Expanding your creativity

FullSizeRenderI know that every week, I come to you guys and talk about creativity. Well. . . more like I come to you and talk about writing. And I’ve been missing the whole point. What I should be telling you about is how to show your creativity in all ways. Writing that is not the only way to let out your creativity. And I think that by sticking to one area only, you could be holding yourself back.

This is why we should all try to expand our horizons a little bit.

When I was little (I would usually say ‘young’, but hey, I’m still just 15; haven’t really surpassed ‘young’ yet.) I loved to draw. It was everything to me. But being inexperienced, and more than slightly ADHD, I never really took the time to do anything with it. I could doodle and draw a couple things pretty well, and I thought that just being okay was enough.

Then I started writing short stories too. But those short stories were never enough. They started to grow. I kept writing, and I wound up going farther than I ever thought possible. I found myself, at only fourteen years old, sitting in my living room with my parents, who were on the phone with a publisher who wanted to publish my book. All the sudden, art (and pretty much everything else in my life) was immediately put on hold and I threw my everything into this opportunity. And let me just say. . .

Holy. Crudmuffins.

Just the thought of it still makes me rub my eyes to see if I’m still dreaming. There are times that I feel almost brought to tears by how far God has brought me in this journey, and how supportive all my family and friends were and still are. But even with their help. . . ME?! An AUTHOR?!

That was a big jump for a fourteen year old kid to be a published author and have her book placed in over fifteen countries and ten different languages (Still not sure how that happened. Some days, I can barely speak English!). It was a bigger jump to actually start going to schools, libraries, and world-wide-known book stores to meet and greet and sign my book. (Apparently, I’m supposed to call them ‘speaking engagements’, but come on guys. I’m fifteen and can’t say that without adding in a British accent and a laugh as soon as it comes out of my mouth.)

I knew that this author thing wasn’t going to be a full time job. I felt (and still feel) extremely led to the medical field, specifically pediatrics. So, maybe this wasn’t going to be my career. . . but it was still a big change with lifelong reciprocations and responsibilities. I get introduced to people I would have never in a million years thought I could talk to, and they are floored (meanwhile, I’m quaking in my shoes) by the fact that I’m so young and took initiative to write and publish a book.

I was so focused and determined to keep writing that. . . I just kinda dropped everything else. It became disheartening after a while that writing was all I did. I needed a change. Another way to let my creativity flow. So. . . back to the childhood favorites.

Lately, my writing seems to have slowed down a little, and more things are falling into place. Writing is not the only means of creativity. There are a million different ways. Me being the “basic” teenage girl I am, I check the most common boxes.

I’m musical. I sing, and play the fiddle and guitar. (I’m a stereotypical teenage girl from the south, I know. I’ve heard it from everybody.)

I’m artistic. I have been getting back into the art that I left as a kid, and expanding my knowledge and creativity. I can’t even explain how good it feels to let everything pour out of a pencil and just create.

I write. (Y’all already know this.)

But let me explain how I see creativity, as a whole. Creativity is the skill of painting a picture.

Sometimes literally, sometimes not.

When you play music, whether it be through a radio or an acoustic guitar or even just humming, you have a connection to every person in the room through the sound. Despite any difference in ethnicity, religion, gender, background, culture, etc. It doesn’t matter. Music is a beautiful thing. It is a universal gift directly from God.

It’s the same with art. It is telling a story through every stroke of the pencil, pen, or paintbrush. It creates a connection, a bond that we all share deep within our hearts. Whether it be a sketch or photograph of the mountains; or an abstract work of color, shapes, and designs. . . it’s all forms of creativity bundled into one beautiful work of unique art.

Focusing is not a danger. Sometimes, focus is exactly what you need to create what you are meant to create.

But shutting everything else out is one of the worst dangers that a person could encounter.

Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons. It’s okay to be excited and work on one thing specifically in your life, but don’t shut out all the possibilities. You could be missing the very thing that changes your life.

Or, more importantly. . .

You could be missing out on something that changes someone else’s life.

Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons.

