Monday, December 25, 2006

What I've Been Working On

Not writing-related but I wanted to share a project I recently uploaded related to my other interest, genealogy. It was no small challenge to organize 20 years of research but I'm happy to have finally found a venue to share. Now that the web site is presentable, I intend to get off-line and back to work on my fiction. ~ Ruth

New Year's Resolutions

The New Year offers a fresh start to improve your writing habits. Ginny Weihardt, offers these 10 Resolutions for Writers:

1) Write every day.
Commit an hour, a half hour -- even just 15 minutes to writing every day. Try to make it the same time, soon after you get up or before you go to bed, for instance, so that it becomes a habit. Just get yourself into the chair once a day and you'll be surprised at the results.

2) Defy your writer's block.
Renew your commitment to finding a way to overcome your block, if you have one. Find out what's causing your writing woes, and address it head on.

3) Finish an unfinished work.
Have a story or novel sitting around, keeping you from going on to new, more exciting projects? Don't let those unfinished projects steal your energy any longer. Make a plan to get through them this year, and stick to it. You'll find that you have a renewed energy and interest in your writing, once these old projects are off your plate.

4) Read more.
Are there classic novels you've always meant to read, but haven't? Or some genre you think might inform your work in interesting or productive ways? Make a plan. It doesn't have to be too ambitious, but set some modest goals for your reading life this year.

5) Keep a journal.
Though journaling is an art in itself, with its own disciplines and satisfactions, many fiction writers rely on their journals for ideas and details. If nothing else, keeping a journal is a good way to ensure that you're writing consistently.

6) Find a place to write.
If a lack of space is keeping you from writing, put this at the top of your list. Your resolution might also be to just make your writing space more conducive to your work. Clean up the clutter; surround yourself with things that inspire you. Have a space you look forward to entering.

7) Finish the first draft of a novel.
If you've always wanted to write a novel, but have been afraid to attempt it, make this the year you finally do it. Don't worry if it's good or not, or if it's publishable or not. Just find a story you need to write, that only you can write, and write it. There's something valuable about sticking to something this big, about discovering that you can do it. If nothing else, you'll finally be able to cross this off your list of things to do in life.

8) Send out.
If you know you're ready to publish, make a realistic goal about the number of magazines you want to submit to, presses you want to query, or contests you want to try, and stick to it. Stay focused on accomplishing your goal, though, and not on the result. Whether you get published or not, you can take satisfaction in meeting your goal.

9) Try a genre or an artform you've never tried before.
Screenwriters, playwrights, and poets have a lot to teach fiction writers. You'll find that you take the lessons of that genre back to your fiction. The same applies to other artforms. From photography, you'll learn to pay attention to the visual world, and from acting, to put yourself in the mind of someone else and to pay attention to how people move in space.

10) Be easier on yourself.

Focus on what you do accomplish this year, not on your failures. Writing is hard, and getting published even harder. Beating yourself up doesn't help anything. Reward yourself for having found something that you love this much, and for sticking to it.

More New Year's Resolutions

For the more experinced write, author JA Konrad's list of New Year's Resolutions:

Newbie Writer Resolutions

* I will start/finish the damn book
* I will always have at least three stories on submission, while working on a fourth
* I will attend at least one writer's conference, and introduce myself to agents, editors, and other writers
* I will subscribe to the magazines I submit to
* I will join a critique group. If one doesn't exist, I will start one at the local bookstore or library
* I will finish every story I start
* I will listen to criticism
* I will create/update my website
* I will master the query process and find an agent
* I'll quit procrastinating in the form of research, outlines, synopses, taking classes, reading how-to books, talking about writing, and actually write something
* I will refuse to get discouraged, because I know JA Konrath wrote 9 novels, received almost 500 rejections, and penned over 1 million words before he sold a thing--and I'm a lot more talented than that guy

Professional Writer Resolutions

* I will keep my website updated
* I will start a blog
* I will schedule bookstore signings, and while at the bookstore I'll meet and greet the customers rather than sit dejected in the corner
* I will send out a newsletter, emphasizing what I have to offer rather than what I have for sale, and I won't send out more than four a year
* I will learn to speak in public, even if I think I already know how
* I will make selling my books my responsibility, not my publisher's
* I will stay in touch with my fans
* I will contact local libraries, and tell them I'm available for speaking engagements
* I will attend as many writing conferences as I can afford
* I will spend a large portion of my advance on self-promotion
* I will help out other writers
* I will not get jealous, will never compare myself to my peers, and will cleanse my soul of envy
* I will be accessible, amiable, and enthusiastic
* I will do one thing every day to self-promote
* I will always remember where I came from

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Congrats Tom!

Congrats to Tom C. over at Persistence Ambivalence. Tom wrote a piece on autism that will be published in "Cup of Comfort for Parents of Children with Autism" due out in March 2007.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Need a Bio?

The topic for the Thursday, Dec. 14 meeting will be writing a personal bio. This is a great exercise and will be especially helpful to anyone who hasn't written yet their bio for the upcoming anthology.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the lower level meeting room of the Oshkosh Public Library.

Next Meeting

Just a reminder that the Saturday, Dec. 16 meeting will be devoted to proofreading selections for the upcoming anthology. You don't need any special skills and donuts will be provided. We need as many eyes as possible!

The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. in the lower level meeting room of the Oshkosh Public Library.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Tiny URL

Not really writer-related but for those authors who blog, there is a website,, that shortens long urls.

By entering a URL in the text field, they will create a tiny URL that will not break in email or blog postings and never expires.