All posts by Elizabeth Spann Craig

About Elizabeth Spann Craig

Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series (as Riley Adams) and the Southern Quilting mysteries for Penguin and writes the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink and independently. She also has a blog, which was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers. There she posts on the writing craft, finding inspiration in everyday life, and fitting writing into a busy schedule.

Updates on Platforms and Formats

A winter landscape with the post title "Updates on Platforms and Formats" superimposed on the top.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

I thought I’d give an update on how things are going for various formats and platforms.

Wattpad

Wattpad is one of my favorite places to upload.  The community there is very supportive and encouraging.  If you’re one of those writers who feels as if you’re writing into a black hole, you might want to check it out. Continue reading Updates on Platforms and Formats

Twitterific Writing Links

Bluebird with beak open and'Twitterific Writing Links' by ElizabethSCraig superimposed on the image

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Twitterific writing links are fed into the Writer’s Knowledge Base search engine (developed by writer and software engineer Mike Fleming) which has over 45,000 free articles on writing related topics. It’s the search engine for writers.

Have you visited the WKB lately?  Check out the new redesign where you can browse by category, and sign up for free writing articles, on topics you choose, delivered to your email inbox!  Sign up for the Hiveword newsletter here.

Continue reading Twitterific Writing Links

Making Progress on Tough Writing Days

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by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

I read an interesting article by James Preston titled “How to Get to Carnegie Hall. ”  Preston used an old joke as the basis of the piece:  A tourist asks a resident how to get to Carnegie Hall and the resident replies “Practice, practice, practice.”

Preston goes on to list exercises that help him write on uninspired days,  including writing letters from the protagonist’s POV, and writing a paragraph about your character’s life before the time your story starts.

Sometimes a project seems so big and so overwhelming that it feels as though we must have equal parts inspiration to face it.  But this isn’t really true.  I’m usually uninspired when I sit down to my manuscript every day.  Inspiration usually only hits about five minutes into my story, when I become immersed in the story world.  I know what I do every day at 5:30 in the morning, however: I write.  It’s practically muscle memory at this point.

But some days start out chaotic (fortunately, these days are few and far between for me now) and we can’t write on our schedule: inspired or uninspired.  Kids can be sick, animals can be sick, we can be sick there are family emergencies, etc.  For those days, there’s nothing wrong in skipping writing altogether.

But if you’re worried that you’re going to mess up your writing habit from taking a break, there are things that we can do to make progress on our stories (practice, practice, practice), even on the toughest days.

Writer 

Working out plot and character elements, and turning them over and over to consider all the possible ramifications and permutations, is better done without access to a keyboard.”

What I do on tough writing days is a sort of focused brainstorming.  When even brainstorming can seem too tough, focused brainstorming, in the form of making lists, can be an easy and productive way of working.  Top 10 ways for my protagonist to change during the story, 10 details of my story’s main setting, 10 possible endings for my book.

More on my method here in my post from 2010.

One important note: if you do skip a day or two or three of writing, don’t try to catch up.  It’s incredibly demotivating.  Just jump right in wherever you are in your manuscript and make that day’s goal.  Pick up where you left off.

What are your thoughts about taking breaks from your story?  Is it easy for you to hop back in?  How do you make progress on your book on the toughest writing days?

Tips for making progress on our books during the toughest days: Click To Tweet

Photo on Visualhunt

Using Google Keep

The Google Keep icon with the post title, "Using Google Keep" superimposed on the top.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

If you’re like me, sometimes you can get ideas at the most inconvenient times.  Like sitting at an intersection, waiting for a light to turn green.  Or in the produce section of the grocery store.  And I have to write these ideas down.  I may think that I can remember them, but I never do unless they’re recorded somehow.

Many times I’ve resorted to scribbling things on the backs of receipts but now I’m taking a more high-tech approach.  Of course, you could use an app like Evernote: which I do…but not for ideas.  Evernote has a few too many bells and whistles for me to use it for something like a quick note.  I do keep all of my recipes there (handy when in the grocery store and trying to remember ingredients), the best writing articles that I want to refer back to, and even records of the Christmas or birthday gifts I’ve given family members in a particular year (and their sizes, etc.)

But for ideas  I want something a bit more basic.  And you really can’t get much more basic than Google Keep.  It’s a free app for your phone and it’s, to me at least, very intuitive.

I have a shortcut for the app saved to my phone’s home page and when I have an idea, I click to open.  Then I click the microphone icon and speak into it since I’m very slow when I type on my phone (I’m very speedy on a laptop keyboard, but have never mastered the tiny “keys” on the phone).

After you’ve created your note, you can share it, either with someone else or even with yourself, if you want it emailed as a reminder.  You can also get a reminder that your note exists by clicking the ‘reminder’ icon (which is a finger with a string tied around it).  When you click the reminder icon, you can choose the day and time to remind yourself.  You can even collaborate with someone else on the note.

If it’s more important than your other ideas, you can click the tack icon to pin it to the top of your notes.

And really…that’s basically all it does.  No bells and whistles on this model, but clean functionality from Google.

How do you record ideas that you have on the go?

How to Use Google Keep to Record Ideas: Click To Tweet

Twitterific Writing Links

Bluebird with beak open and'Twitterific Writing Links' by ElizabethSCraig superimposed on the image

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Twitterific writing links are fed into the Writer’s Knowledge Base search engine (developed by writer and software engineer Mike Fleming) which has over 45,000 free articles on writing related topics. It’s the search engine for writers.

Have you visited the WKB lately?  Check out the new redesign where you can browse by category, and sign up for free writing articles, on topics you choose, delivered to your email inbox!  Sign up for the Hiveword newsletter here.

I’m spotlighting another conference for writers this week: the 2nd Annual Write This Way Indie Author Fest in Dallas, Texas.  The event is free to the public and free participating authors.  The goal is to inspire literacy, as well as provide a platform for authors to be of service to the community.  The Future Author Contest encourages young writers  ages 12 and older to write the book they have dreamed of writing.

Continue reading Twitterific Writing Links