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Writing By Hand

Nowadays, nearly everyone uses a keyboard when they need to write something down. Especially writers, when they’re writing their books. It’s logical as well. It’s faster, easier to edit and you will need it typed up in the end anyway. For years, I have always written everything down on my keyboard as well, but lately I have found it incredibly difficult to write on my books as long as I’m near my laptop.

Somehow, writing by hand has fixed that.

I have always carried a notebook with me, but only for writing down ideas until I could get to a computer. Sometimes in class, I would do some actual writing in my notebook as well, but it has never been the way I preferred to do it. After all, it’s a hassle not being able to just delete and rewrite a sentence, and it’s just a bore to have to type it all up later. But actually, writing by hand seems to make my writing flow easier!

Lately, I have had no motivation to sit down by my computer and type. I think it might have something to do with all the distractions it provides me, and the fact that I always have so many things I ought to do while my computer is turned on. I should check my email, get back to the people who have sent me messages, check 117 different social networks, get around to promoting my books and so many other things it makes me dizzy. It’s not really good for the creative process to be at a keyboard!

The times I have forced myself to write, I have found myself staring at the cursor for an eternity, not feeling like writing anything at all. But that never happens if I’m writing with old-fashioned pen and paper.

I don’t have to feel inspired, or even motivated, because as soon as I open my notebook, I’m able to write. My hand just moves and words form underneath the tip of my pen, and I just write. I don’t analyze every sentence, go back to edit while I’m still writing or end up running myself into a corner. I just write, and it’s so freeing!

While having taking a long break from writing Silent Sound because my computer seemed to suck any will to write out of me, I suddenly have notebooks filled with entire chapters just because I started writing on paper instead. I find myself packing my writing tools in my bag everytime I go somewhere, because maybe, just maybe, I will have time to sit down somewhere to write without distractions.

The summer also helps. I don’t have to decide between writing or enjoying the weather. Why not take the dogs with me to the forest and sit down on a bench there while they play in the grass? The fresh air definitely doesn’t hurt the creativity either.

Of course there’s drawbacks too. My fingers always start cramping, but I stubbornly keeps writing until I can’t use my hand anymore. For some reason, it’s more important to me to finish up a part if I’m writing it on paper and I always end up hurting myself.

It’s also easier to forget your surroundings. At the convention I attended in May, I sat down at one point to relax with some writing and I must have been really caught up in it, because at some point I looked up to see a friend of my mine watching me from across the table. He scared the crap out of me! I had not known he was there at all, and apparently he had been sitting there for a while. He thought it was funny that I was so caught up in writing that I hadn’t noticed him sit down at all…

He might have thought it was hilarious, but I kept looking up from what I was doing nervously for the duration of the con. This should be a rule: Never stare at people when they write. Ever. It creeps them out.

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Interview by Kevin Rau

Book Quill WritingI had the pleasure of talking to author Kevin Rau on Twitter not too long ago. He is the author of the H.E.R.O. books and asked me to do an interview for his blog. Normally, I find most author interviews to be dull and repetive, but I really enjoyed this one and thought I would share it with you to apologize for my absence lately!

The interview is the perfect mix of author questions, ebooks and superheroes! You can find the original one at Kevin’s blog and read his commentary!

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When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

I have always loved writing, and I have written short stories ever since I could craft sentences properly together! As a young kid, I used to write stories in Danish, but as soon as I started learning English in school, I quickly grew to love the language. I would write horror short stories as my written assignments and I still stumble across some of them when I go through my old backup files. It’s a wonder my English teacher didn’t force me into therapy! Some of those things should not have been written by an 11-year old girl…

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? (Assuming said power would be reasonably “powerful.”)

Oh, I love this question! As a big fan of superhero movies, there are so many things I would love to do… It’s hard to pick just one! I think I would like to be able to go through walls like Shadowcat from X-Men… Then I didn’t have to crawl over all the garbage in my room!

Do you have a favorite superhero from novels, comics, or movies?

As I said, I love superhero movies, so that’s a really tough question… My favorite universe is the X-Men one, and there’s just so many great characters! If I have to choose, I think it’s a tie between Rogue and X-23… Nothing like a tough girl with a tough story!

Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?

Music, movies, comics, books… There’s a ton of inspiration, you just have to look for it! I carry a notebook with me at all times, and I have experienced inspiration striking in the middle of a movie at the cinema. It’s very hard to write down notes in complete darkness!

And I wish I knew what motivates me… It would make it a lot easier to seek it out. Most of all, I think it’s my mind’s hatred of standing still. I have to keep it active, otherwise I get restless. This is also why I never get any sleep. Ideas always wait until I’m in my bed, and they won’t leave me alone before I get up and write them down.

Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?

My first book, Resounding Echo, was actually just an attempt to start writing again, after many years break. I asked a friend for an idea to something I could write about and he said: “What about something that begins in a monastery?”

That’s all I had, and still it became a full-length book. I just started writing, with no idea where I was going. I do write ideas to plots and characters down as they come and somewhere along the way, I’m able to make something resembling an outline out of them, but I’m not one to really plan ahead. I write to keep my head from exploding, so I just plan as I go!

Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?

I tried the schedule thing, 500 words a day and all that. It doesn’t work for me. At all.