Beautiful things can come from it.

Stay creative, guys.

-Lorryn Holt

Afraid of Speaking Up

downloadfile-63“I would really love to tell my story, but I’m too busy/afraid/shy. Surely someone else can do it.”

You would be amazed how many times I’ve heard that. Far too many people believe it to be true. But it is NOT true. Your story is special. Your story is different. Your story is inspiring. Your story can change the world.

I used to be really shy about my writing, and sometimes I still am. But now I see what it can do for others. Everyone fights to “make it” in the world. To go big. To get yourself out there. But if your stories can inspire a single person in this world, you’ve already made it.

I know a little girl who is seven years old. She goes to my church, and is one of the sweetest (and craziest) kids I know. She hates being still for any period of time. She’s crazy active, always running, doing flips, splits, and cartwheels, and just being a kid. But someone that hates being still and quiet, sitting down and writing a story? Yeah, not gonna happen. Well… that’s what we thought, anyway.

When she saw what I do, she loved the idea. She told her mother and sister that she wanted to be just like me. So she started exactly how I did. She sat down, and actually made up and wrote down a short story.

She was inspired.

At the beginning of this year, I met a man who is one of the most inspirational people that I have ever seen. At first, I couldn’t stand this guy. Honestly, I thought he was a real jerk. (Oh man, I hope he reads this.) He teased me all the time, cracked stupid jokes, and some of his ideas were so out of this world that I saw them as completely ridiculous.

People, I’m a fiction writer. That’s what I do. It’s my job to come up with something fantastically insane that people love to read. I thought I had some pretty crazy ideas.

This guy could put me to shame without even trying.

If you tried to follow his train of thought, you wouldn’t able to keep up for very long (according to my friends and family, that’s true for me too). But then I got to know this guy a little better. We kinda became friends. He was still frustrating, and still sometimes a jerk… but he always inspired me. He never held back. And with his imagination being so incredibly nuts and his writing so different and unique, he boosted my creativity and made me strive to be better. Now… I can honestly say that my writing has gotten quite a bit better since meeting him. Unfortunately I’m not really in contact with him anymore, but he still inspires me.

And that is exactly what we should be for other people. No, not just writers. People. Anyone we meet. We should be an inspiration.

“It’s the goal of every writer to use our stories to make the world a better place. A more creative place. I’m never going to stop writing. I’m never going to give up on this world, because I see what we could be. You shouldn’t give up either.” -Me, myself, and I 🙂

“You see things; and you say ‘why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘why not?’ “ -George Bernard Shaw

You can’t be afraid to tell your story. That statement “someone else will do it” is nothing but a invalid excuse. They can’t tell your story if they don’t know it.

Everyone has a reason to write. Something that drives you to create. It probably just popped into your head right now, didn’t it? Use that as motivation!

If you let your fear of speaking up get in the way of telling your stories, if you hold yourself back, you could be missing out on inspiring a lot of people. Don’t hold back.

Be different.

Stay creative.

Write crazy stories.

Inspire others.

Make the world a better place.

-Lorryn Holt

Off and On Writing

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Off and on writing is very similar to procrastination, but different at the same time.

The definition of procrastination is “to put off intentionally and habitually; to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.” But off and on writing tends to happen to people once inspiration strikes. This type of writing is both good and bad. Its good to get inspired, don’t get me wrong! You are listening to someone who writes this way all the time. But the problem is… if we only write when we get inspired, what happens if we don’t get inspired by anything for a while?

We stop writing.

Writing to me is like breathing. It’s a natural part of my life, and it’s as much a part of me as the blood flowing through my veins. I can’t NOT write. I’ve actually tried to see how long I could go without writing anything. I think I lasted… I think it was maybe a week? It became physically and mentally painful. I know it sounds stupid but its true!

When you keep that creativity pent up, it’s like building up a bomb. When it explodes… I couldn’t stop writing for over eight hours. I had so many different ideas and it all just poured out. Some were completely incoherent to even me (I still don’t know what some of that stuff meant) but some were great plots and story prompts that I still have and use on a daily basis.

