Novice Novelist, Episode 1: 5 Things I Think of When Editing

Breaking news!: I have a new YouTube Channel!

This is an exciting new development for my platform, and I’m glad I get to share it with you. See below for more info on the why of this.

In the meanwhile, here is the first episode of The Novice Novelist!

I’ve been feeling a little lost in my platform efforts until I began preparing my Breathe Conference talk on growing from a small platform. As I began to research, I found that I wasn’t having fun with my platform and that was keeping me from wanting to grow it.

I was also missing some of the video production portions of my old job and wanted to grow my video editing skills (which are none) to something more marketable. This is how the Novice Novelist was born!

My goal is to make a video a month and post on the channel and the blog.

The Writing Show

This week’s post will be a little on short side. Things are really taking off with my novel, so sorry if I’m slacking off! (I figured your eyes could use a reading break from my verbose postings.)

For the past month, I have been doing some website work for a wonderful little weekly program, the Writing Show. It’s a splendid radio show that focuses on four things: passion, platform, conferences, and craft . The show broadcasts every Monday night at 8 on Blog Talk Radio with a rebroadcast on Saturday’s at noon. It’s like a weekly mini writer’s conference in the comfort of your home! The rest of this month and next features some wonderful writers including Tracy Groot, Susie Finkbeiner, Mike Wittmer and many many more. You can check out previous shows through their podcasts here!

I write the guests bios (more like piecing things together out of the author’s already-existing bio) and make sure the calendar is up-to-date. It’s not glamorous, but it is fun working with the tWS folks. I thought I’d pass this on to y’all. It’s a wonderful resource. Tune in Monday at eight, Saturday at noon, or subscribe to the weekly podcast!

xo,
          –Lex

My Bound Brain

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young writer in the process of a novel must be in want of a brain. Mine just happens to be worth spit when it comes to remembering my ideas.

I cannot tell you how many unfortunate moments I’ve experienced where I have had a wonderful idea and have just plumb forgot about it since I did not write it down.

Well forget no more!

The summer of my sophomore year of high school, I had the privileged of sailing around the North Channel in Ontario with a small band of writers. We sailed from beautiful anchorage to even-more-beautiful anchorage, writing, reading, discussing books, hashing out life, and really just learning from one another. That trip was foundational for me as a writer as well as a well-balanced, functioning member of society.

Among these wonderful writers was Tracy who was researching for a novel on Jonah. I observed her furiously writing notes in a little notepad and began to find that an ingenious solution to my forgetfulness. She would write down answers to questions she had about sailing, and take notes of inspiring sights around her. It was so simple, so brilliant–I knew I just had to jump on board the writing-important-stuff-down train.

Sine then, I have kept notepad, after notepad and have graduated up to a Molskine journal. I jot down plot twists, character traits, quotes, general observations, and pretty much anything that could be useful to my writing. I use a different color ink for each idea– just because I generally appreciate frivolity– and put to paper whatever comes to mind. I have been so thankful to this part of my process as I have had ideas months before I have come to the point when I need to write them into my novel or a blog post. My writing is richer because of this notebook, I have no doubt.

What has been a tool to you in your writing world? I’d love to hear from you either here or on Facebook or Twitter!

xo,
           –Lex

Waiting for the Write Time: 5 Tips on "Writing in the Cracks"

Hello world!

It is nearly the end National Novel Writing Month! (Also, No-Shave-November… one of these I find heavily disturbing, the other only mildly so. I’ll let you guess which one is which.) I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo… college tends to interfere with that, but I’m looking forward to taking a stab at it a year from now. Writing a novel in a month seems an impossible and therefore splendid task that I’d love to conquer.

To those of you partaking of this wonderful tradition, I’d love to give you some encouragement. For those of you who err on the sane side of things, I also want to encourage you about finding time in your crazy life to write. Here are my five tips on how to write in the “cracks.”

By cracks, I mean those spare bits of time that often go unnoticed and get tittered away doing who-really-knows-what. I often fill my cracks with facebook, pinterest, staring aimlessly into space…. Once I realized how much time I was wasting on nothing and how much more writing I could get done, I said, “No more!” and came up with five things I could do to write more without having to drastically change my life.

