Winter Writes – Truly Inspired 35#

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Truly Inspired Series

Truly Inspired Directory

TOG

1] Blog Name

Winter Writes

2] What is your blog’s specific genre?

My blog features lots of writing.

I’m not sure if that makes it a creative writing blog. It probably does.

I post a mix of poetry and prose which cover a range of topics from the feeling of sorrow to cute unrealistic love. Also, sometimes there are book reviews.

3] How old is your Blog?

Pretty much five months old.

4] Why did you feel the need to start an actual blog?

I created my blog as I wanted a professional way to store my writing that would also allow public access. As my ambitions are centric on both my written work and higher-level education I felt it would be useful to have such an easy way of formatting my writing so that I could reflect in the future while also gaining attention and feedback on my work. It also provides a great way to show my skill to new people.

5] What age were you when you first started to write?

It’s strange. I learnt to write my name at about age five but I’m fairly certain that doesn’t count. I’m also sure that learning to write things for school isn’t really noteworthy as when I learnt to write. Sure, those are experiences where I learnt how to physically perform the action of writing but that’s very different from what I do now.

In terms of story writing I was probably around age ten when I first started to write stories. I would write fun adventures, share them at school and then people would ask to be included in the next story which was always an enjoyable experience. My writing back then varied dramatically from my current writing though as it was effectively children’s literature which couldn’t be further from my current writing style if it tried. I then wrote a full forty-four-thousand-word novel when I was around twelve and regardless of the low quality it had I choose to mark that as when I started writing properly. My progression into writing frequently would come later when I turned fourteen and began creative writing for pleasure.

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6] Was it a natural process or did something or someone inspire you to put your first thoughts to paper?

Both.

I started writing naturally like I mentioned in the last question at around age ten. I wasn’t prompted to do this. I think I must’ve just been drifting around one day and thought “Oh damn I could uh… do some of that writing gubbins and like… pretend to be a writer”. I then started writing my first ever adventure style story for my school friends. It was a retelling of the gingerbread man which was cute and interesting.

I didn’t start properly writing until twelve though. When I wrote my novel. In this case I had received inspiration. My wonderful English teacher at the time had encouraged my writing and had gone as far as to donate his own personal copies of the “his dark materials” series to me. I have since then loved religious imagery in writing and would say that my first secondary school English teacher takes the majority of the responsibility for me starting writing. In that same year he supported my novel from when I was first writing it to when it ended and also encouraged my wide reading of literature. I remember specifically having discussions about “The Hunger Games” and the aforementioned “his dark materials” trilogy. He was a wonderful teacher and I’m thankful for his impact.

7] Would you say that your creativity flows easily or do you need to be motivated by an event or a moment in your life to trigger it?

My creativity certainly exists naturally however I feel as though it is greatly enhanced by my exposure to inspiring content. This is why I love reading other people’s writing both on WordPress and in more traditional ways such as novels and articles. My reading is something I like to pretend is diverse but realistically I stick with romance and dystopia.

My motivation is trash and I haven’t really found a way to fix that. There are whole weeks where I can write nothing then three-day periods where I will write seven or eight thousand words. Consistency is a struggle.

8] How frequent or prolific are you with your writing and blogging?

My schedule since the creation of the blog has been that there will be at least one post every five days and I try to post something once every three days. I don’t write especially frequently it just happened that when my blog started I had enough stored writing to set it up to last a long time on a consistent schedule. I’m going to have an abundance of free time in the near future due to the end of my exams and I’ve not yet decided whether I’d prefer to focus on creating lots of short work for my blog or working on one large novel type piece based on three posts I’ve already written and a concept I have in mind about an assassin. Either way my amount of writing is liable to increase as is my amount of reading. I’m not really sure what will happen to my schedule of writing when I start college but that’s a bridge I’ll cross when I come to it.

9] Is it just WordPress that your writing is displayed or other platforms as well?

Just WordPress. Other platforms are big and spooky scary.

The only other places I’ve posted are the League of Legends boards where I posted a fanfic about the game and the website on which the 81-word writing challenge is held.

10] Do you use social media to advertise and market your blog? If so which ones and how effective is it/are they?

I’m not really a big social media person. I do realise that this limits the spread of my audience but I’d rather not go around promoting my blog like the awkward middle aged “have you read my screenplay?” character in a comedy show. There’s also the fact that I don’t really want to become connected to my writing. I’ve seen how many people have had their favourite series spoiled because the writer is vocal in a less than positive way. I shouldn’t stop people enjoying my work just because I lean towards the left wing or because the way I intended a character varies from how they were received.

