Pre-writing Activities

Before you write (or do anything creative), do you have a go-to activity to invite your muse?

My pre-writing activities vary, but here are a few that work for me:

1. Sleep. Sleep may sound counter productive to creating, but it clears my brain of prior activities, and those vague moments when my brain begins to wake up lend themselves to great thoughts and problem-solving.

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2. Read. Read. And Read. Reading the works of others helps ideas that might be buried deep inside of me find air and life and voice. The written word is amazing, so read it. Now.


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3. Take a brain break. If I’ve been sitting in front of a screen–feet tucked close and legs under my chin–sometimes I need to move. I will turn on something from Spotify or a Just Dance YouTube song and get moving for about five minutes. Then, I’m back in my chair with my feet tucked again, typing away in the world of fiction.


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4. Eat. Yes, I still remember my junior high teacher who bemoaned our B lunch right in the middle of the period. She said that the second half of the period after our necessary class interruption of lunch was pointless because eating sent all the energy from our brains to our stomachs to digest the peanut butter sandwiches and Little Debbie cakes we had just eaten. Well, that may be true, but I find sending a continuous stream of something to munch on can keep me interested in my project. My snacks of choice aren’t always the healthiest, but they keep me writing. 🙂


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5. Feed my spirit. Activities like visiting a museum, scripture study, yoga/chakra work, journal writing, chatting with a friend, taking a walk/run, writing a gratitude list or thank you card ground me and help me remember my higher purpose is to connect and share love, and that purpose is a main reason why I write.


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So, sleep a little, read stacks of books, take a brain break (or two), eat something yummy, feed your spirit and write a bunch. I’ll be here with you…ready to connect.

Much love!

Name Hijacking

Courtesy of www.mysoulpurpose.org
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So, I’m working on this piece of writing–a novel excerpt–and I’ve been really struggling with naming one of the main characters.

He’s not someone I ever want to know in reality. I don’t like him. And, occasionally, I get a little creeped out editing chapters about him. (Hopefully, that occurrence means that I’ve written him affectively.)

Still, I’ve had a most difficult time naming him.

Now, I take naming real lives quite seriously. When each of our children entered our arms, we spent a minimum of a day reflecting on what to name them, knowing well that a name can have influence on your life in an almost tangible way.

I may be just slightly less serious about naming my characters.

(And this guy isn’t a great guy–so, of course, I don’t want to name him after anyone that I like….)

The only problem there is that I’ve known lots of people, and I like most of them. 🙂

We (the character and I) went through a transition from a name that started with a G (that was a real name, though it kinda sounded like I made it up) to a name that began with a C (but had a pretty obvious Biblical allusion…anyone care to guess?) to a name that began with an E (what he is named currently). The E name is not a name of anyone I know personally, and it is also the name of a fairly malicious character in a book series I read recently. I was okay with using the E name…at least for now.

While we are talking about names, I found a name that I loved but my husband wasn’t too fond of–and one that was in my ancestry. I didn’t have another daughter after I discovered it (which was probably a blessing since I don’t like to argue with my husband–& I just might’ve been willing to fight for that one). I was excited last month when I remembered the name while I started working on a new novel (I’ve been dying to try something dystopian). Hooray! I can name a character after one of my ancestors.

And, I actually like this character.

🙂

How do you name your characters? Do you try to make connections or simply find a name you like? Do your characters show up in your brain with or without names? Do you use online resources to do name research?