Tag Archives: time

Summer, Sunny Days, and Schedules

This year my critique group set up an editorial calendar for our group blog and then, we followed through for our individual blogs. That was helpful while it lasted. Since the calendar ran out (oops), I have returned to the drawing board and come up with a new one. I have commitments for most of the summer at Novel Clique’s blog so some weeks this post will merely redirect to Novel Clique. I’m looking forward to a summer of blogging double duty. No, seriously. Which definitely puts me in the seriously twisted category. The new editorial calendar for Write On:

Date

Write On

Novel Clique

Topic

5.16.13

X

 

New Editorial Calendar

5.23.13

X

 

Living the Writer’s Life

5.30.13

X

 

Conventions, Classes, Degrees, Oh, My!

6.5.13

X

 

Insecure Writer Post

6.19.13

 

X

Pacing: What Film Shows Us

6.27.13

X

 

Facing a Character Uprising: Whip and Chair, Please.

7.3.13

 

X

Blog Chain

7.4.13

X

 

Insecure Writer Post

7.10.13

 

X

How NOT to Critique (Warning: Sarcasm Intentional)

7.17.13

 

X

How TO Critique

7.24.13

 

X

How to Behave as a Professional Writer

8.7.13

 

X

Newbie Mistakes

8.7.13

X

 

Insecure Writer

8.21.13

 

X

Novel Editing Tips

8.28.13

 

X

Blog Chain ALL

9.4.13

 

X

Blog Chain ALL

9.11.13

 

X

Conquering Queries

9.18.13

 

X

Letter to Editor/Agent

 Hope everyone has plans for an amazing summer!

My summer companions

My summer companions

 

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Blog Chain – Write Space

Natasha posed this question:

Where do you write? Is it quiet? Do you like to listen to music? Do write at home or away? What gets you in the mood?

My bedroom has a bay window, lots of sunlight and privacy. It also has a Victorian chair and ottoman. My treadmill is close by in case I need to pound out frustration. Also, close at hand are my writing books. The ones I use most frequently at any rate. I teach, consequently, I’m used to noise. What I’ve discovered over the years is that I need some noise when I write. What works best is to suit the noise to what I’m writing. Rock and rap work well for my YA pieces but I use more easy listening or pop for adult pieces. If I’m writing a piece with a slow tempo, I put on jazz or the blues. Classical music with a dramatic flair spurs the writing of a suspenseful scene. Matching the music to a character helps me to stay in a character’s head. One of my characters is a huge Patsy Cline fan. When I hear her music, Ramie begins to talk in my head.

If I’m having difficulty getting in the zone, it is helpful to get away from the house. I’ve gone to the mall and watched people or the boats and checked out the behavior of those who gambled and the people who work at the casinos. Studying people will bring characters to life for me faster than reading a book, watching a movie, or a host of other pastimes. Of course, when I’m creatively blocked, any suggestion is a good one.

Check out Marsha’s blog for her suggestions.

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Unhappiness

Nancy Pickard and Lynn Lott

A hero of mine, Nancy Pickard, co-authored a book called Seven Steps on the Writer’s Path. I’m reading it for the second time because like most writers I’ve hit a rock in the path, and I need guidance. According to the book, I’m at the unhappiness stage. Little overachiever that I am, I’m taking this one over the top.

I’m not unhappy; I’m flat-out miserable. No good reasons. Unless you count, multiple rejections balanced against only a second place win in a query contest, or my inability in the face of teaching six days a week to produce even the most mundane of drivel. Be thankful, I tell myself that you’re producing anything at all. At least you’re not blocked. Really? The only difference between a blocked writer and me is that they’ve acknowledged it. I’m in full denial and thus, keep plugging away at my drivel.

It’s been several years since I read it so it’s like reading it for the first time. The chapter threw me an epiphany with one line: “Unhappiness, to one degree or another, is where all creativity begins.” My YA novel is in revisions and by that I mean constant revisions, and I’m sick and tired of it. So, I’m taking a break while it is making the rounds and decided to start another one.

Unhappiness and creativity. I’m not quite to the newlywed phase of a work. Currently, it’s just scattered scenes with the characters as I get to know them. Which is why I’m still unhappy. I could stop. Quit. I tell myself that every day. Yet, I don’t. And I don’t perceive a time when I will. Because writing and the misery that accompanies it are as essential to me as eating right and exercising. Of course, when I’m in the zone, I don’t eat right or eat period sometimes. And my exercising becomes manic. I pound the treadmill because it opens up the doors of my creativity.

I highly recommend this book to every writer. Not only because it will validate every stage of the creative process but because it will remind you that for the pain and agony of the hard times, there is a wonderful place you will eventually arrive at. In that place, rejections are just slips of paper, and every word you write is a win.

Are you “unhappy” in your writing?

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My Kingdom for an Admin.

I teach full time so my writing time is “precious and few” as the old song goes. When I’m whiling away at teaching, I’m thinking of all the things I want to be doing with my writing. And yet, when that time comes and I sit down, something stands in my way. It isn’t writer’s block. It’s panic. I know I have so little time that I fear I can accomplish nothing and thus I don’t.

When I’m hit by these times, I often turn to the one thing that is always a burden because it has to be done and yet, it is so time consuming: submitting. I allot two hours on a Saturday afternoon to research markets and submit a minimum of 3-4 stories before I sit down to write. Unfortunately, even with the tools available to writers today – Duotrope I LOVE you! – it is a black hole of time. My two hours becomes four easily and the four stories becomes two. And writing time? None left because it’s time to cook dinner.

What every writer needs is an admin or administrative assistant. Someone with more analytical skills than them who sees structure and organization as positives not tools of torture. A writer friend of mine sets up alerts to tell her of pending contest deadlines. But she still misses them. That’s what we do. Writers can’t be bothered with that date setting, time keeping stuff. We need to be free to wield the pen practicing our craft daily without the worry of administrative hoo-ha. So, man. Where can I get me an admin? Is there a lottery for that? If so, I want as many tickets as my teaching allowance will buy. One.

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