Showing posts with label weekends. Show all posts
Showing posts with label weekends. Show all posts

Saturday, July 23, 2016

5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Writing Night In


The Weekend is here. And you’ve planned a writing night in. When an exciting night in involves a notebook and a pen, you cannot deny being a writer. It may be the reward for a week’s worth of day job or if you are already working as a freelance writer, working on your pet fiction project may be the reward for writing the business copy that pays the bills all week. 



This is an opportunity to really make some progress on what you’ve been dreaming about, but it also can go by really quickly and make you wonder if you set out what you meant to accomplish. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to make the most of your writing night in.

Here are five:

1.       Know what you’re going to work on.

If you approach your writing session with the project in hand and perhaps a few notes on it, you will fare far better than if you have a few options to work on and none decided ahead of time. Splitting your time between planning and writing is fine if that’s what you’re intending, but don’t let your writing time dwindle because you’ve failed to plan.

2.       Set the stage.

Give yourself an experience with some favorite food and drink and a great spot in which to write free of distractions. Clear out the paperwork you could be dealing with, library books that have yet to be returned, and close the drawers that need to be organized. These are things that can be done tomorrow and your writing is here now. Enjoy it.

3.       Decide what success looks like.

You know whether your goal is to outline your novel’s chapters, develop a plotline, write a pre-determined number of words, or sit and write until the timer goes off. Decide what success looks like to you and stick to it. Once you’ve achieved what you’ve set out to, you can continue to work in the stream of momentum you’ve created or stop and celebrate a successful writing session with something else.

4.      Plan to debut your work.

Having someone to show your completed work to by email or over coffee the next day means you will have the verbal affirmation of your show and tell and their feedback. This will cement your practice as a positive activity and make it all the more likely there will be more of them. Meeting up with a fellow writer means you can give back as well by providing feedback and inspiration. A give and take brings a new source of momentum into your process.

5.       Make plans to do it again.

Examine if the writing session worked as you’d planned. Did the time work? Setting? Did you have the right sized writing tasks picked out for the time allotted? Being realistic and adapting your future plans on the experience of this one allows for improved process each time and a more enjoyable experience.


The writing life can take many forms. Even before you are bringing in income for your writing, you are a writer. You write, therefore you are a writer. Planning your writing sessions and executing them are what will allow you to improve your craft, have work to show editors and agents, and publish independently or under contract. If you have writing questions you want answered, leave a comment below or email everydaywritingcoach@gmail.com

Thursday, June 30, 2016

5 Ways Summer Makes Your Writing Possible

Summer brings sun and fun (and vacation plans and the kids summer schedule to manage). The last thing you want to do is sit inside a hot house while everyone else enjoys the season. But don’t pack away your writing just yet.




While summer may be looked upon as throwing a wrench in a well executed writing schedule, there are actually a few advantages it affords you may not be taking advantage of yet.
Here are the 5 ways summer makes your writing possible.

1. Those summer days fit in more than usual.

Longer hours means that even given the usual work, socializing, yardwork, and beach trips; there will still be early morning or late night pockets in which to write. Why lay in a warm bed when you can't sleep? Sit on the back deck with a notebook and write a few lines instead. Especially if you're working with an outline, those small writing sessions will add up to something substantial over the summer.

2. Relaxed routines means chores can be a snap.

If there was ever a time to give up a full on meat and potatoes dinner and made beds, it's now. A rotisserie chicken and a salad equal a balanced dinner and if your family hasn't heard the research yet, especially in warm weather, it's a bad health idea to make the bed. Use the extra time to finish up the rest of that short story and submit it to a writing contest.

3. Summer's happenings give you more writing material to work with.

Summer brings new experiences from food to events to road trips, not to mention more restaurant patio dwellers (if you're not above eavesdropping to glean plot points for your next book) If you're writing for a commercial market, your day trips can be turned into new articles for local and national publications

4. Nature is at its inspirational peak.

Step into the outdoors and into nature at its inspirational peak. Not only do you gather the benefits of reduced stress, bolstered immune system and connection to family and friends, but nature is a created entity like creativity. When you engage with it as you were designed to, you will experience heightened awareness (descriptive phrases popping into your head, colors you didn't previously notice, and more plot line what if's happening) Don't forget to take along your notebook.

