If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Investing in My Writing Future

Today I jogged about 16,500 steps while scaring up a half-dozen grouse that exploded from the growth at the side of the road. When not getting the adrenaline rush from the whirr of grouse wings, I thought about writing this blog. Since I was exercising at the time, the parallel between writing and physical shape seemed obvious.

If I didn’t exercise at all, I would have all my waking hours to spend as I wanted, but my level of physical fitness would rapidly decline to the level justified by my normal activities. After some period without exercise, I would soon pant climbing stairs. Since I want to have more energy than that, I choose to invest time in obtaining a higher level of physical fitness. Currently jogging (aka “slogging,” given my speed) is my method for getting and staying aerobically fit. I could have chosen swimming, or bicycling or jazzercise or any number of other aerobic activities.

As with physical exercise, there are many available forms of writing exercise from which to choose. Writing nearly every day is not much different from walking every day to get from bed to breakfast to wherever. As with exercise I need to do something more than the daily minimum to improve, something that stretches and strengthens my writing muscles. I need to spend time improving my craft, but I need to be judicious about it.

I love to learn and can get sucked into learning for its own sake, which may eventually translate into better writing, but is not an optimal allocation of resources. I could perhaps convince myself that each piece I write incorporates my prior learning from previous writing and editing, and that is sufficient for my writing needs—but frankly, I don’t believe it. That may be sufficient for someone who has mastered this writing business, but that doesn’t describe my current state.

On my run I decided allocating 10% of my time to craft improvement might be the right answer, but I don’t really know, and I’m curious. How much of your precious writing time do you allot to studying your craft, flexing muscles, trying new things?

~ Jim


Ricky Bush said...

I agree with you James. Investing time in exercising will certainly have a payout. I walked a couple of miles a day and pump a little iron alternate day--then I sit down to write with a much clearer and focused head. Many days, I argue plot and character develop while walking, or figure a way out of writer's block.

E. B. Davis said...

I spin my wheels doing the social networking thing rather than concentrate on craft. As a writer, you have to do both. I'm better at craft during the winter months when there are less distractions, but am proud to say that I've written two new shorts in the last two months and upteen blogs, so at least I'm producing. That being said, my WIP hasn't progress as far as I would like. One learning tool I use is looking at others' critiques in both groups I'm in. Looking at how another writer finds a piece is a learning process and gives me insight into how to improve my own work. I'm lucky though. Both groups contain excellent writers.

Pauline Alldred said...

I find exercise boring but I realize it's necessary so I exercise daily. I like to learn craft through reading because reading is what first made me interested in writing. Sometimes, at a conference, a speaker inspires me to look more intently at craft. Sometimes, I think when I improve one aspect, it draws attention to another problem in my wriitng.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Off the blog someone asked what kind of craft studying I do.

I find it hard to read other writers as a craft study because if I really like the book, I end up reading for pleasure and forget I was supposed to study! That said, when I concentrate on a particular area (e.g. how they handle switching POVs or the beginning of scenes) I am more successful.

As with EB, critiquing is valuable especially when I compare my comments with everyone else's.

I have a number of books on various areas of writing that include exercises. I'll do those, however, I don't find writing prompts useful. Writing isn't my issue; writing better is the key.

I have taken several online classes with Mary Buckham that have been very insightful.

~ Jim

Warren Bull said...

As a cancer survivor who wants to continue to survive
exercise is part of my daily routine. In writing I try to challenge myself by writing from the POV of characters who are very different from me or in a genre I have not tried before. I'm a member of two critique groups and try to apply what I see with others to my writing.