• Your 2017 Accomplishments

    By on January 6, 2018 Posted in Inspiration     Comments 6 comments

    Last week, at the very end of 2017, we asked you to look ahead and share with us your literary goals for 2018.

    (If you haven’t done so yet, you should! We’ll be checking back on these throughout the year.)

    But sometimes it feels, what with all of these “tell us your goals” posts we publish, that we don’t take enough time to acknowledge our accomplishments; to point to the goal we set weeks, months or years ago and say, “I did it. I hit that goal.”

    So now that we know your literary goals for 2018, we want to know: What did you accomplish in 2017? read more

    In 2018, You Will!

    By on December 30, 2017 Posted in Inspiration     Comments 24 comments

    Call ’em resolutions, if you must; we prefer to stick with goals, or even simple desires.

    Either way, 2018 is almost here, and all of us want something out of writing and literature this year, be it to finish a major project, read x-amount of books or a particular writer’s entire output, or simply to become a better writer.

    Just like last year, we want to hear about your 2018 literary goals… in the form of a sentence-completion exercise.

    In as many or as few words as you’d like, complete the following sentence:

    “In 2018, I will ______________” read more

    Writing Exercises for Travel Delays

    By on December 22, 2017 Posted in Strategies     Comments 7 comments

    Today is my first day of Christmas vacation with the family, and my main task today was to pick up my sister from the airport at 2:30, a ninety-minute or so round trip. Which has now been scrapped, because her plane just taxied right back to the gate, and she’ll be spending the next four to six hours (if all goes well!) at the Austin airport.

    It’s hard to handle holiday travel with grace, even when your flights take off and land on time and without issues.

    If you’re stranded at the airport and feeling anxious, frustrated, or just plain old bored, you might try some writing exercises for a little bit of self-soothing.

    Here are three that I’ve tried in the past. Do you have your own? Share them with us below! read more

    Are You Writing? Week of 12.18.17

    By on December 18, 2017 Posted in Are You Writing?     Comments No comments

    What are you planning to accomplish this week? Share your literary goals in the comments below for some public accountability to help keep you on your path.

    Those goals can involve writing, editing, reading… whatever you’re hoping to get done between now and the end of the weekend.

    Did you reach the goals you set last week? Then brag about it! It’s a big deal!

    If you didn’t, do you know what went wrong, and how you can fix it? read more

    A Fine Bogey Tale

    By on December 15, 2017 Posted in Strategies     Comments 8 comments

    Another thing I learned in Scotland: When Robert Louis Stevenson is asleep, do not wake him.

    In my edition of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Peter Harness writes in the afterword that the story “came to Stevenson, almost fully-formed, in an opium-induced nightmare.”

    Of that night, his wife, Fanny, says, “I was awakened by cries of horror from Louis.” So she woke him… and he was furious. “Why did you wake me?” Stevenson shouted. “I was dreaming a fine bogey tale.

    That fine bogey tale became Jekyll & Hyde. He wrote the first draft in three days. Then he burned it! He wrote the next draft in six days, a rate of over 10,000 words per day. And of course he was sick as hell the whole time.

    I wonder how the story might have changed if he’d have slept through to the end of the nightmare? Might it have been even more frightening? read more

    Are You Writing? Week of 12.11.17

    By on December 11, 2017 Posted in Are You Writing?     Comments 4 comments

    What are your literary goals for this week?

    They can involve writing, editing, reading… whatever you want to accomplish, let us know below if you think a little public accountability might help.

    If you reached the goals you set last week, pat yourself on the back. If you didn’t, can you identify what went wrong, and how to fix it? Let us know in the comments below. read more

    What’s Your “Sad Waste of Brains”?

    By on December 7, 2017 Posted in Finding Time to Write     Comments 8 comments

    Last week at the Writers’ Museum in Edinburgh an object and placard in the Sir Walter Scott section caught my eye: It was a chess set that belonged to Scott, and the accompanying text described the author’s view on chess.

    In essence, he understood the appeal of the game (he’d played it often as a young man), but why, he wondered, would someone spend so much time studying and practicing and playing it when he or she could use that time to instead learn a new language?

    Surely,” he said, “chess-playing is a sad waste of brains.”

    Good thing he didn’t live to see Hungry Hungry Hippos. read more

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