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Posts Tagged ‘writing practice’

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

“So what does that have to do with me?” you ask. “I write poetry/essays/greeting cards/short stories/fortune cookies/memoir/cookbooks/etc.”

Point well taken. But you are a writer, correct? And people all around the world are gearing up to engage in a massive frenzy of writing, creating all sorts of activities and events and infrastructure to support the work of writing for 30 whole days.

So drop the novel bit. Drop the national bit, too. Let November be your WriMo, your Writing Month. Write whatever you want. Write something different every day, if you want. Be part of that river of creativity that is about to be unleashed.

Just write.

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Today marks the end of the fourth week of NaPoWriMo – only two days left! Once again, the good folks at The Poet’s Billow have provided a quick and easy exercise that works equally well for prose and poetry.

With eyes closed, open the dictionary at random and place your finger on the page. Write about the origin of whatever it is that your finger landed on. (This would probably work with almost any book, but the dictionary also provides some reference information to help you along.)

Happy writing!

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Perhaps it is because of T.S. Eliot’s famous observation (“The Wasteland”) that April has been designated National Poetry Month by the American Academy of Poets. The energy of the very planet is stirred up as the seasons turn from the extremes of one solstice toward that of the other. Whether you write poetry or not, April is full of inspiration in both the natural and online worlds.

Nothing could be more simple than the A to Z Blogging Challenge, even if you don’t blog. Every day except Sundays, you write something inspired by the corresponding letter of alphabet, beginning with A on April 1 (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/).

Even if you’re not a poet, you can sign up to receive daily writing prompts from WordXWord’s 30/30 Poetry Challenge (http://3030poetry.com/). If you’d rather not have those pesky prompts popping up in your inbox every day, you can resolve instead to visit the Writer’s Digest’s Poem a Day Challenge (http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2014-april-pad-challenge-guidelines/) for their daily prompts.

Then there’s NaPoWriMo — the poet’s version of NaNoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month and National Novel Writing Month, respectively). Find ideas for taking your writing to the next level at http://www.napowrimo.net/

And for you novelists who were too busy in November to pound out your 50,000 words, the good folks at NaNoWriMo offer a month-long writing experience at Camp NaNoWriMo (https://campnanowrimo.org/sign_in). They also run a second camp session during July, so mark your calendars.

No matter what your genre, crack your fingers, get your tools and supplies lined up, and prepare to get some serious writing done in April!

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Characters appear in writing of all kinds, even non-fiction, and often the characters in a piece of writing are what most attracts or repels readers. There are almost as many ways of creating characters as there are writers, but every writer can learn something from what other writers do.

Oliver at Literature and Libation has put together a blog post on character formation that is entertaining, informative, and brilliantly illustrated. Even if you glean nothing to use in your own writing practice, reading this post counts as time spent thinking about writing. (It’s likely to improve your blood pressure as well.)

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What happens when we allow self-conscious perfectionism to direct our writing practice? We often stop writing, stop practicing, and our progress as writers stops as well. When we don’t write, we cannot continue our work; when we don’t practice, we cannot improve on our craft.

Doug Beyer reflects on this simply but eloquently in a recent post at his eponymous blog, which is “about writing and food.” While you’re there, check out some of the other thoughtful things he has to say about writing — even his food posts seem to tie back to writing in some way.

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I ran across this wonderful post by Albert Berg about working on the things we don’t do well or necessarily enjoy. For each of us, there is some aspect (or several) of our writing practice that we don’t excel at or gravitate toward. Life being what it is, that’s often the very thing that would take us to the next level as writers.

The discipline we need to develop our craft doesn’t come easy, unlike our propensity to fall short of the goals we set for ourselves. Thankfully, each day gives us a new opportunity to try again and timely reminders from fellow travelers to give us a much-needed boost.

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