Find your voice
Learn to write by writing. Write letters home,Â write letters to your heroes (you donâ€™t need to send them),Â comment onÂ your favorite blogs (like this one!), andÂ articles, and YouTube.
Write to yourself, describing situations and frustrations to the self youâ€™ll be just 24 hours from now (I have a hunch you’ll find that self can be incredibly critical). The more you write, the more youâ€™ll develop aÂ unique voice (and potentially discover how your voice strikes others in the community).
Writing in a certain mood lends a consistent tenor to your voice.
IÂ select a piece of music that epitomizes my hero and beforeÂ working on the story, play that song.Â Perspective returns and the words fall into place.
If music doesnâ€™t work, try something that speaks to you:Â a white noise venueÂ likeÂ the food court at your local mall orÂ in front ofÂ a random Law & Order episode. Eat a particular sort of food or burn incense.Â Everyone is sensitive to different stimuli â€“ findÂ your inspiration.
When the mood’s not there
When the mood eludes you, check out the exercises in the Tips & Tricks area. If you can’t teach yourselfÂ the ins and outs of dialog, verbally practice sketching settings, identify the beats of your story, or practice show-don’t-tell, you can research minutia:
- What kind of sidearm is your villain likely to hold?
- What vegetation is blooming in the geographical region at the time of year and what time is sunrise/sunset? Is it likely to be brisk or muggy? Are there any local festivals, especially historic or quirky ones like a local parade that could add some flavor to the story or choke up an interesting minor character or two?
- What kind of vehicle does your hero drive – or do they avoid driving? Did they make those vehicles in the year you’ve set your story, and in what color?Â Maybe she drives a vintage ‘stang left to her by her father, who bought it the year she was born?Â What colors did the factory offer them, that year?
- What was a minor character doing while the major characters were busy, and vice versa?
There’s more to a story than writing, and if today’s not your day to write, these activities willÂ help you Â prepare for the next occasion of the elusive mood.