Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2014

Is it Possible? Am Outliner?

I decided to try something new.

Not just diving into the shiny new idea that percolated up amid thought of endless winter and certain pervasive themes and imagery in folk tales.  (Yep, that's all I'm giving away for now!)

I decided to try outlining.

I've never been an outliner.  I never described myself as a complete pantser--I always knew where the story was going next.  I sketched out ideas in a big blue notebook.  I kept notes and wrote down thoughts and worked out a rough plot arc in scrawled handwriting.  But I never wrote out an outline--a full-fledged map of the plot, a "first this then this then the next thing" outline.

And I liked it that way.

After spending over a year in the revision stage of one manuscript, however, mainly hammering out plot arc issues, I decided to consider another tack.  Not that there was anything wrong with the process for that novel--if there was, it was the kind of happy accident that gives us chocolate chip cookies, because I&…

Day in the Life

5:30  The Toddler wakes up.  Ergo, I wake up. I wish this said 6:30.  It does not.

6:00-7:30 Blind fumblings for the crib, dressing of self and others, COFFEE, breakfast, out the door.

7:45 The Toddler gleefully heads into daycare.  I drive to work, enjoying the flat morning landscape of the Midwest, concocting in my head a dozen poetic ways of describing cornfields in various states of weather.

8:30-12:30  Work.  Tutor college students in writing fundamentals and grammar that apparently no one teaches anymore.  ("Wait, what's a predicate?").  Occasional lightbulb moments.  Prod my Online Writing Lab toward productivity and away from apathy.  Mostly fail.

Employ Write When Not Writing method to make notes about the project I'll tackle later.  Eat homemade granola bar at 10:30 promptly, daily.

1:00 Pick up The Toddler, drive home, immediate naptime.

1:00-3:00 God willing, The Toddler naps and I write, shove something resembling lunch into my face, and keep writing.…

Write When You Aren't Writing

The best way to get writing done?
Sit down and write.
The challenge of getting writing done?
Finding enough time to sit down and write.
Some of the best writing advice I’ve seen out there centers around one central theme—just sit down, take the blank page head on, and write. You've seen it, too.  It's great advice. I particularly like this exploration of the  BICHOK method of writing: Butt in chair, hands on keyboard (from  
Trouble is, I don’t have the luxury of having long hours of blank pages and keyboards and words ahead of me on my average day.  I have work, a toddler, a house to take care of, cats who prefer being fed to not, and obligations crammed into the tiny boxes on my calendar so tightly that I’m  pretty sure they get into fights over the armrest when I’m not looking.
The dirty little secret is that the majority of us are in the same boat.  We may be taking our careers seriously, but we aren't career writers with schedules constructed arou…