Monday, March 13, 2017

Reads for Writers: More Personal Writing Classes and Notebooks

From Kate’s Writing Crate…

          You might think I have enough writing to do working for the magazines, freelancing, and blogging, but no. I have a lot of other writing plans and dreams. As I mentioned earlier in the year, I have set up several writing projects. Writers write!

          I have five notebooks going right now: my fill-a-notebook-a-month notebook based on Natalie Goldberg’s suggestion in Writing Down the Bones, one for exercises in Backpack Literature by Kennedy and Gioia, one for exercises in Screenplay by Russin and Downs, one for my book ideas, and a new one for the exercises in The Writer’s Workshop by Gregory L. Roper.

          The key to completing any project is a deadline. The first notebook has a built-in deadline, but the other four do not. I’ve set up weekly deadlines—a chapter a week for the three ‘personal writing class’ notebooks. To ensure that I meet my deadlines, I have a pact with Cheryl to send my word counts to her by email three days a week. She is working on a couple of projects of her own so she sends me her word counts two days a week. If we don’t receive them, we agreed to send email reminders.

          So far so good. We’re both professionals so we are meeting our deadlines.

          As for my projects, not only do I see progress by word counts, but my writing is changing. It’s becoming more detailed and specific. I’m also writing more quickly.

I wrote my most recent facebook thoughts for the magazines in seventeen minutes including rewriting. The word count was 165. I wasn’t under a tight deadline, but once I got an idea, the words just flowed through me onto the page. I credit filling a notebook a month with improving my writing speed and thought process to just get the words onto the page so I can rewrite them.

I credit becoming more detailed and specific to both Backpack Literature and The Writer’s Workshop. I highly recommend both books. While I’ve completed six chapters in Backpack Literature (I started the book over to complete all the exercises in each chapter instead of just one), I’ve only completed the first chapter of The Writer’s Workshop. I HATED the first task, but I loved the second two. They made me realize my weaknesses when it comes to describing people or anything else, but also gave me inspiration and concrete steps to improve my writing.

Details are necessary, but thoughtful, well-worded details elevate regular authors to best-selling status. In his book, Roper has excerpts from various authors throughout the ages for readers to review then imitate. While writing in each author’s style, you realize how many ways there are to describe something. It’s eye-opening.

For extra credit, I looked at the character descriptions written by some on my favorite authors. I realized I have very good reading taste, but not very good writing description skills—but I’m enjoying working on them in my five notebooks because I’m a writer.

Word count for week Feb. 5-11 was 8,105.

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