• Character Development,  Craft,  Creativity,  Uncategorized,  Writing Prompt

    Take 5 Friday: Five Ways to Get to Know Your Characters

    When I write, I love to know a lot about my characters. I don’t just want to explore who they are inside my story, I want to think of them as (almost) real people who have full lives and histories. My story is just a glimpse into one part of that fully-lived life. When I think of my characters in that way, it gives them more depth and gives their actions more meaning. They aren’t just a plot device created for the point I want to make, they are people who are doing their best with the knowledge they have developed over their lifetimes. One of the ways that I…

  • Craft,  Creativity,  Discipline

    Take 5 Friday: Five Slivers of Time to Write in.

    Here at 10MN we are timer champions. We know how to make the most of a 10 minute writing session and we get a lot done in bursts of time. But what about if you don’t even have 10 minutes? What if you only have slivers of time here and there? Can you still get any writing done? Of course! It just takes a different sort of planning. Note: Please don’t think that I am advocating filling every moment of your day with ‘productivity.’ We all need our rest and only you can know if any given moment is for rest or for work. This process and these time sliver…

  • Interviews With Authors

    Take 5 Friday: 5 Questions for Author Jessica White

    For today’s Take 5 Friday, please welcome author Jessica White. Jessica is a Christian fiction author, the founder of the 365 Writing Challenge and she is the most organized and consistent person I have ever encountered. Jessica’s current book is called Song in the Dark – A Hades/Persephone Inspired Romantic Suspense (see below for more information!) Here are Jessica’s answers to my Take 5 questions. I’m sure you will get lots of great information and inspiration from her approach to writing. 1) What aspects of writing are easiest for you? My favorite part of writing a story is coming up with the setting. When I was little, I redesigned my…

  • Motivation,  Self Talk

    Take 5 Friday: Five Scary Writing Monsters To Banish

    Even the most confident authors find themselves plagued by writing monsters and since it is so close to Halloween, I thought it was a good time to identify and then banish some of those creeps. Here are some of the most common monsters that try to scare us away from writing. It can be tricky to banish them but being aware of their monsterish nature is the first step to getting rid of them – or at least keeping them quiet for a while. When you learn to recognize them quickly, you will be able to silence them quickly, too. Redy to identify some writing monsters? Let’s go! Monster #1:…

  • Writing Prompt

    Take 5 Friday: Five Writing Prompts

    Have you ever sat down to write and found that all your ideas had vanished? Of course you have, you’re a writer! If you feel like you have nothing to say but you still want to write SOMETHING, a writing prompt can be just the thing to get you started.  When I feel stuck, I find that using a prompt helps me to get back in touch with my writing skills. Playing around with different ideas through prompts shakes things up a bit and reminds me that I *can* write, after all.  I think of prompts in the same way I think of warm-ups in an exercise session – a…

  • Craft,  Creativity,  Inspiration,  Observation

    Take 5 Friday: Five Field Trips For Your Senses

    We all have to do mundane and routine things to maintain our lives – errands, grocery shopping, yard work, and so on.  But, what if, instead of just drifting along with our routines, we considered at least some of our errands as ‘field trips’ for our senses?  We could use the sensory information we gather to enrich our scenes and our settings. And, in essence, we would be dedicating a little more time to our creative practice each week. I realize that you will not be able to do this for every errands you have to run every week. But even if you did it for a few errands every…

  • Interviews With Authors

    Take 5 Friday: Five(ish) New Questions for Two Writers

    In this week’s installment of Take 5 Friday, we’re chatting with Cate Creede, a consultant and Partner with The Potential Group (Toronto, Canada), and Samantha Brennan, Professor at the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada.) I blog with Cate and Samantha at Fit is Feminist Issue, a blog founded by Samantha and Tracy Isaacs (Samantha and Tracy also wrote Fit at Midlife: A Feminist Fitness Journey) Samantha and Cate both have great insights into how they can consistently do their best writing. I think their insights will give you a good mix of familiar advice (from a different perspective) and some new ideas about how you can approach your writing projects.…

