Japanese willow in spring

Get over yourself. You’re a writer. So write. Need some help getting over a desire for perfection? Self-doubt, seen in an obsession to perfect your prose in fears of being exposed as an unworthy imposter (we’ve all felt that, right?), can be debilitating. Here are some tips from great writers that have proved helpful to me. “No matter how hard you work on your writing, there will always be other writers who are better, faster, deeper, more popular, richer. And that’s fine.” – Jane Yolen “Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem, in my opinion, to characterize our age.” ~ Albert Einstein “A bookRead More →

If you really want to try to write a novel in a month, I am not going to stand in your way. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to commit, sitting side by side (virtually) with thousands of other avid fictioneers, to pen a 50,000-word manuscript in 30 days, starting at midnight on Nov. 1 with 0 words written. Sure, a few of the impulses behind this zany idea are valid. For instance: It’s good to set goals. It’s good to create a specific timeline in which you commit to reaching a specific goal. It’s good to tell others your goals.Read More →

“There is time for everything.” – Amish saying. 1. Ask the right question: What is possible?  I’m starting a new writing project and want to make good progress this month. A motivational phrase that floats through my mind, one that resonates for me (as a busy person), comes from an Amish source: “There is time for everything.” Although this may produce an initial snort of derision, it holds a deep truth. What happens is the everything. What doesn’t happen . . . well, those ideas and wishes were merely figments of our imagination. We might envision writing an ambitious work. We might break it downRead More →

What is NaNoWriMo? A great surge of literary energy? Or a Feast of Fools? From their website: National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30. In 2011, NaNoWriMo claimed 256,618 participants and 36,843 winners (i.e., those who finished the challenge successfully). As an earlier press release said: “They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.” As one of the participants wrote: Every year of NaNo, I feel like a winner, just for takingRead More →

Here are six of my favorite motivational tips for writers. At its best, writing is a daily habit. You are at your desk, on time, each day. You turn in work on schedule – lots of it. Not surprisingly, you get regular checks in the mail: book royalties and payments for articles, columns, short stories, or poems. But even professional writers have dry spells or need help to keep producing . . . even when things are slow or uncertain. Here are my six favorite tips to get yourself to write. I use them all. 1. Pick a microscopic piece to accomplish next. Set aRead More →

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