“I wrote a poem about it, and then threw it away, because that’s the last thing I need right now: More words dedicated to people who will never dedicate a single thing to me.”—Thought Catalog (Charlotte Green)
“Before you begin to write a sentence, imagine the scene you want to paint with your words. Imagine that you are the character and feel what the character feels. Smell what the character smells, and hear with that character’s ears. For an instant, before you begin to write, see and feel what you want the reader to see and feel.”—Othello Bach
“ In other words, loneliness is something I've never been bothered with because I've always had this terrible itch for solitude. It's being at a party, or at a stadium full of people cheering for something, that I might feel loneliness. I'll quote Ibsen, "The strongest men are the most alone." I've never thought, "Well, some beautiful blonde will come in here and give me a fuck-job, rub my balls, and I'll feel good." No, that won't help. You know the typical crowd, "Wow, it's Friday night, what are you going to do? Just sit there?" Well, yeah. Because there's nothing out there. It's stupidity. Stupid people mingling with stupid people. Let them stupidify themselves. I've never been bothered with the need to rush out into the night”—Charles Bukowski
I’m sure any writer has their own creative methods and routines when it comes to writing. I’ve been wanting to post my way of getting organized and inspired to write for later reference, since my ‘methods’ change all the time. Hopefully, this might bring some ideas to someone and maybe others could share their own writing routines to help a fellow writer out!
Here is my ultimate ‘Get Shit Done’-List:
- Microsoft One Note has helped me in many ways. I create a notebook for every project that I’m working on, with each section for a different thinking-path like: inspiration, drafts, ideas, background stories, inspiration boards for each main character or important character, playlists, pictures that show the ‘vibe’ or ‘mood’ of the book. etc. One Note is really easy to use and you can create amazing collages, which help me a lot to organize my ideas. I downloaded One Note for free on a torrent website.
- My characters are usually complete in my head with their flaws, qualities, desires, and so on, but it helps a lot to actually write it all down. It’s amazing how our brain organizes every little bit of information far better once you put your thoughts on a piece of paper. This may seem very obvious to most writers, but it wasn’t to me! I was always so sure to know my characters inside and out, that I didn’t even bother to write everything about them down. Bad decision. I wasted a lot of time and could have been already finishing my book if I’d realized that earlier. My way of ‘organizing’ my character’s personality varies from each character; on some I write just a plain text, while on others I write an elaborate text in their point-of-view, and with some others I prefer to put together a chart of their personality. Recently I came across this character chart, which is very complete though full of points that I personally wouldn’t waste my time on. These charts are best used for side characters in my opinion.
- Music plays a big part in many writers writing process. Creating a playlist for your characters is not only fun, it’s also a way of getting to explore their motivations and feelings better. Rainbow Rowell, the author of Eleanor & Park, posted her character’s playlist on her blog and describes her ‘inspiration’ behind every song. I use Grooveshark to create my playlists, because they have almost every song I ever looked up.
- I collect quotes from all kinds of authors and books that connect to my story or to any character. Quotes inspire me so very much. Whenever I read a very nice quote I get a rush of excitement and just want to write.
- I don’t worry about anything else than writing. Getting published, pleasing the readers, getting praise or being successful - that’s something no one should focus on while writing. I love the quote by Peter S. Beagle: “You write because you have to - you write because you can’t not write. The rest is show-business.”
- I downloaded Evernote to my phone, which is an amazing app that helps you to stay organized. Whenever I’m on the go and remember something or get an idea or whatever - I quickly write it in a list or even just record my idea. Evernote stores it all in notebooks - similar to One Note. And you can even download Evernote to your computer and synchronize your notebooks from your phone to your PC/Mac. It’s like the best app ever invented and the best part is that it’s free!
- And last but not least, I like to spend as much time observing everything, being outside, listening to others, allowing the stories inside of me to come free by just being alive. What we want as writers is to try and convey feeling to the world. And in order to do that in an artistic way, we need to live first and experience things before we can write about life.
Hopefully someone else shares some of their writing processes!
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Also called “PTSD” and, formerly, “shell-shock”
What is it?
PTSD is a mental disorder resulting from a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, abuse, and seeing combat. While fear is a natural response to an alarming or uncontrollable situation, PTSD is fear even when that situation has stopped or been resolved.
Who gets it?
PTSD affects people of every race, age, and societal standing, but not everyone exposed to a traumatic situation contracts it. You are more likely to develop PTSD if you have a history of mental illness, few family and friends, watch someone else get hurt or killed during the event, disapprove of your actions during the event, and/or deal with extra stress afterwards like the loss of a job. Conversely, people who have a large support network and/or approve of their actions during the event.
What are the symptoms?
- Having uncontrollable flashbacks to the traumatic event
- Bad dreams
- Uncontrollable negative or frightening thoughts (other than those about the event)
- Staying away from place, objects, or situations that remind you of the event (for example, someone in a plane crash might refuse to fly)
- Feeling emotionally numb, strong guilt, depression, and chronic worry
- Hopelessness about the future
- Trouble concentrating
- Being easily startled
- Feeling tense or edgy
- Having difficulty sleeping and/or angry outbursts
What are the symptoms in children?
Very young children (>5 years old) temporarily forget how to talk, wet the bed, and/or attach themselves excessively to a parent or guardian. They may become extremely nervous or unreasonable if the parent/guardian is not present. Children (6-12 years old) act out the scary event during playtime, have nightmares, have difficulty making or keeping friends, and/or become more aggressive and edgy. Teenagers experience mostly the same symptoms as adults. They sometimes seek revenge for those they believe responsible.
When do the symptoms appear?
The symptoms of PTSD can occur immediately or months after the event.
What treatment is available?
There are two main types: psychotherapy (“talking” therapy) and medication. Psychotherapy attempts to remove the fear from the situation by re-experiencing it or talking about it. One method is exposure therapy, where the person is slowly acclimatized to stimuli that remind them of the event. Another is cognitive therapy, where the therapist and patient work to construct a rational reconstruction of the event (especially effective with people who feel guilt or shame about the event). The last common form of psychotherapy is teaching people how to calm their anxiety and fear; treating the emotions associated rather than attempting to puzzle through the event.
Zoloft and Paxil are the two medications most commonly prescribed to PTSD sufferers. They are anti-depressants, and come with the associated side effects (suicidal thoughts, nausea, agitation, reduced sex drive). Most people choose a combination of medication and counseling.
How do I help someone else with PTSD?
Firstly, make sure they get the right diagnosis and treatment. Make sure they are safe and do not think about self-harm or suicide, which happens frequently in PTSD sufferers. Other than that, avoid talking about anything relating to the event, unless they bring it up first. If they do, listen to what they need to say. Offer continuous support and never give up on them. Having a friend or family member with PTSD can be extremely stressful for you. They weren’t the person you knew before. Instead, they’re more irritable, isolated, frightened, and angry. You may want to build a support group around the person or find a counselor or confidant for yourself if you feel stressed.