Monthly Archives: May 2015

Writing While On Vacation

writingvacationSummer is one of the most popular seasons for travel. With school out of session and the weather at its warmest, many people take advantage of the opportunity to go on vacation. I personally love to travel and think that it’s a great way to explore the world and get rejuvenated. However, traveling can hinder your writing. If you don’t stay diligent, it’s easy to go your entire vacation without writing a single word.

Over the past two weeks, I have talked about writing while traveling by airplane and by car. Today, I’m going to discuss how you can stay motivated once you are on vacation.

Schedule Your Writing Time
When you are on vacation, it is easy to let time slip away from you. By setting yourself a specific writing time, you will ensure that your daily writing gets done. Consider a time of day where you may have downtime. If the people that you are traveling with are all night owls, consider scheduling in an hour of writing time in the morning before everyone wakes up. If the opposite is true and your group is early to bed, consider staying up an hour later and fitting in your writing at night. Setting yourself a specific time to write will alleviate stress, allowing you to relax and enjoy your vacation.

Don’t Make Impossible Goals
Unless your vacation was intended to be a writing getaway, you probably won’t be able to complete your entire novel. It’s normal to have lots of excursions, events, or reservations to attend to throughout your days, leaving little time to write. In order to get the most out of your vacation, don’t be too hard on yourself in terms of your writing word count. Set yourself a reasonable goal, such as 500 words per day. If you surpass this goal, it’ll be a happy surprise. Don’t set yourself an impossible 3,000 word goal that will leave you stressed about your writing throughout your vacation. Always evaluate your travel plans in order to decide on the writing goals that are best for you.

Take It To Go
Depending on the type of vacation that you go on, you may have some downtime. Take a pen and paper with you wherever you go so that you’re able to write down notes whenever an idea strikes you. You could be at the beach, relaxing in the sand. You could be at an amusement park, waiting in an hour long line. Regardless of where you are, scribbling down notes will help you whenever you take your writing break. Experiencing new things may also spark some new ideas and it’s great to write down those ideas the moment they occur to you, rather than hours later when you return to the hotel.

Enjoy Yourself
You are on vacation, so don’t feel guilty about stepping away from your computer and writing less than you would at home. If you are able to relax and enjoy yourself on vacation, you will be able to come back to your manuscript with a new set of ideas that may spark some inspiration.

Whether it’s a relaxing vacation to the beach, an adrenaline-fueled adventure in the mountains, or a quick getaway in a neighboring town, a vacation is a great way to experience the world. It can be a challenge to squeeze writing into a trip, but if you are able to, you will feel incredibly productive. This productivity coupled with the relaxation from your vacation will reinvigorate your focus and ignite your creativity.

If you have any other tips for writing while traveling on vacation, please leave your thoughts in the comments.

Stay focused on your journey!
Writing While Traveling By Airplane
Writing While Traveling By Car

Until next week,

Debbie

Writing While Traveling by Airplane

travelairSummer is one of the most popular seasons for travel. With school out of session and the weather at its warmest, many people take advantage of the opportunity to go on vacation. I personally love to travel and think that it’s a great way to explore the world and get rejuvenated. However, traveling can hinder your writing. If you don’t stay diligent, it’s easy to go your entire vacation without writing a single word.

I am going on several trips this month and I would like to share some advice on how I stay motivated to write while I’m traveling.

Keep Electronics Charged
The majority of writers do their writing on a computer and the portability of electronics allows a writer to bring their work with them on the airplane. If you are going to rely on a computer or any other electronic to do all of your in-air writing, make sure to keep it charged. Because of the popularity of smart phones and computers, many airports have charging stations that you can plug into before the flight. Depending on how big your airplane is, some airplanes have electrical outlets under the seats. The best laptop batteries only last a few hours so make sure that all of your electronics are fully charged in order to get in as much writing as possible.

Utilizing Smaller Electronics and Writing Apps
Laptops are a great way to bring your writing with you, but they can sometimes be inconvenient. When going through airport security, passengers have to completely remove laptops from carry on bags and when walking around the airport, laptops can weigh you down. If you are fortunate enough to own a tablet or any other smaller electronic device, consider bringing that instead of your laptop. Tablets and Kindle Fire devices are incredibly portable and much easier to carry. You don’t ever have to take your tablet out of you carry on and you can use tablets at every stage of the flight, unlike a laptop that you will need to put away upon ascent and descent.

If you choose to use a tablet, consider a writing app in order to keep your writing in one place. There are many writing apps, so make sure to do some research and pick the app that best suits your needs.

