Archive | June 2017

Have You Taken a Long Break from Your Book? You’re Not Alone

photo_40955_20150913

Titled “Clean modern desk with laptop” by StartUpStock Photos; Credit: freerangestock.com

I got an email today from writing website, The Write Practice, with this encouraging article that I felt like sharing today. The article was written by Monica M. Clark, titled “How to Start Your Book Again After a Long Break.” Apologies for no post last week; the job search and other personal matters had my attention.

Last November, I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the very first time. I shared my experience in a prior post, which you can find here. There are lot of things I could have done differently, and frankly? I felt it stopped my love and desire to write a novel. Not because it was hard, that’s to be expected. But what I wrote…just didn’t come out as I had hoped. Plus, other ideas were bouncing around in my head which made it a lot more overwhelming for me.

So after NaNoWriMo, I took a break. Unfortunately, for four months I wasn’t writing. No short stories, no novel ideas, no poetry and no ideas for a play or monologue. The only writings happening really were for this blog!

It’s been hard. Even though I am writing 500 words a day 3 or 4 times a week…I guess it doesn’t feel right yet. Plus, I’ve been delving into fanfiction which is how writing, for me, started.

So when I read this article today, it felt like the answer I needed. What I love about articles from The Write Practice is how they break down the sections so it’s easier to find what you’re looking for and review what you already know. As you’ll see from Monica’s article, it’s broken down into 3 sections with a bonus anecdote about picking up your old writing projects being tough, but worth it.

My writing project ended up close to 20,000 words, maybe a little less. So basically a third of the way to the 50,000 minimum for a novel. Can I make my way back? Yes, I can. Will it be hard? Certainly!

But if it leads to an even better draft, then it’s worth it.

Also, if you’re unsure about word counts for your writing, this article from The Write Life is also a good read. It breaks the categories down by genre, age for Children’s Books and forms of fiction and nonfiction. Just remember, though, the numbers are the average range so if your word count is lower or higher than these numbers, that’s totally okay! For me though, aiming for slightly over the average might be a good rule of thumb. Keep an open mind!

This entry was posted on June 12, 2017. 1 Comment

Finding Your Voice: Thoughts on Chapter 4 of Writing with Quiet Hands

51LgDIimZjL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

Credit: Image from Amazon.com

Earlier this week, I sat down to read a chapter of Paula Munier’s Writing with Quiet Hands. I last mentioned this book in a post reflecting on writing books and the teachers I learned from.

I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts on chapter 4, “a voice of your own,” because it spoke to me and I feel it’s something we all can learn a thing or two more.

How many times have you found yourself putting off something you know you should be doing? That was me in this case because out of all the topics of interest in writing, voice has always been a more sensitive subject.  I’m sure I’m not the only one. As writers, we put our ideas, dreams and ultimately ourselves out there. Sometimes there is praise, other times ridicule and criticism.

But, there’s another thing to consider, and that’s our truths. This quote from the book jumped out at me: “Readers recognize truth when they see it–and they seek it out (59). Have you ever found a book that spoke to you? If so, then the author’s truth must have touched your heart. I’ve always told people writing was where I could be myself.

Authentic. Real, Honest.

I’m sure you too have shared the same thoughts. Writing is hard sometimes, and depending on what you’re writing about, can become more daunting because certain emotions hit too close to home.

Two things in this chapter also resonated with me: exploring first paragraphs from the classics and 4 lessons for growing and finding the writer voice. The books we enjoy like Stephen King’s It and Toni Morrison’s Beloved stay with us because of their voices, their engagement and stirring up emotions that frighten and make us think. The 4 lessons gave us real-life examples of writers trying to find their voice whether by revealing it more, remembering who we are, listening to the sound of one’s voice and how not to confuse voice with the plot of your story.

This chapter had a lot of good stuff, frankly. I also enjoyed the part exploring creative imitation where you think about the writers you love, the voices that speak to you and what about their works appeal to you. This helps you figure out what drew you to these writers and how you can apply them to your writing prowess.

This book has been excellent so far and like A Writer’s Guide to Persistence, I’m learning a lot: about myself, writing strategies and other parts of being a writer that I may have missed or ignored.

Don’t ever be afraid to learn something new or gain a new perspective on something you’ve always known. You never know what you’ll discover!