Personal Trainers have gained in popularity the past 10 years. They motivate you and set you on the course for better fitness and health. My four-legged friend is the closest I’ve ever had to having one. A springer spaniel is the ultimate motivator. If I’m sitting and she hasn’t had her walk, watch out. She’s relentless until the leash comes out. The joy she gets from running up hills, dashing after the occasional rabbit, and smelling all her familiar spots makes it all worth the effort. The only problem is she can’t differentiate between pouring rain and a sunny day. Exercise for her is good no matter what the conditions.
Like my health and fitness, writing too is a journey. It’s also one that the dog can’t help with. She could care less about my incessant tapping away at the keyboard. When I’m stuck on a scene or the motivation is lost, who’s my personal trainer for writing? Actually, there are many.
BOOKS: At least 75% of what I read is in the genre I’ve settled into as a writer- middle grade. I read to analyze what others writers are doing with the written word, how they make a character memorable, and making note of each story arc. It’s one of the best ways to become a better writer by following those making the footsteps ahead of you.
TIME: My third manuscript was flowing along nicely when I realized a subplot did not work. I had done much research to make sure it fit, but after writing the scenes they didn’t seem right. I took a few days to rethink the strategy. Those walks with the dog, the quiet of early morning, and the scenes playing out in my head helped me realize I needed to drop the subplot. I did and now am back on course. First draft by July 4th was my original plan but at 20,000 words in, I have a ways to go. Letting ideas sit even for a day or two can allow your mind to refocus.
CRITIQUERS: At first I used friends who knew this age group, librarians from various schools I’ve taught at, and neighbors. Yeah, they’re too nice. As one good friend said, “I know how hard you worked on this so I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.” I then went and found critique partners who I’d never met. They were still kind but also not afraid to tell me like it is. Another viewpoint is exactly what I need for a manuscript to improve.
BLOGS: What would I do without the fantastic network of blogging sites? I’ve learned, questioned, and become more open to making changes to my own writing. Some of the best out there:
- EDITOR’S BLOG
- LITERARY RAMBLES (Great interviews)
- JANICE HARDY’S FICTION UNIVERSITY
- FROM THE MIXED UP FILES OF MIDDLE GRADE AUTHORS
- NATHAN BRANSFORD
- WRITER’S DIGEST
That’s it! Who’s your writing personal trainer?