Road Map to Writing Friendships // aka Always Bring Lots of Chai

Apparently, I’m in a writing mood, because this is the second post about writing in a month? Ahem, yes, I’m in a writing mood, I wrote 32,000 words on a brand new novel in less than 4 weeks.

Since I’m in this lovely writing mood, I’ll just run with it, ok? Glad you agree.

Writers work in stages. These stages come and go, and certain ones are more friendly than others.

If you’re friends with a writer, this post is your guide to navigating your friendship. When to show up, stay away, bring a cup of chai. (Always bring your writers a cup of chai, ok?)

Brand New Idea

This is a pretty exciting moment. The point when writers absolutely know they’re going to write a story. The ideas are foggy, the setting a jumble of the thoughts, the characters really vague.

But the story is hibernating in our vast minds somewhere. Be a good friend, and ask about the story. They may or may not be willing to share. Just show you care but don’t be pushy, ok?

At this point, we definitely have started writing our ideas down somewhere. Copyright protection, right?

Side note – Writers have many, many different book ideas. Lots of foggy ideas that may or may not turn into actual books.

Mulling

Ideas lead to mulling.
Mulling includes research. Not a great stage, because HEADACHE. Either the research goes GREAT or it’s terrible. No in-between.
Things just don’t line up, the facts aren’t what we need. (So create your own facts) Not as easy as it sounds. Because what if your facts break the laws of nature?

What if you need to write new laws of nature? Will any of this make sense? Am I just confusing myself more???

Also, don’t ask a writer about their story idea in this stage. Unless you’re planning on solving plot headaches. Then, come on over with your pen and paper.

Another warning – don’t look through our google search history.

The searches might scare you. Where can you stab someone in the chest and it not kill them?

Do mermaids eat raw fish? If you knock out a person, do their eyes close immediately? 

Eureka!

The mulling & hibernating all works out. This book is going to happen, there’s no major plot holes, and everything is perfect.
This is the point where I can sit down and write down 3 – 5 pages of plot. Glorious.

Interrupt this moment. We’ll celebrate with lots of coffee and ice-cream.

I will probably gush about my new plot, how everything ties together, how my characters are going to be so fantastic!

Don’t mention any potential problems you might, no questions allowed. Just fill up my coffee and tell me it sounds amazing.

Character Brain Freeze

I’m a bit of a plot heavy writer. My brain goes on these long loops, imagining battles and politics, and marriages, and cool things.

I love sketching out pages and pages of plot. Along with family trees and maps. Diagrams of the religious systems and governments.

The plot is all mapped out, everything that happens from point A to Z. But there’s one problem, I need to get my characters and readers from point A to Z.

A whole lot of emotion needs to happen along the way. Readers need to follow my characters emotional journey to make those decisions, otherwise the story will be choppy and weird.

Emotional character development? Tricky. Sheer torture. No Eureka moments. (Well, at least, not for me)

Roadblock

Alot of thinking. Introspective moments. Questioning everything about your story. Why am I even here? Is this book worth it? Will anyone read it?

Not a great stage.

Do bring your friend the writer a cup of chai tea at this stage. (As my dear friend did while I was drafting this blog post)

Some writers need encouragement, cheering, or just Mr. Darcy memes.

So, I might have a thing where I send Darcy memes back and forth with my best friend while we’re doing homework. It helps us get lots done, ok? 

Besides Darcy memes, most of the time, I just need time to think. Fresh air. The right music.

And please don’t ask about the book, right now? Or my homework. It’s going to get done, ok? 

Crying over Characters

After lots of brain freezes and struggling with the emotions of the story, you’ve reached this stage. Now, it’s officially time to cry. Because you’ve ruined your characters lives.
They’re emotionally developed, right? But you’ve just made yourself cry.

Is this a good stage? That depends. It makes your book better, but you just break your own heart. And everyone’s going to hate you. Why are you so cruel???

Oh, did I tell you, this is actually a good stage? Because once you know how to make people cry, you can really start writing. Now that people can connect you your characters, the plot will make more sense. You want to write the book so much more.

Because what’s the point of creating heartbreaking stories if people aren’t going to cry with you?

So friends, don’t worry if your neighborhood writer is ranting about a character. That’s a really good sign.

Zoning Out

Am I writing a novel? Oh, I forgot. I’ve been watching Netflix for the last couple days.

