Don’t Lose Your Writing Groove
This week I’ve been restarting my work-related writing engines. After a temporary slow down of client projects, the machine of my copywriting and marketing business is whirring back to full speed. As always, I am deeply grateful for the work and for the opportunity to collaborate with some great teams. And, my gratitude isn’t just about the money.
One thing I realized as I dove into a batch of new and re-started projects is that even a short break from writing can have a detrimental effect on my productivity and efficiency. We hear all the time about the importance of a consistent writing practice. Whether you’re penning poems, working on a novel, cranking out local news stories, or crafting content for corporate websites, you need to practice-practice-practice if you want to find the groove that puts you “in the zone.”
I don’t care what kind of writing you do, nothing will help you get better or become more efficient than simply doing the writing you do – day in and day out. The more you practice a thing, the more you understand how it works, and the easier it becomes for you to do it. It’s like Ray Bradbury said, “Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”
What are you practicing?
Books I’m Reading:
Last week I shared the very excellent craft book, The Writer’s Journey, by Christopher Vogler. This week, I’d like to share another craft/story structure book that I’m reading called The Heroine’s Journey by Maureen Murdock. Vogler recommends the book in his own work, noting that while the hero’s journey is much the same for all humans, there are some gender-based variations. “Men’s journeys may be in some sense more linear, proceeding from one outward goal to the next,” he explains, “while women’s journeys may spin or spiral inward and outward.”
Murdock’s book explores this variation on the hero’s journey in great detail. Each chapter is an in-depth look at one of the ten stages of the heroine’s journey. More than fictional examples, Murdock uses the real-life stories of women she interviewed to illustrate the different phases of the journey. While this dates the text slightly (the book was originally published in 1990), it is still an effective way to provide context for the concept.
While I am still learning about the subtle variations between the hero’s and heroine’s journey, I do agree with Vogler and Murdock that there is a difference. Also, though I haven’t yet done any study on the matter, I’m going to guess that most of the stories in our culture follow the hero’s journey rather than the heroine’s. I’ll be keeping an eye out for stories that seem more about the spiraling type of journey associated with the female gender. I’m thinking we may need more of these stories in the world.
··• )o( •··
My Favorite Blog Reads for the Week:
- High Concept Versus Deep Theme: Are You Reaching or Digging? by @VaughnRoycroft
- Mac Writing App ‘Scrivener’ Will Be Making Its Way To iOS Soon by Tyler Lee
- Note Card Plotting: Unwrapped by @artofstories
- Structure: How to train your dragon by @ozzywood
PUBLISHING & MARKETING
- The Author Website: Your Central Marketing Hub by @JaneFriedman
- 3 Essential Tools To Discover Who Your Readers Really Are by @DaveChesson
- How to Create Blog Posts That People Remember [podcast] by @problogger
- Build a Writing Brand That Rocks: Quick Social Media Tips for Writers (Part 2) by @jesslaw
- Artisanal Publishing vs Self-Publishing by Ron Callari
- Why You Should Join All Social Media Networks by @JaneFriedman
- Wild Thing: On Writing and Not Writing by Andrea Jarrell via @brevitymag
- How To Tap The Only Three Types Of Creativity by George Bradt
- 7 Questions I Asked Myself by @michelewoodward
- Stop Trying To Be Somebody by @jonwestenberg
THE WRITING LIFE
- Ten Ways to Enjoy Networking With Other Writers (However Shy You Are) by @aliventures
- Before You Go Freelance: A Checklist by @MattMcCueWriter
- Writing Fiction: Does It Feel Indulgent? by @DavidMizner via @JaneFriedman
- 3 Famous Writers on the Relationship Between Reading and Writing via @farnamstreet
··• )o( •··
Sundry Links and Articles:
I don’t make a habit of reading horoscopes, but a writer friend of mine recently shared a link to the writers’ horoscopes on Electric Lit. Horoscopes for writers?!? Really? I’m in. Published by the author “Apostrodamus,” the horoscopes give writers specific advice about how to align their creative work with the stars. I’m digging mine for March:
You’re a writing machine this month, Libra, but look out for yourself. You’ll generate keener ideas and sharper lines if you mind your health. Get physical: work out character arcs loping round the park, pummel your way through stalled starts (just enough to get zen—don’t ding your typin’ hands), or soak in the tub (self-care is real!) and dream up your ideal cover. Do what makes your body happy, and you’ll crank out the pages by month’s end.
Lucky inspiration: Athlete biopics
··• )o( •··
Finally, a quote for the week:
Well, not exactly a quote, but this video that C.C. Chapman shared on Twitter really captured my interest. Though ostensibly about how to be a photographer, these words can also be applied to how to be a writer.
So, go forth and be a writer. Practice, practice, practice. Explore and experiment … and don’t forget to enjoy the process along your journey!
Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content marketer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian and aerial arts (not at the same time), and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.