Friday, December 18, 2015

Big Magic: How to Keep Writing When You Have NO TIME!

I'm a great fan of Elizabeth Gilbert's articles about writing, and especially her newest book Big Magic.  This week, I'm sharing one of Gilbert's posts from a few weeks ago on her Facebook page.  It's possibly the most inspiring article I've read recently--effectively addressing the hole we all fall into:

I have NO TIME to write!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Character Lists: A Great Way to Coax Your Characters out of Hiding

In her book, Write Away, mystery author Elizabeth George talks about her writing process as she begins a new book.  She first writes detailed ideas about the plot.  She also researches the setting, often with trips to the location she's thinking of using.  And she always puts together a character list.

Her character lists are many pages of stream-of-consciousness ideas about each main player in her book.  If you read Write Away (which I highly recommend), you'll see an example from her novel, In the Presence of the Enemy.  She shows the entire character list for one of her main characters, Eve Bowen. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

What's Subtext? Learn about This Key Element of Dialogue, Used in All Genres

In real life, we value honesty in dialogue.  Say what you mean, don't make me guess.  Within reason, of course.

In literature, dialogue is all about subtext.  What's not being said.  What's read between the lines, literally.  Learning how to write effective subtext may be the best thing you can do to make your dialogue shine.

Think this is only for fiction writers?  Think again.  Subtext exists in all genres.

Here's a real-life scenario (not mine but a friend's):  A family at the holiday dinner.  The college freshman is home, bursting to share her news about a year abroad.  She's nervous, because her brother is also home for the holidays, and her brother traditionally gets the most attention. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Business Fiction Success Story--The "Buzz" about Lura Fischer's New Novel

When businesswoman Lura Fischer joined my online book-structuring class a few years ago, she told me she wanted to write a business fiction book.  I didn't know that much about this new genre, but I watched Lura build her story over the months we worked together.  This month, her new novel, Buzz, was released and rose quickly to #1 on the amazon Women in Business category. 

Buzz is a novel about "a relentlessly principled young businesswoman" who is "facing ominous threats to both the life of her business and to herself."  In classic storytelling, Lura places us in the business world of Taki Fujimori.  Taki "must draw on her samurai heritage to battle nefarious forces in the workplace and save her young company from dying," Lura says about the book.  "At the same time, a 500-year flood threatens to sweep her away into oblivion."  Taki is also on a quest to piece together her family's past.     

Friday, November 13, 2015

Where Do You Get Your Ideas? A Basic Primer of a Novelist's Writing Process

One of my online students, new to writing fiction, brought up a couple of good and very important questions in class this week.

1.  How do you start writing a novel?  What are the steps?
2.  Where do you get your ideas?

In this blog I'm going to tackle the second question--about idea gathering--because it's really the first step to writing a book of any kind.  But I'd love to refer my student, and all of you, to Elizabeth George's wonderful writing-craft book, Write Away, where she details her writing process. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Three Tricks to Keep Your Book Warm (or Even Hot) This Winter

Here in New England of the U.S., we're getting dire news.  Winter is going to be long and intense again, like last year.   After the holidays, we may be socked in for a while, if the predictions are correct.  I'm hoping they're not, but I'm also hedging my bets.

I want to keep my book cooking--even hot--despite frightful weather outside.  Three motivation tricks I've practiced these past winters, shared below, really work for me.  Maybe they'll inspire you too.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Omission--The Art and Craft of What to Delete

This week I removed a page from my novel's opening chapter. I'd worked on that page for two years, off and on, and workshopped that chapter maybe a dozen times. It was as good as I could make it. But I hadn't seen that there was material I didn't need, and I couldn't see that in even the eleventh draft, just because the shape was still evolving in my mind.
This week, I had a new perspective, thanks to some feedback from an agent. Opening chapters need to do two things, she said. Introduce the character and put them into some immediate action. I had the action, no problem. But I spent too long introducing the character. Now, what I've omitted, makes room for more tension in the storyline.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Building Your Writing Routine--What Will Keep You Going This Winter?

What's the difference between a writer who gets a book finished and a writer who never does?  A writing routine.  Believe it--there's nothing more important.  Not talent, not a great idea.  It's down to basics:  putting self in chair, putting hands on keyboard or taking up the pen.

