Where did all the good time go?

by Jacob Henwood.

I’m not going to talk about how to write well. I don’t think I am the person to come to for that sort of thing. Not on account of my inability to string words together in a pleasing fashion, but because I’m yet  to present much evidence that it is something that I can do. If it’s what you’re looking for, there are lots of books on the subject by a great many people whose opinions on the matter are backed by the weight of this evidence.

Before quality though comes productivity. This is the first step. A blank page may hold infinite possibilities, but a full page holds the first step to not wasting them. I can talk about productivity. I have productively written for a number of years now. I can sit down and write a 2,000 to 5,000 word story outline in an hour. I do a lot of different types of writing, and I do it with both stealth and ease. If you’re looking for stealth, then you are going to need to invest in a quiet keyboard, or a pen. Pens are quiet. If you’re interested in ease, then keep reading.

Words aren’t always in the habit of being there when we want them. This isn’t really about the words though. It isn’t about writers block either. That’s just a name that we use. Despite all appearances, writing is like drawing, playing the cello, or anything else we need to train ourselves to do with ease. For the most part we tend to assume that however many years of school and university have prepared us for this, but think about the time we would put aside for 2,000 words, or 1,500. Where do we now find the time in our lives for 85,000 words? In reality you are more likely to need to find the time for whatever the actual number of words it is going to take you to write 85,000 good words. Words that carry with them everything that you need of them.

This isn’t something that I figured out. It is something I researched. It is something the authors that I respect discovered through necessity, because for them it was part of the trade. A skill that needed mastering in order that bills be paid. Tom Wolfe, Philip K. Dick, Agatha Christie, Edmond Hamilton, Ray Bradbury, Steven Moffet, and so many others relied on their ability to continue to write whenever it was needed of them.

My first step in understanding this process was the work of Philip K. Dick, whose prolific output and commitment to the concepts behind each of his works is, to my mind, without peer. Dick wrote when he was sleep deprived, discontent, depressed, detached, and, most importantly, when he made the time. Dick wrote a lot of material that he was not happy with (the majority of which was not published), but if you were to say that only 1 in 5 of Dick’s published stories is worth reading, that would still be 10 novels and 20 short stories.

Read more at United By Glue – Where did all the time go… 

What is NaNoWriMo?

Has NaNoWriMo been popping up online a lot lately?  Have your friends been posting about NaNoWriMo on Facebook and Twitter and you have no idea what they are talking about?  Well NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it is coming up soon.

November 2013 is National Novel Writing Month

the emerging writer, nanowrimoWhat is it? –

It is a project of National writing – Yet to discover which nation?!  But NaNoWriMo has spread globally.  When you register for NaNoWriMo, you are able to imput your time zone within your profile.  This will enable you to find others in your area who are participating.

Lots of areas will be holding events during the month of NaNoWriMo.  Sydney for example have already organised a few planning sessions before November, a kick off party the night before and a few write in’s around the city to keep you motivated and on task.

Why am I getting involved?

Because I am reckless and impulsive – and like trying out stuff.  And I have got no idea how it will feel to try and write 50 000 words in 30 days.  I don’t know what that means yet?

What I hope to achieve from it.

Ideally I will have written a really great yet also completely terrible first draft that I can use.  I would like to abandon a lot of my own hang ups about writing that tend to debilitate how quickly I get things done.  I hope that in having such a strict dead line, I will just not have the time to indulge insecurities.

Nanowrimo, The emerging writers diary, emerging writers, writing first novel, meghan brewsterWhat my plan for the next month will actually be. 

October – I am going to get things as ready a possible.  Going over the plot treatment.  Do a lot of character studies and get very detailed about the location, scenery and details – So that I am not caught when it comes to planning.

November – We will actually be traveling around Thailand and then flying into Melbourne.  So this will be a very interesting time.   Hmmm.

 

To check out NaNoWriMo – Go to their websiteHERE X 

 

IMG_0493Meghan Brewster is a Blogger, Freelance writer and general spinner of Fiction. She is the founder and editor of The Emerging Writers Diary, as well as Itp & Me, a website dedicated to managing the rare platelet disorder, ITP. To learn more about Meghan Brewster follow this link. By making purchases through links on this website you are helping to support a young emerging writer. Thank you.

