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What to write?

Good Morning! Welcome back to the blog. 

On social media, I'm part of a fiction writing group and I've seen a lot of questions popping up lately regarding what to write, how to overcome writer's block and so on. I know I've covered something of this before, but it always worth revisiting from time to time. 

General good advice is to write about what you know. It is pointless choosing a subject to write about that you have no experience of yourself as this will only serve to do two things; firstly it will add more stress and strain to you as the writer and two, you as the writer will very quickly become disenfranchised, bored and will lose all interest in writing the piece. In short, it is not worth your time choosing to write a piece on Rocket Science unless you happen to work in that field or have a working knowledge of it. 

Of course, that being said, there would be nothing stopping you from completing courses to learn the topic that you want to write about, but think whether you want to write the subject badly enough to do that - taking a course alone is a substantial commitment of time and effort (not to mention the cost of the course), so be sure that this is something that you want to do. 

If there was to be a benefit to the whole pandemic mess it is that whilst we're subject to various lockdowns and restrictions, we have the time to study, time to write, time to try that something new that we wouldn't always find the time to do before the pandemic hit. After all, we all live busy lives, when are we meant to fit in writing/studying and so on in between holding down that full time job, and juggling goodness knows what else. 

Before you ask, I am doing the exact thing I've been talking about. Since May 2020 I've been completing some Diploma courses online. I'm 3 modules away from completing a Diploma in Genealogy, and over the Christmas break I've picked up both my Egyptology and Greek Mythology courses and I've been working on those, and I'm up to Module 4 of 10 on both. 

I can hear the sighs and the "lucky you" from here. Why did I choose those subjects? They fascinate me. I've always been interested in the subjects and sadly you don't find them covered in High School/Senior School curriculum. I'm also considering a future book that I've been planning to write for a long time time, where my main character is meant to be something of an expert in the field. How can I write a character such as that if I can't make them sound like they know what they're talking about? 

So my taking the courses that I'm completing serves a dual purpose, I'm learning something on subjects I'm already fascinated with (and gaining Diplomas to boot), and I will be able to write books featuring the new somethings that I know. 

I'm well aware that this won't work for everybody and I would urge you to find the something that works for you by trying different methods. The same can be said for overcoming the dreaded "Writer's Block". There are some that beleive that this is, in itself, fictitious, an excuse to not write, but for those who become stuck, or 'blocked' the affliction is very much a reality. 

Having gone through blocks a few times myself, I found the easiest way for me to keep going is to have a number of things on the go at once, and not all about the same subject. I use a new notebook for each new novel idea, I write in different coloured pens or even pencil and I sit in different places when I work on different things. I might write a scene or chapter for one piece and then move on and write something on another. I might find I work better on one particular piece if I'm sat on the sofa, laptop on my knee or another if I'm sat on the bed. 

This is just what I have found works for me but remember, everyone is different. I know it can be tough, hard going, but only you know what you are comfortable with. When I'm writing my blogs or book reviews for example, I'm generally sat (as I am now) on the end of the bed, using the keyboard shelf of the desk as a perch for my laptop and I have view out across the balcony to the street below so I can watch the world go by as I work (or at least hear the world go by as we're 2 stories up). 

Here's a secret no-one knows. I have a draft novel in planning that is a fantasy novel - not something I have written before. Where did my idea spring from? Well the flat I'm in at the moment happens to sit in the flight path to two airports so Airplanes are going overhead at regular intervals - I don't mind, I'm a geek who loves the physics of the whole thing (but I digress). One particular day I happened to be sitting looking out of the window and watched as two or three planes passed overhead and I thought, "does anyone else think that looking up at planes going over is like looking at the underbelly of a dragon?". The general shape of the planes, wingspan and so on. Next time you see a plane going overhead, look up and see if you can see it too. 

Try out something new for your next project. Take a notebook (or your laptop/tablet) to a different place in your home that you don't normally sit to write and just sit. Look around you. Do you see the room in a new perspective now? I changed the postion of the sofa in the living room from a side wall to the back wall and the first time I sat on it after that I was surprised by how different the room looked from that position. Sometimes, seeing a room or a view from a different position helps you to open your mind to new thoughts. Yes, the comfort of the same old, same old, is a routine we like to keep, but don't be closed off to a change. 

Ok, lecture over for today. Take care, look after each other, stay safe. As always, Keep Reading! x 

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