Off and on writing is basically bursts of creative writing that can be spread out between days, weeks, or even months. Sometimes it’s not a bad thing, but if you wait for weeks to months before writing again, your story motivation can become weak or even die. And that’s the last thing I want to happen to anyone. There are so many stories that I haven’t finished because I lost my motivation due to just ceasing to write. I have more unfinished stories than friends. Not even kidding.

(I can share some of these ideas and story prompts with you, just email me! I’d love to talk to you!)

So seeing that the best things come in threes, we have three solutions to off and on writing!

The first is… set a goal. This is a lot like New Year’s resolutions, and sometimes it’s really hard to keep, but at least try! Write yourself a reminder on your phone or even a physical note to remind yourself to write a certain amount of words every day. And this should be a minimum of words to write. Try to exceed your own expectations, but be realistic. If you set a goal of five thousand words a day, you’ll burn yourself out really fast! I know because I tried it. It doesn’t work and it becomes a chore instead of enjoyable like it should be. It is much easier and more fun to set a goal of like, 750 to 1,000. That’s a realistic expectation that should be an easy goal to hit, as most people type more words in a single text conversation than 750. So… yeah.

The second is… write down your ideas. I have mentioned this so many times and I know you’re probably sick of hearing it but I cannot stress how important this is. I have two writing apps on my phone, two on my tablet/laptop, AND I carry around a notebook and sketchbook. Write. Down. Your. Ideas! Or if you are an artist, draw a scene! There are so many different ways to do this.

I love writing down different writing prompts, or dialogue prompts, which brings us to our third solution. Writing prompts. I know that some people don’t like this, they like doing everything 100% by themselves, and that’s okay! I just really like this option, because it can bring up some great topics and spark some ideas of our own. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, guys. It’s okay to need some advice or motivation to write, because sometimes that motivation can slow down. But writers help each other, and it’s our job as fellow writers and friends to motivate you! If you ever find yourself wanting to talk to another writer, or need a prompt to get you going again, please click on the “message me” button and send me an email! I will get back to you as fast as I possibly can.

I struggle with this sometimes myself, usually just writing whenever I get inspired, but this has helped me greatly and I hope it helps you guys too!

Stay creative, guys!

-Lorryn Holt

PS. 785 words. See? Told you it was easy 😉

How We View Our Gift

8286281-vector-illustration-of-abstract-hand-unique.jpgWe’ve kinda talked about this before when we discussed the dangers of being put into the Stereotypical Box. I’ve told you all time and time again how unique and special your writing is, but WHY? Why do I stress it so much? Maybe it’s because I struggle with this myself.

People always tell me “Oh, you’re a writer?! You’re so special!!!”

It gets a little frustrating sometimes and occasionally patronizing too. They never mean it that way, but when you hear it so many times… So my response is either “Thank you.” Or “Okay. How am I special?”

Unfortunately, due to me usually being unable to control my mouth, it’s usually the second response. 

Ninety percent of the people will not have an answer. Ten percent will, but it’s usually something cliche like “Well, you’re you, and that makes you special!” Or “You’re a writer, and that’s a special thing!”

I used to disagree with that last cliche answer sooo strongly. And my answer, no matter what their response was (and it still is, usually), “Not really. It’s just… me.” 

So. Let’s talk about uniqueness today, shall we?

There is nothing more unique than a mushroom.

Don’t click the exit button yet, please bear with me on this! 

One of my family’s favorite things to do in the spring is going mushroom hunting out in the woods. We have a couple of special spots that we always go to, and when you take the the first step out of the car… it’s like coming home. My dad has hunted mushrooms for YEARS. Way before my brothers and I were around. Way before my mom, too. He always loved it, and still does. And even as small children, we loved it too. Micah (my middle brother) was always the best at it. Until I got old enough to actually get serious about it and do more than dance around poison ivy and accidentally step on the tiny mushrooms poking out of the ground. 

