P is for Playlist

This blogger was nice enough to mention my blog in their post about writing playlists. Thanks for linking! Make sure to check out Organization and Inspiration for Fellow Writers.

Organization and Inspiration for Fellow Writers

The Is of Writing: Inspirational Music

Create a playlist for writing time that inspires you or has a similar theme as your novel. What 5 songs would be on your playlist?

Related Materials:

Writing Music (www.stereomood.com)

Friday Favourites: Playlists for Writing (thewritingdays.com)

Ten Great Writing Playlists  (tweetspeakpoetry.com)

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The Muse and Inspiration: Do We Need Them?

My muse and I can't help but feel inspired in a winter such as this. instagram.com/ainotuulia

My muse and I can’t help but feel inspired in a winter such as this.
instagram.com/ainotuulia

The way I see it, there are two opposing views in the writing world when talking about inspiration and the muse.

1. A good writer doesn’t need a muse or inspiration.
2. A good writer needs a muse and inspiration.

Sometimes though, I’m not entirely convinced these two opposites are actually opposing views at all. Let’s look at these statements in more detail.

1. A good writer doesn’t need a muse or inspiration. 

The way I understand this view is that it sees the muse as an excuse to not write. If your muse doesn’t manage to inspire you, it’s not your fault that you’re not writing. My thesis supervisor often says that inspiration is for amateurs. What writing really requires is a lot of work: sitting down and making writing happen, no matter what.

I don’t think this view sees writers as coming up with things to write out of thin air. The way I see it, something drives the writer to write – even professional writers who do commissioned work say that they need something to drive that project forward. There is something inside a writer that can only be released by writing. If there wasn’t, we might as well all give up. But we don’t give up, do we? No, because we have to write. 

2. A good writer needs a muse and inspiration. 

I feel that this view doesn’t allow slacking off either – at least not in the way I see it. Allowing yourself to feel inspired is one of the wonders of this world. I find it magical that an idea can descend upon me and compel me to write it. I’ve recently spent some time describing my inner muse to myself to make her more real. It’s like giving my mind a physical form. Writing is a lonely job, but not so much if I have my muse with me. (Talking to your muse is unlikely to make you seem more sane in other people’s eyes, but we wouldn’t be writing if we cared about other people’s opinions too much.)

Writers still have to do all that hard work, but what drives them forward has been given a name: The Muse. Inspiration. So you see, I agree with both views. I have my muse who I can battle with at times. I feel inspired and embrace what I think of as the spiritual aspect of writing. It doesn’t mean I don’t see writing as hard work. I sit in front of the computer until I can’t feel the chair under me anymore. I write even though the words don’t always come easily. Writing is hard work – even if your muse is by your side.

What do you think? What’s your muse like? Do you have one? Do you think writers need one? How do you see inspiration? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Merry Christmas to all my followers and occasional visitors! Enjoy your holiday – I hope it will be an inspirational one.

Love,
Aino.

Extreme Deadline: Halloween Edition, Part 3

Today I thought I’d share a quick update on my Halloween play project.

Right now, we’re in rehearsal. It’s been tricky, because our performance has changed locations a couple of times. We’re performing in a Halloween event, so the locations are dependent on their organisation. Our final place is better than the earlier one, but we have to change bits and pieces in order to be seen. There’s a huge solid bit of wall with a rail right in front of us, so all the sitting and lying down had to go.

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Photo from today's rehearsal. instagram.com/vaasanylioppilasteatteri

It’s interesting to see my imagination come to life on stage. While I had some idea of our resources during writing, it’s always a surprise to see how it looks. Also, this time it’s me solving all the “how do we show he’s dead without having him on the ground” -problems. Well, me and the co-director, of course. Our actors are also packed with ideas – luckily for us!

We still have a week to go before showtime. At this stage, we’re already perfecting details. Seeing my text performed always feels like a little miracle.

Love,
Aino.

A Love Letter to NaNoWriMo

I’ve known you for seven years now. We meet at least once a year, sometimes twice, but you need to know I never stop thinking about you. I miss you – Septembers and Februaries are the worst, and the months leading up to meeting you fill me with joy. The thought of not getting to meet you fills me with dread.

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Editing my Camp NaNo.

