Posts Tagged ‘ writers ’

Writing Retreat

  Last year when the trees were turning their brilliant colors and the air began to have a nip in it, my fiance and I went to the Finger Lakes in NY for a long weekend getaway. Now, as August winds down my mind can’t help but turn to what an amazing time I had there. Not only was it beautiful, but it was everything a writer could want. I would sit outside writing on a cobblestone patio next to the fire pit and surrounded by lush grass, ponds, and vibrantly hued mountains. Bliss….sigh.

One of my biggest struggles as a writer is balancing my writing with everything else in my life. These past few weeks have actually been great as I’ve gotten into a good habit of finding time to write almost every day, but it made me reflective as well. While I’ve been to various writing events, I’ve never actually been to a writer’s retreat. These, after I did a little research, come in all shapes and sizes, so writers can pick and choose based on what they’d like to accomplish. There are more structured writing retreats that feature speakers, workshops, and networking. There are more remote retreats with small cabins and more free time to find your muse in the wild. Both have merits, but for my personality getting to write while on vacation was the best fit for me. I could pair spending time with my fiance with relaxing on the patio snuggled into an Adirondack chair with a blanket (although for the next trip I really need to invest in a pair of fingerless gloves for typing outside for hours!).

Getting away helped remove many of life’s distractions and really focus on my work. Scheduling a writing retreat, even for a weekend, is a great way to energize yourself and your writing. Even if it’s a family vacation home or a VRBO rental (Vacation Rental By Owner – best site for getaways of all kinds) or a more planned writing conference-like retreat, finding time for you and your craft is bound to be invigorating.
Happy writing! 🙂

NaNoWriMo – Where Do I Go From Here?

The end is near….! For NaNoWriMo that is. 🙂

I hope you are taking a short time out to read this and then getting back to writing, writing, writing. Now is the time you stop doing all those things that make you human and focus on finishing that novel! Stop showering, don’t run that errand to Target, don’t bother vacuuming and don’t even THINK of shopping at etsy. Just don’t do it.

Starting tomorrow you can get back to your old life. The life where you thought about things other than character development, plot twists and story arcs. But, I have a confession to make, my month of writing didn’t exactly go according to plan. While I didn’t crash and burn, I didn’t make the time to write as I should have. I can blame my lack of focus on any number of life hiccups, the truth is I dropped the ball or the pen as it were.

Moving forward


If this is your first attempt at completing a novel it can be just as daunting to know where to go after your first draft (yes, that’s right, first) is finally completed. Through trial, error, and much advice, here’s my list of what to do after that first draft is wrapped:

1. Walk away. Don’t even think about your novel for at least a few days. Take time to recharge your creative batteries and go for a walk, visit a museum, read, before going back to your novel. But don’t wait too long to go back or you might be tempted to fall out of the writing habit.

2. Revise, revise, revise. My favorite method is to print out my first draft (double-sided to save paper of course), choose a colored pen, and rip through my novel one page at a time correcting as I go. Then I retype my revisions, walk away, and go through my novel again to see if I can find any further discrepancies, blatant grammatical errors, or any other last minute changes I want to make.

3. Give your novel to someone else to read. Don’t give it to someone who’s going to lather you with praises. Do give it to someone (or someones) who will give you constructive criticisms that will help you hone your craft and perfect your work. This is the time a trusted writing group will come in handy.

4. Revise. Correct any worthy suggestions your critics may have made. As much as it might sting, they probably see things you missed after being so engrossed in your art for so long.

5. Develop a thick skin. After you’ve gotten your novel to a point where it’s as polished as you can make it, research agents that represent your genre (young adult, science fiction, Christian, etc.) and work on writing a query letter. Write a synopsis too if you can. The road to getting an agent isn’t an easy one for most, so don’t take it personally if your novel doesn’t get the response you’d like it to initially. Just remember even renown authors like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling got dozens of rejections and Kathryn Stockett of The Help fame received 45 during her five years of trying to find an agent. So don’t lose hope!

But most of all, never give up on your writing dreams!

Best wishes and happy writing! 😀

NaNoWriMo: Day 3

It’s Day 3 of NaNoWriMo and I’ve taken time out from writing (fine, I’m procrastinating, but you’re procrastinating by reading this!) to give you an update on my work in progress.

I don’t know about you, but I need a few things in order to focus on my writing. Sometimes, when I’m in a particularly procrastinatory (not a word, but it should be) mood, I’ll add more stuff to the list until I deem myself “unfit for writing” and lay on the couch swearing that tomorrow will be different.

Things I need in order to write:

1. Snacks – that reminds me, I’m hungry! I’ll be right back.

(Twenty minutes later.)

2. A clean kitchen. Strange, but true.

3. A recently walked dog. He’s very demanding.

4. Comfortable clothes, chair, etc. Ideally, I would have someone massage my shoulders while I write. It’s hard work!

5. My notebook of, well, notes next to me. This way I can doodle jot down key ideas while typing on my computer.

I don’t know what you absolutely need in order to have an optimal writing environment, but I hope you’ve managed to write in addition to doing all those very important things. 🙂

WIP: 2376

Send me an email, link, carrier pigeon to let me know how you’re faring too! Happy writing!


   It’s that time again! National Novel Writing Month is upon us, well, in November it shall be upon us, and I’m super excited to get this party started! Is it bad that my idea of partying is to write 50,000 words in a month? Ah well, I never professed to being cool…

Anyway, I’m gearing up for this year’s event. I have my pencils sharpened, my composition notebooks neatly lined up on the corner of my utterly clean desk, and….ha! who am I kidding? I’m a writer! I’ll be lucky if I change out of my pajamas before lunch while I’m working on a writing project.

This year I decided to be a more active participant and went to my library director in hopes of having our library as a writing site for all NaNoWriMo participants in the area. She was totally on board and quickly wrangled a representative from Adult and Youth Services to help helm the project. So I went ahead and ordered our press kit from the NaNoWriMo site so we will have signs, bookmarks and promotional stuff to advertise the event. Plus, we’re hosting a writer’s workshop, raffles, reserved tables with lots o’ outlets, and other goodies. 😀 I’m so excited!!!

Now that I’ve jammered on you’re probably saying, “Well, that’s super great, but what is NaNoWriMo?”

Good question. National Novel Writing Month aka NaNoWriMo is a national (global?) event where participants register on the NaNoWriMo website to register and keep track of their progress as they work towards writing 50,000 words in a month. There are forums, chats, and other cool resources also available as well as groups in general regions (central NJ for me) where writers can convene for events in person. It’s a way where writers can connect, vent, discuss, network, and bang out a novel with a word goal instead of over analyzing every turn of phrase and grammar choice for hours only to find they haven’t written an entire paragraph yet. Sounds good to me!

Happy writing!