Thursday, August 19, 2010

Write & Shine


Last month I was lucky enough to attend ANWA's writer's retreat in the pines.  It was so much fun and I learned alot.  So of course I want to share with you what I learned.  Our keynote address was given by Valerie Ipson, Vice President of ANWA.  Her address was called "Write & Shine" which was also the theme for the whole retreat.  I'm now going to attempt to share the information she gave, but I know it won't be near as good a job as she did.  Plus I'm sure I'm putting my own spin on things because alot of times we hear what we need to hear and not always what was said.  Sorry Valerie if I mess it all up!! 

"A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm" - Charles Schwab

"While life requires things of us that take time, it is also important to remember each day what's MOST important to us and to devote time and energy to those things." -Anita Stansfield

Life as mothers in the LDS church is crazy busy and sometimes adding just one more thing seems insurmountable.  But we need to remember why we write.  We write to develop our God given talents, we write to bring good wholesome values to life, and we write to keep our sanity (or lose it, whichever way you see it.) 

Valerie used Write is a Verb by Bill O'Hanlon to give us an exercise to find more time in our lives to write.

Identify Non-Writing Habits (Time wasters):
Make a list of the things that you typically do instead of write.

Choose one you will avoid for a certain length of time - say maybe a week or one month.  Place a sticky note in the place you typically indulge this time-waster, or on your bathroom mirror, or all over the house as a reminder.  At the end of the designated time, evaluate and tackle a new time-waster.

Another tactic is to set a timer when you begin your time-waster, then turn it off when you have finished the activity.  After a week add up the time spent and you will see how much time you could have spent writing - multiply it by 52 and you'll really be scared.  You'll want to quit that time-waster for sure.  - Write is a Verb by Bill O'Hanlon

"Being busy is a good thing-too much time to write is a ton of time wasted." - Write is a Verb by Bill O'Hanlon.

We usually have several good reasons for not writing.  What we need to do is really evaluate those excuses and see what they tell us about ourselves. 

Excuses, Excuses...
Write down your top three excuses for not writing -  the things you tell yourself to talk yourself out of writing.
Think about your answers and come up with a rebuttal for each excuse.  Pretend it's someone else who has those excuses, a friend who you feel has tons of writing potential, what would you tell them? 

"Write everyday!  There are two reasons for this rule: getting the work done and connection with your unconscious mind."  - from This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosely 

"Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly." - from Write is a Verb by Bill O'Hanlon

"I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter." - James Michener

"What you need to write a novel is, of course, a deadling." - from No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty, founder of National Novel Writing Month

Use plotting timesavers...

In Will Write For Shoes by Cathy Yardly takes her 3-act story structure from The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray and Story by Robert McKee. 

You may also benefit from The Snowflake Method.

You can write bios for your characters, there are many methods on how to do this

The bottom line is that we need to write.  We need to step away from our insecurities and fears and write until we can't stop.  Get inspiration from other writers, and of course writing groups and conferences. 

Her last page on the handout was a bunch of tips of writing with kids around.  Click here to go to the link where she got the wonderful tips!

Next week I will feature another workshop that I attended at the retreat.  They were all so good I can't wait to share everything I learned!!


  1. My problem is generally that I'm doing nothing but writing. So I work in opposite. "Hey, I have nothing to wear today because everything in the house is in the laundry pile. Maybe I should put the computer away."

  2. Thanks for the recap of this. You included some things that didn't sink in for me at the time but that I need today! Thanks, Nikki!

  3. Thanks for sharing. I couldn't be at the retreat and really wished I could have been. Also, when I grow up I want to be like Valerie. She is my hero!!



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