• Creativity

    Bad Day for Words? Easing the Struggle to Write — a Guest Post by Christine Hennebury

    I have over 20,000 people who follow me on Twitter. That means that potentially that many can read about what I ate for lunch (or more important stuff if I choose to tell them!)  I have nearly 400 friends on Facebook from all over the world. That means that potentially every story, heartbreak, and bad day can be told to them pretty quickly. Then I lead a group of writers on Facebook of over 1700 people worldwide and I am not shy about telling them about my struggles and victories. It’s from these groups that I have found some of dearest people in the world. My guest writer is Christine…

  • Beautiful Words

    Polishing Your Beach Rocks: All Beautiful Words Start Out Plain — A Guest Post By Christine Hennebury

    ‘Comparison is the thief of joy.’ – Theodore Roosevelt Have you ever read someone else’s work and been struck by the sheer beauty of their words? Did you then turn to your own work in despair because it could never match what the other writer had produced? Did the comparison take the joy out of your writing for you?  Anne Lamott, one of the great philosophers of our time, often warns us against comparing our insides to other people’s outsides.  She’s usually speaking in a more general sense of personal well-being but it applies to our writing as well.  When we compare our messy drafts with someone else’s published work,…

  • Author Profile,  Motivation,  Self Talk

    Writing Like a Martial Artist A Guest Post by Christine Hennebury

    What could be further apart than the physical effort of martial arts and the mental effort of writing? They don’t really have much in common. Martial arts help you to train your body to react without having to think, while writing is about getting very deep inside your own head. Yet, when I bring the focus I’ve learned in Taekwon-Do and apply it to my writing, the words come a lot more easily, and that’s not the only way that studying martial arts has made me a better writer. Lesson One: My biggest opponent is myself When I got my black belt in March, 2014, I felt like I had…

  • Uncategorized

    For Fact & Fiction: Borrow Non-fiction Techniques for your Fiction

    By Christine Hennebury Stories are stories, whether you are reporting them or inventing them. While non-fiction writers and fiction writers each develop a specific skill set, there are lots of overlapping skills and lots of opportunity to learn from the other’s approach. In addition to my fiction, I also write community news for a variety of newspapers in my province. I’ve found that my fiction skills and my non-fiction skills both come in handy no matter which type of writing I am doing. So, I use my fiction-writing description and character development skills to enrich my non-fiction and fact-based non-fiction skills to keep my fiction sharp. Perhaps your fiction writing…

  • Creativity,  Discipline,  Inspiration,  Motivation

    100 Words at a Time: Getting That New Project Started

    By Christine Hennebury. Half the battle with writing is getting started. The blank page seems enormous. Your brain flashes a million ideas past you…or it goes blank. Every idea you do manage to hold on to seems trite or overdone. It’s not a fun feeling. Yet, you know you *want* to write. You would love to have a story or essay or novel written. What you need is something to grab onto, a handhold, a way to pull yourself forward just a little bit. You need 100 words.* Sure, 100 words is not a full story (unless you are writing a drabble!), it’s not even enough to describe an elaborate…

  • Creativity,  Discipline,  Uncategorized

    “An Open Oven Bakes No Bread” – choosing which great idea to pursue.

    by Christine Hennebury. You are free but you have to choose. An open oven bakes no bread.                                                                                      -Paulo Coehlo Sometimes we get stuck, not because we don’t have any ideas but because we have too many. And if you are like me, you want to work on the ‘right’ one at the ‘right’ time so you don’t ‘waste’ time and energy.  Of course, the truth is that, aside…

  • Creativity,  Discipline,  Inspiration

    Writerly Warm-Ups – 5 fun ways to prepare to write your story

      by Christine Hennebury   Are you a SERIOUS writer? Are you maybe even a bit TOO serious?   Writing well requires discipline. We all know that, and we all try to practice that.   Well, more like, we are all hard on ourselves for not practicing that enough.   I feel like our desire to be dedicated writers who are doing things right gets in the way of our goals sometimes. I’d like to help you sidestep that instinct for a little while so you can remember what you like about writing.   After all, it’s a lot easier to keep coming back to a task you basically enjoy…

  • Discipline,  Motivation,  Self Talk

    How to Become a REAL writer. (Spoiler: You already are.)