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Brainstorm your Plan for Writing

Emerging Writers, Writing, Writers,This post is the second article in a series about making a Plan for Writing for your year ahead.  If you missed the first article you can find it here.

1.  How to Plan Your Writing (Career)

Before you start worrying about the finished plan – let’s start making a mess.  The best thing about brainstorming is that anything goes, so get your brain into a storm and write down everything and anything you can think of.

“It’s not the plan that’s important, it’s the planning.” Dr. Gramme Edwards

I love sitting down with a few old weekend newspapers and cutting out pictures of people doing great stuff.  I collect wonderful book reviews I wish were mine, pictures of book covers with great designs, words, images and colours.  Everything.  These images normally end up stuck in the Planning Diary for a bit of colour.

The following questions are just to help your brain start to dream bigger than you were dreaming a moment ago.

Start with all the fun stuff and answer these five questions first…

  1. What are five things you would write if you knew you weren’t going to fail?
  2. What are five things you would do or start, if you knew that money was not an object?
  3. What are five things you would change about your writing practice?
  4. What would you work on or create, if you no longer wanted to impress anyone?
  5. How would you answer these four questions above, if you were already an established writer?
The Emerging Writer, Writing MotivationThen you need to sit down and really think about these five questions
  1. What are your reading goals for the year? – How much time will you give yourself to read?  How many books would you like to read over the next year?  Are you going to commit to reading the book pages every week?  Are you going to remember to read as much as humanly possible?
  2. What are your writing goals for the year? – Are you going to measure your time in hours spent working or word counts at the end of the day?  Are you going to write every day?  Are you going to set larger goals of manuscript drafts?  Are you going to keep a diary for the year?  Are you going to work on freelance material or only on your own work?
  3. What are your goals for the writing community? – Are you going to allocate time to attend Writing and Writers Festivals?  Are you going to join or continue to meet with a writers group?  Are you going to tell everyone you know you are a writer now?  Are you going to change your job status on Facebook?
  4. What are your rejection goals for the year? – Are you planning on sending your work to a publisher this year?  Are you planning on finding an agent?  How many times would you like to be rejected this year?  Are you planning on giving you work to a friend for the first time?  Or five friends?  Are you going to apply for a job as a writer this year?  I like to call these rejection goals, to help take the fear out them.
  5. What are your education and financial goals for the year? – Are you planning on taking any short courses at a Writers Centre?  Are you planning on buying and reading any inspiring books by other writers?  It is important to remember that Education as a writer is essential and that it does not always come free.  Being a writer and developing your career will cost you.  How much are you willing to spend?  Would you like to have your manuscript assessed by a professional? $$  Would you like to start your own blog?  $$  Would you like to join a union or writers guild? $$

There is a lot to think about but I believe the act of making these plans is what brings all the benefit.  Even if you never look at these again, this day dreaming and imagining will help make it all the more possible.

Goalbook2

My Planning Books

I have two books that all of my plans go into.  One is for the year ahead.  The other book is for the big, distance, impossible dreams.  They are both full of images, notes, writing and rememberings.  It is great.  I brought a huge book knowing that I will be making plans for my writing career for the next 35 years – I want to keep them all together to see how far my ambitions will go.

This might not work for you.  Perhaps you would like to have all you goals written on the wall?

Follow this link to help you sort out what to do with this great brainstorming

3. Finalising your Plan for writing

 

By making purchases through links on this website you are helping to support a young emerging writer. Thank you.

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How to Plan Your Writing (Career)

Emerging writers blog, THe Diary of an Emerging Writer, Plan for Writing, how to plan a writing career.
writing plans, making a writing plan, emerging writers, getting organised for writing.

This is me brainstorming

3rd September 2013 – It is time to start thinking about the coming year.  In just four weeks my next writing year begins.  I started writing or decided to start writing on the 22nd of September 2012.  Very soon it will be my anniversary.  Before I started to write last year I wrote down a couple of things I wanted to achieve before I started.  It was just a quick list on a scrap of paper.  I looked back over that list every now and again over the last year, to see how I was going.  This year, I am going to do a much better job of making a Plan for Writing.  This year I am going to dream bigger, be more adventurous, more impossible and more detailed with my plan for my next year of writing.

