Tag Archives: creative writing

Discovering a New Facet to the Diamond that is Writing

Last night I did something that I had been intending to do for… well, years.  I attended and read at a spoken word event.  In my little town, there is a funky little performance space called The Duncan Showroom.  It is a favourite location for musicians because of the intimate atmosphere.  Nick and I had gone down on Sunday to hear Sam Weber and his band play.  Sam was a student of mine and was in the same grad class as my daughter so I was truly looking forward to hearing him play.  I wasn’t disappointed. He and his band were fabulous and fun and it was a great show.  

 

When we were leaving, I looked up on their bulletin board and noticed a little piece of paper. As small as the paper was, the words seemed huge and they reached out and grabbed me by the throat.

For The Love of Words

Well, this seemed like a sign – and last night I showed up, added my name to the list and plunked my bottom into a front row seat. There is something that you don’t get from the solitary action of plunking away at your computer that is available in abundance in a reading – feedback. As I read, I could hear chuckles and out and out guffaws as I read my “Open Letter to an Unnamed GPS Executive”. And later, several people came up and congratulated me on my writing.  What a great feeling that is! I will be back there again to read something else – probably some poetry – later in the summer. So… here I am, reading last night.

**warning – there are a couple of f-bombs and a bit of other adult language.

 

 

If you want to see the whole show, click here.

 

 

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Mando Method #amwriting

 This morning when I was – well let’s be honest – procrastinating over my writing, I found the hashtag #mandomethod followed by a number. I was intrigued. I clicked on #mandomethod and found all kinds of tweets that were similar – #mandomethod 417. #MandoMethod 381. #Mandomethod 591, not bad! What the heck was this Mando Method?  It didn’t take much searching for me to find the original blog post that explained what the Mando Method was. I won’t explain it. Just click on the link and you can read the post for yourself.  “Well, hell!” I said to myself. “This sounds like a great idea!” So, I set the stopwatch on my phone and started writing.  Twenty-one minutes later I had 201 words. TWO HUNDRED AND ONE!  If you took the time to link back to the original blog post, you would have seen the following:

Hour 1 – 493 words

Hour 2 – 644 words

Hour 3 – 602 words

Hour 4 – 596 words

Hour 5 – 677 words

Hour 6 – 550 words

Hour 7 – 585 words

Hour 8 – 781 words

Each of those represents 15 minutes of writing.  A quick search on Twitter and I came up with pretty similar numbers… including the following:

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Eight hundred and fifty-one? Really?  It’s not that I doubt @RidiculouslySpeedyWriter at all.  I have no doubt that this person wrote 851 words in 15 minutes.  What gets me is that I wrote 201 and that took me 21 minutes to write.  No wonder The Bastard of Saint Genevra took me five freaking years!  

So, I have decided that I am going to blame this on menopause.  New hashtag… #amwritingthroughmenopause.

 

The Best Kind of Currency

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There are many ‘ironical’ things about writing. A surface cursory glance tells the observer that it is a solitary venture. I know that there some authors out there who write as a team, but for the most part, those of us who write, do it alone. The truth, however, it that writing is much less a solitary venture that it first appears.  Sure, as I write this, or my short stories, or novels, or poetry, or essays I am placing my fingers on the keys and I am putting my thoughts into pixels that will be saved onto this blog or that doc or the other pdf and I am clicking save.  But when I finally get enough pixels and characters and words together to create a book or an article, this begins a long road of others who are every bit as important to the final outcome as I am. These include editors and agents, publishers, printers, illustrators, booksellers and, of course, readers.

And while writers may not think we need other writers – and, in fact, we could do this crazy avocation of ours completely isolated from our kinfolk – we grow exponentially when we meet and connect.  When we share our knowledge and experience and frustrations and joys.  

This weekend I had one of those precious opportunities to share with other authors. The Federation of BC Writers hosted a workshop on publishing and self-publishing. The four speakers shared on the Vancouver Island Public Library Story Lab with its Espresso Book Machine, on publishing with traditional publishers and finding an agent, on working with an editor and on the difficulties and advantages of self-publishing.  

While all of these were important, and I will post more about them later, what was most important for me was to talk with other writers – some published, others brand new. There is power in the feeling of being recognized by others of your kind.  There is comfort and comradery in commiserating with the kin and kind who struggle the same way you do. 

I spent 7 hours listening, discussing, and chatting with other writers and when the day was done I left energized and filled with ideas and strategies and hope.  And, believe me, for a writer, these are the very best kinds of currency out there.

