Category Archives: Writing Life

A New Page for a New Year

blank pageA writer, in my experience, is very good at looking to the future. We plan the course of our novels and look to a time when our works in progress will be complete and make us piles of money. Or at least I do.

As Michael Kanin once said, “I don’t like to write, but I love to have written.”

And it’s so easy to fantasise at what our writing might bring us, such as a future of prosperity where we might leave our day jobs to write full time. My personal dream involves a well-stocked personal library with a view of the Wrekin where I will spend my days writing in comfort.Continue Reading

Confessions of a Lone Writer: A Journey Into Collaborative Creativity

Aurelia
Aurelia: Edge of Darkness

If there’s one quality that seems to characterize writers, it’s our need for time alone. Time to think. Time to daydream, to play with our words.

History elevates the solitary writer as a kind of legend: that elusive genius, scribbling furiously in a forgotten attic, until at long last (usually upon completion of their magnum opus) they expire, penniless and unsung.

Public gratification, it seems, always comes too late.

Today, though it’s much harder to hide in any attic long enough to write a magnum opus, we still strive for that ideal. The penniless and unsung part, too, we also to accept as a matter of course.

But what if the two are related?Continue Reading

TimeCraft – Squeezing the Most Out of Your Writing Schedule

My car radio is dead.

It doesn’t bother me much yet, because I have a couple things going for me: 1) A love of exercising my mediocre singing voice, and 2) a ton of stories I don’t have enough time to write.

While there are no doubt authorial aspirants whose schedules would make my own look positively spacious, I can say without exaggeration that I am currently a very busy person. It has been roughly one year since I decided to make a go of this “independent author” thing, and I’m going to stick with it. That means making my writing a priority, and finding ways to make progress regardless of difficulty. Here’s how I go about it.Continue Reading

Finding Strengths in Your Weaknesses as a Writer

The key to finding your way as a writer is to discover what kind of writer you are.

Are you the type that talks about writing but doesn’t really do it much? Are you the kind that works diligently every day, but always ends up deleting or scrapping the whole manuscript? Are you the perfect planner, but awful at execution? Or vice versa?

Finding your strengths and weaknesses as a writer can help you navigate your way along the path to being the perfect “you.” Sound flaky? Maybe, but the sooner you can chip away at your problems the earlier you can fix them.

I’d like to preface this by saying I’ve fallen into every one of these categories before.  So if any of these describe your current writing situation, I feel your pain.Continue Reading

10 Easy Steps to Crush Creative ADD

You’re working on your current project when a beautiful faerie lands on your laptop and says, “Hey! Why are you writing this boring story? Look over here!”

Wow, a story about elven wyvern hunters in 18th Century Central America is much more interesting than my current Work in Progress (WIP) about mutant horse-thieves in a post-apocalyptic world ruled by centaurs.

The faerie grabs your hand, hovers it over a new Word document, and jumps up and down on your finger until you left-click it. Ah. Like sinking into a warm bath. The feeling of cleansing away your dirty, stinky WIP and starting a pristine, new document, that little blinking cursor sending shivers up your spine.Continue Reading

How to Obliterate Writer’s Block

“I’m stuck.” These two words ring in your ears.

That blank page. The blinking cursor. After three hours of hard-work, all you have is this:

The Knight of Moonberries
by John R. R. R. R. Johnson

The knight walked…

And that’s it.

That blank page is waiting for you to blow it up. Fill it full of holes. Slash it, burn it, run over it with a tank.

So here I am to tell you how to forever and ever, eliminate writer’s block from your vocabulary. These are 5 ways (maybe not the Top 5, but nevertheless 5 ways) to smash writer’s block in the face and send it spiraling out into the cosmos.
Continue Reading

The Power of the Genre – Why Write Fantasy?

With a few rare exceptions, genre fiction is generally dismissed – even disdained – by “serious” authors and critical reviewers alike. Fantasy book sales are miniscule compared literary fiction; even the other genres outsell it. If you want to get rich, you’re better off writing “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” than “Bonds of Sisterhood.”

So what is it about Fantasy that motivates a writer to sacrifice broad cultural acceptance, fame, and money for the genre?

I asked editors and authors, “Why Do You Write Fantasy?” I was curious what it was about the Fantasy genre that made it the best venue for the stories they wanted to tell. Some weren’t really sure, but others had some very definitive ideas on the subject.Continue Reading

Knowing What You Want

Do you know what you want?

It’s hard to know how to get started as a writer. Should you write short stories or a novel?  Should you stick with one genre, or try several?  Should you get an agent and submit to traditional publishers, or try the self-publishing route?

The answers to those questions depend entirely on what you want.  A full-time career as a writer?  Financial stability? (That’s a tough one to achieve by writing!)  Fame and respect?  To simply be able to say that you finished a novel-length story?

Some people say “I want to be a writer!” without really figuring out what that means.  Other folks just want to be able to say “I’m a writer” at cocktail parties and high school reunions.  They might not even need any publication credits; simply having tried makes them feel like a writer.Continue Reading

Depression in Writers

Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe

This article is by Nicola Stretton.

It’s not easy being a writer at the best of times. But when you’re suffering from depression it can be a lot worse.

Most writers are plagued by negative thoughts such as ‘I’m not good enough’ and ‘Everything I write is terrible’. Then there are the days when you can’t muster up the energy to write anything at all. That’s when those negative voices step up a level: ‘How can you call yourself a writer? You can’t even write.’

These internal monologues affect most, if not all, writers from time to time. Self-doubt is a part of being human. But when it starts to take over your life, it will make a negative impact on your writing and maybe even force you to give up completely. You may well be depressed.Continue Reading