Monday, February 28, 2011

Making Habits

Novel blogging.

The beauty of novel blogging--even if you are the only one who reads it, is that it forces you to think about novel writing. The more regular you are about updating your blog, the more you consider the study of novel-writing, learning to develop your stories to novel length, and actually working on your WIP.

Even if you have only a few minutes a day to devote to your study of novel writing, to actually put words to paper, do it. Make it a part of your daily routine. When it becomes a daily habit, stretch a bit further. Instead of 10 or 15 minutes,write for half an hour.

What I have found is that when I become involved with my writing, I forget everything around me. When I look at the clock, I can scarcely believe how much time has passed.

But too many interruptions and distractions occur that break concentration, even if you have an office in your home. It seems that when you work from home people don't think you're working. And perhaps you begin to think they are right. You feel guilty about taking the time for yourself when someone else needs assistance. Maybe you were raised that thinking of yourself and your needs is selfishness and a cardinal sin.

Set your writing time. Mark it in your day planner in ink--essentially, in stone--and keep that appointment as you would keep an appointment with your doctor, your accountant or any other professional.

If writing at home doesn't work out, go to the local library, a cafe, or even McDonald's,perhaps the park. And don't stop or leave until you have written everything you wanted to get written at this sitting. Make it a habit.

The more you write and meet your goals and make your daily habits, the better you will feel about yourself because your productivity goes up, you hone your writing and editing skills and get closer to the goals.

Let me know how this works for you.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Don't give up!

A writing colleague at an online writing group posted that after 14 acceptances of articles he had written, he had received two rejections and was giving up.


I told him all writers experience rejection. (Actually, several of us did.) It’s sometimes (often?) a matter of getting hooked up with the right market, the right editor. In doing our homework we should check the writer’s guidelines to see what they are looking for and how we can adapt our work to fit their market.

My husband is fond of saying, “Writing comes easy to you.”

Well, yes. Yes, it does. The words tumble from somewhere inside of me, flow through the pen in my hand to fill the blanks on the writing pad in front of me. BUT (and there is a but) the hard work is making those words into what a potential editor wants to read.

Sometimes I get very discouraged as I try to focus on one WIP (“work in progress,” for newbies who don’t know what that term means) because something causes me to have a sort of epiphany about another WIP that must be written right then or be forgotten forever. It is usually a crucial scene.

Sometimes I think I will never complete a novel. Other times I think there will be several novels released in rapid succession as I complete them close together.

One of my projects is a novella. It will be for a specific market, designated as eBook and will be 10,000 to 15,000 words. I believe it’s a new market by a long-time publisher. Several years ago I was selling 8,000 word romance stories to True Romance magazine. (Editor Pat Vitullo, where are you?) If I could write 8K word stories for True Romance, I can write 10K to 15K novellas for this eBook market that just happens to be within my reading and writing interests. It feels like the perfect fit! So, I am encouraged, motivated and enthusiastic. AND writing. :D

I’m pretty sure Stephen King, in his book On Writing, mentioned the spike in his office on which he impaled all of his rejections…maybe enough to paper a room? That point is irrelevant. The point is, all writers receive rejection letters. But we shouldn’t take it too hard. Get the piece back in the mail. Maybe re-read it and see if there are any changes you’d like to make, but don’t hold onto it too long. Send it out anyway, and get to work on the next story, whether it is a novel, novella or short story or a non-fiction article or book.

Someone, a local businessman, once told me, the person who fails is the one who gave up too soon.

DON’T GIVE UP!!! Even if nobody else believes in you, YOU need to believe in YOU! Persistence and determination are the key.

Now, what are you writing today?

Monday, February 07, 2011

Doubts aside

There are times (like yesterday) when I ask myself what EVER gave me the idea that I can write anything anyone wants to read; times when I am tired of working, over and over, on the same group of words. At those times I want to get up and walk away. But something drives me to keep my behind glued to my chair. And in retaliation my brain messages that maybe I should put this story aside and work on something else. It’s just another ploy to impede my writing progress. Next trick, become so bored my eyelids get heavy and want to close. Then I read a part of the story:

Thick, brown hair tumbled around Seth Smith’s shoulders. He wasn’t old, but he’d lived hard for too long. Nervous energy kept him moving. He couldn’t sit still even for a few minutes. He appeared not to focus on anything, but Kate knew he was taking in everything around them. He thrust his hands into the front pockets of his jeans. Then he pulled them back out and crossed his arms, his legs bearing his evenly distributed weight. Although he appeared to be looking at her, she knew he was looking past her.


“Not a good idea for us to talk here.” He shifted to one leg.

“You suggested it.” They stood on the dock watching coal barges move up and down the river. The spring festival had a good crowd. “Want to walk?”

He set off. Kate had to double-step to keep up with his stride.

“You trust Snead?” he asked.

The question startled her. She hadn’t thought ever to question the director. “Is there some reason why I shouldn’t?”

Seth shrugged. “What about Ambrose Aisling?”


They walked on, eyes ahead, ears sharp. Either Seth was paranoid or there were eyes on them.

“Carlos Menz.”

There were reasons for listing this who’s who. She’d been pondering the same.

“Talk to me, Seth.”

He stopped and looked dead-on at her. “I’m not sure I can trust you.”

“You know me, Seth. Have you ever known me to betray the team?”

He shook his head.

“Women are disappearing. Someone has to make it stop. That’s my job.”

“Honey, I have to check my car for bombs before I touch it. I have a post office box so mail can’t get to my house unless I take it there. My wife and I got a divorce so she and the kids are safe. I don’t even know where they are.”

What could she say? She’d told Snead it was time for her to get out of the business. She wanted children, and the clock on that was running out. Focus. This man was strong. Stacked conspiracies were his forte. She didn’t want to end up like him…

It may not be Robert Ludlum, but it has potential. How can I quit, walk away, and never dabble in words again. “Dabble?” That’s a problem. I don’t want to “dabble.” I want to delve into it, a serious endeavor.
All the years I was raising my children I kept telling myself I would get my turn when the children were grown.
It’s my turn.
Why would I want to waste it?