Writing What you Know? …Please

I’ve disliked this phrase for a long time. But instead of tossing it away with the rubbish, this week I explored deeper. I delved into its meaning, finding its benefits but also finding precisely what it lacks:

 

“Creative Foundations: The Controversy of Writing What You Know”

‘Write what you know’ is a hackneyed maxim. When people learn that I’m a writer, they grasp onto the one thing they know about writing. They ask, ‘write what you know’—that’s a thing, right? And I tell them yes. Kind of….READ MORE

“Creative Foundations: Multi-Media Inspiration”

Writers don’t need to go into the world to tell their stories, do they? Just as artists are stereotyped as mentally imbalanced—Van Gogh’s ear comes up in that conversation a lot—writers are stereotyped as recluses. We type away at our desks…..READ MORE

 

What has your experience been with this overused advice? Has it helped you or limited you? 

Trust and Expectations: Writing Group Essentials for a Manuscript Swap

DSC00663On July 1st, my writing girls came over and we swapped manuscripts. My 88k went to Jen, Liz’s 85k went to me, and Jen’s 27k went to both of us. Jen has been waiting to read the ending of my novel for about five years–so it’s about time!

One of the best attributes of a solid writing group is trust. We are vulnerable with each other in sharing plot points, story ideas, and raw drafts. Each group meeting is full of conversation and laughter, giving us a chance to feel out the dynamic. If we can trust each other in the smaller issues and critique in healthy ways, then bigger projects should be no big deal, right? Continue reading

The Freelancer’s Polar Bear Club: Diving in Headfirst

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Ripped mercilessly off their shelves, books congregate by color. Homesickness sets in as they wait for their turn with the  camera.

Last week when the hubby came home from work, a mess of books sprawled across the dining table. He asked; I explained:

When I quit my semi-traditional salaried job last month, I decided to dive headfirst into freelancing. I bought a domain. I shot pictures for the website’s headers–discovering that that green books have too many tones to match well, but blue and red are nicely uniform. Superfluities aside, Continue reading

Progress!

Last week I condensed my novel manuscript into one document and found that it is 63k, at 222 pages! I’m editing through a few chapters to get the plot up to speed with a few necessary updates, and then I’ll work on finishing it up. Though I love my novel, editing it is going to be horrible. Those 200+ pages will be nearer to 300 when I’m done, and it is going to take many, many drafts for it to be publishable. Page by page, paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence. You get the idea.

If you’re interested, here’s my take on the editing process: The 4 Draft Breakdown

What is your process like? How do you tackle editing?

Writing Tip of the Day: How to Revitalize Creativity

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You’re stuck, feeling dull, and browsing endless Pintrest boards for something to revitalize your muse. You want to be productive, but the longer you scroll down that page, the more numb your mind becomes. It’s ironic how you scratch that psychological itch to be productive by filling your brain with a blur of busywork.

To kickstart creativity, all you need is the loud chopping of a helicopter. The wind whips your hair around as you squint into a painfully bright searchlight. Over a loudspeaker, someone commands, STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER! You obey quickly—who knows if they’ve got snipers trained on you. As you set it aside, the commanding voice continues:

  • LOOK AT THE SKY. It’s dark above, but soon you realize that a few pricks of light have found their way through the clouds. The moon is rising. The residue of a lunar rainbow rings about it. Was all this here before? You never noticed until you backed out of your virtual world and rediscovered the real one. But that isn’t enough. The voice prods you again.
  • LOOK DOWN. You run to the edge of the building (because obviously you were browsing Pintrest on a skyscraper roof like any normal human being) and below, in the buzzing lights of neon signs and street lamps, hundreds of people mill about. They stop at shops, with small children tugging on their coats. They shove their hands into their pockets and trudge with determination. Where, you ask? And why? Now you’re getting somewhere.

You’re expecting the next command, but it doesn’t come. As you turn back to the chopper, it rises, dips forward, and dives out of sight. You’re tempted to run after the mysterious apparition, but instead you notice that your computer is gone. A large yellow legal pad sits in its place. In all caps, italicized, two words read: BE CURIOUS

As you stare across the cityscape you wonder yet again, where did that helicopter come from?

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on-the-ning-nang-nong:

why am I finding writing so hard at the moment. I want to write but my mind just seems to be rejecting my story and won’t let me focus, instead it wants to do other things. Focus brain

I use an egg timer when I can’t seem to focus. I’ll set it for 10-15 minutes, and by the time it goes off I’m already absorbed in my work, so I don’t need to reset it. It also helps that my egg timer is shaped like a penguin 🙂