• Creativity

    16 Simple Things To Do To Be More Creative

    Everybody wants to be more creative. Creativity is that moment when your ideas come together in just the right way, you may see something that no one else did. Creativity is problem solving, but it’s also strategy, connections and applications of concepts. When we’re on fire creatively, sometimes we don’t know where the original spark came from but we know we like the innovative blaze it ignited. The problem with creativity is that it’s the hard work of the mind and sometimes the ideas just aren’t there. We know what makes our bodies tired, but often the mind gets tired in entirely different ways. If we are writing for a…

  • #MondayBlogs,  Publishing

    Top 10 Things To Consider When Choosing A Publisher With The Same Care As A Jane Austen Heroine Chose A Husband

      It is a truth universally acknowledged that a writer in possession of a good story must be in want of a publisher. It’s the age old story. You have so many hopes and dreams. You have all these wonderful stories to tell. You know that it will take an attachment, a proposal and perhaps a big commitment to make you moderately rich and a teensy bit famous. So you, the perfect Lizzie Bennet, who will only writes for love, not necessarily £10,000 a year, will be happy just to attach yourself with a publisher who respects you. Fortunately for you, your access to publishers on the internet is an…

  • 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…

  • Uncategorized

    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…

  • Uncategorized

    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…

  • 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 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…

  • 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…

  • Uncategorized

    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…

  • 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…