Tag Archives: writing life

When the Words Won’t Come

Megan Norris Jones

If you write, then you’re a writer. You don’t have to wait for the validation of publication, starred reviews, or the best seller lists. Writers write. But what happens when you get stuck, when you’re not writing? If a person who writes is a writer, then what is a person who stares at a computer screen and then decides that she’d better go do the laundry?

We all have those moments/weeks/seasons when the words won’t come. Don’t panic. There’s no need for an identity crisis. You are still a writer. You just need to use a little bit of your creativity to come up with something that makes you step back and consider the whole story, instead of that one little element you’re stuck on, something that reminds you what makes this story worth writing in the first place.

Here are a few techniques that have helped me:

1. Write the jacket copy. Jacket copy is those two to three paragraphs on the inside flap of a hardback or on the back of a paperback that introduce potential readers to your story and convince them that they have to read it. This exercise will help you home in on the best parts of your story because they’re what’s going to sell your book.  Continue reading

Write by Midnight Pep Talk 11-25-19

This month, find inspiration in other people’s words. Pick a debut novel in your genre and read a few pages before you start your daily writing session. You’ll gain insight into how other published authors are breaking out and hopefully discover something new to motivate you with your own project. Bonus: you’ll have guilt-free pleasure reading time and have read a new book by the end of the month.

Seek Out the Solitary Spaces

Laura Ayo

Recently, I holed up for two nights in a cabin in the mountains for a much-needed mini writing retreat. It rained nearly the whole time I was there, which helped me stay focused on the task at hand – getting as many words on the page in the limited alone time I had. Free of interruption and distraction, I produced a decent chunk of new content during my impromptu trip and came home re-energized about my work-in-progress. Continue reading

Practical Prompt 10-21-19

This week, analyze the pacing of your story. Consider printing out a blank calendar to keep track of your character’s actions or experiences. Select from a weekly or monthly format, depending on the time period your story encompasses. A good resource to try is print-a-calendar.com. Next, fill in the days on the calendar with details about what your characters experienced on those days.  This task will hopefully give you a visual confirmation of whether your story’s pacing is realistic. It shouldn’t take four days for your character to drive to work, nor should it take four hours for two armies to prepare for battle. You can also use the calendar to pace incremental character change. By tracking the days on which your characters first meet and their subsequent interactions, you can determine whether the time frame for the changes they experience to their world views are reasonable given their personalities.

 

 

 

The Labor of Writing Takes Various Forms

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

Dear Writer Friends,

On the morning of August 5th, I got my three kids in the car and drove them to school. Summer had been fun and I loved our long, lazy days. But let me tell you, I was ready to get back to work. With the same measure of excitement as my six-year-old starting his first year at a new school, I was going to make the time I had to write massively productive; I wasn’t going to waste a single second. Not even a millisecond. Continue reading