How Your Learning Style Can Help Your Writing Process

Students from Fasi Moi Afi Government primary school take part in a class activity. Part of the refurbishment of Fasi Moi Afi school was funded by AusAID.
(photo from dfataustralianaid on Flickr)

I have a secret. I hear dead people…OK so maybe it hasn’t gotten that far, but I DO hear things sometimes. It can be my characters talking to me or something more sinister, but what both have taught me is that I’m primarily an auditory person.

 

Do you remember those little tests they gave you in school? They had nothing to do with your schoolwork, but how you did it.

 

What I learned from those was that I’m an auditory learner. I’m stubborn though because I’m only now putting this information to good use and especially for my writing. I’ve been aware for awhile now that I have trouble visualizing. I discovered by accident while listening to music, a little trick that helps me visualize better. I was playing music and my characters popped into my head, but instead of speaking, they started to act out scenes as though they were in a movie. Thinking about it, the signs have been there for years, but you know how that tale goes. If you have trouble visualizing your world or characters, then here are some tips for you based on your learning style.

 

 

Find your learning style.

The first step is to find your learning style. Here is my favorite Self-Assessment Learning Style Quiz from Education Planner.

What’s your style

There are three primary types

  • Visual learners learn best by sight.
  • Auditory  learners learn best by hearing
  • Tactile learners learn best by touch

Tips

So what does this mean for the senses?

If you’re a visual learner then your best friend will probably be a mood board or a storyboard.

If you are an auditory learner, then you can make a playlist setting the mood for your story or characters.

If you are a tactile learner, then you can act out your scenes that you have in mind so you can visualize better.

 

It might take some time, but finding a method that works with your learning style and for your writing process will help if like me you have trouble visualizing. For instance, I like to have index cards nearby so I can write out my ideas while the music plays.

What about you? What’s your learning style? How do you like to write?

I Love…Love?

Every writer worth their salt has heard that old adage: write what you love. Right? I know I have. So then why did it take me this long to listen to that saying?

A quick scroll through my reviews either here or on Goodreads and you might see that I have a boner for historical romances. I attribute this to the fact that my first romance ever was one. I’ve always loved the past, though. I used to live for when my grandma would tell me stories of her childhood in the 40s. I didn’t, of course, know that it was exactly the 40s at that point in my life, but I knew it was a long time ago!

The novel that I had been working on, while I liked it, was a contemporary. I like contemporary stories, don’t get me wrong, but part of the allure of historical books for me are that they allow me to get lost in another world. I especially like imaging that the stories actually happened. Maybe an Emperor of Rome did fall in love with the peasant girl? Ha.

I’ve been fighting my impulses to write historical books though and especially romances for two main reasons:

  1. Historical stories involve WAY more research than contemporary
  2. I want to be a ‘serious’ writer and ‘serious’ writers don’t write romance apparently

Regarding the first one that’s no excuse for me because I love to research. It’s one of my favorite activities regardless of whether I’m doing it for writing or not. So I don’t know what I was thinking.

The second though has caused me to go back and forth on whether or not I wanted to write a romance novel. Anyone can tell you I love the genre. Hell, I will tell anyone that will listen that I love the genre. I don’t care who knows it, but I have this desire for my work to be taken seriously. Over these past few years, while I didn’t stop writing about love per se, I focused more of the negative aspects of love because that’s somehow more worthy of inspection than the good traits of it. Personally, I think both are worthy of writing about. I love writing about love! In all its various forms.

So I think my goal will be over the coming months will be to reconcile my need to be taken seriously and my need to write what I love…will I make it? I think so. I usually do.

My Love

I was on the Absolute Write Forums reading about Writer’s block. While I haven’t been suffering writer’s block per se, I have been sort of jammed. I couldn’t make any progress on a novel I’ve been planning and the last novel I had been writing (When Chloe Met Jordana) is sitting unfinished on my hard drive.

So I read a post about looking over your old work. I was skeptical at first as I so often am, but I took a chance and I’m actually excited about writing again! The thread is Unstuck or How to Unfuzz a Brain by stormie.

For me personally, it reminded me of the basic reasons of why I write. Because I love it. Because I have this compulsion to tell stories. I’ve been focusing so much on publishing that it has derailed my passion for the craft/art.

I wrote in my journal that I want this year to focus on my art. I just want to write without worrying about how I’m going to sell my work. It just makes me frustrated. First, I need to finish the work right?

Can’t Have It All: On HFNs

Photo by Gulan Bollsay on Flickr
Photo by Gulan Bollsay on Flickr

I’ve been thinking about how to turn my love of romance novels and the love story in general and my need to explore the dark side of humanity into something that I, and hopefully others, would like to read. How would one go about doing that?

I know that there is such a term as ‘dark romance’ and I have read a few of them, but it’s not something I’m really interested in writing. I feel like the genre takes dark impulses in every human being and amplifies them  to the point where it’s monstrous and that is not necessarily what I am looking to write at this time.

I suppose I want to write about the messy side of love. I read a lot of romance novels and they all get tied up neatly or the HEA if you will. Thinking about it there is the HFN label. I haven’t explored that sub-category (?) yet. I think that will be next reading assignment.

 

What about you? Do you have problems with the romance genre? Are they any HFN (Happy for Now) romance novels you’d like to recommend this merry reader?