Tag: writing process

Home > ArchivesTag: writing process

Consistently Write In Order to Meet Your Writing Goals

September 12, 2022 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

Each week my progress feels limited, but add the work all up together (it’s the 37th Monday of the year) and I’m finding that consistently writing a small amount week to week is working for me. It’s fun to check in mid-year, or in this case, September, and take a peek at the goals I set for the year. Am I even close? Did I miss my mark this year? Should I give up writing? 

Blog Banner with laptop on right side, and Left side text saying Consistently write in order to meet your writing goals by Denise M. Colby

And learn I HAVE made progress.

It’s just so hard to see when we are going word by word, page by page.

Be Encouraged to Keep Writing Consistently

I want to encourage my writing friends to not give up. Set realistic goals for yourself on a week to week basis and keep plugging along. Stay steady. Be persistent.

Have I reached all my goals? No. But the year isn’t done yet. And yes, I have some far-reaching goals that can overwhelm me if I try to hurry up and get them done all at once. But this is where breaking tasks into manageable chunks help. 

Put in the work (my word for the year) and you will see results. If you are like me, figuring out what that work should be in each stage of the process can be challenging. I’m not able to focus on my writing full-time at this stage in my life, so my writing consistently has to be squeezed in between my day job and the family commitments. 

How do I do that? 

Find The Schedule to Help You Consistently Write

At first I selected a specific day and time, one day a week. But that fell through when other required events popped up. Then I tried to just touch my ms sometime during the week. Constantly touching your MS even if it’s one page at a time is better than no writing at all. But it was hit or miss how far I would get and there wasn’t any accountability to myself to keep going.

Then a door opened that was exactly what I needed (which is something that has happened a lot in my writing journey). A new critique group came along at the perfect time within one of my writing groups. Out of all the writing clubs I belong too, this was really where I needed to put in the time. But I was afraid of the commitment. Yet it’s the commitment to consistently write that helps us complete a book. So finding the way that works for you to do that is key.

So this critique group came along at the perfect time. Sure I wanted my MS completely edited and ready to pitch ASAP. But instead I’m focusing on a chapter a week, by relooking at the scenes, editing, submitting and getting great feedback. And learning how to provide feedback back to others. Which has helped in many ways as well. 

Overall, this has helped me streamline my story and make it stronger. And I’ve become a better writer. The bonus with working on this one writing task consistently every week? By the end of the year, I’ll have gotten feedback on every chapter. This was the accountability I needed.

Choose Your Own Way to Be Consistent

I’m not writing this post to encourage you to join a critique group. Maybe a critique group isn’t for you at this stage. For each writer, what helps you consistently write can be different. So know yourself. And spend some time figuring out what you need to do at this stage in your writing. What you need can change. Allow it to change. There just needs to be forward momentum (which happens when we consistently write) in order for us to reach our goals.

It’s the consistently writing, however we approach it, that counts.

Denise M. Colby loves to write words of encouragement blog posts. She also loves to write about her word of the year she chooses each year. She’s been working on her first manuscript for a long time and hopes to publish soon, since she has lots of other stories in her head waiting to be put on the page.

0 1 Read more

What Is a Writing Partner and Why the Hell Do I Need One?

September 3, 2020 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as ,

A writing partner or co-writer should be an actual writer—and someone you trust, respect, admire, and support, because two heads are better than one.


Writing is a lonely profession, and many times ideas get stuck in our heads. Having someone you can contact who knows you and the project.


Co-writers and/or writing partners are there for early feedback, bouncing ideas, critique, story direction, moral support, and so much more!


Some of the greatest writing, from novels to screenplays, to music, has been done by partners. Why is this so? Collaborative writing is one of the most productive and successful ways to write—If you find the right partner.


A question many writers have asked us is “How exactly does that work?”


There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but there are some strategies that can help, whether you need someone to co-write a project or someone to share a writing career… and maybe even life.

Your Writing Partner Might Be Right Under Your Nose

Because writing, like collaboration, is an intimate relationship, it’s best to begin looking at people you know. If you’ve figured out how to be together, you’ll have a better chance of successfully writing together. So, it’s no surprise that most successful writing teams have grown from close personal relationships—friends or family or lovers.


But what if you don’t have a friend, a spouse, sibling or lover who is “partner worthy?” If you can’t find someone you can collaborate with among the people you know, go meet more people. As the circle of writers you know expands, so do your chances of finding a compatible partner for your writing.


If you’re a college student, enroll a writing class, or take a drama class, or join a comedy group. Alternatively, attend writers’ conferences. Join writers’ organizations. It may sound overwhelming, but you have to get out there . . . socialize.


Remember, it’s crucial to find someone with qualities that lend themselves to a good partnership. Look at these for example:

Similar Tastes and Sensibilities


Have the same sense of humor. This is a key factor for a human connection and a good collaboration. You may share inspiration, like what makes you laugh, or what keeps you on the edge of your seat. You can even consider what bores you.

