• Craft,  Motivation,  Self Talk

    Return to the Page: Coming Back to Your Writing After a Break

    OK, so you took some time away from your writing practice or your work-in-progress. Somehow, while you were gone, your work became this really huge challenging thing. Now, you feel weird and intimidated about starting again. I know how that feels!  It has happened many times in my regular writing life but today it was happening to me about this blog post. Luckily, I not only worked myself out of the weirdness but I also documented my process so I can do it again.  And, I offer it to you as an example of how to write yourself out of the same annoying situation. Here’s what I did, step by…

  • Creativity,  Discipline,  Motivation,  Self Talk

    5 Ways To Boost Your Writing Morale

    Since writing can be solitary and there is often a long time between the work and the reward, it can be easy to get discouraged about the process. Here are 5 tips to help you recharge when you are a bit burnt out from your efforts. 1) Use the word YET Too often we get stuck in the idea that we will NEVER accomplish things but it can be helpful to reframe it to ‘I haven’t done it YET’ – I use this for TKD all the time. I try not to say ‘I can’t’ I spin that into ‘I can’t YET.’ because it keeps the door open for future…

  • Craft,  Creativity,  Discipline,  Motivation,  Self Talk

    You Don’t Need Permission To Write

    …but I’ll give you some anyway. The writing world is alive with the ‘rules’ of writing. Everyone and their uncle has something to say about what you should write, when you should write it, how you should write it, and why you should write it. Naturally, a lot of that advice is contradictory. After all, while we can all expand our practice and our skills, we each have to make our own way to the page. We each have our own interests, our own reasons for writing, and our own hopes for what will become of our words. But a lot of us get tangled in all of the writing…

  • Craft,  Creativity,  Self Talk

    Be Your Own Valentine: 5 Writerly Gifts To Give Yourself Today

    Even though Valentine’s Day is already here, it’s not too late to give your writerly-self. I’m sure a lot of us dream of the perfect writing lifestyle, a delightful haven in which everything contributes to our ability to surrender to our muse. Most of us, however, lead the kinds of lives where writing needs to be crammed in among a host of other things. That means that instead of giving ourselves gold pens, or exclusive writing retreats, our writerly-selves probably need more intangible but practical things – changes in attitude or approach- that would make our writing lives easier. Here are 5 of our suggestions. What would you add? Give…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Craft,  Creativity,  Discipline,  Perils of a Mom Writer,  Self Talk,  Time Management

    Flicking the Switch: Activate Writer Mode!

    by Christine Hennebury Thanks to Katharine’s terrific example, we all know that 10 minutes a day is enough to keep your creative life chirping along. But do you find it a challenge to make good use of that short period of time? Do you find it hard to stop your regular life and activate your writer mode? When my kids were small, I really struggled with that transition. I had lots of ideas but even when I had *time* to write, I couldn’t get much on the page.  And now, even though my kids are teenagers, I still sometimes have trouble switching into writing mode.  I know that Katharine has…

  • Discipline,  Self Talk,  Time Management

    Knowledge is Power – Things to Know BEFORE You Set a Goal

    by Christine Hennebury When some people decide to undertake a project, they automatically adjust their lives and expectations to match the project’s needs. They intuitively understand how much time their work will take, and they add it into their work days. For the rest of us, we have to consciously choose to make those adjustments in order to get our work done. I used to really struggle with reaching my writing goals. I could lay it all out on paper, even in a SMART goal fashion, but no matter how specific I got, I still didn’t do the work. Over time, I realized that while I had concrete and detailed…

  • Creativity,  Discipline,  Motivation,  Self Talk,  Uncategorized

    Persistence, Perspective, and Fun: Working Through Writing Challenges

    by Christine Hennebury Writing can be a lot of fun but it also involves a lot of hard work. If you find ways to add fun while sticking to your project, you’ll be a lot more satisfied with your progress.   When we first imagine ourselves as writers, we envision fun things like best-selling books, talk show circuits, and piles of cash. Or, at least, we imagine ourselves triumphantly writing the perfect scene.  We don’t envision the days that we sit in front of the computer struggling with a single sentence.   When we do consider those days, the ones where writing is hard but we have to do it…

  • Self Talk,  Uncategorized

    What’s Your Definition of Success?

    In my mind, success looks like stacks and stacks of books at a wholesale store. Every time I go to Costco, I pass the end table where the books are and I look and I say to my kids, “Someday, my books will be there.” To me, that a mark of success. If I come to that point in my career, then I have a tangible reminder of the success I’ve accomplished. And I want this to be the right kind of book — a novel — not an “I lived through a disaster and now I’m going to tell you my story” kind of book. The authors who have…

  • Self Talk,  Uncategorized

    Five Awful Things My Work-In-Progress Says To Me And What I Say Back

    I have a work-in-progress and I think it hates me. Every day I sit down with this project, set my timer, turn on the music, spend way too much time thinking about font, size, and color, and then work at least an hour. When I sit down with it, I feel it come alive. It is a non-fiction book, so it’s not like it’s alive in the sense of genre or character. It’s alive with the ease (or lack of ease) that comes with the drafting and sculpting of each chapter. At times, it feels like it’s fighting against me.  Some days, it is sterile and compliant; I’m the boss.…

  • Discipline,  Inspiration,  Motivation,  Self Talk

    Living With My Old Friend Laziness

    I hate laziness. And yet it’s an old friend of mine.   Lazy slouches in the corner and asks me to go get it a drink.  It sneaks out of simple requests, claiming that it’s just too tired. It claims that everything will get done, but when the inspiration hits, or when that condition is just right, or when it feels like it. I check laziness’s work. This underside has been neglected. The corner was cut here, and here and here too. And this is the wrong technique, not what I asked. I should know better than to ask for more. Lazy complains about the job that he is doing. Lazy sits and…

  • Discipline,  Inspiration,  Motivation,  Self Talk

    Wasting Time: Seven Hard Questions To Ask Yourself

      “Don’t waste your time chasing things that will never be beneficial to your future.” ― April Mae Monterrosa Are you wasting your time? Now that you are safely nestled into the routine of a New Year, it’s time to be honest about how you’d like this untouched calendar to be filled. You may have regret over how 2016 turned out for you and a possible repeat of regrets gives you the willies. Instead of waiting to see what happens, ask yourself these tough questions about how you spend your time. 1. Are Your Priorities A Mess? This is what it may look like: You want to be that person…