Thinking About Becoming A Writer? There’s No Better Time Then Right Now!!

 

Becoming A Writer

This week I downloaded a book about starting a “worm farm.” Yep, you read that right. I purchased an e-book focusing on the topic of designing, constructing, and running a farm that raises worms.

Isn’t that great ??

I think I can hear you right through the Internet going, “ewww. Why the hell would anyone be interested in that?”  And the answer is that here in Kansas there are literally dozens of “underground” worm-fighting rings popping up across the state and I am interested is breeding little, wiggling champions.

Okay. Okay. That’s not entirely true. I have only ever seen one worm fight in my life – and I’m not quite sure they weren’t just mating. But the point is that I was looking for a book that was specifically targeting the subject of raising worms and I was able to find not just one, but several different books about worm farming when I searched Amazon.

Let’s face it, a whole lot has changed in the last few years brought on by new innovations in technology. And nowhere has that caused a bigger disruption than in the areas of writing and publishing.

Continue reading “Thinking About Becoming A Writer? There’s No Better Time Then Right Now!!”

6 Elements to Becoming a More Productive Writer

 

It’s hard to be a writer. I find that writers, myself included, are in a constant state of personal disappointment over their writing. For some strange reason, we writers – both new and veteran alike – have this misguided belief that anything and everything we write should be outstanding, worthy of a bestseller.

But because perfection is unattainable, we constantly seem to be engaged in a battle of self-doubt. We often sabotage our writing by doing things contrary to our goals and then feeling despair that the words are not perfect in the first draft.

Let me ask you – is there ANYTHING in your life that you were good at right off the bat? Were you an expert pianist the first time you sat at the keys? Could you run a marathon without ever having spent one second training or conditioning? Well if this is you Rainman, then don’t waste anymore of your super-human time reading any further. You’ve got Jeopardy to win. But, for the other 99.9% of you out there, the problem with your writing is not that you have no aptitude for it, but that you are probably approaching it incorrectly.

What follows are six elements that I have discovered which will help you to become a bit more productive the next time you sit down to write.

Continue reading “6 Elements to Becoming a More Productive Writer”

Novel Revising: The Art of Letting Go

rewritingpic2“This just isn’t working.”

I had already suspected that my recent novel, one that I had been working on for the last six months, had a problem – or more specifically – problems. After spending hours and hours within the spaces of the story, I was concerned that I had lost my impartiality. So when I decided ask my editor her opinion on the subject, I was hoping for a very detached and frank perspective.

No, I wouldn’t have minded if she had said “You have an immediate bestseller and I’d want to buy it right now,” but that wasn’t the answer I received. Instead, what she told me loud and clear was that what I had managed to produce amounted to a big, hot mess.

Damnitt!!

Continue reading “Novel Revising: The Art of Letting Go”

3 Reasons Why You Need To Write Every Day

 

3 Reasons To Write GraphicWhen people ask about my writing habits and hear that I write every day, they sometimes say, “Oh, I could never do that.” They say this like it’s a choice, but really it’s something that I have come to rely on.

Writing, for me, is something I must do. It’s funny because there are other things, like going to the gym or even taking the time to cook dinner (carry-out is a writer’s best resource), that I will often just brush off.

But writing – that’s something that I ALWAYS make time for. Otherwise, I just don’t feel like myself. This wasn’t always the case. I wasn’t born with pencil in hand, scribbling stories on a notebook before I could barely speak. It’s something that formed over years and years and it really didn’t manifest itself until my college years.

Like anything, writing is a habit. But now, years after that first time of forcing myself to sit down at my desk and write, the discipline of attacking the blank page feels a little less intimidating. I think it’s like anything you work at over time – a confidence begins to emerge after constant repetition.

All habits are this way. You can’t play a musical instrument the first down you sit down with it, music requires time. It’s that first time that is the always the most difficult. But each subsequent experience becomes easier and easier. The effort it takes to begin decreases as your muscle memory takes over. It starts to feel natural, soon, even effortless.

But why should you even care in the first place about whether you need to write every day or not? Does anyone really care? Does the world need one more blog post and more Facebook notification? Maybe not. But contrary to what “the world” may believe, I still rely on this habit of writing daily.

Writing every day doesn’t just make you a better writer. It makes you a better person. Here’s why and how it works.

Continue reading “3 Reasons Why You Need To Write Every Day”

6 Ways To Add Some Conflict Into Your Story

When you find your story starting to lag – throw in a problem

Story Conflicts

So you’ve started writing your story but there are parts that are starting to drag a little. Most times the proper course of action is to simply cut them out altogether. But in reality, it’s often very difficult to make slashes.
You’re certain that these slow points are important and could form the foundation for your entire plot. You believe in your heart that these elements merely need to be refocused or reworked and that cutting them out is wrong. Luckily, there’s an alternative. Let conflict come to the rescue.
Conflict is what makes a story entertaining. If you add the proper elements to your slow points, they won’t be slow any longer.

Here’s six ways to spice things up:

Continue reading “6 Ways To Add Some Conflict Into Your Story”

The Art Of Writing – When You Really Couldn’t Give A Crap

frustrated writer

In a perfect world, I’d begin my writing day in some weird Disney-esque world where I’d happily wake up after nine hours of blissful sleep, with little birds chirping as music played in the background. Awaiting me would be a perfectly brewed cup of coffee and freshly baked muffins tickling my nose, the newspaper fresh off the driveway, and there would not be one meeting or work appointment scheduled to disturb me.

