weekly writing tip

Everyone's Writing is Better than Mine

"I want to write, but everyone's writing is better than mine, so why should I bother?"

"I have this fan fiction/novel/short story all written, but I don't want to share it with anyone because I know it's terrible."

"I started to write something, but I can't keep going because it's just so bad that it feels pointless."

I hear variations of these statements all the time, whether from students or readers or friends. Heck, I say variations of these statements all the time myself.

And when I think about what to say to people who say this to me, who ask me what to do about it, two things occur to me:

(1) When we tell this to other people, often what we're looking for is simple: validation. A refutation of our statement. When we say "everyone's writing is better than mine," we often want the person we're talking to to say, "no, don't be silly, your writing is great!" 

And we deserve that validation, that support, that encouragement to keep going even when we get down on ourselves, even when things feel bleak. We all deserve that, whether it's about writing or anything else in life.

But that leads me to my second thought:

(2) Who are we competing with, anyway? Yes, there are people in the world who write so much better than we do. There are people in the world who don't write as well as we do, or who don't write at all. That's okay! There's always going to be difference in writing styles and opinions of what makes something "good," anyway.

Not to mention: there are books published by big five presses that are just so bad!!! Especially when they're put up against so many works of fan fiction that people, often young people, toil over for hours and hours and hours, with no financial reward and no recognition from publishing houses.

Because here's the thing: whether you're a highly successful published author or you write fan fiction in the dead of night, or you just dream of one day getting your ideas out on paper, you're going to think other people's writing is better than yours. And that's good! It helps us learn, it makes reading pleasurable, and it gives us something to strive for.

For me, this dilemma takes me to the gym.

When I watch people lifting more than me, banging out pull ups and variations thereof that I am nowhere near being able to do, I have to keep one thing in my mind: yet, yet, yet, yet. 

I can't lift that much yet.

I can't do those pull ups yet.

It doesn't mean I should stop working out because people are at different stages of their training than I am, because I admire other people's power and strength. It means that I can learn new things from watching how other people train; I can incorporate different techniques into my own regiments; and it means I can make more specific goals based on what I want for myself.

Because everyone wants different things for themselves, in writing and in gymming (and, you know... in life). 

I'm good in the gym. I work hard, I play hard, and I'm devoted to my own personal goals.

I'm (and this is harder for me to say) good at writing. I work hard, I play hard, and I'm devoted to my own personal goals.

Significantly, I'm gentle with myself on both fronts. Self-care and recovery are just as important to my gym and writing routines as my actual training and writing times are.

So, everyone's writing might be better than mine. And some days, that makes me internalize things like "I'm terrible" and therefore "I'm worthless," and whooooo, there goes my depression spiral. 

But what's important for me -- and might be for you, too! -- is to try and remember that we're all, always, practicing. We're all, always, growing. 

The world needs your voice. If it's not where you want it to be yet, surround yourself with people who support you, who validate you: who remind you that it's okay to not be everything you want to be right now, because you'll get there. Keep going. Keep writing, keep training. Keep loving yourself.

You've got this! And you know what? So do I.

Even when your writing is better than mine.

5 Things You Need to Know about your Characters (That You’ll Probably Never Tell Your Readers)

So, it's the new year.

And you've promised yourself you're going to finish that novel, flesh out that short story, develop that video game... except your characters seem to hate you. They won't tell you about their lives and even if you have the best idea for a plot, they keep shrugging their shoulders in the ultimate expression of meh.

Oscar Issac, wearing a blue button down and a black jacket, answering an interview question by raising his hand in the air and saying "meh." Gif from https://cdn-enterprise.discourse.org/tnation/uploads/default/original/3X/4/1/411c1cd1fc04964cb6712fd84b5b65f833f3974e.gif

Oscar Issac, wearing a blue button down and a black jacket, answering an interview question by raising his hand in the air and saying "meh." Gif from https://cdn-enterprise.discourse.org/tnation/uploads/default/original/3X/4/1/411c1cd1fc04964cb6712fd84b5b65f833f3974e.gif

Except you really need them to work with you. You really do. 

So you keep trying to force them to muddle through the plot you have planned, or you keep trying to cajole them into revealing where they want to go and who they want to have a torrid love affair with next.

I've been there. Trust me. I know. Writing LOST BOY, FOUND BOY was a year-long exercise in, "seriously, Peter? Talk to me, man. Tink? What about you? No? Why? Why do my characters all hate me.

