5 Writer’s Tips For Renovating, Flipping And Reintroducing Written Realities

 

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As writers we create reality. If you don’t believe me, then welcome to the wonderful world of writing. I don’t have enough time in this post to break out the science, but let’s sum it up so we can move on. Perception is reality. Reality is literally made up by the building blocks of your own imagination and the raw data that your senses feed your brain.

Reality is relative—or I should say, relatively based off of our perception of it. And our perception of reality is formed by what our senses tell us is real; the education we’re brought up with, our passions (both love and hate), all the data we receive, and how we process it into the space around us. These are the most valuable tools we as writers have. Understanding how to use these perception molding tools will make us better storytellers; the worlds we create becoming truly real in the minds of those experiencing it.

We give people what they want and need the most—outside of love, food, and companionship; although, the companionship part is up for up for debate. What we give people are new realities to experience. We give them vacations, adventures, and moments. Best of all, we give them a safe place to escape into—even if the place they desire to escape to is a world of horror, dark science fiction, mystery, or fantasy.

Dreaming up a story idea is only a fraction of the craft of creating a story. Molding the idea you dreamed up, into a believable literary work—a living, breathing, magical portal into another world—is a process to be taken seriously. We are, after all, literary architects.

Here’s 5 Tips For Renovating, Flipping And Reintroducing Written Realities

1 Discover What Moves You

I’ve mentioned this many times, but for different reasons. This time I mean it quite literally. What moves you to feel joy, peace, excitement, fear, hate, embarrassment, longing, desire, emptiness, loneliness, hopelessness, love or lust?

Think about each of these and write down the sounds, aromas, food and drinks, textures, places, and objects that stir up each of these emotions.

Example:

Here’s a few from my own list of emotions and things that stir them.

Emotion Word Associated Reason
Fear Broken Locks / Lack of security.
Peace Coffee / Books / Silence / Harmonies Just things that have always brought me peace. Warm silence, like in summer or in winter under a blanket with a book and coffee.
Loneliness Grey / Maze / Silence Maze: Always walking and never finding a way out.
Joy Laughter / Melons / Frozen Grapes Eating watermelon with my Dad when I was young. Frozen grapes and melon chunks on hot summer days.
Embarrassment Naked / Forgetting Shorts coming off in pool and lake and others seeing me naked.
Disgust Food Grease / Aroma of Body Odor Seeing cook at fast food put gross stuff in peoples hamburgers. Scraping thick grease from oven, range hood, deep fryer.
Anger Tomatoes / Children w/snotty faces I was punished as a boy by being made to eat tomatoes. Parents neglecting their own children.
Freedom Ocean / Blue / Sushi / Short stories & Poetry I grew up around the ocean. She is like a mother to me; and mother that I could always count on being there. Blue reminds me of the ocean water, and also the ocean sky.
Claustrophobic Crowds / White / Disorder / Dirty I can’t think when things are dirty; when there’s trash piles, and also when I’m blind in the day and can see that there’s no foreseeable boundaries. When there’s so many people I can’t see what’s happening about me.

2 Landscaping

Your character’s yard tells a lot about them. You think I’m kidding, but you’d be surprised by how the details of a well kept or under kept yard can help solidify the reality you’re trying make authentic. I like to look sites like this landscaping site I found, check out the innovative and creative ways people invest into their yards. Of course, there are also many character types that could not afford great yard maintenance, and other who do not care about the state of their yard of what anyone else thinks, either.

3 Ideas From Painting Projects

Sometimes your work is really good, but when you read it, you get the feeling that something isn’t quite right. What is it exactly? You’re not sure. Something about it just doesn’t feel quite authentic enough to believe—like those crappy films you paid to see recently.

Maybe your world doesn’t need a complete overhaul; maybe your world needs a paint job. Sound silly? Try it. See how different colors can change your emotional connections; get ideas from places like http://airdriepaintanddecor.com and Lowes. Look at photos of trending in-house paint projects, especially before and after photos. Now figure out what locations in the world around you makes you feel as those certain colors do.

Examples:

  • Are happy moments (reuniting lovers, marriage proposals, birthday celebrations etc.,) happening in places that are either too dark.
  • Are dark moments, or terrifying events taking place at times when those kind of events never happen?
  • Is your psychological thriller trying to give birth to its climactic scene in the middle of the day, at a busy park, or in some place that doesn’t inspire any kind of suspense? Well it can work, you’re just making it really hard on yourself.

