Category: Writing Life

#WeekendCoffeeShare – Writer Brain Freeze

Category: Writing Life

Posted on

If we were having coffee here in Toronto, we’d probably be strolling around outside, because for the first time in two weeks the temperature is not in the negative double digits. Today is a positively spring-like -4 degrees Celsius!

During our obligatory Canadian chit-chat about the weather, I’d tell you that in the middle of the deep freeze, my boyfriend launched a business that delivers natural products by bike (greatergoods.ca). And yes, deliveries were made even when the north winds were blowing at 50km/hr. You think he should charge extra for delivery when it’s that miserable out, but I say it’s not the customers fault Old Man Winter had a tantrum. We made do. Though I’m sick of stuffing my scarf under my goggles to keep my cheeks warm.

As for my writing, I feel like my brain has frozen…

Click here to read the full post on Writeonsisters.com


If We Were Having Coffee… Starving Artist Style

Category: Writing Life

Posted on

If we were having coffee, we’d be at my house because I’m on a tight budget and rigorously following my own 10 Tips To Survive The Starving Artist Lifestyle. That means not buying a $3 cup and instead making a whole pot for 25 cents. You can either partake in tea (I have English Breakfast, Earl Gray, green, chai, rooibos – whatever you want!) or bring over your French Press and make some coffee. Then we’ll settle onto the couch with our steaming mugs as the snow falls outside and I regale you with tales of winter cycling and resisting the urge to over-revise my novel…

Click here to read the full post on Writeonsisters.com


Writers & Productivity: The 7 Deadly Do’s & Don’ts of Deadlines

Category: Time Management & Deadlines, Writing Life

Posted on

A little over a year ago I wrote a post called How To Stay Motivated Without Deadlines or Money. In it are seven productivity tips (which I still follow today), but of course not one of them is set my own deadlines.” Why? And what’s changed?

Click here to read the full post on Writeonsisters.com


If We Were Having Coffee… (Writer Confessions)

Category: Writing Life

Posted on

If we were having coffee, we wouldn’t be at my house. I don’t have a coffee machine or a French press or even instant coffee. My caffeine of choice is tea, and I have dozens of tasty varieties to choose from in my cupboard, but if you want coffee we’ll meet at one of the many local cafes in my neighbourhood – Torontonians love their coffee shops!

Once you have your coffee and I have my London Fog (must take advantage of the cafe’s fancy milk frother – I don’t have one of those either), we’ll catch up on the last month, because that’s how long it’s been since I’ve seen anybodyThis new year has given birth to antisocial Heather, a rare specimen to say the least. Your jaw drops when I tell you I haven’t left the house for anything besides gymnastics classes in three whole weeks! What’s wrong? Am I okay?

Click here to read the whole post on WriteOnSisters.com


Writers & Productivity: Do you need an Internet blocker?

Category: Time Management & Deadlines, Writing Life

Posted on

Like many writers, my new year’s resolutions revolve around being more productive during my writing time. And for some people, just setting their minds to this seems to make it happen. Not me! A few days into 2015, nothing had changed. I was still spending too much time daydreaming (a problem I blogged about here) and flirting with The Internet (despite my attempts at setting boundaries, we’re still seeing way too much of each other). Clearly, I needed to get my act together. But how?

So I started researching Internet blocking apps…

Click here to read the full post on Writeonsisters.com


Writer Wish List: 7 Practical Gifts for the Starving Artist

Category: Writing Life, Money

Posted on

There are all kinds of cute ideas for what to get writers this holiday season.Writers Helping Writers has a whole Pinterest page full of them! Though I like slogan mugs and book cover necklaces, I don’t really need those things. Instead, in lieu of the usual knick-knacks and novelty presents, here are some practical, homegrown gifts for the starving artist in your life…

Click here to read the full post on Writeonsisters.com


When Life Imitates Art: Thailand Protesters Adopt the Hunger Games Salute

Category: Writing Life

Posted on

It’s generally accepted that art imitates life. Not that art is a carbon copy of life, but rather it epitomizes life honestly. It doesn’t matter if a writer fabricates fantasy worlds or invents sci-fi tech that doesn’t exist in our current reality; what matters is that the story embodies the truth of the human experience. That is what connects with readers.

And when that truth connects, life may start to imitate art.

It’s happening in Thailand…

Click here to read the full post on Writeonsisters.com


4 Tips to Beat Mental Procrastination

Category: Time Management & Deadlines, Writing Life

Posted on

This week a writer friend suggested that I blog about the writer’s age-old enemy: procrastination. Thing is, I don’t procrastinate anymore. I don’t avoid writing by doing other things. I have set times to write and I stick to my schedule, but… sometimes I still get nothing written. How come? What’s my problem?

