Saturday, February 11, 2012

Level Up!

After a year of my Wii Fit telling me I'm a four star, fabulous, yoga expert, yesterday I took my first hour-and-a-half Vinyasa yoga class. Today, every muscle in my body hurts. I lagged so far behind the rest of the class, I was the obvious newbie. It turns out I'm not so fabulous after all. This is the painful process we writers recognize as levelling up.

If you're hearing a lot of praise about your writing, is it time to take it to the next level? Here are some things you can do to level up your writing:

-- Extend 45 minute writing sessions to 90 minutes
-- Take a class
-- Go on a writing retreat with instructors
-- Challenge your critique group to be tougher
-- Get an expert opinion
-- Start a story in a new genre or write in a different point of view, such as multiple points of view if you're used to writing a single point of view

It can be uncomfortable to level up. Just as my yoga workout has me nursing my sore arms, some of the leveling up I've done in my writing this year has had me nursing a sore ego. But it really works. I'll keep going to that yoga class and getting stronger. And I'll keep taking classes, working on extending my writing time, and trying out new ways of writing.

If you have any other ways to level up our writing, please share them with us. Thanks!

-- Kate


  1. Letting your intended audience, MG or YA, read your manuscript. They're tough critics!

  2. Jaye, my daughters are definitely my toughest critics!

    Kate - your reference to Wii Fit is funny. It reminds me of how easy Wii bowling is...and then when you go to a real bowling alley it's totally different.

    I think my tip for levelling up is to actually try to use some of the advice you might get from a writing workshop or even a craft book. That's when you know you're doing some of the hard work you need to improve.

  3. I thought this post was so enlightening! I loved it. It's so good to keep pushing ourselves. So many times I find myself needing to get out of my comfort level. And I love the idea of trying something that's new and scary and that I'm not sure if I can do it. Because that's when I learn the most. Even if it fails.

  4. I've never heard the term "leveling up" before. I love it! I think its always important to push myself outside my comfort zone. It's why I switched from non-fiction to fiction a few years ago and why I'm trying my hand at YA after doing MG. I think my next leveling up would be to attend a big conference. Up until now, I've done only smallish, regional ones.

    (I don't know if I could tell my critique group to be tougher - you guys are already tough as nails!!)

  5. Yeah, I think we've gotten tougher on each other over the years as we've all learned more. Which is pretty awesome. It keeps us all learning.

    Jaye, did you ever talk to young teens about books? Yikes, it's pretty frightening. We have to be tough to compete in their world! After all, they could be spending that time looking at Uggs on eBay.


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