Category Archives: writers

5 Things Writers can Learn from Teenagers

The need to be understood. Yep, isn’t this why we pick up the pen in the first place? We want to share our thoughts on life and emotions and feel the connection with the world. We want others to say  “yeah, I get you, I totally feel that way, too.”

The pursuit of being original. But, really, it’s scary. Which is why you can’t tell some teen girls or guys apart. The straight hair chalked in pink and blue, skinny jeans, obsession with piercings, nail art and all things skulls. We writers try to mimic what’s safe. What we know is the trend right now. But, that doesn’t work. If you’re the same as the masses, you’ll disappear.

Keep your posse close: We can all learn from the tight pack of teenagers. Despite the drama, teens band together to feed off of each other’s energy and humor and feeling of connection. Writers need their pack of other creatives, too. To encourage and push us on, to cheer our successes and keep us real when the blocks form and the rejection slips come back.

Be rebellious. OK, I would not encourage my own teenager to do this, but of course he will. Afterall, he’s my kid. And he has strong opinions on things. He makes them known. Writers need to make their opinions known, too. This is called our VOICE. Our style. Be honest in your writing. It doesn’t mean writing about the snotty Room Mother not using your craft idea for the classroom party, but going deeper and writing about the neglect she feels at home from her Very.Important.Big.Shot husband.

Be selfish. Again, not something I’d encourage in my son, but as writers, especially if we have kids, day jobs or spouses, our writing tends to drop off our radar. We become crabby, bratty, temperamental (like a teen?) So instead, be a little selfish and SCHEDULE  time for writing, even if it means missing one Sunday dinner a month at your in-laws. (you can thank me later!)

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Filed under Advice, Believe, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Voice, writers, writing inspiration, Young Adults

your 15 minutes?

2.  Write every day. My music teacher says that it’s better to practice for fifteen minutes every day than to practice for two hours three times a week. I think the same is true for writing. Even if you can only dedicate a few minutes to writing every day, it will become an ingrained habit. Writing will become an integral part of your life. more tips…

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Filed under Advice, Perseverance, Uncategorized, writers, writing inspiration

What the Farmers’ Market can Teach You About Writing

This little community of early-Saturday risers have known the delicious secret of our town’s Farmers’ Market for quite a long time. Since I’ve recently joined the community of early-Saturday risers, the Farmers’ Market has become a weekly morning date for my husband and me. With tasty, fresh results! Peaches, grapes, tomatoes, Door County Coffee (Mmmmm….)

But, it got me thinking, as most things do, about writing. Here are some ways The Farmers’ Market can teach us Writers:

  1. Fresh is Best.  the freshest ideas, like the freshest, in-season produce totally outweighs the mass-produced, convenience packaged ideas (and foods!) Fresh, as in, Do Not try to write the next Harry Potter or Twilight or even 50 Shades of Gray. If you’re quirky, run with it! If you’re a poet, a romantic, a sci-fi fanatic – write your freshest stuff, and rewrite it, caring for it until it’s ripe.
  2. Presentation is Everything: I kinda feel bad, but not really. Those wobbly folding tables displaying pitiful containers of blueberries, raspberries and a few bedraggled ears of corn. Looks skimpy, gives the feeling of picked over produce, not a lot of love. Present your best work. Don’t send it out or share it until it’s ready. Really ready. And LOVE your work or no one else will.
  3. No Preservatives: OK, this goes against lesson #2, but there is such a thing as holding on too long. Our stories should not sit and ferment while still in the drafting phase. I know this from experience. There are no preservatives in my novels. And unfortunately, because I lost faith in my first few attempts, when I go back to resurrect them, the tone has changed. I have changed. It’s no longer the same story. And my characters tap their feet, impatient with me.
  4. Being Outdoors makes EVERYTHING better: Shopping, eating, talking, walking, kissing. And Writing. Write outside a coffee shop. Write while sitting on a bench in the park. Write next to a gurgling water fountain. Write on the train platform. Write on a grassy slope just outside the tents of the Farmers’ Market.

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Filed under Advice, Inspiration, Uncategorized, writers, writing inspiration

someone else said it better

which is why I link to them here…

Stephen King’s Top 7 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer … gotta love the King

Plot like a Best Seller: 8 Things you Should Know …oh, plot, where art thou?

Determination vs Confidence…or, didn’t we just talk about this??

Tips for Writing a Best-Selling Novel…Lessons from Star Wars…may the force be with you

5 Tips for Starting (and Finishing) Your Novel…now to put it into practice!


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write from here

pulled from my Pinterest Board “Inspiration for my Writing”

“jumping” photo by: Yaman Ibrahim

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Filed under Inspiration, writers, writing inspiration

great expectations – the gap between what we want to write and what we actually produce

Does the end result of your story stop you from even beginning? That seems to be my current problem…

“I dream of an Eagle, I give birth to a Hummingbird.” ~ Edith Wharton

There is a gap many writers experience. Between the expectation and the final product. In my head it’s a beautifully weaved quilt of literary genius. On paper (or screen) it’s a mess of my random connections between characters, inner intentions and very vague symbolism. An example is one scene I wrote in the Finding your Writer’s Voice Workshop… (can’t believe I’m sharing this; don’t stone me!)

