Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2010

Today's Excuse: I Get Distracted

The simplest writing advice, and possibly the best, is some verson of Keep Your Butt in The Chair. With your butt in the chair, you have nowhere to go but to the screen or to the page. If you've set aside your time, and you have finally made it to your writing space, you should be halfway there. Your writing potential is suddenly alive and well.

Your butt is in the chair.

Hmm...that Excuse Editor lady says this is the best advice-- so where's my great writing?!?

Take a look at where your fingers and eyes travel once you sit down:
"You've got Mail!" How can you ignore that little envelope on the screen? It could be really, really important...
"ThatChickYouMetThatOneTime is Following you on Twitter, or SomeDudeFromHighSchoolWhoNeverTalkedToYou wants to be your Friend." Tweets and Posts are like potato chips, you can't stop with just one...
"Down with O.P.B." --Other People's Blogs. Yes, there are some great ones out there, but are…

Guest Blogger Ginger Earle discusses Tips to Break out of Screenwriter's Block

Beating Screenwriter’s Block
by Ginger Earle

Screenwriters, like all writers, are often plagued with fear of the blank page, or writer’s block. Advice for beating writer’s block is often to just do it in spite of a lack of inspiration, or fear of writing the wrong thing. This is good advice, however there are some specific techniques that screenwriters can use to beat our own particular form of writer’s block. Writers of all genres can use these ideas to complete their stories and stop making excuses.

Some writers detest the idea of structural rules and outlines because they find them limiting and stifling. They like to approach writing as a purely creative art form, where ideas and words flow freely and magically form a coherent story. But this desire for freedom is often what leads to the second-act morass that screenwriters are all too familiar with. You envision how the story begins, who the characters are, and maybe even have an ending in mind. But g…

The Challenge of the Writing Journey

“I've learned that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.”

If everything in our writing happened seamlessly, without struggle or challenges, we'd all be excruciatingly bored. And our writing would be as dull as the safety scissors in kindergarten class. We fantasize about the quiet room to focus on our plots, the pages filled with words ready for the world without as much as a missing comma, the publisher eagerly awaiting your novel with open arms...but if that was a constant reality, what would we be striving for?Each writing project reflects a writer's "because it's there" opportunity. The mountain climber scales a mountain with sheer skill and determination and arrives at the peak, heart pounding with the sense of accomplishment. If the same climber would have just taken the train to the top, he would feel a sense of loss. Yes, either way he gets to experience the beauty of the vi…

The Scoop! Writing Contests with Prizes Up to $15,000

Now that I have your attention...

I just finished up the latest version of The Scoop, a listing of more than 45 writing contests and markets. One of the contests has a prize of $15,000 (hint: it's for a finished book) and has NO ENTRY FEE. If you are already signed up, you probably noticed that the deadline was coming up quickly.

There are many other contests for completed books, short story  or poetry collections, nonfiction books, screenplays, flash fiction, novellas-- even slogans-- and more. I started maintaining this running list last year. I can usually find a market to submit something I've already written--often, more than one (always good to keep send to your top three markets first, as long as the market accepts simultaneous submissions. Always read guidelines carefully.) It's also been a great place to discover new markets to try out. They are often looking for something written to a theme-- it's a great writing prompt!

I keep the listing in the Scoop until …

Constructing a Writing Life: Brick by Brick

Many writers have a vague idea about wanting to write, but don't know how to get started. Or they get started, and wonder, what now?

In the beginning, it's best to keep it simple. You'll be overwhelmed quickly if you sit down to write the-next-big-hit-sure-to-be-a-major-motion-picture-in-no-time. To borrow Anne Lamot's analogy (Bird by Bird:), allow your writing to evolve in its own time: brick by brick. Create a shelter for yourself and your characters to feel safe in.
Step One: Write

Better to get your project out of your head, no matter how unprepared and raw it seems. You've been thinking about it for a week, a few months, even YEARS. Lay your groundwork. It's like building a house, you have to start with a frame. Don't wait for all your materials to be there before you start, or your "land" may be swept right up from under you. You have to begin with what you have now. Just start writing, there will be time to set aside the any scrap later.


Mini-Scoop! Writing Markets with Upcoming Deadlines

Here's a jumpstart on your resolution to submit your writing this year. You may have some writing ready to go, or you may be inspired enough to prepare something in time. These are examples of what comes in The Scoop, the monthly guide of 30-50 current paying writing markets and contests you get for FREE with your subscription the the Excuse Editor Newsletter.

The new edition of The Scoop will arrive in a few weeks. Until then, enjoy the current one (or sign up if you haven't yet) and Keep Writing!

Deadline: 1/7/10
Novellas/short story collection contest
26 to 150 double spaced pages
Carpe Articulum Novella Contest
$25 entry fee
Prize range--$200-$1000

Deadline: 1/15/10
Poetry (Group of Poems)
10 pages
"Discovery"/Boston Review Poetry Prizes
$10 Entry Fee
Prizes: Four prizes of $500 each and publication; winners also receive one night hotel stay in and transportation to and from New York City to read at the 92nd …

Excuse Editor's Quick Guide to Writing Resolutions

As writers, you're probably pretty familiar with making Writing Resolutions to get your year started off right. But we  also have those pesky other resolutions to deal with. Well, this year, do an edit of your resolutions: make the common ones work double duty!

Resolve to...

Be healthyEat rightFeed your writer-self a wholesome mix of words and thoughts made from inspirational writing and all sorts of your favorite writing. It will nourish your writing spirit.Exercise Keep your fingers moving across those keys, even when you don't think you feel like it. The results will be your reward.Get organized Sort through all of the scribblings you've allowed to collect dust. You're sure to find hidden treasures; dusty works just waiting to be freshened up with crisp, clean edits.Volunteer Help other writers with concepts you understand. Encourage them and learn from their work. You'll be inspired by their enthusiasm and recognize how far you've progressed. Embrace the cult…