Everyday Writing Coach  
Big Fat Summer Newsletter
July & August 2015

motivation, writer's prompts, & trade secrets.
The Everyday Writing Coach is part cheerleader, part task master.    We welcome your feedback at 
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Do not get derailed by the unexpected. If writing depended on perfect circumstances, there would be a lot less for us all to read. Whatever you are facing, know that another writer has faced it as well and has put pen to page anyway.

If you are short on time, do a timed writing exercise.

If you are short on quiet time, use headphones and music.

If you are short on energy, bribe yourself with a reward for pushing through.

If you are short on inspiration, think of the things that matter to you most and riff on those things.

Find free writing prompts at 
This year's Writer's Weekend will be held Friday October 16 7pm - Sunday October 18th 2pm at Camp Kawkawa in Hope, BC. $360 (tax included) covers an all-inclusive weekend of workshops, writing contests, prizes, meals, and accommodations. 
Learn how to write for a paycheque, get published, and finish your novel.
Register at 1-888-823-8734 and quote course reference number 80102.

Is your character too autobiographical?

There are a few ways this can happen.

a. you are not using your imagination
b. you like considering the world from your personal viewpoint
c. you are saving $ on therapy
d. all of the above

If your novel is reading like your personal diary, you have several options: 1. is to put it in your nightstand drawer, call it a diary and start on your novel, 2. is to own it, realize you have a story you want to share, and make it an autobiography, & 3. analyze what is making it too autobiographical and change up those elements

If you've decided to go with option 3, you are not alone. As writers, we put pieces of ourselves in the story. The important part is to keep the reader guessing as to which part is you or you will end up with a scandalous read about yourself, some long winded account of wisdom you have gained over the years, or a preachy tale of what you think people should be doing. It's fine to include a bit of the above, which is why the literary world is full of allegories, tales, and dust jackets; but your main goal is to write a ripping good yarn.

To that end,
you can bring back the balance to your writing by considering:
a. Are the characters independent? If they all think the same or are having their motives described by one of the other characters, have a closer look at this.
b. Do all of the characters have both good and bad characteristics? Humans are human so unless you are writing about robots or angels, it's best to show them being human.
c. Are there some imaginative manufactured locations? This is key to avoid the classic Archie comic awkward copy of real places and people. Don't be lazy here. Develop your spaces as if you do your characters.

Let me know how these steps go for you.
If you have further questions in this area, feel free to send them to the

Make 10 Writing Dates

* write in the carpool lane
* write while waiting for a train
* write in the bath
* write at the playground
* dictate into your phone
* write during movie night
* write on your coffee break
* write in the park at lunch
* head to a coffee shop
* write on post-its on the fridge

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I feel like I am in a dry spell creatively. Are there some times that are better for writing? Do I have to wait for these?
A: It could be that you are robbing yourself of creative input. Are you finding time to read and do creative arts and think? Of the reading you’re doing, is it of the quality you yourself wish to write? What you take in will influence your output. Once you have invested in your creativity, sit down and write with regularity.
Smushing Self-Doubt
(AKA pushing through the fear)
  • Keep your inner editor in check -- let the story come out, then let it sit before coming back to edit (hence the draft writing process)
  • Keep the story to yourself for a while.
  • Think the plot and characters through to the end. The more you think about them, the more real they will be to you.
  • Picture yourself with your book in hand. What does the cover look like? How long is it going to be?
  • Read about other authors and how they came to do what they are doing. You will see similarities in your own path which will encourage you along.
Cramming - the Writer's Edition

You remember cramming for exams in high school? Those skills are relevant to you as a writer. Once you’ve identified a space in your schedule which is free for writing, you can stock up on junk food (or tea and vegetable sticks if you’re a more responsible adult) and let loose. As with cramming, it is a good idea to have an outline and a few guidelines (word count to hit, scenes to cover, etc) Once you are at the end, celebrate. Save that work. And plan the next session. (whether it’s tomorrow or next week) In the time between one session and the other you can do the mental work of writing by considering how you want the scenes to look and make up fights or dialogue for the characters to have. You can jot these down in your phone or on the receipts or envelopes or notebooks lying around. If working with scraps of paper, place these snippets into one spot (a basket on your desk is a good idea) and you will have material for the next cramming session.

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