Monday, March 14, 2011

A Slice of Writer's Life


Writers write. Writers should write something everyday. Yes, seven days a week and something besides checks made out to the electric company. But where do the time, the energy, and the ideas come from? Believe it or not, it's a self-perpetuating cycle. The more you write, the more you have to write.

In my book Writer Wellness, A Writer's Path to Health and Creativity, I describe writing to be a muscle. And like the other muscles in our bodies, the writing muscle needs to be exercised and kept in tip-top shape. The writing muscle is kept well toned only by writing. The more we write, the better shape our writing muscle is and the more we have to write. See? Self-perpetuation cycle. What counts for writing exercise?

I keep my own writing muscle in shape by journaling almost everyday of the week, writing several blog posts a week, and writing book reviews for several online sites. And yes, I still have plenty of time, energy, and ideas for my historical romance novel in progress. The key is discipline and not going overboard with what you have to say in any one area. It also helps with learning key fiction elements such as pacing, passive voice, and RUE (Resisting the Urge to Explain.) My writing muscle is warmed-up by the blogs, reviews, and journal entries I write. It's in those playing fields I am able to watch myself change and progress as a writer. This blog post today is a good example. Let me explain.

Writing blogs, journal entries, and book reviews for several years have taught me to get to the point with what I'm writing in my fiction. The reader wants to know what's important first, not after a six or seven adverbial phrase describing every bat of the character's eyes before they utter a word. What the character is doing is integral, but when two people are in the same room and on the same page, they need to be talking to keep the pace of the pages turning for the reader. I have also learned not to repeat what the character says with something we at IFW like to call "narrator intrusion." Which is what I just did. I just told you something, then intruded on your thought processes by telling you what I just told you. In this fast paced world of ebooks readers want to know and get on with it. Don't stall them. They will put your book down for good.


What do you say in a blog? My good writing friend Kristen Lamb, author of We Are Not Alone, The Writer's Guide to Social Media is currently doing a fab series on what, why, and how to blog.

You will not regret subscribing to Kristen's blog. Take my word for it. Because blogging is not only about getting the word out about you as a writer, it's most importantly about creating community. Another change in the publishing world. Blog. It's eventually good for your writing in sooooo many ways.


I started writing book reviews because I wanted to read the books my young daughters were reading so we could have a conversation about them and so I could keep connected to their lives. They've grown up to be voracious readers and I still review books for kids, teens, and adults. Here's the latest review for POSER, MY LIFE IN TWENTY-THREE POSES, Claire Dederer:

Writing book reviews keeps my writing muscle toned because it forces me to read and analyze as a reader, writer, and editor. That's everything I am after mom, cook, laundress, etc. ugh... Anyway, book reviews aren't exactly easy to write and the format calls for a strictly limited number of words. Again, the practice keeps my fiction writing lean and well paced. Because of reading books and writing reviews, I can almost instantly spot a mistake in my own work because my writing muscle is in tune.

By the way. Look at the top of the book review site and click on the button Review for Us and get started!


Journaling is something I've talked about at length in the archives of this blog and my own site for Writer Wellness.

Visit and subscribe by clicking on the "subscribe" button at the top and get email alerts when I've posted a new blog! See? Community!

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing,

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous. Bob Mayer Jenni Holbrook Kristen Lamb Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

Be well, write well.


Copyright 2011 Joy Held. All rights reserved.

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