I recently finished Elizabeth Gilbert's new book on creativity:  Big Magic.  Gilbert has produced well in her writing career.  She has had huge successes (Eat, Pray, Love) and lesser ones.  Gilbert's no stranger to the magic of the Muse, but she defines it differently. 

It's what happens when you are listening.  And when you have a writing routine.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Story Told from Then, Story Told from Now--Getting Clear about Your Narrative Point of View

Deciding who is telling your story--that's a big moment in writing a book.  But even more important is deciding where your narrator will be standing, as he or she tells the tale.  Is the narrator speaking in real time, as the story is happening?  Or from what's called the "retrospective" point of view, looking back from the distance of years?

Which narrative point of view will best serve your story?  Can you move back and forth between them?  And if so, how do you weave them together to make a cohesive book?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Saying No to Everything Else--How Much Can You Realistically Give to Your Book?

When we happily begin our books, we really don't know what kind of time they will take. Such naivete is a good plan, in a way. Ignorance of what we've signed up for keeps us enthusiastic for quite a while. We write, accumulate pages, stay high on the process.

Until we compare notes with another writer.

"I write every day," our new writing friend says. "My instructor/mentor/favorite famous writer days you have to, if you want to really finish your book."

We slink back to our writing desk, wondering what to do now. It doesn't help that our new friend (pick one): (a) is single, no kids; (b) doesn't have to work; (c) is retired and looking for stuff to do; or (d) works at home and can write anytime.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Why False Agreements Make Strong Chapters

The inner story of a book is the transformation of a person, the main character or narrator, through a series of outer events.  This is called a narrative arc.  Without this narrative arc, a book is just like reading a list of crises.  
Readers want to witness growth.  The narrative arc is the journey of growth. A clear narrative arc makes a book feel cohesive. 

But since narrative arcs are about change, the character's journey often starts with something they don't understand.  Something they are challenged by.  Another way to look at this:  it starts with a false agreement.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Big Fights and Little Fights--How Conflict Drives Your Story's Success

This week I am teaching about fighting--at a serene writer's retreat on beautiful Madeline Island in Lake Superior.  An odd topic for a retreat, maybe, but conflict seems to always be in the driver's seat in successful books.

We began our first lesson with a brainstorming session about big fights and little fights.  I wrote the word fighting on the whiteboard and asked the group of thirteen writers to call out different ways fighting can appear in life--and in stories.  We came up with dozens of ways.  Everything from jihads and riots to hate mail and stony silences.  We also explored the subtler kinds of fighting that happen inside a character or narrator in a story--or even a reader trying out a new idea by reading a nonfiction book.  What does a person have to give up to grow?  And how does this internal resistance to surrender cause conflict in their outer lives?

Monday, September 14, 2015

What Thriller Writers Can Teach You about Stellar Dialogue: Learning about Beats, Tags, Interruptions and Other Techniques to Increase Tension

I'm not a thriller writer.  I've edited thrillers, I've read them, I've taught thriller writers how to structure and refine their books.  But writing that high-tension stuff doesn't come naturally to me. 

But I've learned a LOT from working on thrillers.  One skill that's translated over into my own memoir and fiction is the thriller style of dialogue.  It's tense, it builds, it can take a mundane subject and create undercurrent that makes the reader shiver.  Best of all, it's aces at revealing character.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Taking a Break from Your Book: When It's a Good Idea . . . and How to Know

I just spent ten days at a cabin on a lake, high in the mountains, and I didn't work on my novel.  I intended to.  I brought my laptop, the files all updated in Scrivener.  I brought the latest feedback from my writing partners, the comments and changes I was considering.  I brought a bag of inspirational books on writing and creativity.

But I didn't write.

Friday, August 28, 2015

When Should I Share My Writing? How to Know When You're Ready to Get Feedback

Is your manuscript, chapter, scene reader ready?  How do you know when it's time to share it?  Are you just looking for feedback because you're stuck or bored--hoping it'll jump start you?  Or are you asking for reassurance about a new approach or idea you're testing? 

Feedback is a tricky game.  Timing and choice of reader is everything.  First, how do you know when to share? 

