A Novel Writing Tip From Hemingway

Hemingway used to be one my least favorite writers. Now, he’s one of my favorites. I thank him and his advice in his book – A Moveable Feast, for my current progress.

His advice is simple and genius.

Write the scene in your mind and then stop when you think of the next one. Sounds silly, right? Why stop?

The simplicity of this advice is that you never come to the page empty. You always bring something with you, and are ready when a spare moment presents itself.

Photo Credit: gothick_matt via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: gothick_matt via Compfight cc

This is how I’ve written lately and it has allowed me to have a consistent flow of words and I’ve not had to sit and think where I am going next.

I am never empty.

Never lost.

This is genius because then the well of creativity never runs dry. You always leave a little in there. A little sip to keep you going.

If your well is dry. Try to do things that fill it. Then don’t drain the tankard in one gulp.

3 Questions with Amelia Rhodes

Amelia Rhodes-speakingAmelia Rhodes is an author, speaker, blogger, journalist, wife, mom, and probably don’s a cape a cowl each night to defend the innocent of Grand Rapids against ne’er-do-wells. She’ll be speaking at JOT 5 about making time to write. Here are three quick questions with Amelia. See you on Friday, March 13th!

Give us a teaser of your Jot presentation. What can attendees expect?

In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield, said, “There’s a secret real writers know that wanna be writers don’t. And the secret is this: it’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.” I’ll be discussing making time to write, how to make the most of your writing time, and offering practical tips for both areas.

What’s a good habit or pattern for writers to start?

Shauna Niequist once said, “The first part of writing is noticing.” I think one of the best habits a writer can develop is to become the best possible “noticer.” Pay attention to life around you. Notice the people. Ask about their stories. Listen. Notice the colors, emotions, smells, and sounds that surround you every day. There’s always something to write about if you are paying attention. The second great practice is to collect those things you’ve noticed in a system that works for you, so when you sit down to write, you aren’t starting from zero. Instead, you’ll already have hundreds of ideas just waiting to be crafted into a great piece of writing.

Just for fun: If you could have lunch with any three authors – alive or dead – who would they be and why?


  1. Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne of Green Gables is my favorite novel. I’d love the chance to thank her for this wonderful story that I now have the privilege of sharing with my own daughter.


  1. C.S. Lewis. I’d love to chat about his writing process, especially because he wrote such varied pieces from deep theology for adults to beautiful literature for children.


  1. J.K. Rowling. Professor Snape might be my favorite villian/non-villian. From his first appearance, he intrigued me. I’d love to hear how she came up with him, and if she knew from the start who he was and all he had done.

What to Expect from Jot

Jot is a new type of writers conference. For one thing, it’s cheaper (free). For another, it’s shorter (one night, four hours). And last, you actually get time to write (yes, write).

When we started throwing around the idea of creating our own writers conference, we knew that in order to be successful, it would have to fill some unmet needs. West Michigan is already home to Breathe, Maranatha, and bi-annually, Calvin College’s Festival of Faith and Writing.

So what were the needs that we saw going unfilled? While the writers conferences mentioned above are all wonderful conferences in their own right, they all require significant investments in both time and finances. What if we made a conference for writers like us, strapped for cash and too busy to write when we want to?

Thus was Jot created. We’ve done five of them now. #6 will be held September 12, 2015 at Lowry’s Books and More in Three Rivers, Michigan. The world will never be the same.

So if you come, what can you expect?

  • Short presentations on the writing life, on the publishing process, and writing tips for flash fiction.
  • Enough time between presentations to actually write.
  • Access to the presenters to ask 1-on-1 questions.
  • No admission cost.
  • No running across campus to walk in five minutes late to a presentation that you really wanted to see because the previous presentation ran long.
  • A beautiful setting with a snacks and drinks available for purchase.

Are you looking forward to a west Michigan’s only free mini-conference as much as we are?