J. E. H U N T E R

A writer of young adult fiction specializing in self-publishing, creativity, and writing.

Hi All! Welcome to this week’s weekly creative writing photo prompt! I hope to give you a bit of inspiration to start your creative day, whatever that may involve, be it creative writing, journaling, drawing, painting, or even just something to think about.

You discover that the only way out of the forest is by walking in the river. You can’t step out of it if you want to escape. You step in, how does it feel? What lies around the bend? What challenges do you face on your way to freedom? Set a timer and write for ten minutes.

Sometimes to get anything done, I need to work fast. Not everyone has the same writing process, so take everything I’m writing here with a big of flexibility. A lot of my writing process is internal. I go for long walks, I drink coffee and stare out the window, I cook dinner and think about the problems or road blocks I’m facing in my books. Sometimes I write stuff down. I journal. And finally when I get to that point where I’m ready to write, and sometimes even when I’m not, I force my butt in my writing chair, navigate to the Google Timer website, and set a timer.

Sometimes using a timer means I don’t need quite as much coffee.

This is especially important when it comes to NaNoWriMo, that one time of year where I make myself write 50,000 words in a month. Because yes, I can handle one month of crazy creative productivity, and then take the remaining eleven months at a much more reasonable pace (especially when I have a busy day job.

Google timer, which you can find here is easy to use because I’m already working on my computer. Some people try to avoid the internet when writing, but I’ll admit that I don’t. I like to have the internet hand to research something that catches my interest, or something I want to know just a little bit more about, or, even more importantly, to find that word that is right on the tip of my tongue. I do try to avoid my cell phone though, which also has a timer. Because my cell phone has apps that are easy-access doorways to the world of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. So, avoid phone, but Google Time for me is okay.

If you’re just starting, maybe just start with 5 minutes. Be sure you are ready to type something—anything—the minute you press start. Begin moving your fingers and don’t let them stop. Even if you begin writing things that sound terrible or maybe don’t make a lot of sense. Just get the words out. See how many you can do in 5 minutes. Just don’t stop!

When the timer beeps (believe me, you can’t miss it), stop writing, but only if you’re not on a roll. Sometimes I find I’ve actually got going really good and I just keep working. So, whenever you can, stop and check your word count, see how many words you’ve written. Keep track. Can you beat your records?

Most days, I do my writing in 20 minute intervals because that is the limit of both my fingers and my ability to sit still. In those twenty minutes (if they’re a good twenty minutes), I write about 1,200 words. In those twenty minutes (if they’re a bad twenty minutes), I write about 800 words. And, if I’m writing by hand as I sometime do, I think I average about 500 words. Either way, I find using a timer greatly increases my productivity. It literally puts me on the clock, and if there’s one thing I like, it’s a deadline.

Do you writer under the pressure of a timer?

JEH

Hi All! Welcome to this week’s weekly creative writing photo prompt! I hope to give you a bit of inspiration to start your creative day, whatever that may involve, be it creative writing, journaling, drawing, painting, or even just something to think about.

You get lost in the woods, and arrive at this little clearing beside a lake. It looks like the best place you’ve seen to take shelter for hours. You settle in. How does it feel? Name each tree, what makes them different? Set a timer, writer for ten minutes.

So it begins again! Another year, another NaNoWriMo! This year, completing NaNo is pretty important to me, because it’s just about the only way I get a big body of work done when I’m working a full time job. Last year, during my full-time writing life, completing NaNo was a breeze. I had 6 hours a day to write 1,647 words, which, if you do the math, is only 274.5 words an hour. Completely doable for me, even if I’m writing by hand.

This year, as I’m writing and holding down a very busy full-time job, I have maybe about an hour every day to squeeze out those same 1,647 words. But yet, it is only an hour a day. So a bit less sleep, a bit less cruising around on my phone, and certainly less Netflix. But it is only 1 month of my life, and writing another novel to tell a story that I love is definitely worth it!

Working away on NaNo. I’ve got a fan!

So what am I working on for NaNo 2021? This month I’m aiming to finishing up with the drafts for the rest of The Gemology Saga, which I began with By Sapphire Light. If you haven’t read that one yet, you should, because it’s amazing. It’s out-wide now, which means you can find By Sapphire Light on for Kindle, Kobo, or whatever e-reading app you use. One day I will get around to doing the print copy. But I just haven’t had time for that. And, as a self-published author, I find that the majority of my sales are in e-books. Let’s be real, most people who want a paperback go to the bookstore where they can hold it in their hands first. I know I certainly do. But either way, I am going to do a paperback, once I find all that fabled time that is.

I know I’m a bit late in posting my traditional NaNo post, so I’m just going to let that speak to how busy I am. I’m also currently behind on my NaNo word count by one day, which means I’m 1,647 words short. The goods news is the weekend is just around the corner and I have a bucketful of candy bar bribes from halloween. So—all in all—I know I can do this! I can do this, because I want to do this! And as long as I keep that in mind, I know I’ll get to the end!

Are you doing NaNo this year? How are you planning to meet your goals?