Red, yellow, gold, silver, green, blue, pink, purple, white, gray, black, brown, teal, maroon, periwinkle. How do these colors make you feel? Use them in your world, associating them with the emotions that they stir up.

4 Born Again Basements

Sometimes the scene doesn’t connect because the room doesn’t make any sense. Think about where your character is (if it’s not there own place) and who or what normally occupies the space. I’m a writer so I require an office, a desk, computer, research tools—things that make sense for me to have.

Maybe you need to do a bit more than painting. Maybe adding furniture, getting rid of furniture; adding items: dry bar, cigar humidor, book shelves, flat screen TV, pool table, medieval torture antiques collection, etc. It’s about making a place reflect the character of the one who occupies it. Sometimes it only takes a little cosmetic changes like I found in some of the basement renovations at http://empirerenos.ca ; other times it’s bigger things that need to be better thought through.

  • Is your junkie living in a multi-million dollar home or driving a Porsche? He shouldn’t be.
  • Is protagonist whose suffering OCD unable to find her car keys when the intruder breaks into her house? She’s OCD—she’s that last person who’d misplace anything; especially when it’s that important.
  • Your gadget geek doesn’t have a big screen—or better yet, his wifi doesn’t work? Really? Do you even know any gadget geeks? They may run out of enough groceries to cook a full meal, but they’d starve before they’d allow their wifi connection to break down.

5 Look At Flipped Houses

Have you ever got in one of those home-makeover-nonstop-Hulu binges? Yes you have—it’s just me here—you can be honest. I consider myself quite a manly-man, and I have even been sucked-in by its mysterious tractor beam. Why? Why—if you’re like me and don’t even like thinking about home renovations—do we get so fascinated with those shows? I think part of it has to do with amazing transformations that occur.

Shows like ‘Flip This House,’ ‘House Hunters,’ and ‘Fixer Upper,’ show us the magic that can be re-discovered upon an already existing foundation and framework. Buildings that almost no one would be interested in are stripped out and turned into dream homes.

Sometimes your story’s framework (or the bones) are completely useable; however, the problem is that there’s cracks in the walls, the plumbing or electricity doesn’t work, the house is dated or not up to code. It’d be safer if no one ever entered your story—with all the problems it has—if you had you never written it. But you are a writer, or aspiring to be one, and that means you must write.

Instead of tossing your story, why not flip it.

  • Break it down completely, back to its original idea or concept.
  • Brain storm with your original idea
  • Ask a lot of new “What If” & “Why” questions.
  • Make sure everything makes sense.
  • Remember that your final story is a product of many re-writes.

Make Them Believers

If you are going to write a story, do it right. If you put all the elements in the right places and ask yourself along the way, “Does this make sense?” you’ll find capture a greater audience. If you read it aloud when you finish each chapter to make certain that it flows off your lips smoothly it’ll be easier to read. And if your characters, places, interactions, occupations, timings, and seasons are written well and connected with the right associated emotions in mind, you’ll discover a new world of literary breath that will breathe the life needed to set your realities free and make your stories come to life.

There are lessons all around us, in everyday life, that can teach us a lot about become better writers, if we can make ourselves stop pay attention to what is really occupying the space around us.

Cheers to you, writers!

Keep writing and submitting.

-SamtheWriter

www.SamTheWriter.com

@SamuelWConnelly

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10 Life Saving Rules for Writers

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How many times have you found yourself hunched over your desk, eyes barely open, brain so overloaded from all the things you, ‘have to come up with’ to please some editor you don’t even like writing for, for a paycheck that really wasn’t worth all the time, effort, creativity, and burnt brain cells it took to write it?

As a full-time independent writer, I’ve experienced this on way too many occasions. I know what it’s like to get so stuck in a financial rut that you’re doing everything you can to get those jobs that pay something, but, then you find yourself weeks or moths or—God forbid—years down the road without any real literary work to take pride in; bitter that you have wasted so much of your creative talent; and stuck with what feels like an imagination-drought.

Although it seems impossible to recover after one of these ‘dessert’ moments—and many writers give up on their writing dreams altogether—it is possible to not only revive yourself, but thrive again as a writer. Let me throw you a few literary life-preservers.