You’ve taught me so much about myself.
I feel complete when I’m with you. You make me a better writer with every meeting. You’ve inspired me to be brave and accept myself and my mind. You make sure I stick to schedule, because you know my procrastinating ways. You encourage me every step of the way because you believe in me.

You’ve changed my life.
Without you, I would’ve never succeeded like I have now. You’ve given me the courage to pursue my goals and take myself seriously. You’ve taught me about making mistakes and learning from them.

You make me laugh.
I just have the best time with you. You help me laugh at myself, and I get to laugh with you. Life is more fun when you’re around. All your amazing participants are the best at conversation and support.

You’ve changed my life and I can never thank you enough. I love you. Thank you for these amazing years, and I hope there are many more for us.

I love you, NaNoWriMo.

Love,
Aino.

Psst! NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a lover I want to share. November is almost here – go check out their website.

Extreme Deadline: Halloween Edition

Call me crazy, but I kind of like deadlines. They keep me focused and make sure that I get the work done. I’ve written some of my absolute best work when I’ve had an approaching deadline. It ensures that I stay on track and don’t stray too much. Basically, words get written with deadlines.

There is a itsy-bitsy ‘but’ to all this. I’ve yet again set myself a deadline that cannot be rescheduled.

The shocked writer upon realising a deadline is approaching.

The scared-stiff writer upon realising a deadline is approaching.

 

Last year, our student theatre produced a 45-minute series of horror stories for Halloween. The rehearsals took only two weeks and the whole thing came together really fast. In this way, people who can’t commit to longer projects still have a chance to get on stage. So this year, we want to do another Halloween special. We’re even participating in a larger Halloween event, so it will be absolutely awesome. Here’s the thing though:

We start rehearsals in two weeks, and we have two 10-minute stories to write. 

Talk about a writer’s horror story, right? Luckily, I’m working with another writer/director, who will write one story, while I write the other. The third one will be improvised with the cast. But right now, I have no idea what I’m doing. We made a basic outline of all three stories together, but the actual writing and the making-scary of one story is up to me now.

I have two weeks to write a horror story. I have very little knowledge on writing horror! Last year I wrote something scary because I had a scary nightmare and turned that into a play. I guess I just have to go with what makes me scared. I’m going to make it work.

But two weeks to write and rewrite and make sure it’s up to my standards… Quick projects like these maintain my agility in writing, but I hope I don’t lower my standards just because I have to create something in two weeks.

This is typical as well: Me panicking about the deadline and not doing anything, until it’s the absolute last moment. Then it works. It always does. I have to trust that.

What do you think about deadlines? Do you work better or worse when you have to deliver? What’s the worst deadline you’ve ever tackled? Share your story in the comments!

Just rambling and writer anxiousness tonight, so all the more love,
Aino.

Lost in Self-Reflection

My thesis is moving forward again, so here’s a short update on what’s going on.

So much reading to do, so many ideas to come up with.

So much reading to do, so many ideas to come up with.

Answering the obvious.

I had an appointment with my thesis supervisor to talk about my ideas. It was really helpful to go through my thoughts. The supervisor suggested theoretical reading and really encouraged me in my process. She did point out that I haven’t taken on the easiest of tasks. Because I want to study the process of devising a play, I need to adopt almost an anthropological data collection method. This type of theatre research is new to my university, because it is so linked to my interests, and therefore most of my possible obstacles will be new to my supervisor as well.

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The Pros and Cons of Collaborative Writing

I’ve recently taken part in several projects of collaborative writing. This method of writing is commonly used in theatre, and all of my experience comes from writing drama as well. However, I think similar experiences will occur in all forms of collaborative writing, whether it be drama, prose or even non-fiction.

Me and my friends at work on our most recent collaborative writing project. instagram.com/vaasanylioppilasteatteri

Me and my friends at work on our most recent collaborative writing project. instagram.com/vaasanylioppilasteatteri

THE PROS

Everyone can use their strengths.

The most beneficial side to writing in a group is that everyone is different. One is very skilled at writing believable dialogue, one can move the plot forward with ease, one is good at inventing new metaphors, etc. Each participant has their strengths that they bring to the table, and putting it all together will result in a work that carries all of these elements.

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