Want to Write a Novel but Can’t Stay Motivated? Here are Some Tips

I am not going to sugar-coat it; that first novel can kick your tail. But it doesn’t have to be so incredibly daunting that the great idea for a novel that you dreamed up one foggy afternoon six years ago, can’t be brought to fruition. The idea is there. Perhaps the characters have been mingling, getting to know each other, playing out various ways of interacting…but it’s all between your ears. So how do you get them out of your head and into print? Don’t they at least deserve that? Here is some practical, useful advice to get that overwhelming rough draft completed.

TIP ONE

Determine as best you can which genre your novel will be, and research how many words that genre typically would be. This seems obvious, but there are several sub-genres or your novel could fall within that gray area of “is this literary or mainstream fiction?” You will want to do this because A. It will affect the language you use, your target audience, how much description or what “atmosphere” you choose to develop while writing your novel. And B. It will give you an idea of how long your novel would optimally be. Knowing the length of the novel gives you keener sense of what pace to take your writing, when to add in crucial elements to your plot, and where the arc of your story should be. It is easier to break your novel into sections of words than starting and adding to the pile with each word you type. Make a timeline of word counts and plot the main parts of your novel…this is an excellent visual of knowing where you are going. Having a plan you can change is better than no plan at all!

Remember…you can do this, just let “one foot in front of the other” aka “one word at a time” apply to your attitude and mental approach, not to your overall plan to completion. A race is won, yes by this method…but what if you don’t have a route?

TIP TWO

Choose a program and/or method. Some love Word, some write on napkins, but consider the way you write and your personality. I like a structured program so I go with Scrivener and could NOT write my novel without it. Research a few different options and see what will work best for you. Take time to learn the program, get the “For Dummies,” or like up some favorites of resources on your browser. Just have the tools you need at the ready. This will eliminate a huge roadblock that many first time novelists trip so hard over they can’t hear their characters for the stars in their eyes. Don’t be distracted by formatting and structure so much that you aren’t able to write.

TIP THREE

Your first draft is a “just get it written” draft. So DO NOT overthink so much that you take the comma out, put the comma back, take it out again. This draft is about getting the content out of your head and onto the screen. You will do several reads-through and edits. Don’t get too tied up in correcting plot holes or spelling or fleshing out your characters perfectly because you will be doing this as you go through your edit(s.) Your goal is plot and making sure the webbing of the book is in place. That structure is crucial to having a novel that can stand up on it’s own.

TIP FOUR

Set a REALISTIC writing goal for yourself.

Do not pay a single bit of attention to the writing goals of others…set a goal for yourself that is fairly easily attainable. Writing every day is best, especially if you have trouble staying motivated. if motivation is no problem for you, but the obsessive spirit in you makes you write for six hours straight at a time with complete disregard to your hygiene and important responsibilities, then perhaps your writing goal is a reminder to pace yourself, avoid burnout, and avoid the terrible neck aches or eye strain that accompany your all-nighters. You know yourself and what you need to stay motivated. Make a plan to stick to, but make your goals reachable.

TIP FIVE

Prepare the troops. You are going to need supportive people around you to keep you motivated, but also to pick up the slack in other areas of your life so that you can stay focused on your writing. If you have planned to write certain hours of the day, you will need to be able to thwart potential distractions such as Facebook messages or texts and phone calls. Is your mom your best cheerleader? Then talk to her about your plans and use her support as a way to keep motivated. You need to isolate yourself to a certain degree to finish your work and to do this you will need people to be understanding. Have a small team of people you can count on to help you through. These people are not to be confused with beta readers. These folks are your support staff, your cheerleaders, your emotional supporters. They are also not your therapists, but the people that help out with the laundry to give you more time to work. The people that fix you a coffee or who respect your need to hole-up for a few hours a day, undisturbed. Perhaps they are the ones who are willing to kick in more financial support if you are working fewer hours outside of the home. Prepare your troops because the battle is a fierce emotional one and you may need back up on the homefront to make it to the victorious first draft finish line. Let your support people know what your commitments are so they can honor those. In my home it is a s simple as “I’m working.” My family has been very supportive and helpful when they hear me say those powerful words.

TIP SIX

Let go of some things that are distractions. Turn off Netflix. Put your phone on silent while you work. Opt for simpler dinners or smaller goals in other areas of your life so that you have the time you need to work. Facebook and Twitter can wait on a social level while you disengage, unless, of course, you are researching for your novel. Find a place that you can work that helps you to stay focused and puts you in the best headspace for energy flow and creativity.

