Did you know that Twitch has a tight-knit writing community?
I had no idea until just recently and I’ve been watching my favorite gamers stream on the platform for years.
A few weeks ago, I stumbled across an online article written by author and streamer Scott Wilson on the Writers Digest website that discussed how writers were using Twitch to connect with fans and other authors. It was eye-opening to see how many creative types used the platform that has, thus far, been the major hub for video game players.
Intrigued, I followed the links provided and introduced myself to several writers listed in the article.
The first stream I landed on was RabenWrites, a writer who was quick to engage me in the chat feature Twitch offers. I found out that the TWC (Twitch Writing Community) is happy to encourage others who wish to stream and not at all standoffish like I expected. RabenWrites, with his dulcet tones reminiscent of a young Bob Ross, answered my questions with grace, all the while mapping out his current writing project onscreen for my viewing pleasure.
I decided to give it a go and jumped headfirst into the streaming process. With my four-year old headset and ancient webcam, I set up a stream via Streamlabs OBS and went live. I shook the whole time, checking my viewer numbers with trepidation every few seconds and didn’t get much writing completed at all.
An hour into my stream, I was raided by AuthorBrianLou who flew into my stream with his paper-airplane wielding crew. My nerves went though the roof! I went from 1 viewer (my husband) to 11 and all were offering words of encouragement in my chat. It was exhilarating and from that moment on, I was hooked.
In the last few weeks, Brian has supported my attempts at streaming with thoughts on how to get my software communicating properly and ideas on how to push my performance anxiety out the window. I have never found another community who was so quick to embrace others in all my 40 years.
Other quality streamers I’ve found are TravisTavernTalk, BrenNailedIt, CoffeeQuills, and AshleyBPedigo, along with a myriad of others. They each have a different style and offer varying points of interest to the craft. If you are a writer and enjoy conversing with other creatives, please look these folks up. You won’t be disappointed.
Of course if you’d like to check out my stream and giggle at my learning curve, please do. If you get there by way of this article, I implore you to comment and introduce yourself. Even if you are nervous to make yourself known, I’d love to meet you–even if it’s via keyboard.
When you are prepared and ready for the creative process, wouldn’t you agree that’s when you get the highest quality output completed?
Imagine your house is dirty, your desk is covered in papers, you haven’t showered in awhile, and you’re hungry. You’ve given no thought to your creation in awhile and all of the sudden, you sit down and decide you want to write.
Yes, you’ll get some words on paper (or on computer in my case) but how much more productive would you be if you were clean, comfortable and nothing on your To-Do List weighed on your mind?
I’m currently in the second week of my Preptober. If you haven’t reviewed what I did in the first week of October to prep for NaNoWriMo, you can find that blog post here.
For the next seven days, I’ll be delving into my R&D chores for the upcoming 30 days of writing.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
It doesn’t matter if you’re a Planner, Pantser or Plantser (like me) at this stage. You have things to put in your research queue.
Planner – Get your outline on paper. Determine your structure and plot lines now in order to work out any kinks you may stumble across during the writing process. Flesh out your characters in detail. (Reedsy has a good character profile creation guide, btw.)
Plantser – Figure out your bare bones story structure. Imagine your characters and how they’ll fit together / work against each other. I use the Reedsy character guide linked above because I LOVE knowing the back stories of my characters before I start writing. Their language, expressions and actions jump onto the paper when I know my characters well.
Planner, Pantser, and Plantser – Research anything you’ll need to have inside knowledge about. Think about your characters and setting. Do you need more information about what your characters do for a living? What their hobbies are? What the weather is like in their environment? If you’re developing an entirely new world, create a map. Determine how magic/physics/etc works in your world. Figure this out now, rather than throwing something subpar together as you write.
For every novel I’ve written, I have a Pinterest board created. I pin photos that speak to me about the esthetics of the environment, the clothing worn by my characters, and even the interior of homes. I get a lot of fodder for my writing doing this.
I should have mentioned this in Week One but alas, I’m always late to the game when it comes to taking care of myself.
Vitamins – If you take vitamins and supplements on the regular, good for you! As a 39-year-old child, I’ve only recently started a daily regiment. Let me tell you, I can TOTALLY tell when I haven’t had my little pills. Do yourself a favor and start a vitamin plan if you don’t have one in play. Your doctor can help you to determine what is best for you at your age. I take a women’s one-a-day, Magnesium, and fish oil. My ability to think-on-the-fly and remember words skyrocketed after only taking them regularly for a week.
