Writing On Demand

by Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

I’m operating under a deadline. There’s a reason for the negativity of that word, because it’s freaking killing me. Okay, so maybe not all that dramatic, like I’m not currently bleeding out on the kitchen floor or anything. But being on a deadline means I have to write every day whether I feel like it or not. Most often I do, but some days, sheesh, I tell you . . .
So for my sanity — and yours — here is a handy dandy list of ideas to keep you on the writing track, or whatever track it is that you’re currently running on.
5 Techniques to Keep the Writing Juices Flowing

1. Find your happy writing place and go there.**For me, it’s a coffee shop. But not just any. Not the ones where I hang out with friends. There are a few select shops that once I walk through the door, I know I’ve got to yank out my computer and get down to business. If your happy place is a library, fine. A nearby park. Great. Wherever you can be most productive is where you need to be.
2. Make it a priority.**Morning is best. Your mind is the freshest. You haven’t had a wonky day yet. This is the time to crank out your most work and don’t let anything get in the way of that.
3. Stretch out the creative muscles before starting.**Read some great writing before you start your own writing. Or listen to some inspirational music. Or view some awesome pictures that make you wonder. Sometimes your creative battery needs a jump start.

4. Reward yourself.**If a triple mocha with whipped cream and an espresso bean on top is what it takes to make you feel like a little champion, then get one. Better your pants dig in at the waist a bit and you conquer the world than you feel like a loser and lose your motivation.
5. Don’t overthink it.**Just do it. Don’t worry if what you’re putting out is perfection. Chances are it’s not. At least you’ll have something to work with later on, right?

Your ability to write does not depend on your muse riding up on a unicorn and sweeping you off your feet. All it takes is for you to park your rear in a chair long enough to force out some words. Inspiration and motivation are lovely to have, but if you’re going to make it in the writerly world, you’ll have to suck it up and write on demand, whether you feel like it or not.

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Michelle Griep
’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

It’s Normal to Feel Like a Loser

by Michelle Griep

So you’re writing a novel, la-de-dah. Typing away like a rock star. Day after day after day.

After day.

And then, out of nowhere, whap! A horrific thought slaps you upside the head, yanking you out of the story and paralyzing you so that your daily word count takes a serious nosedive. Suddenly you wonder if you’re an author, that maybe all the things you write are just slobbery bits of drivel bubbling out of you. Panic sets in. Perhaps you’re not a for-real writer. Maybe you’re an impostor. A poser. An orangutan mimicking kissy noises in front of a mirror. Or worse — maybe the zombie apocalypse really did happen and you’re nothing but a body operating on rote memory because shoot, if you read what you’ve written, those words certainly look like a person with no brain wrote them.

Or maybe you’re just a loser.

Never fear, little writer. I’m here to tell you that you’re not a loser. You’re normal. Every writer hits this point at some time in every single manuscript they write — and sometimes more than once. Hating your writing and feeling like pond scum is par for the course. Why?

Because creation is the process of making something out of nothing, and that something takes blood, sweat, and tears to mold into a beautiful masterpiece.

Think about this . . . Babies don’t pop out of their mothers all smiley faced and swaddled in fluffy rubber ducky blankies. They come out screaming and howling, all mucked up with oobie-goobies and require a good cleaning and lots of love. You don’t think that mom had second doubts during the heat of labor? She’d have packed up and gone home at that point if she could.

That’s how it works for your story, too. Don’t pack it up. Press on through the birth pains. Push out that ugly story so that it can be cleaned off and wrapped up into a beautiful book cover.

The only way out is through, folks, no matter how you feel. Take your hand off your forehead (yes, I see that big “L” you’re making with your forefinger and thumb) and get those fingers on your keyboard instead.


Author Michelle Griep

ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ MICHELLE GRIEP

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.

