Category Archives: Naomi’s Posts

Write with a Sense of Urgency

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

It has been nearly three weeks since our write-a-thon and we hope that you feel you have developed a steady writing practice. Habits are wonderful things to develop, especially since we can see a tangible result: word-count increase, clarity related to plot or character, or an eager hunger to write above all else. Continue reading

Read Smart; Write Better

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

One of my two goals for WBM was to finish writing the rising action of my novel. The other? To avoid reading when I should be writing. If you’ve read past posts, you know I love books. I can’t imagine a writer not. But I think like anyone, especially when you feel stuck, it seems more inviting to get lost in someone else’s words rather than fighting a losing battle against your own. Continue reading

Happy Love Day!

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

Ah, Valentines day. It’s the day cupid supposedly shoots his arrow and we all find love. It’s a day when everyone has a decent excuse for a massive sugar high. It’s a day when all you need is love.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all lovey-lovey on you. At least not in the way you might expect. This post is for the love of books and the various types of love we find in them.

Here at WriteOwls, we are big believers in learning the craft of writing from other authors. If you’ve read our series Learn to Write by Reading, then you know we love to recommend books that have influenced us, or helped us become better writers.

For me the following books have had a profound effect on me in this regard:

Kids of Appetite, aka KOA (some romance, but it’s more about the love between the family you create)

The Serpent King (like KOA, some romance, but more about how deeply true friends can love each other while riding out the most unpleasant aspects of life)

Cloud Atlas (Love that transcends more than one lifetime)

The Cather in the Rye (Holden’s love for his sister and his desire to protect her from going over the edge is classic)

The Red Pencil (love that propels a family to survive)

5to1 (gradually learning to love someone and then allowing them to go on)

On Beauty (0ne of the complex love stories I’ve read in a long time)

Barkskins ( more a love note to a place rather than the people who inhabit it)

I could literally (haha) list 600 more books, but I won’t because I should be writing. (If you have an other recommendations, please share!)

Now it’s your turn. Think of all the books you’ve read where love, and not just romantic love, was illustrated so wonderfully. Think about the way the author effectively showed the love between characters (again, not necessarily romantic). Today, while you write, see if you can apply that to your own writing.

 

 

Just 50 words

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

For months my friend, Jackie, and I had been struggling to find a slice time and significant energy to write between teaching during the day and various commitments in the evening. So we decided to “coach” each other along. Our idea was simple: keep each other motivated by sharing our weekly progress. Since this past November, we have emailed whatever we’ve written that week, knowing that nothing we send is clean or polished. Regardless, we use the opportunity to give each other informal feedback and notes. Some weeks we send 1000+ words, others maybe 200. For me, knowing that she is expecting something in her box by Friday afternoon, and I in mine, keeps me writing each day.

But feelings of motivation can fade and we get worn out, even with the best intentions. One night, Jackie emailed that she was just too tired to write. To which I replied: Try 50 words. And than reward yourself with a whole lot of chocolate. It has become our mantra whenever either of us makes an excuse: Just 50 words.

If you’re still going full throttle, awesome! If your momentum is slowing, do not be discouraged. Give yourself a doable goal, one that feels absolutely surpassable. And if you can find someone who will act as a coach, all the better.

And, of course, there’s no shame in a chocolate reward.

 

A Side Note on “the Blank”

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

One of my favorite quotes comes from Peter Turchi’s book Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer In it, he writes:

We start with a blank: a world of possibility

I have mentioned this quote before and I wanted to return to this idea as a reminder of the awesome gift we are given as writers. We get to begin with nothing, and fill that space with infinite possibilities. That’s wickedly cool!

So today as you write, I encourage you to think of your story as a journey you’re mapping; allow yourself to write as if you are discovering something for the first time. While you may have a goal for the scene/chapter you’re working on today, keep your mind open to other possible journeys for your character and plot. I confess that some of my favorite plot developments have occurred when I looked at the page as “a blank” and followed the lead of my pen rather than trying to direct it.