Soundtracks for Writing

What do you have going in the background when you’re writing? Do you prefer silence or do you have the TV or radio/other music source on?

I can write in silence, but more often than not, I prefer to have something on in the background. If it’s not something that annoys me, I actually find that it helps me to focus better.

Why?

When I was growing up and doing homework, my mom was a babysitter. There was always something going on. I got used to working with background noise. That has actually served me well in various jobs. With writing, I tend to have to create my own background noise.

Often, I’ll have the TV on in the background. Sometimes I’ll pay attention to it, but usually it’s just there as white noise.

When I’m writing fiction, though, I will usually turn some music on. My musical preferences are dictated by the current project. For example, with my NaNoWriMo story, I’m listening to a lot of modern rock (especially Shinedown) and some classic country.

I know. Odd combination, right?

But it works for my characters. The heroine listens to modern rock. The hero listens to classic country. (And a couple days ago, I actually found his theme song when it comes to her. “Shameless” by Garth Brooks.)

Feel free to leave a comment. How do you prefer to work? In silence or something in the background? Why or why not?

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Grinding Gears

Image used courtesy of The Public Speaking Project under a Creative Commons license.
Image used courtesy of The Public Speaking Project under a Creative Commons license.

There’s a saying about people who are new to driving a standard and have trouble finding their gears.

“If you can’t find ’em, grind ’em.”

I feel like that’s happening to my mind today.

Earlier I said I’m stretching my skill set. My grandpa said, “You’re expanding your skill set.”

He’s right.

It’s a matter of perspective.

Stretching a skill set implies that it’s temporary and that I would forget it soon after I no longer need it.

Expanding a skill set, on the other hand, implies that I am learning things that will be beneficial to me in the long run and it won’t be something I would soon forget.

Since I have often said that I am a perpetual student, I much prefer the latter.

In the meantime, I’ll be grinding gears until it becomes second nature. Much like driving a stick-shift.

Welcome to November

Today is more than just the beginning of a new month. It’s also National Author’s Day.

And it’s the beginning of National Novel Writing Month.

In case you’re not familiar with NaNoWriMo (as it’s more commonly called), the idea is to write a rough draft of a novel totaling 50,000 words in 30 days. It started as motivation for those people who say they will write a book “someday.”

Well…

“Someday” is here.

It’s also encouragement for those of us who do write and who do have novels written to dust off the idea for the next book and get going on that.

That’s where it’s relevant to me.

A couple years ago, I wrote Navajo Rose (under the pen name of Kat O’Reilly). My sister-in-law asked where the next book was. I said there wasn’t a next book because it’s a stand-alone. She insisted that another character needed her own book.

I thought about it and decided she was right. A couple days ago, I finally found the inspiration for the hero. So I started it last night/this morning at midnight.

I’ll update about my NaNoWriMo progress every Saturday through the month. In the meantime, are you participating in NaNo? What are you working on?

Treat #3

Photo used under Creative Commons from wwarby
Photo used under Creative Commons from wwarby

Happy Halloween!

Are you ready for treat #3? I bet you are or you wouldn’t be here, right?

For the longest time, writing the query letter was the hardest thing for me. Then I figured out how to SLAP it together.

Summarize the article.
List your qualifications.
Ask for the assignment.
Provide a portfolio/clips.

Today’s give-away tells you how to follow each of the steps to write effective query letters.

SLAP Your Queries

Treat #2

Trick or treat
Smell my feet
Give me something
Good to eat!

OK. No. Really. Don’t smell my feet. You wouldn’t like that.

And it’s not something to eat, but rather, something to read.

I noticed something one day last week.

One of my books has been pirated. Yes. Get ‘Twitter’pated has been pirated. I’ve been working with the pirate’s website host to get it taken down, but nothing yet.

So.

From now until the end of November, I will have the entirety of Get ‘Twitter’pated: A Writer’s Handbook to Twitter here for free.

Yes. Free.

But only until the end of November. After that, it will come down, so get it while you can.

Just click the picture of the cover or the link above to get it.

 

Treat #1

A few years ago, I did a presentation on creativity tips to the Torchlighters Toastmasters group in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I had the entire presentation written out. It lasted less than 10 minutes, so the accompanying notes/article isn’t very long.

But here it is. One of the promised treats for your Trick-Or-Treating Halloween pleasure.

Four Tips for Overcoming Creative Roadblocks