If you’re trying to decide if you should do NaNoWriMo or #BlogLikeCrazy next month, there is a way you could do both. Sort of. You could blog your book, which is what I plan to do this year.
For the second year in a row, I almost didn’t host #BlogLikeCrazy, my annual challenge to anyone who’s game to publish a new blog post every day for 30 days in November. Last year I was sick of blogging but fortunately, it was #BlogLikeCrazy that helped me get my blogging groove back. This year I was going to skip #BlogLikeCrazy so I could use November to work on the book that I’ve been ignoring for nearly two years, but then I realized I could just blog my book!
Editor’s Note: If you ever stepped foot into my classroom when I was a high school English teacher then you know I love Edgar Allan Poe. Every October I would have my students dive into his poetry and prose and even complete a creative project inspired by his works. Thanks to that project, my classroom was filled with paintings, collages, board games and more that were all about Poe. So, when Tess Patalano of Reedsy contacted me about writing a guest post for the See Jane Write blog on the writing lessons we can learn from Poe, of course, I said yes. So, today, on October 7, the anniversary of Poe’s mysterious and untimely death, we present “What Edgar Allan Poe Can Teach Us About Writing.”
Edgar Allan Poe was an enigmatic writer and personality: a master of the macabre and a noted originator of both the detective and horror genres with many anthologies even crediting him as the founder of the short story. His work spanned themes of death, love, hope, and despair, to name a few. But what can his writings teach us about the process of writing itself? Hidden within his poems and stories are kernels of wisdom that any writer can benefit from. Here are a few.
Last week I attended SPARK Writing Festival at the University of Alabama at Birmingham with one goal: get the information and inspiration I need to finish my manuscript.
I have a book I’ve been working on for nearly three years and even though I’ve written the book, had it reviewed by beta readers, and had it edited, I have yet to pitch the book to agents or even make plans to self publish. Why? I’m not happy with the book — at all. It lacks focus. It lacks depth. And if you were to ask me what the book is about I couldn’t even tell you.
I signed up for SPARK hoping the workshops would show me how to rewrite my book; instead SPARK showed me how to rewrite my life.
There was a time when my writing space was a Pinterest-worthy home office that dazzled my guests. The white color scheme with pink accents and trendy art prints that cover the wall came together perfectly to create a room that was my pride and joy.
But for the past two months, my home office has been a complete mess. Two months ago I left my job as a high school English teacher to write and run See Jane Write full time, which means I had to pack up and move out of a classroom I’d been in for 10 years. And this means I have a decade’s worth of junk stuffed in boxes, bags, and bins that are now stacked in my home office.
The good news is this clutter hasn’t kept me from writing. Sometimes, like right now, I sit in my office and just ignore the mess and get to work. Also, I’ve been working on freelance stories, pitches, blog posts, and email newsletters from my sofa, my bed, my kitchen, and my favorite coffee shops. I trained myself long ago to be able to write anytime, anyplace.
Nonetheless, the messiness of my home office distracts and haunts me. I even keep the door closed most of the time so I won’t have to look at it. This is showing me just how important it is to have a writing space, but recently I got to thinking about how we women writers must work to find writing space not only in our home but also in our schedules and even our mindsets.
Then I started thinking about this A LOT and came up with a “Writing S.P.A.C.E.” acronym!
2009 — after living in Berkeley, California; Seattle, Washington; and
Louisville, Kentucky — I returned to my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama to
teach. Despite the fact that I’d left a job as a newspaper reporter to start a
career in education, I knew I wanted to continue to write.
would be my first time in Birmingham as a working, writing adult. I knew how to
be a teenager in Birmingham writing angst-ridden poetry and prose in my
journal, sitting in my bedroom with The Cranberries or Mariah Carey playing on
I knew how to be a writer on the West Coast and in the Midwest. But I had to learn how to be a writer in Birmingham.