Tag Archives: work in progress

Monday Craft Tips #5: Doing warm-up exercises before tackling your work-in-progress

Word choice.

It is so important to us as writers to use words and to use them well. But how to you do that without getting horribly self-conscious and giving yourself a nice case of writer’s block?

What you shouldn’t do, is read your own work as if you were reading Chekhov. Or Nabokov. Or Hemingway. If I did that, I’d become so intimidated and self-conscious I would freeze up.

Writing craft or a writer’s technique has to be practiced away from the work in progress. It’s like doing Sevcik exercises for the violinist, or Czerny exercises for the pianist. You should start your practice (or daily writing stint) with craft exercises. Buy yourself a big dictionary and hunt for words. Pick up a grammar book and try some exercises for 5 minutes.  Do a daily (or almost daily) writing prompt. Sit in your chair and analyze your writing. What should you practice next? Words? Sentences? Paragraphs? Grammar? Then put that aside and get down to your work in progress.

But before you start your work in progress, imagine. Imagine that you are about to have the best time. You are going to be sly, manipulative and teasing. You will say the most outrageous things. You will be ambiguous. And with those thoughts in mind, start writing. Enjoy yourself. Let it flow. Then wait at least 24 hours before you put on your editor’s hat and analyze.

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Writers Conferences

Writing conferences are important, not only because you have a chance to network and meet people, but also because you may learn interesting things. When I think about going to a conference, I first check the faculty or the list of speakers.  What is each person’s bio, what have they written, would they be the kind of writer who might understand my WIP? Then I look at the sessions. Is there anything that I particularly need to learn, or do I know it already? Is there going to be time to talk to the speaker? Are there special sessions where you can meet an agent or an editor? Lastly, I look at practical things like travel, accommodation and date.

Where can you find out about writing conferences?  Check out the Shaw Guide to Writers Conferences, Poets and Writers, and Writers Digest.

If you have been to any interesting conferences, feel free to comment below.

Image: aliceosborn.com

Next: I participate in my first webinar

–Cynthia Haggard writes novels.  She is currently seeking representation for ONE SEED SOWN, TWO MURDERS REAPED, the Richard III story told from the point of view of his mother. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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Filed under About Cynthia, Conferences, How to Publish Your Novel, Promoting Yourself