I love Joseph Campbell’s monomyth theory. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s the idea that every hero, and hero’s journey, uses many of the same characters, symbols, and themes.
So in honor of Thanksgiving, let’s write a story with the Noble Gobbler in the role of the hero, or Pro-turk-onist!
As you sit down today to write are you filled with a sense of dread? We’ve come through the first weekend of NaNoWriMo. This is where I always fall behind in my word count.
I never get as much done over the weekends that I think I will. I tell myself, “This weekend I will catch up. I’ll spend a few extra hours, knuckle down, and catch up to my word count.”
But then my wife tells me about some obligation I neglected to notice on the calendar, or my kids need to be driven places I didn’t foresee, or things break in the house that need to be fixed, and I look up on Sunday and all my writing time is gone, and I’m farther behind than I was before the weekend began.
If that’s you, don’t panic! All is not lost. Many of us have been where you are. There is hope.
Writing is a solitary profession for the most part, but sooner or later, we realize we need a network of people, from beta readers to editors and eventually readers. Some writers retreat, discouraged by unkind comments or unsupportive friends or family, believing that someday, somehow their work will reach a wider audience.
But writing alone and hard work aren’t enough by themselves. Very few writers can write and launch a book and career entirely in isolation. (Plus, being a part of a writing or creative community is much more fun.)
Here are a few small steps for finding, joining, or building a writing community.
An argument can be made that the beginning of any story is the most important. It is the first part your readers will encounter and it is what potential agents and publishers will read in order to determine if your project is right for them. But do you know how to start a story? What’s the perfect opening?
It’s good to study other writers’ rules, but in the end, those rules were not made for you—they were made for other writers. If you’re serious about being a writer, then you need to figure out your rules of writing and stick to them. This post will show you how.
You’ve heard of stories in 140 characters. But now that Twitter has increased their character limit, we’re faced with a new challenge: stories in 280 characters.
What concise tales will you tell in this newly expanded space?
This week, nearly three hundred writers submitted their stories to the Winter Writing Contest. Right now, our panel of judges is reading through each story, looking for the ones that will make it to the winners’ circle. And while they’re hard at work, I have an invitation for you, too.
Come vote on your favorite to win the Readers’ Choice Award!
Every writer has a dream. It’s what compels you to write in the early hours of the morning, after everyone has gone to bed, in the spare minutes you steal away during the day. It’s what motivates you when you’re stuck in the middle of a story, wondering whether the grueling work of writing is truly worth it.
Is writing worth it? Yes.
Are your stories worth telling? Absolutely, yes.
And if you pursue your dreams and dare to write, can your writing change the world? Definitely.
Writing a novel in a month is a wonderful idea. But it’s hard for a multitude of reasons, and the temptation to give up and just “do it over time” can be really appealing, especially as we approach Day 8 of the journey.
I know it’s hard. But quitting, or choosing to simply abstain, is the worst thing you can do right now if you have a passion for writing.
When your alarm went off today did you hit the snooze button? Did you wake up wishing, “I hope The Write Practice has some silly writing prompts today”? Have you been dreading getting out of bed because you didn’t have a fun writing prompt?
Now you can get out of bed and look forward to today! Run to your writing chair and write for fifteen minutes with these silly writing prompts.
For every writer, there comes a special kind of writer’s block: a moment when we run out of gas. Maybe we’ve expended our final reserves of energy trying finish a big project. Maybe we’ve pushed too many days in a row to hit our NaNoWriMo word count. Maybe life has just made production difficult and we can’t muster the energy to get the next page out.
This moment, when we feel like we have nothing left, is inevitable. Therefore, it’s important that we have a plan in place for when it comes.
I stood in a long line last week while a single checker bumbled through multiple orders, finally requiring a manager to come take over. I’m a notorious snoop (I mean, people-researcher), so I began furtively sizing up the purchases of those around me while I waited. And what I found was a fantastic writing prompt.
In August, we hosted the Fall Writing Contest in partnership with Short Fiction Break literary magazine. Entering this writing contest was a huge accomplishment for all our writers, and we want to celebrate the winners here on The Write Practice.
You know who JK Rowling is. You know Harry Potter took the world by storm. You may even be aware that Rowling had trouble getting published at all. Ms. Rowling has shared a lot of terrific writing wisdom, but in my opinion, these are her eight best rules.
BOO! It’s Halloween—what better day to write some spooky stories? Sharpen your pencil and take a stab at one of these Halloween writing prompts!
Currently I’m reading a collection of essays by the National Book Award winner and genius grant recipient Ta-Nehisi Coates. Many people view Coates, a writer for The Atlantic, as political, but I’ve heard him speak, and he repeatedly emphasizes that he is a writer above all else. He is an observer and he shares his observations with the world, and we can draw valuable writing tips from his work.
Coates’s book We Were Eight Years in Power consists of articles he wrote during the Obama years, each of which are preceded by Coates’s retrospective reflections on those essays. As a fellow writer, I was enthralled by those reflections. Here was an anointed “genius” expressing his doubts and self-critiques. There’s something fascinating about watching a successful writer still cringe at the very works that gave him that success.
Given all that, I had to share some of my takeaways, writing tips drawn from Coates’s self-reflections.
If you want to write a book, you need the right tools for the job. But what are the best tools for writers? We get asked that all the time.
Whether you’re ready to write, publish, or market your book, there are hundreds of resources you could use. They’re not all equal, though. Some will help you make your book better than you’d ever dreamed, and others, well, won’t.
I want to help you find the best tools for your writing, too. I’ve put together a roundup of the thirty best tools for writers at every stage of the writing and publishing process.
I’m not gonna lie: I hate writing the Middle.
If you’re anything like me, the Beginning is easy. It’s fun to come up with a cool premise for a story. The conflict is there. The goals are plain as day. And getting your protagonist into trouble shouldn’t be too difficult.
The End can seem easy, too. The End of a story is like the candy center of the lollipop — you can’t wait to get to it! Of course you can’t write it yet because you haven’t gotten there, but with each moment of drafting, your heart is dead-set on reaching the end so you can reveal a great twist, kill off a beloved character, or teach a remarkable life lesson.
But for some reason, there’s something about a story’s Middle that’s a pain in the neck.
Writers write. If you want to write a book or a story, but you only write once a week, or on every second Sunday when the temperature is between 72 and 82 degrees, you will never finish your book or your story.
The goal is to have daily writing habits so you can finish your book, or the story you keep thinking and talking about. And when that book is finished, you can write another one and one after that.
You probably already have the habit of brushing your teeth, flushing the toilet, and closing the front door when you come home so the cat doesn’t get out. Here are tips to help you write daily so writing becomes a habit. A habit you don’t have to think about anymore: you just do it. Every day.
I’ve found that the greatest threat to us writers is not the well of creativity running dry or time running out before we can finish our latest work or some other writer stealing our million dollar idea. The greatest threat to us lives within us. It is our own fear.
We need not bow to fear. If we can survive its initial surge, it will pass and we can get back to work unhindered. Here are three ways I survive the surge of fear.