How to Set Yourself Up in One Easy Lesson

Last night I was on the Facebook page of author, Kathy Reinhart. Kathy was the winner of the 2009 Brighid’s Fire Books  Fiction Manuscript Contest for her book Lily White Lies (great title btw). On her Facebook page she has announced the summer 2016 release of her new book, Cry Like a Girl

This got me thinking.  I don’t think I have mentioned that I am currently working on two collections – one is a collection of flash fiction and the other is a collection of humorous (I hope) haiku and tanka poetry – a collaboration with my husband if he would ever get off his butt and write some when he gets the time to write.  I only have some control over the haiku collection but I have total control of the flash fiction collection… it’s just a matter of putting my butt in the seat and writing.  

I have always intended to publish this collection independently so the date and time of the publication is completely up to me. On March 12, I’m heading up to Nanaimo (home of the ridiculously delicious Nanaimo bars) for a publishing and self-publishing workshop.

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So, here is my question: Do I announce the release of my flash fiction collection before it is done?  This leads me to a plethora of other questions. What do I name my book? Who will do the cover? Do I go with Createspace, Bookbaby, Blurb or some other publishing organization?  If I do this, am I setting myself up for gut-wrenching, hair-ripping, writer’s block-inducing writer’s stress? 

Stay tune for my decision after the workshop on March 12th.

Retirement and Other Ways To Find Time to Write (or not)

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Dear reader,  

I am a writer. I am a writer because I say I am.  And also because someone else looked at my writing and thought it was good enough to publish (Yay!).  The thing about writers is, well, we actually have to write to be a writer.  I am also a retired teacher & librarian.  My last novel took me five years to write because during the school year I found it difficult to get enough time to put more than a few sentences down on paper – or in my computer.  ‘Wait till I retire!’ I told myself.  ‘I will be writing my brains out! All the time.  It will be amazing!’ Well, I am now officially retired.  Three weeks into retirement to be exact.  Have I been writing my brains out?  Hardly.  I’ve heard from so many of my retired friends that they became much busier after retirement than before.  I can attest to the veracity of this. You would think that it would take a few weeks to work up to the “much busier” status.  Nope.  Literally the next day, I found my days were so full that I couldn’t possibly get everything done.  Those of you who haven’t yet retired are very likely saying to yourselves, ‘What could these retirees be doing that makes them so busy?’ I asked the exact same question.  Here is my answer.

  1. Volunteering at the local fair trade store.
  2. Taking time for meditation in the morning.
  3. Reading.
  4. Journalling.
  5. Attending a whole wack of 12 step meetings.
  6. Exercising.
  7. Doing housework. (Really?  You want to do housework instead of write?)
  8. Playing World of Warcraft. (OMG.  How old are you?)
  9. Planning meals and cooking.
  10. Facebook. (Worst reason ever to not write)
  11. Twitter. (Second worst reason ever to not write)
  12. Going for walks with friends.
  13. Going for coffee with friends.
  14. Going to appointments at the doctor/dentist/pension board/bank/accountant’s office
  15. Napping. (Best reason ever to not write)
  16. Binge watching Downton Abbey/Homeland/House/Grey’s Anatomy/Midsomer Murders/Friends/The Good Wife/The IT Crowd/Death in Paradise/Doc Martin on Netflix. (I can ‘justify’ this as ‘giving me plotline ideas’ which is, of course, a GBFL*)
  17. Watching Youtube videos on writing.
  18. Watching creepypastas on Youtube.
  19. Watching cute babies/puppies/kittens on Youtube.
  20. Reading Damn You Autocorrect. (This would be the third worst reason ever not to write if they weren’t so damn funny)

 

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What are some other excuses writers give for avoiding writing?  I did a little online research. 

  1. I have writer’s block.
  2. I’m too tired to write.
  3. I’m too distracted to write.
  4. I’ll write later.
  5. It’s too late.
  6. I need to do some research. (Oh, how ironic!)
  7. I’m more creative if I leave it till the last minute.
  8. I need to read some more writing tips online.
  9. I need to work on my author webpage.
  10. I should look for examples of possible covers for my newest book (that I haven’t finished-started writing yet).
  11. I just can’t find the right place to write.

In the interest of avoiding plagiarism… I found some of these at:

Better Writing Habits

Solitary Spark

Successful Writing Tips

So, having now shamed myself into getting off my butt and writing, I think I had better sign off and go and write something, dammit!

Diane

*Great Big Fat Lie