Tag Archives: passing thoughts

A working retreat helps you realize you love writing

This summer and fall have been madness.

My daughter’s wedding. The Other Bunch Press release of “Hauntings from the Snake River Plain,” our new ghost anthology.

Then the release of my new book, “The Weeping Woman.”

Hustle, Hustle.

So when we talked about taking our annual retreat, I balked. Usually, I love going. We go to a friend’s cabin, eat well, drink wine and talk and yes, write. In the past, we have gone on excursions such as to ghost towns.

But this year, I had no time. Still, I am happy we went.

I relaxed. With my partners, we celebrated our hard work on Hauntings, of which we are very proud. We took time to work on new projects. We did writing prompts to get the writing juices pumping. We took walks and were inspired to write. I saw the salmon spawning and wrote a poem. We just talked about life  and our families. We ate well. (Fortunately my writing partners are great cooks.)

It made me again realize how much I love writing and although life gets in the way, and business of writing must get done–the marketing, the book signings, etc.–at the heart is still the love of writing.

So when you feel life pressing down on your chest like a sumo wrestler driving a forklift, take time for a retreat, a weekend one or one-day event. Then you can remember why you are putting yourself through such pain.

You love writing.

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Love writing? How about movies about writing?

In addition to writing, I also love movies so what’s better than movies about writing? Here are just a few of my favorites. Please share yours.
Shakespeare in Love
Wonder Boys
Copote
Infamous
The Hours
Finding Forrester
American Slendor
Adaptation
Something’s Got to Give
Sleuth (the old one)

So after a hard day at the computer, sit back and watch one of these.

Patricia Santos Marcantonio

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Make that novel happen this month

Today is the start of National Novel Writing Month and the challenge is to write a novel within the month of November. It’s a fantastic way to get that idea that’s been rumbling around your head onto paper. You just charge ahead every day and at the end of November, you have a great start. It’s fun and free. So what are you waiting for.

http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/whatisnano

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Philosophizing on writing

During dinner one evening, my friend and I talked about family, what’s happening in the world and our backyard, but ultimately the discussion turned to writing. Our usual chat over sushi.

We each had stories that we were working on, so we brainstormed ideas, ironed out character bumps, filled in plot holes.

But that night, the talk turned deeper, to the basics of why we sit in front of the computer and produce thoughts, characters, words, stories, essays and poems. The question was what do we want to get out of writing.

It was a damn good question.

My friend said that while having her work published would be great, she strived for perfection. To make each word and sentence count, to make each meaningful and to make the story go forward. That was what was keeping her writing.

“And you’re writing for the money,” she said.

“No,” I answered. I wrote so that I could get to a place where I would have the freedom to write full-time.

I think we both said aloud something we had probably been thinking for a long time — What we wanted to get out of the writing.

That is a good question for all to ask.

Do we want recognition? Or to see our name in print? Do we want the joy of expressing those thoughts and feelings that seem out of place if we speak them?

I have friends who are freelance writers who must write to pay bills, while others want to tell the stories within them as only they can and want satisfaction from that process.

Others may want an outlet for creativity, as music and painting is for others.

My friend reminded me of what Joanne Pence, a best-selling author, said at the workshop sponsored by The Other Bunch in April. Joanne said that writing and publishing are two separate things.

That makes total sense because the discussion was not what we wanted out of publishing, but what we wanted out of writing. That indeed makes them two different things with two different directions and sometimes, the twain will never meet.

What do we want out of writing?

Our answers may change over time, or not. But there is no wrong answer.

There is just the writing.

– Patricia Marcantonio

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New Year’s writing resolutions

OK, so we’ve all made the usual New Year’s resolutions about dieting, exercising more, and all that. But as a writer, we should make a whole other list of resolutions to keep in the New Year.

  • Write five times a week — This is a hard one and so easy to break, but so important to work at. What we really are doing is setting goals for ourselves. Even if you just write a sentence or two, you’ll feel good. (Notice I didn’t say the weekend, because those are my times to relax. As I’ve written ad nauseam, if you don’t live life, what have you got to write about?)
  • Write expanded life sketches for the characters in your books and stories. I find that when I don’t do the most comprehensive job of character sketches, their motivations become a bit hazy. That is not to say they won’t change as you go, but a good character sketch will help you create a living, breathing person.
  • Don’t beat yourself up so much. We know that we are our worst enemies when it comes to self-doubt about our writing. Don’t do it. There is enough negativity in the writing world, what with rejections and the state of publishing. Instead, say to yourself, “I love my job as a writer. I’m doing the best that I can and will write more to hone my craft.”
  • Take a writing class or attend a writing seminar. Spend the time and money to learn and it will re-energize you, I promise.
  • Network, network. Writers need to get out there and find out what is happening in the writing world. If you live in a tiny tiny town, join national writing groups.
  • Join a critique group. It may take a bit to find the right people, but they will help you immensely.

Those are a few resolutions to start. E-mail the Other Bunch if you have more to share and we can post them.
And don’t forget to diet and exercise more.

Patricia Santos Marcantonio

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