From Kate’s Writing Crate…
I’m a big believer in motivation by deadline. I have paying deadlines for the magazines I write for—both in print and online. I also have fun deadlines I assign myself—fill a notebook a month which keeps me writing almost daily and projects like Backpack Literature, a textbook by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia, which I love because it requires reading, learning, and writing. I can choose to complete a chapter a week or a month.
Because writing is hard work, writers need to keep their skills sharp by reading, learning, and writing. I love books that combine the three.
While browsing at a bookstore yesterday, I discovered two more books I’d like to set up as personal writing classes: The Jane Austen Writers’ Club: Inspiration and Advice from the World’s Best-Loved Novelist by Rebecca Smith and The Writer’s Devotional: 365 Inspirational Exercises, Ideas, Tips & Motivation on Writing by Amy Peters.
I don’t know about Austen being the best-loved novelist in the world, but I do enjoy her work so I’m intrigued by The Jane Austen Writers’ Club. With chapters like “A Fine Pair of Eyes: Point of view,” In Jane Austen’s Pocket: Techniques and devices of the great author as well as “And What is Fifty Miles of Good Road? Making use of journeys (and staying at home) in your work” I believe I will have fun studying her work and incorporating her techniques into some of my work.
I’m even more intrigued by The Writer’s Devotional. This is not a flimsy list of writing prompts, but a disciplined writing course. Mondays: Writers on Writing; Tuesdays: Motivation—tips and tricks; Wednesdays: Writing Class; Thursdays: Editing; Fridays: Biography; Saturdays: Books Writers Should Read; and Sundays: Writing Prompts.
In the first week, the Writers on Writing section starts with a quote by Anais Nin then Amy Peters discusses The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Persepolis by Marjane Sattapi, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Authors discussed on other Mondays include: Anne Lamott, Lewis Carroll, Thomas Jefferson, Stephen King, George Moore, Anne Rice, John Hersey, W. D. Wetherell, Mickey Spillane, J. K. Rowling, and many more.
Tuesdays start with a quote by a writer followed by an essay on motivation—sometimes facts and figures about a writers’ work is listed, sometimes you just need to make a decision about your work or goals, sometimes you just need to read some advice.
Wednesdays are writing classes. Week 1—write a short bio of your best friend. Week 3—write a blog post about a recently released movie. Week 11—write a haiku about your favorite season. Week 36—record your family history of an event you did NOT attend.
Thursday are about editing. Learn how to edit your dialogue, delete all versions of “to be” from your work, when to use italics, colons, and semicolons among many other editing tips.
Fridays are short inspiring biographies of writers like George Orwell, Stephenie Meyer, John Grisham, Marvin Neil Simon, James Baldwin, Rick Riordan, Mary Higgins Clark, and 45 others are highlighted on Fridays.
Saturdays give readers more than 52 book recommendations especially for writers.
Sundays are writing prompts which can lead to the completion of a sentence, a paragraph, or an essay if you want to spend the time.
There is also a list of resources and references in the back along with two indexes—one of literary figures and works as well as one of daily activities. The second index is very useful as it lists all the biographies of writers, books to read, editing by topic, motivations, writing on writing topics, writing classes, and writing prompts.
I like the look of The Writer’s Devotional so it will be my next motivational personal writing class. Now I just need to find the time!
My word count for the week of July 23-29 was 5,598.