Rank #1: How to Prioritize Your Writing - WN 055
Where does the time go? Between work, family, and countless other obligations, who has the time to write these days? You do! Let's prioritize.
Mar 20 2017
Rank #2: How To Survive Your Day Job - WN 057
Corporate structure crushing your spirit? Wishing you could quit your day job and write full time? This episode is for you.
May 01 2017
Rank #3: Living A Creative Life - WN 056
Are you living the life you want to live? Living a creative life is about making your own decisions and breaking the mold. But what does that mean?
Apr 03 2017
Rank #4: All Of The Best Writing Excuses - WN 058
Do you ever put off writing because you need to wash the dishes or watch American Idol with your spouse? Are these legit reasons -- or just excuses? Learn how to ditch the excuses and just write in this week's episode of the Write Now podcast!
May 16 2017
Rank #5: Writing Full-time - WN 065
Making the switch to a career writer is tough, but you can do it! Here are some pointers that can help your writing dream become a reality.
Apr 09 2018
Rank #6: De-Clutter Your Life So You Can Write - WN 037
I've been thinking a lot about work/life/writing balance ever since I committed to writing a book this year. And so Episode 037 of the Write Now podcast is about just that -- balance, clutter, distraction, scheduling, and so much more.
Just keep spinning...
This is what I feel like a lot of the time:
It's not incredibly fun (though maybe it looks cool from the outside).
Being busy is fine if you can balance it well. But how many of us can actually claim that we balance it well?
What's really important?
Before we take a look at what's cluttering our life, let's look at the non-clutter -- the important stuff.
In today's podcast episode, I encourage you to think of 5 things that are deeply important to you -- 5 things, whether they're objects or entities -- that are integral to who you are.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Spending time with family
Nurturing healthy relationships with your friends
Serving the community and volunteering
Your creative time spent writing, drawing, painting, dancing, photographing, etc.
Your vintage car collection
That plant your mother gave you that you've triumphantly managed to keep alive for nearly a year
Etc., etc., etc.
If the other stuff in your life doesn't support these things, it might just be clutter.
Clutter creates distraction. I know that when I used to think about my email inbox of 300,000-odd unread emails, my eyes would glaze over and my stomach would knot with dread. It's hard to write when your mind is on all of the emails you've never responded to.
Same goes with a cluttered desk or office, a cluttered sink full of dishes, even a cluttered schedule.
Sometimes it's worth it to devote the time to purge that stuff from your life. Sometimes it's even worth sacrificing one writing session for. Clean it up, get it over with, and get back to writing.
Ultimately, the question you need to ask is:
What needs to happen for you to sit down and write with the focus that you need to write?
The answer might surprise you.
It also might be time to give yourself some grace.
I'm not very good at all at doing this for myself. But if you accidentally spend 45 minutes answering emails instead of writing during your writing hour, just forgive yourself, move on, and be more intentional about writing during your writing hour tomorrow.
We're human, after all. We're not perfect. So give yourself some grace, move on, and set yourself up for a successful distraction-free writing session tomorrow.
The Book of the Week is on its way.
Uh. Yeah. I am still working on reading Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey. It's really, really good, but also really, really long. (And I've been really, really busy.)
More to come... in the meantime, keep up-to-date on my book-reading adventures on Goodreads!
This week marks the soft launch of my MERCH store!!! You'll find a ton of varieties & colors of pro-writing, pro-reading shirts, hoodies, tote bags, mugs, and more -- all of which support the work I'm doing here at the Write Now podcast. :D
Or if you prefer, please do feel free to take full advantage of my Tip Jar:
What's cluttering your writing life? What's distracting you from writing?
Let me know via my contact page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com. I can't wait to hear from you. :)
Subscribe to the Write Now podcast for free!
Listen to the full podcast episode for free (as always!) using the controls at the beginning of this post, or listen & subscribe for free (as always!) using your favorite app/website/podcatcher:
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Feb 23 2016
Rank #7: The Most Important Question A Writer Can Ask - WN 050
Sometimes the most important aspect of writing is not the words you string together but the questions you ask. And one question in particular is incredibly helpful.
Jan 16 2017
Rank #8: Finishing What You Start - WNP 072
Not to toot my own horn here, but I am really, really good at starting new creative projects. Finishing them... not so much. Today, we're talking about the fears that keep us stuck and how to finish a creative project in a smart and snappy way. Enjoy!
For show notes, please visit: https://www.sarahwerner.com/finishing-what-you-start-wnp-072
To support the work I do here at the Write Now podcast, become a patron on Patreon! https://patreon.com/sarahrheawerner
Thank you as always for listening, and happy writing!
Jul 22 2019
Rank #9: Self-Writing and Self-Talk - WN 061
Words have power—especially the words we say and think about ourselves. So whether you think you're slime or God's gift to writing, the way you think about yourself can have an immense effect on your work.
For show notes, links, & more, visit http://www.sarahwerner.com/self-writing-and-self-talk-wn-061/.