10 Life-Saving Rules that saved my literary (possibly mental and physical) life:

  1. Find something every day that makes you laugh a good belly laugh.
  2. Make a point to read daily for pleasure—not work
  3. Write something for yourself once a week
  4. Organize your day so that it includes breaks, a walk, and real food.
  5. Stop when you’re body tells you it needs to stop
  6. Make sleep a priority
  7. Discover a routine that works for you and keep it.
  8. Work diligently towards Someday without sacrificing your relationships Today.
  9. Make time for a hobby
  10.  When it’s time to write, Write!

Be proud that you’re a writer, but don’t make the mistake that some many others have made by getting so overloaded with ‘projects’ and ‘stuff’ that they stop loving life and miss out on everything that is meaningful in the world around them.

Someday is coming, I promise. You will get there. But remember that Someday will be a product of what we do and how we live our lives Today. Like the old saying goes: Practice Makes Perfect. Be careful then what it is that your perfecting, heed what you’re practicing.

Cheers to you!

Sam

How To Find Readers Who Are Looking For What You’re Writing

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What good is writing if it will never be read? Ok, maybe I shouldn’t start with that question because there are those writers write for the purpose of expelling their demons, or to make a record of their day. Many of those with journals and diaries never want anyone else to read their work. I am writing to those writers, like myself, who not only write for pleasure but also write for a living.

One of the biggest questions I am asked is: “How do you get your work out there?” and my answer: It’s all about finding the right conversation.

You’re a writer.

What you do is share stories– A story teller.

The one thing that every story teller needs to be able to tell their story is an audience of listeners. I am telling you a story right now. You are my audience. You’re reading with your eyes, the words I’m saying with my fingers, and you’re listening with your understanding.

WHY?

I’m sharing with you a piece of a conversation that you’re interested in. My story is either interesting to you because you are a writer and where looking for something about writing, or because my story compliments a conversation you have been having and have been interested in for some time now.

This is the key to getting your work out there. YOU my writer friend have a story to tell, and I promise you that there’s a huge audience out there that in interested in your story. There are people, editors, publishing companies and a massive audience that want to pay you for your story.

NOW, how do you find them?

One way is getting your hands on a Writer’s Market Book and researching the markets. This is not an option to me, it is a MUST DO. I don’t know why so many writers have told me ‘It’s not for me’, ‘it’s just too tedious to go through all those pages’, or ‘It’s too hard’. Stop it! You’re a writer. It takes work to make a living and that is true for writers. If you decided to become a writer because it is the easy life, that you should probably stop thinking you’ll be able to live off your writing, because it takes real work to make a living writing full time.

OK,now that that is out of the way,

Another way to get your story out there is using social media. This is the part of love the most. I can tell you right now with total confidence,

WRITERS HAVE NOT SCRATCHED THE SURFACE OF THE POTENTIAL OF WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CAN DO FOR THEM!

This next part of ‘My Story’ you are going to love, and I usually charge good money for this, so I hope you share it with every writer you know.

Social Media is all about conversation. You use Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, etc, because you like to share your story. There are millions of conversations happening on these social media outlets every single second, or every single hour, of every single day. The amazing thing about these conversations in the Social Media world is that they never end. I shared a picture of a great cup of coffee I had during a coffee tour I was on for the Travel Channel a year ago, and I got a comment this morning about it, which started up that conversation again.

Those who are interested in a specific conversation, can discover something you said about that conversation they are interested in months and even years later and bring your little piece of the conversation into their conversation stream, which is taking place in their social conversation currently, which makes your story relevant again and new and fresh.

This is one of the most brilliant things about using all the avenues of social media possible, because each social media, is a different social stream, flowing with a million different social conversations. How many of those social streams would be interested your conversation piece?

How do you find the conversations that are looking for your story?

Practical Application:

Let’s take coffee as an example.

I write a coffee blog called TastingThePlanet, I also write a weekly column on coffee in the Examiner. Since I knew that I was getting paid for my blog posts, and I was also getting paid for my column, with bonuses based on the number of viewer traffic I pulled in, I knew that I had to get creative with my articles and how I was going to draw in readers.

The first thing I did was start a Facebook fan page for my TastingThePlanet. Why? Because every article I write about coffee can be posted there, for the fans of my Travel Blog to see. I did a search on Facebook for every coffee fan page I could find, every barista page, coffee interest page, and anyone who liked those pages.