If you're anything like me, you might want to take a break from your actual narrative at this point and spend some time getting to know your characters better. Chances are, once you do, they'll help you bust through any plot devices you're having trouble with, because they'll be that much more multi-dimensional.

So, without further ado: 5 things you need to know about your characters (that you'll probably never even tell your readers: not explicitly, anyway).

1. What do they want in this scene? 

Yes. In every. Single. Scene. 

What do they want? Why do they want it?

Clear answers.

In every. Single. Scene.

It's okay if your character doesn't know: hell, we often don't know what we want, or why we want it, in the scenes of our everyday lives. But as the author, you should.

2. What Hogwarts House are they in?

And be careful, here. Hogwarts Houses are always super interesting to me: the only reason Harry wasn't in Slytherin, remember, is because he chose not to be. You can choose, at the tender age of 11. 

So, the question gets more complicated: would the House you think your character would be in now be different than what it would have been or will be when they're eleven? Why? What changed? What stayed the same?

Not a Harry Potter person? No judgment (mostly). The basics here are about knowing what qualities your characters value in themselves and what they value in other people. Does your character think it's better to be kind or to be correct? To have lots of friends or to have a small handful of intimate chosen family? To be on the front lines or in the background? Where are the complexities? The 'yes ands'? The conflicts of values? 

This is where your characters get rich in development.

3. What do they do in their down time?

In book cultures of chosen ones and plucky teens saving the world, we often forget the mundane, the "boring", the "oh my Rao I just want to go home and sleep."

Forget what they need to do to survive, for a moment: what do your characters do to thrive?

Or, what would they do if they weren't wrapped up in whatever intensive plot you have lined up for them?

4. Why do they like (or dislike) x person?

We love chemistry in our books, don't we? Two characters meet eyes across the room, and bam. An OTP is born.

And I'm all for that. I'm all about that.

But what sparks that chemistry (or the hatred, or the ambivalence, etc.) between two characters? What, indeed, keeps it going (or not)?

Sometimes, my favorite questions about my characters are the simplest ones. Someone asked me the other day, "What does Evelyn like the most about Sadie?" And I had to scratch my head and think about it for a hot minute. Hell, I'm still thinking about it. 

Because it was a beautiful question. And I can write an entire prequel and/or sequel as an answer to it. Make sure those things shine through, even if you're not writing about them explicitly. 

5. What is x's relationship with y?

What I mean by that is this: imagine a scene with four characters in it. Let's choose mine, for funsies. Sadie, Evelyn, Zaylam, and Jorbam.

Sadie and Evelyn are dating each other (or at least, they want to; even if they won't admit it yet). Zaylam, Sadie, and Jorbam are hatchling mates who grew up together.

And, Sadie is the POV character.

Great.

But.

What about how Jorbam and Evelyn interact? Jorbam and Zaylam, when Sadie isn't there? Evelyn and Zaylam? The three of them, without Sadie? 

Fleshing out relationships between multiple characters, in multiple combinations -- even if you don't give a massive amount of tangible detail to your readers about these "side" relationships -- is extremely, extremely important, and it makes for a much richer narrative. 

My favorite scene in all of the Harry Potter series, for example, is a small one, an almost insignificant one, in THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. Ginny is sitting on the floor in the common room, reading a newspaper with her back against Harry's knees. Some of her brothers are there, too, playing wizards' chess. They're all teasing each other and having side conversations with each other and something about Harry having a hipogriff tattoo. They're all doing their own things: but they're doing it, intimately, together. It warms my heart, every time.

Similarly, my favorite scenes in Grey's Anatomy are ensemble scenes: I love the relationships that aren't the main focus of the show. Alex and Cristina. George and Cristina. (I just really love Cristina, okay?) Burke and Alex. 

So, like in HARRY POTTER, one of my favorite Grey's scenes is a really basic one. An ensemble scene, where they're all studying for their boards, and they're all having side conversations and little nervous and excited mannerisms. They're all living their own, full, independent lives, and you can tell from how they're all doing their own thing: but they're doing it together.

It's those little things -- those tiny interactions between characters whose relationships aren't what the story is about -- that can make or break rich worlds and sweeping plots.

Build them out, even if it's just in your own notebook or google doc of character files. 

It'll show up in your writing. I promise.