5. Your office is portable. 
      
      All you need is a notebook and then a story can find you anywhere: sitting on a park bench, in the back yard, on a rock on a trail. People watching is plentiful. Your creative energy is up. There are no artificial lights buzzing at you. You are able to focus on your story. Get it down in those little inspirational moments. No one will know how much you're scribing but you. There is still time for many summer memories outside of the pages of a book.

      Are any of these strategies ones you use already? What else helps you write in the summertime?


Sunday, January 03, 2016

Books You Jump Out of Bed For

 holiday is also good for getting thrifting in -- 75 cent hammered silver cup my latest find.

If you are the kind of reader to have several books on the go at the same time, you are likely the kind of writer to do the same with your novels in progress.

So even though I have a few books I really should finish, I had to jump out of bed and write out the newest that came to me in a big chunk while trying to fall asleep last night: title, plot, sub-plot, main character, and even cover design. Time off work is good for the creative soul.

What writing hot looks like this morning: one fourth of a chapter in 30 minutes. At that rate, it would take 1 work week to get to first draft. But given that most of my writing is done cold (making oneself sit down and get to fleshing out the next scene) it will likely occur within scheduled early morning sessions before my daily walk. Even at that optimistic production rate, this means 100 days until draft completion. I think I have my 2016 project before me.

If you have a writing question or want some feedback on your 2016 writing project, email me at everydaywritingcoach@gmail.com

Saturday, October 17, 2015

bliss


It's that weekend again.
Writing fires have been lit, both literally & figuratively.
We have camped out until it's time to come back to the real world.
But first we will have our notebooks, and laptops, and endless cups of tea...

Here's what the weekend is all about

Saturday, February 21, 2015

When Your Calendar is Filled with Fill-You-Up Stuff.

This quote resonated with me this week. It's been a week of sharing ideas: learning from the online learning communities in the online workshops I am participating in, putting together the soon to be released Everyday Writing Coach monthly newsletter (details coming soon), meeting with my conference planning team-mates in preparation for this great annual event, and doing an author reading at the Writing and Publishing event for FVRL in Hope. Nothing is more exciting than exchanging ideas, no matter the topic. And best of all, these exchanges and relationships are available to everyone. Take a look around and see who can use your information and whose you can use. It's worth your time.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

a man in the kitchen and other dreamy things

receiving magazines from friends, reading them (like any list-making geek, I take notes), and then passing them on to other friends is how I make sure the stacks under my bed don't get any bigger
 little c is a Pictionary superstar. it gets complicated when you are drawing for and against your opponent. and he is a worthy one
 one of his friends has a Christmas time birthday and her favorite color is purple so we hunted down for this stack and wrap. mission accomplished
the beauty of being a list maker and being married to a man who will not get out of the kitchen is that he will use the ingredients for the above to make completely different dishes (that admittedly are better than mine;) I won't complain. while he was training little c to be his soux chef, I was reading.

I've made some strategic writing plans for 2015 but am holding off on their execution so as to get in a bunch of holidaying time.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

more season

 it's been a great weekend. in the middle of it, my seventeen year old and I brought some Santa fun to a local library. the kids were so sweet. definite believers among them. one little guy was so star struck he didn't get the courage up to wish Santa a Merry Christmas until he was walking away ;)
 speaking of the season, the cards have started arriving. my favorite was this one from japan. a sweet student who stayed with us this year sent heart warming wishes and some great pictures he took
 I had dinner with some girlfriends this past week where I was gifted this great purse. it screamed holiday party to me (it could have been the oversized green ruffles ;) so I took it to the work shindig d and I went to last night. fun dinner (don't tell our moms, but d even thought it rivalled home cooking -- it was amazing) and dancing (important to balance all that food consumption) and staying overnight to sleep in and have breakfast in peace. that was pretty amazing too.
I have been putting up a few more Christmas trinkets. this one was 75cents at a local thrift store. (my favorite kind)

I am re-reading this book and listening to this. inspiring. and giving the season context. which I love.
this week has one work day and then holidays in which to write and read