A few months ago I thought it was The Internet. It’s so distracting! So I broke up with the Internet (at least during writing time) and that helped a lot, but I still struggle to meet my writing goals. Seriously, what gives?

Click here to find out on Writeonsisters.com


Freelancing (aka “Pantsing” Your Livelihood)

Category: Writing Life, Money

Posted on

When it comes to writing, I am definitely a plotter. I love knowing where my story is going and filling in the details on scene index cards before I start writing prose. But when it comes to making money, I am a pantser. I have no idea what my next job will be or when I’ll get another paycheck.

The upside of freelancing is I’m not tied down to a full-time job and can take time off whenever I want (i.e. turn down freelance jobs) in order to work on my own projects. The downside of freelancing is, after taking those months off, I run out of money and need to replenish the bank account.

Currently, I estimate I have seven months until my bank balance hits zero as long as I’m extremely frugal: no shopping, no eating out (hey, friends, I can’t afford brunch, but let’s meet for coffee – I’ll bring my travel mug!), no extra anything. I’m following my own 10 Tips to Survive the Starving Artist Lifestyle to the letter. But soon even those tips won’t be able to save me from homelessness.

So I must be panicking, right? Nah. After almost two decades of freelancing, I’m confident I can find work when I need it. But how does one get to that place?

Click here to read the full post at Writeonsisters.com


Pen & Muse Haunted House Showcase

Category: Writing Life

Posted on

Happy Halloween month! My short story is part of the Pen & Muse Haunted House Showcase:

THE FAMILY

There’s a gun beside my head. The gun is in my hand. The bullet is in my brain. But I didn’t pull the trigger.

Someone made it look like I did.

Blood drips from my skull onto the pillow. Bright red. Fresh. I haven’t been dead long. A minute tops. My murderer is probably still in the house. Yet I can’t move from this spot on the ceiling. I can’t look away from my lifeless body below. Am I in shock? Can ghosts be in shock?

The asshole was smart. Knew my bedtime. Knew I took sleeping pills. Knew Sara wouldn’t be home tonight. Just me in our bed, stretched out on my back, probably snoring so loud even Fat Al could have snuck in. Or any of the Family, really. They all have a reason for wanting me dead. I’m a mobster cliché.

This isn’t how it’s supposed to end.

If only we’d split yesterday. But Sara wanted to take the kids to visit her mama, and how could I say no? It’s the last time they’ll see the old cow.

Except now that I’m dead, they can’t get away. Unless…

 

Read the full story here: http://penandmuse.com/pen-muse-haunt-family-heather-jackson/ 


7 Things I Know About Writing

Category: Writing Life

Posted on

Author Ellen Mulholland nominated me and the Writeonsisters for this One Lovely Blog Award. Thanks so much, Ellen! Check out her Blog For New Writers for tips on developing characters, mapping outlines and making Scrivener your best pal.

Now, the rules of this blog hop state that I am to share seven things about myself, but Ellen revised that to share seven things about writing. Which, frankly, will still reveal things about me, but are more useful to our fellow writers and writer-curious readers. So here goes nothing…

Click here to read the full post at Writeonsisters.com


Not All Feedback is Created Equal

Category: Writing Craft, Feedback & Critique

Posted on

Last week I blogged about the difference between critique partners and cheerleaders (answer these 5 questions to find out which is which). In short, cheerleaders are friends or family members who cheer us on and love our writing no matter how bad it is. Cherish their enthusiasm, but never rely on them for helpful feedback. Get a critique partner for that.

Once you find a proper crit partner, you’re golden, right? Well, maybe. Thing is, not all feedback is equal. Today I will answer the age-old question…

What is good feedback?

Click here to read the full post on Writeonsisters.com


Cheerleaders vs Critique Partners

Category: Writing Life, Feedback & Critique

Posted on

This weekend my best friend from university was in town for a visit. We went to school for Television, me focused on screenwriting, her on the business side of the industry. She’s always been my biggest cheerleader, genuinely thinking everything I write, even the shit I came up with in first year, is great.

Cheerleaders are important people for writers to have in their lives. We tend to be neurotic self-doubters so it’s vital to have someone who doesn’t think your decision to be a writer is stupid, insane or unachievable. Cheerleaders have faith you’re going to make it and love you even when you fail.

