Tag Archives: writers block

Hobbies for Your Characters – Writers’ Resources

Just as a quirk can make your character more interesting, so can their hobbies! Having a hobby gives your character something to do, whether they stumble into the craft shop and discover a murderer or build model planes while discussing their crumbing marriage. What hobbies would you add?

  • fishkeeping/aquarist
  • cross-stitching
  • knitting
  • crocheting
  • painting (oil, acrylic, watercolor)
  • spelunking
  • reading
  • playing a musical instrument
  • cryptozoology (Big Foot, anyone?)
  • history buff
  • volunteering (there are more ideas on this here)
  • hiking
  • kayaking
  • swimming
  • fishing
  • hunting
  • poetry
  • diving
  • sailing
  • sci-fi conventions
  • historical reenactment
  • crystals (either as a rock collector or in a New Age sense)
  • antiquing
  • tarot cards
  • bicycling
  • cooking or baking
  • scrapbooking
  • gardening
  • making fishing lures
  • writing
  • traveling (by boat, plane, bicycle, motorcycle, etc)
  • martial arts
  • running
  • crafts
  • playing billiards/pool
  • watching football
  • collecting (stamps, figurines, spoons, shot glasses, etc.)
  • surfing
  • sailing
  • photography
  • horseback riding
  • parasailing
  • skydiving
  • origami
  • mountain climbing
  • golf
  • gambling
  • skateboarding
  • chess
  • yoga
  • blogging
  • flipping houses
  • tie dye
  • pottery

I’ll continue to add to this list, so feel free to check back! Also take a peek at the other information on my Writers’ Resources page!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.


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Filed under On Writing, writers resources

As Long as You’re Writing…A Note to Myself

It’s not always easy to write.  For me, lately, it’s been pretty hard.  I’m constantly distracted (thank you, Internet).  Or tired.  Or I have other things I feel I should be taking care of.  Or I’m just not feeling it.

It’s difficult to find a moment of silence when you have a full house and you work from home.  It’s sometimes impossible to drown out the sound of my kids fighting right behind me or playing around with various car crash sounds on the keyboard.

And I fully admit I get frustrated when I can’t find the time to write.  It seems like I shouldn’t have to fight so hard to get past the mom-and-wife stuff just to get a few words on the page.  You know what I mean.  You’ve felt it, too.

But that’s when you have to make a fresh cup of coffee, grab your headphones, blow the cat hair off your computer, and just go for it.  Even if it’s not what you were supposed to be writing.   Maybe you should be working on a freelance job or your next great novel, but you just aren’t feeling it at all.  It’s okay.  Even if it’s something that doesn’t turn out the way you wanted and you’ll erase it later (or the cat will).  As long as you’re writing, it’s okay.

Not even kidding about the cat hair thing…

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Filed under On Writing

Getting Past Writer’s Block

There’s nothing worse than sitting down to write, only to find that your brain doesn’t want to cooperate.  Your pen is hovering above the paper or your fingers above the keys, poised and ready to create, but nothing seems to be working.

We’re all familiar with writer’s block.  There is a lot of advice out there about how to get past it, but this is what has worked for me:

Writer’s Block

-Change how you put words on paper.  I know this sounds overly simplistic, but I find that it really helps.  I can type pretty darn fast, but that doesn’t do me any good when there’s nothing to write! That’s when I turn to writing by hand.  You could also get a new pen (always inspiring, I think), draw out the story, record your thoughts on a voice recorder, or even switch computers.

-Freewriting.  Oftentimes, we get stopped in our creative writing process by the worry of whether or not the outcome will be good enough.  We pick at ourselves about the arrangement of our words and what sort of emotions they’ll exude in the readers.  But freewriting is just as freeing as it sounds.  Write without the intent of ever showing anyone.  You can burn or erase your work later if you want to.  Just write whatever comes to mind, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with your story or article.  Sometimes, I even write questions and answers about the story as I go.

-Shower.  We all know the muse lives in the showerhead.  Besides, writers have a rep for being disheveled and a little dirty, so let’s use this tool to find our inspiration and dispel the rumor simultaneously.

-Quit trying.  What?  Just stop writing?  Well, yeah!  Obviously, you can only stop for so long or else you’ll never write again.  But a really bad case of writer’s block is sometimes best served by taking a step back.  Take a walk, go read a book, or wash the dishes.  After a little while, your characters just might start talking to you again!