Saturday, November 22, 2014

visiting our annual haunt



This time I’ve been more present, less encumbered by first time nerves. I’ve been here to appreciate the humor of having to label my dorm room door because the first day at the end of a work week packed full I was too tired to remember which door was mine. (I found it on the third try --Allison will not let me live that one down ;)
I’ve been here to appreciate turning on the light and reading in the middle of the night without worrying about getting my religiously observed 7 hours or waking D who is also logging hours to fuel his next day (and who has the side of the bed with the lone lamp by virtue of keeping later hours and being no less voracious a reader).
I’ve been here to stare at the ceiling getting caught up in the old glow in the dark stickers which appear when the lights are all off to show me an artificial version of the big dipper, a clever trick that makes the room seem like less of the small containment cube it is.
I’ve been here to witness the first time nerves of other people, the palpable thrill when they say at loud what they only admit to themselves about their writing, and when I discover that my new favorite author could well be someone I’ve led through workshops only hours before.
I’ve been here to eat meals laid out at prescribed times, to get bossed around by a schedule I made myself, to thoroughly enjoy the feeling of camp, and to feel smiley on the inside when a fellow writer declares this the best camp experience she never had as a child.
I’ve been here at the writer’s weekend.
And next year, you could be here too.
 Email me to enquire about a spot. michelle.vandepol@ufv.ca

Friday, November 07, 2014

Ode to Intentional Holidaying


 How did we land up in November so soon? Not that I'm not thrilled. I am a complete Christmas geek, collecting gifts and themed wrap (2 matching reversible patterns so I can keep straight the gifts which are heading in three different directions while we celebrate with our family of five and then with D and my families' of origin). Christmas tunes have been playing at my house awhile (and I am looking forward to putting up the tree the last week of November) and when D and I went out for a long overdue dinner date this week I was thrilled to hear them playing in the little restaurant a road over from our home. (he may have rolled his eyes ;)

Due to making like a girl scout and being prepared, I am now on round II of stocking stuffers. Because little C and I are pulling a near all-nighter getting ready for his sleep deprived EEG (tracking his petit mal seizures), I have the opportunity to make some of these felt stuffies I've been pinning on pinterest.

I'm thinking bunny deserves some new duds as well. what do you think? red cowboy boots? ;)
As the holiday season approaches, I'm looking forward to a mall-free season (FYI; if you want to skip the mall Santa lines, join us as we collect items for local babies & the food bank and get FREE pictures with Santa and a free book at the Hope library Saturday Dec 13 from 1:30-3:30) -- making it about more than the traditional hustle and bustle & focusing on spending time with loved ones, celebrating the reason for the season, and giving back.
Taking a break from the office to make up for last week's six day week. Behind me: date night (delicious, non-interrupted time with D), parent teacher interviews (which always make me fall in love with the kids' school all over again), and the watching of a great documentary on Netflix (happy -- which you will love if you are invested in being happier yourself and finding out the science behind it). Ahead of me: little c and me time (I spy celebratory Starbucks on the horizon and he is hoping to wrangle the brain scan from the technician for some investigation with his grade 5 science class), a playdate that doubles as girlfriend time for me and a couple of mommy friends, and a 2 day spiritual retreat. The sort of thing that fuels my scribing and keeps me sane. you know I like it.

Friday, October 17, 2014

celebrating other people turning 30 and growing up

my little sister turned thirty this week (not the blond one, but the one who has always signed her cards, "your little twin") and my mom, my sisters, and I are heading to the city to celebrate. because it is my day off I started it with a Netflix documentary. it was surprisingly poignant and worth the watch,a definite tribute to sticking with marriage and family, one of the reasons I like career coach blogger Penelope trunk as well. Read her latest punch to the gut post here. today promises to be a pack the bags with new thrift store duds and get out of town kind of day. should make for some good material.