Meal Prepping – Make sure and generate a meal calendar for the month of November, especially if you are typically in charge of feeding your fam. If you have the option of delegating meals to your partner or roommate, great! If not, take some time to map out the food plan for next month so it’s one less stress on your plate. Choose meals that are quick, easy, and nutritious to keep you focused on your writing. I meal prep close to Halloween with stews, soups, chilis and casseroles, then put them in the deep freeze. One bag salad and an oven timer later, my tribe has a home-cooked meal that’s easy to clean up.
Exercise – Get your blood flowing with walks or cardio. There is nothing better than brainstorming your next piece of writing while you sweat! (I say this while drinking a glass of wine.) Seriously though, you’ll be doing a LOT of sitting in November and you’ll want to create a habit of movement for your in-between-writing breaks.
Announce your plans – Make sure your friends and family know what you will be undertaking throughout November. Explain to them how important it is that you get your alone time in order to create. That way, you don’t feel guilty about taking the time for yourself to create your labor of love.
CLEAN YOUR SPACE
Get your desk locked and loaded and ready for action. Now is the time to Marie Kondo your work station. Does the space bring you joy or do you feel confined and annoyed every time you sit down?
This week, go through your work area with a fine tooth comb. Toss any old papers and remove any debris that does not stimulate your creativity. Dust! Clean your monitor(s)! Make sure you have everything you need nearby in order to write, write, write!
I keep a few things on hand at all times:
Music or white noise – I have a Spotify playlist of instrumentals that keeps me focused on forward movement and blocks out anything that may be happening in my home that would sway me from my word goal.
Big ol’ tank of water. Literally a tank. I am part camel.
Notepad and pen – This helps me to quickly make note of something I want to check out later. When I stop in the middle of my writing to research something, I lose momentum every time.
Photos of my main characters – I use Google to find photos that resemble the characters I’ve created in my head. I’m not sure how much it helps but I like having them nearby.
Comfortable seating – This is super important. Make sure you have a supportive chair that will keep you aligned throughout the month of November. There’s nothing worse than getting sore from a poorly constructed chair.
I’d love to hear what you do during Preptober that helps you accomplish your goals during NaNoWriMo.
Feel free to join me on Facebook or leave a comment down below. I can’t wait to meet you and cheer you on throughout your writing process.
For the first seven days of Preptober, I create a structured plan that will help me not only to prepare for NaNoWriMo but the remainder of October as well.
During this first week I:
Determine what project to devote to NaNoWriMo – In my last post, I hadn’t decided what I would be using for this year’s 30 days of writing. I was wavering between the three choices of:
a brand new project
my unfinished works that had the highest word count
my most favorite unfinished works (I went with this choice, btw)
Create a NaNoWriMo Binder/Project Folder – Before Scrivener, I kept a physical binder for all of my notes, research, character creation, and thoughts. I still keep a notebook by my bed so I can immediately jot down something I think of before hitting the sack or upon waking. Use this month to take as many notes as possible. Bring your world to life.
Create a GOAL SHEET – I have a tendency to veer off track of my goal mid-November. My propensity for proofreading as I write slows me down and I lose momentum easily. Having a goal sheet, one situated next to my desk that I can physically look at, allows me to combat some of my known creativity killers.
Break down your word goals into chunks – Look at your calendar for November and take note of any time you know you won’t be able to write. For example, I’m going camping November 20-24. It’s a huge chunk of time where I won’t be in front of my computer. It’s not normal camping where I can sit around a fire and write, either. The hubs and I have a giant four-day event planned where we will be in the woods hitting other nerds with sticks. (I’m a LARPer. Don’t judge.) That being said, I’ve had to set my daily word goal higher so I compensate for those lost days.
Get to know your genre – If you are writing in a brand new genre, take this time to curate a few highly rated novels or short stories in the genre. If you’ve written in this genre before, take a look at some of the recently published reads. What did the author do that excited you about the story? What would you have done differently? Were there any surprises that you wouldn’t have thought of? Did the novel/story keep you from putting it down? If so, what made it so readable? What were shared aspects of every story? How can you incorporate those aspects into your writing?
Get to know your story – If you are rewriting or continuing a WIP, take this time to reread what you currently have. If you are starting from scratch, use this week to imagine the setting of your story. When your characters go about their daily lives, what do they see? What do they smell? Imagine a normal day in the life of your main character from waking until going to sleep. Immerse yourself in your imagination.
Sign up on the NaNoWriMo website if needed or update any information on your current account – Are any of your friends joining you for NaNoWriMo? Add them as buddies to help each other stay accountable.
It’s time to get excited about your writing. Lay the framework down now so when November 1 rolls around, all you have to do is put fingers to keyboard (or pen to paper). Please like my Facebook page to share your adventures in writing and keep track of my progress. I’d love to meet you!