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10 07, 2024

Keeping Accountable

By |2024-07-17T11:16:31-04:0007/10/2024|The Practice|0 Comments

A writer is one who writes. How are you doing with your self-identification as a “writer”? How does that word sit with you? Are you committed to being a writer. Well, writing happens best when we make it a habit and we make it repeatable. You need to A) do it consistently B) do it enough and not too much each day. (Don’t burn out!) I suggest finding a good minimum number to shoot for each day, either in WORDS or MINUTES. I started out, way back when, writing for two hours per day. Man, was that hard! And ineffective. I spent so much time sitting there, struggling to have the time go by. I mean, I learned to sit and it grounded me, slowed my world down, but it didn’t need to be as hard as I made it. When I hear writers say what their goals are, they usually start around one or two hours. That’s A LOT! Think about the runner who wants to run a marathon: it’s more important how many days she runs than it is how many miles she runs on a given day. What happens to this runner if she starts out shooting [...]

28 06, 2024

Can’t Cook with Cold Grease

By |2024-07-17T11:15:50-04:0006/28/2024|The Practice|0 Comments

Or: Valleys are harder to get out of than peaks. The Challenge: One of the biggest challenges in writing, as I’m sure you know, is facing that blank page. Especially first thing in a writing session when you’re feeling cold, tired, not yet plugged in. Maybe you’re still distracted or thinking about other things in your day. It happens! I talked before about loosening up the mental writing muscles a bit by journaling as a way to start, AND, what happens next? Sometimes we can fall into one of these two threat areas: 1) Staring at the screen or page and having nothing come up 2) Another is hopping into some endless loop of copyediting the prior days’ material. Both of these don’t feel good, lead to “stuckness” instead of momentum, and make blocks instead of flow. Instead of only thinking about how we start in a case like this, let’s look back to how we end a day’s writing session for some help.   Look at How You End a Day's Work Often when I’m writing I can get into a flow: I know where a given scene is going, the sentences are coming easily, I’m going good. Somewhere [...]

18 06, 2024

When do you write during the day?

By |2024-07-17T11:18:12-04:0006/18/2024|The Practice|0 Comments

Is there some kind of regularity to it? If not, that’s probably making things harder for you. We live most easily with patterns, systems and yes, routines. In James Clear’s book Atomic Habits he introduces the concept of “stacking habits” to help you achieve the things you want. Let’s say, for example, that you want to write first thing in the morning, which just happens to be when I find it easiest and best to get my own writing done. At this point, I know certain things I do every morning: I make and eat eggs with greens for breakfast. On school days, my daughter makes her own lunch, eats, then goes outside to get the bus. After she’s gone, I do a short yoga practice, then shower, and write. I love this practice because it gets me to my writing spot right when the winter sun hits it, which on cold days literally brightens my day! In Clear’s terms, I’ve stacked the habits of food, family, yoga, and then writing. Because I don’t want to miss any of them, I do all of them. In this way the writing gets done. Come back for my next post, which will [...]

13 06, 2024

Flow

By |2024-07-17T11:19:06-04:0006/13/2024|The Practice|0 Comments

It’s not always the same. Every day is different. Life intervenes. Your practice will change.  You’re not the only one in the world. So listen to the world around you. Listen to your loved ones, listen to yourself. Make space to hear that quiet inner voice that knows you so well—not the one that’s judgy, but the one that’s kind, the one that’s there to offer you love. Loving yourself is so important. Self-kindness will take you farther than always cracking the whip, pushing for discipline and “working harder.” After all, this is a long game.  You’re not going to finish the project this week or this month. Not completely. So pace yourself. Be ready for the long haul because that’s where your best work is.  To do this right you have to listen carefully to the world, your loved ones, and your own heart. Your practice requires it.  Have you meditated lately?  On the words? On the draft?  On your breath?

6 06, 2024

Toiling in the dark?

By |2024-06-10T09:38:59-04:0006/06/2024|Book Coaching, The Practice|0 Comments

Are you tired of toiling in the dark, not getting feedback you can rely on, not knowing if you’re on the right track or where your book is really headed? Maybe you’re struggling to find the story, worrying you’ll hit a dead end, or writing on and on without finding your end. Or have you felt like you’ve been writing for a long time, hoping that your prose and scene-creation are good enough, but not getting any firm answers on quality from someone you can trust? Maybe your friends say your writing is good, but you only get rejections when you submit. Want to know if your book is any good? I’ve been there. I went to writing workshops, took classes, workshopped with friends, even got significant feedback—marked pages from my mother and my grandmother. Guess what: my mom loved my first book; my grandmother didn’t understand it. Was that book any good? Oh, not at all. It was a huge tome that I showed to anyone who was willing, even printing out extra copies at work or running them off on a copier—250 pages at a time! I gave it to friends, acquaintances, girlfriends, almost anybody. Bound 3-ring [...]

