2016—a pivotal year for some very savvy Vienna writers

images-1This year will be unlike any other for those savvy writers who participated in Write Now’s exciting January meeting: 2016—Your Year of Amazing Writing Achievements. Facilitated by Kirsten Donaghey and myself, the meeting stepped writers through the process of creating meaningful writing goals and a realistic plan for achieving them.

Among various discussions, writers were encouraged to explore where their writer’s journey might lead them—whether they sought a lofty career as a literary novelist, or they were happier to traverse the more earthly path of the writer who simply loves to explore. Either way, a journey is best enjoyed one step at a time—mindful of the daily writing activities that gradually lead the writer to their destination. Along the way there are milestones—those sacred markers that affirm the writer’s compass is true. We explored those too. What milestones could be reached by the end of 2016? These would become each writer’s goal.

But what worthy adventure is not fraught with danger? Every writer is at least peripherally aware of the obstacles, like loose rocks on a steep mountain pass: they might cause a mighty tumble. The summit is no place for the unprepared or the foolhardy. So we discussed the obstacles (see the list below), and we listed ways of avoiding or overcoming these. Each writer weighed up the risks—were they prepared to set forth all the same?

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I think everyone on the evening realised it takes a great deal of courage and perseverance to become a successful writer. And when each writer read out their plan for 2016, Kirsten and I saw the determination: they were bravely setting out on an amazing journey. To keep them in good company, we encouraged each writer to choose a buddy—another writer who would check on their progress along the way. Both writers are aiming for their respective summits. We wish them every success.

Do you have a writer’s plan for 2016? Here is the writing plan each writer developed on our planning evening:

  1. My writing goal for 2016 is…
  1. I will achieve my goal by writing…hours / week .
  1. I will write at the following times:
  1. I will monitor my writing progress by…

5,   The biggest threats to me achieving my goal are…

  1. I will avoid / overcome these by…

You should print out your plan and display it where you can see it every day. Adhered to, your plan will lead you on to amazing writing achievements.

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2016—Your Year of Amazing Writing Achievements!

imagesWith the year before us and all the opportunities that lay in wait, there is no better time to plan your writing activities. And what better way to crystallise your best intentions then in the fine company of fellow writers.

Facilitated by Kirsten Donaghey and Paul Malone, Write Now invites you to our very first (and perhaps most important!) event of the year:

2016—Your Year of Amazing Writing Achievements!

Wherever your writing endeavours may lead you, we’d love to help you on your journey. On the evening we’ll guide you through your own personal planning process—setting meaningful, measurable, and achievable goals that will progressively elevate and energise your writing.

So, if you’re up for an amazing year of writing achievements, take your boldest marker and emblazon your calendar with the following date:

Thursday 21st January

Palais Palffy- Josefsplatz 6 (enter the main door and we are the first door on the left)

Please drop us a line at office.writenow@gmail.com if you are coming and if you will bring along a guest.

We look forward to seeing you on the night.

Writing Resolutions

Written by Ida Cerne

If a writer is dissatisfied with his output during the year, he probably manages to write a new years resolution to write more, or at least do something with all the scraps of beginnings of novels, short stories or other snippets of creative writing just waiting in some drawer or lurking in the shadows of the computer, waiting to be dealt with. So, being part of a network of writers, I think it a great idea – instead of exchanging gifts in the holiday season – to exchange new years resolutions about writing. Wouldn’t it be great if someone could finish my novel, and I would promise to sort their short stories into a collection. Or I could go through someone else’s scraps of paper with brilliant beginning or ideas that are too brilliant to throw away, and someone could page through the little notebooks I kept as a student and actually extract pearls of wisdom and throw the rest away. There is something about the New Year that calls for coming to grips with things, bringing order into our lives. Instinctively it is a time to set goals and change habits that hold us back.

I asked our other committee members how they would be approaching the new year of writing. Some very interesting answers!

