Deb: Jumpstart Your Writing


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You love to write. Why, then, can it be so hard to get
started—or to finish a project that you began with enthusiasm?
An abundance of metaphors prove that this affliction is
nearly universal among writers. Your muse needs to visit. Your creative well
needs filling. Your batteries need recharging.
Whenever I teach a writing workshop, I find a good number of
the participants are in exactly this place with their projects. They’re excited
about an idea. Maybe they’ve started drafting, or they’ve finished a draft. But
somewhere along the way, they’ve lost momentum. They want to finish, and finish
well—if only they could see their way through.
The good news: It’s not all that tough to jumpstart your
writing. Here, a few ways to get yourself going:
what you love about your work:
Read through the last five pages you wrote.
Don’t make any changes. Instead, bracket the three parts you like best—words,
sentences, or sections. Copy one of those best parts onto a clean page and use
it as springboard for ten minutes of freewriting. Don’t worry about where it’s
going. Just write.
Choose a passage you love from a writer you admire. With pen in
hand, unlock its secrets. In the margins, make notes about how it works. Then,
using a topic or scene of your own, write a passage that consciously imitates
it. Will your effort fall short? Of course. But even the masters are
Read a
writer on writing:
Read (or reread) what one of your favorite writers has
to say about writing. The Paris Review interviews, available online, are a
great source. Take comfort in the struggles you share—and the fact that these
can be overcome.
writing with writers:
Meet with your writers group. Attend a reading, a
conference, a workshop.
On this last point, I’m prepping to teach a six-hour workshop
for writers like you: Jumpstart Your Writing, from 9 am to 4 pm (with an hour
lunch break) on Saturday, September 26.
Through guided exercises and discussion, we’ll generate ideas, amplify words on
the page, and write past stuck points. We’ll explore the writer’s mind, the
writing process, and narrative essentials like character, setting, and pacing.
We’ll examine and refine our writing processes while exploring techniques to
mine and enrich the material from which we write.
Included in the workshop fee is a copy of Write Your Best Book. But you don’t have to be working on a book—our focus will be on
re-energizing all types of writing. So whether you’re a novelist, an essayist,
a memoirist, a poet, or a dabbler in writing of all types, we’d love to have
you join in. You’ll leave with your batteries charged, your well filling up,
your muse on your shoulder. Registration is required, so sign up today.
PS: “Jumpstart Your
Writing” will be the last workshop I teach in the Anchorage area, at least for
the foreseeable future. After 36 years in Alaska, I’ll be leaving in
mid-October. More on the Big Move in next month’s post!  
Co-founder of 49 Writers and founder of the
independent authors cooperative Running Fox Books, Deb
 has authored sixteen
books. Her most recent are Write
Your Best Book
, a practical guide to writing books that rise above the
rest; What
Every Author Should Know
, a comprehensive guide to book publishing and
promotion; and Cold
, a novel that
“captures the harsh beauty of the terrain as
well as the strain of self-doubt and complicated family bonds,” according to
lives and works on Hiland Mountain outside of Anchorage, Alaska, and at a cabin near the
Matanuska Glacier. 

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