Anastasia Suen

Developmental Editor

Category: creativity (Page 1 of 14)

Do You See the Stories Around You?

“Stories are hiding, waiting everywhere. You just have to open your eyes and your heart.” Kate DiCamillo

Let the busy holiday season act as your muse! Look for the stories all around you–hiding in plain sight. Jot a note to yourself and save your ideas for later when things quiet down a bit.

Just remember to change the names and alter the events to fictionalize the story. (No need for hurt feelings, ruffled feathers, or defamation lawsuits!)

You don’t need to retell the stories you hear word for word. Someone else already did that. Look for the emotional truth underneath the real life stories you encounter. Use those feelings as the building blocks of a NEW story.

Take something old and use it in a new way. Find the universal human element in the stories you hear and add your own specific details to create a different story — a story that only YOU can tell.

Let the real world inspire your imagination!

Can you jot down story ideas
inspired by real life this week?

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

How to Keep Writing During the Holidays

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Jim Ryun

The holidays are here . . . with a new set of tasks that all need to be done now, now, NOW! Keeping your writing life afloat during the holiday season can be VERY tricky. It’s so tempting to just let it all go until later . . . when you have more time.

But will that free time ever really come? Something else that you just have to do WILL come up in January, in February, in March . . .

It’s a slippery slope, one I have slid down more times that I can count . . . and then the guilt begins.

To make things worse, when I come back to my book days (or weeks) later, I’ve lost the thread of the story. No thanks.

When time is not on my side, I’ve found it is better to move from small steps to teeny, tiny steps.

I am a writer, so I write. Period.

No one said that I had to write for hours each day. Sure, I like to spend 30 minutes (or more) writing each day, but if I have too many obligations, I can get by with 5 or 10 minutes. I can write in bits and snatches. I can think about a character in my novel or plan the next page spread in my picture book.

I can free write a messy draft to clean up later . . . when I have more time. Why not? I’m going to re-write the book anyway.

I had 21 school visits during the month I wrote the first draft of The Zombie Project: A Boxcar Children Mystery (one of my ghostwriting projects). I did a short free write first thing in the morning and then I carried my notebook with me throughout the day, writing in tiny bits and snatches of time. At the end of the month, I had a messy draft to revise, not a blank notebook. I hadn’t lost my writing time, I had found it.

Can you find tiny snatches of time
to write everyday this week?

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Working Step by Step

“I used to work in bursts of intuition. Now I find the very process of working step by step feeds my imagination.” Anne Truitt

It’s so fun to begin working on a new idea. But after the inspiration fades –and it will– what happens to your project?

Earlier this week I saw a link to an article titled: The uncomfortable secret to creative success is “disequilibrium”. I had to click through and see what it said.

The author, Sandy Speicher, is a partner at IDEO, a global design company so the article was about how a design team creates.

Inside the article was IDEO’s “Mood Meter” graphic:

“Years ago, IDEO developed a tool called the “Mood Meter” to help prepare newcomers for design projects. It’s a graphic that shows the journey of the design process with various levels of joy and anxiety charted on it.” Sandy Speicher

It’s the opposite of the charts that I use for mapping a story, because I like to show the tension in the story as a mountain that the main character (and the writer) has to climb. A mountain rises in the middle, and this mood chart is a deep valley of feelings.

As far as moods go, however, I have to say that this accurately reflects the moods that I (and the writers I work with) experience. As the project progresses and leaves that fun “insights” phase, the book turns into WORK and the mood drops.

Q. When you feel bad about your project, how do you keep going?
A. Show up at the page.

A book begins with insight, but to make something new, you have to break new ground. You have to allow yourself to feel uncomfortable. The work that you do when you are uncomfortable, when you are experiencing disequilibrium, is what will lead to your next breakthrough.

Figuring out what to do is hard.

This is where the creative habit enters the picture. If you show up at the page and write everyday, no matter how you feel, you can move your project forward step by step. Just keep writing–whether you think it is “good” or not. Capture every idea that come to you . . .

. . . and then show up at the page the next day and do it again

. . . and again

. . . and again.

Nature creates step by step. You can, too.

Will you show up at the page
and write everyday this week?

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Page 1 of 14

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