School is in Session

With Labor Day over and out, kids are back in school and I figure there’s no better time for me than the present to get my act together! Forget New Year’s resolutions—you don’t have to wait that long. We need to Write, Now! Here are my goals (perhaps “aspirations” is a better term) for the new school year, in no particular order:

  • Write EVERY [week] DAY
  • Schedule a time to work every day
  • Use my typewriter more often so am not distracted by the interwebs
  • Use my typewriter more often so I can’t go back and edit while writing
  • Read more books in the genre in which I am writing
  • Read at least on week nights so I can get through said books
  • Write, even if/though the first draft really is utter crap

I’ve been doing pretty well so far. (It’s been three whole days.) Today I typed 6 pages on my typewriter, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s certainly more than I’ve been doing lately, and not being able to delete anything is going to be a good challenge.

On Tuesday I picked up a couple books from the library: The Encyclopedia of Medieval Times, Volumes I and II, and this gem: How Not to Write a Novel: 200 Classic Mistakes and How to Avoid Them–A Misstep-by-Misstep Guide

It’s bitingly sardonic, so if you don’t have a sense of humor, leave this one on the shelf. But if you do have a sense of humor, this is definitely one of the most entertaining books on the subject. Do note that there is a chapter on how NOT to write a sex scene, and there’s some colorful language. So if you are sensitive to that sort of thing, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Bethany asked a question on an older post about what kind of technology I use to write, and mentioned Scrivener. You can read my response here, but I basically said I didn’t find Scrivener to be something I needed to purchase after the free trial. I use Evernote all the time because it syncs across my devices, but as I am trying to wean myself from being continually distracted by the internet, I’m going old school and unplugging more often. I’ve printed out worksheets, put them in a binder, and started to type on my typewriter, as mentioned above. It’s working pretty well for me. Better even than paper and pencil, because the text is legible, I write faster, and my hands are less likely to cramp up. Though I will go back to pen and paper when I do my edits. There’s nothing like a nasty red pen bleeding on a field of black and white.

Whether you are enrolled at school or not, what are your goals for the school year?

9 thoughts on “School is in Session

  1. Cathryn Cade (@CathrynCade) says:

    Lara,
    Just wanted to tell you that some of your writing tools have revolutionized my writing process. Love the way you think!

    Thanks so much for sharing your process and brainy approach to writing.

    PS, love satiric humor, am off to order ‘How not to …”

    best,
    Cathryn Cade

  2. Laura Ritchie says:

    Nice list of goals! The Encyclopedia of Medieval Times sounds very interesting, and I wish I could take a peek at it. I did find a copy of The Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages that I’m trying to purchase.

    • wifosaurus says:

      The actual title of the one I got from the library is ALL THINGS MEDIEVAL by Ruth A. Johnston. It seems pretty generic. If you’d like a list of sources I’ll be using or have been reading for my medieval-set speculative fiction, I’d be happy to oblige!

      • Laura Ritchie says:

        Well, if it isn’t that helpful, it’s certainly not worth the $150 price tag on Amazon. (Not that I could have afforded that anyway… lol)

        If you have some useful resources from that time period, I would certainly be interested! Thanks!

      • wifosaurus says:

        I just ordered two more books earlier this week. Give me a week or two for them to arrive and for me to look them over, and then I’ll write up a post about research, linking to the books I’ve found helpful.

        In the meantime, if Amazon is giving a steep price for a book, be sure to compare it with half.com—that’s where I just bought my two recent ones, and saved over $100 from the Amazon price.

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