Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Celebrating success

More often than not, I lean toward stubborn. So when my taekwondo instructor recently stopped a particularly tough class and told us we could get a drink, I hung back. “I don’t need a drink. I’m good. I’m tough.”

But as I watched everyone step up to the fountain, I noticed something that should have been obvious. People were walking away refreshed and smiling. My stoicism waning, I got in line too. And enjoyed a nice, long cool drink.

Here’s what I learned - you should always take a drink when one is offered!

And I think that goes with writing too. Writing is such a hard, lonely vocation. We need to stop and take those drinks of encouragement whenever they’re offered. We need to CELEBRATE every small bit of success. These are the things that will refresh us, nourish us and keep us going during a particularly tough patch.

I’ve definitely been struggling lately, wrestling with confidence and patience issues. But there’s been a few sips of water, too:

The online plot class I’m taking is giving me some really useful tools.

I have three terrific I’d-love-to-work-with-any-of-them agents reading the full of my manuscript.

While progress is slow, I’m very pleased with the work I’ve done on my new story.

I’ve recently discovered an amazing online program that helps me focus.

What “cool drinks” have you allowed yourself to enjoy lately?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Making (More) Time for Writing

Do you struggle with finding time to write? Here's how some of the MiG Writers make time for writing:

Christina Farley: Time is worth more than gold for me so I squeeze the juice out of every moment. Lately I've been doing 1K hours. This is where I write for one hour as fast as I can, pushing myself not to get distracted by grammar or the internet! My goal is to write a thousand words in one hour. This month I wake up and write a thousand words before I head off for school and then another thousand words at night. I'm loving the results I'm seeing, not only in my word count but also in how much stronger my story is.

Kate Fall: How do I make time for writing? Wait, do I? :) It's never enough. Lately, I set an appointment with myself, like tonight at 8 pm. As my freelancing schedule gets busier, it's very hard to push aside things I'm getting paid to do for fiction writing. I use it as a reward. "If I finish XYZ for this customer, I get to work on my own writing."

Andrea Mack: If I allow myself to check e-mail or look at blogs, then I get very little accomplished. I have to start with the attitude that the time I've set aside is only for my writing project (brainstorming, writing notes on my book and making revisions based on critiques count too). Of course, it helps that I do my writing when the kids aren't home or are asleep.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fixing things early

Being a black belt means you’ve gotten down the basics. Sometimes, though, it just means you are aware when you’re doing a technique incorrectly and (hopefully!) can figure out how to fix it.

Let me explain. I’m training for my next belt and having a hard time mastering my new board break technique, a spinning roundhouse. It requires some fancy footwork. (Um. Not my forte.) The other day, I was practicing and discovered I was pivoting on my heel and not the ball of my foot like I was supposed to. It was throwing my balance all off and causing me to lose power. I know I have the same bad habit of spinning on my heel with other kicks. But knowing what I’m doing wrong isn’t going to make it any easier to fix it.

Which brings me to my WIP. This morning, I woke up and suddenly realized with crystal clarity that what I was doing isn’t working. Or, more accurately, it isn’t going to work for much longer. If I want to tell the story I set out to write (with power and balance), I need to go back to fix the foundation, master the basics first. In other words, I gotta stop spinning on my literary heel - it’s not as stable as it feels.

Of course, just knowing that something is off is only the first step. Now comes the hard part. Rewriting. Relearning. Rewiring. But, hey, at least I realized the problem at chapter 4 and not chapter 40.

Has this ever happened to you?