This is what Tamara said:

My resolution for 2015 is to consciously make more time for creative writing as such, but also to come up with ideas for stories and actually focus on them and eventually finish them, rather than coming up with dozens of new ideas which seem much more interesting.

This is what Tim said:

When I was trying to get fit, I just ran for 15 minutes a day. It soon became habit. My resolution is to do the same with writing: at 10.00 a.m. every day, whatever else I happen to be doing, wherever it is (within reason), I want to write for a quarter of an hour. Of course this should soon turns into longer.

This is what Kirsten said:

My intent this year with my writing is to stop my habit of micro editing! I have a tendency to get very caught up in words, and details and find myself so up close to my characters that neither of us have breathing space. My new goal is to step back and observe my own writing from a distance, to watch the world the story lives in without changing anything. I think the big picture will enable me to achieve clarity of form and story.

How about you? Drop us a line here in the comment section and share your strategy, wisdom, or anti-resolution philosophy.

Creative Time Management

How to manage your time creatively

(by Paul Malone)

Like most writers you’ve probably come to appreciate the value of time, or to lament the apparent lack of it. Rare are those who “write for a living”. For most, writing takes its place, and vies for its respective time, amidst a myriad of activities of hierarchal importance. Still, if you wish to tap your writing potential (and still lead an orderly and happy life!), this post may have something for you:

How to achieve your writing best:

  1. Be patient whilst creating a body of work
  2. Develop an overarching plan for your writing career
  3. Manage your time creatively.

There isn’t room in the one post to address all these points in-depth, nor am I asserting the necessary experience to provide “expert” advice on these, but by way of brief explanation to provide context for why you should manage your time creatively:

  1. Creating a body of work takes a lifetime. The wise writer enjoys the journey, has the courage to explore (genre, form, etc.), isn’t in a hurry to “label” their writing or the kind of writer they are. Such a writer takes pleasure in honing their craft, not only through writing practice, but though pushing boundaries, being open to new ideas. Above all, be patient and enjoy the journey!
  1. Develop an overarching plan for your writing career. Whilst steadily creating a body of work, take the time to consider your work objectively, plan your writing activities to achieve smaller goals (a short story, for example) that lead to larger outcomes (an anthology, for example). Along the way educate yourself: read, attend writing courses, network, etc. Allow your plan to unfold, to alter course naturally.
  1. Manage your time creatively: the focus of this post and the title of a workshop I will be running this fall in Vienna (check out “workshops” on this site). Here’s one extremely effective way of managing your time creatively. I call it Time Snippets:

Time Snippets

As the title suggests, Time Snippets is about working for short yet concentrated periods to steadily achieve ones writing goals. How long is a snippet? 15 minutes to one hour. Much longer and the focus is lost; shorter is impractical. Why write in time snippets? Because collectively they yield results. Because all too often writers procrastinate, waiting for the illusive “chunks” of time–a free afternoon, a free evening etc. Because when a writer has achieved their weekly writing target (see below), they can set all thoughts of writing aside, fully enjoying other activities.

Here’s how Time Snippets Works:

  1. Decide how much time you’d like to write each week
  2. Work out when you can write each day (in snippets from 15 minutes to 1 hour)
  3. Write in snippets, keeping track of your progress.

That is it. Simple, right? There is one other thing:

I suggest you challenge any preconceptions you might have about what constitutes a conducive environment to write. What preconceptions? Here are a few:

  • I need a quiet environment to write
  • I need a desk
  • I need to mentally prepare
  • I need a coffee, music, and the like
  • I can’t just write anywhere

All reasonable, of course. But all of these are a hindrance to the writer who does not have the luxury of time. If you commute by public transport, write in a notebook (I use a clipboard), or bring a laptop. Write for 30 minutes before you go to bed, when you get up, when you get a few free minutes. But track your progress. In doing so you’re being honest about your writing time and eliminating that niggling feeling you haven’t written enough.

Time snippets is just one way of managing your time creatively. There are others, of course. If you’d like to know more about time snippets, about making the most of your writing time, then register for the Creative Time Management workshop this fall.

Happy Writing!