Writing Rhythm – How do you find it?

Strategies for Success

Have you ever sat down to write and just couldn’t get settled in to write? The page is blank. What do you do?

Here’s what my friends had to say about finding their writing rhythm.

“To get into a rhythm and keep the momentum going, I find three things are key to my success.

1) Write everyday, even if I only have enough time for one paragraph or to reread the scene I’m working on, I have to keep the story on the forefront of my mind, or I fall into a rut that is so hard to climb out of. 2) Never end a writing session in a lull. I try to avoid putting the computer away when I have just finished a scene, or when I’ve come to a good stopping point. I always try to get something new started while it’s fresh in my mind, even if it’s just a paragraph to get the next scene started or a summery of where I want to go with the next scene. It’s so much easier to jump back into the story and continue where I left off when I have something started.

3) Craft/brainstorming partner on speed dial. When I’m discouraged or stuck, talking to my craft partner can (and usually does) make a world of difference. It really helps to have someone who knows where I’m at in my story, so I don’t have to explain the whole plot to ask a simple question.

Andrea Nell, Writer

“I think finding your writing Rhythm comes down to discipline. BIC=behind in chair. Some days the words flow, and others, not so much. I bribe myself when the words are coming slowly…I’ll take a break when I reach a 1000 words and have a nap…or lunch…or fruit. I try not to make my reward chocolate or anything with lots of calories.”

Patricia Bradley, Author

“Um, I haven’t. Haha! But seriously, every book has been different. The length time I’ve had to write each book has been different. So every book has been its own experience and its own beat. 🙂

That said, my sweet spot is definitely writing in scenes of 1,500 to 2,000 words–about 90 minutes at a time. And I think I write the smoothest when I do my prep work–think about the scene, let it play out in my mind, have a solid sense of the storyworld, give myself time to sink into it if possible before just typing away.”

Melissa Tagg, Author

As for me? I found a quiet house and music works great. I too work best in 90-minute increments. But not everyday (or week for that matter) do I have that luxury so I invested in a very good pair of headphones. Believe me with four teenagers, their friends and two dogs milling around—the headphones were worth every penny.

I think I was born with a pen in hand to make lists. So pre-work on my story really, really helps me put words on the page.

What about you? What gets words on the page for you?






Stick with it!

Just a quick writing tip today . . . Stick with it.

I’m back from New York City after attending the annual RWA Convention, celebrating with my author friends their accomplishments (aka, Beth Vogt’s final in the RITAs!), upping my writing skills and seeing the sights!

One event stood out in my mind, however, as a highlight—and that was seeing aspiring, soon-to-be-published author Kimberly Buckner win the Golden Heart award for her Long Contemporary manuscript.

I’ve known Kimberly for years—she’s a long time member of My Book Therapy, but more than that, I know Kimberly for her willingness to do the hard work. Kimberly is going to have an amazing career. How do I know this? Because she’s been at this for a while, dug into learning, is willing to take critiquing, is always asking questions and is someone who focuses on honing her skills. Yes, she’s also super fun to hang around with, but Kimberly has grabbed onto the belief that publishing isn’t magic, it’s hard work—and she’s a soldier.

Here’s her awesome—best-of-the-night—acceptance speech.




The moral of the story?  Stick with it.  You CAN Write Something Brilliant!

smw sig without background

The Nitty Gritty of Your Characters

Rachel HauckI’m about to walk out the door on my way to the airport.

I’m heading to NYC to meet up with the great and lovely Susan May Warren at the Romance Writer’s of America conference.

Looking forward to seeing Beth Vogt, Lisa Jordan, Kimberly Buckner and Elaine Clampitt (PJ Riley) as well.

So, this will be short and sweet.

In the throws of writing your novel, remember that characters are discovered as much as they are planned.

We teach a lot about planning a character here at MBT — wound, lie, fear, greatest dream, etc.

But it’s not until they characters start talking that things come alive.

This is why I harp on, “Tell the story between the quotes.”

If your characters aren’t talking — and moving — we can’t get a mental or emotional picture of them.

Neither can the reader.

I’m working on The Wedding Shop and while I have developed characters “on paper” the moment they start moving on the page, and talking. I discover things.

The things I discover MUST fit into my over all plan, but wow, they teach me who they are as I write.

This is the nitty gritty of your characters.

Some characters are more alive to you than others.

I always have a hard time with the present-day heroine when writing slip-time stories.

She’s the least alive to me so I have to work harder to get a feel for her.

To discover her nitty gritty.

In the end, she’s usually a pretty strong character.

I’m not going to give you 5 points on how to discover your character’s nitty gritty.

I’m going to tell you to write the next scene.

And the one after that…

Pause, ponder, think.

Turn off the music, the social media, the TV.

Do some research.

Then write the next scene.

The nitty gritty of your characters lies between your first inspiring thought of who they might be and the last word you write in the manuscript.

You discover more about them every time you rewrite and edit.

I know a lot of people do not like to rewrite but it’s in those phases the characters really deepen. Where you find symbols and metaphors.

Stick with it.

You’ll get there. Trust me.

Go write something that will eventually be brilliant.

Hubby’s put my suitcase in the car. Time to go. Forgive the typos.


Things You May Be Doing that Wreck Your Online Presence

For writers today, an online presence can mean the difference between success and failure. But if we’re not doing it right, we may be our own worst enemy. Today I want to share 10 ways you may be wrecking your social media presence.

  1. You have an inconsistent social media presence—I’m not talking about taking weekends off, but on spending consistent time building your online presence. This includes showing up on Twitter and Facebook with reasonable regularity, and keeping a regular schedule for your blog posts.
  1. You over-promote—The promotion I’m talking about is SELF promotion. Use Edie’s 5 to 1 rule—for every 5 social media updates, you’re allowed one additional update about yourself.
  1. Your website doesn’t have social share buttons—I don’t know how much time I’ve spent on your sites looking for your twitter handle or trying to follow you on Facebook. Most people won’t spend more than three seconds. That’s not long.
  1. You engage in Hashtag overload—Hashtags are great, and using them CORRECTLY can net you a lot of new followers. But correctly means no more than two per update. When you up your ante to three, the results begin to drop off.
  1. You use auto-responders—Is there anyone out there who likes to talk to computers? Not me. Beyond that, we’re a pretty savvy group. We can tell an auto-respond message from a real one.
  1. You’re obsessed with the numbers—Social Media growth takes time. Shortcuts bring more trouble than help. As long as you’re seeing growth, you’re doing well.
  1. You don’t utilize a scheduling program—Personally I prefer Hootsuite. It keeps me visible online without having to spend hours a day tied to the Internet.
  1. You’re guilty of hogging the stream—This means you post three or more updates in a row. You’ll find that behavior will encourage people to unfollow and unfriend you in droves. Spread out your updates and keep your connections happy.
  1. You try out every new platform that appears—No one can do everything well. Focus your energy on Facebook and Twitter. With these two platforms you’ll hit almost 100% of your audience. After that, no more than one or two more. Focus, focus, focus.
  1. You send out game invitations—This is a personal one for me. I used to get so many game requests I finally made it a hard and fast rule that I do NOT play games on Facebook. I’ll give anyone a pass for the first invitation you send, but after that, I will immediately unfollow anyone who sends me another one.

Now it’s your turn, what turns you off when it comes to social media? Is there something that leads you to immediately sever a connection? Share, so we can all see things from a different perspective.