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Category: Productivity

OctoWriMo?

OctoWriMo?

Has anyone signed up for NaNoWriMo yet (National Novel Writing Month)? For those of you who don’t know, this is where writers set themselves the challenge of writing 50,000 words of their novel during the month of November. (That’s an average of 1,667 words a day.) If you’re not used to writing big projects, this can be a great way to get started. Your aim is just to get 50,000 words written. They don’t have to be great words. They’re not perfect…

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Avoiding Predictability

Avoiding Predictability

Caroline recently got in touch with me enquiring about how to improve the endings of her short stories. She says she often gets great comments about her stories, but her endings let her down. They are too predictable. This is a common theme found in many rejection letters. In fact, it could be argued that editors need to come up with a less predictable way of saying our stories have predictable endings!

Creative Hoarding

Creative Hoarding

Are you a creative hoarder? At this year’s Writers’ Holiday, in Fishguard, novelist Marina Oliver gave an interesting talk about why writers shouldn’t throw anything away. She explained how she’s developed ideas for certain markets, only for them to disappear, for one reason or another, leaving her with a piece of writing she’d created but nowhere to place it. But then, several years later, often when she least expected it, an opportunity arose and she was able to dust it…

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Thinking Time

Thinking Time

Do you take time out to think? I don’t mean sitting around waiting for the Muse to strike. I mean making the effort to sit down, with a project or idea in mind, and working out how to develop it? I think writers get used to thinking all of the time, and so we become blasé about it. It develops into one of those activities we do while doing something else: washing up, cutting the grass, going for a walk…

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Twenty Words

Twenty Words

“Do you write every day?” a student asked, when they emailed their latest assignment. “Yes,” I replied. “I wish I had the time to sit down and write every day. But some days I barely get ten minutes to myself.”

Writers’ Groups

Writers’ Groups

Two weeks’ ago I blogged about Rowling’s Rejections (I’m making the most of this blog post, aren’t I?). And, if I’m honest, there’s one comment in one of her rejection letters that really annoys me. It’s a phrase I’ve seen in many publisher and literary agent rejection letters (and I’ve certainly had a few of those over the years). It usually goes along the lines of recommending the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, and then suggests joining a writers’ group. There…

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Giving Up

Giving Up

Last week I blogged about JK Rowling’s rejection letters and her (and the rejecting publisher’s) encouragement to never give up. My post fell into the timeline of a writing facebook friend who was currently in a ‘giving up’ mood. It was interesting reading the comments and support from her other friends. One mentioned how she too felt like giving up, but hadn’t and had just won a national writing competition. Another explained how only we are capable of telling our…

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Rowling’s Rejections

Rowling’s Rejections

On 25th March, JK Rowling tweeted a photo of two rejections she received , when writing as Robert Galbraith. She’d already had her Harry Potter success, so this was her starting again from scratch, in a completely different market. (As she mentions in her tweet, she’s removed the names from the letters to save embarrassment, and because she’s not publishing them for revenge, but to answer a request from a writer asking to see some of her rejection letters http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-35899243.)

Testing, Testing, 1 … 2 … 3

Testing, Testing, 1 … 2 … 3

Good morning, everyone. I do hope you can hear me okay. Yes, you read that correctly. I am talking to you. Or rather, I am sitting here at my desk talking to my computer. (The best thing about this is it doesn’t answer me back!) And, I have to say, I am impressed by the accuracy of the dictation software. I have always known that my computer has dictation software pre-installed, but I have never had a need to use…

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Productivity Leap

Productivity Leap

By pure coincidence (actually, a lot of hard work from the Universe went into arranging this), today’s blog posting happens to fall on February 29th – Leap Day. Let’s leap for joy. Why? Because we’ve been given an extra 24 hours. So let’s do something different with them.

Drafting Around

Drafting Around

How many drafts of one piece do you write? I ask, because when I receive an assignment those that are still first drafts stand out for several reasons. They contain spelling (or more probably typing) errors, homophones (where words sound the same but are spelt differently and have different meanings), and there are usually structural errors too. It doesn’t matter how much outlining you do either (although outlining may resolve many of the structural problems writers face). Even if you’ve…

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