When to Share--And When It's Too Soon
One of my blog readers told me, "I give my writing to readers way too soon. That comes from my public policy advocacy work where we share drafts early in order to get creative juices flowing and creative ideas spinning.  I get it that this writing has a different process." 

Friday, August 21, 2015

It May Be Real, But Is It a Good Story? Traveling the Crucial Distance between Reality and Narrative

Years ago, in a fiction class, a writer was defending his work.  "It really happened," he kept insisting to the feedback group who wanted to suggest a few changes.  "Yes, it probably did," our instructor finally said.  "It's real.  But is it a good story?"

Fast forward to a memoir group I taught this past spring.  A woman writing her first memoir was concerned about leaving anything out.  "It all really happened," she kept telling me.  "It's my life!"  And it was quite a life, full of challenges and crises.  I remembered that fiction class long ago.  "Yes, it is your life," I told her, borrowing from my long ago teacher.  "But can you find the narrative within it?  What parts of your life would make a good story?"

Friday, August 14, 2015

Ten Things Not to Say to a Writer--You Gotta Read This!

A Twitter post from well-known novelist Joanne Harris, became a funny-wise commentary on what people think about writers, published recently in The New Republic.  It's worth a read--and you'll laugh, curse, and learn.  Thanks to Nancy, a memoir writer in my intermediate online class, for this priceless essay.

Your weekly writing exercise is to eavesdrop on a party with Phillip Roth, and hear what people say about the "real" work of writing.

Click here for the article.

Friday, August 7, 2015

When You Tell Your Truth and No One Wants to Hear It: How Honest Can You Be in Your Writing?

A writer from New York emailed me:  "I'm learning how to create from who I am, show up and connect to readers," she said.  "I get stuck because I'm not good at the connection part. The mistake that I often make is that people say be honest and authentic - tell me what you are thinking and feeling and I do and they don't connect with my reality. I show up and people don't understand and I get stuck."

Honesty in writing is much-heard advice.  You need to be authentic on the page, because readers can spot a fake a mile away.  But then, what's the balance with knowing your reader, and knowing how to talk with that reader?  This writer asks a good question.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Three "Lures" to Attract Stronger Theme in Your Fiction and Memoir

Tomorrow I will be at one of my favorite writing havens--the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis--teaching a room full of writers about theme.  How it emerges from your work, almost without you knowing.  How it connects to authentic voice. 

Especially:  How theme revealed by certain elements in your story.

I thought it would be fun to give a tiny taste of those elements, in case you live far from the Twin Cities (or even the U.S.) and won't be joining us.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Satisfaction versus Hunger: Two Pivots in Our Stories and How to Toggle Between Them to Keep the Writing Fresh

Good discussion this week in one of my online writing classes:  Bored with her story, a writer asked:  "How do I keep my own interest in my book?  Without reinventing the plot every five minutes?  How can I keep my writing fresh for me, first?"

Smart woman.  She knew that her own boredom with her chapters would soon translate into boring writing.  Right now, it might just be an overactive Inner Critic.  Soon, her blahs would indeed translate to the page.

We toggle between two pivots as we write a book.  When things are clicking along, the writing going well, it's easy to fall into complacency.  A kind of satisfaction or contentment.  Like in life, too much of that becomes boredom.

Friday, July 10, 2015

It's All about Showing Up with Your Real Self: What Keeps Us Away from Our Authentic Creativity?

One of my favorite books to shake myself out of creative slumps is a thin little volume called Creative Authenticity.  Author Ian Roberts covers a vast landscape in just 175 pages:  essays on the search for beauty, craft and voice, the dance of avoidance, methods for working.  I especially like his tips on when to recognize that moment when you're ready to "show"--to put your work out into the world. 

Roberts's passion:  the nature of authenticity in art.  How do we find and develop our real voice?  What happens when we shy away from our emerging authenticity?  Why are we so afraid of this authenticity?

