Last weekend I attended Dr. Jen Lowry Writing Conference (workshop) on honoring the blank page. I always wondered how Jen keeps publishing book after book every three to six months. The magic is honoring your space, your pace, and your story.
Jen uses the acronym of Monarch to break down the stages of writing the first draft to edit, and having your Hallelujah moments of celebration. And I’m going to share with you all the golden nuggets I collected that will complement my writing journey.
” Excuses and results cannot be mentioned in the same conversation. One contradicts the other.”Marke Freeman
When you sit down to write, think about your WHY and PURPOSE. For me I want to write about someone that looks like me, brown skin, middle-aged, seeking more out of her mundane life, surrounded by family and friends (the good, the bad, and the ugly). People who represent diversity in all spectrums of life. These are the characters living in my quaint, cozy community. I also want to offer a message of HOPE in a whodunnit story — a cozy mystery where there’s always a happy ending, and justice served.
What motivates YOU? Creating a Pinterest board for my story helps bring my town and characters to life. I can visually see who they are and get a feel of their world as I write. I also love talking to my friends about my characters as though they are actual people. This peeves my hubby because he gets so invested in my characters and then he has to question, “Tisha, are these people real? Where are you meeting these crazy folks from?” I just laugh out loud as I tell him they’re the characters in my fictional town.
Set up your writing space. My primary writing space is in a corner of my room, on my side of the bed. A tiny little space, but it’s mine and I’m at peace when I’m writing. I have all I need, my writing totem (Barnsie the bear), a mug of coffee, and my cozy blue and purple lights.
Jen writes a chapter a day. Stephen King sets a writing goal of 2000 words a day. So set a goal… I usually write a scene a day, which equates to a chapter or 1700-2000 words. I may do some adjusting to my daily writing goal. But don’t look back, just keep pushing words forward, and save the editing for later.
“Give yourself the Grace to Grow!”The Monarch Method
Attack the edits like UFC Champion Rounds. The real work of writing is editing. And don’t look at editing as something negative, find the joy by comparing it to a passion, as Jen does with the UFC Champion Rounds. But find what editing method works best for you. Editing is emerging, developing, and refining your story.
I use a bullet journal to reflect upon my family life, my writing progress, my trials, and my tribulations. I also journal the thoughts of my characters just to declutter my mind and free up creative space. I dedicate a section of my journal for gratitudes and scriptures. This helps me appreciate and acknowledge my blessings.
“Your soul needs time for solitude and self-reflection. In order to love, lead, heal, and create you must nourish yourself first.”Linda Joy (Actress in Ice Age)
As a writer, belong to a community of like-minded writers. I joined Sisters In Crime this past week and took part in their Monthly Write-In. I also joined a few Facebook cozy mystery groups. I found something positive on Facebook that will help me grow as a writer, and actively network with other cozy mystery writers. Social Media is the best place for a writer to build their audience and navigate them back to your website.
This is my favorite part of the writing journey. Celebrating your accomplishments and YOURSELF! After I published my first printed haiku book, I celebrated with others by hosting an online book party, then with my family by unplugging from online. You don’t have to go extravagant with your celebration. You can treat yourself to a good cup of coffee at your favorite coffee shop, or get a new journal or book. Just take the time out to CELEBRATE YOU. This is your Hallelujah moment!
I recommend writers to take time out to join whether it FREE or PAID writing workshops, conferences online, and in person. It’s so worth the wealth of golden nuggets you can use to make your writing journey a pleasant experience.