I don’t want to call it “writer’s block.” I don’t even believe in “writer’s block.” What I do believe in is our work ethic, and how we writers are often too hard on ourselves. After all, we work to our own rhythms, and hear others say, “I don’t know how you manage to write. I’d never […]Read More The Sweet Dog Days of Writing. Writing Time, Part 92
A Writer’s Strengths It’s helpful to know what work our inner editors can manage on their own, and what aspect of a narrative requires a writer’s full attention. Take for example writers who excel at exchanges of power in dialogue. Authors with this particular superpower may find their minds popping up unexpectedly with revisions notes: […]Read More Writers’ Strengths, Writers’ Targets. Writing Time, Part 91
‘”Mille pardons, mademoiselle. Excusez-moi…” “Non, je vous assure, il n’y a pas de mal…” …nine years’ gap had not been so very long. Ear and brain had readjusted themselves now with a click that could be felt.’ -Mary Stewart, Nine Coaches Waiting What a treat for a writer: to travel to France, and give my English […]Read More Writing and Travel in the Summertime. Writing Time, Part 90
Imagine that we already have everything we dream of in our careers. Then ask what would a summer’s day look like in my ideal writing life? A Shelf Full of Successful Novels I used to see every summer’s day as a vacuum to fill with writing. But these days, instead of powering up and missing […]Read More Summertime in a Writing Life. Writing Time, Part 89
“Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – attributed to Albert Einstein. When revising, it can be worth spending a half hour with the word “As” at the start of sentences. I search through my own work, tossing “As”es into hedges, for it is the slug in gardens of good storytelling, when it involves simultaneous actions. For example, […]Read More Revisions Coaching, From Albert Einstein. Writing Time, Part 87
So, after Revisions Strategy, Parts 1 and 2 , there’s a clear shape to the book and we’re reacquainted with our character’s driving forces. As well, we have 4 outlines, the most recent on top. Having set aside a few golden seconds to picture our ideal writing life and career, we take on the next […]Read More Practical Tips, Part 3: Revising That Beloved Older Manuscript. Writing Time, Part 86.
Taking 5-15 minutes towards chunking down a revisions process is a smooth move for those of us who want to be prolific and publish often. Here’s one way to approach a second or third draft of a novel after mulling itover (see Writing Time, Part 84. Revising That Beloved Older Manuscript, Practical tips for Time Management, […]Read More Revising A Beloved Older Manuscript. Practical Tips, Part 2. Writing Time, Part 85.
If you’re revising an older novel in the midst of present-day writing projects, the process of chunking it down can be a lifeline to a busy writer. Here’s one way to begin it. Chunk 1. Mull it Over. This is the easiest bit, and also the hardest, because I want to read my old ms… […]Read More Writing Time, Part 84. Revising That Beloved Older Manuscript, Practical Tips, Part 1
I like to think of outlining as fractal, like a rocky coastline. The jagged water’s edge looks similar—not identical, just very like—if seen from space, an airplane, a tower, a rooftop, or from a crouching position at the water’s edge. Story sections also look rather the same at different planning elevations. Whether it’s the 7-volume arc, […]Read More Writing Time, Part 83. Time Management for Writers, a Fractal Approach
If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. –Jim Rohn In every profession, success experts agree: set your course. If not, not only do we writers not get done what we dream of doing, we end up […]Read More Writing Time, Part 82. Designing Plans for a Writing Life