Help, I’m stuck on the page! — 10 Tips to Get Your Pen Moving Again~

1) Breathe!  Slowly, deeply, it’s all okay and normal and you will be fine, truly. (And repeat.) 2) Put the story structure info away—in a drawer, in a trash can, in a virtual trash can—and don’t look at it again. When it causes anxiety it is no longer useful. Shred any piece of paper that tells you that there are rules for writing a novel. 3) Know that finishing is difficult for your creative self (and mine and everyone’s!). Resistance can swell a bit when the end of a draft (or even “almost-draft”) nears. 4) Know that you are the …

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ALL PLAY, NO PRESSURE

This November, National Novel Writing Month, offers the perfect opportunity to test out a new idea for a novel. After all, you can benefit from the energy of thousands of other writers. Just knowing so many people are sitting down to write every day can give you juice. If you decide to jump in, I suggest you make it fun. If you’ve been laboring on a novel for months or years (and it’s not flowing to completion), try setting it aside and working with a fresh idea, character, concept. You’ve got nothing to lose and you might discover new things …

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Shunning the Muse

I’m writing on a deadline these days and, consequently, I’m short on time to blog. However, I do have time to share some of my favorite quotes from incredible writers, editors, and teachers. This one from A Writer’s Time by Kenneth Atchity: “I haven’t mentioned the Muse, the mythic word for “inspiration.” She is the last person you want to depend on. Professional writers generally speak of her with a mixture of affection and tolerance: Discipline, not the Muse, results in productivity. If you write only when she beckons, your writing is not yours at all. If you write according …

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2010~mind on the hop

Welcome to 2010 and your mind on the hop! “It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.” ~Vita Sackville-West

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National Novel Writing Month –NOW!

It’s day four of National Novel Writing Month and if you’re participating you should be 6,666 words into your first draft by the end of today! If you’ve missed the scoop, the goal is to write 50,000 words/175 pages of a first draft in one month–November. The folks at NaNoWriMo say the focus in on output. And I have to remind even very experienced writers that first draft is not about polish, it’s about finding the bones of your story. Good bones. Strong bones. Bones that can keep on through draft two and draft three and carry your story to …

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PAGE BY PAGE

My daughter announced today that she’s making a 3,000-page book. The word count will be light but it will have scads of pictures. She’s five years old. She asked me to contribute a drawing. When I complied, she added finishing touches. And then she marked off three more pages. “I’m doing four pages a day,” she said, placing her palm firmly over the rest of her notebook. “Why four?” I asked. “Because that’s just enough,” she said. “You’re right,” I said. “When will it be done?”  “Soon,” she said.  I don’t doubt her for a moment. If you’re writing a 300-page book, …

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A REASON NOT TO WRITE

Recently a writer shared a list of all the reasons why she needed to wait until winter to begin her new writing schedule. I read it over, paused a moment, and responded, “There will always be reasons not to write.”   Those times when life seems most overwhelming–when it comes rolling straight at us full-tilt–present some of the richest challenges and also opportunities. No better time to be writing with full commitment to your practice. A writing life is just that, a writing life. It goes on, whether times are smooth or filled with upheaval. When you feel tested, I …

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