Observe Those Around You
Although traveling by air allows for you to reach your destination quicker than if you were traveling by car, there is still a lot of downtime involved. Before you even get onto the plane, you may find yourself in the airport for hours. Use this downtime to observe the people around you. Since there are people from all over the world who pass through airports, you will be able to pick up on different body language, mannerisms, and accents. Observing others and learning these traits will help you build more believable and diverse characters. Not all people act, move, or speak the same and observing how real people behave may help influence the characters in your story.

Give Yourself an Arrival Incentive
There aren’t many distractions while writing on an airplane. Most people keep to themselves on airplanes and it’s easy to put on some headphones and remain focused for the entirety of your flight. Give yourself a benchmark that you want to hit while you are flying. If you hit your word count by the time the airplane touches down at your destination, treat yourself to something when you get off of the airplane and into the terminal.

Air travel is probably the most convenient form of vacation travel. I think traveling by air is a great way to get in some undisturbed writing time and it allows for you to observe different types of people. This advantage can help you write more dynamic characters and the lack of distractions will help you write plenty of words before your vacation begins.

If you have other tips for writing while traveling by airplane, please share them in the comments.

Until next week,

Debbie

Book Review: Crow Hollow

crowhollowTitle: Crow Hollow
Author: Michael Wallace
Release Date: June 1, 2015
Rating: 5/5

Crow’s Hollow is a historical novel that takes place in the New World in 1676, uniting a devout Puritan woman and an English spy. Prudence Cotton was notoriously widowed after the Nipmuk tribe attacked her town, killing and torturing the inhabitants. Prudence and her young daughter, Mary, were taken as prisoners after watching Prudence’s husband get brutally murdered. Prudence is able to escape, although she must leave her daughter behind. James Bailey is a British spy, intent on taking back the colonies’ charter and reigning in certain liberties, but is telling everyone that he is investigating the peculiar death of Prudence’s late husband. Prudence begs James to let her come with him into Indian wilderness to find the Nipmuk tribe so that she can find her missing daughter. James concedes and as they make their journey to the Indian wilderness, they find out chilling details about the Indian attack that indicate corruption in the colonies.

My favorite thing about this novel was the amount of rich details throughout the story. The world building and descriptions of the settings were done wonderfully and I felt completely immersed in the novel. The dialect that the characters spoke in, the clothes that the characters are described wearing, and even the food all seemed incredibly authentic and it is obvious that there was an incredible amount of research done.

I really liked the characters in Crow Hollow as well. Prudence Cotton was my favorite character and I really enjoyed watching her character develop throughout the story. She was a very strong, intelligent, and dynamic character. James Bailey was very ambitious and apologetically brash, but I thought that his bold demeanor added humor throughout the novel.  I wasn’t sure if I would like him in the beginning of the novel but as he grew closer to Prudence, he became more genuine and vulnerable. Peter Church, a Quaker Indian, accompanied James from England in order to help James with his mission. I thought that the community’s reaction towards Peter was sad but intriguing, as it showed the hostility that the Puritans held against Quakers and American Indians during the time period.

I really enjoyed the plot of this story and it really kept my attention. There was a lot of action as Prudence and James traveled to find the Nipmuk tribe. I thought that the relationship between Prudence and James was really interesting to read and the two characters complimented each other well. I liked the ending of this novel and I thought that Wallace did a good job of bringing the story to a satisfying close.

I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a piece of historical fiction. I don’t think that Crow Hollow requires a vast knowledge of the time period and I think that any casual reader would enjoy it. The characterization, setting, and pacing were all wonderfully done and I think that this was a really enjoyable read.

If you have read Crow Hollow, I would love to hear your thoughts as well. To view Crow Hollow on Amazon, please click here.

Writing While Traveling By Car

writingcarSummer is one of the most popular seasons for travel. With school out of session and the weather at its warmest, many people take advantage of the opportunity to go on vacation. I personally love to travel and think that it’s a great way to explore the world and get rejuvenated. However, traveling can hinder your writing. If you don’t stay diligent, it’s easy to go your entire vacation without writing a single word.

I am going on several trips this month and I would like to share some advice on how I stay motivated to write while I’m traveling.

Writing in the Car
When traveling by car, it may take you hours or days before you reach your final destination. Unless you have a power adapter that gives you the ability to charge your laptop while you’re driving, I would suggest bringing a journal and a lot of extra pens instead of your laptop. If you have a ten hour journey, you won’t get much writing done if your computer dies three hours into the trip. Using a journal and pen makes it easier to write, jot down notes, brainstorm, or sketch a map without a bulky machine on your lap.