Jul 10 2017
Rank #10: The Worst Writing Advice - WN 039
The internet is brimming with writing advice -- both good and bad. Episode 039 of Write Now talks about how to determine which advice is worth following, and gives you a rundown of what I think are the worst offenders.
Bad advice is bad.
I think we've all received bad general advice at one time or another, such as:
"Gun it! You can totally make it through that yellow light."
"Aw, come on. You can totally handle one more drink."
"You don't really need to study for the bar exam."
"Your kids would totally respect you more if you dyed your hair blue."
Sometimes it's easy to tell whether advice is good or bad -- it's just up to us to make the correct decision. But other times, the line between good and bad is a bit more blurry.
Discerning good advice from bad advice.
Advice, like so many things, is relative. Advice that's good for one person might be bad for another person (think of medical advice as an example here).
So when you receive a piece of advice that sounds pretty good, ask yourself:
Is it true?
Who is giving me this advice? (Are they trustworthy?)
Why is this person giving me this advice?
Alex Cavoulacos of themuse.com offers two more great questions to ask when considering the source of the advice, in her article called "A Simple Test That Will Help You Tell If You're Getting Bad Advice":
"The vast majority of advice you’ll be given in your life will be one of two types: Either ‘Do what I did’ or ‘Do what’s best for me right now.’ Make sure you take the time to identify if either is the case before taking the advice at face value."
If either is the case, that doesn't immediately mean the advice is bad -- it just means that you have extra context to consider.
And again, advice is only ever just advice. It's not a marching order, and so it's your responsibility to consider it fully before taking or not taking it.
The worst writing advice.
Here's my list of the worst offenders:
"Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life." -- This is simply untrue. I love to write, but at the same time I recognize that it is often frustrating and incredibly hard work.
"Art is never finished, only abandoned." -- This quote from da Vinci may ring true, but it's terrible writing advice. It seems to be saying that if you decide a piece is finished (and gasp! submit it for publication), you're abandoning it, which is shameful and guilt-inducing. When a mother bird pushes her baby birds out of the nest, she's not abandoning them -- she's sending them out into the world to flourish and grow.
"You can't force good writing." -- Au contraire! If you've written for a deadline before and produced anything decent, you've likely forced good writing. Now, what you may not be able to force is creativity -- but if you take this as writing advice, all you're going to get is the license to be lazy.
"I'm against schedules. Write when you feel excited by the prospect." -- This one is from novelist Rick Moody, and it happens to be bad advice for me. (Though it might be great advice for you!) I'm just so busy that if I never scheduled in my writing time, I would never get to do it -- even though I love it.
"You need [X] to write." -- Here, "X" can be coffee, booze, a lucky pencil, a program like Scrivener, a specific typewriter, or any other crutch. If someone tells you that you need "X" to write, they are probably trying to sell you "X". The only thing you need to write is you.
"Write what you know." -- Just... ugh. I hope you know how terrible and limiting this can be. Please do not take it as writing advice. Ever.
What about you? What's the worst (or best) writing advice you've ever received? Let me know in the comments below!
The Book of the Week.
I AM STILL READING Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey. I am SO SORRY ABOUT THAT.
Apr 05 2016
Rank #11: Do I Need A Writing Degree? - WN 062
"Do I need a writing degree?" It's a complex question that involves factors like time, money, lifestyle, goals, & more. Work through your own decision with help from today's episode of the Write Now podcast!
Aug 02 2017
Rank #12: Writing With All of Your Senses - WN 029
I'm back from my mission trip to Jamaica, my friends. And I have several stories and writing insights to share with you. It's all here in episode 029 of the Write Now podcast.
Is travel a "must" for writers?
Travel is a great way for writers to learn, grow, and gain an entirely new perspective. The only downside is that it's not feasible or accessible for everyone. Travel can be expensive, and not everyone can take an extended leave of absence from work, family, or other duties.
This is why I'm so grateful to my employer, Click Rain, for sending me on an annual overseas mission trip to inland Jamaica for the past three years. In today's podcast episode, you'll hear all about my trip and how it affected me as a writer.
A more complete and engaging story.
I acknowledge the irony of lauding "writing with all of your senses" in the same episode in which I visit a village for the deaf. But I'm not saying that you need all five senses (or only five senses) to be a good writer. Not at all.
I think that films and movies have done great things for our imaginations, but they have rather limited the way we tell stories. I've read many writers that rely on the same two elements -- sight and sound -- that movies use... and nothing else.
But what about touch and taste and smell? Or any other kind of knowing?
Today's podcast episode encourages you to create a multi-sensory experience for your reader, and not just convey sights and sounds in the tradition of the silver screen.
Book of the week.
This week's pick is Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn, an incredibly fun mashup between historical fiction and mystery.
Lady Julia Grey is recently widowed and GASP! is there the possibility that her husband could have been murdered?
This book has everything I love about the mystery genre, from lovable, genuine characters to smart and snappy plot twists, and in some ways pays a gentle homage to Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series.
