A Place to Write

18 06 2013

Do you need peace and quiet to write or do you prefer company and bustling activity?

When finding a writing place, it’s important that you find what works for you. When you start taking advantage of every writing opportunity you get, even when it’s noisy, you begin to savor those productive writing moments. If you have little ones, can you write while they’re sleeping? Could you stay up an extra 10 minutes while everyone is asleep or wake up earlier? Take advantage of those quiet moments, if that is what you need, as much as you can. Plan your quiet writing time around everyone else’s quiet time. Maybe you could get a few minutes of writing in while you’re in the bathroom (pretend, if you have to!) or maybe you could go for a walk and take your notebook with you.
Look beyond your residence. Maybe that place is in a study room at the library, or on a park bench, in a cafe (why does this sound familiar?), on the bus or sub-station, or in a public museum. When you set out into a writing career, it’s important that you’re able to reach your goals. Otherwise unhappiness will consume you and you’ll be sucked into a life that doesn’t satisfy you. Life isn’t supposed to be about struggling; it’s about building relationships with people and having an impact in their lives. Stop taking the easy way out by saying “It’s too hard” or “I don’t have time” or “I’ll write when life is not so hectic”.
If you want to be a writer, you need to start acting like one. Get the writing done. Find a way and make the time. You owe it to yourself to do that. There will never be a better time. If we want to be successful writers, we need to adopt a determination to continue despite the circumstances. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day, we need to do it. We owe it to ourselves and our happiness.
writing




Musically Inspired

11 06 2013

More times than you can, probably, count you may have heard a song on the radio, on a commercial, during a movie and found yourself transported to another place and time. Reminded of a moment you’ve experienced, a memory, and then feel everything you felt back then.

Music has the ability to move us—our memories and our imaginations.

Turn on music that you love. Listen carefully. Start writing. How does the song make you feel? Focus on the feelings—joy, sadness, triumph, love, regret. Write a piece that conveys the same emotion. What do you think about? Some lyrics tell a story; expand on that story and take it further. The song may give you a portrait of a character; fill in the blanks to create your own scene or imagine a reason or environment in which this character would develop these traits. The lyrics may take you back to a time in your past; relive that memory for inspiration and write your own experience. Writers are always encouraged to write what they know. What story would feature this music as the soundtrack? Imagine your story into a movie (we can dream, right?) and this song will be on the soundtrack. Use the song to dream up a movie-worthy plot or envision a new setting or character.

Start with the song of your choice, maybe one you have not heard in awhile, or one that always gets you singing and moving. Listen to it start-to-finish, while keeping the questions above in mind. Write whatever the song inspires, whatever you imagine while you listen (you may need to channel Disney on this one!). And let creation take over without judgement and criticism.music





Lies of the Unpublished Writer

17 05 2013

Writers tend to be creative in many areas of life, so it’s no surprise that we can get creative with the truth. Or, as my mother said, “You lie a lot.” This is especially tempting when we are debating why we aren’t published. Before I was a published author, I embraced a few cherished lies because they blunted the pain of rejection. But the road to publication required discarding these lies and facing reality. Here are five lies I believed before I was published:

1. THE RULES DON’T APPLY TO ME.editing

I write amazing first drafts. If there were a contest for first drafts, mine would win every time. So I told myself, “Writing is not rewriting.” Other people might have to do multiple drafts, but my first drafts are so solid I could publish them as-is. For years I believed this.

One day I did three drafts of an article, and it became my first published article. A solid first draft is not good enough to be published. All those “rules of writing” that you read in Writer’s Digest, on blogs, and in creative writings classes are rules because they are true most of the time. So if there are some rules that you think don’t apply to you, think again. It might be the rule preventing you from getting published.

2. AGENTS AND EDITORS HAVE IT IN FOR ME.

Ah, those blood-sucking agents and editors. I’m pretty sure they have meetings in a secret underground lair where they talk about how jealous they are of my writing skills and how they should team up to keep me from being published.

