writing, writing tips

Writing Tip: Allow Your Story to End

roadsend

Endings are tough.

I know the cliché saying is “middles are difficult”, but many writers struggle when it comes to tying a bow on a piece of work and calling it finished. This can be a tricky issue, but there are few strategies I employ when I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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publishing

Submitting to Literary Journals

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I’ve begun submitting work to literary journals.

As part of my exploration of the “hybrid author” model, and at the behest of my friend and co-conspirator Jeff Conolly , I’m sending off short stories and flash fiction to a number of literary magazines.

This is something I hadn’t considered, based on my own biases. The last time I submitted anything to a journal, it was the late 1990’s (yes, I’m dating myself here), and it was a painstaking process of stuffing envelopes and licking stamps. That was followed by months of waiting to receive a rejection form letter in the mail. Sounds great, right? You can see why I compartmentalized these things into the darkest recesses of my mind.

Enter: The Internet.

Literary journals are WAY different than I remember them. First, there are so many more around due to the advent of electronic publishing and “the web”. Second, it’s far easier to submit your work via email or the free site Submittable (which many of them use).

I have to admit I feel silly for not looking into this sooner. I should have known better than to assume they hadn’t evolved in twenty some odd years. Now my plan is to continue submitting shorter works in between writing my current full length novel(s).

Have you ever submitted work to a literary journal or magazine? I hope so, and I hope it was accepted! Let me know down in the comments. I’m interested to hear other writers experiences with them.

creative writing, self-publishing

Self Publish, Traditional, or Hybrid?

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A question for all my fellow writers out there.

When the time comes to unleash your completed works into the world, how do you do it?

Are you taking the DIY route of self-publishing, with its steep learning curve and up-front costs? Or are you walking that traditional publishing road, fraught with long wait times and piles of rejection letters?

I ask because I’ve been reading articles like this one at Writer’s Digest about “hybrid publishing”. Most writers I speak with choose one path or the other, but it would seem the hybrid model has some advantages from both.

I’ve begun the process of submitting work to journals and other outlets (short stories, flash fiction) while continuing to write larger pieces that will either be self-published or queried. It seems like the stigma of being “one or the other” is slowly fading away, and I’m interested to see if one strategy pans out better than the other.

Does anyone else use a “hybrid model” for publishing their work? Do you take different publication routes for your individual projects, or try to stick solely to one strategy that works for you?

 

creative writing

Creating A Writing Space

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I recently discovered the Write Now podcast hosted by Sarah Werner. It’s inspiring and the host’s positivity is infectious, so this is my suggestion to check it out if you need something to listen to during your commute or workout.

As I was cherrypicking old episodes, I found this one about “Creating A Space For Writing”, and it struck a chord. I realized that I’ve been without a true place dedicated to writing & creating for almost a decade now. I aim to fix that.

If you’re anything like me, being a “writer” is constantly under siege by work, family, and social commitments that burglarize precious hours from the day. I mean, is it too much to ask that real life pauses so we can sit around writing our next novel?

Anyway, this means we have to write when we can, and where ever we can. For me, it’s on my laptop during lunch breaks, or scratching ideas in an old notebook while lying in bed at dawn. I rarely have the opportunity to sit down and collect my thoughts in a place dedicated to my craft. Even as I write this, I’m sitting on my couch with my laptop.

I now realize part of the problem is that I haven’t created a comfortable place to actually GO to write.

So my goal is to convert my “office” (junk room) into a study/writing space. I’m slightly, mildly, handy enough to be dangerous at DIY projects, so I’m going to fix up the room over the next year or two (I’m being realistic) to ensure I have a dedicated area to write. I feel like the investment of making a comfortable space will also help me to keep a more regular writing schedule.

This started yesterday with de-cluttering (I owned a LOT of empty cardboard boxes), and beginning to save for something I’ve always wanted; a writing desk. I have an old desktop computer with Scrivener, but it’s sitting atop a cheap “computer workstation” I’ve had for the past 15 years. I’m surprised the thing held up as well as it did, considering how many times I’ve moved.

Kudos to you, Staples.

Does anyone out there have their own dedicated writing space? Is it a home office, break room at work, or a specific table at your local coffee shop? I’m curious how many other writers feel that need for a dedicated place to create, and whether it helps their productivity and creativity.

Maybe you’re just existing like me right now, and using any old place to scratch words down when you have the free time?

 

 

creative writing

Your First Draft Stinks

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It’s a nasty title, but it grabbed your attention!

I was discussing first drafts with a colleague yesterday; bemoaning them. This led to me wasting time on the internet lurking around writing subReddits. The copious internet lurking led to this blog post, since I’ve wanted to write about first drafts for a while now.

I’ve come to the extremely general conclusion that there are two types of writers. The ones who HATE their first drafts, and the ones who LOVE them.

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