Monday, December 4, 2017

Be a Fearless Writing Warrior



From Kate’s Writing Crate…


Fearless Writing in action: Don’t write what you know. Write what you love.

According to William Kenower, author of Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write with Confidence, “Love is the foundation on which every successful writing career is built.” (page 43)

I can attest to this. I love my over-15-year-long writing career.

Every month for two magazines and their Facebook pages, I write at least five essays and every topic is one I love. While the word counts run from 450-1,000, I can write them on demand simply because I choose topics I love. Words just flow out onto the page. When the words stop, then I rewrite, revise, edit, and polish until I’m happy with the essay and it meets the word count. This doesn’t even feel like work, but it does take a lot of time.

I also write several articles monthly. While I don’t always get to choose the topics, I love writing these articles so readers discover something new or are entertained, or, hopefully, both. In truth, this feels more like work, but it’s work I love so I count myself lucky.

Added to that, I’ve spent over five years writing weekly posts for this blog. It’s never felt like work because I’m writing about writing—a topic I love.

In another example, best-selling author Louise Penny notes she had spent five years writing a book she thought she should write. Frustrated, she looked at her nightstand and saw only murder mysteries, which she loved, and realized she was writing the wrong book.

Now writing a book a year, she is thirteen books into her Inspector Gamache series. She has won five Agatha Awards and the loyalty of legions of fans as well—including me.

Write what you love and you will never be afraid of a blank page.

You’ll also be a Fearless Writing Warrior.

Next post will be on January 1, 2018.







            

Monday, November 20, 2017

Fearless Writing Warrior Moves to Monthly Posts


From Kate’s Writing Crate…


As I wrote last week: I’m at a crossroad. Do I continue to encourage others to write even though Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write with Confidence by William Kenower is the best book on writing/being a writer I’ve ever read? (Frankly, if you want to be a writer read that book. If it doesn’t help you write I honestly don’t know what will.) Do I stop writing the blog and concentrate on my writing projects that have been planned, but now, motivated by Fearless Writing, I’m raring to complete and generate income? Or do I also write the blog as a Fearless Writing Warrior (FWW) as Cheryl now calls us?

I have decided to continue writing the blog as a Fearless Writing Warrior. I am changing this blog to a once a month post as I have a lot of writing to do for my income-generating projects.


Please check in on the first Monday of each month to see fearless writing in action.




Monday, November 13, 2017

Becoming a Fearless Writing Warrior



From Kate’s Writing Crate…


          Cheryl and I started this blog to encourage others too scared or scarred to write. We shared thoughts on every aspect of writing we knew from experience: remembrances as newbies and as current writer/author and writer/editor to show readers they could have writing careers, too.

          I am proud of our posts. When we started, we had long lists of topics which we exhausted. However, the pressure of a weekly blog squeezed thoughts out of us so we didn’t disappoint our readers. Many of those are my favorite posts.

I wasn’t sure when or if I would run out of topics so reaching the fifth anniversary was fun and surprising. I thought I could keep going, but then I read Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write with Confidence by William Kenower.

Frankly, if you want to be a writer read that book. If it doesn’t help you write I honestly don’t know what will.

So I’m at a crossroad. Do I continue to encourage others to write even though Fearless Writing is the best book on writing/being a writer I’ve ever read? Do I stop writing the blog and concentrate on my writing projects that have been planned, but now, motivated by Fearless Writing, I’m raring to complete and generate income? Or do I also write the blog as a Fearless Writing Warrior (FWW) as Cheryl now calls us?

The writing advice that we all first learn—show, don’t tell—makes me think I have told you about Fearless Writing, but I haven’t shown you.

I’m going to give some thought to changing the focus of this blog to Fearless Writing Warrior. I’ll let you know what I've decided next week.

In the meantime, read William Kenower’s book Fearless Writing and become a Fearless Writing Warrior, too.



