone does. Even if we share those certain gifts, knowledge, and talents with others, we have our own take on them.

Here are a few tips and tricks to get your ideas flowing.

  1. Sit down for 10 minutes and a) write a list of your talents b) write down any kind of special knowledge you have. Are you a medical professional? Are you president of the PTA? Have you come up with a wicked fettuccini alfredo recipe?
  2. Write down your talents. Are you a good dancer? Are you good at fixing all things mechanical? Are you a whiz with numbers? Think about what you can do that others struggle with.
  3. What about your experiences? Did you have a difficult home life when you were growing up? Did you live in an exotic place? Was it for a long period of time or a short period of time? Do you volunteer your time anywhere or for anyone? Did you have a life-changing experience? What is your profession? What kind of training have you had?

If you have trouble coming up with anything in these areas, particularly in the abilities, knowledge or talent areas, ask a few friends or family members what they think you are good at. You might be surprised by their answers. Sometimes people see things in us we aren’t able to see ourselves until it is pointed out to us.

Happy woman writing

 

You can use the abilities and tools you already have as inspiration for writing—fiction or non-fiction. For instance, if you are a good dancer, you could write a romance, a thriller, or a mystery with a dancer as your protagonist or amateur sleuth. You could make the main setting a dancing studio, or you could take your protagonist on dancing tours with her dance company or troupe. For non-fiction, you could take a few of your favorite dance genres and talk about the history of them or pick a famous dancer who specialized in that genre and write a piece about them. You could write a “how to” book on your favorite dance number or dance moves.

Do you see where I am going here? Even if you have a mere INTEREST in something, you can research it and give your take on that topic, that person, that area—whatever it is.

You probably have a lot more ideas than you think. And if you think your ideas aren’t interesting, go to the internet and research the idea. See how much you find about it. Look on social media for groups on the subject. It is amazing what interests people and turns people on. You aren’t alone in your fascination with ladybugs or spark plugs! Writing about your interests, whether fiction or non-fiction connects you to the people who like the same things you do. There is always an audience—some big, or some small, but you can touch people with your words and ideas. You just need to find them, and they are right there inside of you!

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5 Elements to Unlock the Mystery of Writing A Book

 

woman staring at computer screenWriting a book. Sounds easy? If you have ever tried to write a book, or actually succeeded at writing a book, you know what kind of commitment it requires. Taking about it is one thing. Doing it is another. So, how do we unlock the mystery of writing a book?

Many people want to write a book. They either have a message or information they want to share, or they love to tell a good story. Perhaps they have experiences they feel people can learn from. Perhaps they want to make a statement about the human condition, or provide social commentary. The variety of reasons for writing a book is as immense as the variety of ideas people have for those books.

But, what does it take?

Here are the 5 elements I feel are necessary to unlock the mystery of writing a book, and more importantly finishing a book.

Element #5 Understand your gifts, knowledge, and talent.

 This goes along with the old adage “write what you know.” If you have access to certain information, or are gifted with unique skills, or have a particular talent – write about it. Would a bee-keeper write a medical thriller? Possibly, if she had a passion for medicine, or had access to a medical professional. Or, if the plight of bees threatened the medical well-being of mankind in her book. But generally, no. If medicine is not an interest of the bee-keeper, she might be better served to write a book involving bees, beekeeping, or perhaps a book about a honey-salesman. That could have some interesting connotations!

Stick with what you know, or what you are passionate about. It will come through in your story or in your message.

Element #4 Create time and space – figuratively.

When I am working on a book, I find it is top of mind, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But there are times when I can’t sit down to write. As much as I would like to say that I am an author who writes every single day, it is just not a reality for me. I have other things I am equally passionate about. It’s always a struggle to get everything in. Instead of neglecting my other passions and responsibilities, I make time and space in my head for my book. When doing physical chores that don’t require a lot of concentration, I work out the next scene or chapter I want to write. I might fantasize about a new character, or a new setting for my book.

Keep a small notebook in your pocket or purse to capture your thoughts. I used to spend a lot of time in the car. Instead of listening to music, I listened to the story unfolding in my head. It’s a great way to make the commute shorter. Don’t take notes unless you are at a stop light!

Element #3 Create time and space – literally.

It is important to take your writing seriously. Do not put it on the back-burner, or think to yourself, “I’ll get to it later.” Schedule it into your day or week. If you can only fit in 20 minutes a day, great! Put it in your calendar. If you can write one page a day, then you will have 365 pages at the end of the year. Viola! A book.

Finding a space where you cannot be disturbed is instrumental. I try to create a cozy, comfortable atmosphere in my office. I have my essential oils diffuser, tea pot, comfy sofa or chair, and a clean desk (somewhat) ready for me when I sit down to write. When I spent a lot of time in the car, I carried my lap-top with me everywhere. I wrote in airports, coffee shops, restaurants, even the nail salon! Some people claim they can’t write anywhere but their office. I get it. But, being flexible gives you more writing time. And, the more you do it, the better you get at it!

Element #2 Read, read, read.

 Reading books of all genres and types is the best way to learn to be a better writer. It’s important to take stock of other authors’ strengths and weaknesses, what works and what doesn’t. Take note of things like their writing style, their voice, their message, and themes that run throughout their book. Focus on your genre or area of interest. Write down the passages that strike you. Analyze what the author did to make their words so colorful, exciting, terrifying, or real. Do you get lost in the setting or world the author has built? Why? Do you love or hate a character? Why?

Element #1 – The single most important element to writing a book: Belief in Self

 Writing a book can be a hefty undertaking. You’ll spend a lot of time in your own head. This can be a dangerous place! Naturally, your thoughts will want to take you where you aren’t good enough, you don’t know enough. You go to a place where people won’t want to read what you have written, or take you seriously. Am I right?

Belief in yourself is so important as a writer. You cannot please everyone. People will give you advice and commentary whether you want it or not. Whether you are published or not. Whether you are a best-seller or not. Unfortunately, being a writer or artist requires the development of a tough skin, a love of your craft, and a love of self. If you don’t love what you do and what you write, how will anyone else? Believe in your craft. Believe in your work. Believe in yourself.