Saturday, we did our last hunt of the year. We found a LOT, and for the first time ever, I found the most. Dad says it was because I got extra “hot” that day and I was on fire with finding them. It happens. But in my opinion… it was because I was able to fully embrace the beauty and enjoy what I was doing wholeheartedly! I started marveling at the uniqueness of each and every mushroom, and actually thinking about it. The best findings happen when you are diving deep into your own thoughts.

Whenever I can’t think of what to write for a blog, I always got to my dad. He’s my brainstorming partner. And he loves telling stories, so he’s one of my favorite people to go to for ideas. And this week he said “You write books about woods. You’re in the woods right now. Get inspired. Hey, I know! Write about the mushrooms.” 

My first instinct was to say “But Dad, they aren’t going to care about hunting mushrooms and what I did on my days goofing off with my family.” Until… I started to see what he meant when he started staring at the last mushroom we found. 

 

He just smiled and said, “Look how perfect. If there was EVER a picture perfect mushroom, this is it.” I leaned down to pick it and realized that he was exactly right, and not just on the topic of mushrooms. It was so unique, and just… Perfect. To the point of indescribable. That is the perfect way to describe the gift of a writer. You can’t describe it, it’s just there. Its perfectly imperfect, and that makes it unique and incredible. 

Everyone has this instinct to create built inside of them. And the makeup of the instinct is ALWAYS different. No writer is the same. Like I said in “Stereotypical Box”, there isn’t a plot, storyline, or headline that hasn’t been used in the centuries of writers we have in our history. But it’s all about how you write it, what you change, and how you make it unique and YOURS that makes it special!

Everyone is unique, and has quirks. (I have a lot of quirks, as my best friends will tell you very plainly.) 

No one is the same, and that’s what makes being a writer a unique gift. Because we are all different, yet all have the same drive towards the goal of helping our characters complete their journey. Your characters are unique. The way they talk is unique. Their journey is unique, because it’s different and it’s YOU writing it, no one else. It’s so special and it’s a beautiful process. 

It’s okay to say, “It’s just me.” But never say it isn’t special or unique. Because if it is “just you”, then it is special. When you are looking at your writing, your uniqueness, your gift, don’t let it become so ordinary to you that it becomes underappreciated.

Your gift is like a handprint. Its unique to you, only you have that specific handprint, and it’s unexplainably, beautifully, imperfectly perfect. In a way, like a mushroom.

You gotta embrace the quirks of being a writer. 

It really is special. 

-Lorryn Holt

Competition Guidelines

hand-writing-inscription-guidelines-marker-260nw-458919445.jpgTournaments and competitions… we all have our own opinions of them. Some people love to enter them, some people hate them and avoid them at all costs.

I used to dislike them. Why? I honestly don’t know. It wasn’t that I disliked the deadlines, that I had to have something done by a certain time at a certain day, but I DID dislike the guideline writing stereotype that the majority of them contained.

They would give you a story type to write, a certain amount of words, what had to be accomplished, the ending they were looking for, etc. And if you branched out, you instantly lost because you did something different. I didn’t like it.

In the Creative Wall blog, I mentioned the entrance story I had done to make my way into a story group. I liked how they were doing things a lot more than everyone else was. They let ME pick my character, they built an opponent that I had to overcome, and said write a battle with whatever ending you see to be appropriate for you character and the story.

That was the best competition style writing I have ever done.

I started the story, got into character, and just let my creativity flow and run wild.

It. Was. Amazing.

That feeling is one of the best feelings in the WORLD, when you just let everything go and just write without a care in the world. When I started, I was SO nervous about someone else reading my work that I just threw together in less than 15 minutes. And then I started running out of ideas for an ending… what could I possibly do?

The only option I had was doing exactly what I do best. Flipping the story on its head. Then I decided to do something I had never done before… And recreate/unveil this villain as the person I wanted it to be.

And I got into the group for the reasons being… what I was doing with the story was different from anything they had ever seen before, my writing style was incredibly unique and cool, and my escape of an ending was (to quote one of my friends that I made in the group) BOMB.

The reason they saw my writing as different was because I let loose, went crazy, and let myself become my character to make something like nothing I’d written before. Which is EXACTLY what we should be writing every time!