TIP SEVEN

Simply put — you can do this. Confidence is key. Novel-writing is not your therapist. While you put your heart into your writing, your writing is not your therapy. It does not define you as a person, although it is an extension of you. You exist independently, confidently, wholly as an individual with or without this novel being finished. It is a personal goal. A journey you take. Not a way to work out your internal struggles. Use therapy if you need to do that and let your novel be the story of your characters. You are their catalyst, not the other way around.

JUST DO IT.

CAN DO IT.

WILL DO IT.

Put your goals into writing. Write yourself sticky notes of daily goals or motivations. Map out your plan, share it with your cheerleaders, and get to work. The finish line awaits. If you have other tips to share with regards to fleshing out that first draft, I invite you to share them here with others that may need them. I wish you the best on your journey!

The Calf Song — a poem

The Calf Song

From the backside of a smile
I rise, discontented.


Inside my eyelids
a dream sleeps
between measures
keeping the beat,
each a credulous mark
upon my heart song.


The calf lies waiting,
wobbly legs unable
to bear its load upon its
hoof and foot.


It stands, behind my eyes
rising in ignorant content.


It cannot sing my song
or read my notes
or match my steps through
crescendo,
staccato,
and pause.


The calf accepts
warm milk waiting,
without thought
of the rain.

by: Christina Ward

If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy:

https://fiddleheadsnfloss.com/2019/02/16/cornucopian-dream-a-poem-for-my-fellow-earth-lovers/

Perfect Bra Fit – Tips and Tricks You Need to Know Now!!

Need a little help finding the perfect bra fit? You are not alone.

Ladies, I know your struggle. Finding the perfect bra size is frustrating and challenging, but it is NOT impossible. I have been professionally trained to measure for bra size by a major high end retail store and what I learned through this experience, I will pass along to you. You will be able to measure for your perfect bra size and also you will know what size to choose if you go up or down a band size for the comfort you want! I will also show you the biggest mistakes most women make when choosing a bra, and how you can avoid these common pitfalls. So, get a NON-PADDED bra (or take yours off,) a pen and paper and one of those handy dandy tape measures…and meet me back here!!

Men …this is an article about boobs. Proceed with care 😉

Are you ready? Measuring for the perfect bra is not hard and you can do this!

We are going to take 2 measurements. I will walk you through this, but I will also tell you the things that will make your bra size make more sense to you, and help you understand what bra is best for you! (And no, I don’t sell bras, I just want to help other women be happy, confident, and empowered!) Ok, let’s DO this.

STEP ONE: Measuring for your band size

  • Using your soft tape measure, wrap the tape horizontally (parallel with the floor) around your torso, right where your bra band will be, just underneath your breasts. The tape should be level with the floor, not angled. use a mirror to make sure you are getting an accurate measurement. The tape should also be snug, no more than one finger should fit underneath. Ok now read your number and round UP to the next inch. WRITE THIS NUMBER DOWN.
  • Now, take the number you just wrote down: if it is an ODD number (31, 35 etc.) add 5 to your number and write this down.
  • If your first number was an EVEN number, add 4 and write this down.
  • Ok you should now have 2 numbers written down, your torso measurement and the second number, which is your BAND MEASUREMENT.
  • *** A little trick I learned from the bra-fitting experts I worked with and trained with…and I don’t see this information posted in other bra-fitting sites…if your torso measurement is 40 or up, don’t add the standard 4 or 5, add 2 or 3! If you do this and when in the store you find this doesn’t help and it feels too tight, then go with the standard of adding 4 or 5. SOMETIMES I have found this to allow for a better fit.

More on band size later, let’s get to CUP SIZE…

STEP TWO: Now, let’s measure for cup size…

YOUR CUP SIZE IS MERELY A LETTER … NOT THE SIZE OF YOUR BREASTS

But first. We need to talk about cup size for a moment. Before you take your measurement, and we figure out your perfect cup size…FORGET EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT CUP SIZE. Little known fact: CUP SIZE IS NOT THE SIZE OF YOUR BOOBS. Letting that sink in? There is NO standard cup size of A or cup size of D…each cup size combined with the band size makes for a size to fit the breasts. This cup size thing needs to NOT be attached to a stigma of whether or not your breasts are “big enough” or “small enough.” More on cup size later but if you promise to take your measurements without attaching them to your self-esteem…we can continue. LET’S DO THIS LADIES.

