Just Write

When the final product satisfies.

Whether you write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, songs, or whatever you write, this might help understand why the final product isn’t working. Excerpted from “Rough it Up,” by Elizabeth Sims, Writer’s Digest Magazine, February 2009, Get messy with your first draft to get to the good stuff.  As Ernest Hemingway famously said, “The first draft of anything is sh*t.” For years, I didn’t understand. When I started writing fiction seriously, I kept trying to get it right the first time. Over time, as I got rougher with my first drafts, my finished work got better and better. Why does a coherent first draft give birth to a stilted finished product? Because it means you haven’t let it flow. You haven’t given yourself permission to make mistakes because you haven’t forgiven yourself for past ones. Admit it: Unless your throttle’s wide open, you’re not giving it everything you’ve got. Creativity in writing…

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NaNoWriMo-Is it for you?

Have you heard of NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month. “NaNoWriMo believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.” —NaNoWriMo website “A month of NaNoWriMo can lead to a lifetime of better writing.” Grant Faulkner, founder and creator of NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel during the thirty days of November. Each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand-new novel — but that’s not all that NaNoWriMo is! NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit organization that supports writing fluency and education. It’s a teaching tool, it’s a curriculum, and its programs run year-round. Whatever you…

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Myths and Realities of Blogging

I recently spoke at a meeting of the Writers of the Mendocino Coast, a branch of the California Writers Club, on the subject of blogging. I recommend the blogs and books mentioned below. And of course there are many other blogs, books, and information about blogging on the world wide web. Highlights from my talk on “Myths and Realities of Blogging” If you don’t have a blog, but think you should, something to think about is why? Why should you have an author blog? “Blogging is simply a medium that allows you to connect with people who love the same books, hobbies and activities you do.”  — Gabriela Pereira, May/June 2018, Writer’s Digest magazine Author Blog Find Your Target Audience: Read the reviews of books in your genre on Amazon or Goodreads. Use words from the reviews for your headlines and tags in your posts. What to Post Stories about…

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Freewrites: Opening Doors to Discoveries

Notes from Marlene Cullen’s talk about freewrites. Scroll down for links about how to use freewrites and how to write about difficult subjects without adding trauma. I gave a talk about freewrites at the Redwood Branch of the California Writers Club. I’m sharing my notes so you, too, can enjoy the freewrite method of writing. I love freewrites because they are so . . . freeing. Freewrites can open doors to discoveries. I was thrilled to discover freewrites, unlike short story and novel writing, this was something I could do. I hope these tips help make your freewrites fun and successful in inspiring your writing.  What is a freewrite? A freewrite is writing spontaneously with no thinking. Just putting down word after word, with no worries about spelling, punctuation, how it will sound, and no worries about the final product. Sometimes when you are engrossed in your writing project and…

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Worries

Do you write personal things in your journal? Are you able to write what you are really thinking? Do you worry about writing something too personal? What if someone finds your notebook and reads it? Yes, someone could find your notebook and read it and . . . what? Think lesser of you? Find out what you are really thinking? Would that end your relationship? Or, perhaps change it? You could go through life worrying and not doing what you really want to do for fear of what others might think. Or, you can trust that your need to express yourself through writing is more powerful and more important than these worries. You can burn or destroy your notebooks every so often. But then you wouldn’t be able to access these precious memories that you archived. Simple solution: Keep your notebook in a safe place. And trust in the process….

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One slice of the point of view pie

There are many articles and books about point of view. The following is an excerpt from a talk given by author Jim Dodge. Narrator – Who tells the story. The most used pov: First person and third person. There are three types of first person point of view. First person direct. First person indirect. First person objective. First person direct: Protagonist carries conflict and is usually involved. Direct – “it happened to me.” When narrator carries conflict = direct perception. This is the most difficult point of view to work with – has to be compelling voice to hold readers’ interest. If you can pull it off, it’s powerful. Stories move in time and space. Problems with first person point of view: person has to be “everywhere” to get information. First person indirect: Reflective, or indirect: narrator does not carry conflict. Narrator is a character and in a relationship with…

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Another reason to Just Write!

“Studies show that writing by hand, rather than typing, improves information processing as well as the ability to remember what you’re writing about. Take your learning to the next level by using your brain for what it does best: fusing existing and new information. . . . Crack open a book and once you’ve finished it, write a Goodreads or Amazon review. You might be surprised at what you come up with while mulling it over again.” — “Brain Fitness,” November 2015 Real Simple magazine. Note from Marlene: You will be helping authors and improving your brain fitness at the same time when you review a book and post on Amazon or Goodreads. And if you are inclined, consider writing a review of the Write Spot Books and post on Amazon. The Write Spot to Jumpstart Your Writing: Discoveries The Write Spot to Jumpstart Your Writing: Connections The Write Spot: Reflections…

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About Anthologies

What do you think when you hear a book is an anthology? Some people may be delighted with thoughts of reading from a variety of authors. Others may groan, remembering antiquated stories in outdated books. Me? I’m excited to produce anthologies so that a diverse group of writers can be introduced into the writing scene. My third anthology, The Write Spot: Reflections was recently published with the help of two authors who didn’t even know they were cheering me on. Eleanor Henderson and Anna Solomon, co-editors of Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today’s Best Women Writers, wrote an article, “Labor of Love,” printed in Poets & Writers magazine, May June 2014. “Labor of Love” was my steadfast companion on my journey from “What am I doing?” and “Will this work?” to the completion of three anthologies. Excerpt from “Labor of Love” “We’ve always loved anthologies. As new writers, we…