How do you get yourself into ‘the writing zone?’ Are you a morning, afternoon, or evening writer? Or, like me, are you a procrastinator, unable to start writing until the house is clean, beds made, washing up done? For someone who hates housework, I manage to find it an attractive alternative to facing the blank page, or screen. Yet I’m […]
I found this article called ‘How to Plan and Produce any Successful Project’ by Michael Sternfeld, in a magazine called ‘Living Now’. Here are the steps towards a successful musical production, which could equally apply to the huge task of producing a novel: 1. Carpe Diem – know when it’s the right place, right time 2. Know your core values […]
“To have a successful writing career you must be willing to sacrifice a great deal. The book, the deadline come first before anything else. Writing is not a job; it is a lifestyle, and it is a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows. You need self-confidence and an iron carapace.” ~ Virginia Henley Re-blogged from Mary Jaksch ‘Write to Done’ This is so true, but after a lifetime of looking after others, putting every mundane task first, before the writing, it takes a huge leap of faith, to say nothing of enormous discipline, to put the Writing first and foremost.
GIVING FEEDBACK The Sandwich Analogy: Say something positive before something negative, then finish on the positive or how to make it better. Give the positives first and say what works for you. Give the negatives next, and say what doesn’t work for you, and lastly, how you think it could be made better. Take on the task of critiquing with a positive and helpful intention; read carefully, trying to understand the writer’s point of view and creative goal. Consider the basic issues of narrative structure, characterisation, evocative and atmospheric language, vivid setting and believable dialogue. Be honest in your feedback; the writer needs guidance, not niceties! RECEIVING FEEDBACK Be prepared to receive negative, as well as positive, feedback. Separate the personal from the product, and see feedback as a valuable opportunity to improve your writing. While receiving verbal feedback, try not to interrupt the speaker. Be ready to respond to negative feedback, after speaker has finished. Give your reasons for your opinion. Rewrite your work in accordance with the feedback received, and see if it is better. If not, stick to your guns! A sure sign that you can write is that you keep going after knockbacks.
Our Randwick Writers’ Group has the following simple guidelines: Numbers are limited to five, so that critiqueing is detailed and resiprocal. Most of us are working on a novel or memoir, rather than short stories or poems. We hold fortnightly meetings of two and a half hours, allowing each writer time to give and receive feedbback. One of us is timekeeper, dividing time equally according to how many are present. We rotate venues from house to house as convenient – giving us a private and friendly environment. Word limits of excerpts max 3000 are submitted by the Monday before the meeting, which is held every second Wednesday morning. Submissions can be online, or on hard copy. if desired (and if time) we read aloud one or two pages. We keep feedback constructive, starting with a global review, then a more detailed look atwhat works and what doesn’t, finishing with positive suggestions on how to improve our writing. (See Post on Randwick Writers’ Feedback Guidelines)