I recently took a voice lesson from a master teacher.  I wanted to give my spouse a birthday gift of a lesson but I decided to take one too.  I speak for a living, I sing for pleasure, and I'm curious about my voice and what it reveals about me.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Weeding through the Mass and the Mess: Making Sense of Your First Draft

A reader from New York has been working hard on her first draft of a novel for over a year.  First drafts aren't easy.  Initially they require sitting down and writing a lot.  Not necessarily from chapter 1 to The End, but a lot of scenes need to accumulate.  This is the benefit of writing classes, writing marathons, and writing practice.  This is why Nanowrimo (National Novel Writer's Month) is so popular.  You can accumulate pages toward this first draft.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Organizing: How to Handle, Sort, File, and Save All the Bits and Pieces of a Book

Once you begin a book, you begin to live in overwhelm.  I'm talking about the sheer volume of documents--whether printed pages or virtual files--that a book generates as it grows and gets revised.

I think longingly of the past.  My short stories, essays, columns, poems were easily gathered in file folders.  Even multiple revisions or printed pages from feedback could be compiled into easy revision lists.  I spent a year working on new stories and all 45 of them (still in process) are in one woven shelf basket in my writing room.

A book is another animal altogether.

How do you handle, sort, file, and save all the necessary bits and pieces of a book, including your ideas, your research, your images, and your drafts?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Long Time and Short Time in Fiction and Memoir

A big challenge for most new book writers is figuring out time.  Not the time to write, but the time as it's portrayed in their book.  How much time passes in your story?  Do you move back and forth in time?  Do you start far into the story then flash back to the beginning?

Working with a storyboard (see the article below) helps you immediately see your time choices.  If you are moving in linear time, or straight chronology, through your story, each event will happen in sequence.  Today will be followed by tonight which will precede tomorrow.  This is the easiest timeline to work with. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Micro-Revision--Working from Small Issues to Bigger Issues to Solve Your Book's Problems

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to study with a well-known novelist online.  She offered a workshopping class that focused on micro-revision. 

As an editor, I knew about micro-revision, but it had always come last in my editing process.  Solve the big issues first, I was trained.  Deal with the structure problems, then the language fine-tuning will come naturally.

This writer used a different method, and since I'm always interested in learning new methods, I was intrigued.  I gave her eight weeks of my writing life and awakened my creative brain to micro-revision.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Why Accountability Is Essential for Book Writers--If You Ever Want to Finish Your Book!

A friend once said:  "Books are marriages.  Sometimes I miss the one-night stands."  Ever feel that way?  Writing a book delivers a huge payoff, but it's a lot more work to keep the relationship going.

Books take an emotional and psychological toll.  I love this quote from writer Red Smith:   "All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."  

Sometimes, showing up at the page requires intense vulnerability, even courage.  But first-time book writers think it's just about the writing.  If you learn how to craft good sentences, you're home free.  That's only half of the process.  Like any long-term relationship, it's also about your accountability. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Can You Boost Your Brain Power--and Your Health--by Writing Every Day? (Yes!)

Last fall, the Harvard Business Review ran an article about the new use of story in business presentations.  Rather than Death by PowerPoint, the writer showed solid proof that stories work a LOT better to "capture people’s hearts--by first attracting their brains." 

When we engage with narrative, the studies showed, various physical functions, such as oxytoxin synthesis, improve. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

You've Gotta Choose! Five Tips to Prevent Distractions from Becoming Derailments in Your Writing Life

A friend told me a great story about a long-distance swimmer.  In one of his swims, this athlete ran into a school of jellyfish.  He'd bat them away, then another would smack him in the face.  It slowed him down, and for a while he considered stopping the swim.  But other than a few small stings, the jellyfish were just a distraction.  He switched his attention back to his swim and finished it. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

How to Keep Your Memoir from Being Just a Selfie

A writing colleague sent me this recent article from the Washington Post--a humorous look at how memoir has evolved.  One new direction is the selfie.  Look at me, in other words. 

Selfies can be quite entertaining.  If the selfie shows a unique angle on someone's life, and we want to learn more about that someone, it's worth the time.  The Post writer, Mark Athitakis,  breaks down his short list into categories of selfie-memoirs, such as "I'm Famous," "I'm Running for President," and "I Used to Be Dead but for Some Reason I'm Not Anymore."  You can imagine others:  "I Had a Screwed-Up Family but I Turned Out OK" or "I Survived Something Very Intense."

