Writing Blocks

Like most writers, I enjoy talking about my craft. Much of my process is patched together with tips from friends, writers’ blogs, workshops, and books. So, it’s my hope, when I post an article like this, that my tips will help someone else refine their process—or at least give them something new to try.

This post is about what I call Writing Blocks. When I first added the topic to my list, I tried to think of a clever way to tie my title into what is often considered a writer’s greatest nemesis, the dreaded block. Perhaps you’ve landed here thinking just that! If so, this post might help, because—for me—the easiest way to avoid a block is to make writing a habit or routine. Carving out a slot every day, morning, on your lunch break, during the kids’ soccer practice, or after everyone is in bed at night, and sticking to that time, makes writing a part of your schedule. Not everyone loves a schedule as much as I do, but there is something to be said for doing a thing at the same time every day.

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It’s Release Day for Let’s Go Out!

Writing the Let’s Connect books has been all kinds of fun. I always wanted to try an online dating story and the format felt perfect for a newsletter serial. What I didn’t expect was Robin. Trevor was always a part of the outline for the first book, Let’s Connect. Trevor was supposed to be Robin. But only for the first couple of chapters. That was when I decided to drop the ruse and let Robin be Robin—because he definitely wasn’t Trevor. Also, I liked Robin. I also sensed Robin had a story to tell; one that wouldn’t play out across the pages of that book. Robin needed a book all to himself.

I put a piece of myself into all of my characters. A quirk, a foible, a dream, a curious habit. I don’t know if other writers do it that way, but it’s how it works for me. Sometimes I feel like the purpose of a character is to explore that facet of myself. They always develop into their own people, though. They become my friends.

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2021: Stay True

Last year, I picked a simple theme to govern the months of 2020: Less is More. Did I know what we’d be facing? Nope. But my mindset of doing less served me well over the months we’ve spent in isolation.

This year, I’m picking an equally simple theme: Stay True.

One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.

Michell Obama

I spent a lot of energy last year, especially toward the end of summer, trying to pin down what I wanted with regards to my writing career. My goal this year is to not only stay true to what I want, but remember why I want it.

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The Things They Don’t Tell You

As far as I know, there is no definitive manual on how to be an author. There are hundreds of books about the craft of writing and dozens of places to go for advice on how to write a good query letter and synopsis. You can take a course on everything from nailing that first line to marketing your backlist. But there are still surprises. There are aspects of being an author that you’ll only figure out after you’ve been doing it for a while.

It’s like raising a kid. You’ve heard a rumor you might be up at three in the morning cleaning pink vomit off the carpet on the stairs, but you didn’t think it’d happen until it does. There wasn’t really supposed to be pink vomit, was there? Not when no one had eaten anything pink.

This is my list of things I sort of (definitely) wish someone had told me.

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Writing Short

I love short things. My favourite aunt is a tiny and compact ball of energy. She’s like a rogue asteroid that actually makes everything she bumps into better. My co-writer, Jenn, is short. I always forget how short she is until we meet up. I need a longer word to do her justice, though. Jenn is awesome.

I always order the shorti hoagie from Wawa because believe it or not, there is too much of a good thing. Too much egg salad is not a good thing.

A short stack of pancakes is the perfect stack.

I’m not here to tell you about all the short things I like, though. I’m here to talk about short stories. I love short stories. I like reading them and I like writing them. Continue reading “Writing Short”