I’ve just returned from a whirlwind experience at the 2014 National Conference of the RWA, held this year in San Antonio, Texas. On more than one occasion, staff of the hotel would comment “Are you a lady writer? We love the lady writers!”
The city was tidy and greener than I expected and the locals were friendly and welcoming. The two conference hotels were situated close to each other on San Antonio’s famed River Walk – a 15 mile long paved, tree lined path that follows the San Antonio River throughout the city. Restaurants and hotels are nestled along the scenic route, lending a festive atmosphere to the area.
A staggering number of workshops were presented but I will focus on one that resonated with me. I attended ‘Writing Faster, Writing Better’ by Cindi Myers a prolific author with more than 55 novels published. Here are some of the tips/strategies that she shared.
1. When you write faster, your subconscious can take over and that can open up another channel of creativity.
2. Make notes of my time ie. chunks of wasted time.
4. No T.V
5. Adjust your schedule. Do you like to work early or late?
6. Schedule your writing time – and stick to it.
1. Certain rituals before beginning. Lighting a candle. Music.
2. Plotting -your road map. She uses index cards. One idea per card then translate the cards to a narrative form.
3. Write out of order. Do a character interview. What is your heroine’s biggest fear, hope? What attracts you to the heroine? What concerns the hero?
4. Game of 10 things that could happen next. First 2 ideas are usually clichés. Try for 7.
5. Try to increase your output by 500 words a day. Keep adding until you reach your natural limit.
Other suggestions Writing sprints -20 minutes of focused work than a 5 minute break. Use a timer. Use Scrivener. Try Dictation. Attend writing retreats. Have an accountability partner. Print out your work. Work on hard copy for a change of pace.
Ms. Myer’s personal schedule is: 3 to 4 days planning a book using index cards. 4 hours of writing -five times a week, aiming for 3,000 words a day. She does one big revision and a second smaller revision. In six weeks, she hopes to reach 55,000 words. In 3 months, she heads towards 95,000 words.
Do you think any of these tips would help you and your writing? I would love to hear what you think.