Friday, April 24, 2015

Book Titles--How Important Are They? How Do You Get a Great One?

Imagine finishing your book manuscript and sending it out to agents and then publishers--and getting a big YES!  You've sold your book.  Time to celebrate.  Then the reality of production begins. 

All those changes suggested by editors.  Gearing up your promotion.  The marketing department wanting to change your book title.


Yep.  Pretty common.  I've had three book titles get changed by marketing departments or editors after the contract was signed.  It's always done with good reasons and in the end, I've been glad (my early titles were awful).  But it's a bit disconcerting.  Especially after I'd published five books--my trusty agent had sold my sixth manuscript to a mid-sized publisher . . .  whose first request was to change the title. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Rest Breaks for Book Writers--When Are They Procrastination and When Are They Required?

This week I'm taking a rest break from my book.  I'm still thinking about it, still mulling over its many problems, but I have recognized some important signs of burn-out that I need to attend to.  I've begun pushing rather than listening.  I have a more-than-usually-overactive Inner Critic.  And occasionally, a feeling of the blues about my work will creep in. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Go On! Make a Bad Decision! Your Story Will Thank You

Still life.  A painting term for something captured in time.  Frozen, unmoving, maybe even perfect.  Looks pretty.  Gets a little boring after a while.  Is far from real life, isn't it?

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Big "W" and Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey Story Arc

Writing a book is hard work.  So it helps to get help--anything that has worked before.  What makes a story satisfying?  What keeps us reading?  One writer who has solved this question for many of us:  Joseph Campbell, his Hero's Journey, and the W structure that evolved from his work.

Campbell offered a classic definition of mythic structure in storytelling.  The narrator, the hero, starts a quest and faces challenges that change him or her by the end.  It's the structure you see in so many films, books, and classic fairytales.  Most movies out of Hollywood follow this structure. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Finding Time for Yourself: The Value of Writing Retreats

Writers who take on a book learn that it is always connected to their lives, some way, somehow.  Even if the story is about another planet.  Even if the writer is making it all up.   

We can't write completely outside of who we are, especially when we're spending 300 pages doing so.  This means we must face ourselves squarely, look at our motivation for our project, as well as any oh-so-personal obstacles to getting there.

It requires being alone with our creativity.  Writing retreats are great places for this to happen.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Studying Stephen King: Subtext and Dialogue Use by a Master

My April 2 dialogue workshop is almost sold out, so I wanted to give those of you who are coming (and anyone who can't come) a jump start on understanding subtext in dialogue.  Subtext is the undercurrent in written dialogue. 

It makes dialogue expand from information-giving to emotion- and tension-fostering.  It's what makes dialogue really work.  And what gets your manuscript past that round (rejection) file.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Navigating a Big Writer's Conference--What's Best to Do, What Do You Bring, How to Make the Most of Your Time and Money

This spring, two major writing conferences happen.  One is the annual AWP (Associated Writing Programs) conference in Minneapolis on April 8-11.  The other is the Muse and the Marketplace, the premier New England conference sponsored by Grub Street writing school, on May 1-3 in Boston. 

Mega-conferences are high opportunity and high overwhelm.  Concurrent workshops, panels, and pitch sessions with agents tempt you to multi-task or bilocate.  But the best results often come from thinking carefully ahead of time about what you want to leave with--more skills, more contacts, a sense of where you are in the publishing process, a hopeful connection with an agent? 

Dialogue Skills to Develop Real or Imagined Characters--And Help Sell Your Book to a Publisher!

Imagine a publisher sitting in front your manuscript.  By some wild luck, and your hard work, it has arrived in his or her hands.  Now it awaits trial.  Will it pass or fail?

The publisher skims the pages until a section of dialogue appears.  It's read and the entire book is judged on how the dialogue moves.  If it's good, the publisher turns back to the first pages and begins to read your story.  If the dialogue is clunky, the manuscript is set aside with a sigh (or a laugh) and the publisher moves on to the next in the stack.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Structuring for Nonfiction Books--How Do You Do It, So Your Reader Can Follow It?

We were taught in school a three-part structuring tool:  Tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.