My Instagram and Twitter both feature my blog link but neither are really used as promotion tools. My Twitter gets me probably less than ten views a month and my Instagram only a few more. The one positive of linking my blog to my Instagram however is that I get people I know in real life reading my posts sometimes. It’s always an interesting conversation starter I guess.

11] Writers block we all get it at one point or another – if you do suffer from it, how do you tackle the problem?

If I don’t have a good idea I don’t write. I can’t force an idea to be good. I don’t get “writers block” as such. More of a desire to just not write. If I feel like writing something won’t be worthwhile I don’t do it. My ideas never really stop existing I just stop getting good ones sometimes. Once I was going to write a piece about a talking banana… then I realised how silly it would’ve been and stopped myself.

The ways I resolve lack of good ideas are normally to wait it out and browse other work.

12] Which is your preferred writing/creative style?

My favourite style to write is the narrative voice I use when writing my “dairy of an assassin” posts because you have this bitter, angry and generally horrible person narrating the story of how the world ended. It’s a wonderful way of writing and I truly feel like I become a different character unlike with my other stories which don’t quite form the same bond. It’s just a fun time to sit at my keyboard and rant about corrupt politics and world ending wars while imagining this angry guy in all black with a blade in one hand and half a bottle of whiskey in the other shouting to himself about scientists creating biological weapons as he writes down his life story.

My favourite style to read though is what I’m coming to call “the balanced style”.

The key markers of this style are:

*Telling the reader only information which is relevant rather than giving superfluous description

*Having depth of character without being excessive or unrealistic

*Creating strong, direct description that is easy to follow

It’s basically everything that Dickens isn’t and everything that Stephen King is.

It’s a style that will still use an elaborate and beautiful description but will use it when referring to the protagonist or a key plot feature rather than going on a needless rant about the housemaid who only has one line of dialogue in the entire novel. It also creates this wonderful description while using fairly normal language so that you don’t need to use a dictionary every five lines.

I call it “the balanced style” because it knows exactly what is too little, what is too much and manages to dance on the line of being just enough. It allows the description to support the story rather than being a distraction from it or being so lacking that it becomes a hinderance. It’s a style of writing which I imagine is very hard to get right but one that is always beautiful when it is done correctly.

13] What is the best thing about blogging in your eyes?

The best thing about blogging rather than other ways of sharing creative work is that it’s possible to develop a consistent audience and following while improving as a writer. I wouldn’t have the same experience on a personal level if I was writing a column for a magazine or working on a novel. With blogging you get to communicate with your audience in a really refreshing and close way.

14] What prompts you to write about a topic on the day that you post?

My posts often end up going up extended periods of time after writing however I like to order them in such a way that there is never a situation where you end up with a gargantuan amount of a particular content type. This means for example I try to split up my poetry posts from each other with book reviews or prose.

The topics I write about in general though can be prompted by almost anything. Perhaps UK politics is looking especially bad that week and I want to write about how the world is falling down around the modern youth. Maybe I’ve seen a pretty girl and want to write a nice story where she gets a fairy-tale ending. Possibly I hear a song lyric and am like “damn I need to do something with this”. Inspiration is a diverse and abstract concept. Not all of the influences on my work are even intentional. Sometimes the idea is in my subconscious without me realising.

15] What advice would you award new bloggers to help and encourage them promote their blog and engage with their audience?

Go out and read stuff. I must’ve commented fifty or so times in my first few weeks on WordPress. Just casually going around reading short stories and complimenting them. It was a brilliant experience. I never once mentioned my own blog and yet I still managed to get people visiting my blog out of curiosity as to who complimented their work. It led to my audience going from zero to actually existing. It gave me the starting point my blog needed if it was ever going to gain any traction.

It led to some really great conversations with other writers some of which would become consistent readers of my own work. I felt like I was included in this giant net of people discussing writing.

Respond to comments. Take the time to actually talk to people about writing. If you truly love what you do then you should write about what you’re passionate about. Find those like minded people.

Not to mention it’s had a direct impact where I now actually follow specific writers and feel like I have a bond with them as a part of the WordPress community. It’s just generally improved my quality of time on the website.

Promotion wise this method is fairly effective but will require you to be consistently active in searching for the work of others which is the only downside. It is a time consuming process to read thousands of words other people have written then thinking of a meaningful remark to make on what you have read.

16] Do you have an overall blogging strategy or simply write because you enjoy writing?

I write because it’s the only thing I can do. It’s the only redeeming trait I have. Therefore, I feel the need to give at least one positive thing to the world to make up for being such a flawed person. My blog is me looking out at the crowd and apologising.