Just a  pleasantly cold, snowy day where I could just sit at my desk hearing nothing but the sound of the crackling fireplace behind me.

Ideally, I’d have a clearly formed idea along with a solid outline so that I knew EXACTLY where I was headed.  Oh, and a passionate attitude to accompany several unbroken hours to write.

While I’m at it, I would also like to have no family obligations, no holiday distractions, no phone calls or emails, and a Dictaphone app that could ACTUALLY transcribe my voice onto the page without it’s crappy auto-correct always trying to anticipate what it was that I am trying to say, instead of what I actually did say.

BUT THAT JUST ISN’T MY REALITY!!

Continue reading “The Art Of Writing – When You Really Couldn’t Give A Crap”

5 Story Fixes – For When Your Stuck In The Middle Of Nowhere

 

middle-of-nowhere
Well we’ve just passed the middle of November and for all of you out there participating in National Novel Writing Month you should be somewhere around the middle of your novel.

First – Congratulations to you – all of you.

The fact that you have made it this far puts you in a entirely different category from the “commoners”, and you should be proud of your accomplishment. You might not necessarily be happy with the 25,000 words you have written (writers seldom are), but trust me you’re doing great.

What’s that you say?

You aren’t anywhere near that 25,000 to 30,000 word mark? In fact you’re telling me that you’ve spent the last few days staring at your screen, sacrificing thesauruses on the alter of your writing desk just to appease the writing gods?  You mean you’re stuck trying to figure out what’s next?

Well, I’m here to tell you – it’s okay!

Being a writer is kind of like being an inventor. You start when that killer idea pops into your head. That one thing that you know people out there are just dying to get their hands on. You’ve developed a basic design, you’ve set up your workspace, you have all the tools you’re going to need to construct this masterpiece at the ready, and then you begin building your prototype.

Only, shortly into the build, you suddenly hit an issue you never anticipated. How is this do-hicky ever going to fit with in that thing-a-ma-bob. It’s something you didn’t anticipate and now you find yourself struggling to move forward.

Talk to any inventor or creative person and I promise that they will tell you how it often takes several designs before eventually arriving at that wonder product that we all demanded.  And that’s EXACTLY what you are doing now – you’re prototyping.

So maybe now is a good time to step back a little and evaluate what you’ve got so far. Take a few moments to look over your story and prepare to break down your second act so that you can push forward for a strong finish. What follows are five ideas to help you with that unruly middle of your book.

Continue reading “5 Story Fixes – For When Your Stuck In The Middle Of Nowhere”

5 Ideas To Keep In Mind Writing A First Draft

first-drafts-poster-2
Courtesy of Copyblogger

Writing first drafts is tough, right? I mean, writing first drafts of anything are difficult. Even writing the first draft of this particular blog post was tough.

For those of you participating in November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) I probably don’t need to tell you that working every day to write a story is struggle. It’s a journey that often has no road map and no set destination.

But the one thing I have learned over the years is that, your first draft is all about discovering your story, not worrying about publishing one. It’s all about unearthing the information, getting to know the characters, exploring different settings, and discovering the arc of your narrative. It’s also about learning that the everything else can wait until the second draft.

Continue reading “5 Ideas To Keep In Mind Writing A First Draft”

Tip To Winning NaNoWriMo – Lesson #1 How to Eat An Elephant

Tip To Winning NaNoWriMo – Lesson #1 How to Eat An Elephant
nanowrimo-elephant

One of the more difficult aspects of writing a novel is that it can seem so overwhelming at times. It’s very much like when you look out into your garage and see nothing but piles and piles of stuff scattered everywhere.  You’ll make yourself a pledge that you’re going to clean it up and organize it, but you always end up putting it off. Why?

I’ll bet it’s because seeing all those boxes, and scattered tools, and and all that unused sports equipment just tossed together, probably makes it hard for you to know where to begin.

Writing a novel is exactly like that. It’s not so much about your skill level as it is about finding the willpower to hang on and see it through. I can’t tell you how many people, myself included, often end up psyching themselves out before they ever type one single word.

But I’m luckier than most because whenever I start to feel overwhelmed about tackling any big project, my little sister always tells me the same thing – every time.

“How do you eat an elephant, James? By taking it one bite at a time.”

That’s her way of reminding me that even the biggest of tasks is doable if you just break it down into smaller bites. By starting small,  you discover how to attack bigger jobs in a way that you can easily handle.

Continue reading “Tip To Winning NaNoWriMo – Lesson #1 How to Eat An Elephant”

Setting Your Book’s Hook In One Sentence

Blake Snyder's Save The Cat

Whether you’re writing a book, a screenplay, or a blog post, it’s tempting to just dive into your writing project. You’re probably bursting full of ideas and you’re ready to take off and get going.

However, I think you will find that you will likely save yourself time and frustration, as well as create a better end product if you hammer out a solid premise before you start writing.

Writer James N. Frey defines a story’s premise as the following:

“That single core statement of what happens to the characters as a result of the actions of a story. The foundation of your story

In his book Save The Cat, screenwriter Blake Snyder calls this the logline.  Snyder has been writing screenplays for Hollywood for more than twenty years and the very first thing Snyder says that all screenwriters – and writers in general need to master is the art of “the one-line“.

Continue reading “Setting Your Book’s Hook In One Sentence”