Where Dreams Meet the Business of Writing

Making Me Think #IWSG

iwsg

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month we were asked, ‘What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?’

making me think

Making Me Think

What are my ultimate writing goals? What an excellent question that’s really making me think. I don’t suppose I’ve ever really sat down and tried to clearly define what my ultimate goals were. I wanted to write. I had stories I wanted to tell. And it went from there.

Along the way my current lists have changed. I’ve added stories and books. I’ve added far more than I’ve ever crossed off as deleted. My directions have changed slightly here and there. But I think overall is that I just want to write the stories that are in my heart. Which makes it a very nebulous and undefinable goal.

In order to keep writing, and pay for book publishing, and buy paper and ink cartridges etc. it’s necessary to have some money come in. Hence the articles and submissions for paid writing spots, along with book signings and classes at local libraries.

Eventually I’d love to be able to make a living from my writing, so that the part time job can go away. But yet, without a clear plan, or an idea of how many dollars a month I need and how I’m going to make that number – it’s not likely that it will happen.

Instead of the July goals I currently have of finish the writing workbook for the class at the end of the month, add to Embracing 60, revise Memory Gardens, and organize my short stories into a cohesive list (written, WIP, and dreamed of), I need to add one more goal to July. Search deep within myself and determine what my long-term ultimate writing goals really are.

Thank you Insecure Writer’s Support Group for the kick in the pants (pardon the cliché!) I needed this month that highlights a vague and undefined end wish.

Check out more Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts here.

 

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iwsg

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month we were asked, ‘What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?’

names from a hat

How Many Sarah’s Can You Have?

A Sarah here, a Sarah there…how many Sarah’s can an author have? This month’s question for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group was an easy one. Definitely choosing names are more difficult for me. The titles always seem to come with the germination of the book idea itself. And while they many change as I work on and complete the book – that is rare. I almost always go with my first instinct for a title.

But names, that’s where my own personal difficulty lies. I don’t have problems with naming characters, it’s just that I seem to always go to the same names. Sarah and William seem to be particular favorites to me, but I have no idea why. It’s like I have this internal list of ten to twelve favorites that my brain always accesses first. On my short stories spreadsheet, I had to add a column for main character names, so I don’t repeat names.

Another small glitch I find is that I can easily end up with two or three character names that all begin with the same initial. If I don’t consciously watch it, I’ll have Sarah and Sam with a dog named Spot. It must be that alliteration fascination coming back to haunt me.

Alas, if these were the only troubles I had to contend with, I’d be one happy author. Names I can change all day long. Now if fixing plot holes and characterization problems were just as easy.

Check out more Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts here.

 

Like writing the dreaded blurb, writing a synopsis can throw the best writers into a panic! This is something else I’ve written about before, but is definitely worth repeating. I’ve worked with lots of writers who can compose the most beautiful prose, bring scenes to vivid life, make me care about their characters, keep me […]

via Writing the dreaded synopsis! #amwriting #writingtips — Alison Williams Writing

I’ve decided to have a Thank Bank. It’s kind of like a Spank Bank but way different. Instead of a collection of erotic ideas, images, what-have-yous, it’s a place for me to go whenever I’m feeling like shit and everything I do/write is shit and the whole ‘I should just give up now’ mentality is […]

via Thank Bank. It Works. — C.G.Coppola

iwsg

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month we were asked, ‘It’s spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?’

 

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The Garden Beckons

The seasons themselves don’t necessarily inspire me to write more or less. Now, they do effect the amount of writing that is accomplished. During summer and winter it’s too hot or too cold to be outside. So I’m nestled in the house, either in front of a fan or a heater and the words fly. Not because I’m inspired, but because the extreme temperatures limit my outside comfort zone. So, housebound I become.

But spring…that is my season! New growth is appearing after the dormant winter cold. Buds push their way through the earth. Flowers appear, waving their colorful blooms in the breezes. Roses spread their fragrant aroma in a swirl around me. Wildflowers usher in this most delightful season. Birds chatter and twitter away in the canopy of trees surrounding me. The cardinal couple flit in and out of the towering evergreen, tending to their nest of hatchlings.

Write? During spring? You have to chain me to my desk if you think I’ll be tapping away at a keyboard when the garden is growing outside. Thank goodness for spring time rains that curtail my gardening days.

You’d think fall would have the same results. The more moderate temperatures allow for being outside and comfortable. It’s not cold enough yet for thick, plush jackets. The searing heat is gone. But, no. It’s totally different. The garden is dying back. Even the weeds that have crept up between plants begin to wither away. It’s time to tidy up, cut back, bring in garden accessories and get ready to put the garden to bed. While I enjoy the coolness of fall days, I don’t like the threat of the impending winter. It dampens my spirits and makes me gloomy.

But spring it is, so this 300 or so words is all you get today. Next month, when the heat is here in Texas, I’ll be back writing longer posts. Today I’m out of here – I’ve got a garden to tend to!

 

Check out more Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts here.