Somehow, every time I sit down with the intent to write, I’m completely empty for inspiration and motivation. On the other hand, all the times when I don’t have the time to write (or when I should be doing something else…) I get inspired out of nowhere. Large part of my books are written during classes where I’m supposed to listen to some teacher going on about Hemingway(or was it Scottfitzgerald?)

Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?

Definitely fantasy. Both reading and writing, though I mostly keep to writing high fantasy, while I will read anything within the genre as long as it doesn’t involve High Schools(I can’t take another one of those books… I’m sorry, I just can’t.)

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

Except from not going insane? I think it’s immersing myself in a story and getting to know my characters. Before, it would all be in my head and it would never be properly explored, but writing it down forces me to evolve the ideas and actually create something.

Is there any part of writing that you don’t enjoy?

The feeling that you’re never going to finish a book while you have writer’s block! It’s a horrible feeling!

Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

I could write a book(Haha…) about the oddness that’s me! Let’s just leave it at the fact that I have a wooden dragon figure called Oswald and that I dream of beating up Edward from Twilight with a bat…

Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?

I used to have 5 different projects at once, but lately I have been more committed to one work. I think the world of my current book series has become too dear to me, and it prevents me from wanting to work on different stories while working on those books.

Have you ever wondered why evil people want to take over the world. Why not take under it?

Maybe they have more airplanes than they have shovels?

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

E-readers are still a mostly unknown thing in the little state of Denmark, but more and more bookstores are beginning to sell ebooks even here. Ebooks are definitely becoming more and more common, but I’m not one of those that believe paper books are dying out. But then again, I’m one of the few persons who still don’t want iPhone even when people throw it at me, because I like my phone to be a PHONE. But the rest of the world loves them, and I think more and more will switch to reading e-books, when they own a Smartphone or a tablet anyway.  

What are your current projects?

The second book in my epic fantasy series, Silent Sound. It has been at a stand-still for a long time, because of lacking motivation, but now I’m too busy to write and the motivation is suddenly everywhere! Typical…

Do you have any advice for others about self-publishing?

Don’t let it ruin your love of writing! It’s all too easy to be caught up in formatting, editing, marketing and book sales, and it will destroy what made you love writing in the first place if you let it. Do it, but don’t let it become your world.

Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)?

I can be found just about anywhere: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr, Pinterest, DeviantART, YouTube, you name it. But I can’t even keep track of those, so come visit my website to avoid all the confusion! You can find it here: http://michellelouring.blog.com/

My books can be found at almost any online book retailer as well, but most notably on Amazon and Smashwords!

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New Facebook Page

Facebook IconI finally made a proper Facebook page and I must say I’m already enjoying it.

Their new page design and Timeline update really open up for some great opportunities to create a unique and interactive site. Gone are the generic and boring Fan pages as you can now personalize the design within seconds. I’m in love.

Never really liked Facebook much before(Properly because I really don’t care what people had for lunch an hour ago…), but I’m really positive about my new page! I’m pretty sure it’s because I can make the header purple now…

Go check it out and join me to talk books or whatever else you might want to chit-chat about(It IS Facebook after all…)! I’m also dying to talk to some other fantasy authors, and I’m currently looking for books to feature on the page and I would rather showcase indie books than ones everyone knows already.

Check it out:  http://www.facebook.com/MichelleLouring

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28 Inspirational or Humorous Quotes by Writers

A small collection of fantastic quotes about writing that always put a smile on my face!

1.”A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God.”

– Sidney Sheldon

2. “A critic is a legless man who teaches other people to run.”

– Channing Pollock

3. “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”

– E.L. Doctorow

4. “What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he’s staring out of the window.”

– Burton Rascoe

5. “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”

– Stephen King

6. “It’s not plagiarism – I’m recycling words, as any good environmentally conscious writer would do.”

– Uniek Swain

7. “An author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere.”

– Gustave Flaubert

8. “If I fall asleep with a pen in my hand, don’t remove it – I might be writing in my dreams.”

– Terri Guillemets

9. “Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing.”

– Robert Benchley

10. “Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it.”

– Truman Capote

11. “I have the heart of a small boy. It is in a glass jar on my desk.”

– Stephen King

‎12. “I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.”

 – G. K. Chesterton

13. “Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment.”

– Robert Benchley

14. “The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes.”

– André Gide

15. “Being an author is having angels whisper in your ear – and devils, too.”

– Terri Guillemets

16. “Writing is a way of talking without being interrupted.”

– Jules Renard

17. “I write because I’m afraid to say some things out loud.”

– Gordon Atkinson

18. “If I fall asleep with a pen in my hand, don’t remove it – I might be writing in my dreams.”

– Terri Guillemets

19. “It is impossible to discourage the real writers – they don’t give a damn what you say, they’re going to write.”

– Sinclair Lewis

20. “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”

– Saul Bellow

 21. “Authors and lovers always suffer some infatuation, from which only absence can set them free.”

– Samuel Johnson

22. “Most editors are failed writers – but so are most writers.”

– T.S. Eliot

23. “Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.”

– Don Marquis

24. “A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the other one.”

– Baltasar Gracián

25.  “I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”

– James Michener

26. “Asking a writer what they think about critics is like asking a lamp-post what it thinks about dogs.”

– Christopher Hampton

27. “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club”

– Jack London

28. “It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.”

– Robert Benchley