Tag Archives: encouragement

writerly energy

We had our monthly meeting last Monday.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay the whole time.


It was still an awesome meeting. New faces, varied backgrounds, many projects. I enjoyed meeting each one of you and hearing your stories, what you’re working on, hearing your processes.

The forty minutes or so I was there was a big jolt to my writerly energy. There’s something about getting writers together to talk about writing–story planning, editing, publishing–that makes me feel like I can totally conquer my next story.

Which is good, because I’ve promised my readers they are getting that story in the next six weeks.

Thank you, dear writer-types, for this gift of energy. I’m doing my best to use it wisely (though the universe conspired against me earlier this week when my keyboard broke. I’m not letting that slow me down, though! I’ve been writing in a notebook). I’m working on a first draft, which is kinda fun to get all messy and ink-blobby onto paper. It’s a good feeling. I’m energized and ready to write.

I hope you’ve got some good vibes and lots of enthusiasm. How are you using your writerly energy this weekend?


find your why

I still really, really can’t adjust to the idea that November 2014 is less than a week away. My son conveniently has a birthday on NaNoWriMo’s kickoff, so this time of year is always my reality check: time is flying.

Writing a novel in a month has become even more important to me, because the weeks and months go by so fast unless I commit to firm deadlines. I know December will be crazy busy with baking, revising another novel, and family. That leaves November as my last great sprint towards meeting my goals for this whole year.

That’s part terrifying, but also fairly exciting.

Last week at our Meet & Greet, I got to see a lot of familiar faces and some new ones. It was great. I love hearing about what other people are writing. I love that we’re writing together. This shared experience of ours makes writing even more fun.

This year, I’m writing the third novel in my modern-day fantasy series about clueless angels and sympathetic demons. And while that sounds like it’s not personal, it is. I’ve got some scenes planned that hit close to home–my own mistakes in faith and self-acceptance have to fuel the fire of this year’s NaNo novel.

That’s my advice to you, in case you thought I could get through a whole NaNoWriMo post without doling out bits of writing encouragement (pro tip: I can’t). Find what makes your novel important this year. It doesn’t have to be memoir or propaganda to be intensely personal and extraordinarily passionate.

But it ought to be passionate and personal. Find the why in your story, why you need to write it, why those characters exist, why someone else needs to hear these words. Hold fast to that why–you’ll need it when the what, the when, the where, and the how have abandoned you. You’ll have the why, and you’ll have the way.

fingernail dirt

“Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived…Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation… Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.”

Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird

Camp is messy.

Building fires, cooking food on a stick, sleeping with spiders. Bug spray, sunblock, chlorine hair.  Raucous songfests with bawdy lyrics,  unrehearsed skits, telling jokes through quiet hour.

Going to camp means you’ll get dirt under your fingernails. Maybe even paint in your hair, too, and that’s okay, because whatever you’re making is fun to make and yours to enjoy. Nobody expects you to bring home a masterpiece from summer camp–just some stories and a promise that you had lots of fun.

I hope the camping/Camp NaNoWriMo analogy is clear enough.  I haven’t hit you over the head with it too hard, have I? Oh, apologies. I can’t resist waving these pool noodles around. Someone really ought to take them away from me before I–

Great, thank you.

This July, are you diving into Camp NaNoWriMo to have lots of fun?

I am. I’m not as prepared as I’d like to be. This NaNo novel will be splattered with paint and have smudges where I pressed too hard into the clay.

Right now, before I’ve gotten dirt on my elbows and the smell of sunblock permanently stuck in my nose, it’s easy to say “sure, I’ll just be happy with whatever mess I come up with, and love it.”

Give me about two weeks, and it’ll be much harder to accept how raw this draft will be.

But that’s my goal. A fun camping experience and something I can bring home proudly at the end of July. Hopefully, too, some  fond memories made with cabin buddies and some contraband chocolate.

Kumbayah, fellow campers, and happy writing.