While this essay-structure helped me pass my high-school English classes, it never came in handy as I began writing books.  In fact, I had to unlearn that tool, pick up completely different ones.  No longer impressing a teacher, I had to impress my readers.  And a reader's mind gets bored with knowing what's coming.

This is obvious in fiction and memoir--we want to dive into the story, be surprised.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Structuring Phase--The Second Stage of Building a Book

This two-part post discusses the two phases of book building.  If you missed part 1, just scroll down.

How do you know you are in the structuring phase of building your book?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Gathering Phase and Structuring Phase--Two Stages of Building a Book

Writers who have published books know that there are two phases in the book-writing journey. They cycle back and forth during the time you’re planning, writing, and developing (editing) your book. They apply to all genres: fiction, memoir, and nonfiction.  

It’s good to know what phase you are currently in, so you approach your book-writing journey with the appropriate tools. Knowing your phase will also keep you from getting discouraged or overwhelmed.

Friday, February 6, 2015

How Do You Start Your Chapters for the Most Punch? Some Simple--and Surprising--Structure Tips for All Genres

Michelle from New Zealand watched my video on story structure and sent some questions about how to begin a story.  

Although Michelle writes short stories, this question is important for book writers too. 

"Some stories begin with a problem," she wrote, "and it is solved through several small events.  I can't find how the other stories might begin. "

There are essentially three ways to begin a story (or book).   
1.  Through characters
2.  Through a location (usually a location that is vital to the story and ends up being as strong as a character)
3.  Through what's called a "triggering" event

Friday, January 30, 2015

Writing in "Islands"--How I Wrote My First Memoir in Forty-Five Days

A novel in a month?  A memoir in six?  I never believed those promises, tooted by many writing books.  Not until I came across the concept of writing in "islands."

I'd already published five books, with the help of great editors, when I first heard of  "islands."  A writing friend knew I was struggling--a publisher was interested in my memoir and I had to deliver in three months.  I'd honed my skills in nonfiction, even won some awards, but memoir is a whole different animal. 

I was moaning to this writing friend about how to even get started, with such a deadline looming.  She suggested I check out a book by writing teacher Ken Atchity.  Called A Writer's Time, rereleased many years later as Write Time,  the book was not at all about time management but about the two-part process of book writing.  Atchity had noticed over the years of working with new authors that those who actually finished their books allowed random-access writing before any organizing happened.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Growing Out of Your Rootbound Pot--Why Bravery on Demand Can Help Your Writing

Simone de Beauvoir once wrote, "Every time I start on a new book, I am a beginner again. I doubt myself, I grow discouraged, all the work accomplished in the past is as though it never was, my first drafts are so shapeless that it seems impossible to go on with the attempt at all, right up until the moment . . .when it has become impossible not to finish it."

This comes from her 1965  book Force of Circumstance, which is one of many published works during her long literary career.   New book writers might read this in astonishment.  How come such a prolific and experienced writer had such beginner's emotions?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Enough Already! Is It Really Time to Start Revising or Are You Just Bored with Your Book?

Poems, articles, columns, and short stories are all creative commitments, to be sure, but even if they linger unfinished for a while, they are short relationships compared to 350 pages of manuscript.  With a book, you regularly re-evaluate your progress, your purpose, and your plans.  You recommit again and again.

 But is it ever done? When is enough, enough?  These questions come up at two particular stages,
I've found.  One marker is when the writer is ready for revision.  The other is when revision is finished and the book is ready for final editing.

A writer from New York, who has been working on his nonfiction book for several years, sent a very good question about this:   "At what point does one realize what they are trying to write is the final 'version'?" he emailed me.  "My subject/point of view has changed several times.  When do I stop?  I know the book evolves but it seems like I'm always evolving.  I struggle with having new ideas that change my point of view."

Friday, January 2, 2015

Building on What's Working: A New Approach to Setting Writing Goals for the New Year

Some writers think writing a book is just this:  sit down, write, and hope for the best.  Goals are a waste of time, because in a purely creative world, it's the flow that matters.  Just keep the flow going and you're golden.  Your book, too.  Right?

Not really.  Goals are valued by most professional writers.  They give markers and deadlines.  Writing is easily put aside in favor of a thousand distractions.  Goals give accountability.  A way to see if your writing process is actually working for you.