Monday, November 6, 2017

Reads for Writers: Fearless Writing by William Kenower 2nd Review



From Kate’s Writing Crate…


As a reader, I always love finding books that appeal to me. As a writer, I am twice as pleased when the authors also provide masterclasses within their books.
          Masterclasses take place when performance artists and musicians work one-on-one with students. Writers don’t generally have this option, but I have found some books to be masterclasses for characters, backstories, plots, settings, voice and/or creativity.

         
          In a previous blog, I explained how I decided whether a book was worth a review. First, I mark up a book as I read it. I underline. I score paragraphs. I write notes. And if there is an excellent point made, I dog ear the bottom corner of that page.

          If there are marks, notes, or dog-eared corners on 25%-30% of the pages, the book gets a good review; more than 30%, a great review.

In the two decades I have been reviewing books, I never hit 50%. I never expected to as that’s an almost impossibly high bar. Then I read Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write with Confidence by William Kenower which came in at near 100%.

I felt a bit ridiculous dog earing page after page after page, but Kenower’s truths, descriptions, points, and advice were worth every mark, note, and folded corner.

Quite simply, this book is the Masterclass for writing.

Kenower recommends that readers start with chapter 1 “A Writer’s Worst Fear”  and chapter 2 “The Flow”  then choose which chapters interest them. I think beginning writers should follow his direction, but if you are a more experienced writer you might want to start with either chapter 10 “Finding Time to Write Or Why Procrastination Makes Sense” or chapter 13 “Don’t Fear the Cliché Or Relax—You’re an Original”  as these are two big fears of most writers. Once read, fearless writing can begin.

From my marks, notes, and dog-eared corners, I found every chapter important. I’ve read chapters 1-8 twice and chapters 9-18 three times. I feel like reading them all until they are a part of my DNA.

I’m a fast reader, but I had to put Fearless Writing down to give myself time to absorb what the author was sharing. It’s his story, but it’s also a universal one for every writer filled with insights and truths.

I recognized many of the truths Kenower discussed because I’ve experienced them too, but sometimes so briefly I hadn’t realized until he named them. But even more important were the truths I hadn’t thought about—just accepted—without realizing some, like discomfort and procrastination, have their own purposes. (Read chapter 8 “Creative Discomfort Or How to Love What You Thought You Hated” and chapter 10 “Finding Time to Write Or Why Procrastination Makes Sense” respectively.)

The other chapters are: “Feel First,” “Write What You Love,” “Accuracy,” “Critiques and Workshopping,” “The Intentional Arc,” “Writing is Listening,” “How Thought Works,” “Fearless Marketing,” “The Talent Myth,” “Fear of Failure,” “Evidence,” “Becoming the Author of Your Life,” and “A Good Ending.”

I am so grateful and excited that William Kenower wrote this book. It is life-altering.

Here are just a few insights from Fearless Writing:


“…the only two questions a writer should ask are “What do I want to say?” and “Have I said it?” If you are asking anything else, you’re not writing—you’re just worrying. (page 53)


“…You must embrace the reality that your curiosity is curious enough, your perceptions are perceptive enough, your humor is humorous enough. Get comfortable with that, and you will always know what you most want to say—and if you have said it.” (pp. 70-71)


“,,, There is a great distinction between an idea as it appears in my imagination and what that idea becomes on the page…I must trade in that initial excitement for the patient pleasure of discovery.” (page 106)


“How interested I am in the questions I ask my imagination determines the speed and power of the answer I receive. I must remind myself of this often…” (page 107)


“…when you accept the confidence you already possess and understand that writing’s immediate payoff is the pleasure of finding the next sentence, and then the next, you will discover that you have plenty of time to write…” (page 127)


“…The Flow is the experience of pointing your car toward something you love and are authentically curious about, and then riding the momentum of thought that ensues…” (page 135)


“…Writing, after all, is such an intuitive business. Writing is all about knowing what has no evidence for being known. Writing is all about following a path only you can perceive, that is felt and not seen…” (page 196)


“…If I am deliberate with the stories I tell myself away from the desk, I become the author of my day-to-day experience. Now life is a story I am telling rather than one I have been made to read.” (page 219)


          I hope all writers read this book so they can become not only authors, but the authors of their own lives.
         

