Tag Archives: Writing Process

Setting Priorities: Balancing Writing Dreams with Reality

Aspiring novelists dream about being published and financially sustaining themselves with their writing.  But how do we achieve this with the family, financial, and other demands in our lives?

I thought about this after a particularly busy week, where there was a lot of dancing, job searching, etc., but not a lot of writing.

There were also major changes in my friends’ lives, which triggered serious reflection on my part. Many are fulfilling their dreams of becoming parents, joining amazing companies, or leading their businesses. It’s incredibly inspiring – it made me stop and think about my own goals as a writer and in life generally.

My dream is to spend the rest of my life doing what I love. I love to write and dance. I want to be a novelist. I want to teach belly dance. At some point, I want to be self-sufficient and have my own business, which may or may not be related to either.

But here’s the reality: I have a lot of educational debt. I want to start a family. I want to stay in/near NYC. How do I make it happen?

I jotted down some ideas on how I can possibly make my dreams a reality. Hopefully these ideas can help you, too:

  • Write every day, no matter how busy I am. I was up at 5am the other day, and I watched the birth of a new day from my window. Writing at this time would be a great way to start the day!
  • Cut back on the extras. I don’t want to cut back too much on dancing since this is also a life goal. But rehearsing 5x a week for 2-3 hours at a time is definitely too much. After tonight’s performance, I plan to go back to my regular schedule (2 classes a week and rehearsal).
  • Limit the social networking. Yes, that means cut back on Twitter, Facebook and G-chat! And for me, that doesn’t mean simply being a passive participant. Going “invisible” isn’t enough. I just need to check my accounts once or twice a day tops and stay off the rest of the time.
  • Enter more writing competitions. I haven’t done many of these, but I think I should work on at least one short story at a time and submit it to competitions. I’ve started using the Poets & Writers reminder tool for grant and competition deadlines.
  • Find a job that doesn’t kill my soul. Despite my educational debt, I left my big law job because I didn’t love the (stressful) work or the long hours. The path didn’t lead to a life goal anyway. It has been difficult to find work in this economy, but hopefully contract legal work will give me the financial resources I need and the time to focus on my writing.

What are your goals as a writer? What do you do to make sure you achieve them? Share your tips in the comments.


Aspiring Writers Pledge

This morning, the awesome Rebecca Clare Smith tweeted about an interesting promise she made on her blog. The pledge: to write a book in 2011. It’s a great way to support yourself and other writers on the road from aspiring to published author.

The Aspiring Writers Pledge: From aspiring writer to novelist in 2010

I, Melissa R, take The Aspiring Writers Pledge to write a book in 2011 with the intent of publishing. I promise to update my progress weekly, ask when I need support and encourage others to complete the task at hand

I promise to update my blog weekly with how I tackle writing obstacles along the way to completing the WIP. I’ll continue to take on and post smaller projects – contests, challenges, etc. – that keep my creative juices flowing. And every writer needs tips/advice/support along the way. Why not take the pledge, too?

So, who’s with me?

“If you are ready to join in and make a promise (or at least really try), join me – feel free to join in whenever you are ready. I would really love to see would-be authors who have yet to publish but anyone who needs that boost should join us. Please, take this seriously and post the following in your blog, linking back to this post.

I, ______________, take The Aspiring Writers Pledge to write a book in 2011 with the intent of publishing. I promise to update my progress weekly, ask when I need support and encourage others to complete the task at hand.

Again, copy and paste this post in your blog (or Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and link back to this post. Be sure to subscribe or become a follower here as well and then comment to introduce yourself so others can start following your blog as well.

And, don’t forget to add this badge to your blog as well.

This is our journey from aspiring writers to novelist in 2011.”

Thanks to Liz H. Allen for kicking off the pledge and inspiring others to keep on writing!


“Writer’s Block – Sent with Love from [____]”

This is my first week participating in the IndieInk Writing Challenge. This week’s challenge comes from Karla V. over at Tot Thoughts. The challenge: I find a package on my doorstep one morning with a note that says, “Writer’s Block – sent with love from ____.” Only I can see who sent it. So what does my character do with the package, and who sent it? Find out after the jump. Continue reading


Cheating on the WIP

The WIP and I became a couple on March 1st. It had seduced me with its come-hither gaze and promises of a lively, entertaining life together.

Needless to say, the love affair hasn’t gone all that well. Granted, we’ve only been together for, what, three weeks? You wouldn’t expect trouble in paradise this early, but the WIP can be draining and demanding. He wants a piece of me on a daily basis, and he wants it at night when I really should be in bed with my husband. He wants our rendezvous to be imaginative, fun, and lengthy, while I fight the urge to park my ass on the couch and channel surf. He gives me great highs: I go to places I’ve never been to before with him. But sometimes, the WIP bores me. And so, I’ve started cheating. Continue reading


Stumped: Overcoming Writer’s Block

Earlier this month, I decided to dedicate all of March to writing. Whether an article, blog post, bite-sized copy, or free writing, I simply wanted to flex my otherwise atrophied writing muscle. I set a goal: complete the first draft of a manuscript by the end of the month.

It’s now March 15, and I’m nowhere near the completion of a first draft.

I have scenes laid out on index cards (a great technique Robert Olen Butler describes in his book From Where You Dream).  I wrote out the first scene. And then a couple of days later, started the next.  And then…and then I was stuck.  I think reality set in – I wasn’t going to have a first draft by the end of the month.  I have bills to pay, and come April, I’d need to start looking for work, and then, when would I write?  These thoughts permeated through every crevice of my being, and instead of focusing on the draft, I focused on “real life” issues.

I was stuck.

After kicking myself a few times for not being more productive, I decided it was okay not to write.  Once I did, the world seemed to open up with inspiration. Continue reading


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