Friday, March 15, 2019

Things to Do as Soon as Your First Draft is Finished


Finishing the first draft of your novel is so exciting, but what’s next? You might want to head straight to start editing your book, but actually, this might not always be the best plan. Here are some things to try instead!

First and foremost go and do something fun to celebrate. So many writers never get to the end of their novels, and the fact you’ve got your first draft down is genuinely wonderful. So make sure that you give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back and celebrate in style.
Give your novel some space
Rushing into the editing process as soon as you finish your novel can be more destructive than helpful. You need to give it some space and come back to it when you have had some time apart. If you edit right away, everything will still be too fresh, and you might feel too attached to your novel to do it justice.
Get out and about
You’ve probably spent a fair bit of time chained to your desk or staring at your screen of late. So take this time to air out, and remember what it’s like to do something else other than writing!
Come up with new ideas
Now that you’ve got your first draft down you can start to allow yourself to think of new writing projects and ideas, start brainstorming what you might work on next when the editing process is over. 
Read books in your genre
Never underestimate the power of reading. Using this time to read books in a similar genre can help you get in the right mindset to edit and give you some good ideas and helpful tips too.
Make a publishing marketing plan
Now is the time you should be thinking about how you’ll market your book when it is finished. Even if you hope to have it traditionally published, using social media and having a robust author platform from which to promote your book is useful. If you do want to try and get a publishing deal, start researching relevant publishers and drafting your synopsis and query letters at this time too.
Ask for feedback
Before you get too stuck into the editing process ask some people whose opinions you can count on to be helpful and fair to give you some constructive criticism which you can choose to use or not use as you start to reshape your book.
Go back to the drawing board!
OK, after all that it’s time to start editing. Remember the editing process can be grueling and sometimes even harder than writing the novel in the first place, but keep persevering and dedicate yourself to making your book the very best it can be. 
By following the above tips, you can make sure that you head into the editing process feeling refreshed and ready to start to shape your first draft into something truly spectacular. So make sure you give yourself time and space to do so, and then get back to it!

I do believe I've followed most of these, except for how make a market publishing plan. I am still a bit clueless on how to go about this. I have looked for publishers for kids' books, but noticed that some  do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. This has been the hardest part to get started on.
As for some of the others, I'm still asking for feedback, but have yet to hear back from some of the people I sent the story to. And I have been trying to find other stuff to write. I began a sequel, but it's been some time since I last worked on it. And I just began working on different types of poems, but it's been a few days since I did any of those. I've been trying to read more books in the kids' genre. I've done this since before I even began working on my story. It may have been what made me want to write such a story. As for the memoir, I am still not sure where else to attempt to submit that one. Or even to think of self-publishing. Someone recommended as a self-publishing site. I've looked at it some, but as still a little hesitant.  And today, the leader of the writers lab I have been attending give a link to a poetry contest. I'm also pretty hesitant about that one. Only one poem can be sent it by one person, so that is making it hard to choose just one. 
Plenty of decisions to be made!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Do You Need to Write Every Day to Be a Better Writer?


I don’t know how often I have heard the advice that you should write every day. It’s a lot. But the fact is that many writers struggle with doing so (this one included). Sometimes it is not easy to fit writing into your daily schedule, and, perhaps more importantly, sometimes you just want to have a day off!
However, the fact of the matter is that there is no getting away from the truth that the more writers write, the better they become at it. Not only that but the more regularly they write, the less it will feel like a chore or something you have to force yourself to do, and the more it will feel like a natural and positive part of your life.
Being told to write every day can feel impossible. How on earth is one supposed to fit that into their already busy life? However often writers put too much pressure on themselves and think that writing every day means having to be a good, productive writer every day - and this simply isn’t the case.
To be a productive writer you need to be able to schedule some proper time to sit down and produce your work, and some time for research, for editing, even for marketing your book if you choose to self-publish it. In short, writing takes a lot of time if you want to do it properly, and a little window here or there just won’t be enough. Besides, if you can’t have writing sessions where you really make headway, really get stuck into your book, or article or blog post, it’s going to feel difficult to move forward, or to feel like you are achieving anything, and that’s quickly going to become extremely demotivating.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t write every day on top of your already well-thought-out writing schedule. Don’t think of your daily sessions in the same way as when you can lock yourself away for a good couple of hours and really make headway. Instead regard them as little stretches, exercises to keep you limber and ready and raring to go next time you do sit down to write properly.
Writing every day doesn’t need to be stressful, it doesn’t need to take up any time, and it doesn’t need to be very good either! In fact, if you don't have time to have a long writing session, don’t bother to work on your book which takes focus and concentration and the ability to get into the ‘zone.’ Instead, do little writing exercises, or challenge yourself to write a ten-minute story, or create a character and write a character description for them, or just free write. Doing so can help clear your mind, inspire your imagination, help you brainstorm, process emotions, or simply get rid of all the ‘bad’ writing so that you are ready to write at your very best next time around.
So, while you don’t need to write every day to be a better writer, perhaps you should anyway. Just don’t make it a big deal, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and you might see that your writing improves as a result.

