Whoops! Missed my Wednesday post.

Ack! I’ve been trying to post weekly on Wednesdays, and I completely spaced this week. (I’ve got a good excuse – all my kids are on vacation.) Anyway, I’m taking a moment to write something now, before Shabbos, to make sure I stay in the groove.

I struggled to make a writing deadline last Friday and actually missed it, in the end. This is very unusual for me. I rarely experience writer’s block, but here it was and I was feeling very, very low.

I finally finished the story and turned it in on Tuesday. What got me over the hump?

  1. Advice from members of my writing group.
  2. Contemplating why I couldn’t write.

That second one flipped a switch in my head from “I just can’t finish this story!” to a frenzy of writing in which everything just poured out. It turned out that I was simply approaching the story from the wrong direction. So here’s my…

Writer’s tip for the day:

If you are stalling out while writing a story, approach things from a different direction. Change the POV. Change the tense. Change the genre. If the writing is emotive, write it with clinical dispassion, and if you are writing with that dispassionate voice, mix in more emotions. If you have been focusing on dialogue, start writing a description of the scenery, or vice versa.

Or, my favorite piece of advice for fiction writers, have a long talk or “interview” with your characters. How do they perceive the central conflict of the story? What do they think will happen next?

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The first week of 2016: goal setting and keeping on track

As I mentioned in my last post, I saw quite a bit I didn’t like when I looked back on my writing accomplishments for 2015. A colleague “happened” to reach out to me right around then to ask if we could be writing buddies. Basically, we touch base once a week to confess how much writing we did or didn’t do during the week, as well as swap a bit of writing we did. We’re hoping this will keep us accountable and help us reach our goals. Today was the second Sunday my new partner and I swapped our accountability emails. So far, so good. Last week, I got a great critique out of it, as well as some insights about how I’ve been spending my time.

All of this means I had to pin down some goals. Continue reading

2015 in hindsight

I usually review my professional year just before Rosh Hashanah, but when Erika Dreifus posted last week about Annette Gendler‘s “Artist and Writer’s Workbook,” she piqued my interest. I moseyed over to Annette’s site to acquire my copy (free download with sign-up to Annette’s newsletter). Today, I finally sat down to complete it.

On the financial front, it was a bit sobering. Continue reading

Journaling exercise: confronting whatever is keeping you from writing, in writing

So, as I mentioned a few posts ago, I’ve got some personal issues going on at the moment that held up my writing for a while. Basically, I wrote no new fiction for three weeks, and very little of anything else printable, which for some people sounds like nothing, but for me was pretty traumatic. About half the time, my brain felt like mush. The other part of the time, I felt anxious and stressed-out — which is not a state in which I can be very creative. I spent inordinate amounts of time alternating between staring at blank Word DocsĀ and spacing out in front of article after article instead of writing anything of my own.

Anyway, one day last week, I was feeling particularly stressed out and recalled something I’d read about before about “writing away stress.” Continue reading