Take in the Scenery
My favorite part of a road trip is the ability to look out the window and observe all of the scenery. Whether it’s trees, desert, mountains, or ocean, watching the world pass by you is a great way to get inspiration for world building. As you drive, make sure to write down as many details as you can. Your descriptions of the scenery will be so much more authentic if you describe them as you observe them, rather than attempting to describe them from the comfort of your desk chair at home. These descriptions will make it easier for you to immerse yourself and your reader into the story.

Traveling Alone? Talk It Out
If you are driving to your destination alone, your hands will be in use and you won’t be able to write as you drive. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t work on your novel as you drive. Before departing for your destination, plug in your phone to a car charger and start recording a voice memo. It may sound silly, but you can talk out different scenarios and describe what’s around you while you are recording. By recording your thoughts, you won’t have to try and remember them later on. You may run out of storage space if you record for too long, but you can always transcribe your recording when you hit a rest stop and then begin fresh when you go back onto the road. However, do not let the phone distract you while you’re driving. If it stops recording when you are twenty miles from a rest stop, just leave it and stay focused on the road until you can stop.

Mile Marker Challenge
It would be highly unlikely and incredibly stressful to expect yourself to write for the entire duration of your road trip, especially if you’re traveling with others. Keep yourself motivated by writing for designated stretches of the trip, unless inspiration strikes you and you feel the need to keep going. Take notice of the signs on the side of the road that indicate how far away you are to the next big city. If the next big city is in fifty miles, dedicate the next fifty miles to writing. This is also an easy way for your fellow passengers to know how long you will be writing and how long they should leave you alone. To avoid putting off writing for too far into your trip, map out your route before you depart. Pick out a few cities from the map that can serve as checkpoints along the way so that you’ll know exactly how often you will be writing as you drive.

Road trips are one of the most popular forms of vacation travel. Although you must account for the additional time it takes to drive to the final destination, I think traveling by car is a great way to take in your surroundings and see the country up close. This advantage can help you with world building and since you will be sitting in a car for hours, it gives you lots of extra time to write some words before your vacation begins.

If you have other tips for writing while traveling by car, please share them in the comments.

Until next week,

Debbie

How to Deal With Submission Rejection

subrejectionRejection is painful and unfortunately, it is inevitable. When you are submitting your writing to literary agents in hopes of representation, it can be hard to learn that your work has been denied. Every writer has had some taste of denial and even some of the greatest authors were rejected for years before hearing a positive response to their work. Many writers want to give up after receiving a dreaded rejection letter, but you will never get published if you give up. Here are a few pointers on how to get over the roadblock of denial and how to deal with submission rejection.

Keep Writing
After facing rejection, writing may be the last thing you want to do. It’s normal to question your talent and abilities after receiving a notice of rejection, especially if it’s not your first one. However, rejection is a part of the writing process and the only way you will ever get published is if you keep on writing. If you are truly passionate about writing, you will not allow another person’s rejection to stop your natural desire of putting words to paper. You will never have anything to publish if you stop writing.

Keep Submitting
The submission process is necessary if you want to secure a literary agent in order to publish your work traditionally. It may be hard to receive numerous rejections, but if you want to go this route to publish, you cannot stop submitting. Make sure that you submit your work to literary agents who specialize in your particular genre for a better chance of representation. If an agent doesn’t represent your genre, they may never even read your submission. There are hundreds of literary agents and it only takes one to say yes to your work in order for you to get it published. Don’t stop submitting your work until you’ve found that one person, no matter how many submission rejections it takes.

Keep Learning
I do believe that in order to be a writer, you need some natural born talent. However, it takes more than talent to become a successful writer. If you notice that most of your work has been rejected, start educating yourself on writing and the publishing industry. You may learn that your query letter was formatted incorrectly, an error that could prevent you from being published. You may learn different plot fundamentals that you may want to implement in your next work of fiction. Regardless of what you learn, becoming educated about the field that you want to pursue will greatly increase your chances of being successful in the industry.

Stay Positive
The worst thing that you can do is to give up. Although it may be difficult to stay positive after a slew of rejections, remember the reason why you write and the praise you may have received in the past. If you stay positive about your abilities and your work, you will naturally exude an air of confidence. It’s important to display that confidence to potential literary agents because if you don’t believe in yourself, they won’t believe in you either.

As a writer, rejection is possibly one of the hardest things to deal with. Writing is a very personal and emotional experience and when your finished project is rebuffed, it’s natural to feel a little hurt. However, do not let this rejection keep you from achieving your goals.

If you have any thoughts on dealing with submission rejection, please share them in the comments.

Until next week,

Debbie