First, evaluate your daily schedule. Find at least 15 minutes of every day—that’s right, every day—to dedicate to writing. Whether it means you have to wake up 15 minutes earlier, go to bed 15 minutes later, eat lunch faster, take a notepad into the bathroom—whatever it takes, you have to make time to write. It’s the one and only definitive prerequisite to being a writer.
Another option that works for me is to set the timer for 45 minutes. Write until it goes off, get up from your computer, and take a fifteen minute break doing something completely different. You’ll return full of energy and enthusiasm. I promise.
I read somewhere that an author should read 10,000 words for every 1,000 she writes. Imagine, a job that encourages … no, mandates! … that I read. Perfect.
Speaking of perfect, my husband Wayne Reidinger took this photo from our back yard. A perfect rainbow. And the pot at the end of this rainbow for me: Completion of my second mystery. Not quite there yet, but enroute. In the meantime, I can read. Read! And read.
I think Robert Blake Whitehill expresses the read-to-write philosophy best in his January 1, 2016 guest post on “The Writer’s Digs” by Brian Klems:
Yes, this really is about writing. So, I mean it. Read everything. Authors can get so swept up in our core writing, feeding the ravenous social media beastie, and schlepping hither and yon for signings, that the window for reading narrows into a gunslit blocking all but a ray or two of literary sunlight. Focus on your subject area, but also broaden your tastes. You’ll have a deeper reservoir of tropes and details in which to dip your quill. Refreshing your inner author with invigorating reading will help prevent your style from becoming stale. The evocative power of reading is what inspired you to write in the first place, isn’t it? Stay connected to that wellspring of fresh ideas
Brian Klems (at Writersdigest.com and @BrianKlems) said: “Another year has flown by. If you’re reading this on the last day of 2015 or you’re using this email as a welcome message to 2016, remember that as one chapter ends and a new chapter is upon us. We can cast aside our past procrastination and our past failed attempts and can see a new horizon of possibilities–a new hope. Don’t let the past stop the amazing path of the future.”
I’m putting this to practice and moving ahead with my manuscript in 2016. My exuberant but gentle Swee’Pea celebrates this resolution with a high five.
Pipsqueak is a little more cautious, waiting to see how I proceed before she celebrates.
In any event, here’s to an amazing and productive 2016 for all of you reading this message.
I regularly read and enjoy the wisdom of Brian Klems in his The Writer’s Dig. His words and those of his guests are a source of inspiration and edification for me. The following is my interpretation of his “7 Reasons Writing a Book Makes You a Badass” column.
1. It’s hard. Very, very hard. Period. I’m writing my second novel and I’ve hit a wall. But because I succeeded once, I have confidence that this wall can be breached. I’ll keep picking (or pecking) away until I’m through it and on my way to a good (great?) finish.
2. Editing woes. It’s laborious. Necessary. Painful. Deleting. Refining. Finessing. Again and again and again and again. Phew.
3. To end or not to end? Never an easy decision! Any manuscript can always be made better, but at some point if you want closure, you need to say, “Done.”
4. “Cold-querying agents is scary.” I have yet to do that because I am self-published. But I can imagine that submitting my coup d’etat to a critic for judgment would be gut-wrenching.
5. Aah. Rejection. It’s not about failure. It’s about daring to try. Again and again.
6. Compensatory payment. No one can possibly compensate me monetarily for my time and effort. My compensation is knowing that I have completed my task and that it is a ‘job well done”. But I joyfully embrace any and all kudos! Thank you to the kind and generous souls who not only bought and read my book but also spoke well of it. I.e.: On Amazon.com for “Beware the Sleeping Dog” by K.A. Libby:
My posting today is about the guest column for the May 21st issue of The Writer’s Dig by Brian Klems. The column is written by Frederick Pinto and he calls it “5 Tips on Making You a Tough (& Better) Writer”. His words resonated with me and herewith is my interpretation of Pinto’s message:
1. My first drafts will be embarrassing. And they are!
2. If I particularly love a sentence or paragraph that I’ve written, delete it. It probably doesn’t belong.
3. Writing is cathartic. Indeed.
4. Good writing is equal parts obsession and technique.
5. I write because I must. I am driven by my obsession to write.
I just read an article in “The Writer’s Dig” by Brian Klems that particularly tweaked my interest. It was an interview of Elizabeth Simms, the author of The Lillian Byrd Crime and the Rita Farmer Mysteries series, on how to build suspense in your writing. There were actually twenty-one points of value, several of which I highlight here.
Fray an end. … On the page, little odd things that are not quite in order can create a subtle sense of tension in any scene. Think dangling apron strings, a guttering candle, a loose window latch, a jammed copy machine.
To me Louise Penny does that masterfully in Still Life. The example I’ve chosen is not subtle like a guttering candle but yet is an oddity that fueled my imagination: “Gamanche wondered about this woman who had chosen to live with so many secrets for so long, then chosen to let them all out. And died because of it? That was the question.”
In my mystery Beware the Sleeping Dog, I used it (hopefully with success). I.e. “Velcro peeked at me through the slit (in the box springs). I pulled her out and held her close. Her ears twitched and she swallowed a few times before she relaxed into my arms. She’d never behaved like this before. Had something frightened her?” and “It seemed strange that nothing else but the picture of the three of us was disturbed. Premonition pricked at me, but I shook it off.” Continue reading →