Pro tip: these questions are especially important for characters who aren't your POV (point of view) characters. Make sure you're always, always, always thinking about the motivations and backgrounds of your "side" characters and love interests. Even if you don't go out of your way to explicitly tell your readers about it: trust me. They'll know.

And your stories will be all the richer for it.

Writing Your First Query Letter? 4 Tips & the Letter That Got Me Published

Over on tumblr, a wonderful human asked:

"Does anybody have any tips or examples for writing a query letter pls help

(I’m looking at you @jpolish-writes-queer-ya-fantasy)"


Hi there @smellbig -- thank you for such an important question! And it just so happens that I do!

Now, before I dive in, you should know that there are a lot of fabulous query letter resources out there. A quick search will find lots of amazing resources, and I encourage you to dive into that, with specifications for your genre. That said, a few general query letter tips:

1. Research, Research, Research

Have I mentioned research? 

For each and every agent you submit to -- yes, every one -- you should be reading way, way more than you will ever write in your query letter.

First and foremost, you want to make sure that the agent you’re querying (a) works on your age range and genre; (b) is accepting unsolicited submissions; (c) seems like they’re a good fit for you and your novel.

What does a good fit mean? Well, check their Twitter if they have one, and Manuscript Wishlist (#mswl). And that’s the easy part. 

Because then you should dive into interviews with that agent. These are crucial; I will tell you below, for example, that it’s often important to tell the agent briefly why you’re querying them before diving into it. Some agents, though? They will say in interviews that they don’t want personal flourishes or an explanation, they just want to hear about your book. Many interviews will explicitly ask what agents like to read in their query letters, and what they don’t. Those are always super helpful.

More importantly, though, interviews will tell you more about what the agent’s style is; what kinds of books they’ve sold in the past; what they’re looking for moving forward. Remember that you’re looking to get your book represented, sure, but you’re also looking to form a relationship: so this kind of information is very important.

2. Make Yourself a Database

Okay, this isn’t about writing the letter exactly, but before you do, please keep track of it! Make yourself a spreadsheet with name, agency, email, relevant links, notes about why you want to work with them, specifications they/their agency have for query letters, how long they say it takes to get back to you, the date you sent your query letter, etc.

You want to send maybe 5-10 letters in one go, max. If you get no responses, you might want to tweak your letter! Remember that it’s always a work in progress, and that’s okay. Keeping track of agents you’ve sent to is hugely important during this; it can help you improve your letters, and it will help you avoid industry no-nos (like, for example, querying two agents at the same agency at the same time).

3. Structure It

Generally speaking, there’s a three-paragraph structure to your basic query letter. (You want to cater to each specific agent, as discussed above, but hey, we gotta start somewhere, right?)

Greeting (Dear xx -- please make sure to get the agent’s name right! You’d be surprised how many folks don’t.)

Very briefly introduce your novel and why you’re querying this agent: always include your genre and word count. So, for example, “LUNAV, a YA fantasy complete at 89,000 words.” It’s important to include that it’s complete, and it’d better be: never query with an incomplete novel! And, the ‘why I’m querying you’ should be short and sweet: “I read your interview on x site, saying y”, so your novel would be a great fit for them, etc. This is also the paragraph where you can have comp titles; titles that your book is similar to/would attract readers of. Don’t use industry things like Harry Potter, and don’t do the “I’m the next xx author” thing: if there’s one thing agents seem to unanimously agree on, it’s disliking that intensely.

Your novel: this part isn’t a summary, and you don’t have to include the ending. You do, however, have to “hook” your reader, and quickly. Most agents want to be compelled by your main character immediately; and, the assumption will be that your book is complex, with more than two or three characters, but you really don’t want to mention more than that. You also really don’t want to mention side plots. Stick to the central focus, which -- yes -- is so, so, so hard when you’ve written a whole darn novel! But you’ve gotta. To help you, read a lot of dust jacket copies (the blurb on the back of paperbacks and on the inside of the hardcover dust jacket) in your genre. How do they hook readers? Are there similarities in how the stories and characters are presented? Familiarity with your genre is important, and it will show in your brief, brief, brief (read point below) hook for your novel.

Author bio: This is where you give information about yourself that is relevant to your novel; if your novel is a detective novel, it will help to mention that you were a cop for x number of years. If your novel is a high fantasy with dragons and such, it probably won’t help to mention that. It will never help to mention that your best friend loves the book, etc. Keep this short and sweet; you want to give the agent a picture of you and why you’re qualified to write the book you have, not your whole life story.