The reason they thought my writing style was unique and cool was because its me. Raw, 100% carefree, and completely me being me. And, fortunately for me, I’m unique. 🙂

The reason they thought my ending was “BOMB” was because I flipped the story and changed what they said and it still made 100% sense.

I broke the stereotypical “write this and you’ll make it.” I don’t like being told what I can and can’t write.

And if you’re looking for a competition to enter, and they give you guidelines like that… you don’t need to be a part of it. Anything that’s going to try to rein back your creativity is something you don’t need if you are working o your CREATIVE writing.

Never try to hold back your creativity. It only hurts you, and it can never last forever. That creativity is going to find some way to come out.

Let it.

-Lorryn Holt

Escaping Miscommunication

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Vision is what builds your story, what makes you write, and what makes your writing so unique. But it’s hard to know if you’re actually getting your point across, and getting what you see in your mind out onto the paper. Let me give an example.

On Friday night, I went (with my big brother, his fiancé, and a friend) to an ESCAPE ROOM. My first ever. I was so scared and excited, and when I finally got there and watched the entrance clip, I was TERRIFIED. I had no idea what I was getting into. The man running it explained that there was nothing really scary about the room, there was no one in there to scare us, it was just really “intense”. So that relieved some of the worry, but it came back when I found out there was only a 10% escape rate and I was stuck in the hardest room (we were all separate and had to try to communicate through the walls.)

But I thought “It’s okay, it’ll be fine. I’m a writer. Difficult is my life. We can do this.”

Then he handed me my blindfold. My first reaction (because of the video, which this happened to be a room based off of The Purge) was “OH HECK NO.” But I put it on anyway, and he led me to *my doom* the room. Then he asked, “So which hand do you want to do this without?”

Um, I’m sorry… what?!?!

Turns out he just had to handcuff me to a person through a wall, and we were connected to each other through a hole in the wall, but still.

So he handcuffed my left hand *I’m still blindfolded* and left the room. Then I hear an alarm sound, and the purge introduction played over the speakers. Then I pulled off my blindfold. And I was totally calm.

Okay, no, I lied. I screamed.

There was blood writing on the wall saying “SOmE DO IT FOR FUN” (the lowercase ‘m’ came into play later, because all of us had this writing but a specific letter was different in each room spelling out MINE). There was a spray painted tic tac toe board on the floor with letters lining the columns, a big red box in the wall (which was locked, but I could see through a crack that there was a safe and a voice recorder inside), a small brown box (unlocked, with a small gold key and a piece of paper that made no sense) in the corner of the room, and a small tic tac toe board painted up in the corner of my room with two numbers and a symbol, and there was the sound of someone tapping on a pipe through the speakers. Oh, and creepy music.

I thought my writing notes were complicated. Pft. Yeah right. This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to figure out. (And we didn’t even get close to getting out.)

There was one point in time that I just sat in the middle of the floor with my head in my hands while the others were yelling and trying to understand each other.

Once the timer finally went off and we were let out of our handcuffs, the guy walked us through each others rooms and explained the process. Looking at my three teammates rooms, I realized how it worked and what was supposed to happen. I could see the whole picture. But trying to piece together three rooms and trying to communicate what each other had was just about impossible.

It’s difficult to manage and be clear when telling a story. What details do you use, what do you cut, and are you actually communicating and getting your point across? Sometimes it’s hard to actually get what you see in your head out on paper. Just like it was hard for us to communicate what we were seeing in our rooms to solve the mystery of how to get out.

The best thing I’ve figured out how to do is draw a diagram and make NOTES. Note down exactly what you see, then piece it together in creative sentences and forms. Make it unique and make it fit your vision, but also makes sense.

Communication is key. And when you think you have everything figured out, look at it again from another angle.

You can get it across.

Just be creative, and let your light shine in a whole new area of storytelling. Because you are different and unique and no stories are like yours. Embrace its uniqueness, and don’t be afraid of doing things differently. You’re strong and you’re creative. You’re unique. You’re amazing.

