So, you are a writer and you are writing a novel, BUT you just can’t find the time to finish it. Are you procrastinating? Are you spending more time thinking about writing that novel, than you are writing it? Are you stuck at Chapter Three and you don’t know what should happen next? Are you wondering what could you possibly do, to make your fingers fly across the keyboard at lightening speeds to finish telling your story? What could you do that will inspire you and motivate you into finally completing your novel? Do you want to know the quickest way to rev up your word count and finish that novel? I have four answers for you:
The story of our lives doesn’t come to us in a lightning bolt of realization, but unfolds slowly before us, inch-by-inch, mile-by-mile, day by day. We are creating our futures today but we can only see so far on the road ahead. Sometimes we have great clarity and can see for miles. Other times, we are in a fog and can barely see past the next signpost. Or the unexpected happens, a racoon darting out in the road. We can swerve and miss it, we can hit it, or we can swerve and hit an oncoming car. This moment may, or may not, change our lives. Times of crisis, when there is a seismic shift in the landscape of our lives, is when it is most difficult to see the road ahead, when the path is most obscured. Like driving at night in a snow-storm in Grey County, you’re going inch-by-inch. [Read more…]
I AM A WRITER! Or so I tell myself, almost every day.
That doesn’t sound like a problem, but it is. My dilemma is I don’t always write every day. Sometimes, I can go a week or two, without writing a single word of any real relevance to my current work-in-progress. Instead, I’m using my spare time to help other writers in a very unique way, by making decisions, by composing emails of encouragement, by pumping up the writers and getting them excited. You see, I volunteer as the Muskoka Novel Marathon Writer Liaison, and if that’s not enough, I also do all their social media postings and tweets, plus take care of their website for the whole year. I encourage the 40 participating writers to fundraise for the YMCA Literacy Programs, because I believe strongly that everyone should be able to experience the Magical World of Reading. This year, we raised over $29,000 for these programs that help people who are struggling with basic reading, writing, math and computer skills. This makes me feel pretty good. That’s over $6000 more than last year’s amount. I’m definitely smiling.
This past weekend, we finally experienced the moment, where all 40 writers gathered to spend 72-hours straight in one room… TOGETHER! Seriously, it is one of the best writing weekends of the year for me. It is an experience like no other adventure that I’ve ever taken part in. 40 people that range from quiet and non-social, to wacked out crazy people, who will light their hair on fire, just to get a few laughs (see picture above). Besides writing, we hug, we cry, we laugh, we walk barefoot, we sing, we dance, we scream, we whisper… and most of all, we have fun together. What’s not to love?
Most writers are looking for a way to pump out their first novel, as quickly as possible. A fast first draft would be a gift, afterwards you can spend a full six months to a year revising it, if you like. Maybe, you already have a novel, shoved in your desk drawer, you’ve spent the past seven years editing or ignoring? Don’t feel too bad; I have approximately fourteen of them pressed into a few binders, nestled nicely on the bottom shelf of my office bookshelf.
Yes, you read that correctly, I said fourteen. Or is it fifteen?
You see, now I’ve lost count. Anyway, with each novel that I have attempted to write, I get a little bit better at figuring out the best way of approaching the creation of a novel. Practice, practice, practice is how you win the big publishing contract, or so I am told. In my opinion, trying to write the first draft of your novel all at one time is definitely the way to go. A deadline. That’s the true secret. You sit down in your chair and you pound the keyboard until time is up.
How do you make that happen?
I can’t imagine winter without Christmas. This celebration of light at the darkest time of year coincides with the end of my busiest time at work. As Christmas approaches, a frenzy of activity reaches its peak as we prepare up until those last moments before Christmas morning.
I always take some time off after this craziness. My boss has flown to more temperate regions, deadlines have been met and now it’s time to exhale and enjoy time with my family. But where in all this is the time to write? It sits in my belly like a seed waiting to be watered, waiting to see light.
It takes steely effort to find time for extra-curricular activities at this time of year. But all these frenetic, extroverted activities satisfy part of my soul and leave, in me at least, a deep craving for silence, for solace, for selfishness. I look forward to the dark nights ahead with no planned activities, just the storms blowing outside. We’ve satisfied our bodies with too much to eat and perhaps too much to drink. Now I can sit and write undisturbed, not feeling as if I’m missing out, too dog-tired to care. [Read more…]
A Writers’ Conference is a place where writers gather together to celebrate the craft of writing. Writers are inspired, educated and are able to connect with other writers of all levels (beginners to advanced). A conference provides writers with the opportunity to network with other professionals: writers, authors, editors, agents and publishers. It also encourages writers to write, to publish, to promote and sell their own work.
New writers fear attending a writers’ conference.
“I’m not a real writer. Conferences are for real writers, they’re not for me.”
Published writers avoid writers’ conferences.
“I’ve been published already. I could teach every one of those workshops listed on the schedule. I don’t need to go to a conference.”
I disagree. Writers’ Conferences are for ALL writers. There is something beneficial about attending a conference at least once a year. I was lucky enough to attend two writers’ conferences this past year, and one was a newbie conference, so it had it’s issues, but overall, there was something awesome for me at both of them. [Read more…]
(Making time to write when you think your life is too busy!)
If you are going to write, if you are going to call yourself a writer, then write, finish something and put it out there. At a leadership conference I attended recently, part of the training was focused upon scheduling your time. Believe it or not, it wasn’t all about the proper way of saying something or modeling something; a huge chunk of time was spent teaching us how imperative it is to schedule the important stuff.
The gist was – in your life there are the big rocks, the stones, the things you want and must do to achieve success in whatever you do. The time for these things, like writing, is competing with everything else in your life… and let’s face it, if you want to be successful a writer, you need to write. You need to write, and often, until you are so good at it, that someone says, “Man, we gotta publish that!” The other stuff, like watching less than averagely good looking guys wrestle alligators on television, randomly surfing the internet or creeping facebook… is the stuff that will not help your writing career – that stuff is the pebbles, the sand, the dirt. If you fill your jar with pebbles and dirt first – then there is no room for the stones.
They’re everywhere. You’ve seen them. You know who I mean.
They’ll be in a restaurant, furtively casting about for the sordid enablers of their habits: a pencil, a pen, a crayon from the kids’ activity box. Then begins the begging for something – the back of a receipt, a crumpled serviette – as long as it’s portable and papery, to write on.
Soon, not caring if there’s a conversation, a meal, a concert – completely and rudely oblivious – they will hunch over, head down, lips moving silently. They can’t help themselves; they’re addicted. [Read more…]