Closing: Some people include their Twitter handle and such with their signature, and that’s alright. But again, keep it simple.

Sample: Many agents ask for a short sample of your novel along with the query letter; sometimes it’s the first five pages, sometimes it’s ten, sometimes it’s the first two chapters, sometimes it’s more or less. Whatever they request along with query letters (this info will be on their agency site), send that and only that under your signature. Copy-paste the text; never send unsolicited attachments. 

4. Keep It Short

You’ve written a novel! Congratulations. Truly. It is an amazing feat, and you should be so proud of yourself. 

Now you have to get someone to want to read it in less than 300 words. And that includes the whole letter, not even just the part about your book. Remember that agents are massively busy and receive an overwhelming amount of queries weekly; your letter’s length is almost like a form of respecting their time. Please do that, just like you’d want someone to respect yours.

5. Example Time

Alright, well. 

My query letter has changed a lot over time, but this version (with some comments from me in brackets) elicited several requests for full and partial manuscripts from agents, and ultimately helped get me a publishing contract with @ninestarpress

Dear Nine Star Team,

I hope this finds you enjoying the season. With excitement, I invite you into the world of my literary novel [this part is not typical: usually you wouldn’t say “literary novel,” you’d just say YA fantasy novel; but NineStar has specific querying requests on their site, so I followed them!] LUNAV, a YA fantasy. As a nonbinary lesbian author writing queer characters (including a lesbian protagonist, a main FF romance, and several genderqueer characters), I hope that you will find my novel to be a good fit, especially as you grow your collection of YA offerings. LUNAV is complete at 89,000 words and will appeal to readers of the SERAPHINA duology and OTHERBOUND. [Note that the industry standard is to all-caps book titles.]

They don’t have dragons where half-faerie Sadie was born – not living ones, anyway – but in the Grove, everyone knows that dragon eggs grow on trees like leaves and need dreams to hatch. Without faerie dreams, the dragons won’t survive. And neither will anyone else.

Brash, boyish sixteen-year-old Sadie thinks she can stop the worst from happening, but as a half-human, she looks far too much like the enemy. So she’s been using her looks to spy on the human monarchy. But spying is a risky business: it, like dreaming, is punishable by death. Slow death. Still, Sadie thought she was a pro. Until they sent a new human magistrate to the Grove. Evelyn. 

Evelyn might be the most beautiful girl Sadie’s ever seen, and Sadie might be betraying her family by falling in love with the ruthless leader who locks them up. But that’s not even the biggest obstacle between them: Evelyn is leading the charge against dreaming, and there’s something she doesn’t know. Sadie can still dream.

I run a Tumblr blog dedicated to queer women fandoms, and in the past four months alone, I have developed a following of over 5,000 people through my fan fiction writing (I continue to gain around 40 followers each day). Additionally, I teach writing at CUNY LaGuardia Community College. I have both published and forthcoming academic articles on dis/ability in YA fiction, and I occasionally write for GayYA (a blog dedicated to queer YA fiction). I’m currently a PhD candidate in English at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Attached, please find my manuscript and synopsis. [They requested it, which is the only reason I attached anything.] Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

...

So. You should know that the novel part of this query, I originally wrote in the first person. My novel is in the first person, from Sadie’s perspective, and it was so much easier for me to craft an authentic letter in her voice. I edited it for third person before sending it.

Aaaand that’s all I got for now. Please feel free to follow up on this with further questions or more specific queries (see what I did there?).

How do I Dialogue? The Strife of the "Said" Tag

Over on my tumblr, a wonderful anonymous reader/writer asked me:

Hi! :) I have some problem when writing, not in dialogues, those are the easiest part for me, but like after the dialogues, I always feel like I'm repeating the entence "she said" or "he said" wayyy too many freaking times, and it bothers me a lot. How do I kinda replace the word "say" and not make it appear 500 times in my 1000 word story? xD Thanks! And I cant wait for your novel to release :D


Hello my dear! Ohhh, dialogue tags. What an important question!!

Two things: the first is, check out this cool page about other words you can use for “said.” Remember that you probably want to convey action and emotion with your dialogue. The only thing “said” tells us is, literally, that someone… well, said something: which, mind you, is important!

