Nancy's Books

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Maximize Writing Time, Call for Submissions, Contests

Have you ever wondered what makes some writers more successful than others? One common denominator of successful writers is they produce a lot of writing. They write every day. One of the best ways to get in the habit of writing daily is to have a plan. Some writers set a goal of a certain number of hours per day. Others prefer a word or page amount. Here are some ideas to maximize your writing time.

1. Use bum glue. Glue your bum, not literally, to the chair and write. Writers write. There is no other way to get the words on paper or the screen. The more your write, the easier it gets.

2. Stop procrastinating. Set a writing goal and consistently work toward that goal. Staring at a blank computer screen or sheet of paper is intimidating. Every book begins with the first word. If you’re writing a chapter book or novel, break down the project into chapters and work through the story one chapter at a time. Begin with an outline. Outline each chapter. If you have never traveled from Monkey’s Eyebrow, Kentucky, to Frog Eye, Alabama, wouldn’t it be easier if you followed a map rather than guess the routes? Following an outline is like following a map through new territory. You have the options of choosing different routes and will get to your destination with fewer wrong turns.

3. Develop a schedule that fits your lifestyle. If you can write for 30 minutes every day at 4:15, use that time effectively. You may have a few minutes while you wait to pick up a child from softball practice to write or develop ideas.

4. Write when you don’t feel inspired. Some writers say they are inspired every morning at 8:00 whether they feel it or not. Don’t wait until you feel the urge to write. If you start writing, ideas will come.

5. Perseverance pays off. Remain persistent in your writing goals. Stephen King says talent is as common as table salt. Write consistently and hone your talent. Manuscripts will follow and you’ll be closer to reaching your goals.

Teachers, introduce a writing activity by holding up three pictures. Describe in detail each picture. If the picture is a dog chasing a boy, use descriptive language to express the action. Instead of saying, “The dog chased the boy,” provide details, such as “Sting, the wild-eyed, wild haired, wild barking dog of the new neighbor had just learned to chase the wind when Jesse saw the creature sprinting in his direction….”

Explain that writing details makes the story come alive. Give each student three different pictures and let them place the pictures in any order; then write a paragraph detailing the action in each.

Spruce Mountain Press Annual Past Loves Contest
To foster awareness of PAST LOVES DAY, SEPTEMBER 17, Spruce Mountain Press sponsors an annual Story Contest. The Contest, and the Day, offer an opportunity to acknowledge a truth that lingers in your heart.
No entry fee

Write your true story of an earlier love, in no more than 700 words. Tell us about someone whose memory brings a smile or a tear, or both.

First Prize: $100 Second Prize: $75 Third Prize: $50 Honorable Mention(s) Entries must be sent by midnight, August 17

Tenth Anniversary Novella Contest
No Restrictions: Editors say: "A novella, in order not to be a novel, should focus on one story and one set of characters. In order not to be a 'mere' short story, it should go into more depth, about both. What the heck is a novella, anyway?” Length is obviously the main criterion, i.e. the thing should be longer than a short story, and not so long as a novel.”
Deadline May 15
Details at
Mayor for the day writing contest
Create a fictitious village. Describe the village and write a short story about what you would do there if you were the mayor there for the day. Deadline May 1, 2010.
2nd -3rd grade - 100 words
4th -5th grade - 200 words
6th - 8th grade - 250 words
High School - 500 words
1st Place: A basket of school supplies, a lifetime subscription to City Kidz World magazine, and publication of the winning entry in the City Kidz World magazine and on
2nd place: A second place certificate, a lifetime subscription to City Kidz World magazine, and publication of the winning entry in the City Kidz World magazine and on
3rd place: A third place certificate, a lifetime subscription to City Kidz World magazine, and publication of the winning entry in the City Kidz World magazine on

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your blog post. I definitely need to use more bum glue some days.