I like being able to track my progression as a writer but I’d be lying to call that my primary motivation. I could easily just have a chronologically organised memory stick to fill that role.

While I love writing I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t know I was good at it. It’s a skill I can openly acknowledge having. Writing is the single entity that I get to be confident in doing. I enjoy it because I can look back and actually appreciate what I have done rather than feeling the regret I seem to feel towards everything else.

17] Do you feel it is important to have an engaging audience to the content that you write?

My content can exist without an audience.

By nature of what I do being involved with the audience is not something that is a primary feature anyway. I write stories. I’m giving you a chapter of a book to read online. When you read being able to talk with the author is a nice bonus but it’s certainly not a requirement. I can enjoy Tolstoy or Dickens or some other old dead guy without ever once discussing what I’ve read. Writing isn’t just a personal journey for the writer it’s just as equally a solitary venture for the reader.

I like talking about writing as do many others and that’s wonderful but writing is an art that can work in silence. It doesn’t have to but it can.

18] If no one ever commented on your blog would this concern you, and if so how would you rectify the situation?

I currently have sixty-two followers. One of which is my mother and another of which is myself. With an audience of sixty readers (or at the very least sixty people aware of my writing) I’m never really expecting noticeable amounts of interaction. And following my expectation I very rarely get noticeable amounts of interaction.

If no one ever commented on my blog again it would probably be months before I even realised something had changed because my audience size and comment frequency are so small already.

If I was worried about lack of interaction I honestly don’t know what I’d do. I can’t really impact the frequency with which people want to discuss my work. I could potentially break my entire “this blog is written content only” theme in order to have a post dedicated to asking questions with the intention of getting a response but I doubt that would work and it would likely lead to me feeling worse as I’d be changing everything my blog represents. I’d be losing the stone-cold writing without a connection to me in favour of forcing discussion about my work on others.

19] How long from start to finish would/can your content take you to complete?

It can be ten minutes. My poetry writing is lazy and I really don’t like editing poetry because it leads to situations where I’m literally debating for whole hours at a time why a specific single word needs to be changed.

Just as equally it can be ten days. My prose writing is often written in one sitting then edited over the coming days. I procrastinate an unhealthy amount when going through the editing process primarily because I can’t bear to ruin my original vision for a piece.

Then you get cases where I can plan to write something in December and script out the dialogue then not actually write the full piece until May. Some concepts just need time to linger.

20] Which do you think are your best 3 posts to date? Please link below so that our readers can see your style and take a step into your world.

My dystopian world of the assassin Sorrow

https://winterswrites101.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/diary-of-an-assassin-1/ 

My painful scene of two college lovers parting

https://winterswrites101.wordpress.com/2018/01/27/memory/

My poem about lacking direction when writing

https://winterswrites101.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/ode-to-google-document/

21] Finally, what advice would you offer new writers to the blogging community?

Go and make friends.

Blogging isn’t all about your personal blog or desire to gain an audience. There’s a very human and fun side to it as well. Being able to communicate with other writers especially those with a shared interest will dramatically increase the quality of your blogging experience.

It’s just far more interesting to be blogging when you’re having discussion and enjoying a social aspect as well as doing your own thing. There are lots of really high quality blogs out there for you to go exploring.

Not only is it a positive thing to do emotionally but it can also lead towards inspiration and longer term readers.

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My thanks to Winter Writes for taking the time to participate in the Truly Inspired series 2 –l found this a fascinating, detailed and descriptive read, and l am sure you will too.

This l found quite significant …

“It’s just far more interesting to be blogging when you’re having discussion and enjoying a social aspect as well as doing your own thing. There are lots of really high quality blogs out there for you to go exploring.”

Is very true, l love to write and writing, although not new to me per se, blogging was. Writing a response in a forum or other medium platforms is a very different experience due to the nature of the readership one can acquire here. I have said this before, but l prefer to be in the company of like minded souls than simply writing to an empty and uninterested audience. There is a strong social community here and l find that rewarding and Winter Writes sums up that very well.

If you are not yet familiar or aware of Winter Writes then pop along for a visit.

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What made you start writing, what inspired you to decide to start blogging about your story? Tell us about it. Take us through a sampling of your journey – tell us what makes you who you are?

Winter Writes is our 35th Interview will you be our 36th?

Please drop me an email at ….

aguycalledbloke63@gmail.com

…. and l will gladly write you up and share who you are.

It is simple – email me at the above Addy or drop me a line in my contact box and l will email you the questionnaire. Fill it in, send it back , and include images that you feel may support what you write, or about your blog, and l will write it up as a post and insert it into this series here.

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