Cleanse. Write. Repeat.

I know what you’re thinking. Christine, what does clutter have to do with my writing? Well, whether we like it or not…many outside factors impact our writing habits. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I realized just how true that was. Thankfully, over the last year, I have taken time to declutter much of what prevents or hinders my writing.

Hey, I’m not perfect. I’ve had some major lulls in the past year too, but the point is always to return. The more we keep to organizing and/or cleansing our writing lives, the easier it will be to keep to a healthier routine. Sometimes the clutter isn’t physical clutter on our desks or working surfaces of choice, but in our minds. Here are four ways to declutter your writing life:

One: Clear that space. So, what I really wanted to say here was, clean that desk. However, I’m more realistic than that. In fact, I know there are people who enjoy a less organized home. However, there is something about approaching a space to create and having the room to do it. What I mean is, even if your living room is covered in unfolded laundry and/or kids toys, make a spot for you and your work.

Even if it’s just for an hour or two, clear a corner, a coffee table, etc. for your writing tools of choice. I always find that when I approach my clean coffee table, light a candle, and open my laptop…all of that clutter in my mind moves aside for some writing time.

Two: Make the time. Yesterday, I attended a small tribute to the late poet, Mary Oliver. Ten or so of us gathered, reading bits of her work. In her book, A Poetry Handbook,Oliver spoke about how important it is to show up for your writing.

She wrote, “If you are reliably there, it begins to show itself–soon it begins to arrive when you do.”

Isn’t it the truth? For me, making the time often means getting up for #5amWritersClub. I’ve only been back in the club for a week now after being out for two months, but gosh what a difference it has made.

Three: Keep a clear inbox. Recently, I found myself scrolling through a full inbox. Tons and tons of emails, piled on top of each other. It dawned on me just how out of sorts it all was. I think we sometimes forget just how overwhelming something so simple can be.

Remember, everything can be sorted into folders. What a difference it makes! Drafts, query letters to agents, rejections letters, you name it! If you’re going to keep it all, you might as well organize it.

Four: Protect Your Plan. Whatever it may be, an hour in the morning, a fifteen minute break at work, or some late night time, protect it. There will always be a text message, phone calls, new episodes of This is Us, well…you get the picture. Temptation is there, waving at us in the corner of our homes. It’s important that we take that type of clutter and press a big metaphorical pause button. Texts, calls, TV, etc. will be there after we dedicate an hour to our writing.

So, there you have it. Cleanse. Write. Repeat.

Tweet me your thoughts @AWritersWay. Thank you for joining me here today. You can look for a new post next Thursday.

Until next time,

Christine

pasta & pencils

It’s been a month and a week since I finished the first draft of my novel. Since then, I’ve had a rough time adjusting to my revision schedule. I’m only about ten pages in after all this time. With that said, I’ve been pretty good about not beating myself up about that. I’ve been taking some time to read more and to also distance myself from the novel a little bit.

…but…as soon as I began to desperately miss my characters, I knew it was time to get back in the swing of things. One thing that I wanted to share that I did do during the last month is finally work on my world map. It’s something that I didn’t know I would ever end up doing, but it turned out to be a really fun exercise. All of these places obviously live in my mind in great detail, but to put them down on paper was something I never thought I’d explore.

How did I get started, you ask? I turned to Pinterest, of course! I scrolled through tons and tons of pins with great map making tips. While I was scrolling, I came across a very funny suggestion made by someone making a D&D map. They suggested using pasta…

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Yep. You read right. Pasta. (not cooked) So, I got to thinking…this is kind of smart. Really any kind of small dry objects would work. I also saw it done with dice! I mulled the thought over for a few days and ultimately decided that pasta was for me. I am 50% Italian after all…

This is what the process actually looked like…

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I glued down some paper and broke out the noodles…

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Dumped a bunch on the paper…

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…and ya know…spread it out a little until I liked the shape!

 

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After that, I lightly penciled around the shape and messed with it…A LOT!

What was cool about this process was, it was a great way to get started. Once I felt more comfortable with shaping the outline of the map myself, my confidence grew. I started to grab some more paper and sketch some more!

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After a few weeks of tweaking things, I’m just starting to add in some locations, trees, mountains, etc. It’s been fun! Take a look:

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Those white blobs are names I can’t share yet, but at least you have an idea of where I’m at. As you can see, it’s VERY different from my original pasta inspired shape. But that’s kind of cool, right?

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I hope that you’ll take this fun exercise and put it to use in your own writing life. Sometimes it’s just fun to take your characters, your worlds, your ideas, and express them in different ways.

All in all, I’m feeling happy to be back in the swing of things. (That includes, blogging EVERY Thursday for you!)

Thanks for joining me here today. Tweet me your thoughts @AWritersWay.

Until next time,

Christine

and a happy CampNaNoWriMo to you

A merry CampNaNoWriMo to you! We have arrived at the Summer edition of the customizable version of November’s National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, and I couldn’t be happier.

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One of the things I adore about CampNaNoWriMo is that the rules aren’t cut and dry. You don’t need to write 50,000 words in 30 days like NaNoWriMo to win! CampNaNo can be customized to fit with your needs, whether that be page counts, word counts, or hours logged writing.

I have arrived at the last 10,000 words of my novel. Therefore, my CampNaNo goals were easy to decide. At five days in, I have written 4,000 words, so there’s only 6000 words left for me. Of course, that is all approximate because I may end up going over, but it feels good to be well on my way to completing the first draft. I’ve worked so hard to get to this point.

Yesterday, I managed to write on and off for around six hours. I ended up writing over 3,000 words. That was simply because I had uninterrupted time. While I adore #5amwritersclub, it has a time limit. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I am always thinking about how I have one hour until I need to head out to my day job. Having a few days off to dedicate uninterrupted time to writing has been my saving grace. The scenes that I’m currently working on are scenes that need extra attention. They are difficult to walk away from because of how focused I need to be when writing them.

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Don’t get me wrong, writing always requires focus, but there are certain types of intense scenes that benefit from big chunks of immersion. Don’t you agree? The next few days will consist of extra cups of coffee and lots of time in front of my computer screen as I celebrate CampNaNo with many hours of writing. I hope that this month brings you high levels of inspiration and that your CampNaNo experience is extra special.

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Thanks for joining me here today. Tweet me your thoughts @AWritersWay. Remember, you can join me here every Thursday for new posts!

Until next time,

Christine

Monday Motivation.

I joined #5amwritersclub this morning and I am feeling great. Starting my day off by focusing energy towards my passion = a fantastic start to the week. I hope you’re following your dreams too…even if you have to wake up extra early to do so before you head to your day job like me. ✨🌛