Tiffany saw the way the Earth looked at dusk, but never from yards above the rooftops. She didn’t expect it to be so cold and wobbly. Though Gretchen did say there would be flashes of lightning.

“All the better to see you with, my dear,” she had said in her wicked witch voice. Complete with a cackle.

Tiffany couldn’t get used to that voice on Gretchen. But she really couldn’t get used to the energy that surged under her skin and lifted her feet from the ground.

“The umbrella is for effect?” She asked Gretchen.

“No, Mary Poppins, the umbrella is for control. The wind will carry your five foot frame wherever he wants, but at least you can guide the journey.”

 Journey. Exactly what Tiffany had wished for at the beginning of the summer. This is not what she had envisioned.

When Dad came home alone from the hospital last month, Tiffany just thought the baby needed more time to grow, develop, heal. And mom, too. But Dad’s face…

The image that prompted this rambling start of a YA story is pictured below (the girl holding the flying umbrella.)

top row, third from the left

Yes, this scene is very disconnected, riddled with grammatical errors and paced awkwardly. Given, it was written in Three Minutes. So, I need to forgive the drafting phase and remember…

“Value the process, not the product.” ~ Jane Yolen

How are you valuing your process? Do you have rituals? Ways to work through the doubt, through the Big Expectation?

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Filed under Advice, Believe, characters, Fiction, Inspiration, procrastination, Voice, writers, writing inspiration, Writing prompts, Year of Nurturing

Finding your Writer’s Voice

My NaNoWriMo group met at the library a few weeks ago to practice an exercise our liason learned in a workshop.

This is Intense. It WILL resurrect your creativity.

  1. You should have at least one partner, but a group of 3 or 4 works best.
  2. each writer brings 3 pictures to the workshop (cut from magazines, printed from online, taken from your own camera) images should be interesting because these will be used to prompt ideas
  3. everyone lays their pics onto one table and each writer selects 2-3 images that really pique their interest or speak to them
  4. back at your notebook or laptop, one person sets the timer for THREE MINUTES
  5. as a group, pile your pics together and choose one picture to start with, study it, let your mind churn out characters, settings, story lines or dialogue and get ready …
  6. Timer goes – Start writing! Write as fast as you can, no thinking, no plotting, No EDITING
  7. Time’s UP! Stop writing even if in the middle of a sentence.
  8. Flip to the next picture, look it over quickly – you should only have 60 seconds before starting the next round.
  9. Timer starts – Start Writing again! THREE MINUTES. This should be an independent scene or story idea from the first one you started, though if you’re an amazing prolific writer, you can connect the scenes….
  10. Repeat these writing sprints through your stack of images (should have 9 total).
  11. After the 9th scene is written, take turns READING aloud your story snippets to the group. You should read them straight through, pausing briefly between to give your partners time to jot down some thoughts on your work.
  12. After each writer has read aloud, offer your feedback. Feedback should remain positive  – think of it as writing a fan letter to your favorite author. These are all very rough drafts, remember.
  13. One more time, each writer reads aloud straight through all 9 snippets of their writing.
  14. This time, each writer will offer feedback based on:
  • How each scene made them feel
  • What genre they believe this scene would fall into
  • Ask what the author had in mind for the story plot and the ending
  • Which of the 9 was the strongest story

At the end of this fun, fast workshop, you will each have 9 story starts, a full tank of confidence and a better idea of your writer’s voice and the genre that you write the best.

Here are the pics my group used:

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Filed under Advice, Fiction, Inspiration, NaNoWriMo, teaching, Voice, writers, Writing prompts

believe.

Writing is more than creativity. It’s confidence.

{from tumblr.}

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Filed under Advice, Believe, Inspiration, Perseverance, writers, writers block, Year of Nurturing

plant a SARK seed

So, I’ve talked about discovering SARK well after her height of popularity. But still, her concepts and inspiration ring true at any time. The magic of an artist’s spirit soars beyond society. 

Some SARKisms I jotted down in my notebook:

“I believe we need to go to where we want to be, and the resources will follow us.” ~ SARK, Inspiration Sandwich

WRITE IN COLOR…use a sketch book as a journal and my old scrapbooking markers to journal, make lists, collect quotes and draw/doodle little flowers and random patterns.

INVENT NEW WAYS OF BEING…reflect on how my life has changed since practicing The Year of Nurturing

I HAVE A LOT TO SHARE WITH OTHERS…Writing is therapy – without the appointment

WRITE MY BOOK…only I can :)

What do these concepts mean to you? How can each help to bring your creativity to the forefront of your LIFE??

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Filed under procrastination, writers, writers block, writing inspiration, Writing prompts, Year of Nurturing

Finish this line…

more from The Pocket Muse (Monica Wood)

Finish this line…

“Right after they posted the results, I tried to ________________”

+ call my dad

+ get lost in the crowd

+ deny the words in front of me

+ console Becky

+ tear the sheet from the bulletin board

+ avoid eye contact with Roger

+ “your own idea here!”

Share your finishing touches and any story ideas that steam up from the cup of muse. :)

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Filed under books, writers, writing inspiration, Writing prompts