This morning I am going to spend hours looking over notes, newspaper articles and things I have tucked into old folders.  I’ll make  a calendar and brainstorm what I want to get out of my next year of writing.  I’ll write down crazy dreams that seem impossible alongside small goals I know I will achieve.

Why should you make a Plan for Writing?

“Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire.” Napoleon Hill

Having your goals and plans written down is one of the easiest steps you can take to make sure you achieve them.  The importance of making a Plan for Writing should not be underestimated.   It is much easier to get somewhere if you know where you are going.  Having a plan will give you direction and help motivate you towards to your next goal.  You will also feel more in control of your writing if you have set your own terms and made your own rules.  You will get to did decide how that career is going to look and feel.  Having a Plan for Writing gives you agency and keeps you in control.

Making a Plan for Writing also will give you the chance to make a Plan B, in case your intended goals turn out to be different to how you hoped.  When you have a Plan B, disappointments are easily managed and you can change your direction more easily.

What to include in your Plan for Writing?

Goalbook2“If you are failing to plan, you are planning to fail.” Tariq Siddique

You can include anything you think might be relevant for the year ahead; think of it like a business plan – A yearly forecast.  What would your business plan be if you had to write one?  What would you include?

I try to include everything I can possibly think of in my Plan for Writing.  I like to cover all the aspects of my writing practice, from daily word count goals to finishing a manuscript by a certain date.  I also like to make a plan about how my writing is going to fit in with the other areas of my life.  A priority check list is a great tool for reminding you what is important and what needs your attention first.  I have also started to plan out a bit of an education budget and a festival attendance plan – but I will get into that more later.

I keep all my plans, goals and notes for the future in two big diaries that sit on my writing desk, picture above.  I love having everything in one big book, but everyone is different.  Where should you keep your plan?  I’ll get to that later too.

Hopefully after finishing your Plan for Writing, you will have a good idea about what kind of writer you hope to be.  You may also uncover what is important to you as a writer.  This will come in handy when making decisions about your writing, as knowing what is important to you, will help you make decisions that fit into your bigger plan.

To get started on your own Plan for Writing, follow these links.

2. Where do I Start? Brain Storming your Plan for Writing
3. How do I put this all together?  Finalising your Plan for Writing

By making purchases through links on this website you are helping to support a young emerging writer. Thank you.

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Catching bird flu from Anne Lamott

The Emerging Writer

How naive I look…

22nd of July 2013 – So the two weeks of Editing did not exactly go as I planned and hoped.  Th two weeks of editing is now over and I spent the better part of that time taking pain killers and lying in bed with a terrible virus.  Dam you creative Jesus for smitting my plans!  I think it was bird flu.  I have been reading a lot of Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott and now we are living with three chickens.  I tried to turn my work into smaller more manageable tasks, but the chickens seem to peak crazily at each other as they run around.  I must be / they must be crazy.

Great house though.  Wonderful place to house sit, minus the bird flu.

What to do about The Reader and her expectations of receiving the novel on the 31st of July?  I am going to have to cancel, it is just far too stressful and impossible.

Check out this article if you are interested in saving some money and finding a quite house to write in for a while. A Quick Guide to House Sitting.

Finding a home

06 June 2013 – Before I tell you where I am right now, I need to first fill you in on where I have been for the last few days.  No I haven’t been writing.  I have been in and out of real estate offices, traveling back and forth between house inspections and walking through horrible old rental houses.  I have been in a dark place.

 

The Emerging Writer, writing, Ideas

Finding our home

So when my mother tells me this morning that a friend of hers is looking for a house sitter, I am sceptical.  But she is my mum and I promised her I would go and look at it.  I am already heading in that direction.

The house is incredible.  The owners live with a cute dog called Poppy who needs looking after for three months.  We have gone from Sydney rent – to Country rent – to No rent!  What a perfect time to write.

Tomorrow I am heading back to Sydney to pick up a few more things and of course the boyfriend.  I have barely written at all during this last week, but I am considering it a win.  Can’t wait to move in.

What to do with a Spare 20 Minutes

The Emerging Writer, Writing, working

Any spare moment

26 May 2013

There was another day at the writers festival but I had to work, I have about 20 minutes before I have to start getting ready for dinner with the family.  That is just enough time to have a relaxing, sneaking moment in the sun with a coffee and a few unread pages.