I can’t find who started the Friday Five book blog meme. It seems to crop up in many different style such as “Five for Friday”, “Five on Friday” , “FridayFive Challenge”. I also can’t find a topic list like you would have for the Six on Sunday meme. Therefore I am just doing my own thing and setting my own topics just so I can chat books with you.
Something a bit different for this weeks Friday five. I am talking about writing instead of reading. I attempt NaNoWriMo every year and I have won a couple of times but I never really take the ideas further, finish the manuscripts or even keep writing. However, one of my goals in 2021 was to put more time into my writing. To finally start developing a story idea I have been batting around for a while and to put in the time to actually create my novel.
It has been fair to say I have been lacking in putting my plans for this goal into action. It is now over half way through 2021 and I am only now getting round to getting myself organised and pulling together my scraps and scribbles so I can actually start. I think it has taken me so long as I am not quite sure where to start. I would definitely call myself a novice when it comes to creative writing. Most of the writing I do day to day is scientific writing and my reviews are as creative as I get when it comes to general writing. I love the burst of creativity that Preptober and NaNoWriMo have been for me in the past and I want to do more of that throughout the year.
As an academic I am drawn to a structural process and methodology of doing things so I decided the best thing for me to do was research and find tools and resources that will inspire me to put on the creative author hat and to start the writing process. These are the top five resources I have been drawn to to inspire the creative writing side of me, that have got me to start the process of starting to write. I am still very much finding my feet, playing with different advice to find out what works for me but these are great resources for that advice and to just kick start my brain.
My Top 5 Writing Resources.
I love podcasts, When I don’t have an audiobook to listen to at work I am most likely listening to a podcast. Weirdly a lot of the podcasts I listen to are based around writing even before I started to think about writing myself. Two of these were Dead Piolets Society – an LA based podcast that takes spec scripts for comedy TV show piolets that got rejected and gives them the table reads that they never had and then proceeds to talk to the writer about the script, the story behind why it never made it to air and their writing process. The second is a UK based podcast called Rule of Three, again this is a comedy TV based podcast but in this one a comedian/script writer brings on their favourite episode of a comedy classic and the structure of what makes it funny and its writing is discussed. I am really interested by the writing process so these lead me to seek out podcasts that focus on writing a novel.
Writing Excuses is probably one on the most famous writing podcasts out there. It is the writing group podcast by Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells and Howard Taylor, they also often have special guests hosts such as V.E Schwab, Wesley Chu, Patrick Rothfuss and many more. Its is definitely geared more towards SFF and genre writing due to the nature of the hosts work but I am sure the advice is applicable to all writing.
The podcast has been running for over 16 seasons however they suggest you start at season 10. This is because season 10 is structured like a writing course that is meant to help you go from idea generation to first draft in the course of the year of weekly podcasts. Each podcast is only 15 minutes long and finishes with a writing prompt to inspire you to write.
Death by 1000 cuts
Run by Author/Poet/Stand up comedian Tim Clare this is a rather eclectic mix or Author interviews, writerly rambles, writing advice and discussions about maintaining your mental health while being creative. He also has devised a couple of challenges that are aimed to get you writing in a healthy and productive manor. These include:
Couch to 80k – 8 week writing Boot camp – I am doing this just now and I am really enjoying it. It is just about carving time out to be creative for a little time each day for 6 days out of the week. With little exercises and time to do them built into the podcast itself.
100 Days Writing Challenge – Similar to Couch to 80k this is a relaxed 100 writing exercises to be done over a time frame that suits you (it could be 100 days out of 150 or out of 200 or even out of 365) that are to motivate you and allow you to get the creative mindset.
This also got me setting up a writers notebook, which also lead to a writing section in my bullet journal which I will do a bullet journal tour off shortly.
Brandon Sanderson’s BYU Lectures
More Brandon Sanderson. Brandon Sanderson lectures at a Creative Writing Course at Brigham Young University and for a number of years he has allowed them to be filmed and uploaded to Youtube. In 2020 he officially uploaded the lectures to his own Youtube channel to make them easy to find. While the course covers the same aspects each year there are subtle differences in how Sanderson teaches the concepts so I have listened to varying years and I find them really interesting and inspiring when I am trying to build my own novel up to start writing it.
YouTube or AuthorTube is probably the first port of call for most people when they are trying to learn how to write and I am no exception. Its how I found Brandon Sanderson’s lectures and its how I found out about the various podcasts I listen to. Its great for just little bits of advice. From where to even begin if you are wanting to write, to plotting methods, tools, and things like writing sprints to join in and get you motivated. I enjoy seeing people going through the same journey I am embarking on and to hear them talking about their methods as it is helping me discover what works for me.
Some channels I enjoy are:
I am a blogger so of course I am drawn to blogs as a source of information and one stand out author blog is Susan Dennard’s Blog. She has lots of articles to support you through all areas of writing from On publishing, planning, writing and revising a novel. They all have examples of her own work with pictures of her writers note books etc. Which is just realy interesting to see her process.
Author Twitter / Instagram
I find this is a great way to find out the little details about various writers processes. Seeing favourite Writers like Ben Aaronovich tweet out bits of research, how to conjugate various Latin phrases correctly and to see that his work count is usually about 400 words a day. I find that a little motivational. I can do 400 words a day too. V.E. Schwab is also very open about her creative process and how scheduled she has to be and I find that resonates with me too as a fellow bullet journaler. Jay Kristoff has a bunch of highlights on his Instagram talking about the writing process of EOTV (I also got special insight into that when I was helping with the worldbuilding and being part of his process really gave me the inspiration to start my own writing)
Bonus resource. Books
Yeah Books! I have been supplementing my TBR with Craft books on writing and as I intend to do a series of blog posts on my writing journey I do intend of doing posts about craft books once I have read some more. I don’t find craft books as inspiring to get up and get writing as the other on the list. I do enjoy reading about other methods of writing but I prefer shorter snappier mediums to get inspired. But more and more I am finding reading in general is making me want to write. I am finding that as I am building the habit of thinking about my story a little each day that i want to spend a little more time on it each day and that is exciting. I find that its starting to influence what I want to read as I am trying to find my own narrative voice, build me own setting and characters.
This is probably one of the longest, rambling, blog posts I have written in a long time and I have really enjoyed writing it. I do think that I will start to include a few more posts about my writing journey and the steps I am taking to writing my novel. I want to say I currently dont have any intentions for my writing. I just want to see if I can. What happens when I finish it will be something for future Fiona to decide but for now I just want to see if I can write a full story.