Writing Through The Noise

Writing Through The Noise

So, you want to write. You’ve got your story line sorted, you have scenes planned, and you’re inspired. In fact, you’re raring to go, itching to get started. But, there’s a problem. A very big problem in fact. You’re surrounded by people who won’t stop talking to you, or have put the TV/radio on, or are doing noisy things. And now you can’t concentrate, and therefore can’t write. So what do you do?

I’m afraid I can’t help with that, because I don’t know, because I haven’t figured it out myself. Since I moved three weeks ago, I have so far only managed to have one good day of uninterrupted writing, the rest I have been plagued with non-stop noise. That’s the problem with moving in with other relatives who don’t yet understand how you work, and don’t go out often – they want to talk all the time, and continue in their normal routine, without realising that they’re disturbing yours.

For years, I have had about 40 hours a week of uninterrupted time to myself, while my Mum was at work, which I used to write and read to my hearts content. Now I’m down to 8 at most, and the rest of the time I’m in the company of someone who talks a lot, and has the TV on for most of the day. It’s something I am definitely not used to, and it’s something I am now struggling to adjust to.

You see, I find it very difficult to write while there’s any sort of distraction. I can deal with writing with musical accompaniment, as that can be inspiring, but everything else is pure distraction. If someone is talking to me, that means I have to reply and think about the conversation, therefore I cannot concentrate on my story line.

If the TV is on, I get distracted, even when it’s a show I’m not interested in. I end up getting sucked into watching whatever is on, or find myself wanting to work whatever is going on on the TV into the story I’m writing, which is obviously not a good idea.

It’s a nightmare, and one I’ve been living in for the past three weeks. I’ve yet to come up with a solution to the problem. The only thing I can try and do is crank up the volume on my headphones, and hope to God it drowns out the TV/puts people off talking to me. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s all I’ve currently got. Until I can sort out my own ‘writing space’ I am stuck in with the noise. The noise that doesn’t seem to let up for a minute. Even with the new space, I don’t know how well it’s going to work. I’ll be away from the TV, but it doesn’t stop people coming in to talk to me.

I’m praying it will help my productivity a bit, but really, there is no catch all solution to the problem. If there was, that would be what this blog’s subject. But there isn’t. So the only advice I can give is to crank up the volume on the music if you’re in a similar situation. Crank up the volume and try to adjust the best you can.

If not, well, there’s always waiting for everybody to leave or go to sleep, and writing then.

Though if you have any ideas, leave me a comment and tell me, I’m dying to figure this out and stop the distractions!

Writing While Moving

Writing While Moving

Moving house is stressful – there’s boxes everywhere, nothing is where it should be, and the entire world feels off kilter. It completely throws you off, daily life is put on hold until the whole house is sorted, so what happens to your writing during this time?

It stagnates, generally. As of right now, I’m a week into a house move. There are boxes literally everywhere, I have no bed, just a mattress on the floor, and I only just managed to put my clothes in my wardrobe. This video suddenly has become relevant again:

And in the last five days, I have written about 900 words, the same amount I can usually average in one sitting.

Quite frankly, it’s driving me insane. I’m used to writing seven hundred words a day on one of my two ongoing long projects, but right now I’m stuck writing one/two hundred words a day on a small project I only work on when I have no ideas for anything else. I have so many ideas for my other two projects, but I can’t write on them, because I have no time.

Currently, every day is being spent unpacking and moving things round, hoping to fit it in this new house. My mind is utterly taken up with that, and I spend so long doing it I have no time to think of how to get more words on my page. It’s utterly maddening, there’s nothing worse for a writer than not being able to write.

So there’s only two options to choose from in this situation. 1) Give up writing, risk losing all ideas and getting out of practice, possibly chucking myself into the dreaded writers block. Or 2) Continue writing the little pieces and note down the bigger ideas, plot and plan inside my head until I do get time to write again.

It’s a tough one, I’m desperate to write, but I can’t. I’m sure there are others like me who know this feeling. It’s a terrible thing to feel, and unfortunately there is nothing to be done, apart from wait for the house to order itself. It times time, and patience (which I don’t have by the way), and a lot of hard work to get things sorted. But it’s worth it in the end. You get there, and the writing is a lot sweeter because of it.

Top 5 Most Important Editing Points

Hey, so here’s the start of my series of blogs/vlogs on editing your novels! I thought I’d start off with a check list of the most important things you need to check for in your work. It’s so important that you get these things right, as these are the basics of a novel that you have to get right in order to get anywhere else.
11)      Check for spelling and grammar mistakes. That’s an obvious one really, because spelling and grammar are very important things. Spelling should be relatively easy thanks to spell check, but grammar is a bit harder to deal with, but there’s a few things you can do to help yourself out. One is to read your work allowed to yourself, speaking and reading engages different parts of the brain, so you pick up more mistakes if you’re reading aloud. It sounds nuts, I know, but it actually works. I’ve done it before, and have had it recommended by several tutors so I know it works a treat.  And two, you can use a website called Hemingway, which checks through your work and clearly highlights sentences that need improving. I’ve used it loads and it works great.
22)      Check your story for coherency. Make sure that your story makes sense and that it is easy to understand. I’m not saying you can’t have a convoluted plot, if you want that, go for it, but you have to make it easy to understand, or you will lose your readers. Make sure that you’ve explained your plot fully in your story as you’ve gone along, and not suddenly including an important element with no explanation as to how it got there.
33)      Make sure you have tied up all loose ends. Unless you’re writing a series and are planning on tying up loose ends in a further book, all the fragments of the story have to come together to make sense by the end. Go through and make a list of all your plot points, and check off each thing you resolve and see if you have anything left over by the end. If you do, you’re probably going to have to go back and resolve that point somewhere. Obviously, if you’re planning a series out, you can resolve plot points in a further book, but make sure that by the end of the series you have actually done that. As for one off books, then you have to resolve all plot points or you’re going to anger a lot of readers, as they will want answers.
44)      Make sure you’re consistent. If you’ve started writing in first person, make sure you’ve stayed in first person throughout, unless you have a specific reason to change it. Check to make sure your characters physical attributes are consistent and haven’t suddenly changed for no reason, make sure you’ve kept to the same tense throughout (a flashback/memory is mostly where a change from present to past tense is allowed, everything else should be in the same tense). All of these things are really important, and you have to make sure you have kept everything like that the exact same way throughout the novel, unless there’s reason for things to change. If there’s no need for things to suddenly jump from present to past tense, then make sure you’ve stayed in the original tense.
55)      Keep your story line on the right track. You have to be certain that you’ve kept to your story line from the beginning until the end. A story is going to go nowhere if your character starts off trying to find their parents at the beginning, and ends up battling demons by the end, unless they have been drawn into doing that while on their original quest. If they’ve completed their original quest and have had to go on another straight away, fair enough, but you have to make sure that that original quest has come to completion by the end.
It’s all about consistency people; every single thing has to be consistent and kept on a similar path. And yes, editing is boring, I know. But it’s an incredibly important part of the writing process, and will be the thing that sharpens your story into the incredible epic it can be. The editing is so, so important, and you have to check for these things and change anything that is wrong, or your novel won’t go anywhere.

If you guys have anything else you check for when you’re editing your stories, please comment below, I’ll add anything to this main post, or start a new one, so we can create one massive checklist of editing!