The Writing Life: Writing Goals

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Marking the change of one year to the next often spurs us to reflect on the recent past and consider how we might change our lives for the better. For writers, this reflection inevitably includes looking at what we have accomplished in our writing life over the past year. For some, this means adding up their published projects. For others, it’s adding up a word count on a work in progress. In 2018, will you finish a book started years … Read More »

The Writing Life: Give Yourself A Break

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It’s that most wonderful time of the year. Anticipation is high. For many writers, there’s feasting to prepare and consume and various celebrations to attend. Increased shopping. Increased cleaning. Increased family time. And a couple of extra days off your day job for the winter holidays means increased writing time. Yay! Right? It always seems like fitting in more writing time during the holidays is feasible, but is it? For most of us, time to write is sparing at best. … Read More »

The Writing Life: Writer’s Block

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When writing is something we make time for, the phenomena known as “writer’s block” can be frustrating. Writer’s block is when we sit down to write, look at the white space following the last line we wrote and blank out. Having an outline or synopsis or idea of where we’re going with the work is no guarantee against writer’s block. We all hit that moment when our brains and fingers simply stop and we can’t find the next word or … Read More »

The Writing Life: Exercise

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Work, caring for a home, kids of any age, setting boundaries to give ourselves time to write—where does exercise fit in? Who has time for that? Writing is a sedentary activity and it’s important to read if we want to write, but that’s also a sedentary activity. The writing life is filled with coffee or tea and a lot of sitting around! But our doctor and spouse and kids aren’t going to accept that excuse for our extra weight, high-blood … Read More »

The Writing Life: A License to Eavesdrop

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We all eavesdrop a little, but for the most part Americans in general are told to mind their own business. As writers, we teach ourselves to block out distraction and my spouse swears that I, for one, can write through most commotion that doesn’t involve gunshots or open fractures. But when not actively writing, I eavesdrop everywhere. Eavesdropping can give you unique or catchy character names (Belson Garcia), occupations you hadn’t considered for the funny little character you don’t have … Read More »

The Writing Life: Research, Part II

How do we inject realism into our writing? Research is one of those harder-than-it-seems actions that those with “google-fu” excel at, but the rest of us sometimes struggle to start. The bottom line in my experience is to just start. And to stay organized. And to be ruthless. To start, plug general terms for your research subject into your chosen search engine. Browsing will turn up repeated words. Plug those in as keywords. As your brain starts to digest the … Read More »

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