           
         


Monday, October 30, 2017

Reads for Writers: Fearless Writing by William Kenower (A book all writers need to read)



From Kate’s Writing Crate…


          On September 18, 2017, I listed about 80 favorite books. Then on October 2, 2017, I picked the one book I would recommend to all writers—The War of Art by Steven Pressfield—and I still recommend it highly, but I just read Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write with Confidence by William Kenower and now this is the book I’d first recommend to all writers.

          As Garth Stein notes on the cover of this book, “This isn’t a ‘how-to’ book about writing. It’s a book about how to be a writer.”

And that is the truth. I recommend all writers rush out and buy it or get it through their local libraries.

In the Introduction, the author recommends chapters one and two should be read in order then readers can choose which chapter appeals to them next. They all appealed to me, especially Chapter 13 “Don’t Fear the Cliché Or Relax—You’re an Original” and Chapter 10 “Finding Time to Write Or Why Procrastination Makes Sense.” I’m not ready to go on a book tour yet, but Chapter 12 “Fearless Marketing Or How to do Your Job and No One Else’s” has eased my mind for when I need to sell my book.

I have only just finished reading the book. Without reservation, I think it’s the best book for writers that I have ever read and I have reads hundreds and hundreds since I decided I wanted to be a writer, while working for national book review magazine for small publishers, and reviewing books for other magazines as well as on this blog. Lots of books do not make the cut to be reviewed, but Fearless Writing deserves reviews, honors, and awards. It is on top of my must-read book list now.

Fearless Writing is the Masterclass for me.

I cannot do justice to this book by writing a review in a few hours as I just finished it. However, I wanted to get the word out immediately that Fearless Writing should be in every writer’s office and personal library.

I will write a proper review next week. In fact, I revere Fearless Writing so much I may write three or four.

Cheryl just finished reading Chapter 10. She emailed me to say it took her breath away. 

I think that is a terrific review for this book.


See what you think.





Monday, October 23, 2017

Writing Quotes 7



From Kate’s Writing Crate…


Quotes that inspire me:


         
Books take on a life of their own and they find their own destiny. That is the sorcery of literature.
                             --Elena Poniatowska



The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar, and familiar things new.
                             --Samuel Johnson



Every piece of writing you enjoy contains a lesson for your own writing.
                             --Kim Stafford



Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say.
                             --Sharon O’Brien



The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.
                             --Edwin Schlossberg



Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.
                             --E. B. White



Putting words together in a way which is unique, to me, is something I still think is one of the most thrilling things that one can do in one’s life.
                             --Seymour Simon





Monday, October 16, 2017

My Screenplay Update



From Kate’s Writing Crate…


          I’ve had a full week preparing for deadline for the magazines, preparing for company, entertaining company, and welcoming a new puppy. I was so busy, I didn’t even think of this week’s post until 11:04 PM Sunday. (With a midnight deadline looming, I don’t have time to waste.)

          I also had a huge week working on my screenplay. I was inspired by the TV show This is Us when Sly Stallone was encouraging one of the characters, coincidently named Kate, to follow her dream to become a singer even though she was in her late 30s. He told her not to listen to other people who said she wouldn’t make it. Nobody believed that he could write the screenplay for Rocky in three days, but he did.

          I had never heard that before. He wrote a great screenplay in three days. I’m guessing he had been thinking about it for some time, but he wrote it in only three days.

          I’m not shooting to write mine in three days, but I want it done by the end of this year. So I worked on it among all the other things I had to accomplish this week.

          Along the way, I came up with an excellent tangent project that should make the screenplay a more enticing project.

          I wrote all this down in my monthly notebook. I know I harp on this, but filling a notebook a month enriches my writing. The empty space allows my thoughts to wander and wonder—and come up with brilliant and creative ideas.

          You meet your muse on the page. I’m not the first to say that, but it’s the truth.


          If you are serious about being a writer, you have to write. If you don’t have assignments or a book or other project that you are working on diligently, then pick up a notebook and fill it in a month. See what you have to say. You will be pleased and surprised as well as following your dream.