This Word Makes You a Very Lazy Writer

This Word Makes You a Very Lazy Writer Blog Post via KLWightman.com
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We’ve all used this word when we think, when we speak and when we write. It’s very easy to do.

See? I just used it.

Didn’t catch it? Let’s try this again.

It’s not an elaborate word, a controversial word, an out-of-date word or a trending word. It’s a word that we slip in to our sentence at the very last moment to emphasize our point.

Missed it again? I’ll spell it out for you.

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National Day on Writing: What It Is

October 20 is the National Day on Writing
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October 20 is the National Day on Writing

Credit: truewoman.com

Autumn was created for writers. The crisp weather a great excuse for us to snuggle underneath a blanket with a good book. The changing leaves brings inspiration back to our writing projects.

Autumn is also the time for NaNoWriMo. And with around the corner in November, what better way to get ramped up than with an October day dedicated to writing?

Good news! National Day on Writing is October 20.

But what is National Day on Writing? Why is there a day that celebrates writing? And how can you celebrate?

So, What is National Day on Writing?

The National Day on Writing is held every year on October 20 (since 2009) to celebration the art and application of writing. The celebration, sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), is intended to promote the role that writing plays in our daily lives.

Why is There a National Day on Writing?

The NCTE established the National Day on Writing to draw attention to the variety of writing we all engage in to communicate with others and to express ourselves. The goals of National Day on Writing are to highlight:

  • The importance of writing instruction and practice for K-12 as well as college and graduate students
  • The lifelong journey of learning to write and compose for various purposes and audiences
  • The enjoyment that writing can bring to yourself and to others

How is This Different from Any Other Day?

For writers, every day is a day for writing. We make the time to write several times a week (if not every day) because completing our novels or screenplays or playscripts are important to us.

In fact, we understand the personal value of writing all throughout the year.

The National Day on Writing is to help us understand the value of writing outside of our writing project. To notice that we write emails, text messages, to-do lists, business plans, data reports–that many things we do in a day revolve around us writing out or typing out words.

How Can I Participate?

There are many ways that you can participate in the National Day on Writing.

  • Tweet about why you write with the #WhyIWrite hashtag. Don’t forget to include pictures, video or graphics with your tweet.
  • Take part in a poetry slam, writing marathon, journal read-in or any kind of writing event. Check out the event schedule at your local library, coffee shop, church or community center for ideas.
  • Read essays and articles about the importance of writing.
  • Write. Even if you do it alone. Even if you do it every day.

For more ideas on how to participate in National Day on Writing, visit NCTE’s website.

How does writing impact your life? Share your story below.

Making Time to Write

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After sitting down at my favorite café table (by a window, of course) while setting up my supplies and sipping a mocha, I did what I hadn’t done in a long time–I continued writing my novel.

 

Actually, I was outlining my novel.  But I’ll dig deeper into that in another blog post.

 

It’s been a month since I had carried on in my fictional journey.  And after reading over my previous notes, I leapt right back in: plotting out my plot, digging deeper into character quirks and histories, sculpting out more details in the scenery.

 

So what kept me from this project for so long?

 

A lot of things.  I’ve been submerged in job applications, holiday shopping, pet sitting, household chores, freelancing, and promoting my blog.

 

There’s never enough time for the writer to write.

 

Writers have lives beyond their world of writing, and it’s always difficult to jot down an idea when a baby’s crying or there’s a pressing deadline at work.

 

But these are excuses for not writing.  Not reasons.

 

The reason for not writing is simple: we don’t value writing enough to make it a priority.

 

Sure, “write story” is scribbled down on our to-do lists, but it’s at the bottom after “exercise” and “pick up dry cleaning.”  After everything else is crossed out on that list, it’s 9 at night and we’re too exhausted to pick up the pen.

 

I’ve been there…and currently am there.

 

Some days we won’t write because of Sally’s birthday or your nephew’s wedding or that big business presentation.  Some days we choose dedicate our time to the people, job, and occasions that we value.

 

But that’s a reason for a handful of days.

 

During periods like this when your writing becomes a dissolving note on your desk, what needs to be done is a reevaluation.

 

First, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Do you value your writing? 
  • How invested are you in your writing project? 
  • What would you do to make this writing project succeed?

 

You may find that you value writing as a hobby, or even a past flirtation.  Or you may find that you are desperate to get back and don’t know how to break this writing-less pattern.

 

Here’s how to bring value back into your writing:

 

Put your writing at the top of your to-do list.  Highlight it.  Underline it.  Surround it with exclamation points.  Write it in bright, unavoidable colors.  Your new mantra is “I will write today” and your new goal is making it fit into your schedule.