Of course, this book can write itself. But these Netflix shows can’t watch themselves.

Who cares about the writing schedule?

Oh, by the way, this is a good stage to join your neighborhood writer. They aren’t thinking about their book, so don’t bring it up. Just enjoy watching The Crown. And drinking hot chocolate and popping popcorn. Also, let’s make some Iced Chais.

Panicking

I NEED to write this book soon! Because if I don’t, it’ll never get written!

Also, I promised myself to write it in 3 months. And my deadline is only 11 weeks away! Now, I’m madly typing out 800 words a day.

DON’T walk in on a writer in this stage. Just let them be crazy. Also, make a pot of coffee to help us with those late nights spent writing. Thanks!

Looking for Inspiration

The story is falling flat? Maybe? You just need something? Some spice, some emotional twist, up the stakes, draw the reader back in. (And you need pulled back in, too)

Listen to spotify. Go on lots of walks. Search for character quotes. Draw your characters. Scroll through  Pinterest. Watch Lord of the Rings. Read Leigh Bardugo. Reread your plotting notes.

Talk to friends. Read blog posts. Write poetry.

This is a long stage. It’s perfectly acceptable to pop in and out of this writing stage.
In fact, this stage can happen multiple times. It’s more than mulling, more than zoning out. More like intentional searching.

Though once your neighborhood writer has found that spark, just step back. Let them madly type out words. (But do bring them chai tea. Because writers always need chai)

Mainly Write.

This is the sheer determination phase. It can happen at any moment in the writing process. 

You’ve found inspiration. The characters are all in your heart. Plot maps done.
Now all you need to do is write. And drink chai.

Just Keep writing. Fingers will ache. Eyes will burn. Your friend might miss the super bowl party. KEEP WRITING. Who watches the super bowl, anyway*

While writers might jump through all these phases, it’s so important to get back here. Keep writing.

Good things come to those who write.

So help your writers write. Make lots of coffee and chai. Don’t chat while they’re sitting at their computer. Cheer them on silently. And someday, they might let you read their book.

*does anyone else not care abut American football???

Is this semi-helpful? Maybe? Maybe not? If you’re not sure what stage your writer friend is in, just bring them a cup of hot chai. Always helpful. You’re welcome. 

Also, I kept switching back and forth between third and first person with this blog post. I can blame that on a variety of things.

A) It was too complicated to stay in one perspective. The words were fighting with me, ok? 

B) I couldn’t decide if this post was for writers or just friends of writers. Aren’t we all writers? 

C) My trip to Barcelona was confirmed today and my brain is a bit haywire. Because I’m going to Europe in 4 months!!!!

lets chat

Do you have a writing schedule? How many book ideas do you have? What inspires you to write?

Would you rather have chai or coffee?

Are you friends with a writer? Any words of wisdom for helping them out while they’re writing? 

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4 Comments

  1. January 24, 2018 / 10:11 am

    Me reading the whole posts *nodding in approval*

    I have so many book ideas but I now only focus on writing two of them. I don’t have a fixed blogging schedule but I’d love to have one tho. Still trying to find the best time for me to write.

    p/s: Can I have a hot cocoa instead. With a marshmallow on top lol.

    pps: Barcelona sounds fun!

    x Rasya | nurulrasya.com

    • Elizabeth Hunter
      Author
      January 24, 2018 / 4:14 pm

      Of course, let’s get you some hot cocoa! And marshmallows!
      I can only work on two writing projects at a time. I keep my other ideas written in a journal, but more than two projects and I’m too confused!

      And I’m so excited about Barcelona!!!

  2. January 25, 2018 / 1:18 am

    Those creepy searches really made me laugh 😀 I never think about that, but it must be true! How else would you find out about all those seemingly inconsequential details if not for searching. And then in the end you can’t tell if the person is a serial maniac, or just ah honest writer 😀

  3. January 25, 2018 / 6:19 pm

    Haha, the research questions.
    I don’t like coffee (but I love coffee and lots of sugar! AKA coffee ice cream), and I haven’t tried chai yet. So my answer is water- or almond milk!
    Reading good books inspires me to write because then I realize how cool it would be for my writing to cause someone else to get that feeling. What about you?
    Ahh, Barcelona! That’s so exciting. (There’s going to be a blog post about it, right?)

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