For those of you desperately wanting to know when Musings will be available, wait no longer! I am proud to announce that the official book publication date is June 20, 2014! Mark your calendars so that you can be prepared to journey through Musings in whatever way you prefer. That’s right, the book will be available in print and as an e-book in all the major formats (.mobi, .epub, .pdf, and more)! To help readers celebrate, I am releasing three e-book short stories at free or next-to-nothing prices starting next Friday, April 18th. Be ready and check the blog for announcements, because “Chosen Sacrifice” is coming your way just in time for Easter!
Now back to our regularly scheduled blog article: “Write in a Bubble, But Don’t Live in a Bubble.”
Writing itself is often very solitary. Most writers need a good amount of uninterrupted quiet time to build stories and solve problems. Granted, not every writer’s quiet time is exactly quiet. Many writers I know like to listen to music while they type away at a scene, and some even prefer to have the TV on in the background. I prefer listening to either soft movie soundtrack music or nothing at all. This way, other people’s lyrics don’t distract me from writing my own words. My best writing times are always in the mornings when the neighborhood is quiet and the phone is silent. Whether you prefer little or lots of background noise, your time with your story needs to be uninterrupted. Turn the phone off or leave it on silent in another room. Disconnect your computer’s internet connection so that you are not tempted to surf the web or check email. Your characters have been patiently waiting for you to continue their story and so they now deserve your full attention.
Because I am a natural introvert, I do very well with long periods away from other people. However, this is not always good. Every author needs the social recharge that comes from other people. Likewise every author needs to be recharged creatively. We may need to write in a bubble, but we don’t need live in a bubble. When I first became serious about writing, I tried for a time not to read any other stories besides my own. I made the mistake of thinking that I did not have the time to “waste” on other people’s books because I had my own. What I discovered; however, was that the longer I cloistered myself from others and their creativity, the less creativity I myself possessed. I have learned the hard way to strike a balance between my job, my writing, reading, gaming, exercise, housework, and goof-off time with others. As much as I love to shoot photography or write, I cannot do either all the time any more than I could hang out with my family or friends for all hours of the day and night. I need each facet of my life, but I also need breaks from each, too.
Find a balance between your writing and your recharge that works for you. Some writers need more social interaction and creative stimulus and some need less. Likewise each writer needs different kinds of social interaction and creative stimulus.
The concepts of writers needing different kinds of social interaction and creative stimulus spring from the different personality types that I will briefly explain here: sanguines, cholerics, melancholies, and phlegmatics. Sanguine and choleric personalities are usually extroverted, which means that they recharge by being around other people. Melancholies and phlegmatics are usually introverted, which means that they recharge by being away from other people. All personalities need a balance between being with or away from others, but each usually requires a different balance.
People who have sanguine personalities usually like to be the center of attention. They do well in the role of “the life of the party” because they require lots of direct contact with others to recharge themselves and use charisma and charm to get what they want from others. If others are not having a good time, the sanguine feels like a failure.
People who have choleric personalities are the born leaders and recharge either by leading other people through a project or task or by pushing through it themselves. The choleric loves a good challenge and is rarely afraid to hurt others’ feelings if it means that the job gets done. Cholerics can be seen as bossy or rude in stressful situations, but they are also some of the most logical and self-confident people you will ever meet.
People who have phlegmatic personalities are the peacemakers and relators of the world; the ones who sincerely care about how your day is going. They like social contact, but usually prefer their interactions with others to be on a fairly deep, one-on-one basis. In a group larger than three people, phlegmatics can become very shy and quiet. Of all of the personalities, phlegmatics are the most adaptable—taking on some of the traits from a different personality type depending on what others need. They are also the most stressed when dealing with direct confrontation.
Finally, the melancholy is the most introverted and the moodiest personality of the four. Melancholies tend to be extremely artistically and creatively gifted, but weak in interpersonal and social skills. They also tend to be very organized planners and stubborn perfectionists.
Of the four personalities, sanguines and phlegmatics tend to deal with other people more easily than cholerics or melancholies. Consequently, sanguines and phlegmatics are the personalities that deeply need to be around other people to relieve stress while cholerics and melancholies often need to be left alone.
Most people have two dominant personality types with one slightly stronger than the second. Mine is melancholy with a nice helping of phlegmatic on the side. This means that I need long stints of alone time with a few good helpings of small-group visits to keep me mentally healthy and balanced. It also means that I need as few distractions as possible when I write. Since I am naturally more alert in the mornings, I tend to do my best writing early in the day when distractions are limited and my focus is sharp. Finishing my daily word quota then helps keep me energized to continue hacking down the rest of my To-Do list to size.
Taking a personality test to find out which personality mold you most fit will really help you understand your needs as a writer and a person. It also will help you learn how to better relate with other people and to your characters. What writer wouldn’t want that! Once you determine your particular personality needs, you can take your writing to a whole new creative level.
Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia C. Cooke and/or Alycia Christine Sears at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!