Title Photo Copyright: sifotography / 123RF Stock Photo

Ugly Duckling Writing

by Linore Burkard


Since surely you are familiar with the fairy-tale of the ugly duckling who became a beautiful swan, I won’t bother with a recap. But what is “ugly duckling writing,” you wonder?  In a nutshell, Rachel Hauck described it in a recent post here on Novel Rocket

“I fast draft a very ugly novel, then I rewrite. Almost from scratch. I layer and fine tune, change and deepen.” Rachel Hauck

Since I wrote the lion’s share of my current novel, RESISTANCE
in little more than a month,
the above quote fits my experience for this
book. I have a first draft that is, in literary terms, “a very ugly
novel.” But to me, it’s like  gold. Because I know that the finished
novel–the graceful swan–is in there, and that I will hone the work, develop the best parts,
revise and rewrite and come out in the end with a book
that–hopefully–many will want to read. 

I
expected to let the book rest during this past busy Christmas season, but I found myself working on it, rewriting and fine tuning.
Changing and deepening.

And, when I think about it, I realize that all of my novels started out as ugly ducklings in some degree or other. In all likelihood, whether you’ve got one published book or thirty, yours began that way, too. As ugly ducklings.
Newer writers often don’t realize that this is not unusual. I hear from some who get so discouraged when faced with an ugly duckling novel that they want to quit. 
So here’s my takeaway for them–or for any writer discouraged by a messy novel. 
Don’t give up on a book just because you feel, after finishing the
first draft, that it is in no shape to get published. The truth is, if
you keep working on it, haven’t lost your original vision for the work,
and are determined to find the real story and make it work–you probably
will.
   
There
are times when it’s right to put a manuscript away in some drawer,
never to see the light of day. This is often the fate of a first attempt
by writers at novel-writing, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We all need to practice and learn somewhere, somehow.
My first hatchling!

But it is not a universal
experience. My own first novel must have gone through a dozen drafts before it was publishable. But eventually, it became a swan. I might have given up any number of times when it looked like an awkward, ungainly fledgling–but didn’t.    

How to tell if your novel is drawer-worthy or worth editing? 
I believe most books can be salvaged into good works IF the original vision is strong.
What is a strong original vision? A great story!
Do you have a great
story? Something that can touch a heart, strike a deep chord with readers? Then keep working on it.
Chip away at that thing until the beauty of it shines, and your ugly duckling is a thing of the past.
After that, you can release your beautiful swan–to an agent, an editor, or to the world.   
Linore Rose Burkard writes historical romance and, as L.R.Burkard, YA/Suspense. Linore enjoys teaching workshops for writers, is a mother of five, and still homeschools her youngest daughter, preferably with coffee in one hand and her iPad in the other. Linore’s newsletter (another labor of love) includes two book drawings per month. For a chance to win one of her novels, simply join the mailing list at either website. (http://www.LinoreBurkard.com, or http://www.LRBurkard.com)

  

Failure is Not a Four-Letter Word

by Michelle Griep

Newsflash: you are going to fail.

Some way, some how, you will fall and bloody your writerly knees, possibly your chin, and maybe even knock a few teeth out in the process. It can happen in many ways. A Tommy gun of a review will pepper your soul with bullet holes, or you find a piece of your writing used as a birdcage liner at your Great Aunt Nina’s house. Maybe you just can’t sell your manuscript because the writing is like a preschooler’s.

Whatever mask failure parades around in, it’s a guarantee that it will find you like a creepy stalker. Wearing a clown costume. And smelling of beer and gorgonzola.

So the question I pose to you today isn’t what will happen if you fail, it’s what will happen when you fail? Will you:

  • Wail like a three-year-old on an all-day crying jag?
  • Take out your angst on the dog, cat, chameleon or your mother?
  • Quit writing? Just take your ball and go home?

How you handle failure exposes what’s on the inside of you and how you view the world. My kids hate it when I say this, but you’re not one of my offspring so I can stand on top of the table and shout:

“Failure is an opportunity. 



It’s a gift-wrapped chance to go back to the drawing board and re-create.”



If you change your mindset about failure, take away all of it’s negative power and infuse it with positive, then you will eventually be a winner. Why? Because you won’t have quit.

Failure is part of a writer’s life. If you can’t deal with that, then maybe you’re not a writer. Yeah, that’s an offensive statement, but perseverance and determination are the two qualities every successful writer owns.

So go out there and fail, little writers. Wait a minute. Fail is a four-letter word. Gah! I technically failed with my title. Hmm. Is that opportunity I hear knocking?


Author Michelle Griep

ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ MICHELLE GRIEP

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.