(For the last 12 weeks of 2014, in thanks for my phenomenal year of growth here at Negression and in my overall writing life, I am offering my Spirit of Writing practices here. I have taught these lessons and sessions in schools, libraries and community programs in Chicago and New York City. I will post new segments each Wednesday. Happy writing!)
After six weeks checking in on these Spirit of Writing posts or completing a month of NaNoWriMo, you should have a start, momentum and seed growing into much more. Focus on how it feels and reconnect with your initial seed. Your beginning and introduction should be strong. The middle should be okay. The ending is probably a mess. So, it’s probably a good idea to take a second, breathe, reflect and think about things in a much larger sense beyond the maddening minutiae of the written page. Practice a new piece or extension of your piece, and also write a paragraph on how you feel about it or what you see it becoming.By this time, you should be well into a more organized space and direction for your goals of production in 12 weeks, and gearing up to celebrate who you are and what your writing is at the New Year. This is the time to expand that. If you are writing in poetry, non-fiction or dramatic format, go ahead to a new theme, act, section or area of all you want to cover. For fiction, please move on to a new story or chapter. Do not mull over one alone. I know I have tendencies to get stuck in one place and never leave. If it’s not working out where you are, just move on somewhere else until something about an area troubling you emerges.
I have a few great chapters I like to read or suggest for these times:
- Pencil Dancing, by Mari Messer…I love that very underrated writing guide!
- “The Fifty Page Dash: Hooking Your Readers From the Start,” by David King, in Novel Writing. Keep in mind, ‘the Start’ is a pretty nebulous term that can refer to the start of a whole piece, section, chapter or part. This essay applies in all cases.
You have to start strong not just once, but all throughout.