Thursday, 11 January 2018

Writer Tag

     I was struggling with what to write this week, so I had a search around the internet for some inspiration, and came across this tag. It can be applied to any sort of writer I think, not necessarily just novelists and such, and is not just for people who write as a profession, so I figured I'd give it a go. Hopefully this will reveal a bit more to you all about myself, and why writing and blogging is something I continue to do, and it was also interesting for me to think about my writing process myself - and possibly how to improve it!

'Writer Tag' text on background of pen, paper, and coffee
(source with my text edit)



1. What type of writing do you do?
Blogging is definitely my main, and most frequent, form of writing, and has been for several years now. I've written blog style articles elsewhere on the internet too, and I dip back into prose fiction writing from time to time, though less regularly than I used to, both for on the blog and not.

2. What genres and/or topics do you write about?
My blog covers plenty of topics, as listed at the top of my site, with my most frequent choices being travel, music, fashion, and general thoughts on life, often about my ongoing search for purpose and and understanding adulthood. My fiction writing is often short, descriptive pieces, but when I do venture into longer pieces with more plot, it's often mainly dramatic and character-driven, and I've tried a bit of fantasy a few times.

3. How long have you been writing?
For as long as I've been able to write, I think! I remember writing both at school and at home from a young age, certainly primary school - maybe 8 or 9? - and wanting to be an author when I was around 11. Most of my work was for school when I was a teenager, though I certainly enjoyed writing short stories, and I started blogging just before going to university. So I've been writing in one form or another for maybe 13-15 years, and the blog has been around for 6 and a half years now!

4. Are you published?
Kind of? I wrote a few articles that were published in a local newspaper when I was in high school, and I contributed a short travel story to this book, Ultimate Book Of : Travel Experiences, a few years ago. That's been the only things in print, but I've also had articles on different online sites - check out my 'intro' page for those, instead of me inserting them all here again.

5. What was the first story you ever wrote?
I really am not sure for this one, as it was probably something for school that I've long since forgotten about. But one of the first things I remember writing at home was a short story for each of my siblings, with them as the main character, doing their favourite hobbies, which I made into little books stapled together - I must have been around 8 or 9 then I think!

6. Why do you write?
Now that's a big question. I did write a whole post on it a few years ago, but I'll try to condense it here. I write to express myself. I write to untangle the thoughts inside my head and make sense of them. I write to remember people, places, and experiences. I write to understand myself and the wider world better. I write to explain things, both to myself and others. Writing is my creative release, and my means of expression, understanding, and communication.

7. How do you find time to write?
That varies, and you can generally tell when I've been short on time when there are fewer posts published on here in some months than others. I try to prioritise writing, at least for the blog, as a thing I need to do before I wind down for the day - if I watch TV for an hour or two in the evening, it's unlikely I'll start writing after that. My schedule just now is good, as I usually have some free time between or before my work shifts, when I try to get some writing done.

8. When and where are the best times to write?
I'm typically best in the afternoons, between 1pm and 4pm, either at home in my room, or in a corner of a cafe somewhere. Occasionally inspiration will strike late at night, often if I can't sleep sometime after midnight, but that's only rarely.

9. Favourite food/drinks while writing?
Generally I don't, as I forget to eat or drink while my fingers are busy tapping away, but if I do it'll be a cup of coffee and maybe a biscuit or something else sweet.

10. Your writing playlist?
This can differ drastically, depending on my mood. As much as I absolutely love music, sometimes I get distracted by songs, so silence can be the more productive option (my choice today as I write this!). Other times I feel the need to break the silence with some sort of instrumental music - piano melodies or orchestral music (either classical or film soundtracks). And other times I can work just fine with songs with lyrics, which will normally be from my standard playlist, a shuffle of my music library, which is typically modern rock music. Though every now and then, I'll throw the Disney playlist on instead!

11. What do friends/family/loved ones think of your writing?
They're all pretty supportive, and they know it's something I am passionate about, so they're always pleased for me when I get published somewhere, or get paid for my writing. They don't all read every single thing I write, nor do I expect them to (except maybe my mum, who likes nearly every link I post on Facebook), but I appreciate the times when they have a read of something.

12. Parts of writing you enjoy the most?
The times when the words just flow, when it comes so naturally and effortlessly. The times when I'm especially pleased with a turn of phrase, or when I have an idea I'm really excited by. The times when I actually complete something, and when I'm extra proud of how it turned out.

13. Parts of writing you find challenging?
The times when I'm struggling to think of new ideas to write about. The times when I just can't find the wording to get across what I'm trying say exactly write. The times when I've abandoned things halfway through because I've lost patience or I think it's not good enough so why bother?

14. What do you write with and on?
Definitely my laptop most of the time. I usually carry a notebook and pen with me, to scrawl down ideas or paragraphs if inspiration strikes when I'm out somewhere, and I have other notebooks full of quotes or ideas or loose outlines, but the bulk of the proper, final draft writing is done on my laptop.

15. How do you overcome writer's block?
Usually I end up writing about it, as a means of expressing my frustration. Then, I'll try to find inspiration from different sources, either online or out in the real world, though that doesn't always guarantee results. Sometimes I'll read about what others do for their writer's block, and sometimes I'll step away entirely for a day or two, and allow myself to stop being stressed out about it.

16. How do motivate yourself to write?
Deadlines definitely help, which is why after a couple of years of intermittent blogging, I set up a schedule of posting three times per week, and planning out ideas in advance, so I wouldn't get stuck at the last minute and end up not writing anything. I usually try to make myself write earlier in the day, like the afternoons, so I can then reward myself when I'm done, and relax in the evenings. The best times are when I hardly need motivation, because I'm excited about whatever it is I'm writing about that day!

17. Authors who inspire you as a writer?
J.K. Rowling was always my favourite as a child, and some of my other favourites now and over the years, include Philip Pullman, Karen McCombie, John Green, Jack Kerouac, Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, and many more that I've forgotten about at this exact second. They aren't necessarily authors I aspire to be like, but their work has made me want to write as well. There are also lots of modern bloggers, more similar in style to what I do, who keep me inspired, both in terms of ideas and motivation.

18. Books that inspire you as a writer?
Anything by the authors above I guess. There aren't any specific books that I think made me want to write, but rather a childhood love of reading - kickstarted by Harry Potter for sure! - in general, that made me want to use words as my tools.

19. Best advice you've gotten as a writer?
I can't recall being told anything directly, but some of the best advice I've seen, or thought about myself, is to write what you know, be honest, show don't tell, tackle the tough stuff, read as much as you can, and write every day, even when you're stuck.

20. Writing goals this year?
Write more fiction again, especially longer pieces, and make more effort to get published on other websites and platforms.

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