“Writing” is just another word for “fun”…

Do you write as a form of therapy? Are you seeking to be published? Or do you simply have a story you want to get out for a few friends and family members to read? No matter what your ultimate goal, there’s no reason you can’t have fun working toward it. Despite the frustration of a computer crashing and eating your work (save often and in multiple locations!), the agony of trying to find the perfect word to describe your scene (or of finding a way to rewrite a sentence so you don’t have to use a word you don’t know the meaning of or can’t spell), or a deadline you know you’re going to miss, writing can and should be fun. We fiction authors in particular are creating whole new worlds where the rules can be bent to our wills, and you can’t tell me that doesn’t give you … Keep reading!

It takes a village…

Have you ever felt like you’re going at it alone? It’s not a pleasant feeling. People are naturally social beings, and I think everyone wants to have a sense of belonging, even those few who adamantly declare they want nothing to do with others. As an author, you should want to reach out to other writers for a variety of reasons. One reason is that every writer struggles at some time or another with writer’s block. To be able to share that fact with someone else can reassure us that we are not the only one faced with this malady. The funny thing is that if you describe what you’re trying to do and where you have gotten stuck, someone else may be able to offer a suggestion that will click in your mind and get you back on track. Another reason is that a more seasoned author may have … Keep reading!

A good stretch…

I don’t look like a runner, so you might be surprised to find out that I enjoy running. However, if there is one crucial element to running that I have often neglected, it is stretching. When it comes to exercise, stretching is vitally important in the prevention of injury. Maybe the link between exercise and writing is a bit tenuous, but stretching is also something good for authors to incorporate in their practice. My favorite genres of fiction are science-fiction and fantasy. I do not require in-depth background for either type of book, nor do I find it necessary to have fully developed political, religious, or other structures when I read. As long as the action is plausible based on the events that transpire, I’m happy. But sometimes I think that leads me to neglect the potential depth in my own writing. I read somewhere that when James Michner would … Keep reading!

Intentional writing…

So, at the risk of sounding contradictory to an earlier post, when you sit down to write, you should do so with intent. This means, at least in part, to have some set goals for your daily writing (emphasis on daily, because you should still be going at it each day). This could be a specific word count, finishing a chapter, or completing or reworking a particular scene. Here again is where a daily planner and/or a to-do list can be quite helpful. Actually, if you have the space, one of those month-at-a-time desk calendars or even a 12-month dry-erase calendar might be a great addition to your workspace. Not only could you write your individual goal(s) for each day, you could also use it as a visual aid by putting a line through each day that passes in which you have reached your goal(s). This article gives a little … Keep reading!

Writers should be readers…

One tip I’ve heard over and over is that if you want to write in a particular style, you should read authors who write in that style. Not, of course, to exactly duplicate their work, because if that’s all you’re doing, you’re really not all that necessary to the writing world. I mean, do we really need two Michael Crichtons, Terry Brooks, Robert Jordans, or whichever author you happen to enjoy? But reading the books that are out there gives you a sense of how those books are put together. If you want to write an epic fantasy novel, I highly recommend The Lord of the Rings trilogy. For the multi-generational, sweeping historical fiction, James Michner has a wealth of novels that should give you some ideas. Or if your story is meant to reflect more classical literature, then you would do well to dust off those old tomes on … Keep reading!

The only word that doesn’t count…

Here’s a quote I found: “The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” I’ve had a lot of dreams, dreams that I could possibly have even fulfilled, but they never materialized because I didn’t take the time to pursue them. It’s been the same with my writing. Have you ever sat down to write and spent your entire time figuring out what to write without actually writing anything? That’s happened to me more times than I can count, and it’s frustrating, to say the least. I think part of my problem is a little bit of OCD, a desire to write something perfectly the first time so I don’t have to change it in the editing process. The trouble is, that mindset often keeps me from finishing the projects I start. There is a process to it all, and obviously a part of that process is putting words … Keep reading!

Are you prepared?

The Boy Scout motto is “Be prepared.” Whether you’re camping in the wilderness, running errands in town, or doing anything in between, preparedness is important. In case you haven’t figured it out, this applies to writing, too. One of the biggest frustrations I find in my own writing is not having everything right where I need it. Nothing takes away from your writing time and adds to your frustration quite like having to get your things together after you’ve already sat down to get to work. I’ve sometimes spent ten or fifteen minutes sitting down, standing back up, and running all over the house because I didn’t have my laptop desk, notebook, pencil, cup of coffee, or something else I wanted on hand. Then, by the time I have everything in place, I find that I’ve either lost my motivation or something has popped up that needs my attention. Depending … Keep reading!

The most important things…

Everyone has priorities, and the things we accomplish reflect those priorities. There are lots of things I would like to do. Now that we have a house with basement and garage space, I would like to be able to do some woodworking, be it carving, making furniture, or other general puttering around. I would also like to finally learn how to play more on the guitar than three or four chords and be able to actually accompany other musicians. I have for years wanted to learn how to read and even speak biblical Greek. And, of course, I want to be a published author. These things are in addition to many other hobbies and interests I would be glad to pursue, but I can’t do everything, at least, not if I want to do any of these things well. I am also easily distracted. It’s not difficult at all for … Keep reading!