Vacation is the Enemy of Creative Progress*

Watching TV on the couch

My time off included a whole lot of this

The week before last, I was on vacation.

“Holiday” as my friends across the pond and Down Under would say.

Or as I like to call it, “staycation”, for it was a vacation where, rather than travelling someplace, I remained in my home town.

(For the record, I make a further distinction between a “vacation”, which to me involves travel, and a “holiday”, which is travel to someplace particularly noteworthy or exotic.  But that’s just me.)

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Is Writing What You Know Holding You Back?

Cracked earth lightbulb

How the hell did “write what you know become” the most opt-repeated piece of writing advice anyway?

Maybe it’s because it’s the first advice many of us ever received.  Certainly it seems like it should be beginner advice.

I can see it perfectly: a student of sixteen or seventeen hunched over his/her desk at school, pencil in hand poised above a sheet of three-hole-punched, lined loose leaf.

(Am I totally dating myself with this memory in longhand?  Do high school students even write by hand  in school anymore?  The pencil in this vision isn’t even mechanical).

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There’s No Such Thing as a Writing Birthday (and how I celebrated mine)

Sad birthdayThe morning began as most as winter workdays do, which is to say dark, and because of that, what felt far too early to me.

This year, I made a conscious effort to remember my writing birthday – to commemorate it on the actual day, or if nothing else, to at least make note of it.  February 12: in truth, an arbitrarily-chosen day meant to mark the start of my first (incomplete, shelved) novel as approximated through a forensic accounting some emails I sent to a friend around that time.

I’m an Aquarius writer.

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Is There a “Method” to Your Writing? (Writing advice from the acting world)

Acting

Earlier this year, I met a writer who was also an actor, from whom I received some interesting writing advice.

It happened during a session of the writers’ group that I run.  At each meeting, we discuss a specific writing-related question that all attendees are given a chance to answer.

The question du jour inquired which element of writing craft folk felt they needed to learn more about.

When it came my turn to answer, I said character voice.

Specifically, the fact that I wanted to someday write a sequel to my WIP from the first person point of view of a different character, but was unsure how to make the voice distinct from the first person narrator of my WIP.

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Bringing Up the Bodies: On resurrecting dead manuscripts

Every writer who’s been writing for a while has a dead manuscript stuffed away somewhere.

Be it a bottom drawer, bottom shelf, back of a closet, or in digital form in some dark oubliette on one’s hard drive, it’s something of a rite of passage for a writer to discover his/her novel (usually the first one) is an irredeemable mess, and for him/her to give it the axe.

But how many of those whacked novels refuse to go quietly into that good night? How many writers end up haunted by the ghost of what could have been – what still can be now that they’re stronger wordsmiths who have loved, lost, and learned the error of their once novice ways?

And for those who have had this experience, how many actually give into it and take another crack, as it were, at the title?

I’m seriously considering doing just that.

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The Emails I Send to Myself (I can’t be the only writer who does this)

Cat working on computer

I made a point some time ago to inform the IT manager at my workplace that I’m writing a novel.

Partly I did this because I’ve struck up a friendship with her over the years, and the fact eventually became a relevant addendum to her revelation of being an avid reader.

The other reason, though – perhaps the more pressing reason – is due to the nature of some of the emails I send.

Not that they’re offensive, or in any direct violation of the company’s Information Services & Technology user policy.  But they are … strange, not the least of which is because they are emails send to myself at my personal email address.

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Sometimes Magic Just Works: 4 Q&As about my WIP

Ravenswing Dress - The Dark Angel Design Company, Photography - Lunaesque

The Dark Angel Design Company, photography by Lunaesque

Time to talk about my WIP again!

I never used to do this at all, as the thought of giving the dreaded “elevator pitch” makes my stomach churn like too much greasy pizza too close to bedtime.

But like anything bearing the label “dreaded”, said dread is usually lessened over time through devoting regular thought and effort to improving at the task at hand.

In other words, I need to practice pitching and promoting myself more.

Which is why, when tagged by my blog-buddy Eric J. Baker, to answer four questions about my WIP as part of the Writing Process Blog Tour, and I agreed to participate.

The four questions are thus as follows:

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