So I’m back from the holidays and raring to go. (Look it up. I dare you. 🙂 ) I’ve signed up for the Get Your Words out challenge to add some accountability to my writing life. You can check them out at http://www.getyourwordsout.net/. I agreed to write 120 Read more
The blog is going to take a vacation to enjoy the holiday season!
I wish you and yours a safe and happy Christmas and New Year holidays!
As with any great venture, there are ups and downs. In this everyday writing life, there are all sorts of roadblocks that get in the way of my Read more
I recently had the opportunity to go on a writing retreat on an island in the middle of Lake Erie. Let me tell you…best money I’ve spent in a long time. Three days and two nights on a remote island in a three-story house Read more
Are you having trouble with the action in your story? Plot not moving along the way you’d like or the way you’d expected? Characters uncooperative? Is something about it just not quite right? Try thinking of your story as a TV show or a movie. Read more
How I Applied What I’d Learned
So, it’s all well and good to assess how you write and change how you think about the process, but really…how does that manifest itself in the creative everyday writing life? How do those lessons become a concrete, physical BOOK? Well, I decided that what had worked for 14 years ought to keep working for decades more (hopefully). Right? Read more
Thinking in Terms of a Writing Business
Well, after all that progress and momentum for writing and outlining, I fizzled out. Of course. Life gets in the way, self doubt settles in. Do I really WANT to do this? Writing a book is so much WORK! (Do you want some cheese with that whine?)
Then last year (having made little progress and with little oomph to try again), I stumbled across an article on Pinterest written by Angela Booth. (Find the article here.) Let me just say: The article CHANGED MY Read more
Thinking in Terms of Self-Assessment in Your Writing
Wait! Come back! Don’t run away! “Self-assessment” is just a fancy term for taking an objective look at a personal situation. In this case, it’s simply taking an objective look at how we create and put that creation into writing.
Over the years in my technical writing, my method was to outline the user manual, then start filling in the details. Now, I say “outline” but you need to throw out your concept of “outlining” using Roman numerals that you learned in school.
If you find that the thought of writing in the typical outline structure frightens the bejeebers out of you, then read on, my friend. Read on.
Turns out that I’m a pretty organic writer. I go with the flow. In my technical writing persona, I write in whatever direction my brain is in the mood to go that day. Not up for writing about “setting appointments” today? How about “posting charges”? Yeah? Great! I’ve always known this, but to specifically acknowledge how that manifests itself when I’m writing manuals gave me the insight I needed to attack my creative writing.
I would create just a chapter heading like “Setting up the System” or “Claims Processing”. I would transfer any notes related to that section of the document, but other than that, it would be blank.
Then I’d go back and start fleshing out each chapter. Again, I would use headings to “outline” the chapter. The first few headings might be “In This Chapter”, “Overview” and “Service Codes”.
Pretty boring for you, I know, but it was insight into how I think when I’m writing.
Under each of those would be the details related to processing claims with the software. Any notes I had would be funneled into those sections.
There wasn’t much else to outline so I think you get the idea. Then I’d go back and start writing. (The other thing I noticed is my tendency to color code. *chuckle* I didn’t realize the extent of my color-coding passion until I did this exercise, but that’s a tale for a future fireside.)
If I got bored or ran of material for one section, I had other sections I could work on. This allowed me to be efficient with my time, and I learned over the years how to recognize when I was “spinning my wheels” and not getting anywhere. I could just move to another section for awhile.
Notice anything about this method? Imagine my shock when I instinctively called it “outlining”. Yes, this is outlining. Shock! Horror! However, since this is a self-assessment, we have to take out the emotion and look objectively. Outlining doesn’t have to be rigid. It can be flexible. It doesn’t have to contain Roman numeral headings.
Once I realized that the method detailed above was how I outlined, it made all the difference in the world to me. I ended up thinking about each of the books I wanted in my series, and gee, I could apply this method, couldn’t I? I mean, books have chapters and scenes, right? Those are similar to the chapters and sections of a user manual.
THAT is how I ended up approaching my current and first work-in-progress. I’ve made so much progress since this discovery AND kept the momentum up (mostly) that I’m ecstatic!
Structure is all well and good, but what’s the purpose? Where do I want to go with my creative writing? Now, it’s time to think in terms of business.
Happy Writing and see you next time!
Have you conducted a self-assessment of your writing process? What did you find?
So, the point of Everyday Writing Life is to get down to the nitty-gritty and expose the inner workings of our writing lives. For me, this current adventure all started with the need to develop a writing process that WORKED.
I struggled for years on actually getting started with all the ideas I had in my head and in my scraps folder. I just KNEW I could write stories AND be good at it. I did it when I was younger. I’m creative when I explain how to use the software.
So why was I having such a hard time actually writing books? Seriously, folks. I’ve been a writer for over 14 years! I could knock out a user manual in NO TIME. I could do it in my sleep even. I ought to be able to write a book. Read more
Need to get unstuck? Spinning your wheels? Looking at a blank page? Take a drive through town. Get off your butt, grab your keys, and get moving.
I recommend no music, but that’s completely up to you. I like to just drive and meander Read more