1. I sit down at the same time each morning and write for at least one hour, at most two. Sometimes I get a lot done. Sometimes a little. Sometimes I’m sure I’m just writing things I will ultimately cut. The point is, I make it a practice and I make it consistent.
  2. I don’t go back and edit until the whole book is done. Unless there is some important detail that has changed later on and needs to be changed throughout (like a character’s name, for ex) I save all editing, revising, cutting, and fleshing out until the entire book is done. If there is something that I know I will need to add in from an earlier page, I’ll go make a note of it in that spot and highlight it so I won’t forget when I’m revising.
  3. At the end of each writing day, I write down my ideas for what will happen in the next scene and mark that in bold, so that the next day when I sit down to write, I will know exactly where to begin.
  4. Additionally I begin each writing day by rereading the last five or so paragraphs that I wrote, so I can drop immediately back into the style and the world.
  5. I have a list of characters, a timeline, and a rough plot outline at the bottom of the document. As I am writing and things are changing, I continuously update the character details, add things to the timeline, and refer back to my plot outline. This way when I’m 100 pages in, I won’t forget some detail about a character and contradict myself or get lost in the flow of writing and forget what the story is about.
  6. My characters are color-coded according to their relationships with each other.
  7. I speak the words out loud as I’m typing. This helps me hear the flow of it and helps me avoid mistakes.
  8. I keep my home clean and cozy and quiet. A space that inspires me to create.
  9. I don’t try to force myself to sit when I have too much energy. I’ll take a walk, dance, come back.
  10. I sacrifice a tiny bit of my soul to the dark and covetous gods of creativity by blood rite each morning for a chance to just glimpse the elusive creative genius and just feel something, dear god, ANYTHING –

Anyway, happy writing! 🙂

Quarantine. Month Three.

I seem to have lost my mind, because I’ve decided to offer another, new creative writing class starting in just over a month. We’ll see how this goes.

I’m planning to offer this 10-week Intro to Fiction class every six weeks. Monday and Tuesday nights. Available anywhere in the world. Because, what else am I doing?

Seriously, though. The demand for this class has grown during this more isolated time, so I’ve decided to up the supply. I believe it’s so important to stay creative and connected during this time. If you’ve ever wanted to dive into your fiction-writing-self, maybe now is the time.

I had no fiction writing experience going in to Natalie’s Short Story Class. By the end of the ten weeks, I had written a short story and workshopped it with the class. Natalie offers a clear class structure, does a brilliant job of teaching storytelling basics and offers informed support and activities to encourage creative risk taking with a group. I loved this class!

– Patricia T, two-time student

Details and registration can be found here.

I hope you’re all staying safe, healthy, happy, and creative out there.

 

It’s been a minute since I’ve last updated you guys. Since then, a lot has happened. I’ve been teaching more and more classes – improv, creative writing, figure drawing. I’ve started and now nearly finished the process of editing a dear friend’s latest book. I have continued to write articles and poetry and I make art here and there. And –

OH YEAH THERE IS A GLOBAL PANDEMIC HAPPENING.

You hadn’t heard? Well, this is pretty much where we’re at.

And all that stuff I’d mentioned before? Yes, it’s still happening – more or less. My creative writing class has turned into an online class; we’re even looking at adapting the figure drawing and improv classes to be online. Because, oh yeah –

WE’RE ALL SOCIALLY ISOLATING FROM EACH OTHER.

It looks sort of like this.

In the future post-apocalyptic scenario where this blog is the only remaining historical record of 21st century humankind, I’ll go ahead and tell you – this is because COVID-19 is spreading so rapidly all over the world, hospitals are becoming flooded and the death toll is going up. So we are attempting to slow the rate of transmission = less people in hospitals at once = less people in trouble = a euphemism for dead.

So here I am, making the best of the absolute craziest global situation any of us have seen. What does that look like?

  • I am creating. A lot. My work has slowed down dramatically because, oh fuck, one more thing –

THE GLOBAL ECONOMY HAS TANKED.

… So I have a lot more time to be creative. That’s been looking like:

  • Making new art
  • Writing new poems
  • Actually, finally sitting down to write a blog post
  • Secretly / consensually recording phone conversations with my friend Scott. We are so funny we have decided to create a podcast that will never be heard.
  • Thinking about starting my own video series: My dog, Roonil, is the host – hear me out. So my dog is the host; I am the co-host. We’ve been quarantined for a year in a perhaps apocalyptic world. We keep you all updated on the state of the world as our minds unravel. Lots of dog side eye. We’re British for some reason. It’s gold.

For real though. Things have gone from a 0 to an 11 in a matter of weeks and each day brings some unbelievable new article or information. We are all doing our best not to panic, and I am lucky to have such social support and love.

And yes, I’m also eating my weight in chocolate and I haven’t washed my hair in like a week and I am at the point where this web series is actually sounding like a pretty great idea but –

THERE IS A GLOBAL PANDEMIC HAPPENING.

I will keep you all updated and cheered as best I can via this blog. Knowing me, though, the next time I post will be in like three months and by then I’ll have gone full Howard Hughes.

So in the meanwhile, please get in touch if you are interested in joining one of my online improv or art classes. It’s important that we stay connected and playful during this time –

far the fuck away from each other –

but connected and playful all the same.