Keeping Motivated Over the Semester Break - Writer's Digest

Keeping Motivated Over the Semester Break

Author:
Publish date:

The question at the beginning of every semester break is how much writing you’ll be doing in relation to how much you’ve promised yourself you’ll do. Lucky for me, I’m a teacher, so I’m also out on a two-week Christmas break, meaning I’ve gone from being insanely busy to wonderfully idle. For the next couple weeks, I’ll actually have extended periods of free time instead of bits of stolen writing moments between work and school, grading papers and running errands. This past Friday, after I entered my last student’s grade, I went home thinking that this whole two weeks stretched before me was going to be an oasis of time that I was going to use to jump start my thesis and just write and write and WRITE!

Then I got home and took a four hour nap.

And then I discovered The Tudors. It’s on Netflix, and it is SOOOO good. Passionate liaisons, warring factions, political scheming, tears, breathtaking narcissism, heaving bosoms, betrayal, religious unrest—not entirely different from the antics that occur behind the scenes of your standard MFA program. There are three seasons of this wondrous show that I need to get through, each consisting of ten one hour episodes: 1800 minutes of Renaissance fun. I’ve already watched the first nine episodes, and Henry VIII is still married to the first of his six wives. Clearly I’ve got a ways to go, but I’ve already squandered a good portion of my free time on the couch, drooling over Henry Cavill (if you don’t know who he is, look him up: trust me, it’s worth it) and gleefully awaiting the beheading of Anne Boleyn. I knew I was kind of a dork, but aren’t Renaissance buffs on a whole new plane of nerd-dom? Years from now, when I find myself working not as a writer but as a juggler at the Bristol Renaissance Faire near the Illinois-Wisconsin border, will I be able to trace what went wrong back to this very Christmas break?

Oh, I’ve been doing other things, too: hanging out with my family and friends, eating Christmas cookies, drinking wine, sleeping, looking at the garbage and deciding whether to take it out. And yes, I’ve even written a bit. A very little bit. But that’s all going to change tomorrow. Jonathan Franzen says that no great fiction can be created in a work space that has internet access, and taking advice from a guy who knows a thing or two about writing, tomorrow I am going to impose a two-hour Tudors limit on myself and disable the internet until I crank out at least 2,000 words.

But what’s that other quote from Shakespeare’s Henry VIII? Ah yes, I remember now:“some come to take their ease/And sleep an act or two” (5.5.85).

Grinnell_Literary Techniques

Using Literary Techniques in Narrative Journalism

In this article, author Dustin Grinnell examines Jon Franklin’s award-winning article Mrs. Kelly’s Monster to help writers master the use of literary techniques in narrative journalism.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 545

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a cleaning poem.

new_agent_alert_amy_collins_talcott_notch_literary_services

New Agent Alert: Amy Collins of Talcott Notch Literary Services

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Amy Collins of Talcott Notch Literary Services) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

5_tips_for_writing_scary_stories_simone_st_james_horror_novels_hauntings

5 Tips for Writing Scary Stories and Horror Novels

Bestselling and award-winning author Simone St. James shares five tips for writing scary stories and horror novels that readers will love to fear.

on_vs_upon_vs_up_on_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

On vs. Upon vs. Up On (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use on vs. upon vs. up on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

WDC20NWC20

7 Very Specific Reasons Why I’m Excited for the 2020 WD Conferences

WD Editor-in-Chief Amy Jones explains why she's excited for the 2020 Writer's Digest Conferences, which are happening virtually November 5-7, 2020.

sierra_magazine_market_spotlight

Sierra Magazine: Market Spotlight

For this week's market spotlight, we look at Sierra Magazine, the bimonthly print and online environmental publication of the Sierra Club.

Patrick_10:19

Jonelle Patrick: Writing Edgier Than Bookshops and Cats

Novelist Jonelle Patrick discusses writing about a country she loves and the importance of both readers and editors.