 

Schedule writing sessions.  Pick a time and place that you can realistically uphold.  Even once a week is more than never.  Even ten minutes is more than never.  Make a commitment and dedicate yourself to keeping it.

 

Have a writing plan. Take the intimidation out of writing and know what you need to work on.  Make the task as specific as possible.  When your writing session is done, define what needs to be done next time. 

 

Don’t complete your sentence.  One of my favorite writing tips: leave off your writing session in the middle of a sentence.  If this is too painful for you to do, end your session in the middle of a scene.  You are more willing to return to your writing when you are going to finish writing exciting action or complete that big revelation.

 

Join a writing group or online community. Writing groups keep regular meeting dates, regular assignments, and regular support and encouragement.  You get to see your readers and hear what they have to say about your writing.  Wanting to give your readers more to read will bring more value to your writing.  This will also motivate you to keep a set writing schedule and to improve your writing.

 

Make use of down time.  While you’re in the elevator, driving down the road, or waiting for your leftovers to heat in the microwave, brainstorm!  Pick something small that needs work (a character’s motivation in a scene or the next plot turn) and shoot around ideas in your head.  Small problems can be solved in spare intervals.  And, if you think you’ll forget it, scribble down your solution.

 

Since my last writing session, I can’t stop thinking about my story.  I fall asleep every night planning out the events of my story and exploring my characters’ histories.  I am keeping the excitement of writing alive in my life even when I’m not writing. So when I finally get around to picking up the pen, I will be eager to do so. 

Blogging: Defining What and Why

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I had a blog back in 2008 when blogs were still fairly new.  It was for my writing capstone class at college and every student was assigned to write blogs analyzing our reading assignments with our class discussions on defining genre in writing.  Many students in the class wrote hesitantly and rather stiffly in their blogs, perhaps longing for the traditional structure of writing a short paper meant only for the professor’s eyes.

But I ran wild with blogging: I scrutinized over every word in the readings, took notes and spoke confidently during class discussions, brainstormed the story arc of my blog entry, tweaked entry passages to make it even cleverer before I hit submit.  My competitive nature turned each week into a challenge to write the most insightful, most creative, wittiest blog.  I wanted to make my readers laugh, to think, to frown, to roll their eyes—and all because of what I wrote.

So why did I stop blogging?

For starters, the class ended.  Then there were part-time jobs and studying abroad and finishing senior year and graduate school applications and graduate school and holidays that required traveling and thesis after thesis after thesis.

In short, I let my life get in the way.

I had always wanted to return to blogging, but I let insecurities hold me back.  Blogs must be complicated to start, too expensive to maintain, too demanding of my time, too miniscule in the big world of blogging to even be read.

Some of my insecurities were backed by facts.  There are currently over 56 million WordPress blogs, and that doesn’t include the millions more blogs hosted by Tumblr, Blogger, TypePad, Posterous, or even blogs that don’t use blog publishing websites.  Companies blog, people blog, brands blog, organizations blog, foundations blog–everyone is blogging!

I didn’t get the confidence to even start up again until I attended the Rochester Writers’ Conference this year at Oakland University.  I sat as a student in one session about blogging and I scribbled down lines of notes about how easy it was to start a blog and how financially pleasing it was to maintain it and the strategies to bring eyes upon my blog.  I couldn’t wait to go home and set up an account.

So why did it take me another month to start?

I didn’t know what to write about.   Blogs aren’t random ramblings but rather thought episodes on a particular expertise or interest.  Blogs aren’t scattered ideas but authoritative accounts on fixing cars or relationship advice or examples of world improvement or even a writer’s way of life.  Blogs are where the writer shines as an expert, and I didn’t want to take my expertise lightly.

I also needed to decide who would be my audience.  Blogs are audience-driven, and readership depends on how well researched, how captivating, how grammatically correct, and how honest the writer writes.  This audience component pushes the writer to catch a new reader’s attention and to hold that attention for weeks, months, years.  Blogs can exist in the vast World Wide Web, but it turns into another dusty book on a library shelf if not read.

So I closed my eyes and imagined my future readers.  I saw someone with overcrowded bookshelves because of an obsession with reading and writing.  I saw someone who just started taking a creative writing class at the community college.  I saw someone who loves to network, who loves to listen, who loves to learn.  I saw someone who has the confidence to be an expert but not knowing where to start.  I saw me.  I saw you.

So, after my four-year hiatus, I decided to blog about my journey in developing a writing career so that, through triumphs and failures, we go through our journeys together.