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She expected sunshine and balmy breezes. What she saw was everyone's worst nightmare. Bess Grady has heard the unmistakable sound before. She knows.
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I happen to be a plotter, and not a pantser. Because I'm such a dyed-in-the-wool plotter, I believe pantsers must face a certain challenge in getting from point A to point B in a long narrative and therefore I salute them, with my pants. Because one advantage of being a plotter is, even when the writing isn't going well, the plotting can be. It took me some time to forgive myself for using writing time to plan my writing -- to see brainstorming as anything other than glorified journaling.

But planning isn't cheating, and it isn't wasting time. Planning and thinking and brainstorming are all well and truly part of the writing process, and an allowable use of your fifteen minutes. Whether you're a plotter or a pantser, it can help to have two documents going at the same time during your 15 minute daily writing commitment: One document is for writing whatever you're writing, and one document is for not writing whatever you're writing -- but for planning what you will write, when you do get back into writing whatever you're writing.

If you do nothing else with your fifteen minutes of daily writing, work on your outline. Work on your scene flow. Write a character description. Do some story-world building. Or just write yourself a note about what you wish you were writing tonight, and what you want to write tomorrow. Step 5. Feel bitter, get better. You might have noticed, observant writerly reader that you are, that I invariably refer to writing at night, as if writing only happens at night.

That's because for me it does. Like a lot of writers, I used to have a cherished morning writing ritual, waking before the sunrise to sit at my desk and make sweet love to my coffee cup and think glorious creative thoughts. That all went to hell when I had a kid. So now I write at night, usually after my child and husband are both in bed.

How to Write a Book: 13 Steps From a Bestselling Author

I get less sleep than everybody else in my house. Oh, and also, I live in a tiny apartment and I don't have a desk, or any dedicated space of any kind for writing.

And the Mets suck and there aren't enough New Girl episodes about Winston and I have to make dinner more often than I want to even though otherwise my husband is pretty cool. Does all this sometimes make me feel bitter and angry? But a little bit of bitterness, a little bit of struggle, won't kill me.

Nor does it need to stop me, necessarily. All I'm saying is that there are probably going to be things about a daily 15 minute writing commitment that are going to suck for you, too -- it might not be easy. But neither will it be as hard as, say, delivering vital medical supplies into a war zone. Unless you are actually also writing in a war zone where your day job is delivering vital medical supplies. What doesn't kill you and eat you makes you stronger. You may pat yourself on the back now.

And the payoff, I really think, is worth it. A daily writing habit did all the things for me that every writing expert on Earth says it will: When I wrote my novel every day, I got better at writing.

And Then I Found You by Patti Callahan Henry

I got faster. You know those hold-on-this-changes-everything moments that go off while you're working, where a solution to a problem comes to you, or an idea for how to fix a scene or an insight that turns your story around? I had more of those, more often, when I wrote every day -- even if I was only writing every day for the laughably short duration of 15 minutes.

When I wrote every day, even for just 15 minutes, part of my brain was always writing the novel. Step 6. Schedule a public writing staycation to work through some hard parts. On a couple of occasions while writing my novel in 15 minutes a day, I realized that I was approaching a part of the story that was going to need some additional time to work out. It's kind of like driving in a car in the general direction of the mountains -- you'll see them in the distance for a while, and then suddenly, boom, there are the mountains, right there in front of you, and you have to go over them.

You face a moment of decision then: Are you going to climb the mountain in small doable stages but possibly get stuck in a snowy pass where you'll have to eat your own arm to survive, or are you going to gas up the wagons and tear your way up and over? In my case, I found it really helpful to schedule a couple of two- or three-day "staycations," where I stayed home from my day job and went to write at a coffee shop. For me, it was helpful, and sort of hilarious, to perform the act of being a Full Time Serious Writerly Novelist Person, right out there in the open, in a coffee shop of all places.

Shhh don't bother me, I am writing my novel and it's super duper hard and important.

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A public writing staycation was, in every way, the opposite of my minute-a-day commitment -- that small-scale promise that I found I could keep precisely because it seemed so small, so doable. A public writing staycation, by contrast, was an investment: I took precious vacation days to write my novel.

I took time off of important projects at work to write my novel. I went out in public and acted like a person who was writing a novel. I put myself out there. And that was a big lesson to learn too, about what writing a novel might really take: The doable, minute daily writing commitment will get you most of the way there, because all writing requires is an investment of time and creativity.

And one day, you will be surprised to learn the truth: You're already rich. US Edition U. News U. HuffPost Personal Video Horoscopes. Newsletters Coupons. Terms Privacy Policy.

A Dozen Quotes that Will Help You Write Your Novel

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Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. Lou finds herself drawn to the troubled Lily, and over time, warms up to her unpredictable but often winning ways. Lou is as lovable and relatable as ever, and the rambunctious Clark family is brought vividly and hilariously to life. Emotionally charged and devastatingly romantic, After You explores the ways we can rebuild ourselves after unthinkable loss. Jojo Moyes once again dazzles with her trademark storytelling, humor, and insight into the way we heal and move on.

Questions and Topics for Discussion 1. How are the Traynors dealing with their complex grief in different ways? How does the Moving On Circle help Lou? What insights does she take away from her experience? She lives with her husband and thee children on a farm in England. Learn More About After You print. LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices. Read it Forward Read it first. Pass it on!

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