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    Packing an Emotional Punch in Your Writing

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 10 comments
    Apr
    7

    Discussion questions: Who are some writers whose work elicits a strong emotional response from you? Is that a feeling you enjoy? What types of emotions, if any, do you hope for when you read a book? And as a writer, do you aim to elicit similar emotional responses from your readers? Let us know in the comments. read more

    Quarter Pole Check-in

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 34 comments
    Mar
    31

    Discussion questions: One-fourth of the way through 2019, are you one-fourth of the way (or further) toward hitting your 2019 writing and reading goals? If so, congrats! If not, why not? Have your goals changed? Has your approach changed? What do you hope for from the rest of 2019? Share your progress with us in the comments below. read more

    “I Am a Writer!” Your Aha Moment

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 39 comments
    Mar
    17

    Discussion questions: Do you remember your “aha moment” as a writer? The moment where you realized, for the first time, or acknowledged to yourself for the first time, that you are a writer, and that writing will play a prominent role in your life? Or are you still waiting on it? Tell us about it below. read more

    Your Ideal Writing Space

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 24 comments
    Mar
    9

    Discussion questions: What does your ideal writing space — or maybe your ideal writing retreat — look like? Is it in your home, or away from home? Describe your surroundings. What are you writing on? What are you writing with? How much contact do you have with the outside world? How many hours per day do you write? For how long are you there? read more

    Do You Like to Write?

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 42 comments
    Mar
    2

    Critique Group

    Discussion questions: Share your thought on the following quote, attributed often to Dorothy Parker, as well as Frank Norris, George R.R. Martin, and loads of others: “I hate writing, but I love having written.” How do you feel about the act of writing? Is it torture or is it a pleasure? Or does your answer change with every session? read more

    Encouragement From Writing Teachers

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 25 comments
    Feb
    16

    Discussion questions: What words of encouragement from your writing teachers have kept you going through hard times? Do you think great writing can be taught? What specific lessons on craft do you remember being taught to you by specific writing teachers, and in what ways have they been helpful? Let me know in the comments below. read more

    In 2019, You Will!

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 16 comments
    Jan
    5

    Happy 2019, WriteByNighters! I feel like this is going to be our best year yet. Are you feeling the same?

    And what better way to kick it off than to talk about what we want to accomplish as writers and readers.

    “Resolutions” can be an intimidating word; if you prefer not to, don’t use it. Goals. Wants. Hopes. However you phrase it, I want to hear what you’d like to achieve between now and December 31.

    Our tradition has been to ask you to complete the following sentence:

    “In 2019, I will _______”

    But “will” is edging into resolution territory, so this year, let’s try something new:

    “In 2019, I _______” read more

    Your 2018 Writing Accomplishments

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 28 comments
    Dec
    29

    I was planning on doing our annual writing goals post for this week, but I think I want to push that off to next week and instead allow us all a minute to acknowledge the great things we did in 2018.

    If you set a 2018 literary resolution, did you hit it, or at least make good progress toward it?

    (Maybe you announced it in the comments of 2018’s goals post?)

    Did you grow and improve as a writer? As a reader?

    What was your greatest literary achievement in 2018? The thing you’re most proud of as a writer and/or a reader? read more

    On NaNoWriMo, NaNoReMo, and Mo’

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 13 comments
    Nov
    4

    National Novel Writing MonthShow of hands: Who’s doing NaNoWriMo this year?

    Before I got wise, I thought NaNoWriMo stood for National November Writing Month. Which doesn’t make a ton of sense.

    But as most of you know, it’s really National Novel Writing Month, during which thousands of writers vow to write every day and have a first draft of a novel by November 30, a.k.a. my birthday, what should be a national holiday.

    I won’t be NaNoWriMoing, but I will be NaShoStoWriMoing. My old accountability partner and I are restarting our thing, and my goal is to each week write a first draft of one new short story and revise one old story.

    Roll call: Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Have you done it before? Did it work? Tell us about your approach and process in the comments. read more

    Share Your Rejection

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 12 comments
    Aug
    25

    The #ShareYourRejection hashtag on Twitter has gotten a lot of action lately, and in no surprise, writers are among the most vocal.

    Many of these responses are inspirational tales of books that were rejected dozens of times before finding a publisher, like Arianna Huffington’s, Jill Orr’s, and Dea Poirier’s.

    Other writers flash some humor within the trauma, like Hannah Khalil, Erin Vincent, and Joseph Finder.

    And then there are the anecdotes that are truly horrific and/or weird, like this one from A.N. Devers.

    As writers, rejection is folded into our lives. So many thousands of agents, publications, and publishers reject so many thousands of projects and writers each year. It’s just math. read more

    Recollections That Nudged at Me

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 21 comments
    Mar
    10

    (In this week’s post, Dana Frank, author the new novel The Moon Can Tell, shares with us her journey from book idea — twenty-five years ago — to publication here in 2018. Share your thoughts in the comments, and/or feel free to ask Dana any questions you have.)

     

    My novel, The Moon Can Tell, started — twenty-five years ago — as recollections that nudged at me, trying to become a story that, perhaps, I should write down.