6 06, 2024

Unlock Your Writing Potential with Write With Seth Coaching: Your Path to Book Writing Success

By |2024-07-17T11:21:34-04:0006/06/2024|The Practice, Writing Coaching|0 Comments

Unlocking your writing potential is the key to transforming your dreams of becoming a successful author into a reality. At Write With Seth Coaching, we understand the challenges and uncertainties that aspiring authors face. Whether you're just starting out with a spark of an idea or you've already begun your writing journey but find yourself stuck in the midst of it, we're here to support you every step of the way.   Located in Northampton, MA, Write With Seth Coaching offers a comprehensive range of services tailored to meet the unique needs of writers at any stage of their creative process. As your book writing coach, creative writing mentor, and publishing coach, we provide the expert guidance and personalized support necessary to help you achieve your writing goals and bring your vision to life.   Are you bursting with ideas but unsure how to shape them into a cohesive narrative? Our book writing coaching services are designed to provide you with the tools and techniques you need to develop your story from concept to completion. Whether you're struggling with plot development, character arcs, or finding your voice as a writer, we're here to offer guidance, encouragement, and practical advice to [...]

2 06, 2024

How I Write

By |2024-07-17T11:20:43-04:0006/02/2024|The Practice|0 Comments

The Practice - Post 9   What I do:   I open up a blank Word document (yes, I still use Word, youngsters) and date it with today’s date. Sometimes I add the time. Then I start to journal a few thoughts and ideas or concerns, what the morning looks like.  Today, being the last day of my daughter’s vacation, I mentioned being the first one up in the house, the snow in our backyard and slush on our deck. I write whatever comes up, comes to mind. Maybe I even add a few To Do items for later. And then, when I’m ready—this always comes relatively soon—I get to the longer project I’m working on. Today it took me 65 words to get there. I don’t usually count the words there, but MS Word makes that easy. When I’m really going on the draft of a longer project, sometimes I’ll write the total word count for that project before I begin, then I’ll come back later and use it to establish how many words I’ve written that day. This is where my goals come in: how many words I want to do on the longer project, always a minimum, these [...]

31 05, 2024

Bless Yourself

By |2024-06-10T09:38:41-04:0005/31/2024|The Practice, Writing Coaching, Writing Tips|0 Comments

 Build Your Book Writing Practice As you keep at it, sooner or later you’ll have a moment where you want to write. Maybe out of the blue or after a fun thing you’ll be called to the keyboard or laptop or notebook and pen.  Follow that. Go to the page and embrace it, follow this lead toward your joy.  After all, that’s a big part of what you wanted from writing, isn’t it? Joy. Breathe into that. Recognize that it’s something you want, something you deserve and accept.  If that doesn’t feel right or feels awkward, just go with it for now. Accept. This is what starts to happen: the energy that you put into this thing, THIS PRACTICE, it comes back around, it draws you toward it, offers energy back to you, gives you presents. When they come, if you can get to the writing DO IT. If not, jot a note somewhere, enough just to save the thought or a piece that you’ll remember, and get back to it the next time you’re scheduled to write. Or the next time you can. Ideas will start to arise, words will start to flow. Follow them. Whatever comes, instead of [...]

29 05, 2024

Small Steps

By |2024-06-10T09:45:22-04:0005/29/2024|The Practice, Writing Tips|0 Comments

 Build Your Book Writing Practice At first it won’t seem like much. And lots of judgments will come up. You’ll judge yourself as not good enough, think the work is poor. It doesn’t matter. It never matters. This is a part of the process. The practice. The work. Keep at it. Things will start coming together. Just for today: let this much be enough.

23 05, 2024

When to talk with a Writing Coach?

