Tag Archives: writing life

Acknowledge Yourself a Writer; Practice Self-Control

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

Around the first of the New Year, I thought a lot about the goals I had for 2018, both personally and professionally.  They were of the standard variety, you know: be more organized, take my yoga practice up a notch, go to bed at a “human” hour, FINISH WRITING THAT BOOK! All these are well and good, and if I’m honest I’ll likely be successful at doing them for the first few months of the year before my enthusiasm will wane and I’ll half-a– the rest of the year. Willpower can only take you so far! (The Frog and Toad story “Cookies”  comes to mind when I hear the word willpower). Continue reading

Happy Writing in 2018

The WriteOwls wish you a Happy New Year. As we begin 2018, we encourage you to reflect on the writing life you had in 2017. Celebrate your accomplishments, and assess where you fell short of your writing goals. Spend today setting new goals for the upcoming year. Do you want to create a more efficient writing routine or simply get into the habit of writing every day? Check back in with us for tips and encouragement during our upcoming Write by Midnight series. Whether your goal is specific – I will write 1,000 words every day – or broad – I will outline a new novel this year, we invite you to share your aspirations with us here. What do you hope to accomplish in your writing life in 2018?

How to Write (or Not) During the Holidays

Megan Norris Jones

Welcome to the most wonderful time of the year! The days between Thanksgiving and New Year are packed with parties, concerts, school plays, and family gatherings. All of that is great for your social life, but it’s terrible for your writing schedule.

There are lots of ways to handle the rush and bustle, so now at the beginning of the season, take a few moments to decide how you want to manage your writing over the coming weeks. Consider your successes and failures from past years along with where you are in the writing process right now. Then read through the following approaches and decide which is the best one for you. Continue reading

I Need Caffeine!

Stacey Kite

Tea, tea, where the *#*%* did I leave my stupid tea?

It’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and I need caffeine!

That’s my new, morning (and by morning, I mean 4:00 am) mantra.

You see, last Wednesday, November 1 (that’s important), I was complaining to a writing friend (Megan) that my biggest writing issue is that I’m a slow writer, and by slow, I mean geologic, not sloth-like. Continue reading

The Aftermath of Discovery Writing

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

A few years ago, I remember reading that Ruta Sepetys did two years of research before she began writing her books.  If she is the sort to keep a planning journal or story/idea wall, I like to imagine how pristinely organized it must all be. I don’t know her, so of course this is all speculation. But I can imagine these novel planning tools and they must be beautiful. Mini works of art.

I have actually attempted the plan-before-you-write method. For me, making story maps and sketching visuals in my journal are enjoyable planning activites. At the recommendation of my fellow WriteOwl, Stacey, I read some of Truby’s book and got excited to take my novel planning up a notch. It’s a great book!, but I confess I got as far as doing the activities in Chapter 1, before I began to feel anxious and had to put Truby down. The planning stage began to  feel less creative to me and I wanted to “discover” my story as I wrote it.

So I did. With general plot prompts and a whole lot of sidebar notes to be dealt with later, I “discovery wrote” the heck out of my first draft. In doing so, I discovered a few things. One, that I have a lot of rewriting to do, because, two, as I wrote I realized new things about my characters and that began to change the course of the plot. I also learned that writing this way made me insanely happy and excited to work on my book.

There is a reason I like the “blank page” and the question “what is possible?” I live for the part of making something that is purely creative, exploratory, imaginative. But any form of art requires tweeking, editing and revision. That is where I am. The backdrop I’ve created, the first notes I’ve written need details, need depth.

In the aftermath of discovery writing, I can see the advantage of thoroughly planning one’s novel; I am sure I wouldn’t have as many notes to sort through. But  I also believe we create in different ways. I need to be guided by whim at first so I can carve out the details later. For another writer, they may need the opposite. To each their own.

What say you? What method do you use to write a first draft?