    It sounds vague because it was. I didn’t know what I was doing. I only knew that writing it down felt right and gave me some sort of relief. Back then, I didn’t know I was a writer. I had no mentors, no one to say, Wow, I like the way you write.

    Fact is, I was already, and have always been, a writer. I think like a writer, and I see like a writer. I just wasn’t writing it down. read more

    Your 2017 Accomplishments

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 6 comments
    Jan
    6

    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!

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 35 comments
    Dec
    30

    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

    You’re Never Too Old to Write

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 15 comments
    Nov
    30

    Annie Proulx, in her recent NBA acceptance speech, said this: “Although this award is for lifetime achievement, I didn’t start writing until I was fifty-eight, so if you’ve been thinking about it and putting it off, well…

    OK, so lots of trolls playing “Gotcha” point out that Proulx published stories in her thirties and a collection at fifty-three, and that she was fifty-six when her first novel came out.

    Who cares! Proulx’s point is, you’re never too old to start writing, and you’re never too old to find literary success, however you may define it. read more

    Tom’s a Good Farmer

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 6 comments
    Sep
    17

    TL;DR version: I’m in a bit of a weird place, geographically and psychologically. So I wrote a letter telling you about it. The point? I dunno. You never know where you’ll find inspiration? Even if you’re not writing, you can still be engendering future writing?

     

    For the past three days I’ve been in a county whose population barely cracks 18,000. Back home, I can see 18,000 people in a day without really trying. The town I’m staying in houses 5,000 of those 18,000, and is the only incorporated community in this county of 600 square miles. I’m staying at the nicest hotel in town. It’s a run-down Ramada, base rate $65/night, and is worth nearly every penny.

    There’s a bookstore in town. It doubles as a liquor store; you can come in and browse books while sipping a local beer. Weekdays it closes at 5:30 p.m.; weekends 6:00.

    The town’s restaurant guide offers a dozen options, including McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, KFC/Taco Bell, the Kwik Trip filling station, and Subway.

    The 2010 census shows a population of about 5,200 people, 96.1% of whom are white. Agriculture makes up 49% of its economy. I was talking to a guy yesterday and he mentioned a successful area farmer. “Yeah, Tom’s a good farmer,” he said. I’d never before considered farming and talent level; that there are farmers good at farming and farmers bad at farming.

    My dad was born on a farm just outside of town. When he was zero years old, his family lost the farm. I guess maybe my grandfather wasn’t a talented farmer. read more

    Oh, the Places You’ll Write!

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 14 comments
    Aug
    12

    TL;DR version: This week I’m wondering about the strangest place at/in which you’ve ever written. Where was it, how did it happen, did it work for you, and did you ever return? Spoiler alert: Mine is either in the middle of a graveyard or in the cereal aisle of a Charlestown, Massachusetts, grocery store. What’s yours? Let us know below.

     

    Sometimes inspiration comes in the most unlikely places. When that happens, are you prepared to pursue it?

    Like most writers, I have some go-to writing spots: two particular benches in Riverside Park; a favorite bar, dark and quiet during the day, darker and quieter at night; a specific seat at a specific Dunkin’ Donuts chain. The loft at my parents’ house. The Esplanade whenever I’m in Boston.

    These are places where I can sit still and write, while occasionally looking up to observe the things happening around me. read more

    2017 Writing Goals Check-In: Mid-April

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 24 comments
    Apr
    15

    TL;DR version: Are you on pace to reach your 2017 writing goal(s), whether or not you made it public here? If so, congrats! Why not beat your chest about it in the comments section below? If not, why not? Is there anything any of us can do to help? And if you never did share your 2017 writing goal with us, it’s not too late! Simple finish this sentence in the comments section: “In 2017, I will ___________.”

     

    I don’t mean to hassle you or anything, but Tax Day is almost here, which reminds me that we’re more than one-third of the way through the year, which reminds me that it’s been a couple of months since we last checked in with each other about our 2017 writing goals.

    Gulp!

    OK, so right around New Year’s Day a whole lot of us made public writing resolutions by finishing the sentence “In 2017, I will…

    “…finish my second book,” Marcia S. said.

    “…write my first book and read 50 books….and make time for exercise,” wrote Sharon M. read more

    Writing Goals Check-in: February Edition

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 14 comments
    Feb
    4

    Just before the new year turned, we provided some space for you to write out your 2017 writing goals in the hopes that a little bit of public accountability might help you hit them. Your task was to fill in the blank: “In 2017, I will _______.

    The results ran the gamut. Some of you want to finish books; others want to finish anything. Many of you simply want to write more, or to improve as a writer. Some are on the lookout for a writing community, others talked about being chained alone in a room with nothing but a laptop and soup.

    The creativity expressed in this simple exercise shows that you all are capable of anything.

    But seeing as how the whole point of doing a public expression of your writing goals was to have some accountability, I think a regular check-in on those goals might prove beneficial. read more

    In 2017, You Will!

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 61 comments
    Dec
    30

    This is our final post of 2016.

    It’s a simple one.

    I want only one thing from each of you.

    And that one thing is for you to fill in the blank with a response involving writing and/or reading:

     

    “In 2017 I will _____________________”

    read more




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