Let that passion show and that fire burn, because that’s what makes a writer into a storyteller. You just have to embrace it, and communicate it 😉

-Lorryn Holt

Stressful Procrastination Struggle

 

tumblr_n39davc16M1qjyatno1_400Okie dokie. Time to talk about the horrors of stressful procrastination.

I’ve actually procrastinated about talking on it, but we have to if we are going to get anywhere with this series. This is gonna be a big one, so let’s just dive in, shall we?

If you are one of those fantastical freaks of nature that can procrastinate to the very last second and still turn out something absolutely incredible, by all means, please continue whatever miraculous thing you are doing and just ignore me. Go check out another one of my many blogs, if you want. But if you need help or want to examine any areas that you think you could improve upon, please join me in this and keep reading.

I personally don’t have much of a problem with procrastination. I just can’t do it. I write out everything at my earliest opportunity and then spend every spare moment I have to make things better (which usually brings up the problem of last week’s blog, but oh well). But I know a lot of people that struggle with procrastination. Whether it is a school report or project, working on something for a competition, or just writing in general, they tend to put it off till the last second then panic and write something quick that they can get by with. Which, in my opinion, is not a good idea.

You can suffer for it and your writing can too, for several reasons. 1) you get stressed out and it makes things way harder than it has to be. 2) you can miss things while writing and editing. 3) weak points.

The easy way to stop these problems is just “don’t procrastinate at all”, but I know that’s easier said than done, and some people don’t realize they are procrastinating until the deadline is staring you in the eye. (Been there done that… I don’t procrastinate much, but I do procrastinate sometimes haha) So for those of you who find yourselves in this position, here are some tips and ways to make things a little easier.

1. Let me just say, stress is not good for you. It pretty much halts the creative process, and its hard to focus on anything. It’s like it puts parts of your brain in hyper drive and just shuts down the rest. My tip for this is so simple it’s crazy. Just b r e a t h e. Find something that calms you down. You may see this as another form of procrastination, but hear me out. I get stressed out easily, and I had no idea how to deal with it until about three or four weeks ago. I started carrying around a sketchbook and pens with me everywhere. I love drawing intricate detailed stuff, like in adult coloring books. (Maybe the header picture makes sense to you now haha!) I have a particular obsession with drawing swirls, because there are no mistakes, it’s a great way to get creative, it calms me down and makes my brain slow down so I can focus and think things through easier. Maybe you’re different, and that is 100% okay! It’s all about finding what works for you, and building on it. For me, its drawing and music. Just find what works for you. Find something that makes you calm down, breathe, and relieves stress. Once your figure it out, don’t be afraid to turn to it as a way out for a few minutes to get away from the stress and pressure. It’s not procrastination, it’s help. Never be afraid to ask for help. Once you’ve calmed down, know what you’re doing, and know how you want to do things, you can return to your project. It will be easier to handle. Trust me.

2. Last week we talked about overthinking your editing process and being too harsh on yourself. For me, I find it nearly impossible to write and edit at the same time, and it only piles on more pressure and it’s hard to focus and finish it. You may find yourself focusing on one thing specifically and forgetting your other ideas once you try to continue, which can make you move from point to point too jerkily and miss major details. So just write it out, and don’t worry about editing till the end. And once you get to the editing point, please… BE CAREFUL WHILE EDITING. Last week I talked about being your own harshest critic while editing, and that is indeed a struggle, but don’t just let things go unedited either haha be careful when proofreading, and make sure to check your spelling and grammar (that’s mostly directed at my fellow highschoolers) and look at your piece from several different angles. When you think you’re done, read it again. Be sure it makes sense, and things tie together like they are supposed to. Be careful to edit carefully, but don’t be too hard on yourself either. Find the healthy medium.

