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Sunday, June 3, 2018

Double, Double Toil & Trouble - #1 Intro and Best Practice

Recently I've been talking to a lot of aspiring writers and in those talks I've had some off handed requests made for some writing advice...which got me thinking...maybe it's time for me to start blogging about what I know...specifically what I know about writing, my experiences in publishing, and learning the craft (very witchy, I know!)

I come to you as a creative writing teacher of fourteen years and as an ever aspiring, published author of nearly ten.

In my Double, Double Toil & Trouble series, I will go through best practice, candid experiences and maybe, down the road, some opportunity for critique.

So, if you're interested...keep reading...if you're not...well, go buy one of my books instead and have a wicked little read.

Where to start? Well...with writing, of course.

You want to be a writer...to see your name on a book cover...to feel the excitement of holding your first book in your hands...and then to put pen to paper and sign it. Ahhh, the dream.

It's possible...absolutely, 100% (and I'll get to available options in another post) but not unless you actually do some writing.

And doing some writing means not making excuses about why you're not doing some writing...like right now (or as soon as you finish reading this post.)

In my Writer's Craft course, I always set the tone by starting class with ten minutes of mandatory writing time. We use prompts from a prompt book I picked up at Chapters a while back but no one has to use the prompt that I write on the board. Sometimes those just don't speak to everyone...the point isn't WHAT you're writing, the point is THAT you're writing. You can use any form, write about anything, just as long as you're writing.

I have three rules:

1) You write/type for the entire ten minutes. (Quietly, no interruptions!)
2) You do not edit...let the spelling mistakes and grammar errors run rampant!
3) You do this every day that we have class.

And I model this every day as well...even when I'm not feeling it...I still write while they're writing. Why? Well, because I'm the professional and I'm the teacher and if I'm not willing to do it then why should they?

It's good practice for beginners who are on a journey toward publication and good practice for me because sometimes I need a reminder of the power of daily writing exercises. Like any habit, routine is the key to sustaining it and that works for writing just as well as it works for flossing. You do it consistently and it becomes the norm. Make writing everyday your norm and it will help you in other ways later. (Like meeting deadlines and hitting word targets.)

Ultimately, you will have to be the master of your writing time...and making time for writing is your primary responsibility. No one will really force you to finish that novel...or that short story...or whatever it is. I mean, editors might, but really, you need to motivate yourself. And writing is hard work...and sometimes it's a tough chore. If I'm going to be totally honest, sometimes I absolutely hate it.

But, how can I say that! My dream is to be a writer!

Because it takes a lot of energy...and a lot of discipline...and I'd rather be watching a show or reading a book...but I wanna be a writer...so I have to write.

So let's start there...my challenge to you is to write every day for ten minutes starting today.

Later, I'll do a post about how to finish things...but let's just start with getting started, okay?

Get writing and don't make any excuses!
(I do not believe in writer's block...which will be the topic of my next post...so if you feel that excuse popping up in your head, stay tuned...I'll set you straight.)

And report back here later, let me know how it's going.

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