JEH

Hi All! Welcome to this week’s weekly creative writing photo prompt! I hope to give you a bit of inspiration to start your creative day, whatever that may involve, be it creative writing, journaling, drawing, painting, or even just something to think about.

Do you see the frog? Describe how it is hidden in the forest. This frog is a forest guardian. What does he see? What is he going to do about it?

Set a timer. Write for five minutes

Hi All! Welcome to this week’s weekly creative writing photo prompt! I hope to give you a bit of inspiration to start your creative day, whatever that may involve, be it creative writing, journaling, drawing, painting, or even just something to think about.

You character is on a journey with three others. They must climb to the top of this waterfall. They cannot go into the woods because of poison spores that will kill them. Present the character’s discussion as they plan, then attempt, to climb this waterfall.

Set a time and write for ten minutes.

Hi All! Welcome to this week’s weekly creative writing photo prompt! I hope to give you a bit of inspiration to start your creative day, whatever that may involve, be it creative writing, journaling, drawing, painting, or even just something to think about.

Start outward, describe the scene, working toward the pot. Then focus on the pot. What is inside? Who is waiting for it?

Set a timer, write for five minutes.

Hi All! Welcome to this week’s weekly creative writing photo prompt! I hope to give you a bit of inspiration to start your creative day, whatever that may involve, be it creative writing, journaling, drawing, painting, or even just something to think about.

These are your character’s initials.

  1. Think of an extremely unique name.
  2. These initials are followed by a prophecy. What does the prophecy say?
  3. Your character did not write their initials here. Nor the prophecy. How do they react and what do they do next?

Set a timer and write for ten minutes.

Hi All! Welcome to this week’s weekly creative writing photo prompt! I hope to give you a bit of inspiration to start your creative day, whatever that may involve, be it creative writing, journaling, drawing, painting, or even just something to think about.

Imagine you or your character are standing at this viewpoint. You see someone down in the river who appears to be in trouble. What do you/your character do? Set a timer and write for five minutes.

Missed last weeks prompt? You can find it here.

Hi All! Today I’m here to give you the previously mentioned promised update on how I’m living my creative life. There have been a lot of changes recently, which have all been planned for, but which create discord none-the-less.

Last year, I was lucky enough to have funding, savings, and time to take a year off from the regular office-life work-life and be my own boss for a full year. I spent that year mostly working on a literary novel project that I’m still fiddling around with. To be honest, my year of being a full-time writer wasn’t everything I’d hoped and expected it would be, mostly due to the Coronavirus pandemic. I’d hope that during my full-time writing year I’d be able to still meet face-to-face with my writing group, go out to cafés and spend mornings writing, visit regularly with friends and family, but thanks to restrictions and the virus, I spent a lot more time isolated in my home office than I really wanted.

Enjoying the last of my summer time full-time writing life.

I know some writers would have absolutely loved this. But I guess I’m not quite as introverted as I thought, and I really missed having coworkers. That’s why I was glad to get back to a real office this September. Knowing that I was heading back to a corporate job meant rushing to focus in on writing projects and get more stuff done this summer. And also to focus in on reading some books. Because what tends to suffer most when I have a full-time corporate job is my reading and writing time. So naturally, one of the first things to get pushed to the side was this blog.

Now that I’m settled back into the office life (and happy to have a regular paycheque again), I’m trying to squeeze out a bit of time for blogging. I’m also working on writing books 2 and 3 of The Gemology Saga. The first book, By Sapphire Light, I released earlier this year. I was hoping to have already finished both book 2 and 3, but my literary book project took a lot more time and energy than I’d planned for. But I’m glad I did it and pushed myself to do that project, because I do love it, even though I worry it’s not quite right yet.

I think you still have a lot of work to do here…

So why not continuing being a full-time writer forever, you ask? Well, the number one answer to that question is money. While I make some money from writing, my writing earnings are far from my six-figure corporate earnings (which also come with plenty of benefits). But this past year has also taught me it’s about stimulation. What I lacked most of all when I was at home writing everyday by myself (in a world locked in by coronavirus), was that I wasn’t stimulated enough. I am not a high-energy individual (at least compared to a lot of people I know), but I do have at least medium energy, and that energy needs new interests and challenges. I find it much easier to work 8 hours a day at my corporate job where I have last-minute items constantly thrown at me, challenges that need to be thought out and overcome, and that’s very different than the slower-pace of writing challenges that I sometimes need to think over for days or weeks (or maybe I just let myself have this much time when I shouldn’t). I used to think that I absolutely, 100% wanted to be a full-time writer. But now I know I don’t. But I do, however, also know I don’t want to be an absolutely, 100%, corporate employee forever either. Which is why I have my own “unconventional” work-life plan, which is to currently take term positions, help companies out when they need someone to fill a shorter-term vacancy (such as a year-long maternity leave), and in between my corporate stints, to take some 100% dedicated time for writing.

So, for now, that’s where I’m at: transitioning once more into part-time writer. I have a long list of projects I want to get to, and a lot less time to complete them in, but already I’m feeling like I’m making better use of my time. And for now, I think I’ll leave it at that. But don’t worry, I have plenty more posts planned about building a creative life that works for you.

Cheers! JEH