Yin and Yang—Complimentary Strengths


Partners in any creative endeavor should have strengths that help the other, and each should be able to buoy up the other’s weaknesses. You need to understand your own strengths and keep this in mind as you search for a co-writer or writing partner.

Must Play Well With Others


Even the most compatible, peace-loving co-writers or writing partners will, on occasion, argue, and that’s not a bad thing. Different points of view are an integral part of collaboration. It is precisely the reason for getting together. Sharing differing views of the same project brings life to the final product.

Have Some Respect


I’ve emphasized the importance of knowing yourself and your prospective co-writer or writing partner, but it’s equally important to know their work. If you don’t, read something they’ve written. Request a writing sample and offer one of yours. If you don’t have respect for their writing (or vice versa), run don’t walk to the next candidate.
In the end, no one can know if writing together will work until they’ve tried it.


So choose the most promising co-writer or writing partner and see if it clicks. You just never know.

0 0 Read more

Develop Strong Decision Making Skills as a Writer

August 12, 2020 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , ,

It’s important to develop strong decision-making skills when writing a novel. As a writer we have many decisions to make when writing our stories. For our characters we have to figure out names, color of hair and eyes, and flaws and strengths. We also have to figure out where they live, where they work, who they will clash with and whom they will love. Do they have a large family or small? And what was their family life like?

Blog banner with the title Develop Strong Decision Making Skills as a Writer by Denise M. Colby which discusses why it's important to be a strong decision maker

Many important pieces that, like a puzzle, connect together to create a strong story. And portray characters our readers can relate to. So, it’s very important for us to get it ‘right’.

But what does right, mean?

And what can we do if we get it wrong?

See, in the past, my own fear of getting it wrong, prevented me from moving forward. And I had a hard time making decisions, especially not knowing if they would work or not. And not having answers made it difficult to write my story.

When I first started this novel-writing journey, I would save every word cut and paste it in another file. I was terrified to erase an idea or phrase. What if I couldn’t come up with something better? Or I forgot the idea I originally came up with? I found myself unable to know how to make the right decisions.

And then I couldn’t make up my mind if I wanted my heroine to be sassy or shy. Or what she even should look like.

Part of this was because I had never done this before. Another part of it was my own lack of decision-making skills. I needed to figure out how to become a strong decision maker and fast.

Who knew that to become a good writer, I needed strong decision making skills?

I’ve since learned I just have to make decisions, but that they can change if I need them to. It’s better to have a direction, than no direction at all.

Also taking workshops from other writers has helped me learn a variety of ways to approach the writing process. Yes, some of the decisions are still pulled out of thin air. You have to start somewhere! But I’ve since learned how to think through these points when writing.

I’ve also learned that I don’t have to save the words. Now I can trust myself to come up with new content that still fits my story. I’ve also learned that sometimes it’s better to start over with a new way of writing a scene. This decision has helped me try different approaches rather than adding patches and bandaids. And the practice has allowed me to apply new techniques I’ve learned in recent classes.

Now I can say with pride that I can rewrite my opening a 7th time and still survive!

A word that comes to mind when I think about this – everything we do in writing our stories is redeemable. 

Redeemable—able to be recovered or saved from faults or bad aspects.

Did you know all the other words linked to redeemable in the thesaurus?

Rectifiable, improvable, restorable, fixable, reparable

Do you know what this means? Our writing is not permanent and frozen with the first things we write. It can evolve and grow and improve.

That’s huge encouragement to me.

So I can decide away, and then redeem what works. I don’t have to make ALL the decisions final each step of the way. There’s room for change and room for me to make strong decisions with each layer of edits I do.

This change in mindset has allowed me to change scenes completely and try them in a new way. Because, if I didn’t like it, I can change it back, or try again. It might mean more work, but that’s okay.

This is because the hard work isn’t what scares me, it’s the fear of not getting it right. There are so many different ways to put a phrase together!

I wrote a post Facing your Fear and I think I need to reread it every once in a while. I’ve come a long way in my writing, but my fears still can get in the way of my goals. And I’m not about to let my fears stop me now.

That’s why I wrote my blog post on Listing out Your Accomplishments. When I track the things I have accomplished, it helps me face my fear. Which in turn helps me make better decisions going forward. It’s like each decision I make, encourages me to make more.

Making decisions makes me a stronger decision maker

I’ve come a long way from saving every word I cut and not knowing what I want for my characters. Now I sometimes try out a scene a completely different way just to see it from a distinct angle. And then I can redeem the words that work the best from either version.

Do you have areas that are difficult for you to decide on?

0 0 Read more

MY UNROMANTIC HEART

February 15, 2020 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster tagged as , , , , , , , ,

By the time you read this it will be the day after Valentine’s Day, and I spent yesterday agonizing about what to write.