I have been told that writing every day can help you get better and I have tried to get into the habit of writing each day. But it has been hard to do, depending on what else is going on each day. The last few days I have been writing different types of poetry to get some practice in that rare (there are still more types I want to try). Some seemed hard when looking at it, but I did each one the best I could. Learning to do fixed types of poems has been challenging. But as I was working on this for the last few days, I got worried I'd forget how to write stories, since that is what I have been working on primarily. It's been a while since I last worked on my sequel and have not yet begun to read my first book. I have since gotten more feedback on that one and am waiting to see if another person I sent it to will give some feedback as well (he hasn't had time to get to it, the last time I asked him). 

But I guess I won't forget how to write a novel or short story. Writing poetry had been fun and learning to do different kinds has been a challenge, as I've said.  I am more used to writing free-verse, non-rhyming poems so, I think  it is good to experiment with other kinds. I also like writing both, so I think it's best to do a little of each, and see how you do with each. 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Writing Poetry

Now that my creative writing class is back, I plan to do a lesson on poetry writing. I learned that April is National Poetry Month, so I may wait till then to do it in class, even though I have one more class for March (I'll likely do something else on that day). But I myself could not wait to try writing different kinds of poetry at home as preparation.  I gathered different types of poetry from Shadow Poetry to attempt to write. I never knew there were so many kinds! It was hard just to pick some of the types, as they all seem challenging. I plan to show these to others at the center beforehand so they can get ideas.

I've already written an Acrostic and a Diamante. I have added both of these to my Wattpad stories list (click here to read). I also did a Cinquain (will try to add that one to my Wattpad later). 

Again, there are so many different kinds of poetry that I want to try. One really tempting one is Terza Rima, the most famous of which is The Divine Comedy by Dante. The Triolet is also tempting me, as are the Nonet, the Sonnet, and so many others. Some seem especially hard to write like the Sestina. Another one that looks hard to do is the Villanelle. Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night" is one of the most famous Villanelles.

Writing Free Verse and non-rhyming poems has always been easier for me, but I want to try something harder.

Monday, March 4, 2019


Here is the card for Spring 2019. As always, I will get as many squares as I can between now and May 31.

My books for this one:

  1. Standalone: When You Reach Me--Rebecca Stead
  2. Set Outside the US: Still Life--Louise Penny
  3. Large Cast of Characters: The Godfather--Mario Puzo
  4. Three-Word Title: Bed and Breakfast--Lois Battle
  5. Green Cover: Speak--Laurie Halse Anderson
  6. Black Cover: Gangsters & Gold Diggers--Jerome Charyn
  7. A Book You Own: Bluebird, Bluebird--Attica Locke
  8. Yellow Cover: The Rosie Project--Graeme Simsion

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Chapter Break Bingo – March 2019

Here is the card for March.

Click on the card to download (or right click here and save-as).
Mark up the card however you wish to claim the squares.
Here’s a recap for clarity (with specific dates for example):
March 3 – new bingo card available
April 2 – Julie and I will post our March completed bingo cards. You can link up your bingo cards in this post
April 3 – new bingo card available
May 2 – Julie and I will post our April completed bingo cards. You can link up your bingo cards in this post. We will also be posting the March winner of the most squares in this post.

Here is what I am reading:

Still Life--Louise Penny (5 squares): Missing Person, In a Series, Physical Book, Female Author, Library Book

Oh So Brave Dragon--David Kirk (2 squares): Dragons, Magic User

Who Was Walt Disney?--Whitney Stewart (1 square): Audiobook

The Godfather--Mario Puzo (6 squares): Free Space, Family Secrets, Historical, Luck--Good or Bad, Multi POV, Character Moves/Relocates

Speak--Laurie Halse Anderson (6 squares): Green on Cover, Coming of Age, Cliques/Labels, Daughter, Not in a Series, Made You Cry

Emma Lazarus: Selected Poems (1 square): Compliation

Hidden Figures--Margot Lee Shetterly (2 squares): Woman on the Cover, Diversity

Bluebird, Bluebird--Attica Locke (2 squares): Free Book, Shelf Love

25 squares completed on March 18

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Quiz: Your Color Decade

Even though I wasn't born yet, there are many things about the 1960s I find fascinating. (Click here for the quiz).

