1 tip and no pain to ease your way back into your writing routine

The first week back to work, I completely forgot about that good old tip of mine, which I feel like is probably everybody’s tip to ease their way back to work.

Yeah.

Summer vacations are over. Definitely over.

Work is back. Dozen of emails, yet zero prospect. Translation: oh-so-much things to do, oh-so-much queries to send.

Plus, we’re surrounded by the buzzing sound of debut novels. When I was working in the bookstore business, I was looking forward to that time of the year.

Now, I find the amount of debut novels… well, overwhelming to say the least. How on earth my novel, if it ever get traditionally published, or self-published even, will do out and about among so many new titles, so many many, goods books?

With that in mind, getting back to my writing routine was surprisingly difficult. Creative writing is my refuge, my comfort zone. And yet, words were lost and AuthorTube videos over-consumed.

Nothing that a good tip, tested many times, couldn’t fix thought!

Same spot, same time, but with a twist

I love a good work routine.

Precision: I love my work routine. I need to decide the « when’s » of my day. When to eat, when to take a break, when to query clients, etc…

Put me in any kind of desk job 9 to 5, with judgy co-workers and a snobby boss, and you’ll soon see me turned into a yelling-disgusted-with-human-kind monster, who always reads during her lunch hour, keep as much as possible to itself and always, always, always skip the Xmas party.

Nevertheless, going back to a work routine can be challenging, especially you are as lazy as I am and there’s a ton of revision, editing, re-writing to be done before being able to move on to the new exciting writing project.

Therefore, before even starting to work, I would treat myself with a « not every day because a bit expansive tea ». Or I would buy a new book before starting to work. Or I would get myself a real good Monday-doesn’t-have-to-be-horrible breakfast. Or, you get the idea!

Funny enough, the first week back to work, I completely forgot that I used to do that: rewarding myself with stuff that I love.

This Monday, my pre-reward for finishing writing an article for this blog, which I have been procrastinating with for weeks, was a big bowl of frozen yogurt, swimming in a sea of fudge and brownies bits.

Just one big bowl.

I swear.

Until next time!

PS.: A little ko-fi goes a long way. Thanks a million!

How to Master the Writing Routine

The Muse is super fun to hang out with, but since she has many places to be…

For years, I would only write at night, after school. Then, I would only write in the early morning, before work.

After my baby finally started to sleep through the night, at 15 months (if you are curious, that’s sums up to 450 nights of 3-4 hours of sleep; yes, I know I was lucky.), I needed a new, well, everything. Including a writing routine.

The snowstorm of writing routines

As I am writing, well within March, dear Mother Nature unleashed yet another snowstorm. The snowflakes are big and fluffy. From my wanna-be office window, I cannot see the small frozen lake anymore; I can barely see the houses on the street parallel to us.

Lost within the snowstorm of tips, hacks, methods and what’s more, the keys for establishing a good writing routine.

I stumbled upon so many sh**** ideas, oh dear Calliope and sisters! I even found one fellow giver of tips&tricks with a what-number steps for a magic writing routine.

Heck yeah, I listened to what that person had to say, but, yeah no, I couldn’t go through with the meditation and « say hi to the sun » part.

Writing routine : the gathering

I ended gathering the most relevant, for me anyway, tips & tricks on how to establish a good writing routine.

That means I came up with a mix of Common Sense, guilt-free tips and effective tricks to master the writing routine.

  • Forget the Muse

Feeling inspired is great, but it is NOT going to help you write, yet finish, a novel.

Sit your butt down, put glue on the chair if you have to, and write (that’s from an francophone author who wrote more then a 100 kids novels; proven tip if there was ever one).

  • Set realistic writing goals.

Of course, you can write a book in 10 days, 30 days, 3 months… although the quality of the end result may vary.

Better be realistic when it comes to writing goals and set for ourselves easily attainable writing goals.

500 words a day, 5 days&nights a week is how I started. Once the routine was established, I soon revised increase the word count goal, but not up to a point where I would feel guilty to not have been able to reach the said goal one day.

100 words a day, 5 days a week could also be an excellent start to master the writing routine.

  • Reward yourself at the beginning of your new writing routine.

Many trustworthy authors and bloggers give that tip. It is a fun and effective way to make any new routine work.

After a while (I read it takes 17 to 21 days to form a new habit, but this is NOT a writing routine deadline of some sort) the new writing routine should start to feel like a part of yourself.

  • A writing routine should always go with your flow.

Translation: Writer, know thyself.