This angst over Valentine’s Day and romance is not unfounded.  My first book was a romance.  In Passion’s Defense was about a defense lawyer falling in love with a prosecutor during a gruesome trial.  That should have been my first clue that perhaps mayhem rather than meet ups was my cup of tea.  But I was slow on the uptake, and I wrote eight category romances. I think they are pretty darn good and they got better with each one. I wrote my heart out for Harlequin but I couldn’t seem to color in the lines, so I started writing women’s fiction. The editorial freedom, the more intricate plot lines, and the emphasis on plot rather than relationship helped me thrive. Dreams, Seasons, Vanities were just some of my titles. I wrote a lot of women’s fiction, but still I hadn’t hit my comfort zone as a writer. Then two things happened that sealed my fate.

First, the incredible RWA bookseller—Michelle Thorne—delicately informed me that my idea of romance was the hero chucking the heroine on the arm and giving her a smile. She was right. I was not a sexy writer in the years when other authors were pushing the envelope. My editor at Kensington was more direct. He said ‘You have to stop killing people before they get in bed!’. In essence he fired me from romance. I was devastated. Later I realized this was the silver lining in my very dark cloud.

When I started writing thrillers I found my passion and isn’t passion what love is all about? Still, without the learning curve of the romance genre, without the editors and readers, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to break up with women’s fiction as it was defined all those years ago and move on to my literary partner for life.

That doesn’t mean I left romance behind completely. Every book I write is based on relationships, but the emphasis of stories is little different from the classic romance novel.  And then there’s my mom. One day she asked if I could write a book-without-bodies. I wrote three. On my mother’s ninetieth birthday, I presented her with a trilogy of sweet, romantic comedies: The Day Bailey Devlin’s Horoscope Came True, The Day Bailey Devlin Picked Up a Penny and the Day Bailey Devlin’s Ship Came in. These books encompassed every thing I love about romance: humor, honesty, confusion, honor, and affection for not just one man but all the men in Bailey’s life.  Young or old, they be a lover or father or friend, it was all about love. I will always be most proud of, be in love with, the Bailey Devlin Trilogy because it reflects my definition of romance. 

Today I put those three books in a boxed set and I hope when a reader finishes the stories, her (his) heart will be fuller, there might be a tear in her eye, she will have laughed out loud and then  will turn around and pass all that feeling on to someone she loves.

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day.

0 0 Read more

THE TRUTH ABOUT MUSES

May 15, 2019 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster tagged as , , , , ,

The other day I was musing about muses. This was a rather convoluted process that went something like this:

I want to write but I don’t have an idea. I should write, but I’m bummed because I don’t have an idea. I could write if I had a great idea. I need to get one and until I do, I’ll watch TV. There’s a movie on TV called The Muse. I’ll watch The Muse and get inspired.

This is how the musing went after the movie.

The Muse is awful. She’s demanding, self-centered, and doesn’t care about the writer’s work. Still, the he sees something in her. What does he see in her? I want a muse. I just don’t want a muse like that.

I turned off the TV, obsessed with the idea of getting a muse. I just had to figure out where to get one. Since I’d never actually seen a muse, I decided I better find out exactly what I was looking for.

In the dictionary, the first definition of muse is to be thrown into a deep state of dreamy abstraction. The second is a noun, naming any of the nine sister goddesses in Greek mythology that preside over song, poetry, the arts and sciences. The third definition is the one we think of most often, a human source of inspiration or a guiding genius.

With this information in hand, I analyzed my career and realized that a muse has guided me every step of the way. I have often found myself lost in a dream state inspired by another writer. Their work has more often than not sparked an idea for a book of my own or a shown me a new way of laying a story foundation or become a point of reference for an essential building block.

The second definition – the naming of the goddesses – is a matter of inspirational faith. I have always believed that there is ‘something’ hovering over artists that not only encourages the creative soul, but also gives it the courage needed to present its work to a critical public.

That brings us back to the movie and the third definition of muse: the source of inspiration that we can touch and talk to. For some people this is one person, for me it has been many. I don’t call them muses; I call them friends, lovers, family and colleagues. Each step of my career was inspired and moved forward by the muse of the moment, the one person I needed just then.

There was the high school teacher who told me I wrote well, my husband who rescued by early attempts from the trashcan, my children who proudly said their mom was a writer. As the years went on and the books piled up, there were editors who trained me and readers who cheered me on, inspiring me to be better at my craft. All these people were – as definition three would have us believe – guiding geniuses.

It doesn’t matter if they knew the roll they played in my writing. What matters is that I wrote because of them and never in spite of them. The truth is, all you have to do to find a muse is open your eyes, your mind, and your heart. That muse is there – sometimes where you least expect it.

0 0 Read more

Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM

>