What Happened to My Cold, Laid-Back February?

Laura Ayo

Laura Ayo

When the WriteOwls first started talking about doing a write-a-thon, we thought February would be the perfect month because there isn’t a lot happening. There’s no more holiday shopping to do or parties to attend. The cold weather invites snuggling up with a hot beverage and a great excuse to make progress on our writing projects. Typically, February is a boring, dreary, laid back, uneventful month. But not this year. At least not for me. Continue reading

A Recipe for a Little Extra Writing Time

Stacey Kite

Stacey Kite

At our house, we don’t eat many processed foods. My husband is wonderful, and cooks two nights a week, but I still wind up spending way more time in the kitchen than I’d like to, both cooking, and most especially, cleaning up after cooking. (Have you ever noticed how recipes mention prep time and cook time, but never cleanup time? If only I had a house elf *sigh*.) Continue reading

Write by Midnight Mid-Point

WriteOwls

WriteOwls

We’re halfway through Write by Midnight. Are you halfway to reaching your monthly writing goals? If so, congratulations! Give yourself a reward and keep it up!

If not, there’s still plenty of time to up your output. Creating a new habit can be tough, and you should expect a bit of floundering in the beginning. Reasses your process and schedule to find what’s working and what’s not, and use that information to adjust for the second half of Write by Midnight.

And don’t forget to reward yourself for the successes you have had. If you’re writing more now than you were before Feb. 1, that’s progress. If your average daily word count has gone up in the last two weeks, that’s progress.

Writing a novel is a long-haul game; celebrate every success you have—especially all of the little ones.

Happy Love Day!

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

Ah, Valentines day. It’s the day cupid supposedly shoots his arrow and we all find love. It’s a day when everyone has a decent excuse for a massive sugar high. It’s a day when all you need is love.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all lovey-lovey on you. At least not in the way you might expect. This post is for the love of books and the various types of love we find in them.

Here at WriteOwls, we are big believers in learning the craft of writing from other authors. If you’ve read our series Learn to Write by Reading, then you know we love to recommend books that have influenced us, or helped us become better writers.

For me the following books have had a profound effect on me in this regard:

Kids of Appetite, aka KOA (some romance, but it’s more about the love between the family you create)

The Serpent King (like KOA, some romance, but more about how deeply true friends can love each other while riding out the most unpleasant aspects of life)

Cloud Atlas (Love that transcends more than one lifetime)

The Cather in the Rye (Holden’s love for his sister and his desire to protect her from going over the edge is classic)

The Red Pencil (love that propels a family to survive)

5to1 (gradually learning to love someone and then allowing them to go on)

On Beauty (0ne of the complex love stories I’ve read in a long time)

Barkskins ( more a love note to a place rather than the people who inhabit it)

I could literally (haha) list 600 more books, but I won’t because I should be writing. (If you have an other recommendations, please share!)

Now it’s your turn. Think of all the books you’ve read where love, and not just romantic love, was illustrated so wonderfully. Think about the way the author effectively showed the love between characters (again, not necessarily romantic). Today, while you write, see if you can apply that to your own writing.

 

 

How Do I Know If I’m Making Any Progress?

Megan Norris Jones

Megan Norris Jones

Write by Midnight is designed to help us all establish a daily writing routine, and I’ve really appreciated the structure and accountability it’s given me so far. Last week I bragged about my perfect track record for getting up and writing every morning. This week I have to confess that I missed a couple of days. But I’m back at my desk again, hammering out words.

It’s easy to track my progress when I’m drafting a story, but now that I’m revising, it’s more difficult to know if I’ve made any headway or not. How can I measure? I’m still working at the macro level where I’m fixing my plot and character arc. I haven’t made it down to the scene-by-scene sharpening the words level, so I don’t think number of scenes revised is a good measurement. Maybe I should count the number of minutes spent staring at the screen? The number of epiphanies about what my problem actually is and how I should fix it? And does it still count if today’s epiphany turns out to be a stupid idea tomorrow?

During the past two weeks, I probably made the most significant progress in the book not while grimly staring at my computer screen but while mulling over a plot problem as I dried my hair. Maybe it was the white noise. Maybe the absence of pressure. Or maybe I had just been thinking about this one problem long enough and in enough different settings that an answer finally emerged. Now it’s time to sit back down at my desk and try out this solution I’ve discovered. I’m praying it stays firmly in the realm of epiphany.

How do you know if you’re making any progress during revision?