  • Creativity,  Uncategorized,  Writing Prompt

    Take 5 Friday: Five Analog Writing Prompts

    Has this ever happened to you? You have finally carved out a few minutes to write but now that you have cleared that space, you realize that you have no idea where to start. (Personally, I think this is a bit of a stress response because your writing time suddenly feels extra important but I’ll write about that on another Friday. Today, we’re going to mostly treat the symptom – a sudden lack of ideas.) Okay, so you have your few minutes to write. You don’t want to risk opening a browser window and going down the rabbithole of searching for prompts. But, you also don’t want to just keep…

  • Craft,  Motivation,  Self Talk

    Take 5 Friday: Five Ways to Speak More Kindly to Your Writer Self

    As writers, we spend a lot of time in our own heads, trying to coax words onto the page. Then, once the words get there, we spend a lot of time trying to reshape them to clarify our ideas. It’s a process filled with self-esteem peril. We end up criticizing ourselves for not working hard enough, not working often enough, not working in the right way, or not working on the right thing. Or, we get frustrated with the words we did produce, wondering why we can’t match the ideal we had in our heads.  There’s an awful lot of focus on what we did ‘wrong,’ or on what is…

  • Craft,  Discipline,  Motivation

    Take 5 Friday: Five Gentle Steps To Coax Yourself To Write

    Even if you have an excellent writing practice with well-established routines, there will still be times when you just can’t bring yourself to the page. Sometimes, that’s a sign of burnout or that you just need a rest. If that’s the case for you, do what you can to get the rest that you need. But, if this is regular old garden-variety reluctance, a slight grumpy sort of resistance, or just a toddleresque ‘I don’t wanna’ –  it might be time for some gentle coaxing. You don’t need to be hard on yourself, this isn’t a time for being cruel in the name of self-discipline.  This is an opportunity to…

  • Craft,  Interviews With Authors

    Take 5 Friday: Five Questions for Leigh Medeiros.

    It’s the last Friday of the month and I am thrilled to welcome Leigh Medeiros to our 5 Questions series. Leigh Medeiros is a creativity coach, story editor, amateur naturalist, rescue dog mom, and author of The 1-Minute Writer (Simon & Schuster, 2019.) She’s an energetic and encouraging creative force who can help you settle into your writing, even when you thought you had nothing to say. You can find out more about Leigh’s work on her website: LeighMedeiros.com. 1) Do you find yourself compelled to write or do you have to coax yourself into it? Dorothy Parker once said, “I hate writing; I love having written.” Oh, can I…

  • Craft,  Creativity,  Inspiration

    Take 5 Friday: Five Questions To Ask Your Characters

    Last week, I encouraged you to ask yourself a few questions about your writing so you could ensure that your practice still met your goals. This week’s questions are for your characters and while they probably won’t take as much soul-searching, they will require some imagination. I use questions like the ones below to round out my knowledge of my characters in my short stories, novels, short plays, and in the mystery games that I write.  Sometimes I end up using the answers to “show” my characters to my audience. Sometimes, the answers just help me to figure out how my characters would behave or react in a given situation.…

  • Community,  Craft,  Creativity,  Interviews With Authors,  Self Talk,  Time Management

    Take 5 Friday: Five Questions To Ask Yourself

    Most of us have a good general idea of our plans and motivations. But we also have so many different things going on in our lives that it’s easy to forget to check in with ourselves about how things are going. Once we have created a system or a plan, we tend to keep trying to follow it until things go horribly wrong. However, even if things haven’t gone horribly wrong, the plan or system might still not be completely right. It might be causing us unnecessary frustration or stress just because it no longer matches our needs. If we take time to check in with ourselves and assess what…

  • Craft,  Creativity

    Take 5 Friday: Five steps for building fences (or stories)

    For my own amusement, I asked my brother-in-law, who is a handyman and a contractor, to help me compare writing to building a fence. I find it useful to explore how other professionals go about their work to see if using their framework might give me some insight into my own processes. Or, if drawing parallels between their work and mine can help me reframe how I think about challenging parts of my projects. Even though both writing and fence-building can be quite complicated, I think we settled on 5 steps that could get you started for either project. Note: I am paraphrasing Dan’s words here but any mistakes are…