Monday, January 30, 2017


This month, I had trouble deciding what to write about. When you’re close to 500 blog posts, and you do frequent guest spots on other blogs, sometimes that happens. So I thought maybe we’d go back to the beginning, a little bit. This week, I’m going to be talking about some things that you shouldn’t be doing, as a writer.

Yeah, this month is for writers.


Don’t Write in Snippets

What’s a snippet? It’s a little bitty piece. I usually define snippet writing as spending only five minutes on your craft at a time, or by writing on your phone or small electronic device, because usually this means writing a lot less than you would be on paper or on a computer.

Now, I want to preface this by saying that there’s nothing wrong with snippets. Really. I write a lot of snippets here and there, and some of them actually make it into my work. But the thing is, they shouldn’t be your primary form of writing.

Usually, when we come up with a good snippet, when we finally sit down to write we end up struggling to fit this supposed nugget of gold into the work. And a lot of the time, the work suffers for it. We force things to make our nugget beautifully work within the piece we’re constructing, when all along, the piece didn’t want this nugget to begin with.

About eighty percent of the time, in my experience, this is what happens. And about ninety percent of the time, I end up having to cut those snippets out, when I’m in the editing phase.

Who wants to do that?

They’re hard to work into a story, hard to fit together, and often don’t go anywhere at all within any given story. They can be a good starting point, but they should not be the primary form of our writing. We shouldn’t be depending on nuggets of gold to get our writing to the place where even we think it’s readable.

If that’s all we’re doing, then we’re doing it wrong.

Our whole work needs to be readable, needs to be to the point that people will want to read the whole text and not just skim for those snippets, those nuggets. We need to focus on the text as a whole, and not just on these little bits.

And yes, that means you’re going to have to spend a little more time on your craft. But you know what? You should probably be doing that anyway.


{Rani Divine}

Friday, January 27, 2017


By now we know well that creatives tend toward the introverted side of things. We just do. It’s strange, sometimes, just how introverted we are. But sometimes that introvertedness can be our downfall, the thing that prevents us from doing what we should be doing. We talked about it a little bit on Wednesday, but it goes deeper than that, as well.

And that depth, my friends, is where my final suggestion comes in.

Go on an Adventure

Vacate your life, go somewhere, do something you wouldn’t normally do.

I know, it sounds terrifying, doesn’t it? I thought so too, until I did it. Last year, as most of you know, I got to go to Europe with my mother. It was my first trip out of the country, and it was hers too (unless you count Canada, but when you live in Minnesota it doesn’t really seem like another country).

It was a trip completely unlike anything I’d ever done before, full of new experiences that have honestly changed me. I’m better able to talk to people, to make myself do things I wouldn’t normally do.

But there’re a few big things that this can help with, when it comes to creativity.

When you go somewhere and do something new, you can easily get some new ideas for things your characters can do. Maybe you’ll see a new profession, or get a better idea of what it really is that your characters do for a living. Or perhaps you’ll find some new inspiration for your painting, your sculptures.

By going out like this, we get a better and firmer understanding of the world as a whole. It helps to understand what’s really going on in our characters’ minds. It helps us to really see and feel what our landscapes should look like, to truly understand the truths of texture. And it helps us to become newer and more interesting versions of ourselves. Strange as it may sound, it’s true.

Since we got back from Europe, I’ve felt more creative than ever. I have ideas crammed into my head, so many things I want to write about, paint, and draw. And I honestly feel that it’ll be the same for you, if you have your own adventure.

Even if it’s not going to Europe, even if it’s just going to a state you’ve never been to before, have yourself an adventure. We all need them, now and again.

We really do.

Stay tuned for next month’s topic, to be announced on Monday!


{Rani Divine}

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Introverts unite! …separately, and in your own homes.

How many times have I read that, and how many times have I agreed with it? That’s the thing about being a creative. We tend toward introversion, toward staying by ourselves and doing all the things that we need or want to do. Especially when those creative juices are flowing, sometimes it’s easier to just be alone.

But sometimes, that can have the exact opposite affect than we hoped.

Experience Life

We creatives often spend far too much time inside, and we forget there’s a real world out there. We do our work, we keep our heads down, and we create. It’s what we like to do, how we prefer to spend our time, and so it’s how we do life.

Trouble is, for a lot of us, it can be impeding our creativity. Especially writers, and even portrait artists. Our work thrives on knowing people, on seeing them for what they really are. But if we never leave our homes, if we never see people, how would we ever know anything about them? How could we possibly hope to continue in our craft, never expanding our repertoire?

Truth be told, we can’t.

So, if you want to stay creative, and keep creating, get out of the house. Don’t forget that there’s a real world out there, to go and have some real experiences. Go make some friends, go do some things that aren’t generally considered creative.

I honestly believe that it’ll help you to be more creative, when the time comes.

As I’ve said before in this series, art imitates life. It always has, and it always will. But if you want your work to truly stand out, you need to understand life—from every aspect, even the ones you’re not fond of. Perhaps especially those.

For you writers out there, please remember that your characters are not all like you, and that they’re not all the same. They are all unique, and they all need to have their own quirks. But you need to know some quirks, if you’re going to write them.

And for you painters, you artists, remember that no two trees look exactly the same, that no two people are identical—even the twins. But how would you be able to depict them properly, if you haven’t been out in the world to see them?

So go out, my friends. Explore the world. Have a life.

Too many of us don’t.


{Rani D.}