This past weekend, I was fortunate to attend a writer’s workshop entitled, This Won’t Hurt a Bit: Everything You Need to Know About Drafting a Manuscript, facilitated by Emma Carlson Berne. For those who have read through my blog the last few years, you know that I have struggled with this process as I have attempted NANOWRIMO numerous times with no success. I have a full list of excuses (that could probably be a book haha) but that’s not cutting it. I kept debating whether or not to attend as I didn’t necessarily have an idea for a book and thought it would not be worth my time. Again, more excuses. However, attending gave me a jolt of energy to keep trying until I have completed something I can be proud of.
I recently started watching the TV Land hit show, Younger, and the combination of this show and the workshop has given me great insight into the writing and publishing world. I appreciated how this workshop was for writers at any stage in their process, ie. me = nothing and others = full manuscripts. Most of the former come way after a manuscript has been written so we’ll come back to that. One of the activities Emma had us do was spend 60 seconds writing down the concept of a book that we wanted to write or have written already and want feedback. This was probably the best thing I could’ve done as I couldn’t over think it and we had to share in a small group what we came up with. Usually, I’m not the type of person to share about my life and story, however, I am always comforted with talking to people I most likely won’t see again but know what I am going through. For my concept, I chose to write a few sentences that relate to where I am in my adult life in a memoir-like fashion. I was honestly proud of the idea I came up with and shared it later with a friend who assured me that she would pick that book up if that was the only thing she knew about it!
Beyond that exercise, Emma went through her process (prefacing that it looks different for all writers), including creating character descriptions, chapter outlines, a strong opening, points of view, and the actual writing of it. The latter was important to pay attention as I wanted to learn new strategies for accomplishing writing goals. The following are some tools for success:
- Make a plan
- Start with how many words in total
- Determine the deadline
- Have a timer and disconnect
- Create rewards for each accomplishment/goal
Because the next workshop is in September (all about sharing what we have in an informal space), I have established that is my deadline for this concept – also knowing that the concept can take a bunch of directions I can’t anticipate! The hint for that instance is to make a comment/note write in the draft and come back to it later. This will prove difficult as I have a hard time coming back to something, I want to get it “right” the first time. I will surely be humbled in this experience with that thought!
Still a lot of reflecting from this enlightening experience and I look forward to this process – especially September. Hold me accountable, readers!! 🙂
What strategies have you used if you are writing/have written a manuscript?