Measuring for cup size

  • There are two ways to take your bust measurement; standing, or bent over. I will walk you through both.
  • Standing method. Take another measurement like you did for the torso measurement, with the measuring tape parallel to the floor, at the widest measurement of your breasts (usually right across the nipple area.) You want the tape to be an accurate true measurement so do not pull too tight or have it loose either. It should be resting against your skin all the way across your back and sides and softly across the bust area. You will want to round UP to the nearest whole inch number. Write this number down.
  • Bending method. Bend in half at the waist, until your back is parallel with the floor, and let your breasts hang to take the same measurement. (I often take the standing measurement with a non-padded bra and then take the bending-method measurement with NO bra on and compare the numbers. Try to make sure to round up to the nearest number for both and you should have the same bust measurement. it is ok to take both measurements several times and feel confident in this measurement. Write down your number (remember to round up to the nearest whole inch number.)
  • FIGURING YOUR CUP SIZE: Take the very first number you wrote down, the torso measurement and subtract the bust measurement and write this down. This number will determine your cup size.

CUP SIZE CHART

BRA SIZE CHART – If you do not fall in this chart, I would recommend a professional who works with special sizing. Larger and smaller cups sizes are often not available and will need to be specially ordered.
So now, you have your band and cup size! Here are a few other things you need to know BEFORE you go bra shopping:
  • An estimated 80% of women are wearing the WRONG bra size! Once you have measured correctly, I would advise that you re-measure anytime you have changed weight by 10 pounds or so to be sure your size has not changed. It is also a good idea to re-measure each year.
  • if you have “side boob” or that unattractive boob roll at the top of your bra, your bra cup size is TOO SMALL!
  • If you have gaping at the top of your bra, your cup size is TOO BIG, or this could be a sign that you have what is called “shallow” breasts, meaning there is less fullness in the top area of your breasts. This is a good indication that a bra with under-padding would be good for you.
  • If you lack the cleavage you desire, opt for this padding to be more toward the outer area of the cup. It is possible your breasts are more wide set (and since you’ve probably been wearing a cup size too small, you’ve been hiking your boob over and into the bra–very annoying to have to keep doing this!) and going up to the correct size could correct this for you.
  • Know your breasts are NOT the same shape as everyone’s. Breast tissue can be dense and round or slack at the top, or sprawly…everyone is unique and choosing the best bra style that best fits you is also important. While you may LOVE that delicate style, you may need more support for a fuller breast tissue. Wide set breasts need more support at the sides. Hanging breasts may need more lift. There are also minimizing bra styles for breasts that protrude more than you want them to. Once you have your correct sizing, try on several styles and see what looks best on you. Don’t try to be like everyone else – do what works for YOU.

ONE MORE THING ABOUT YOUR BRA SIZE THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT

THIS ONE IS BIG…PAY ATTENTION: If your band is just TOO TIGHT and you want to go up to the next band size for the sake of your preference and comfort, DROP DOWN A CUP SIZE. Also if the bra you like runs loose, and you drop down a band size, GO UP A CUP SIZE. It is a good idea to know the next size up and down so you can shop different brands and styles easily. For example:

You wear a 36 C. Therefore your “sister sizes” would be a 38B or a 36D. Some brands run small (Calvin Klein for example) so you may want to try the 38 B (or C if it is still too small in the cup area). Or that bra you really want is not available in 36 C but maybe they DO have a 36D. Try on that one! Each brand, whether your favorite is Bali, or Maidenform, or Victoria Secret, all run differently, just like jeans or any other apparel. So take this into consideration.

So …are you ready to toss out all those floppy bras that are every size BUT the right one? Are YOU wearing the wrong size? Ready to go shopping? When you do, be patient with yourself and KIND to yourself. We are all built differently, and everyone deserves to feel confident and content with exactly who they are.

Thanks for reading. If you found this article helpful, so may others! Use the buttons below to share or reblog.

Please leave any thoughts or comments below and have a wonderful day!


How To Help You Write Beautiful Poems – Learn 2 Poems Styles

 

White Ceramic Teacup With Saucer Near Two Books Above Gray Floral Textile

Let’s talk syzygy. (Ok so I learned a new word today and couldn’t resist adding it in…)


noun, plural syz·y·gies.

1. Astronomy . an alignment of three celestial objects, as the sun, the earth, and either the moon or a planet: Syzygy in the sun-earth-moon system occurs at the time of full moon and new moon.
2. Classical Prosody . a group or combination of two feet, sometimes restricted to a combination of two feet of different kinds.
3. any two related things, either alike or opposite.