Your Color Decade: 1960s

You are young at heart and brightly optimistic about the world. You think things are getting better.
You love music, friends, and simply having a good time. But more than that, you're sort of hoping for a social revolution.

You believe that there's a lot that should be left in the past, and you're looking forward to a more understanding, connected world.
And you don't think there's anything old fashioned about the spirit of the 1960s. You embrace shaking things up on every level!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

How to Write When You Don’t Want to Write


Let’s face it, no matter how much we’d like to think we are at our most creative and imaginative all the time, and often the last thing writers want to do is, well, write.
This can be particularly problematic if you are trying to stick to your writing schedule. We are told how important it is to do so. Yet, if you sit down at your computer one day and you just do not feel like you can possibly be productive, then how can you get past this? Should you even bother, or simply accept that you can’t feel like writing all the time, and try again tomorrow?
Trying to write when you don’t feel like it can be incredibly frustrating. So is there anything that writers can do to combat this, and rather than skipping a writing session, or two, or three, can we find ways to switch on our creativity and make sure that every time we write we feel excited, productive and happy to be there?
What’s perhaps most crucial to firstly point out is that it is entirely normal to not feel like writing sometimes. Writers can often get themselves into a panic when it happens to them, for, surely if they were real writers they wouldn’t have this problem? Well, no. It happens to everyone, and you can’t expect to bring your A game every single time.
What you can do, however, is push through it, and at least try before you give up and spend the rest of the day feeling like you have skipped school or pulled a sick day at work just because it was raining and you couldn’t be bothered.
Here’s how:
Read first
Reading is a fantastic way to ignite your creativity and feel ready to tackle your own work again. Allow yourself 15 minutes before you start a writing session to read something fantastic and relevant to your work. This might be all you need to get those creative juices flowing.
Think of writing as a job not a hobby
Be strict with yourself. If you treat your writing like the job that it is, you’ll stop making excuses. You can’t just not turn up to work because you don’t feel like it. The same applies to your writing. Sometimes just getting through the first bit, just showing up is the worst part, and once you start, you’ll soon get in the flow. So don’t give up before you’ve even given it a go.
Free write
Free writing can be a great way to loosen those creative cogs and help clear your mind of clutter before you start for real. So just spend ten minutes writing whatever comes into your head - don’t block anything, this isn’t going to be Shakespeare, it’s just the warm up before you start practicing properly.
Take some exercise
Exercise can be a great boost to help clear your mind, increase your focus and release endorphins to make you feel more positive and upbeat. So if you are really stuck. Get up from your computer, take a walk, and bring your notebook with you in case inspiration strikes.
Hang out with other writers
Fellow writers can not only be great listeners but are also the perfect people to bounce ideas off, to test out new ideas and to generally get creative with. Hanging out with like-minded people will help you feel more focused, and if you have another person holding you accountable it's harder to make excuses or procrastinate.
Stop with the pressure
Remember, sometimes your writing is going to be bad, and that’s OK. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to write perfectly all the time, and the more fun you can have with it the better. Remember you can always return to your writing and cut things out and edit them. So just get the words on the page for now.
Stick with the routine
Above all else, try to stick to your writing routine. If you can you can train your mind to expect to write at certain times, and so it will get easier - we promise!
This can't be more true of me write now. Having been sick for a day last week and still having a cold has made me a bit tired and the rain has been quite off-putting. Our Writers Lab won't meet this week, but I have to bring a writing to critique next week. I'm going to try to do something.

Despite not feeling so well, when I went to bed on Friday night, I got out my Story Cubes. I got these in December 2016, just before my class at work was dropped because of low attendance. But now that the class is back, I want to use the cubes, so I gave them a try. There are nine six-sided cubes with different images, including emojis. One image I couldn't figure out appeared to be a postal letter. I guess even these can be up to interpretation.

As always, I have been reading something. Won't stop doing that one🙂

I can always do my word grab bag, as I have found this idea to be a favorite of mine. My class liked it. I then tried a grab bag of images out from magazines. That one went well. Now I want to try a grab bag of objects, and a "cooking with the dictionary" exercise. Some of these prompts are taken form this book. My class at work won't resume until the first week of March, since tomorrow is Presidents' Day,but I'm already trying to come up with ideas for the weeks ahead (it takes place very other Monday).