Then I opened a twitter account @TasteThePlanet so I could start following everyone I knew that loved coffee. I followed every bean farmer I could find, every coffeehouse, roaster, barista, coffee lover, coffee magazine, barista competitions, and every one of their followers I could find.

And I would browse my new coffee friend’s pages to see what they were saying and posting and I would ‘Like’ some posts, and ‘Comment’ on others. In turn they realized that I had entered into their favorite conversation stream and was invested into the story being told.

Next, when I wrote my article or blog, I would post in on my Facebook or Twitter, and post the link in theirs too, with a short note about how I thought that they would enjoy this piece I wrote. I quickly noticed that my readership started going up.

Then I discovered Instagram. Which was a new a different way to share my story. Now I had the option of sharing pictures of amazing coffee’s I’d had a different coffeehouses and link those back to my article. It was amazing what this did. Now I had people who were my friends on Instagram also sharing their pics with me as well.

I created a Google+ account and found Communities. These are groups of people who all realize that they’re interested in a specific conversation and have created a social club based on a favorite topic, inside a massive social stream. Brilliant! So I joined the Coffee Community and the 8 other communities that had to do with, coffee, espresso, farming, roasting, etc. and in one night had over 100,000 new friends! That was in just one night using avenue of social media alone that wanted to talk about coffee, and now any time I posted something there I had the potential of reaching 100,000 new readers. It was up to me to grab them with my story headline.

It’s the same with Facebook fan pages, and groups.

Now for the cool stuff

I sold an article to a cigar magazine through a coffee article and gained 3,287 Subscribers and 47,000 readers in one article over 3 days, with this social media strategy in mind. Here’s how.

The article I originally wrote, ‘Cigars and Coffee: 2012’s Top 25 Cigars and the Coffee’s that compliment’

In this article I mention:

  • 25 cigars- the makers, the farms, and a place to purchase them
  • 25 coffee’s – the farms, roasters, where to get them
  • The Magazine I got to 2012 Top 25 Cigars from.

On Instagram I posted pictures of these cigars and their complementing coffees. Then I linked it to my page.

On Facebook I posted the link to my article on my page and my TastingThePlanet page. I also posted the link on all the Coffee and cigar pages I could find.

On Google+ I did the same thing that I did with Facebook and added it to my communities.

With Twitter I posted my link and hash-tagged (#) Coffee, Cigar, Aficionado

I made sure to get the article link on the pages of every:

  • Cigar Makers Page for each of the 25 cigars
  • The Cigar’s Farmer page
  • And any page celebrating any of the individual cigars.
  • Pages for places that sold them
  • The Cigar Magazine – With a special shout out.
  • Each Coffee farmers page
  • Each Roasters page
  • Each Coffee fans page
  • All Pages Celebrating Coffee
  • And places to buy them

In all, for two hours of research, writing, and submitting time, I used 4 social medias, and posted my link into 50 social conversations, and with that alone my article passed in front of about 900,000 eyes, not counting the ‘Shares’, ‘Re-Tweets’ and shout outs I got back from each of those places tagged in my article. I’m still getting followers, subscribers, and readers from that article. The Cigar magazine called me and asked me to write the article for them.

And all that is really only the beginning of using and understanding the potential of using social media to promote your writing. I may sound like a lot of work, but as you reach out to more and more people, more and more people begin to follow you and that’s when it gets easier.

You have to remember that writing is work too.

I have so much more I could share on this, but I am in the process of finishing an e-book about Social Strategy right now and I don’t to turn this post into a book itself. Why e-book, because I am able to add live links throughout the book to lead the readers back to other helpful resources.

A few of the other benefits to jumping into this kind of conversation search is that while you are looking for great places to share your story, you’ll come across SO many other stories, which can lead to your next big story.

You’ll also reach editors that want to buy your story, get other writing opportunities, and make a tons of great friends.

I hope you enjoyed this post and got something out of it.

If you have questions about using social media for your specific  ‘Conversation’ feel free to shoot me an email. Sam@SamTheWriter.com or message me on Facebook.

Also check out my Social Streams – and share yours as well.

Most of all, as a writer to a writer, I encourage you to Write, Write, Write! Write like you’re on fire, then submit.

I’m SamTheWriter

Signing off

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