We will consider the third definition of syzygy. I have for you a couple of poem equations that may lead you to your next big poem. Are you up to the challenge?
Two examples will help to explain.
The first example, I call parallel poetry writing. You will take an example of :
1. an inanimate object or a train of thought
and add
2. an action
to equal your poem.
The item in #1 will be the actual topic of your poem but you will borrow imagery and descriptive words from the action you have chosen. 
For the parallel version of this poetry challenge, the two things you have chosen will be similar in some way so that the comparison isn’t too forced, uncomfortable, confusing, or stark. Here is my example of a poem that I wrote using this method:
thoughts of a child + swinging on a swing = Yesterdays
Now for the second example, I call juxtaposed poetry writing. You will, again, take an example of:
1. an inanimate object or a train of thought
and add
2. an action
to equal your poem.
The item in #1 will be the actual topic of your poem but you will borrow imagery and descriptive words from the action you have chosen. 
Only this time, the two things will have very little, if anything, in common. Here is my example of a poem I wrote using this method:
thoughts on being a poet + the cleaning of a fish (butchering) = The Poet Cleaning ~ (a poem about being a poet/writer)
Now, anyone want to give it a try? Choose either of the above methods and write your poem. Post it on your blog with a pingback to this blog post, or email it to me @ fiddleheadsnfloss@gmail.com with your publishing name, a link to your Twitter or your blog for me to do a pingback for you and I will blog some of my favorites.
Now go…go and be a poet 🙂

“Vacant”~ A prose response to the March Speculative Writing Picture”


The following piece of prose is written as a response to the picture below. I have been watching each month the writing prompts from the Myths of the Mirror Blog and have decided to join in on the fun or March. Please enjoy the following short piece of prose entitled “Vacant.”

And let me know your thoughts’ Perhaps you’d like to write something yourself!

March Speculative Writing Prompt 

 

Pixabay image provided by Natan Vance

 

 Vacant

Elwyn traveled by night to avoid the Great Storms which blanketed deserted streets and covered corpses. She didn’t mind. The sun had long since become unbearable. Just one scrap of green was all she needed to restore her hope, but plant life was scarce. Monstrous buildings rising in the dark were her only company, hunger her only solace. At least it meant she was still alive. She looked in the dark for the rats, but on this night, there were none. Rats were both a terror and a guide. Though they feasted on the dead, they also led her to any food source left, any potable water source. Their scarcity predicted a long night of walking, thinking. Her thoughts were devoid of anything but sustenance, always searching for anything to satisfy the hunger that wrought her. It had been 2 days and weakness was setting in, wrapping itself around her and working through her bones like a cancer.

          Her best chance would be the edge of the city where sometimes abandoned homes nestled there in the dust and shadow. If she was lucky. She made her way as quickly as her frailty would allow, as quietly as her pounding heart would permit. It beat in her head a credulous hypnotizing beat that almost reminded her of music. God, she missed music.

          Three more buildings stood vacantly smiling at her and then, then the spires atop a buried fence showed her what used to be the end, or a beginning she didn’t know. Perhaps a property line, she followed them until they disappeared into the dirt. Then she saw the outline of a roof in the ghostly moonlight. She felt her hands along the bricks and made her way along until the light struck the top of a window, not broken. Not broken!

          Her heart raving now Elwyn pounded at it with her elbow, then both her feet. Glass broke with a dull crack and fell inward. She pounded furiously. Glass and wooden framework broke like bones, sand pouring in. She climbed in carefully avoiding sharp angles, dropping onto a hard surface, a desk maybe? Hard to tell. She gave it little thought as her hands were already searching for jars, jugs, cans, anything.  The air was stale and full of death. Her eyes adjusted to the dim light sliding in on a sand stream pouring through the broken window, an hourglass measuring nothing. There was no time anymore. Only sleep, and the desperate searching.

          Her hands roved in the dark over objects and flat surfaces. A jug! A large jug. Her shaking fingers grappled with the lid and she took a deep suspicious sniff. She tipped the large container carefully until she felt a splashing on her hand. She tasted timidly, her tongue on the back of her hand. Water.

          Elwyn drank, deep sloppy gulps.  She collapsed against the wall, sand sifting through her hair, and she drank.

 

~Christina Ward

3/3/2019

 

If you enjoyed this piece of writing, check out some of these:

Horizons

In Memorium

No Return

A Stunning Prose piece, Recurring Dreams Of a Happy Child

Of Water and other Dreamy Things

I  had the BIGGEST IMAGINATION when I was a child. One recurring dream I had was that our house was full of water and I could swim all around in it like a big aquarium. Now, I am sure there are all kinds of interpretations of this, but for me…it sparked this lovely piece of prose. Enjoy!