Friday, July 25, 2014

quiet

this is how thrilling my Friday night is: Sally Hansen 330: Hard Drive, Matcha Kit Kat and Instagram review.

this is how tomorrow is shaping up: sun, 2 x celebrating the ten year old (read my baby aka little c -- I know -- I can't believe it either)'s bday

next week, he's gone to camp and I am figuring out magazine layout and other nit-picky computer jobs that are impossible to get done with an adventuring kidlet underfoot.

then I will only be distracting myself.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

in praise of the three Rs

 as much as I enjoy pinterest, nothing says lazy Saturday mornings like a stack of magazines, some lists on the back of receipts, (which land up being a mish mash of to do's, storylines, and trends to watch for) and a quick lavender French manicure. (easy DIY tip: run all over the end of your fingers with the polish and take it off after with a Qtip dipped in polish remover -- it allows you to make a smooth quick line)
 planned dinner party outfit -- (landed up switching out the earrings for something dangly) The thing I notice about thrifting is that nearly every trend I want to wear that shows up in magazines is probably something I already have in the closet or something that is waiting to be discovered at the thrift store. which either means people are buying trends and then not wearing them or there really is nothing new under the sun.
 missing button from this thrifted dress i love is fixed by rearranging buttons and pinning a jewelled pin I found at a flea market in Harrison in 2004 in the new missing spot. The thing I love about secondhand shopping is that it creates opportunity for each vendor along the way so the more reincarnations a piece has the better (many secondhand vendors are selling for humanitarian projects). I also love how it saves things from waste.
 even when clothing is done, it can still be recycled into something new: this frame waiting for the glue gun is covered with trim from a discarded blouse and an old postcard. (the rest of the shirt is waiting in my fabric stash)
thanks to a pocket door, our 1 and only farmhouse bathroom also doubles as a faux-ensuite. (thrilled to find the local dollar store was selling this vinyl wall sticker for a dollar and a quarter)

writing this week is piecing together the next project in the wings. I land up writing on a lot of scrap paper and many digital files and the throwing it all together and fleshing it out feels not unlike taking an interview and making it into an article or research into a paper.

if you're looking for a writing prompt, find one here

Saturday, May 31, 2014

signage, gilt, and speed housekeeping

 i'm not sure why i post signs like this in my kitchen. i have three boys. it's not like they need any encouragement.
 of all my thrifting adventures, I cherish the 25 cent finds the most. this gold cherub frame was one of those. I was explaining to friends the other day that tailoring life choices to your own quirky sense of self means there will be less competition for them. if everyone did the same thing you do, you be hard pressed to get an opportunity to do it. (supply and demand and all that) that applies to everything from how you spend your time to what you buy or don't (i keep leafing through this mini board book of d and my 1 night getaway a few years ago -- even though it takes a master scheduler to coordinate multiple boys' activities and supervision in our absence, I'm thinking it might be worth it...)
this feels like a good Saturday morning to me: blogging, reading some brain candy and texting friends. I'm giving myself another 10 minutes until I have to whirl this house into enough shape (read: cleaning like people are coming over in 20 minutes -- it means I won't have to spend more than 20 minutes on it) and can get on with the rest of my day: writing, puttering, visiting.

little c is in the middle of negotiating sales for his loft bed thanks to social media. he has great visions for its replacement. you know it involves collecting the rest of the household's belongings into his room -- the studio apartment for a nine year old that it is ;)

if you are looking for a prompt to start writing, click here

Monday, April 21, 2014

family time and other things that occupy us

mental note to self: take more pictures. the first event I pull my camera out for this year has been a quarter through the year. thank goodness for the right click save on FB.
 my family's easter dinner and spring birthday celebration was delicious and relaxing. (thanks, mom!)
 we've stretched out our celebrating until today so we have more goodies to distribute and ham to eat at our house.
 little c should have been a twin. look at me fitting in writing when he is otherwise occupied. sneaky, I know...    the countdown to book is close upon us. and summer is fast behind. my favorite, long day, fit-in-more-fun time of the year

Friday, April 11, 2014

it's spring. go outside.

 we took advantage of this first spring weather day to haul the living room table outside and paint it to match my Adirondack chairs. instant set for the cost of $1 paintbrushes (that was my rationale while the living room sat tableless for the week and D was wondering where to put his coffee cup in the meantime.)
 no wonder the middlest  and little c picked this tree to hold their tree fort -- check out the view. 10 points if you spot little c's silhouette reading off the ground.
a week later I came across this "tater bin" (as written on the tag in a local thrift store) great price, amazing workmanship, and weathered hinges. it had coffee table with book corralling storage written all over it. so I brought it home.