1.) Bring a notebook EVERYWHERE!
Seriously, this makes a HUGE difference… at least for me. I think about my writing a lot. If I get an idea for a scene, a character, or a blog post, I jot it down in my molskeine notebook. If I don’t jot it down, the idea is forgotten and I kick myself later. To save myself from forgotten brilliance, I have the notebook in my purse at all times. I can jot things down during a break at work, or even write a scene while waiting for appointments. My little notebook really is a lifesaver.

2.) Rehearse a scene
If your job is like mind, it’s pretty brainless. Honestly, I often feel that I am just being used for my hands… to push buttons! Not whatever you were thinking. Regardless, there is a lot of time for me to ponder the intricacies of life. And my novel. I’ll start composing in my head, figuring out where I want a chapter to go or how I will describe things when I actually get a chance to sit down and write. I either jot it in the book or write when I get home. It’s wonderful!

3.) Wake up a half-hour early/ stay up a half-hour late
This is probably my least favorite suggestion here. I LOVE my sleep. This is helpful, though, when your day is going to be pretty busy, but you know you need to get something down on the page. A half-hour is really not going to make or break how rested you feel and I find writing in the morning really energizing.

4.) Schedule a writing date… and keep it!
If I set aside an hour or so in my schedule for writing and writing alone, I am more likely to keep that. If I have an evening set aside for “catching up on things around the house” writing is usually not apart of it. Even though I could write in my discretionary time, I often don’t. I have begun to set aside some of that time as writing time, not just free time.

5.) Take a social networking break
You may have noticed that I have not been tweeting or posting on facebook as much a possible. There is a reason! I was spending a lot of time pouring into social networking for the blog that I was blogging less and, even worse, spending less time on my novel. The novel is priority number one in my writing world. The blog comes second and the social networking can go jump in the lake in this current season. Once my last class is finished and the move is done, things may change, but for now, I need the writing time. You probably do too! Take a break from facebook or pinterest for a day and spend your time instead on your writing. You may find a nice space for your writing in your day!

B-T-Dubs, I Write…

I have mentioned I’m a writer. I actually started this blog not to be just a place to rate books or rant about life after college, but also as a way to keep myself writing.

Deadlines are a must for me… kind of. I should say, rather, that consistency is a must. I cannot tell myself, “You must have your novel completed by Christmas… or else!” It won’t get done. I can tell myself to have a chapter written a week and I’ll have much better results. So what about those times when I don’t have a chapter to write? What if I don’t feel like approaching my fiction on a given day? Now that I am out of college, I have found I will not have to write as many short essays or to think further about what I’ve been reading. So how on earth am I supposed to keep myself writing?

Answer: blog!

By giving myself parameters of two blog posts a week (one if things are crazy or ideas are slow) I am giving myself the perfect way to keep up with my short fiction and creative non-fiction in the midst of writing my novel.

So what do I write? Growing up, I loved fairy tales and re-tellings. This is reflected in my current work as I approach a loose Robin Hood adaptation set on the high seas. Fantasy is interesting to me, but not something I enjoy writing. I find myself gravitating more towards paranormal fiction where only one thing is out of the ordinary or amiss, rather than an entirely different world that I now have to know everything about. I greatly respect those who can manage that. I am just not clever enough. I also believe you can’t go wrong with realistic fiction. I am prone to write romantic comedies, as much as I dread to admit that…

Writing and reading go hand-in-hand. I cannot tell you how many writing conferences I have been to where this has not been the resounding piece of advice given to new writers. I am just on the beginning of my writing journey and I can tell you these wise words have made all the difference in the world! What I read informs and inspires me in a way no other medium can. Finding a wonderful new author is like meeting a new mentor. Some of the writers I find most inspiring are Jane Austen, Gail Carson Levine, Daniel Nayeri, and Sophie Kinsella. It’s a random mix, I know, but the more I read, the more I find to read! Genres I once despised are becoming more appealing to me. (More on that later.)

One thing I have come to appreciate as I plunge deeper into the writing world is meeting other writers. There is something magical about people who love words. We love to talk about what we’re writing and what we love to read. I can talk shop for hours. If you ever want to discuss craft, books, or anything remotely literary, please shoot me an email!

I guess I just wanted to throw all of this out there as a chance to define this blog a little further. Yes, this is a blog about life outside of college, but it is also about the life of a writer outside of college. Writing is a team sport and I am excited to encourage and be encouraged by all of you as we embark on this journey as readers and writers together.

So who are my writers out there? What do you like to write? Who do you find inspiring to your writing?