• Craft,  Discipline,  Organization,  Time Management,  Uncategorized,  Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day

    Finding Time to Write by Joanna Maciejewska

    by Joanna Maciejewska If you ever tried to create anything with words: a short story, a blog post, or an essay, you know that writing is a time-consuming hobby. In a busy life, finding time to write can be both challenging and frustrating. So how can you do it? Evaluate your day Even though finding time to write might feel impossible, if you look closely, you might be surprised to find unassigned pockets of temporal space. They might seem too small at first, but as they say, you don’t look gifted horse in the mouth. If you want to write and you don’t have the time you need, you learn…

  • Motivation,  Self Talk,  Time Management,  Uncategorized

    When You Shouldn’t be Writing

    by Joanna Maciejewska You have probably seen those funny memes where cartoon characters or famous actors tell you that YOU SHOULD BE WRITING. Maybe you snicker at them. Or maybe they’re poking at your feeling of guilt, because if you see them… you’re clearly not writing. Most of the times, they serve as a reminder or a motivator, because you should be writing. But what if there are times when you shouldn’t? Procrastination as a symptom It seems that no one is so effective at procrastination as a writer is. From social media dubbed as “building one platform” to binging series on Netflix boldly renamed to “research”, writers tend to…

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    Networking as a Newbie Author

    I found 10 Minute Novelists as I was finishing my first book. Well, I thought I was close to done, then I started sharing my work with friends from 10 Min and realized it could be so much better. In four months my story went from I’d be embarrassed now if I’d published it, to a good first book (although I’ve learned so much since then). Why do I share this when I’m talking about networking? Because as the old adage says, “Iron sharpens iron.” You cannot be a good author if you don’t take time to learn from those who’ve been in the field. You can start the process…

  • 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…

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    Top 10 Ways Poetry Is Better Than Food

    By Katharine Grubb Poetry is better than food. At least sometimes it is. Just like we eat a variety of things so that we can nourish our bodies, I think we should read a variety of poems so that we can nourish our souls. I love that some poetry  is bite sized like a Dickinson poem or a haiku. I like that some poetry is a full five course meal, like a Longfellow poem. Hungry yet?   1. Like vegetables, poetry is good for you.  If you have the literary nutrition of a poem daily, the you can appreciate rhythm, imagery, metaphor, meaning, communication, pathos, storytelling and good craftsmanship. If…

  • Craft,  Reading,  Uncategorized

    Reading as a Writer

    by Joanna Maciejewska Almost every advice out there tell aspiring writers they should read a lot. But the key is not devouring as many books as possible. It’s making reading into a lesson: studying plots, characterization, even the story’s style and vocabulary. There’s much more to reading as a writer than it is to reading as a book lover. And even though writers mostly enjoy reading as much as any other bookworm, we have other reasons to read besides enjoying a good story, whether it’s entertaining or thought-provoking. Root out the not-so-unique ideas You come up with an idea for a romance between an angel and a human, or for…

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    Building Contrast: Why a Great Antagonist Is Good For Your Main Character

      Don’t we all love a good baddie? As much as we love endearing, likable main characters, I believe it’s their opposition force, their antagonist that can make a story richer. A good antagonist has their own agenda and backstory and should do everything in their power to prevent your protagonist from accomplishing their goal. Perhaps, your main character’s opposition is a simple one: the nosy neighbor.  Or maybe the opposing force is more complex like say, the Communists. I’d like to suggest that the more fully developed your antagonist, the more interesting the whole story can become. When you have a strong antagonist, you can: Clarify the true purpose of…

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    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…

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    Guarding Your Time: The Hows and Whys of Time-Blocking

    If we’re going to get serious about our writing, then we have to make time for it. If we’re going to make time for it, then we need to guard that writing time diligently. This is what I mean:  Recently an acquaintance approached me, inviting me to a weekly mothers’ meeting in which we would discuss various issues of motherhood. Her argument, one that she presented sweetly, is that all mothers need a safe place to vent and get advice. She said that she had chosen Thursday afternoons from 2-4 pm on a weekly basis, at a location that was 20 minutes away from my home, for this event. I…

  • Motivation,  Self Talk,  Uncategorized

    Love Your Writing: a Writer’s Self-care

    by Joanna Maciejewska From my experience, people who claim writing is easy either haven’t written anything yet or don’t treat their writing seriously. Sure, the process of transferring one’s thoughts to paper or digital document can be extremely simple… Making them flow, engage the reader, and evoke emotions isn’t. Getting one’s story right might bring about frustration, depression, self-doubt, and obesity when the former are remedied with cake. That’s why writers need to remember about self-care, and one of the basic ways is to love your writing. Love your writing, love your job Unless you’re writing as a hobby, only when you feel like it, you’re likely to be treating…

  • Uncategorized

    Positivity for Writers

    I recently read the book Positivity by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, and it changed how I think about my writing process.  She defines Positivity as  affirming, constructive, helpful, and/or optimistic thoughts, actions, or feelings in our lives. Dr. Fredrickson, who has researched this subject for the past 20 years, categorizes it as those moments in which we experience joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love. As a writer, those are the moments when my writing comes alive.  The best lines get written. I learn something that makes a character more real. Why is it so hard to stay positive? Dr. Fredrickson compares negativity to a spiral slide-…

  • Craft,  Discipline,  Uncategorized

    Can’t We All Get Along? Making Friends with Your Inner Editor

    by Christine Hennebury Do you have an annoying inner voice? I’m not referring to your conscience. I’m talking about your inner editor. The one who keeps interrupting your first draft to remind you that it still needs work.   Unlike a real live editor, this one is kind of missing the point. Real, live editors wouldn’t expect you to have gotten everything right on the first try. And, they certainly wouldn’t interrupt you while you are writing to tell you to change that single word. Real live editors know that there is a time and a place for editing.  With very few exceptions, the first draft is NOT it.  …

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    Want To Be An Organized Writer? Start With An Effective Life

    By Katharine Grubb This idea — organizing your life — could be the elephant in the room. Figuratively, it weighs a couple thousand pounds. You’ve known that your life is a mess and you’d rather ignore it than deal with it. But like a real elephant, your piles, your messes and your chaos feels rough and dirty. Being effective seems impossible. This figurative elephant may even be eyeing you suspiciously. You’ve been told that to eat this elephant you’ll have to tackle it one bite at a time. In your hand, you have a knife and a fork and you say to yourself, “go to it!” If only getting your…

  • Craft,  Discipline,  Organization,  Uncategorized,  Work-In-Progress

    Writing Multiple Projects: Pros and Cons

    by Joanna Maciejewska Mikhail Bulgakov burned the first draft of Master and Margarita, a book that long after death would make him famous. He wrote it for two years, and then in 1930 committed it to the flame. A year later, he restarted the novel and worked on the second draft for the next six years. For the next years, he worked on another four versions and even right before his death in 1940 the novel still had unfinished bits. Even though he had some other works published earlier (along with plays and short stories), he’s ultimately remembered by that one novel. Writing Multiple Projects Nowadays, in our fast-paced world…