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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Writer’s Conference = Productivity!

It’s a beautiful day outside the window of my writing cave. I wish I had gone for a bike ride instead of driving to the gym to work out, but let’s face it. It wasn’t this nice when my schedule dictated I head to the gym. 

What? you say. Kristi with a schedule? How bizarre. Tell me about it.

Last weekend I went to the 21st Annual South Coast Writer’s Conference in Gold Beach. As usual. (I’ve only missed 5 of the 21, I think.) This year I got a lot of bang for my buck. Not that I don’t normally, but this year they had some great speakers on topics I really needed to hear about if I am going to take a proper crack at writing full time.
Managed to get SOME time on the beach!

I spent Friday in an all-day intensive workshop about the serious business of writing, facilitated by Jason Brick. One of many things he taught that really resonated with me is, “The more you don’t want to have a schedule, the more you need one.”

Sigh. So, here I am. Writing a blog post because it is on my newly developed schedule. But you know what, instead of resenting it and fighting it, I’m actually enjoying the process. This is coming off as more “stream of consciousness” writing, but that is part of the plan, too. 

Another presenter, Eric Witchey, taught that there are no wrong ideas. Or more precisely, the only wrong idea in writing is the one that never gets written down.

I came away with so many wonderful tools. Like how to use a Pomodoro timer to focus on my writing. To me it is comparable to what I learned in a 12 Step program: You can do for 30 minutes what you can’t imagine doing all day. Then you take a break and start the timer again. In this way you train yourself to focus and cut out the distractions.

Another tool is also courtesy of Mr. Witchey. Use a metronome to trigger ideas. Train yourself that with every tock of the metronome you come up with one idea – this is great for the brainstorming stage of writing. Each idea may be more wild and outrageous than the last, but something in that maelstrom of ideas will be the perfect torture to put my characters through. 

I anticipate not spending quite so long pondering plot points, but rather coming up with more gut wrenching plots for your entertainment. My goal for the future is to not just entertain you with my stories, but really affect you with them. It’s time to move beyond the fluff, the mind-candy, and make some seriously memorable fiction you’ll want to read again and again.

Part of my new schedule is a promise to myself, and to anyone who does me the honor of following me, to faithfully write a blog post every Wednesday, and to post a newsletter on the first Saturday of each month. I tend to worry about producing content that people will find interesting, but with these new tools, I’m confident I can entertain you. Yes. Confident. Really.

And what do you knownow it's raining! This is all I have for today, but I will surely expand on it for the Newsletter, so keep your eyes open for it. You can sign up on my website - or visit the page to see it posted. I will also post a link to it here in the Bounded in a Nutshell blog.

Until then... Thrive, my friends.

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