Lady Julia completes an enjoyable character arc that leaves us with a spunky, satisfying heroine who's quite progressive for her time. Plus, there's a dashing, mysterious, and very Heathcliff-ian hero named Brisbane, plenty of tea, a tiny dog named Mr. Pugglesworth, and a raven named Grim. I think you'll like it.
Keep up-to-date with my book-related adventures on Goodreads.
What do you think?
I'd love to hear from you. Submit your thoughts or questions on my contact page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com.
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Nov 23 2015
Rank #13: What I Learned From Writing A Book In 1 Week - WNP 049
Get the 10 invaluable writing lessons I learned while writing a book in one week. (That's right: ONE WEEK.)
Jan 09 2017
Rank #14: Introvert & Extrovert Writers - WN 054
Don't let myths about personality keep you from fully exploring yourself as a writer. Discover your strengths, weaknesses, and how you recharge!
Feb 27 2017
Rank #15: What They Didn't Teach You In School - WN 047
We learned a lot of great things in school. But our educational system isn't perfect, and there are some things we should have learned about writing (and life) that we didn't. All of those (and more!) in this week's episode!
Oct 05 2016
Rank #16: Are There Any Original Ideas Left? - WN 042
Is it true that there's "nothing new under the sun", that we just keep retelling the same 3 stories over and over, and that Hollywood is out of ideas? Find out in the latest episode of Write Now!
Jun 06 2016
Rank #17: WN 060: Make Them Tell You No
What's the worst that will happen if you put yourself out there? How will you handle rejection? Even worse, what happens if you do nothing?
Jun 20 2017
Rank #18: The Power of a Writers' Group - WN 035
One thing I always want to stress in the Write Now podcast is the fact that you are not alone. Despite what you might feel, despite what you might what (or think you want), you're not alone. This is important. And it's the focus of Episode 035 of the Write Now podcast.
Before we begin, a quick note that I've made it easier than ever before to support the work I do with the Write Now podcast with my new Tip Jar! :D
OK. Enough of that. Let's begin...
Starting a great writers' group -- or making your current writers' group even better.
Podcast listener Laura emailed me with some questions about best practices for writers' groups:
I wondered if you would consider doing a podcast on good practices for a writing group? Do you have any suggestions based on your experience? Exercises and activities? Resources? Pitfalls to avoid?
Great questions, Laura. And YES! I have experience with both successful and failed writing groups, and I'm excited to share what I've learned with you.
Different types of writing groups.
What type of writers' group do you want to have? Writing groups that focus on a specific type of writer can include groups for mystery writers, women, veterans suffering from PTSD, sci-fi writers, poets, dissertation students, adolescents, and tons more.
You could also simply just have an umbrella group for people who love to write, regardless of what they're writing.
The Spectrum of Groups: From Encouraging to Critiquing
What do you want your writers' group to do for the folks who join (including yourself)? I've been part of writers' groups that are 75% critique and 25% encouragement, and groups that are 90% encouragement and 10% critique (if that). Each offers different benefits.
Critique-heavy writers' groups will help you develop your skills as a writer, and improve your manuscript (or whatever you happen to be working on) as well as your editing and critiquing skills. They are also great if you want to get better at reading your work in front of others.
Encouraging writers' groups can tend to be a bit more laid-back -- they are places of social inspiration and discussion, and can equip you with the energy and encouragement you need to go home and write up a storm.
Both will give you community and fellowship with like-minded writers, and can help you make both friends and the important connections you need to be successful.
Group Size, Dynamic, & More
You'll want a group that's neither too large nor too small. I recommend the sweet spot of 4-8 regular participants.
There's also the dynamic to consider. I've been in writers' groups where one person is just a really bad fit (perhaps better described as a toxic personality), and we've had to find a way to ask them to leave. It's unpleasant, to say the least.
If you're beginning your own group, consider carefully whom you'll be inviting. I'm not advising you to act under an exclusive mindset, but rather to carefully consider the cocktail of personalities you're mixing together.
You're creating a writers' group, a community, a haven for creatives, a circle of trust. So be intentional about whom you invite.
Beware Entrepreneur's Depression
Bestselling author and blogger Jeff Goins coined this phrase, and I love it: entrepreneur's depression.
Essentially, if you're thinking about starting a writers' group, you're going to have a vision for it. And a vision can be exciting and awesome and amazing. But sometimes, it can also set you up with some unrealistic expectations.
Your vision may be (like mine was) incredibly optimistic. I imagined 20, 30, 40 people attending my writers' group in downtown Chicago. I imagined a line out the door of the coffee shop where it was held. But instead, I got one or two people. And often none at all.
It was discouraging.
Jan 22 2016
Rank #19: Careers for Writers - WN 045
Stuck in a soul-sucking, toxic day job while you dream of being a paid writer? Today's episode covers 10 different career paths for writers just like you.
Aug 31 2016
Rank #20: 30 Tips for 30 Days of NaNoWriMo - WNP 048
From turning off your phone to staving off fear and/or hunger, this episode of the Write Now podcast is here to help you write through NaNoWriMo.
Nov 02 2016