By |2024-07-17T11:22:40-04:0005/23/2024|Book Coaching, Writing Coaching, Writing Tips|0 Comments

OR: How can a book coach help you? First, some news: I recently became accredited as a Certified Author Accelerator Book Coach. It was a fantastic process that helped me learn some new tools and tactics for evaluating clients’ writing, helping them grow, and particularly in organizing a longer book—a memoir or a novel. With this new training, I’ve got a few new programs that I’ll be offering. One is a Blueprint for a Book. Another is a Novel Pitch Coaching Series. I’m excited to talk more with you about them both and will be building new pages for these offers in the near future. For now, I’d like to offer you—the gentle reader who’s been following already—a chance to schedule a free discovery session to talk with me about your writing. LET'S DO IT: Book a Discovery Call Here’s a bit more context about when book coaching might make sense for you. Do any of these feel true for you: 1) You’re done with a draft but haven't worked it to death. You also can't tell if it's good enough. Deep down, you dread it's not. 2) You want to learn to revise. You’ve tried a few strategies [...]

20 05, 2024

Routine

By |2024-06-10T09:37:52-04:0005/20/2024|The Practice, Writing Tips|0 Comments

After a time, it won’t be a question anymore. After some time and practice and making it to the desk every morning or day or whenever you find the right, consistent time and place for you, for your writing, it will become a routine. This is where your body takes over. Like a worker who wakes at 6:30 every morning, even on days when she doesn’t have to, the body takes over, answers the questions, and has you ready to do the work. Then it’s a built-in habit. Call this a routine. And then? You can let go a little and let the flow of the practice take you downstream. Downstream is toward your best work, the work you are called to do, even if you don’t know it yet. Downstream, with the pull and ease of the current, the way your body wants to flow, you’ll write into something new, something important. Maybe even something you didn’t know was there. This feeling, the routine, is there for you. Build a habit, show up consistently, and soon your practice has grown: you’re writing more than you thought possible, and different ideas are popping up—not when you’re driving or in the [...]

16 05, 2024

Write through the Fear

By |2024-06-10T09:31:10-04:0005/16/2024|The Practice, Writing Tips|0 Comments

Today I worry that perhaps now I don’t know how or when to put it down. Or if it makes sense to ever take a break. And it must. Right? There must be some days where I just need to take off and rest. I have days where I wonder if I’m writing because of fear or because I want to. And when I do write, when I show up and sit down to it, I know it doesn’t matter. I know the best thing to do is to show up, write my way through it, and keep going. Just show up, write through, trust. Sure, some days are days to take off. And other days are hard ones to follow through on the writing practice, even when I want to write and know that I need to. Not because of some exterior metric or promise, but because I need it for me. Because this is what I promised myself. Because this is what I do. So, two things: 1) Sometimes there’s a “NO” in response to showing up and it’s worth listening to. Hear it, let yourself off the hook, don’t force it. Sometimes doing this at one point [...]

14 05, 2024

The Practice

By |2024-06-10T09:30:35-04:0005/14/2024|The Practice, The Practice|0 Comments

Do you have a writing practice? You might call it a process or a habit or even a compulsion. What I really mean is: do you write regularly? A certain number of times per week for a minimum number of minutes or minimum words?   Do you do this? Stick to it?   Make it happen consistently?   If not, my bet is you’re shooting too high—trying to do it every day or for more minutes than is reasonable right now or… it’s just something that’s not working for you.   And that’s OK. I’ll say it again: THAT IS OK.   You’re here because you care about your writing, right? You’re reading this right now because you want to write. So breathe into that. Whatever’s coming up, it’s not guilt or shame or good or bad; it’s just your connection to the desire to write.   Call it excitement! It's a gift. where you are: If your goal was to run daily or even three times per week (see my friend Terrell’s substack if you want more info on how to build a running practice), you have to start where you are. You can’t jump in and start [...]

12 03, 2021

Writing From the Bottom Up

By |2024-05-21T10:36:48-04:0003/12/2021|Writing Tips|0 Comments

Meaning, Sense, and Clarity One of my teachers at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Frank Conroy, created a model for how fiction should work, the famed “Conroy Pyramid” that looks like this: It isn’t entirely important what’s on top; what matters most is the foundational elements that Conroy swore by: Meaning, Sense, and Clarity. These were his Holy Trinity, the three guides to good writing. In his terms, if you focused on these three, just these, all the rest would take care of itself. And full disclosure: doing just these three well is not easy. It’s more than enough for all and the best of us to handle. HOWEVER. And this is a big however. Many beginning writers start out their stories with big ideas. They have theses to prove, readers to convince of their intelligence, critics to impress. And… and they’ve drawn a lot of influence from the wonderful books they’ve read. Those books, for many writers, are what got them here--brought them to try writing in the first place. But it’s a deadly recipe, this “top-down writing.” The fact is, there’s a limit to how much even the best writers can control the top-level thinking, the ideas and themes [...]

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