Write On, Wednesday: Sharpening the Saw

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By Leslie Lindsay

We writer’s need continuing education like the rest of us.  Writing may not be life or death as in my former career as an R.N. where we needed to do annual competancies, CPR re-certification, and CEUs….but it is just as vital.  And I do mean that in all ways–vital to making our writing stand out, and vital to the inner writer–those of us who feel we may die if we don’t get our daily word count in.  Of course, we aren’t going to die, but well…our words tend to atrophy.

So, I am gearing up for a season of conferences and retreats.  Ha!  I say that as if I am going to be shipped off to a writer’s colony or something.  Alas, I am going to just two events this year (at least that I know of).

This weekend, is the Spring Fling Conference held here in Chicagoland (http://www.chicagospringfling.com/) It’s really geared towards those who write romance.  Folks like Fern Michels, Nora Roberts, & Carly Phillips (I only know those names because I am sitting here at the library where the stack of romance novels stare back at me.)  Well, I don’t write romance.  Or, maybe I do?  Actually, I think all of women’s fiction has a little bit of romance laced in, anyway.  I am more along the lines of Caroline Leavitt, Anne Lamott, Jodi Piccoult, maybe even Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner.  But, I am registered to go and really excited to learn some news ways to hone my craft.  It can’t hurt, right?

In June, I head out to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for an entire glorious week of learning, writing, and solitude.  It’s the “Write by the Lake” retreat.  (http://www.dcs.wisc.edu/lsa/writing/wbtl/).  It’s  actually my first time at a “retreat.”  I am a retreat virgin!  I can’t wait.  It’s going to be great.  I am enrolled in a class entitled “Ways to Write a Bestseller.”  Yeah…guess I am starting at the top, huh?  But, why not?!  We all want to write a bestseller.  Again, I figure: it can’t hurt.  So maybe I won’t churn out a NYT bestseller, but I may learn something in the process.  We’ll see….

What will you be doing this spring/summer to push your writing to the top?  Perhaps it’s time to formulate some goals.  Here are some ideas:

  • Write daily
  • Write a certain number of words daily (500-1000 is a good start)
  • Do a certain amount of research daily (be careful here–it’s easy to turn an entire day or more into “research” when in fact you are just checking your Facebook page)
  • Take a writing class
  • Publish a newspaper or magazine article
  • Start and maintain a blog
  • Polish up your query letters
  • Query an agent

Really, the list is endless.  Make a plan and actualize it.  Write on, Wednesday!

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