Don’t Find Time to Write, Make Time

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Finding time to write is a big issue for all writers, including myself. It’s downright frustrating when free time doesn’t match up with one’s creative impulse.

Recently a Fresh Pond Writer asked me for some advice on finding time. I’ll tell you what I told her: It’s all in your head. I don’t mean to sound condescending. What I mean is that you have to decide to do or not do. There is no try, as Yoda says. It’s the difference between looking for time to write and making time to write. It’s about prioritizing.

If you need inspiration to prioritize, read this essay by Aimee Bender about setting aside a writing space.

Read “Ron Carlson Writes a Story.” by Ron Carlson. This book shifted my perspective. It changed my writing behavior completely.
I’ve also written some blogs on this topic, if you want to read them for some inspiration.
In the end, it all boils down to creating a time and space and sticking to it. Start out with an easy schedule so that you don’t get frustrated and then build on it.
Credit: Paul Cross/Flickr Creative Commons

Creativity and Writing by Pen

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I’ve started writing my drafts in longhand. If you’ve taken one of my workshops, you’ve probably heard me advocate for putting pen to paper. You may have even argued with me about how ridiculous it sounds in this day and age of computers. Pfft! Writing by hand (eye roll). It takes too long.

I was skeptical and resisted the advice for a long time. And then one summer, I decided to create a mini writing retreat for myself. I rented a place in Gloucester for the weekend and when I awoke that first morning to the light coming in so gentle and the birds chirping, I didn’t want to disrupt the ambience with the garish glow of an electronic machine, so I decided to sit with my coffee and pen and notebook. To my amazement, I wrote nonstop for three hours. Not only that, I didn’t hate it.

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Carving Out Time to Write

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The writer writes.

As an on-and-off again fiction writer, that very obvious notion eluded me for years. I put writing aside, put it off, did something else, cleaned, cooked, watched television, worked out or just about any other activity that didn’t involve writing, all the while wondering why I couldn’t finish a story. Continue reading

Spread the Writing Love

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A year ago, I began volunteering at a retirement community teaching a memoir writing class to a handful of dedicated writers. I refer to these writers collectively as “my ladies,” because except for the occasional man who pops in now and then, the regulars are all women (above).

Most of them — perhaps all— have never undertaken a creative writing class before. But they show up each week, notebook in hand, and after I give them the writing prompt I’ve prepared, they turn to their notebooks  uninhibited by the constraints of craft, and write away. I’ve yet to witness any signs of writer’s block. In the 30 minutes or so they have to write before we share, most of them fill several pages.

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What Inspires You?

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As we come down the home stretch of 2015, I have much to be thankful for. In September, I officially launched workshops for Fresh Pond Writers and a month later received my first acceptance for a short story.

That story, “Williams,” which imagines a future where Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams is awoken from his cryogenic sleep was inspired two years ago by an essay from the brilliant David Rakoff about cryonics. I’m not a big fan of baseball and didn’t know that Ted Williams had been put into cryogenic suspension until I read that essay.

More recently I wrote a story called White Bear, which was directly inspired by this poignant video by Rosanna Wan, “A Tale of a Sickly Whale.” There is also a song by Neko Case, This Tornado Loves You, that keeps working its way into my writing, though I’ve yet to figure out the narrative. It’s a work in progress.

I’m struck by how these pieces have touched me and inspired me to produce stories. I’m grateful for the art that has fed my own art and it makes me wonder if any specific piece of art has ever inspired you to craft a piece of writing.

I Think I’m Plot-Curious

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Last night in workshop, we briefly discussed the idea of outlining a novel, especially after the first draft had been written. I’ve never written a novel before and much of what I’ve read about craft discourages outlines. But I think it’s important to stay open to methods that could potentially improve a story’s structure or plot. So the question for me lately is, Should I outline a story or not?

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Our First Networking Event

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Thanks to all who showed up last Thursday night for Fresh Pond Writers‘ first networking event. McCabes on Mass turned out to be a pretty good spot. Good snacks, nice drinks and cozy atmosphere that wasn’t overcrowded or too loud. Some folks walked away with a couple of “new” literary journals and everyone who came submitted a writing tip in our TIP jar. Here are the submissions as promised:

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A Website Is Born

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Writing is a process. Not only the actual production of it, the sitting at the computer or legal pad and clawing down into unknown depths, but the living of it. The writer, like all writers, starts at the beginning. Here, there is only a small voice and little knowledge of the craft, save what she intuits from the books she reads, the classes she takes, her own work, which in the early days is terrible, just awful and stays that way for years, squeezing her heart of joy and her wringing her ego of self-esteem, until she believes she has failed, is a failure, must give up, and throw it all away, until … one day.

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