I’m not going to do the math to see how long it’s been since I’ve posted, but it’s been a while. Like, more than a year. Anyway, I’ve got a couple updates and some exciting news. Moving forward, Plot Boilers is going to take a slightly different direction – and I’m really excited about it. Basically, it’s about to get personal. Not TMI personal, just less stuffy and (hopefully) a little more exciting.
It’s a blog, after all – not the next great American novel. (And I’m the only person editing this so no one can stop me.)
That said, the information you see here will probably be the same-ish: Tips and ideas on writing, story structure, etc. An occasional book review, maybe some book suggestions – you get the idea.
I’ve been doing a lot of stuff in the last year. That’s why.
Since my last post, I’ve been doing two things: writing (and some periods of not writing, I confess), and defining myself as a writer. Here’s a brief sequence of events:
- Life caught up with me and I didn’t have time to write, much less update my blog. I know, you’ve heard this excuse before. Probably from the back of your mind as you sit down to binge watch Netflix. Not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything.
- I decided to make writing a priority in my life again. During this time, I got 20,000+ words of a novel on the page. Then life caught up with me again and I had to put it aside.
- My old muse – short stories and fictionalized autobiography – paid me a visit. By this time, the book I was working on felt kind of stale. I still love my protagonist, but when I revisited the story, I started to notice a lot of things that would make the second draft a nightmare if I didn’t iron them out first. So I decided to put it on the back burner (PSA: You actually can’t put books on the back burner because they catch fire) and start working on some shorter projects. Mostly so I could say “I did it! I finished something – anything!”
- I’ve gone crazy writing short stories. And I love it. I even broke out of my comfort zone recently and started working on a sci-fi/horror novella. It’s pretty far outside my wheelhouse and will need some serious edits (Let’s be honest, rewrites) when it’s done, but I can’t stop working on it because it’s just too fun.
- I reinvented the way I prioritize writing. Okay, this one is really specific. I started using Lauren Graham’s Kitchen Timer writing method. For those of you who don’t know, she’s on Gilmore Girls. She’s also an author. More importantly, she invented the blessed Kitchen Timer Method, which gave me the freedom to write what I wanted, when I wanted. It even has a safeguard against days when I’m not feeling inspired.
What Ya’ll Should Know About the Kitchen Timer Method
The premise of the Kitchen Timer method is pretty simple: You deserve an hour (or half an hour, or fifteen minutes, whatever works) to write every day. Practically speaking, her writing method looks like this:
- Open a document on your computer. Save it. This is your “Writing Journal.”
- Open your WIP (or start a totally new one, like me).
- Turn off your internet. Literally. Like, disable Wi-Fi on your computer.
- Set your timer.
- Start writing. When you don’t feel inspired, flip over to your journal and just talk to yourself for a bit.
Sound easy? It actually is. Not that writing is ever easy. Writing is really, really hard. But this method has taught me how to make every minute count. Maybe I don’t have an entire weekend to devote to my WIP. That’s okay; I only need 30 minutes. Or 15, while I’m waiting to boil water for pasta. Then, as I go about my day, I can keep carving out little pieces of time to shut everything down and truly prioritize my writing. And if I get stuck, I just move to my writing journal talk about it there. Some days I might only write in my journal. That doesn’t usually happen, but just knowing that it can take the pressure out of getting words on the page for the sake of putting them there.
If you want a more detailed breakdown of the Kitchen Timer Method, you can check it out in Lauren Graham’s book, Talking as Fast as I Can.
In other news, one of my stories was runner-up for The Write Practice’s Fall Writing Contest!
Forgive my shameless #BraggingWrites, but I had a story featured on Short Fiction Break as a runner-up in The Write Practice’s Fall Writing Contest! I’m a generally suspicious person, so when friends say, “I liked your story,” I usually respond with “That’s because you have to.” All that to say, I’m humbled that the judges enjoyed something I wrote enough to pick it as runner-up. I couldn’t be happier!
P.S. – You can read my story here.