• Craft,  Discipline,  Inspiration,  Motivation

    Fantastic Fridays: Celebrate Every Word & Every Minute

    When we’re aiming to create a writing practice or to complete a specific writing project, we tend to keep our eyes on the road ahead. It’s great to know where we are going, obviously, but have you taken a glance over your shoulder recently? If we always looking forward, we only see the distance between our current position and our goal. But, if we glance backward, we’ll see how far we have come. It is worth taking the time to notice your progress. And it is worth taking time to celebrate your hard work. Even if – especially if- your hard work has mostly been about figuring out how to…

  • Discipline,  Motivation,  Self Talk

    Fantastic Fridays: Keep Trying

    It’s really important not to get discouraged by a single day’s writing (or lack thereof.) Even if the words are misbehaving and refusing to get on the page, you have to keep trying. And I don’t just mean ‘trying to write’, although that is obviously important, I mean trying in all sorts of ways. Try to focus on your process All writers need a reminder to focus on their process, not on the final product. This is especially true in the early stages of a project when thoughts of how it will turn out can seriously derail you. You don’t need to worry about where it will be published, whether…

  • 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…

  • Craft,  Discipline

    What Good Writers Do

    Kindergarteners practice tracing letters and numbers as the first steps to becoming literate. Even at this early stage, they are taught the basics for a lifetime of writing. The sign on my daughter’s classroom wall reads simply “What Good Writers Do.” Only a handful of the recent preschoolers can read the sign at the beginning of the year. As they come to understand the words, the sign becomes a useful reference. It provides guidance on how to communicate clearly to readers. From editing to formatting to effective storytelling, all writers benefit from mastering the basics. They must to entice readers and agents.

  • 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…

  • Creativity,  Discipline

    Benefits of Writing With Constraints

    What we don’t always realize is how much constraints can help us improve our writing. I cut my novel-writing teeth in Iowa University’s MOOC classes where constraints were a given. I learned to write in 400 words with a specific constraint for most assignments. The 400-word limit required me to weigh the value of each and every word. The thematic constraints challenged my creativity in the best way possible.

  • Craft,  Discipline,  Motivation,  Organization,  Time Management

    Take 5 Friday: Five Steps To Make August a Great Writing Month

    August can be a strange month. Either your kids are heading back to school or you are making plans for them to head back (and this year, that might all be up in the air.)  Or maybe you are finally getting some vacation time.  Perhaps you are trying to balance a busy work day and summer fun in the evenings and on the weekends.  No matter what your August looks like, with some planning, you can help make it into a great month for your writing. Here are 5 steps to help guide your writing plans. Identify how much time you’ll have to write. A lot of the time, we…

  • Craft,  Creativity,  Discipline

    Take 5 Friday: Five Questions To Ask Before Your Next Writing Session

    While some writers are able to naturally jump in and focus on their writing projects, most of us take a little more prep time. I find that if I make some decisions before I sit down to write, my writing time is more enjoyable and I have a clearer sense of my progress. For today’s Take 5, I thought I would share a few of the things that I decide in advance of my writing sessions. Note: Sometimes, I make these decisions in the moments before the computer goes on. Ideally, though, I would make these decisions in advance of a planned writing session. 1) What will you work on?…

  • Discipline,  Inspiration,  Self Talk

    How To Make Small Goals Work For You

    As much as you'd like to think you can shoot for the moon, I think that the moon, as beautiful and romantic as it is, isn't even a little bit possible. At least for right now. It could be that in the season your life is in, to be a writer, we need to start small, we need to have low expectations.

  • Discipline,  Organization

    How 10 Minute Novelists Invest In Themselves

    I'm as frugal as the next person. In fact, I'm kind of a skinflint. I will come up with a million ways from Saturday to get out of spending money. Some of my ideas are practical, like shopping at thrift stores for growing kids but some are a little ridiculous, like how I decided that instead of going to a writers' conference, I'd just watch all the writing videos on YouTube. If I'm going to spend money, especially on my art, I'd like to know what will be worth the trouble.

  • Discipline

    Take 5 Friday: 5 Ways to be More Comfortable When You Write

    How comfortable and welcoming is your writing space? When we have trouble getting to our writing, we often think that internal factors are the cause. We might look into a variety of reasons for our resistance and try multiple strategies to overcome them. Those strategies are useful if the issue is inside our heads but what about if our resistance stems from our environment? Thanks to some time spent with people with sensory issues, I have started to notice how my environment affects my ability to write. I have made a few adjustments in my workspace and it has helped enormously. The same may be true for you. So, if…