-Schedule your writing time.  I read this little nugget of advice about five years ago. The idea is that your brain gets used to the time frame you start using the creative parts of it, and having a routine makes things a little easier.  In my own experience, this turned out to be true!  I always get my best work done in the morning.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Filed under On Writing

A Salute to the Failed Blog Posts

I can’t even begin to tell you how many ideas I have for blog posts that never make it onto this page.  And the rough drafts are endless.  There’s no telling if even this will earn the honored status of “Posted.”

I’ve started to write reviews of movies that I’ve seen, but then I forget about them and they become irrelevant.  Or I feel as though I’m not doing a good job of reviewing a book because I don’t feel like picking apart every literary element of it.  Sometimes, I just like a book.  It really can be that simple.

Sometimes, I have really great ideas.  Epiphanies, even.  These undoubtedly occur while I’m in the shower, or driving, or cleaning dog poop out of the yard, or any other situation where I just can’t drop what I’m doing and write it down.  Or I make the mistake of thinking I’ll remember it.  You’d think I would learn from that mistake, but I haven’t yet.

Perhaps the worse attempts are when I think I have a good idea, but it all just melts into sophomoric mush when it hits the screen.  A topic that sounds truly amazing, like it could really be something special, comes out wooden and dull.  Bluh.

So here’s to the failed blog posts.  Here’s to the bad ideas, the good ideas gone wrong, the half-ass reviews, the drafts that just never get finished, and the ideas that simply get forgotten.  Because without them, the good posts wouldn’t be nearly so good.



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Filed under Blogging, On Writing

Writer’s Log, NaNoWriMo, Day 20

I long for those days at the beginning of the month when my inspiration was high and my fingers were a blur over the keyboard. I rejoiced every evening as I updated my word count on the NaNoWriMo website, and it told me I would actually be done before December. It motivated me to return to my word processor and annoy my husband with the constant clack of the keys. (It didn’t really annoy him. I don’t think. I mean, he comments sometimes on how fast I’m typing, but I think he’s being supportive. Right?)

Now, as the middle of the month has come and gone and my word count has gone stagnant, I feel that I might have marooned myself in NaNo land. I took a few days off, ostensibly because I had a wisdom tooth pulled, and surely that’s reason enough for any sane person to set the laptop down for a bit and do some Netflix binging. People do it for less.

But the writing experts aren’t lying when they say you should keep a steady writing habit. I do this most of the time, and I really do feel that it keeps the creative juices flowing. It might also keep my mind churning with awesome story ideas when I’m supposed to be sleeping, but that’s a side effect I must endure.

My short sabbatical has turned into an entire week. A week! One quarter of the month has been lost to days of only eating soft foods, a tiny bit of freelance editing, and a few (okay, several) spontaneous naps on the couch.

This is why, even though I absolutely DO NOT feel like writing, I’m doing it anyway (and my husband is asking me why my clickety-clacking is going so slowly tonight). I might not be writing anything important or particularly creative, but there are words appearing on my screen right now. And I’ll take what I can get.

Writer's Block

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Summer Writing…or Lack Thereof

Hello.  My name is Ashley O’Melia, and it has been at least three weeks since my last writing session.  You know why?  Summer break.  Oh, it isn’t a break for me, not by a long shot.  No, summer break means my kids are home all the time to ask for snacks, fight with each other, and basically keep me thoroughly distracted.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my kids and I love spending time with them.  Cereal in the living room while we have a My Little Pony marathon on a Wednesday morning?  Well, who could resist that?  Spontaneously deciding to bake chocolate chip cookies on a Thursday afternoon?  Heck yeah!  But all of this means that my writing schedule has been thoroughly, utterly blown off course.  And I NEED a schedule.

So after far too many days of floating along and promising myself I would do it tomorrow, I finally sat down at my computer this afternoon to write.  I edited the first chapter of my most recent novel.  I hated it.  I attempted to write a funny and poignant blog post.  It was humorless and pointless.  I did some freewriting.  I usually do this on my laptop because my brain can’t keep up with my typing speed.  I didn’t even save it.

So here’s to another writing session tomorrow (hopefully).  Here’s to finding the time to take for myself and write all the horrific drivel possible in the space of an hour, just to get it out of my system and dig back down to the good stuff.  Here’s to that moment when my brain says, “Oh, so THAT’S what you wanted me to do? Okay, cool.”  Here’s to recognizing and appreciating that moment when it happens, whether I’m at my desk, squashed under a pile of children on the couch, or hiding in the basement.  Here’s to summer writing.

Portrait of romantic young woman writing in a diary lying down over the grass. Relax outdoor time concept.


Filed under Family, On Writing, Parenting