3. This is basically the same thing as number two. Weak points happen when you are drifting from point to point and losing your basic idea. Some people find it easier to keep track of what you’re doing by using an outline, and it’s probably pretty smart to do that. Just note down your ideas before you start. And another thing you can do to ward against weak spots (if you are noticing that you struggle in one specific area) is practice. I used to struggle with writing battle scenes, and I still do sometimes. But I’ve found it makes things easier to explore different ways of writing them and learning what works for you. No writer is the same, so it’s all about finding your strong points, building on them, and making your weak spots stronger. And that’s where practicing really helps. I tend to pick two completely opposite types of characters (sometimes they aren’t my own characters, so it’s more like a fanfiction. Comment below if you would like me to share some of my best battles!) and writing out a battle between them. It has helped me figure out how to do some pretty awesome stuff.

Again, the easy way out is to just not procrastinate at all haha but I know some people just naturally find themselves doing so. There isn’t anything wrong with it, but it can make things harder than they should be.

I hope this helps!

And don’t forget to keep being creative. Don’t let these challenges stop you from being the amazing artist/storyteller/creative person you are. We are all creative in our own way, and even if you aren’t a writer or an artist, you are an amazingly creative you. 🙂

-Lorryn Holt

Being Your Own Harshest Critic

Dpe6SW2V4AA13PzOne of the worst dangers I’ve faced when writing (this started about a year and a half ago), is being too harsh on myself when it comes to critiquing my writing. And while critiquing your work is not a bad thing, overthinking and being harsh on yourself is.

Let me explain what I mean…

I’m a very outgoing, energetic, and bubbly person, and an extremely passionate writer.

But.

My confidence in my abilities and my stories’ quality averages from 1% to an occasional 0%. ZERO.

At this point, you’re probably sitting back in shock and saying “What?! But you’re a published author!”

My answer to that is, “Okay… and? What’s your point?”

I’m published, yes. But I’m fifteen years old. I’m a kid. I’m insecure with my work because I’m a tiny assisted-self published author in a world of huge successful authors. I’m not experienced. I’m not super smart. I’m lacking in most areas because I’m young and dumb, and I don’t have the advantages that an adult writer would have.

That made it extremely hard to get where I am, and even harder to get motivation to write now. It’s not easy to have the courage to put yourself out there in the form of writing, where pouring out your heart and soul into your work is going to happen no matter what path you take in expressing your creative self.

Being a small fish in a big ocean (it’s not a pond, it’s an ocean) makes you want to strive to get bigger. And to get bigger, you do what you have to do. When that’s the mindset obtained, it’s easy to convince yourself that have to have perfection.

You become harsher on yourself.

I did.

I suffered for it.

I stopped writing for about four months last year. I rarely posted blogs, or wrote on my stories, because I felt like I wasn’t turning out anything good enough for others to read. Nothing I did was ever enough; I could never make it good enough.

I pressured myself too much. And it took a near-collapse of my creative brain and a group of amazing writers, artists, and friends, to motivate me and show me that I could do incredible things if I would just let myself try. One specifically got on my tail and hammered into my brain that I couldn’t just stop writing, because that would stop the growth of my ideas and it would be far too easy to quit for good.

It’s okay to look at your writing and try to make it better. But you can’t be too harsh on yourself, or it’ll make things ten times worse and your writing can suffer as well as your mind. When you write, just take a deep breath, and let your creativity flow… without fear.

Soon we will be talking a little more about this, on the topic of writing and editing your Vomit Draft. (Don’t ask how we got the name…)

But until then, just let your creativity run wild. Amazing things can come from it.

Believe in yourself.

Don’t hold back.

Never forget to take courage.

-Lorryn Holt

Trapped inside the Stereotypical Box

IMG_20190318_111339_159.JPGThere is not a plot out there that hasn’t been used yet. We have decades, centuries even, of writers. But it’s how you take your plot and twist it, that makes it unique and YOURS. And when you see something that another writer does that works… do everything you can to AVOID IT.

Those big authors are now in what I call the Stereotypical Box. (My mom has just brought it to my attention that the name itself is a stereotype… oops.)

What they did might have been unique at one point in time, but now it’s already used! So try something new. We already know their style and story type works, so how can yours work and inspire? How can your ideas make them think differently about something, or stimulate a person’s mind to make them excited to turn the page and read on?

