Tag Archives: writer’s life

The Perils of Podcasts

Megan Norris Jones

Ignore the title of this post for a minute, and let me tell you one thing. I LOVE podcasts. I love how they let me keep up with the news, dive deep into interesting topics, learn new things—all while completing the mundane tasks of everyday life. In short, podcasts can make laundry fun. Need I say more?

Yes, unfortunately there is more to say. I’ve realized lately that podcasts don’t actually make boring things interesting. They give me something interesting to think about while I’m doing boring things. Which is great. The nerd in me rejoices at so much easily accessible knowledge. But while my mind is constantly stimulated by waves of new ideas, that onslaught of information is crowding out something priceless: my own ideas. Continue reading

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

The Fun Part

Megan Norris Jones

When I was a kid, my parents sent me to piano lessons. I had a vague notion that it might be kind of neat to play a musical instrument. That vague notion, however, did not translate into me actually practicing the piano. Most weeks, my thirty-minute lessons were the only practice I got. Which is how I became the musical genius I am today.

Kidding. My entire piano repertoire is pecking out “Twinkle Twinkle Little a Star” with one hand. I didn’t practice, so I never got better.

When it comes to writing, however, I have more than a vague notion about scratching out a story. I have serious goals, and I’ve put in the time to develop my skills, strengthen my weak points, and push my writing ability to its limit.
I wrote about the value of deliberate practice in an earlier post as a means of improving a skill. The things that sets deliberate practice apart from regular practice is that it requires me to constantly operate at the edge of my capacity in an effort to continue expanding that capacity. Continue reading

The Idea Soup of My Journal

Megan Norris Jones

When I sit down to work on my novel, or even this blog post, I want a keyboard (or at least a touchpad) and a screen. I’ve waxed eloquent elsewhere about the Scrivener writing app and its more portable versions for the iPad and iPhone. You know that I love me some digital words. I set my schedule on iCal, my to-dos on Wunderlist, and reach out to the world on Twitter (@mnj23). But I still can’t let go of my paper journal, and my writing benefits as a result. Continue reading

…And She Made Progress!…Until She Didn’t.

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

If you read my last post, you know that I set some concrete goals to banish my spiral into a summertime slothfest. And for the most part it worked fantastically!

I was up almost every morning at 5:30, sometimes earlier. I can count on one hand the number of mornings I wasn’t. I kept my summer reading to designated times and used my post-its to set Continue reading

Writing on a Rainy Day…or so I Hoped

Laura Ayo

Laura Ayo

Rainy days are usually the days that I get some of my best writing done. I don’t like being wet unless I’m swimming or soaking in a bubble bath, so I tend to avoid the outdoors when the skies are grey and weepy in favor of some guilt-free hours with my manuscript. There’s just something about the soothing sound of the pattering raindrops on the roof that brings out my creativity.  But it’s been raining at my house for three days straight now, and I’ve barely written anything because of this: 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 Season of Celebration

Megan Norris Jones

Megan Norris Jones

Back in September, I won an award at our regional SCBWI conference. It was a huge encouragement to know that a professional editor enjoyed my writing enough to want more of it. The problem? I wasn’t finished with the manuscript. I’d written an extremely rough first draft wherein a number of my story elements changed from beginning to end of my manuscript. As a result, you started by reading one novel and ended by reading another. My goal had been to just get from beginning to end, and I managed that, but it needed a serious rewrite to even be coherent, never mind good. So, I have been slogging away at that rewrite for . . . well, let’s just say it’s been a while. Continue reading

Best Ornament Ever!

Laura Ayo

Laura Ayo

My mom just sent me the best Christmas ornament any writer could ask for:

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Thanks, Mom! You know me so well.

A Writer’s Thanksgiving

Laura thumbnail 150X150As many tend to do at this time of year, I’ve been reflecting on all the things I’m thankful for in my life. So I wanted to share with you some of the things the writer in me is grateful for.

Continue reading