Today we welcome a guest post from C. Hope Clark. She’s celebrating the release of her eighth mystery, Newberry Sin. Hope is a writer I admire and I’ve learned so much from her over the past few years. I began following her when I first began freelancing and discovered her weekly newsletter, Funds For Writers. Her book, The Shy Writer Reborn, soon joined my other writing books on my bookshelf – and is the one that’s most marked up, dog-eared, and highlighted.

Join us today as she shares her wisdom about becoming a focused writer. Then, hop on over and check out her mysteries. They’re excellent too!

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How to Become a Focused Writer

By C. Hope Clark

The faster this world revolves with the advent of technology, the more choices we have in everything we face. The speed of that information, and the resulting demands on our time due to all these opportunities thrown in front of us, the less we feel in control of our time.

For a writer, all that noise, tugging, and temptation takes a toll on concentration. So how is this writer supposed to pay attention to deadlines, much less the intricacies of storytelling, when hit from all sides with the busy-ness of life?

  1. Create Structure. Think of a child with autism or ADHD. One of the first suggestions to help them cope is to establish structure to their days. These children become flustered with too much stimulation, unable to process it all. Sound familiar? Same logic applies to a writer. Set a time and place to write if it does not come natural to you. When that time comes, and when you enter that space, your mind will ultimately adhere to the routine and kick into writing mode. If you cannot guarantee a place, at least adhere to the time wherever you are. Disorganization = enemy of focus.
  2. Have a Plan. What do you want to write? You cannot get into a car without a strong sense of where you’re going. Short stories? Poems? A novella? Make it practical because saying you want to become a writer then starting with a novel is like asking a new attorney fresh out of law school to represent a serial killer. It’s paralyzing. But if you are sure you want to tackle a book, then have a plan for the stages you’ll write it so that the project isn’t intimidating. Intimidation = enemy of focus.
  3. Have a Fun Backup Plan. You delve into your main plan, and you can’t make the words happen. Have three backup plans. First, write something short and fun. This might be all it takes to unclog things by making you enjoy putting words on paper. Second, write a letter to someone who has deserved it for a long time. Write it longhand, since this form of writing will tap a different part of your brain, giving the obstinate side a rest. . . maybe a chance to shake loose and want to go back to work again. Third, journal about your day. This exercise lets you fall naturally into a subject matter, freeing your writing, Do NOT let a sluggish attempt at writing give you permission to redirect to email, social media, or games. Distraction = enemy of focus.
  4. Keep Showing Up. The worst of days, when you hate the idea of sitting at the computer, are the days you need to show up most. That’s because you are demonstrating to your obstinate, pig-headed (maybe lazy) self that your writing is meaningful and important. Athletes hit the track. Swimmers hit the pool. Show up until the very act itself is as inherent as brushing your teeth. Irregularity = enemy of focus.
  5. Inform Family and Friends. Do not allow interruption. When you are in your place, in your time, you are at work no differently than if you’d commuted downtown, parked your car, and sat behind a desk with a boss looking over your shoulder. Once you give interruptions (and the interrupters) a palms-up stop-sign reaction, they’ll think twice about whether the interruption is necessary. Or they’ll leave a voice mail. Or they’ll come back later. Interruption = enemy of focus. Interruption = enemy of focus.
  6. See the End. How will you imagine the day you type the last word of the last chapter? How will it feel to send off the manuscript? Have a legitimate plan for a celebration or establish a reward system. No goals = the enemy of focus.
  7. Be the Writer First and Foremost. When your mind wanders, and you find the writing difficult, you do not have permission to start searching for editors, publishers, agents, or indie presses. This is a VERY COMMON tangent writers take when they cannot focus. They justify switching gears to the publishing side of the house with the argument that they need to understand how to publish so they can prepare. And the book never gets written. It’s easier to read blog posts, participate in discussion groups, and watch educational videos about publishing than it is to write. You have to become a habitual writer before you even think about publishing. Ignoring Craft = the enemy of focus.

We forget the elementary, basic fact that we are just trying to write. Nothing more, nothing less. When we allow the obtrusive racket of people and Internet to interfere, and when we attempt to write without much thought to the direction, we have already decided not to focus.

Focus isn’t out of your control, on the contrary. But there isn’t a magic formula to put your fingers on the keys and type words on the screen, either.  We wish it were easier, but focus is self-imposed, and it’s so much simpler when infused with structure, planning, goals, and dedication.

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BIO: C. Hope Clark has just released her eighth mystery, titled Newberry Sin. She is also a freelancer and founder of FundsforWriters.com, and a frequent conference speaker, and podcast presenter for Writer’s Digest. She lives on the banks of Lake Murray in central South Carolina with her dachshunds and federal agent husband. www.chopeclark.com

 

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The 30-Year Story A looong time ago, I wrote a 4500-word light romance. Back then, there were a number of print magazines that published that sort of thing. I worked on it till it was polished, then sent it off. It didn’t sell. I sent it to another market. Same result. Over the next few […]

via The 30-Year Story — Lida Bushloper

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