This is a lie that is so prevalent among unpublished writers that editors and agents have to go to psychologists so they can feel good about themselves again. I know one editor who calls herself “Dream Crusher” to assuage her pain. Here’s the truth: Editors and agents desperately want you to be good enough. They make a living by writers being publishable. If you’re getting rejected it’s because you still have work to do. either as a writer or as a marketer.

3. I’M NOT A MARKETER, I’M A WRITER!

Which is exactly why you aren’t published yet. You have to do the hard work of writing a spectacular query and proposal. Notice that you have to “write” the query and proposal. You’re not being asked to do an interpretive dance or draft blueprints to a rocket ship. It might not be your style, and it might be hard work, but being a published author is hard work, complete with e-mails you don’t want to answer, deadlines, accounting and marketing!

Matt Mikalatos





Savvy Parental Advice

9 05 2013

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Writing Despite Rejection

8 05 2013

David Mills posted a farewell to the old times saying that writers need rejection. He hated all those editors and their “I’m sorry” letters that broke his heart, but how joyous that first acceptance letter. It did not come easy, but the uphill work gave him the experience and the strength to keep trying. With so many abilities for self-publishing new writers are lacking that thick wall of trees needing to be cleared before they find their true worth. They still need help learning how to shave away the dead wood. Do not know what I am talking about? Try checking out the free sections in the Nook store or at Amazon. Get comfortable and be ready to see the difference. The story could be fabulous, I have thought several enjoyable and showing promise, but they are still lacking that magic that comes with the expertise and critical eye of a publisher. They begin with great promise and end a little deflated or they have a great story line with a few extra plots that leave you confused.
I am sure many have heard the rejection stories of Steven King or JK Rowling. You might even be hoping they shared their own little “How do you like me now!” moments when their stories became a cultural icon. But, with all the heartache comes necessary tools to become great. Look at those rejections as a necessary step towards that hopeful publication. Each form letter, sticker on your submission with “return to sender”, and the scribbled “no thanks” on your cover letter was a step in the right direction- publication. Don’t forget the possibility for those moments when publishers may really get your hopes up only to dash them in the end. After Gerald Haslam’s first rejection letter he unburdened his grief on his ex-senator only to receive a laugh for his woes and the advice to, “
Just consider the editor nuts and send the work back out. And don’t consider revising anything until it’s had at least six negative responses.”

Keep in mind that editors are thoroughly overwhelmed. In a letter to Small Press Review, an unknown editor of a small magazine wrote, “I received 26 manuscripts today of 4-24 poems each. Most editors would consider the day that provided two acceptable manuscripts a good one.” Another free lancer, Larry Levinger, has developed a response to rejection letters that is both practical and idealistic: “The thing to do is keep sending the stuff out: pay no attention to suggestions for a rewrite, no attention to opinion. Write. Write and send. If it comes back, write something else. And send it again. The main thing is don’t change the writing to prevent the rejection. Believe in what you’re doing.

Perseverance is a necessary trait. Somebody will tell you no. It’s going to happen. It has probably happened already. It might happen today, or tomorrow, or every day next week and then some. Maybe it happened five minutes ago and the pain is still searingly fresh, or maybe it’s on its way, looming dark and ugly on the horizon, five minutes from now. Somebody will tell you no. Not every story you pen will be a great work or even a good one. The only one that is going to stop you from writing is you. If you keep going you will keep growing and you will keep learning.reject





An Attempt At Realism: Help Me With My New Book

2 05 2013

So, I have alluded to a recent change of direction in my writing. I have been immersing myself in some self-motivational reading after meeting up with Author and Motivational Speaker, Weldon Long. It has created in me a desire, a need, to write my own story and what I have learned along the way. So here’s what I am attempting. I have read numerous books on being successful, getting what you want out of life, moving beyond fear, but I haven’t found any involving defining those fears and roadblocks that we all possess, that cause us to stumble and struggle. In my humble opinion, can you really attain success, grow and aspire, succeed and achieve if you still have roadblocks in your psyche that affect the way you view yourself? Yet, I can’t find anyone who has laid out a road map to overcoming those roadblocks. So, here’s what I’m doing. I’m going back to basics. I’m taking my own experiences, using my journey of identifying my roadblocks and how I overcame them, and I’m putting this in a book. What do you think? Better yet, What would be a good title?





