One Writer’s Journey

September 25, 2017

Write your Novel: Find a Way to Encourage Yourself to Work

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:03 am
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How do you urge yourself to write? Often we consider this a problem for part-time writers.  These people have other jobs or full-time commitments and have to work writing into found moments.

But it can also be a problem for the full-time writer.  Most of us are great at meeting deadlines but not so great about completing anything that doesn’t presently have a contract.  That’s how I feel when I’m trying to squeeze fiction in around my nonfiction contracts.

I know, cry me a river.  But it doesn’t change the reality.  No matter what time commitments you have, you need to find a way to nudge yourself along.  I’m on deadline so I’m perfecting willing to let the fiction sit and wait and wait and wait some more.

That’s why I was so happy to find Jan Ellison’s guest post, “9 Practical Tips for Writing Your First Novel,” on the Writer’s Digest Blog. There are a lot of great bits of advice here.

Write 1200 pages to get 300.  Yeah. I know that feeling.  Sometimes you need to get to know your character, attempt three different openings to each chapter, or play around to get a feel for the setting.  They aren’t wasted words but sometimes it helps to know there will be words that don’t make it into the final manuscript.

Only set writing goals that are within your control.  A lot of people set goals like “get an agent” or “land a major publisher.”  Goals like these are tough because you only have so much power to make them happen. “Keep my work on the desks of 5 agents at all times” or “study and submit to 3 new markets this year” are both attainable.

But neither of these goals addressed my problem.  The first one was close but didn’t quite work.  “Get to the end of your novel.” Ellison warns writers to quit fiddling with page 1 and chapter 1 and just get to it. Write the darn book.  “Get to the end of the novel” is too easy to ignore when I don’t believe I have time to work on it in the first place. So I adapted it.

Now I have the above photo hanging off the bottom of my monitor.  5 minutes is doable.  And every time I glance down to gauge my word count Loki is glaring at me.  It’s really annoying when I haven’t working on my novel for five minutes.

It seems simple and perhaps a bit ridiculous but I’ve worked on my novel five days in a row.  I’ve drafted a whole chapter and this was after letting it sit idle for something like three weeks and while meeting a nonfiction deadline on Friday.  Simple and ridiculous but I have a new chapter drafted.  Can’t shake an alien scepter at that.*


*That’s a Marvel/Loki reference.



August 8, 2017

What to Work on Next…

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:08 am
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Most days what I work on is a fairly easy decision.  Deadlines must be met.  And I have plenty of things to get done this week.  There’s that pesky requested rewrite with a deadline for tomorrow and the publisher has a new manuscript for me as well.

I’m critiqing a manuscript for someone and really should read it again before writing up my comments.  It is fairly long and I always read a manuscript more than once before I critique.

And I’m practically done with a poem that isn’t going to find a publisher if I don’t submit it.  Annoying poem.  Why can’t it just send itself out? It knows what magazine is my first submission choice.

I’ve also targeted a possible agent who is only open for queries until Thursday.  I know what I’m sending in.  I have a synopsis.  I just have to finish the letter.  I roughed it out right before I finished this post and needed to reread it this morning.  So by the time you read this, my submission should be sitting in the agent’s in box.

But . . . but . . . I have a new idea.  It is brilliant.  It is amazing.  There are yeti!

The reality is that I would almost always rather work on the new manuscript.  The new manuscript is still just an idea.  It is pristine. It sparkles.  I haven’t had the chance to goof it up yet.  Honestly I was a bit of a snot today since I made myself work on other things.

Sigh.  I know I should be responsible but I’m hoping that I can find the time/space/energy to write a page every day starting tomorrow.  Fingers crossed that that will satisfy my need to work on this book as well as my need to keep the lights on.

Lights.  One of life’s necessary luxuries.





June 12, 2014

Priorities: What to Write Next

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:20 am
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PrioritiesAre you one of those writers who completes one project and then contemplates what to do next?  Or are you constantly surrounded by a swarm of ideas?  I have to admit, what to focus on is such an issue for me that it was a long time before I realized that some writers actually have to come up with a new idea.

Right now, I’m attempting to prioritize a list that includes:

  • Finishing a fiction picture book that is almost done.
  • Finishing a nonfiction picture book that is almost done.
  • Writing a new article for CBI — the editor is waiting.
  • Rewriting a play for Schoolwide because this editor is also waiting.
  • Working on a highly marketable nonfiction book idea – must be submitted by 9/1.  And I’m still researching.
  • Developing an alphabet book for a market that is currently buying.
  • Taking a closer look at two new-to-me agents.

I’d love to say that I have a firm grasp on which I’m going to do RIGHT NOW.  I’d like to say that, but it isn’t true.  How do you set your priorities?

Part of my problem is that summer has started.  My son is a high school student but still too young to drive.  And he’s on the swim team.  Last week, practice started which means frequent trips to this pool and that pool.  My writing time has been temporarilly reduced.

To find out what questions I ask myself to set my priorities, check out my blog post today at The Muffin.


July 7, 2010

Working in Time for Writing Exercises

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 12:56 am
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I am famous in our household for what I call Big Duh Moments when an innuendo finally clicks, when I realize what one of my Grandfather’s old sayings was really saying, and don’t even get me started on misunderstood song lyrics.

I very seldom have Big Duh Moments that relate to my writing, but when they happen — wow.

I’ve been sitting on two awesome looking how-tos, agonizing about not getting to work through the exercise and seeing how they will effect my writing, all because I’m busy trying to meet deadlines.  “I just don’t have time to do these exercises.  I have real writing to do.”

Then I read Kristi Holl’s “A Practical Combination.”   Work on your WIP and use that to work through the writing exercises.

Well, sure.  I could do that, but first I’ll have to quit beating my head on the desk top.

What can I say.  When I goof, it is usually a fair sized goof.

Off to write and work on some writing exercises all at the same time.



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