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?
An old roommate of mine used to say, “Timing is everything.” She repeated it often enough that I took it on as a lens through which I viewed the world. Is timing everything? And by this I believe she meant: Opportunity, where timing meets preparation. It’s not just the timing of the event, but are you ready for it to occur? Are you ready for that job, that lover, that apartment or house when the situation presents itself?
Once we settle into middle age and major life choices slow down a bit, pacing becomes key, especially for novel writers. What scares novel writers the most? THE MIDDLE! The fear of getting bogged down in a humdrum of events with no meaning or urgency, just words to fill space. [Read more…]
Pseudonyms, sometimes referred to as a pen name are more popular than you may think. This topic of discussion came up at our recent Ascribe Writers’ meeting, as some of our members are looking into using a pen name for their works of fiction.
10 REASONS TO CONSIDER USING A PSEUDONYM:
- PERSONAL – So your mother won’t know it was YOU, who wrote this week’s best-selling sex novel. If she knew, she might die of embarrassment when her friends find out and start talking about how in the world her daughter would even know about this “icky topic”… even though, these same ladies have ALREADY secretly downloaded their copies of the novel and are half-way through reading it. (This would also include your spouse and your children dying of embarrassment. The workplace water cooler chat and the playground top-of-the-monkeybars chat would never be the same again.) [Read more…]
They say there are two types of writers: those who outline and those that don’t. But aside from outlines, writing a novel can produce an enormous amount of material that needs to be organized. What kind of writer are you? Floating along happily lost in the creative process, your words flowing out in a continuous stream of creativity? Or are you looking at the novel in front of you wondering how to bring it all together? [Read more…]
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…]