    by Christine Hennebury If I could get paid everytime someone tells me that they must not be a ‘real’ writer, I could retire. The truth is that there are many ways to be a real writer. There are, however, no definitive tests for writerliness. We all write in our own fashion, and at our speed, to get to where we are going with our writing.   As long as we are realistic about matching our expectations to our efforts, we will do just fine.   However, the myth of the ‘real writer’ persists.     You know the one I mean, right? The ‘real’ writer is the one who works…

  • Craft,  Creativity

    Into the Heart: Writing Flash Fiction

    by Christine Hennebury I really enjoy writing flash fiction because I can finish a draft quickly, polish it and do something with it right away. That’s not to say that flash fiction is easy, or that you can just toss out any old thing and call it flash fiction. This type of writing takes skill, but you can practice it more quickly that you can when writing longer forms of fiction. The cycle of draft, revision, revision, revision, completion is much faster when you are dealing with changing a few words, lines, or paragraphs than when you are dealing with page after page of text. If wrangling fiction of this…

  • white background, yellow circle with text reading 'Celebrate Writing: An Inventory of the Good Stuff' By Christine Hennebury.
    Craft,  Creativity,  Inspiration,  Motivation,  Organization,  Self Talk

    Celebrate Writing: An Inventory of the Good Stuff

    by Christine Hennebury A lot of my columns here on 10MN have been about ways you can tweak or improve your writing experience to make it a little easier on yourself. Today, I would like you to take a moment to celebrate the things that are already good about your writing experiences. You might even want to grab a notebook so you can make a chart or a list or a drawing so you can come back to it when you feel a bit cranky about your writing. Let’s start in a really general way.     1) What draws you to write? Many writers talk about a compulsion to…

  • Discipline,  Organization,  Time Management,  Uncategorized

    Burst That Bubble: Grounding Your Expectations In Reality

      by Christine Hennebury Do you base your writing expectations on work habits or on your dreams?   I’m sure most of us hope that our books or stories will become immensely popular and provide riches beyond measure. I’m not going to burst that bubble for you. (Who am I to say if that can happen for you?)   The dream bubble I want to burst is the one that keeps you floating just long enough before it dumps you in the zone of discouragement.   You know the one that I mean. It’s the dream of writing 10,000 words a week when you can only fit in one thirty…

  • A white background with a yellow circle on it, black text reads 'Writing for Relief: Writing Exercises for Emotional Health by Victoria Miller and Christine Hennebury'
    Self Talk

    Writing for Relief: Exercises For Emotional Health

    by Victoria Miller and Christine Hennebury We don’t think that the writerly brain has more mental health issues than any other time of brain. However, combining a writerly imagination with writerly habits like spending a lot of time alone and a lot of time in our own heads can create a breeding ground for some negative and self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. If those thoughts are recurring or if they regularly disrupt your life, please seek some professional help. You do NOT have to endure those thoughts alone. If, however, those thoughts just pop up from time to time, you may want to use your writing skills to help you manage…

  • White background, yellow circle in the foreground. Black text reads Use What You Know Improve Your Writing With Transferable Skills
    Craft,  Creativity

    Use What You Know: Improve Your Writing With Transferable Skills

    by Christine Hennebury Everyone is familiar with the idea of ‘write what you know’ but have you ever USED what you know as a framework to improve your writing?   One of my favourite things to do is to use my skills and experience from area and try it out in another context. Lessons from Taekwondo have helped me develop my writing practice and approach my work from a new angle. My storytelling skills inform my teaching approaches in Taekwondo. I refer to my weekly schedule as a ‘recipe’, because the flexibility I learned when baking helps me remember to keep my plans responsive to changes in circumstances. Each of…

  • Uncategorized

    Building Character: Ask More Questions

    by Christine Hennebury How well do you know your characters? Do you know things about them that aren’t actually included in your story?   One side effect of being a storyteller and an actor is that I like to know things about my characters that happen outside of the events described in the story. If I can get a clear sense of what the characters are like, it makes my story richer. If you can get used to the idea of asking yourself (or your characters) more questions about their fictional lives, you will find it easier to work in their world.   I don’t include all of the details…