Note: This was supposed to be posted Friday the 6th of August, and it wasn’t because the damn internet stopped working on my laptop. Sorry for the delay. I hope you enjoy reading Ashley’s guest post. -Kayleigh
How do I write? When Kayleigh first asked me to do a guest post on this topic, my initial instinct was “Yes! Of course! How awesome, what a great idea!” Now that I sit here figuring out to put it into words, I’m feeling somewhat stumped. So to start off, let me show, not tell (ahhhh. Do you see what I did there? Show, don’t tell… Classic writing rule #1. I’ve been pushing that with my writing lately.. Anyways…).
Hi, I’m Ashley (otherwise known as @AshleyTenille on twitter). I have a goofy, sometimes strange (and, okay, a lot of the time perverted) sense of humor, think friends are incredibly important, like shiny things, and putting smiles on peoples’ faces. If you can’t tell already, my ‘showing’ you is how easily distracted I get. I’m also showing you that I can jump from one thing to another in an instant without missing a beat. I think how I write is a lot like how I am in real life. But before I get into the nitty-gritty, I’ll tell you a few (promise) things about myself. I’m 23, recently unemployed (laid off, long story), struggling through the fantastic swirls of life and I’ll be going back to school in the fall for Graphic Design. I have a blog if you care to dabble in a mixture of complete random nonsense (including random writing things)–thingsshesays.blogspot.com
Okay, how do I write? I can be a jumper. I have multiple WIPs going at once and usually start a new one before I can finish another one. But I always hang onto them because if I get stuck in one, sometimes I’ll suddenly get inspired to continue with one I haven’t dabbled in for a year. If I’m stuck in a spot, I’ll write an ‘insert’ (as I call them), which is a future scene that I’ve been inspired to write. Even if I don’t end up using it, it helps me get some words down and also gives me somewhat of a direction I know I need to go in.
One of THE most important tools for me with writing is MUSIC—so many of my scenes have been inspired by songs. If I’m stuck for what to write, I’ll sometimes just lay in bed with my iPod on, listening away until a song *sparks* something. Whenever I’m writing, I usually have music playing in the background and I jot down the songs that inspire future scenes with point form notes. When it comes to write that scene, I re-listen to specific songs and POOF! Magic is formed.
Writing on the computer is easier, and most of my stuff always ends up there, but a lot of the time I prefer writing long hand. Just having SO many notebooks filled with writing… it shows just how much you put into it. If that makes sense? And it shows (literally) more personality and effort than a computer screen.
I am definitely a pantser in the fact that I normally just DIVE right into writing, have multiple notebooks/random sheets of paper/random word files/random pictures for each WIP (work-in-progress). In my newest WIP, which is an urban fantasy novel about shifters, I’m trying to do things a little differently in that I’m researching/plotting beforehand and (trying) to be more organized with my writing and plotting.
I love toying with my characters and pushing them to near-breaking limits (or even past that!). I love to create drama for them and give them emotions and hardships to work through. Nothing in life comes easy and I like to mirror that in my novels. I try to keep it realistic while seeing how far I can push them (and myself). Cliffhangers are wonderful; even though my own cliffhangers even irk ME sometimes (I want to keep writing!).
I usually write in spurts; I’ll plow out huge amounts of words in a short amount of time (I call this ‘being in the zone’) and then I’ll go through times where I write NOTHING (usually when life gets in the way). During this time where I’m stuck for writing, I’ll go through my reading frenzy and go through four books in four days (or something crazy like that).
I have to say my newest favorite item for helping with plotting or keeping details organized is index cards; even if it’s just for a quick jot down on character descriptions. Another new favorite is graph paper notebooks (or blank page moleskins) because you can doodle and draw next to your notes.
One thing I’ve learned from doing NaNoWriMo last year (National Novel Writing Month – writing 50k in 30 days), is that even if your mind is drawing a blank, just go with it. Keep writing, or even skip to the next scene if you’re stuck. Completing NaNoWriMo last year was a HUGE eye-opener for me in the sense that the time crunch (I actually finished in 24 days because I was leaving for Dominican before the end of the month) forced out some of my best work because I couldn’t sit and dwell on it: I just WENT with it. I learned that sometimes with writing, even if it’s not your best work, just get it out to keep the flow going. You can always go back to it afterwards.
So in the end, I think I could consider myself an ‘all over the place’ kind of writer, who’s slowly learning how to be more organized. As a writer, I’m always learning new tricks and trades, always trying new things (while still hanging on to habits of the old).