Posts Tagged "writing tips"

Friday Focus: Thinking Counts as Writing

Posted by on Jun 28, 2013 in Writer Tips & Tools | 0 comments

One of the writers in my check in group commented on not making her goals last week and said she spend a good chunk of time thinking about her story and asked, tongue-in-cheek: “Doesn’t that count?” But we all know it does. In our productive, results-oriented society, the process of doing something often gets lost or isn’t valued because there’s no tangible evidence that it actually happened. But thinking through a scene, brainstorming a plot, having our character explore different emotions–all without putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard–is a valuable and necessary part of the process. Some of my best writing is done when I’m walking or running or yes–even lounging by the pool. I’m relaxed, outside, and the thoughts begin to come. I’ve worked out many a problem in my story on a walk and then, because I have a brain like a sieve, I write down the best stuff or, if I’m not near a notebook or computer, I repeat it over and over so I don’t forget it before I can actually write it down (sigh). Thinking, planning, brainstorming are all valuable parts of the writing process and when you spend an hour stretched out on the couch or walking the neighborhood working out a particular part of your story, celebrate that progress you’ve made. It absolutely counts! Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new...

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Friday Focus: Does Setting Your Own Deadlines Work?

Posted by on May 17, 2013 in Writer Tips & Tools | 0 comments

Many writers say they work better on a deadline, whether it’s a contract deadline, an agent excited about their next book, or a contest. All of those are external forces pushing us to complete a project by a certain time. But what about setting our own deadlines. Are they as motivating? For me the answer is sometimes and sometimes not. Right now I’m trying to finish my Fact of Life #31 e-story to time it with the start of my GoodReads giveaway of autographed paperbacks on May 24. I’m highly motivated because I’ve said in the giveaway that the story is available. Of course, the contest doesn’t start for another week so conceivably I could change the contest text before it goes out. But I don’t want to. I want to finish the story and have it ready. So I’m writing like crazy, which is a good thing. Setting mini-goals I’ve found that the best way for me to reach a goal is to set mini-goals along the way. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you’ll know this because I’ve talked about it in previous posts. If I want to have the story available on May 24, that means I have to write it, revise, finalize the cover that my son is designing, format it for different devices and e-readers and get the links on my site. So, my deadlines look like this. May 20-21: Finish final revisions May 22: polish – get final cover May 23: Format versions Time the Deadline with an Event Another deadline tip that has worked for me in the past is to time it before a big event – a holiday, vacation, the arrival of guests – something where I know I’m not going to be able to do much, if any, writing. If you’re like me, you’ll be looking forward to that event and won’t want the writing you didn’t do hanging over your head…so you’ll get it done. If you have other tips or tricks you use to meet a self-imposed deadline, share them! Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new...

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3 Tips for Diving Back into Your Manuscript

Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Writer Tips & Tools | 0 comments

When I’ve had a few days (or more) go by without working on my book, I sometimes have trouble getting back into it. I write about this topic a lot because I always get a lot of questions about it in my classes and also because it’s always good to remind myself when I need some help. Re-read the last thing you wrote. But only go back a page or two so you aren’t spending all of your time “catching up.” This usually jump starts me enough that I can start writing the next section. Or, even better, read the last page or two the night before you plan to write so it’s fresh in your mind and you can dive right into that scene or page the next day. Brainstorm a scene you are particularly excited about. It may or may not be in chronological order, but pick a scene you’ve been dying to work on and begin writing it. When I do this, I get excited about the book and that spills over into all of my scenes (though in reality, we should be excited about ALL of our scenes, at least in varying degrees. If we aren’t, there may be something wrong with them <g>) Make a note to remind yourself where you left off. I usually know when I won’t be able to get back to a manuscript for a day or two, but even if I think I will start up again the next day, I now make a short note where I left off with some direction on where I’m going. For example, I might say, “Sheridan confronts her mother about walking out.” This is even better because I’ve indicated a scene that will have inherent conflict – not only something I love to write, but is usually easier to write. Reminder to self: Conflict or tension should be present in every scene at some level. What strategies do you use to get yourself back into a manuscript after some time has passed? Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new...

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Friday Focus: Is Your Writing a Priority?

Posted by on Apr 26, 2013 in Writer Tips & Tools | 0 comments

Making time to write. Protecting your time. Getting motivated. These are recurring themes for writers and recurring themes for me. If you are a long time reader of my blogs, you’ll know that this theme pops every so often in different forms. Why? Because talking about it, reminding myself, helps me re-invigorate my own writing. My guess is that you may need that nudge as often as I do. Today I’m focusing on where writing falls on my priority list. For the last 3-4 weeks, it’s been close to the bottom as preparation for classes, presentations, other speaking engagements, and email have taken precedence. I led an intensive with two wonderful writers at the SCBWI Dakotas conference two weeks ago and we talked about this. It’s the “I’ll just do this first…” syndrome, whether it’s answering “a few” e-mails, preparing for a talk, doing the laundry… But how often do you finish that one thing, only to start another? Pretty soon our day is gone and we haven’t written anything. Errrrr. Now granted, some of us can’t seem to calm down and focus unless our environment is mellow/neat/clean around us. I’ll be talking about creating a writing space for yourself in the next Friday Focus. In the meantime, rather than say I must write first thing before anything else, I’ve looked at my calendar for next week and carved out 30-90 minute time slots that are now scheduled for writing. My goal is to treat those just like any other appointment and when the time comes, I will show up and write. How about you? Is writing a priority for you? What do you do to make it a priority? Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new...

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Writing Workout (literally)

Posted by on Apr 25, 2013 in Writer Tips & Tools | 0 comments

Recently I was reading a fitness magazine and one of the articles mentioned that even if you exercise, sitting for long periods of time can wreak havoc on your health, including wiping out the benefits of that run or spin class you took that morning (and affecting how well your metabolism works) – egads! For someone who worked hard to lose 20 pounds last spring, this was not good news. I exercise regularly and do my writing and most of my work on a computer so that means LOTS of sitting. I was bummed that all of my hard work might be slowed down because of how much sitting I do the rest of the day. After reading the article, I took the author’s advice and have a timer set so that every hour I get up and move around for 5-10 minutes. Sometimes I stretch, sometimes I jog in place, take a walk or go deal with other things in my house (I’m lucky enough to work from home) – clean something, do some laundry, take things that belong upstairs down and downstairs up so I get some exercise on the stairs. I know some people who stand at a counter to work and others who sit on a therapy or fitness ball, which forces you to use muscles to stay balanced. Bonus Benefits Time to Write. I haven’t been doing this very long, but one thing I noticed is that setting a timer created an automatic “writing time” for me. This was my time! My hour! Or maybe more if I had scheduled more time that day. Mulling Moments. The break also gives me time to process my project. If I was in the middle of a scene, I keep thinking about it as I walk around or stretch, sometimes trying out different outcomes. Though I do have to confess that if I’m really involved in what I’m writing, I will ignore the timer until I’m finished with the scene or chapter and then I get up and move. Fresh Approaches. It also made me feel like I was approaching the work fresh – but not so fresh that I’d forgotten what I was doing, which can happen when days go by before I’m writing again. So, get a writing workout routine! It will be better for your health and could improve your stories. Let me know what you do to break up stretches of writing or work time that you spend in a chair. Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new...

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