Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Why Writing Isn't Enough

I'm not saying that you can't call yourself a writer if you do nothing more than toil away on your manuscripts for hours, days, even years. However, at some point, most people want others to see their work. Though the joy of writing is what keeps us going, behind it is the hope that others will find joy in our work through reading it. Whether you're writing a family genealogy meant only for close relatives, or you're writing a commercial novel for the masses, at some point, writing means putting your work out there...which can be scary.

It's much safer to keep your writing tucked away on your hard drive, or in a trunk under the bed, because exposing it to daylight invites possible judgment and criticism. Some writers are sensitive by nature, but writing is not for the skin-thinned, so where should you start? I started with a critique group, and think a good critique group (consisting of fellow writers) is worth its weight in gold. Other writers are the best resource (IMHO) for pointing out your own strengths and areas for growth as a writer.You can find them through professional writers groups, conferences, and online message boards or blogs. Use the feedback to make your work the best it can be. But you can't stop there.

At some point, you have to bite the bullet and put your work out there. Whether it's querying agents and editors if you aspire to a traditional book deal, or hiring an editor and then self-publishing, no one can read your book if it's not available. This doesn't mean rushing things. Take your time to write, revise, edit, and polish your book to a high gloss. But if writing and all that goes into making a complete novel is Step #1, make sure you eventually push yourself to do Step 2). Put it out there. 

Which step are you on? Any tips for those struggling with Step 2?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How Do You Reward Yourself?

When you're writing a novel, I'm a big believer in rewarding yourself for achieving the baby steps along the way. For instance, when I'm in the revision process after finishing my first draft, I reward myself with chocolate after revising each chapter (don't judge). I'd like to say the satisfaction of writing and revising is entirely its own reward, but sometimes I need that extra shot of motivation.

So when I really want to push myself, the reward needs to be bigger, and then I'm way more likely to reach my goal. I don't watch much television and don't have any of those recording thingies to watch shows later, but I have a crazy addiction to Design Star on HGTV--I know, some people have a  wild side, and mine is dan-ger-ous. Anyway, guess who hit her word count goal last week with over 30 minutes to spare? This girl. It's on again tonight and I'm sure I'll hit my goal today too, because no way in hell am I missing David Bromstad's pep talks regarding room decor (I'm so badass like that).

Now that I've confessed my sure-fire writing reward, I want to know about you. How do you reward yourself? (It's okay if your method isn't as hard-core as mine. Not everyone can be this cool. ;)       

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Longhand versus Laptop

Up until now, I've written my novels solely via laptop. Sure, I've mapped out outlines, ideas, and characters in a notebook (okay, so I have notebooks everywhere, and it might be an addiction, but that's a different post), but the actual writing has taken place at my computer. Then I had something weird happen a few weeks ago.

(NOTE: This is not the actual pen used, but I am SO getting this pen one day!)

I had a client need to reschedule an appointment at work, which left me with an entire hour of writing time--except that my laptop was at home. For some reason, I pulled out my legal pad rather than the cute flowered notebooks I usually carry, and decided to write a chapter. The words flew onto the page, and when I typed them into the computer that night, I'd written almost 3K words...in an hour. For me, that's a lotta words, and even though I took shorthand in high school, I also took typing, so I couldn't believe how fast I was. The other strange part was that when I went back the next day to edit, it required way less editing than usual. In the next two days, I easily wrote two more chapters that way. I know there are studies out there about enhanced neural activity and increased memory capacity in writing versus typing, but I'd never tried it out for myself.

Summer with the kiddos has challenged my writing time, but my goal for this week is to get 10K words completed, because I'm excited to finish my new book...and because my agent is waiting patiently for it.;)

Have you tried writing in longhand versus typing? Anyone else notice a difference?

Oh, and Happy July 4th! The Wednesday Query Critique will be back next Wed. 7/11 on my personal blog.
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