Discovering your most productive time of day is just smart. Timing and environment can have a profound impact both on how quickly we write and on the quality of what we produce. But I suggest you can become more productive as a writer by paying attention to the length and frequency of your writing sessions.
I did it! I finished my draft! And now . . . ohhh boy, is it a mess. I’m not talking about awkward sentences and sparse details—though there’s certainly plenty of that. I’m talking about huge plot and character shifts part way through, characters I introduced, then ghosted on, a beloved pet dog that appears … Continue reading Puzzling Out Your Revisions
This writing business is not an easy one. At any given moment, you will find folks in the writing community who are celebrating great successes, others wondering if they should quit for good, and all of the iterations in between. As a writer, I sometimes feel like I boarded a tiny boat on a big … Continue reading Stages of Writing
“It doesn't really matter who said it, it's so obviously true. Before you can write anything, you have to notice something.” -- JOHN IRVING “Write from what you know into what you don’t know.” -- GRACE PALEY As a person who has taught more university writing courses than I care to mention, I regularly hear some version … Continue reading Imagination vs Observation
About two *cough* decades ago, I conducted my Ph.D research on parental behavior, using a bird species as my model system. In the biological sciences, it's common practice to use research models to ask questions that then might be applicable to other species -- perhaps even applicable to... people *gasp*. Through my background research, I discovered that there are actually … Continue reading Permission to Let Go: Lessons from The Concorde Fallacy
Apparently the first rule of Write Club is “don’t talk about your writing.” Over the years I’ve heard this message from so many people in so many different ways that I’ve come to accept it as a cultural norm in writing communities, and it’s most common in writing workshops. This injunction can come as a … Continue reading Talk it Out
If you've ever participated in NaNoWriMo, you've had your writing gamified. I've done and won NaNo five years in a row now, and I have to admit that I love watching the word counts rack up. There's nothing like a daily bar graph to encourage you to stay above the trend line.