Friday, January 7, 2022

Marcella's 5 Writer's Resources

 Confession time. I haven't written anything in a year and a half. It isn't just that I haven't. I couldn't. It's like a switch flipped in my brain and NOPE is the new setting. No matter how many hours. No matter how many reworks of plot or characters. Nothing budged. Ah. I see you've noticed the past tense. It's because I fell, quite by accident, into a series of resources that are ever so slowly thawing the ice around writing. Maybe around me.

It all begins, as so many of our stories do, with January 2020 when I could see the writing on the wall and put my household on lock down a few months before official lock down started. I didn't know it at the time - what kind of damage I was taking. It was invisible. I knew that introvert me was suffering because suddenly there was no alone to be had. Not anywhere. Little did I recognize what kind of damage was being done to my mind.

My number 1 writing resource, then, is a book. 

Peak Mind by Amishi Jha - This is a nonfiction book about the science of attention. She describes how the attention systems in our brains work. Because of that, I could clearly see how and why all creative ability had been frozen. It's because my attention system has been locked on 'floodlight' - scanning for threat. Focus and concentration need a laser beam. She describes exactly how to recover. Work in progress. I can work on my book again. Finally.

Calm - Yes. It's a meditation app. It's training for focus. It's also retraining for migraine brain. But honestly, I'm here to get my writing mojo back. If several minutes a day of breathing can help my attention system relearn how to focus, count me in. Since starting the training program, I've started writing again in slow, low pressure increments every day. Building a sense of safety and success.This attaches writing to the reward system in the brain again. Blinding word counts? No. Definitely no. Those will come with time and dedicated practice.

Wordhippo - Now we're into the mundane writing resources. Wordhippo is a thesaurus that doesn't take itself too seriously. I like it because the synonyms are more on point than other resources I've used. I don't know if that's fact or perception but the pink hippo doesn't hurt anything. I find the right words more often there.

4theWords - I know I've mentioned this one before. It's a website that gamifies your word count. It works brilliantly for some people. Apparently, I'm one of them. For others, it's a complete no go. It's one of those things you have to try for yourself.

And finally, for business resources and advice, nothing beats writer organizations. Jeffe and Charissa have mentioned SFWA, I triple nominate the org. You can ask the nerdiest questions in the forums and get informed answers. It's brilliant. I'll also put in a plug for Novelists Inc. Ninc aims at indie authors and offers an incredible wealth of information up to and including drafts of rights reversion request letters.

I hope that no one other than me needs to retrain attention. It's a drag. I mean, on one hand, I finally understand what the hell happened and there's a way to fix it, but dang could I just have me back, please? If you need the resources, too, I hope they're helpful. And hey. See you in the stacks.

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