Cut Out The Clutter And Grab More Time

Annie sang that the sun will come out tomorrow. While that is a cute notion, you may die in your sleep. The writer must do what they can to grab the time that is in front of them. Tomorrow is never the best opportunity to write. The time to write is now.

Surprisingly enough, we all have the same amount of hours as did Steve Jobs, Ernest Hemingway, or Michelangelo. But the fact remains that we don’t finish the projects we intend to and for that we get upset at not having enough time. We long for a cabin in the woods, a remote place where we can gather out thoughts and create our books and stories.

CalendarUnfortunately, you and I can both agree that time cannot be simply conjured up like Hermione did in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. What we need to do is make it.

This means less or no TV. This means staying in when you’d like to go out or staying up late or getting up early. Devotion to anything requires sacrifice in other places. If this is truly your dream it will require a lot of perseverance, encouragement, discipline, but most of all, sacrifice.

Today, look ahead to next week and create “office hours” for your projects, just like a college professor.  Prepare for in advance with note cards and outlines, and then go to a quiet place and work (without the internet!).

I challenge you to do this. I bet you’ll find that after you’ve cut out TV time, a bit of sleep, and sprinkle in a few lunch hours, you’ll have the lost time back.

Now, it’s up to you to not waste it.

Write author, write!

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The Jot Conference returns on Friday, September 13th, 2013!

megaphoneYou read it correctly. We’ll be having another JOT: GR Writers Mini-Conference on Friday, September 13th, 2013. We’re working on the outline for the evening now and will be posting updates here as we get things finalized. Here’s what is set in stone:

When: Friday, September 13th, 2013 at 7pm

Where: Baker Book House

What: We’ll be focusing on the same three key goals we focused on for the first JOT conference – Meet. Learn. Write.

Our first goal is to provide writers with an time to meet each other and strengthen the Grand Rapids literary scene through a fun community event.
Our second goal is to provide excellent content for writers to learn something about the craft or the industry.
Our third goal is provide busy writers with space and time to actually write and not just talk about it. We’re all busy, but by attending JOT you are insured some quality writing time in a beautiful local book store.

Cost: Totally FREE.

Who: For sure The Weaklings will be there (Josh, Matt, Bob, and Andy) along with some friends in the publishing industry and writing community. More to come!

We’ve got a lot planned for JOT this September. Watch this space, and our Facebook page, for updates. We’ll be posting them as we’ve got them. Hope to see you there!

Keep writing!

-Andy Rogers

Writers Need Writers

When I first began writing it was because I wanted to tell a story. I was encouraged by my wife to type away and see what happened. Nothing much did. Ramblings, really bad story telling coupled with even worse grammar.

Fast forward to the next summer and I was working on the first of many drafts. Then, in the Fall the best thing that could happen to a writer happened to me. I became part of a writers group.

We met one evening at my apartment and discussed what we were working on and what the group might look like. Shortly afterward we were doing writing contests, meeting in a pub and discussing our work over meals and darts. We christened ourselves The Weaklings, a nod to the famed Inkilings writers group.

During this time we joked (and I dreamed) of a snow covered log cabin in some remote wood where we could finish our projects. I thought that was what a novelist should be: A solitary figure who unleashes beautiful stories upon the world.

I realize now that I was a fool to think that. A fool to think time is what a writer needs. As a novelist, time is required but there is so much more to the equation. The first thing a writer needs is people. I believe I would be nowhere without my writers group. Without their support, encouragement, gentle critique and open ear.

Now I write with the intention of sharing a story. I write not just for myself, I write for them. My faithful writing companions.

At Jot our hope is that you find a place where you call yourself a writer, share your work, and gain encouragement to boldly step to the page. You can do this by the simple act of getting together with other writers.

Things I Wish I knew Before My Fifth Draft – Write With Joy

When I began writing I knew I knew nothing. I read the great classics and dreamed of my novel taking up residence on the shelf next to them. However, when I read The Brothers Karamazov or Great Expectations I realized how little I understood of the writing process. I had a passion for my story, a love of good fiction and a laptop. That was all.

Fast forward eight years later and I am near the point of my novel transforming into what I have wanted it to be. Why eight years? Well, I’d like to say I was developing a mind blowing series that will reshape the world of writing as we know it. But let’s be honest. I was too busy making mistakes and paddling upstream. I did not write as I should have. I spent weeks mulling over one sentence or phrase. After a while (eight drafts later) I realized I should be just writing, and rediscovering the joy which editing has robbed.

Ray_Bradbury_(1975)_-cropped-

RIP Mr Bradbury. Thanks for the advice.

I was given a book for Christmas by Ray Bradbury. It is a collection of essays titled Zen and the Art of Writing. The first essay is called The Joy of Writing. In it Mr Bradbury suggests that after you have tackled the literary techniques and grammatical principles,  you need to break free and just write. Edit later.

He sums it up like this:

…This afternoon, burn down the house. Tomorrow, pour cold critical water upon the simmering coals. Time enough to think and cut and rewrite tomorrow. But today – explode – fly apart – disintegrate! The other six or seven drafts are going to be pure torture. So why not enjoy the first draft, in the hope that your joy will seek and find others in the word who, reading your story, will catch fire, too?” (Zen and the Art of Writing, Bradbury, pg 7)

So, if you are just getting words on the page for the first time, I would encourage you to  do one thing. Write. Do not sit down and edit the previous thing you’ve written before you continue, just do it. Just write. Write because you love it. Write because it has to be written. Write because of the pure joy you find in doing it.

Cheers,

Bob Evenhouse