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

August Interviews

8/5 Lucy Burdette, The Key Lime Crime

8/12 Maggie Toussaint, All Done With It

8/19 Julie Mulhern, Killer Queen

8/26 Debra Goldstein, Three Treats Too Many


August Guest Bloggers


8/8 Leslie Wheeler

8/15 Jean Rabe


August Interviews

8/22 Kait Carson

8/29 WWK Authors--What We're Reading Now













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Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!


Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!


Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.


KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.


Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."


Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.


Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


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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

5 comments:

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.

Jim 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.