Write Like You Think

1 05 2013

Creative Writing Tips

How to Improve Writing Skills

Success secrets of great authors – revealed! These creative writing tips and writing techniques point the way to clear, concise, powerful prose.

Creative Writing Tip #1: Be Simple

Write in the simple, natural language of everyday speech. This doesn’t mean that you confine yourself to only the most basic words, but that you avoid pompous language, which may cloud your meaning or send readers to sleep.onceuponatime

For example, do not say, He acquired an instrument of destruction wherewith he decapitated the formidable foe, when you mean, With his axe he chopped off the giant’s head. Use short, familiar words rather than long, obscure ones – unless the longer word fits your meaning more precisely.

Most good writing is simple. Read the works of authors like Jack London and Ernest Hemingway; read the classics; read the Bible. Simple language is the strongest and most effective.

One way to acquire good style is to study the works of great writers: not to imitate them but to learn how simple language can be elegant, lyrical and powerful.

Read also Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style: this is probably the best book available on the subject of good style.

Creative Writing Tip #2: Be Yourself

Be yourself; be natural and sincere. Don’t try to imitate another writer’s style; find your own, the style that bears the stamp of your personality.

A guarded, polished style is like a faceless mask; it’s not real. Good writing resonates with the true voice of the human author, with all of that author’s warmth, wit, idiosyncrasies and vulnerabilities.

Write as if you’re speaking to a friend. Your reader should be able to hear the rhythms and cadences of your speaking voice. Your family and friends should be able to say, “This sounds like you.”

Creative Writing Tip #3: Be Precise

Choose words that say precisely what you mean.

Avoid trite words like nice, interesting, big. As in: We had a nice dinner; That’s a big bird. Be specific. Is it sushi, wonton or mutton curry? Is it a flamingo, an eagle or an ostrich?

Avoid vague words like walk, laugh, pour. Be creative. The boy ambled, shuffled, swaggered; the villain scoffed, jeered, sneered; water gurgled, gushed, spurted out.

Avoid meaningless words like thing, something, somewhere. Be definite. Name the thing or place, use concrete words that evoke clear images: click on this link for more Creative Writing Tips on Concrete Words.

Get a thesaurus to help you. Roget’s Thesaurus, for example, is an indispensable reference tool. It comes in many versions; pick the one that best suits your needs.

stormy

A dictionary of synonyms helps too. Webster’s New Dictionary of Synonyms, for example, tells you the subtle difference between almost similar words. Or get the compact version, The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms.

Choose words that convey your message clearly to readers. Good writers look for the apt word, the word that carries the precise denotation and the strongest, richest connotations. For more Creative Writing Tips on Denotations and Connotations of Words, go to Good Word Choice.

Creative Writing Tip #4: Be Concise

Concise writing is clear and strong. Write to the point, cut out unnecessary words. This doesn’t mean that you throw out all details, descriptions and figures of speech but that you make every word pull its weight.

Cut out meaningless words and phrases like basically, personally, as a matter of fact.
As a matter of fact, today is my birthday has the same meaning as Today is my birthday.
Personally, I feel we shouldn’t go near the bull: can anyone ever feel impersonally?

Don’t repeat yourself. Phrases like round in shape, the reason is because, revert back, say the same thing twice.

Use strong action verbs. Sentences with active verbs are shorter and stronger than those with passive verbs.

Active Verb: The man bit the dog.
Passive Verb: The dog was bitten by the man.
Click here for more Creative Writing Tips on Action Verbs.

Replace roundabout phrases like in the event of, by virtue of the fact that, by the name of, with single words that do the same job, like if, because, named.

Phrases like there is, there was, it was dilute your meaning:
There was a baby crying in the basket; it was the baby’s cry that woke him up.
Cut out the verbiage: A baby was crying in the basket; the baby’s cry woke him up.








marykoster

Independent Consultant, Rodan and Fields Dermatologists

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