Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Write, write, write!

One of the best pieces of advice that I can give is to write every single day. I can't take credit for that advice - many, many authors have been saying the same thing for years. My experiences, both those times when I do write daily and those where I don't, have firmly convinced me that daily writing is essential to becoming a good writer.

I can see the questions and objections running through your mind. Why do I need to write every day? How can I find the time? What can I possibly find to write about? And what happens if I really, really need to skip a day? Here are my answers.

Why write every day? There is one and only one good way to get better at anything: practice. You need to practice writing (I know I sure as heck do). The more often you practice, and the more consistently you practice, the better you will be. Imagine a football team that only practices once a week. How good would they be? The same applies to writing. Without daily writing, you are not going to get better very quickly, if at all.

How can I find the time? The answer is you don't find the time, you make the time. You have to set priorities, and writing should be one of them. This does not mean that you let other important things go--we pretty much all have day jobs--but you do need to figure out where writing will fit into your life. If you can, set aside the same time every day to write. You do not need to spend hours writing every day, but try for at least 10-15 minutes.

What should I write about? The answer is: anything. And I really mean anything. You don't always have to be writing a story or poem. Write a diary entry. Practice writing descriptions by describing your friends or your house. Write a letter to your mother telling her what you have been up to lately (it's good writing practice, and she would love to hear from you). Write a guest post for a blog that could really use more content, but whose author can't always come up with good ideas (hint, hint). Write anything you want; just write.

And what happens if you have to skip a day? Skip a day. Yes, you should write every day if you can, but it won't be terrible if you have to miss one day. The important thing is, try not to skip more than one day a week, and never skip two days in a row. Once you start missing days, it is very easy to keep missing them. Pretty soon, you are not writing at all. So, skip a day if you have to, but not more than one.

Now, it's time to practice. Choose something to write about, and for the next ten minutes do nothing but write.

(No ideas coming to mind? Write a story that ends with the line: And that's how the cow ended up on the roof.)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Not just for book nerds

I just ran across the Nerdy Book Club blog this evening, and I already love it. The best feature, in my opinion at least, is that the site is a group blog with a diverse set of authors posting on a range of subjects. Recent posts include book reviews, insight into the Newbery selection process from someone who has actually served on the selection committee, urban fiction top picks, and one post on why reading is dumb (at least, until it isn't any more). The end of December also saw several lists of best books of 2012, which, as someone who did not have time to read all, or even a particularly large chunk, of the books that came out last year, I find quite helpful. Overall, I like what I have seen of the site and definitely recommend it.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Triskaidekan Released

Triskaidekan: 13 Stories for 2013

The anthology with my first published story is now available. Called Triskaidekan: 13 Stories for 2013, it contains, believe it or not, 13 stories from a baker's dozen of Ohio authors, including yours truly. My story is the thirteenth, which I have decided to believe is because they wanted to leave the best for last. The book is available in both paperback and Kindle versions.

There are to special promotions going on for the book right now. First, you can get the Kindle version for only $1.13 now through January 26. After that it goes back up to the regular price of $4.99. Second, you can win a free copy of the paperback through a special Goodreads giveaway, which also runs through January 26.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Mythic Scribes

I've been spending some time recently on a website called Mythic Scribes, an online community for fantasy writers. So far, I have been highly impressed by the quality of articles, both by members and guests. In addition, there is a very active set of forums covering a wide range of topics related to writing, and not all of it is just about fantasy. The community seems to be very supportive and welcoming, not only to its members but to newcomers, as well as guests just wandering through. No registration is required, but those who do want to sign up can do so for free and gain a few additional benefits, such as creating their own online portfolios.

A few weeks ago, the website also launched the first issue of an ezine called Myths Inscribed. The first issue is a little light, but the editors expect the publication to grow as more people find out about it and start submitting. I definitely like their policy to print only a few good stories rather than toss in everything just to make it look larger. They accept submissions from everyone, not just Mythic Scribes members (though of course with free membership, there is no huge reason not to join).

I have not done a lot of fantasy writing recently, but spending a few hours on the forums and reading the ezine have certainly brought it back to the forefront of my mind.