A Writer's Ramblings
Writing | Books | General Shenanigans
Emails Full of Writerly Fun
For all the hammock campers in search of the perfect hang, finding the ideal hammock is the first step. It's the foundation that our sleep is built on, and in the backcountry, a good night's sleep is the difference between a beautiful day of happy hiking and long hours of slogging down the trails.
The Warbonnet Blackbird is my perfect hammock. I've been using the Blackbird for about one year, and it's the piece of gear I've built my entire system around. So I'm here to share my experience with the hammock—along with some tips and tricks I've picked up along the way—to help you decide whether the Blackbird is right for you and to help you learn how to make the most of your new hammock.
Time management is crucial to productivity. After all, we reveal our priorities by how we spend our time. But sometimes it feels like there's just not enough time to go around. How often have you heard or said, "I wish there were more hours in the day"?
The traditional way to view time management is to start with the allotted 24 hours and break it into sections. Let's say we devote 8 hours to sleeping. That means we have 16 left. How much do you devote to work or to spending time with loved ones? Do you "waste" any on trivial, nonproductive things, like watching television? With this model, we treat time almost like currency, and we devalue any time not spent "productively."
But is that the best way to approach time management? Or life management? I don't think so.
Scrivener 3 is the latest update to the Scrivener writing application. It's a major update, which means 1. there are lots of awesome changes and 2. this is a paid update. However, current users can get Scrivener 3 for a discounted price—more about that below.
First, let's talk about my favorite Scrivener 3 features and updates!
Although I'm not participating in the #RevPit contest this year, I am going to be part of a special February #10Queries event! This is completely free and is an opportunity for you to receive feedback on your query letter before sending it to agents or publishers.
Writers will enter their names in a Rafflecopter drawing, and the winners will submit their query and first five pages, which will be randomly assigned to an editor. Participating editors will tweet about their assigned submissions using the hashtag #10Queries.
The amazing part of this event is that the #10Queries feedback benefits our entire #RevPit community, not just the winning writers. So even if you're not selected to submit your pages and query letter, be sure to follow along with the #10Queries tweets. Chances are good that you'll find feedback that applies to your work.
Don't forget to follow the RevPit Twitter account and each editor's account to see the #10Queries tweets.
Okay, on to the details (from the Revise & Resubmit website):
Writing tends to follow a cyclical pattern. Anybody who has been writing for a significant amount of time knows that it's difficult—or impossible—to sustain a very fast writing pace for a long period of time. Events like National Novel Writing Month can help motivate writers to knock out a large chunk of words very quickly, but at the end of that month, it's normal to feel like you just can't write any more words—to feel drained.
That's because writing takes energy! Just because we're sitting at our desks (or on our couch, in the woods, at the pool, whatever) doesn't mean that we're resting. Writing is mentally and emotionally exhausting. It's easy for us to see that in the short term—you finish a particularly emotional scene and slump back in your chair, totally drained—but sometimes we set unrealistic expectations for our long-term productivity. If scenes are able to drain us in that way, it stands to reason that we can expect periods of exhaustion over months and years.
I like to compare this natural pattern to the tide, so let's talk about what to expect during high tide and low tide—and how to be a productive writer while taking care of yourself and ensuring you don't burn out.
The Wild Birds, Emily Strelow's debut novel, transports the reader into settings rooted in their relationship with the earth, where the reader gets to know the story's flawed but deeply relatable characters. From an orphaned girl passing as a boy to find work to an Oregon teenager on a path of self-discovery, the novel's characters carry the story as they attempt to navigate their lives and manage the consequences of their decisions.
What drives us? The answer is different for everyone, and everyone has many answers. The desire to achieve. The desire to be heard. A need for success. A fear of failure.
I've written about writers and imposter syndrome; related to that is the fear of mediocrity. In my experience, many writers do not fear failure as much as they fear being not quite good enough. Perhaps they're good enough to keep their friends turning pages but not good enough to get published. Or maybe they're good enough to get published but not good enough to get stellar reviews.
Writers—especially those working on their first books—tend to obsess over word count. Maybe that's because a manuscript's word count is one of its only truly objective elements. Character, plot, style, and voice are all difficult to define, and books change with each reader's response. But a manuscript that is 82,749 words is exactly that. So it makes sense that writers want to control this aspect that we can control, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Word count is important, especially for writers planning to pursue traditional publication, and understanding word count goals can make the drafting and editing processes more efficient. But sometimes focusing on word count can be a detriment. Let's discuss why word count is important, how to use your current and projected word count to your advantage, and when word count should be the last thing on your mind.