Monday, June 2, 2014

How Do You Handle a Huge Writing Project?


I love hearing how other writers handle a huge writing project. 

As the old joke goes: how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

For writers, this expression melds into one word at a time.

Some writers set a daily word count goal. I have also read to set a weekly goal so you have more flexibility in your schedule. I know other writers who break up a big project into chapters. Another approach is to finish X number of   pages per day.

What challenges me about daily word count is being a non-fiction writer, how do I count research time? Do I do the research ahead of time, then dive into the work or chapter by chapter? What do you think?

Are you a morning writer? Nighttime writer? Sometime the best time to write is ten minutes at lunch. I have learned I write best by getting up a little earlier than usual with a plan amount of writing to get done. I decide the night before what exactly I will work on in the morning and have it ready to go once I enter my office. No excuses.

Being in a different season of life now, I have been pleasantly surprised with enjoying writing in the evening. Used to be I was too exhausted to be creative after five – retirement changed that.

 I found the more I write consistently, the better and easier it is to write. Just like exercising, once I start with a good routine, I get into the flow of writing quicker.

I am curious what works best for you.  Hearing other’s writing process often gives us ideas and new strategies for learning and practicing our craft.

How do you write and manage a huge writing project?



Monday, May 26, 2014

A Memorial Moment

A few years ago, my mom and I visited my brother and his wife who lived outside Washington DC at the time. While there, we visited the Mall and the nearby memorials.

When it comes to historical wars, my passion is World War II. But my heart was most touched by the Korean Memorial.

The simple gesture of this soldier's hand, warning those behind him to be watchful, still causes my throat to catch.

A small gesture, a tiny moment.

Sometimes that's all it takes to emotionally engage a spectator. Or our readers.

On this Memorial Day, we remember and honor our heroes, veterans, soldiers and their families.

We wish you and your loved ones a blessed Memorial holiday.

Johnnie

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Reading Can Lead to Writing

Most writers love to read.

Have you ever considered how your reading helps your writing?

I teach Creative Writing to high school students and we have what we call Reading Shares. I ask questions designed to get them thinking about their reading, and hopefully, to help them connect their reading time to their writing time.

You can evaluate your own reading and discover how it leads to writing by asking yourself a few questions. Keeping a file of your responses that you can refer back to may just jog those creative juices sometime in the future.

1. Why did you like this work? Be specific.

2. Find a passage you particularly liked and type it out. Why do you like it so much?

3. What else has this author written and have you read more of his / her work? How
does his/her other work compare?

4. Is this work similar to anything else you’ve read? How?

5. What do you take away from this work that could help you in your writing?

6. Did you like this well enough to say it’s on your “Best Read Recently” list or your
“Best All-Time” list? Why?

Writers are readers, and it’s important to understand the words to touch us or motivate us.

I’d love to hear what you have to say. How does your reading inform your writing?


Friday, May 2, 2014

52 Weeks of Writing Tips

I have two bookshelves full of writing books. I am always on the lookout for a good reference book to help me continue to grow as a writer. I read a new one last week I am thrilled to recommend.

52 Weeks of Writing Tips by Bob Nailor is one of the most practical, down to earth writing books I have ever read. It is like having a teacher right next to you, giving advice and encouraging you to grow and learn.

Bob gives wonderful example and writing prompts. You can tell he is a natural teacher. One strength in this book is not only tips for the writing craft, but also for the marketing and the business of writing, such as creating a press kit and surviving a radio interview.

This book will benefit writers of any genre and any level.

52 Weeks of Writing Tips is available through Amazon as an e-book and well worth the small cost to download it as a reference. Any of the 52 tips could be developed into a discussion point for a writers group.  


What good writing book have you read lately?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Websites for Writers


Need a little inspiration--a few questions answered?

Take a look at these websites!

I was inspired by Writer's Digest this month and their list of 101 Best Websites. I've listed a few I found there, along with some personal favorites. Here we go.

Creativity Portal - This site describes its mission as "Inspiring, fostering, encouraging, honoring and celebrating creativity & the gifts of creative expression!" It was named Best of the Best, garnering the #1 spot in Writer's Digest's creativity category.

Daily Writing Tips - There is SO much here. Plenty of practical advice alongside things to jumpstart your imagination.

Grammar Girl - Mignon Fogarty calls this "Your friendly guide to the world of grammar, punctuation, usage, and fun developments in the English language."And it is--all of those things.

Helping Writers Become Authors -Again, a wealth of information and inspiration. This site is very cleanly formatted so you can see quickly and logically where to go to find what you need.
Author Jodi Hedlund's blog - This is a personal favorite for several reasons. First, it's very readable and relatable. Jodi speaks to both the reader and the writer so well. She's a mom, too, and she shares the reality of writing while busy with her family. To me, it seems to be a GREAT example of a writer's blog as it speaks, in some way, to anyone who visits.

The Write Conversation - Another personal favorite. Edie's blog is an amazing plethora of good stuff! She covers technical things, social media bugaboos, you name it. While at Florida Christian Writers Conference I sat in one of her classes, and she's an incredible teacher, too.

Blogging Bistro - I met founder Laura Christianson at Florida Christian Writers Conference several years ago, and I took her class too. It was great. I subscribe to this blog, and when I see her posts in my inbox, I always click right on over. Laura has a knack for explaining the technical aspects of blogging and social media that my brain usually seems to resist. With Blogging Bistro, I always get it!

Writers in the Storm - An interesting, personal take on the writing life. In their words: "There’s more to life than writing, but sometimes life can be the richest story of all. We chose Writers in the Storm as the name of this blog because every writer must weather the storm within: self doubt, rejection, deadlines, and balancing our writing passion with everyday life.  Not to mention the storm raging outside - the paradigm shift in the publishing industry."

Rachelle Gardner's blog - Rachelle is an agent with Books and Such Literary Agency, and her blog is a place to read and interact about the publishing industry and the writing life. As Rachelle says, "This blog is a place where I get to hear the concerns and perspectives of writers in the trenches, so that I never lose touch with what’s happening on the other side of the desk."

Some great places to go for inspiration and answers.
Did I miss one? What's your favorite?