But only having cheerleaders read your work isn’t helpful. I love my bestie, but I can’t go to her for constructive criticism. I need critique partners for that, people who will tear my work to shreds and reveal the weak spots. We all need that. But the trouble some aspiring writers run into is they don’t realize the people they’re asking for feedback are cheerleaders and not critique partners…

Click here to read the whole post on Writeonsisters.com


Writer’s Back-To-School To Do List

Category: Time Management & Deadlines, Writing Life

Posted on

I haven’t been a student in a long time, but September still feels like the beginning of the new year. I don’t always treat it as such, but this year I’ve decided I need to start fresh. Last year was a slog of, well, failing to finish a novel and I’m feeling pretty crappy about that. So rather than continuing this lackluster year, I’m declaring it OVER and wiping the slate clean. Just like when I was a kid and September was filled with happy possibilities: new teacher, new classmates, new books to read, and new stories to write.

But now that I’m an independent adult, I don’t have a parent/teacher to set up classes and assignments so that I actually accomplish stuff. I must do that all by myself. Damn. Well, here goes nothing…

Click here to find out how I’m preparing for a new year at Writeonsisters.com


Plenty of Feedback: A Writer’s Guide to Finding a Critique Partner Match

Category: Writing Life, Feedback & Critique

Posted on

Critique Groups have been top-of-mind at WriteOnSisters for the last couple weeks. Callie wrote a pro writers group post and Sharon presented the counter opinion. Whether you’re for or against probably depends on your experience. Most writers carry some baggage around when it comes to critique partners and groups. We’ve all been burned before. Finding that perfect match is hard. And if you’ve had a particularly bad breakup that crushed your writer’s heart, it’s scary to put yourself out there again. I understand. That’s why I’ve come up with some questions to ask to help you find a critique partner (or group, if that’s the way you roll) that’s right for you…

Click here to read the rest on WriteOnSisters.com


Common Writer Advice Revised

Category: Writing Life, Feedback & Critique

Posted on

We all get tips from well-meaning people who truly believe the wisdom they’re imparting. The most common writer advice I hear is this:

  1. You don’t need a detailed outline.
  2. Don’t revise mid-draft; just write.
  3. It’s okay if your first draft sucks.

This advice works for a lot of people, but if this isn’t your process it can leave you feeling like you’re doing something wrong. At least that’s how it makes me feel. And lord knows we writers don’t need more self-doubt! So I set out to examine why people give this advice, and to revise it into something more useful for those of us who might not fit the mold.

Click here to read the full post on Writeonsisters.com


Who Do You Write For?

Category: Writing Life

Posted on

This weekend I spoke on a panel at TAAFI (Toronto Animation Arts Festival International) about Writing for Animation, and it got me thinking about who writers write for. For example, as a screenwriter I write for the people who hire me (story editors, producers, broadcasters) and through them there’s a lot of focus on writing for the target audience. When I began writing novels, people assumed the reason was because I wanted to write “for myself” instead of “for someone else.” But is that true?

Click here to read the full post on Writeonsisters.com


Readers & Judgment: Snobs or Guardians of Good Taste?

Category: Writing Life

Posted on

Last week when that article from Slate came out bashing adults who read YA novels, I was as outraged as everyone else who enjoys reading and/or writing books classified as teen lit. Many people, myself included, declared Slate writer Ruth Graham to be a literary snob. The definition fits. After all, “snob” defines a person who believes that their tastes in a particular area are superior to those of other people (in this case, Graham argues that adult literary fiction is superior to YA). But “snob” is an unflattering word, so it occurred to me that Graham probably doesn’t consider herself a snob, but rather a “guardian of good taste” — because that’s how I see myself when I criticize books.

Holy hell, am I just like Graham? Are we snobs? Let’s find out…

Click here to read the whole post on Writeonsisters.com


Writers & Ageism: Does It Exist?

Category: Writing Life

Posted on

This week was my birthday. To me, it was a small milestone – crossing the line into the latter half of my thirties. It wasn’t met with much cheer. By this age I had expected to be a successful writer, or at least be living above the poverty line. Life as a starving artist is cool in your twenties, maybe even early thirties, but here I am approaching forty and I still can’t afford new jeans, let alone a house. So in the weeks leading up to my birthday, I took a hard look at my life and tried to figure out what I was doing wrong. I blogged about why I haven’t finished my novel and my penchant for over-revising. But perhaps the real question is: Why do I think I’m so old?

Click here to read the full post on Writeonsisters.com


Where is the Best Place to Write?

Category: Writing Life

Posted on

Though it’s technically true that writers can write anywhere as long as they have a laptop or a pen and paper, the right location matters. Some writers have a home office, or a writing nook, or a favorite coffee shop. Others, like me, are still trying to find that mythical place where writing magic happens…

Click here to read the full post on Writeonsisters.com