on the home front -- all three boys now have after school work to be driven to. little c couldn't be more thrilled to inherit some of the lawnmowing jobs the middlest did before getting a few hours at a local farm helping to feed calves. we've also added school track team and my soccer to the schedule because tis the season. if my stories take on a carpooling and athletic tone, you'll know why.

my reading team has their work cut out for them.e book launch is coming up in less than a month. and more exciting news to come. stay tuned.

Monday, March 03, 2014

stitching and other crafting

 Because we have two many pillowcases and not enough magic bags, and because the snow has cabined us in, little c has turned to whipping up practical gifts and I have been reading and writing.
  enjoyed girlchild by tupelo hassman. (and remembered to document it on good reads ) thought I would ever since I saw it reviewed in people magazine (surprising source for consistently good book recommendations)
off to polish up the stories that have tumbled out over the weekend.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

advent reads in newsprint

advent goodies to open has always been a tradition at our house. (see here  and) here the two oldest informed me mid last year that they were done with the doo dads to open every day in dec (i suppose it makes sense -- they are 13 and 16 ;) but it was a mental adjustment for me.




once i got over the ok, they're growing up, i decided to rework little c's advent tradition, inspired by this blogger and her wisdom on simple celebrating. I decided to pick up a book for each day for him to open and for us to read together at night. so it wasn't a crazy expense, I thrifted 23 picture books (which ranged from 25 cents to 1.00) from the local thrift store looking for classic goodies. I glued small rectangles of kraft paper over the previous owners' names and wrapped them in the kraft paper I had on hand (and when that ran out -- in the cardboard liner of other wrapping rolls, scrap art paper, and finally flyers out of my recycling) It made a cute stack and he is thrilled about the tradition. Thank goodness someone is still 9 :)

Friday, November 29, 2013

baking that hobbits prefer

this past week I watched this (with d, feeling ever so blessed to be surrounded by my family), read this (at every chance), listened to this (sung by my 16 year old and his buddy in their school talent show -- very entertaining) 5 stars all around
house that survived the building partnership (not pictured is the older brother who is too cool for blogs but not too cool for gingerbread)
note to self: do not buy prepackaged quilting fabric for kids' assignments. while I am proud of my middlest's quilting abilities -- this little dandy cost like it was from some where hipper than fabricland
70s unfolding tree I love holding court in the kitchen

given that it's Friday (day 1 of my three day weekend) it's one of those days I can do whatever I want, which turned out to be this : attended a work event this morning, delivered treats to d and his co-workers, stopped by my favorite thrift store, took little c to meet up with my mom and sister and little baby niece for a tall chai tea latte, bought 2 towels, made faux takeout, supervised annual gingerbread building (ok, I watched celeste and jesse forever (another 5 stars) in the living room while listening to them squabble about who was making the walls fall down ;) , planned holiday outfits to avoid shopping for anything new (have you seen those crowds?) and plan to write until late.

in the middle of more plot rearranging (will it ever end? ok I don't want it to...)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Economics and the 1920s -- not necessarily in that order

 d and I went to our monthly dinner party club last night where we met with our favorite dining peeps (the ones who don't shy away from a theme and go all out on their turn making dining magic happen) the theme was The Great Gatsby which meant my new haircut had purpose and d looked adorable in a bow tie.
 in my latest stack of library books was the one below -- insightful pretty much self page turning read. no matter what your approach to your relationship, I would bet u would find it speaks to you too. love books written by clever people.

this is my favorite time of year: the tree is on standby, I can't wait to start playing Christmas tunes ,and I've been wrapping stocking stuffers for some time now.

off to tidy up some more house before schlepping the kids back and forth to youth group. I have some time scheduled for plot rearranging this week. will let you know how it goes.
i'm not the only one who's psyched for holiday decorating. check out little c's coordinated lights and balloon chandelier -- I should be putting him in charge of the rest of the house ;)