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
As a mystery writer, I love misdirection, because it sets me to investigating. Quick and unhelpful answers to writing questions are some of my favourite black boxes. The knee jerk answer we all get when we ask, “Why am I stuck?” is, “Writers’ block”. Litmus test on this answer: Quick? Sure. Unhelpful? Totally. So why […]Read More Writing Time, Part 66. Writer’s Block Busting, Part 2.
Endurance is one of the great challenges in our writing careers—holding on with tenacious minds to the idea that we can do this, even though we’re working on page 17 with 350 left to go. But, even more boldly, we’re also attempting to devise something brilliant, something that has never been made before. Originality has always […]Read More Writing Time, Part 62. Adventures Outside Comfort Zones
We most likely have, each of us, a dedicated writing office space of one kind or another. Here, seated or standing at our own desk, we often feel primed to begin. It’s almost like having a head start on the work. I hear some of us saying, as I have from time to time, I can only […]Read More Writing Time, Part 61. The Pop-up Writing Space
We’ve got to have great big goals to get us out of bed in the morning. But we need to set systems into place in order to move towards them, or goals may turn back into dreams. Most writers I know have developed a system, for example, to get chores done and run our homes, to […]Read More Writing Time, Part 56. Goals, Systems, Dreams, and a Writing Career
Creating a daily platform to support a writing career connects us to the larger prospects of authorship, like the publication and marketing of our work. Here are three five- or ten-minute practices I’ve set in place, to hit daily. Morning works for me. And, the awareness that each of these could take all day, all […]Read More Writing Time, Part 55. Twenty Minutes Outside the Writer’s Cave
If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you. If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you. Whatever good things we build end up building us. – Jim Rohn I started listening to Jim Rohn’s Youtube talks just after he […]Read More Writing Time, Part 42. Looking to the Future
In designing our ideal writing lives, within our everyday lives, it’s well to tailor them to our own rhythms, but it’s also worth challenging our scheduling habits. Something that does not serve us has got to give, whether it’s TV or computer time, the Saturday grocery shopping trip (order online?) or the weekend cleaning blitz […]Read More Writing Time, Part 40. On Creating Writing Time Within the Working Week
The archetypical swan-pale writer taps out chapters through the night, whiskey at hand, refusing food and slumber. It makes you wonder how much more Fitzgerald might have done if he’d put a little bit of that creative genius into living better. No matter how well we write when we’re feeling crappy, we write even better […]Read More Writing Time, Part 38. What if You Got Some Sleep, Fitzgerald?
“I don’t want to spoil the party, so I’ll go.” –Lennon-McCartney Of the three top reasons for rejecting short fiction, the too-slow emergence of the central conflict is the one I note most often. It was certainly the reason editors cited for rejecting my own work in the past. Now, I’m writing the same notes […]Read More Writing Time, Part 33. Nailing the Narrative Structure