A. Catherine Noon – Information Overload

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One of the largest problems of the internet culture is too much information.  We are bombarded with too many options.  Back in the day it used to be just television.  Now it’s television, email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, smart phones, tablets, and more – distraction, distraction, distraction.  Then there are the real demands on our time:  kids, spouses, friends, work, chores, school, etc.

If we are an author, like to write, or even just hoped one day to set fingers to keyboard, what are we to do to get around these pitfalls?

I wish I had a magic button for us.  (It’s the X key on the keyboard.)  I wish a spell could do it for us.  (Get a black cat and let him sleep on your computer.)   But it’s like they say in the Nike ad – “Just do it.”

Great.  But how?

My advice?  Cheat.  Beg, borrow, or barter.  Play with it.  Experiment with any idea that you can get your hands on.  Lock yourself in the bathroom with your laptop.  Hide your notebook under your shirt and go for a walk in the park.  Take a bus ride and let the people around you distract your brain so you can concentrate.

Think I’m kidding?  I’ve done all of these things.  So have others I’ve known who write.  You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to write.  Which is all well and good, but about what does one write?

If we don’t already have an idea (and, let’s face it, if we did, we wouldn’t be asking this question, right?), there are lots of places to get them.

Here are a few ideas:

Beg – set a digital timer or the timer on your smart phone for twenty minutes and sit with a blank page in a notebook or on your computer.  Close off all other distractions – unplug your internet or turn off your wireless, don’t answer the phone, and ignore the doorbell (you might warn your family and close friends first so they don’t panic if you’re suddenly AWOL).  See what comes out of your mind without judgment.  Just write whatever’s there.

Borrow – enter “writing prompt” in Google to see all the options available to you.  Pick one at random and go for it.

Barter –  play with your memory.  Make a list of everything in your bedroom or your desk at work.  Then do it for your desk from ten years ago.  Then try ten years in the future.  Experiment with moving your imagination from place to place.

What works for you?  I’d love to hear in the comments.

Join me during the month of April for a free workshop on Coffee Time Romance, Using Prompts to Expand Your Repertoire.

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“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”

– E.E. Cummings

 

My links: Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn | Pandora
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Publishers: Samhain Publishing | Torquere Press

 

Check out BURNING BRIGHT, available from Samhain Publishing.
Check out EMERALD FIRE, available from Torquere Books.
Check out “Taking a Chance“, part of the Charity Sips 2012 to benefit NOH8, available from Torquere Books.

Watch for TIGER TIGER, coming July, 2013, from Samhain Publishing.

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Welcome Guest Blogger: Tinnean

I don’t know why it is, but it seems I get some of my best ideas just as I’ve gotten into bed and my head hits the pillow. And I know… I know… that these ideas are so brilliant that there’s no way I could forget them.

Of course come the morning they’re long gone.

This happened so often that it became beyond frustrating. So, what to do? I hied me to the local Walgreens and picked up a “Fat Book” on sale.

That first one rested on my night table, along with a pen, and before long, it was filled with notes of all sorts, for Bless Us With Content, the first novel Dreamspinner published for me, as well as for fanfic, which I was still writing at that point. And of course there were snippets of dialogue.   “You’re not very tall,” she said. “That’s not why they call me ‘Big,’” he replied.

That book was eventually replaced with book 2, and then book 3, and then… well, you get the idea.

There are times when I’ve left myself cryptic notes: Actions speak louder than words—it would be nice if I could remember what I’d been thinking the night before. But at least that was legible. I tend to jot these things down with the lights off and my eyes closed (in hopes I’ll be able to get back to sleep), and in the morning I’ll swear and kick things, trying to figure out what the heck those chicken scratches represented.

But it’s all worth it. In the sequel I have planned for my latest novella, Call Me Church,  we learn that John Smith used to trade blowjobs for the opportunity to get warm and dry in various Broadway theaters. He couldn’t do this for Chetwood’s Kitty—there was a woman at the box office and a straight man at the stage door. It occurred to me at 11:15 p.m. that I had no clue which theater that would be (necessary, since it will be brought up in the sequel, which is as yet unnamed. Johnny and Church in the Search for the Treasure of the Hidden Temple?) so I made a note for myself to look it up.

And in the morning I could actually read what I had written!

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