If you early riser, work with that. If you can’t muster the energy to write at night, don’t. The important thing is, while not being a total dictator toward yourself, to stick to your writing goal at the beginning, whether you’re feeling like writing or not.

  • Stick to your goals… and to happy writer face

Writing should be enjoyable, it should be fun. Writing should make you happy.

It is a lot of hard work, of course, but still, if you cannot enjoy it, why bother?

The ones who helped me master the writing routine

From a fun place I found thought the best place for writers, Pinterest: https://www.well-storied.com/blog/11-tips-for-creating-writing-routine

Super useful and to the point tips. No magic nor miracles there, just good old Common Sense: http://www.savannahgilbo.com/10-tips-creating-writing-routine/h

This one helped me de-stress about the whole writing routine game, which at first seemed like a bigger deal then having to plan a wedding (at this point, I swear, I am getting married in my pj’s and we’ll have bbq chicken with the fridging champagne): https://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/4-writing-routine-myths-that-kill-creativity

I hope those tested writing routine tips will help you out. They certainly helped me!

Writing tip ​: how to tackle the Smurfette​ principle?

it is late in my short five years career as a bookshop girl that I was introduced to the Smurfette Principle.

I clicked « send » and, just then, somehow, after two whole fridging years working on the said send manuscript, it hit me.

Did I just sent to a publisher a kid’s novel guilty of the Smurfette Principle?

Disclaimer: I mean no offense to anyone, nor do I mean to condemn anybody’s stories or ideas. You are free to be the writer, or better yet, the human being you want to be. I simply want to share what I’ve learned from my mistakes, things I think are useful to be aware of. I’m sharing writing tips here, no judgemental life lessons of any kind.

Unless for very specific reasons, I never outline my stories. I start with a character, a general plot idea, and off I go to this new world, meeting these new people. I love writing.

In the said novel I send off to publishers recently, the main character, plagued by phobias, finds herself trying to make her utterly impossible dream come true.

I re-wrote it four times. It changed a lot. Still, it was not until I send it to the first publishers on my list (no literary agent in my very small francophone corner of North America!) that I realized what I might have done.

I wasn’t sure. Ends the research about the Smurfette Principle and how to tackle it! a

A twenty years old Principle

The Smurfette Principle has been around for twenty years now. It was first introduced by Katha Pollitt in an article published in the New York Times in 1991.

Personally, it is late in my short five years career as a bookshop girl that I was introduced to the Smurfette Principle. My friend and colleague, a lover of kid’s and YA literature, also happened to be an eager feminist, way before it got back in style.

After her lunch break, one of this day shaping up to be exactly like the day before, she burst into an outraged plea against the fact that most books were still contaminated by the Smurfette Principle, in YA novels especially.

It is quite simple. Based on the Smurfs universe, where there’s only one female among a hundred male, the Smurfette Principle highlights the fact that only one female character is present among many males in a given story, whether a novel or a Hollywood movie.

(Hollywood movies and some tv series are particularly plagued by this Principle. The same can be said for the representation of First Nations, African American, Latin American, LGBTQ+, people living with a handicap, so on and so forth. But I will stay away from that burning and so fundamental topic for now.)

Smurfettes and Smurfs of the world, be Aware !

How to tackle down the Smurfette principle? Well, it is not rocket science:

by being more aware !

If we take the time to take a look back at what we are writing, like I should have done with this kid’s novel of mine, and always bear in mind that all readers are different.

As a woman writer, you would think I would have thought of that. But no! I default to the mainstream cast of characters we see everywhere.

Once the Smurfette Principale highjacked my mind, I couldn’t do anything else but go through my characters.

My hero is a girl of Asian origins. Her sidekick is male. They get help from males. The bad guy is male. She pretty much stands alone, aside from 4 chapters where she is saved by a girl… and a guy.

Mother Smurfette

Sadly, my story screams Smurfette Principle.

Now, I will follow my own exemple.

Once I am thru with the current story I’m writing, I am determined to do some serious twicking on the manuscript, whether I get a positive answer from the publishers or not.

It does mean going over the whole for the fifth time. But I’ll be dang before I end up being with my pen name on a loaded Smurfette Principle book.

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/dec/11/smurfette-principle-why-cant-hollywood-accept-gender-equality

http://lesbrutes.telequebec.tv/capsule/2802

Talents Hauts et le sexisme en littérature de jeunesse

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jul/27/a-depressing-lack-of-diversity-in-childrens-books

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