Tag Archives: author motivation

Avoiding Difficult Scenes Doth Not a Writer Make

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

I have a confession.

I dance around the scenes I don’t want to write. Or at least don’t feel equipped to.

Currently, there are three big gaping holes in my manuscript. All three holes should be filled with essential scenes; all three are insanely difficult for me to write. There are scenes before and scenes Continue reading

Practical Prompt 5-03-17

WriteOwls logo 150 blackYou finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

If you’re struggling to get words on the page, using a timer may help. In your next writing session, set an alarm for the first half of your allotted writing time. If you only have 30 minutes to write, set the alarm for 15 minutes and write, racing the clock. Avoid deleting, backspacing or reconsidering during this 15-minute segment. The goal is word count. When the alarm goes off, use the last half of your writing time to polish and flesh out what you wrote under the gun.

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

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.