Knowing that a style works is great. But if we all write in that style and use the same types of stories, all books would wind up being the same. And that is not what we want.

Again, there isn’t a story type, plot, or headline that hasn’t already been used. But it’s all about how we write it, and what we do with our story.

Make your characters unique. Your story goal different. Your protagonist’s drive coming from a different angle. Twist your ending.

One of the best decisions I ever made was to twist a story.

It was for an entrance into a story group. I had to finish a battle. It was supposed to end with one of us being dead. But that’s not what I wanted to do.

They told me to choose a character. I chose Annabeth Chase, who is one of my favorite book characters ever. (If you don’t know who she is, she is one of the main characters in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I recommend it.) They gave me a starting point, gave a brief description of my opponent (created by them), and told me to finish the fight scene. If the guy who read it thought my work was good enough for me to be a part of their group, I was in. I thought it was going to be read by one person, and one person only. I already knew this guy, so I had no worries. But, NOPE! It wasn’t just him. There were a team of administrators reading my story. But I didn’t know that at the time. I was just writing the way I usually would, and loving the way this story was headed. The battle had my heart pounding and I was ready to actually fight someone.

But I felt like I had no ending. I couldn’t kill my opponent, because I felt like I was missing something. Then it clicked.

I realized that with a couple of unique twists, this was no longer just a short fanfiction battle I was writing. This was in my ballpark now. I could do what I wanted with this story. I was Annabeth Chase. I could fight the way she fights, use her memories to shape my ending, and use logic to not kill my opponent but ultimately defeat him. I could do this, even if it would mean my death in an average adventure.

I changed the story. I twisted, flipped, and broke out of the Stereotypical Box. And because I did, I got into that group unanimously after the admins read it.

You can do this too. Break out of that Stereotypical Box, don’t be confined to what ‘works’. Write creatively.

Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

-Lorryn Holt

Creator’s Wall

240_F_102786052_nKiHITs3tRMnzINk8uWvtvCdkRSS3eHh.jpgA lot of people tell me that they love writing and love creating stories… but they have so many ideas, and they struggle with what to write and how to get their many ideas out on paper.

So instead of pretending to have all the answers, I’m gonna rat myself out. I struggle there too, but I might have figured out a way to get past it.

Having so many ideas you don’t know what to do with is one of the biggest threats (yes, I call it a threat) to creative writing, besides writer’s block. I call it Creator’s Wall.

Creator’s Wall is when you have a bunch of fantastic ideas… but you can’t figure out how to write them all down at once, or which one to choose. And it’s hard to know how to climb over that challenge. It’s like a solid rock wall standing in your way.

Imagine, if you will, a this challenge you are trying to climb over IS a wall and you are a climber. You’ve been getting ready to do this all day. You’ve been stretching, training, and preparing yourself (brainstorming your ideas). You already have on your gear. Your helmet, your grips, your climbing shoes… you are ready to go. That gear is your ideas.

Then, there are three ropes hanging down from the wall. Those are your plot possibilities. These ropes look strong in the middle, but are frayed and look ready to snap at the top. Do you risk picking one and climbing? Just seeing what it could do?

Nah. Too easy of a way out, and it’s NOT safe. That single rope will break, probably before you are close enough to make it to safety. You can’t get over your wall that way.

But if you take those ropes, those possibilities, and braid them together to make a strong way out, a strong plot, you can climb over.

Never get rid of your ideas. Write them down. I don’t know how many times I’ve had two or three (sometimes even more!) weak plots that never would have made it on their own, but switched up and combined with others, make an amazing story. A full novel. A great adventure.

You can climb that Creator’s Wall.

There are a ton of these threats to creative writing, and we’ll be covering as many of them as we can over the year of 2019. So if you would like to see more writing tips, book news, and blogs, be sure to click that subscribe button! And if there are any particular threats you have heard of (or struggle with yourself) please comment down below what it is, and I’ll be sure to touch down on the subject and help as much as I possibly can.

-Lorryn Holt