Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I Get By With A Little Help From....

Those who know me personally know that I am a "people person".  I love to surround myself with people who inspire me and encourage me.  I love to laugh and share experiences.  I love the feeling of "doing life together" with others. 

That being said, writing is often thought of as a solitary endeavor...or so I thought up until this last week, after many hours of sitting at my computer with a cup of coffee, a glass of melted ice water and my imagination as my only companions.  The key is to find the right kind of communities and use them to your advantage. 

Where I have found support/inspiration over the last week:

1)  My Critique Group. Perhaps the best advice I could have been given by an editor friend of mine was to join SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and join a Critique Group.  My group only meets monthly, but we are also connected via email.  We swap manuscripts and give constructive critiques, help authors brainstorm through difficult spots in their work, as well as provide support and encouragement.  It is just a joy to meet with these folks once a month and share.  I find myself feeling accountable to them and getting excited each time I bring something new to the table.

      If anyone would like to contact me about joining my group, please do so at  I would love to fill you in to the details.

2)  My Writing Class.  That's right!  I joined a class at Gotham Writer's Workshop.  My wish for the class is that it helps me focus on my writing weekly, while at the same time helping me to fine tune my work and expand my community.  The class meets on Monday nights for 3 hours for 10 weeks.  There are only 6 of us in the class which is perfect!  I can't totally endorse it yet, as we have only met once so far...but stay tuned for my updates and keep your eyes peeled for writing classes in your areas. 

3)  Friends.  And lastly, I have to mention friends.  Most importantly my boyfriend, Jonathan, who always makes me feel like I can do anything!  He has sat through constant revisions and read-throughs and always builds me up.  I encourage everyone to find a few friends who just love reading.  They don't have to writers or to know the craft.  Just someone how knows you and would be willing to read through some of your stuff. Their reactions are priceless.  While professionals will give you valuable critiques to help you better the work...your friends and loved ones will respond with smiles, laughter, tears, etc.  And let me tell you, when you are feeling discouraged, it is these responses that will get you through and keep you moving forward.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!  Seek out those creative communities.  You are not alone!
Share any other insight you have below.
And of course, Happy Writing!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

When you fall off, get right back on the horse!

In the last week I have found myself playing hooky (ie. having a much needed vacation) and not writing.  I blamed the lack of free wi-fi on my trip to the reason why I had not updated this blog, although it definitely is not the reason why I didn't even touch my manuscript...not even on the 6 hour plane ride out and 6 hours back.

I flashed back to the days in grade school when I took piano lessons.  Each week my pulse would quicken knowing that I had not practiced at all and it was time for another lesson.  Usually I feigned illness or tried to get myself "excused" from piano.  Needless to say, my parents picked up on these cues and promptly canceled the sessions.

Over the past two weeks I have felt like that little girl from years ago, terrified to admit that my goal of writing every day had so quickly fallen by the wayside.  Embarrassed, ashamed and therefore creatively crippled.  Its funny how some things never change.

What are my options, throw in the towel and quit, much like I did with piano all those years ago?  If you could hear me play Chopsticks you would know how far that got me!  Or do I reconnect with my dreams of being a writer, step back and see where I went wrong so I can move on?  Yeah....that one!

So stepping back, what have I learned about myself so far in this journey...

1)  I write best in the morning or afternoon hours.  As a nanny, I usually fit this in around naptime.
2)  I work best when sitting at my desk or a table with a hard chair...much like one would be at an office.
3)  I like one cup of coffee and one glass of ice water on the desk/table. (That way I cannot use thirst as a means of procrastinating.  Plus, taking a sip sometimes offers a great time to reflect on what you want to write).
4)  When I fall short of my goal, I often want to hide and therefore it delays me even more.
5)  Writing class was a great way to get back on track and get the "juices flowing".  I am actually contemplating enrolling for this semester as a way to keep focused.  I also have a Critique Group meeting tonight....I expect it will help me "re-group", as well.

Bottomline, we all need vacations and we all fall short of goals at times.  What counts is how quickly you jump back into the fold and get cracking afterward.

I hope you have all had productive first weeks on this challenge.  If you have fallen off the horse, get back on!  Be bold!  Make this the day!  Its never too late!

Please share your experiences by commenting below.  And as always, Happy Writing!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Let the challenge begin!

Everyone knows that the first week or two of school is an adjustment.  Students spend time learning their new schedule, finding classrooms, meeting new teachers and friends, etc.

Today is the first day of the Write Routine Challenge: The 10 Month War on Dabbling.  This is only the beginning.

As you begin this week to build a habit of writing daily, observe yourself and ask yourself the following questions:
  • What time of day am I the most productive?  What time of day do I prefer to write?
  • Where do I prefer to write?  A desk?  A special chair? The park?  At home?  The library? 
  • Do I prefer to write on a computer or paper?
  • For how long do I have to write daily?  When can I carve out time and for how long?
  • What do I do when I can't seem to find anything to write about?
Some of you might have the answers to these questions already, but I encourage you to experiment.  You never know what you may find.

Please share any questions or revelations below.  And of course, share this blog with any writer you might want to encourage.

Good luck this week!  I look forward to checking in next Monday.  :) 

Now pull out those manuscripts or start a new one!  Let's do this!  Write on!