Friday Five: May 18 Edition

1. Additional tips on better self-editing (David Sheets, SPJ): “Blame this boom in boo-boos on the ease of electronic publishing, which has reduced the gap between writing and marketing to a barely perceptible slit and goads us into stream-of-consciousness creativity. We are all just a keystroke away from fame and fortune, we’d like to think. Thus, we’re inclined to rush the process.”

2. R-E-S-P-E-C-T isn’t free (Kristen Lamb): “I am here merely to help you use this tool called social media in the most time-effective way, because the best thing you can do to become a successful author or even a brand is to write more books. Write as many books as you can! Good books.”

3. I wrote a five year plan (and you can, too) (Simple Mom): “Our plan is dreaming big, but it’s also possible.”

4. The Internist: Letting Your Reader Inside Your Protagonist (Ruby Slippered Sisterhood):  “That skating-over-the-surface style – which can be expedient in a first draft when you have plots to figure out – can be downright lazy in a final work.  (And I’m not just pointing fingers here, I’m just as guilty of lazy writing as the next scribbler.  But if we are aware of the areas we short-shrifted the reader, we are better able to add an extra level of shine to our finished works. Here are some tips to take your reader deeper.”

5. Five reasons to keep writing (James Killick): “We’ve all been there – staring at a blank page wondering what the hell we’re going to write on it, or worse, why the hell we’re even trying in the first place. A novel or a play can take years of effort and without recognition or appreciation sometimes writing the thing can start to feel like a waste of a good life. Sometimes it’s hard to remember why you do it. Here are some reminders.”


Friday Five: May 4 Edition

1. Characterization and the kitchen sink (Seven  Sassy Sisters): “Knowing the characters we create is key to a well-plotted and emotional story. I have a character sheet generated from different classes I took to help me create my hero and heroine. But, to be honest, most of the information didn’t appeal to the “I like things quirky” in me….So, I sit my character in a chair beside me and I ask him: ‘How do you load your dishwasher?'”

 2. Write, Damnit (GradHacker): “My first post was August 2010, and I’ve written almost two posts per week since then, coming to a grand total of 180 posts to date. The posts are about 600 to 800 words long depending on the length of the journal article or my opinion. It used to take me about two hours two write that many words. Now it’s about an hour, and the posts always range on the longer end of the spectrum. I honestly didn’t realize until recently the writing benefits that I had been getting from an activity I consider to be a hobby. I now have the power to sit down at my computer and pound out 800 words with little difficulty.”
3. Living Loud. Living NOW (Pam Asberry): “I have stopped flogging myself in penance for things I cannot change; I have stopped asking myself, “what if?”  Instead of imagining a future fraught with loneliness and peril – always the default; why don’t we envision futures filled with unicorns and rainbows? – I choose to focus on the many blessings I have in right here, right now. Yesterday is gone; I have little, if any, control over much of what is yet to be – besides, of course, what I can do in the present moment. And I’m going to play that moment for all it’s worth.”
4. How to Make Worrying Work for You (Courage 2 Create): “Today, I recommend listening to your worries, instead of trying to shut them out. First, find out what specific situation The Worry is most concerned about. Then, write down a small, easy, and immediate action you can take in the next week or so to address every, single worry. When you do this, I promise you will feel much better afterward. Why? Because instead of ignoring or shouting at The Worry’s request, you are thoughtfully listening to The Worry and giving it a practical answer.”
5. Beware–Writers have long memories (Shelli Johnson): “Most writers have long memories. Some of us may wish we didn’t. But the fact remains that if you cross us, hurt us, humiliate us, or do any multitude of things that make us feel less than, you can pretty much bet that you will, at some undetermined point in the future, show up in a story and not in a pleasant way.”

Thought for the Day: Foolish Words

“Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few.” – Pythagoras

“A fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.” – Ecclesiastes 5:3 KJV

Wisdom echoes wisdom. Choose your words wisely. Edit mercilessly. Clear out the word clutter. Follow the kiss (keep it simple, silly) principle in writing. Don’t be a fool.

Thought for the Day

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” Rabindranath Tagore

You don’t become a writer by saying you are a writer.

You don’t become an author by wishing a manuscript into existence.

You become a writer by doing, by putting pen or pencil or paper and letting the words flow. 

It is easy to say you are a writer. It’s easy to have all the accoutrements of a writer (fancy laptop, cool tablet, a ton of writing books, membership in a writing organization, a website). But unless you do it–actually write, draft and plot–then you aren’t a writer. 

You’re a no-doer. You’re just a talker.

So write. 


Thought for the Day: Follow your heart, intuition, & bliss

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
~Steve Jobs

Thought for the Day: Getting to Happy

“Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling.” –Margaret Lee Runbeck

“It is better to travel well than to arrive.” — Buddha

How many times have you heard someone say “Oh, I’ll be happy when I win a Pulitzer” or “Oh, I’ll be happy when I hit the New York Times bestseller list” or “I’ll be happy when I get an agent”?

Those are goals. Those aren’t markers of happiness.

If you can’t or don’t enjoy the process, achieving those goals won’t make you happy. You’ll get there (wherever there is for you) and feel hollow.

Love where are you are right now. [Trust me, this is hard. I’m trying to love that I have to strip my entire novel to the basic premise and start over again.] Be content in what you have and what you are doing now. Enjoy the moments that build toward your goals. Then when you get to that peak experience or that profound happiness, the taste of success will be much sweeter because you savored every moment to get there.