Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What I learned

If you wanna learn something, teach it. Boy is that too true!

So what did I learn from my own "How to Edit and Market Your Novel" workshop at the True North Creative Learning Center?

First, though I've known this forever, I finally "got it" in a big way: 90% of any creative endeavor is the work itself, 10% is everything else. In other words, how did I become a professionally published writer? I wrote. And wrote. And then wrote lots and lots more. Then, I did the 10%: I attended classes and workshops, I started a writers' group, I edited my work and researched the markets and sent it out and sent it out and sent it out and sold it.

Not a single piece of my writing would have ever sold if I hadn't learned to write by, yup, you guessed it: WRITING!

BIG SECRET: If you're spending more time learning how to do what you do, you're not learning at all. Just do it.

Friday, June 22, 2007

How to Edit and Market Your Novel coming up...

...tomorrow! Hence this photo of me giving a talk for a fourth grade class--yes, I look a little stressed, but that's because I got caught open-mouthed! I had a blast!

And I'm sure to have another one tomorrow. Plus, what I love best about teaching is I learn the most (and I'll share that after the workshop).

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Comfort zones and breaking out of them

As promised, but a little different approach...

What is most powerful about workshops and conferences is how any or either can destroy a rut. Hunh? A rut? Yeah, you know, those awful comfort zones we all tumble into that are big deep long holes with dirt sides. You know, where you write along at pretty much the same level, content to be churning out words--without really improving those words. Habit, comfortable, easy TRAP.

Or maybe you're not comfortable--just stuck.

Well either a conference or a workshop works, in a zillion different ways: you meet other writers, you get immersed in your dream world, and the most important: during a workshop or conference, you achieve a tiny tiny bit of precious objectivity. Objectivity is golden and rare. It has something to do with being in a group that is all working toward a common goal, that shares dreams and ideas and even needs.

For a bit, whenever I attend a workshop or conference, I step out of my near-sighted, obsessed writer self and then learn and learn and become a better writer.

TIP: There are lots of great workshops and conferences, for all sizes and types. Go find one that makes you excited to attend. If you live on an island or in the midst of a desert, there are online workshops. More later about these...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Whoo--is my brain full up...

...that's what happens when I attend a fabulous workshop and a fabulous conference. Still processing here...and will share (I promise!) later...

Question: How do you retain and process new information? What's your style? More on mine and others, later...

Monday, June 11, 2007

After the great workshop and conference...

...this weekend I'm revved up. That's the best thing about either a great workshop or a great conference and this weekend I got both! Double-header!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Woohoo, big weekend coming up!

I'm excited, can you tell? I'm headed to the Murder in the Grove Conference this Saturday, June 9. It's always a blast and I always learn tons.

And this time, I'm on a panel "Mysteries in Brief" talking about the fiction form I began with (and still do, along with novel writing) : short stories.


Friday, June 1, 2007

More on Manga writing and creating creativity

It's not just changing the form of your creative endeavor, i.e. going from short story writing to manga writing that increases your ability with all writing, I've realized.

If you want more story ideas, bake cookies! Especially if baking is way out of your comfort zone. Even if you love to bake and "tweak" recipes all the time, then make up your own.

That way, you get all those synapses firing away and creating, creating, creating.

Secret: Stuck? Frustrated? Do something completely different!