Tag Archives: writing tips

The 7th Blog of Christmas

The lovely Jennifer Ellis shares her post on this 7th Blog of Christmas! Enjoy!

Jennifer Ellis-1Jennifer lives in the mountains of British Columbia where she can be found writing, hiking, skiing, borrowing dogs, and evading bears. She also works as a climate change researcher, evaluator and strategic planner. She has wanted to be a writer since she first read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and didn’t want to come out of the wardrobe.

Jennifer writes science fiction, romance and dystopian fiction for children and adults, including In the Shadows of the Mosquito Constellation and A Pair of Docks, which was a bestseller in children’s time travel fiction. She has also contributed to several anthologies, most notably Synchronic: 13 Tales of Time Travel, which hit #16 in the Kindle Store.

You can subscribe to her blog for writing tips, industry insights, and two free short stories at www.jenniferellis.ca, and check out her writing on Amazon at: http://bit.ly/jenniferellis. She tweets about writing, cats, and teenagers at @jenniferlellis.

I’m once again participating in the 12 Blogs of Christmas with eleven other writers, organized by Martin Crosbie. As part of the event, we are to write about—not surprisingly—Christmas. Many of the other eleven bloggers have written about fond or funny memories of Christmas. Last year, I wrote about my fraught relationship with Christmas—acknowledging the magic of Christmas but also the busy-ness, commercial aspects, and guilt associated with Christmas (we have so much, and so many people have so little). So I can’t do that again. Most of my stories about Christmas go something like… we got too much, ate too much, spent too much (even though we don’t spend that much), stressed about a turkey, and were really happy to be able to go skiing and eat leftovers on Boxing Day.

I exaggerate. I’m sure I’ve had some nice Christmases, but since I’m often up to my elbows in a turkey, and have not had any famous disasters, they are not the stuff of stories. Then again, my memory is famously poor—all that living half the time in another world. This year I’ll be sure to burn the turkey, so I have something to tell you about next year (Hmm, I’m getting a strong turkey vibe here. It might be time to start serving Christmas steak).

To me, Christmas is about gratitude and reflection on a year gone by. In an effort to dredge up some Christmas spirit (and not seem like cross between Eeyore and the Grinch—I promise I’m actually not—Christmas commercials make me cry), I decided to do a post on the 12 writing things I’m most grateful for this Christmas. That’s not to imply that there are not a lot of non-writing things I am grateful for (there are so many of those things), but this is a writing blog (and I think this sentence is a triple-negative) so…READ MORE

TO READ THE 8TH BLOG OF CHRISTMAS, CLICK HERE

To read from the 1st Blog of Christmas, CLICK HERE

My TOP 8 Writing Tips for Newbies

Here’s a quick Top 8 list of things to help you write anything!

  1. Don’t have any distractions (tv, kids etc.) This means turn off your email, close all windows (on your computer, dummy, not the ones in your house, although that might be a good idea too.) It does, after all, get noisy out there sometimes. Come to think of it, that effin bird out there is making an awful racket, and WHAT’S WITH THE LAWNMOWER — it’s October, for crying out loud! Perhaps I will just close my window…

…sorry about that, had to go out and ask my neighbour if he could mow his lawn a little later and we got to talking about composting. Now, back to the list. Hey, what’s that buzzing sound? Oh, it’s my cell phone — I have it on vibrate so as not to get distracted.

2. Have your phone on vibrate…damn! You know, maybe I should answer it…just this once. After all, it must be important or they wouldn’t keep trying to call me back. Or perhaps they think I am a bit slow and it takes me a while to figure out my effin phone is trying to get my attention…oh, screw it, I’d better answer, it’s going off again…

…Well, that was an interesting call about why I need to switch my service provider. I told her when they can figure out how to filter spam phone calls — especially when I am writing a blog post or when I am in desperate need for the bathroom, then they got me for life! When I was in the afore-mentioned bathroom, I noticed my toenails were getting a little long so I got out the trimmers; and of course, then I noticed my legs hadn’t been shaved in a while.

3. Schedule a specific time each day to write. Even if it is late at night, or early in the morning before work, make a plan to write at a scheduled time and DO NOT do any other activities during this time.  I have this friend whose husband used to get up at 6 am to write before work. I wonder how he is doing on his book. You know, I really should check online to see if he is on Amazon yet. I bet his book would be really interesting after all that work he put in…

4. Do NOT get tempted to look anything up on the internet unless it directly relates to what you are writing about. I just spent over $50 and I do not remember exactly what I bought, but it definitely was not my friend’s husband’s book. He wasn’t on Amazon. I should shoot him an email to tell him I checked…Ah, no! Almost fell for that one! Just keep writing, just keep writing…

5. KEEP WRITING! It is best to keep a document on your desktop to add any ideas to throughout the day so you can expand upon them during your scheduled writing time. Just highlight or delete as you use the content. Ooh, just remembered I had a list somewhere about staying on topic and pruning your work for efficacy and clarity. Hmm, it’s here somewhere…

6. Stay organized. Just spent an hour browsing through files and getting lost in the mountain of images, photos and documents that do not seem to follow any sort of chronological order, or aren’t arranged in any way which could conceivably be called ‘organized’. Now I am very despondent. Perhaps a snack to make me feel better.

7. Okay, no snacking until you finish. You should set a goal (say 500 words or an hour of writing if it’s a blog — longer if you are working on a novel), and have a favourite snack or bevvy on hand for when you complete. Oh, just remembered, I ate the last of the Goldfish crackers with my red wine last night — a poor writer’s wine and cheese party. Anyway, I’ll just pop out and get some nibbles. You know, for when I get around to finishing this…