Water Bubbles Under the Sea

Of Water and Other Dreamy Things

 

          I used to dream of water. Not the kind of water that winds down hills, shifting itself, a great endless slinky stepping across land to a vast and hungry sea, but a strange, floating, weightless water that filled our tiny house from wall to wall, window to door, toy box to floor. Iridescent blue, glowing, breathing, holding great bouncing bubbles in its belly, it welcomed me. Moonlight crept in the windows, wrapped its arms around each bubble, and danced a quiet waltz down my arms, across my back, and into my floating brunette spirals.

          I swam from room to room. From my bedroom I swam, down the quiet hall past my brother’s room with the great clown walls, past my parents ’room with the drawers of pencils and paper and the gray flat table where Daddy drew lines that made buildings grow up, to our white-flushed simple bathroom. There I’d float before the mirror, a tiny princess. I’d brush my teeth and get ready for school; my jeans legs pulling on easily without the usual tug and jerk. Jeans weren’t heavy in liquid dream. Mom didn’t have to shove her arm up the pant legs to tuck in the extra length., knuckles scraping knobby bone. My sleeves hung like moss, a velvet hug on cool skin.

          I used to dream a lot of things and not always in my sleep. I used to hear monkeys in the woods. They sang to me as I sailed on wooden swing, feet stretched toward sky, waiting for the night to bring its firefly dreams. A crimson sky would yield once more while toads tucked themselves safely under stone.

          I used to dream. I was a magical child.

If you enjoyed this, please like and comment, and check out these prose pieces as well:

“Clarity,” Winner of the Arrowhead Awards Best Prose Work, 2004

Today~

Horizons

A poem Inspired by the Green Lacewing – Your garden Helper!!

Green Lacewings are a delicate insect with intricate lacy veining on their wings. You may have never noticed them before. If you see them, be happy! They are a very beneficial insect to have around your garden because of the garden pests (insects and larvae) that they predate. So munch away at those pests dear Lacewings…today we celebrate you through this whimsical poem…

See the source image
Green Lacewing

Green Lacewing

See the source image
Alpine Asters

The delicate smile
Of a green lacewing
Landing there, on
An aster reaching
Toward Heaven.

A union made
By chance of the breeze,
Nature’s own, entwined,
Tickled with the soft,
Cool dews of April.

If I could become so small
As to land upon flowers!
To flit about in that freedom!

If I could climb into
your copper eyes,
Would I remember
How it tickled me so?

If you could please,
I’d like to visit the garden.
I need to feel the whisper
Of your wings
As we dance among
The bees.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoy the poetry here at Fiddleheads & Floss,  please be sure to like and follow. Have a wonderful day!

~Christina Ward
poet / blogger / nature enthusiast

A blog suggestion for my fellow nature enthusiasts: https://ncnaturalist.wordpress.com/

Hoppy-Toads in the Summer ~ a poem

 

Black and Brown Frog Sitting on White Concrete Floor

I don’t know about you but when I was a child the summers were magnificent. Long hot days spent out in the yard, playing in our sand box and on the swing set my daddy built. He also built our sandbox which had a second floor with a tire ladder to climb up. There was also a circular arrangement of logs he stood up on end and held together with a chain that made a spiral staircase. He painted the tops of them different colors. We’d play “Cops n Robbers,” chasing each other through the tall grass, June bugs slapping against our shirts. We drove our Hotwheels in the sandbox, wetting the sand with the garden hose so we could build things out of the wet sand. We chased butterflies, followed ants, captured caterpillars and begged mom for a Styrofoam cup or a jar to put them in. We rode our Big Wheels, our bikes, and our scooters.  The sun set late. If we were playing down the street, we’d come home when the street lights came on. This later time of the day was the perfect time to find what we called hoppy-toads. If you’ve never gone hoppy-toad huntin’ in the waning of a summer day, then I implore you to take up your bucket and give it a try. Enjoy this ode to the hoppy-toads that lived in our yard and brought me great joy as a child.

Hoppy-Toads in the Summer

 

Hoppy-toads grow fat
tucked behind cool gray
stones and fragments of brick.
A yellow bucket nestles
there, waiting. 

Determined,
I take up my bucket
The white plastic handle
Digging into my arm.
I set out.


I lift each rock carefully
Disturbing the grass
Unveiling worm and cricket.
I search for them
In the cool, dark places.


The edge of the driveway
No stone unturned
But to no avail.
I set my eyes on the
Row of bricks beside our house.


Finally, a fat one leaps
But I am fast.
I scoop him up and
Plop! He squats into
The corner of my bucket.

Hoppy-toads like friends,
I think, and search for him
A mate. A companion.
The third brick hides her.
Plop! Into the bucket she goes.