But, other words – that more directly describe the way something is being said – can often be super helpful, and that’s where the link above can be very nifty.

The second thing: remember that you don’t always need dialogue tags. The goal with good dialogue is to have everyone communicate – as we all do in real life – with different cadences, with a voice all their own. So making sure your characters have their own rhythms and tendencies when speaking can help us as readers know who’s talking without necessarily having to be told. Relatedly, it’s fun to let readers see what characters are doing while they’re talking, and this can provide a lot of great alternatives to “said.”


Take this bit of dialogue, for example, from this delightful scene between true loves Emma Swan and Regina Mills in Once Upon a Time:

 

Regina Mills from Once Upon a Time looks up from her desk, hand delicately under her chin, with hopeful eyes, asking Emma Swan, "Is that a root beer?" Gif from https://68.media.tumblr.com/4cb1e6a038cbed831a81e00745b19d0f/tumblr_nkciynSO561sfomgxo5_250.gif

“How do you feel about kale salad?” Emma asks.

“Like someone found some place other than Granny’s for take-out,” Regina answers.

“I’m fine with her grilled cheese, but I know it gets to you,” Emma says.

“You eat like a child. Is that a root beer?” Regina asks.

“Two! I got you one. Thought you could use a break,” Emma says triumphantly.


Okay. Awesome. My heart is melted like that grilled cheese that Emma didn’t get because she knows it hurts Regina’s stomach be still my fangirl heart.

But, still. As written, it doesn’t convey everything that went on between them in that scene, does it? So, lets try it without once using “said”/”says” or synonyms for it.

“How do you feel about kale salad?”

Regina doesn’t bother looking up, either at the salad or at the woman who’d placed it there. “Like someone found some place other than Granny’s for take-out.”

Emma ignores her distant, distracted quip as she struggles to crack open the bottles she brought with her.

“I’m fine with her grilled cheese, but I know it gets to you.”

Regina scoffs with soft eyes and finally glances up. “You eat like a child.”

She pauses, then, and nearly gasps, her mask of disinterest finally gone. “Is that a root beer?”

“Two!” Emma quirks a small grin, holding up one bottle in each hand like she’s Henry, trying to be casual while proudly presenting his science fair project. “I got you one. Thought you could use a break.”

You see what I mean?

More melty-grilled cheese for Emma and warm fuzzy someone-notices-what-I-need feels for Regina, and more overall feels for us.

Sometimes, we need those actions, those facial expressions. And, it does two things at once: injects deeper forms of communication into the scene, and eliminates that pesky “said” repetition.

Remember, most of communication is held within the unspoken: don’t be afraid to put that in your writing!!

Have a great time, dear writer: you got this :)

And if you've got any more dialogue tips, feel free to toss them below here!

5 Things to do while Writing Your First Novel

Over on my tumblr, the wonderful invisible-galaxies asked:

"What are you best tips for writing a book? I just started writing one, so I would love some advice."

Well, my dear. Feel free to follow up here with more specific questions about your own writing process, but my first instincts (after mulling this question over since you sent it in) are as follows:

1. Congratulate yourself -- yes, already.

We're so ingrained to only celebrate ourselves, congratulate ourselves, when we have a finished product; when we have something polished and pretty and glossy; when we have something complete, and when we have extra money in our pockets from it.

But you have decided to write a book. You have started writing a book. You have, in other words, started creating something that will let you unleash an entire world onto the page, onto the screen; you have decided to bring life to an entire universe.

That deserves celebration; you deserve celebration. Because you've made a brave decision, a brave start; and because if you don't pause to celebrate yourself along the way, the journey's more likely to be overly self-loathing and lonely.

2. Write about... your writing.

Do you know what kind of novel writer you are?

Maybe you can sit down and bang out the first draft of a short story or a school essay or a project report for work, one shot, start to finish. It's linear and it's chronologically-oriented and sure, it needs editing, but it has a beginning, middle, and an end, right away.

Awesome! But that might not be the kind of novel writer you are.

Let yourself experiment -- let yourself write whatever scenes or character sketches are coming to your mind, even if you're not sure where they fit into your overall narrative. Because maybe you'll write a lot of your novel out of order (I sure did), and then have to stitch it back together/rewrite to iron things out. There's nothing wrong with that!

There's also nothing wrong with those of us who outline endlessly before even writing down the first chapter, or whose brains just work in order, getting each scene to flow into the next linearly, from the start.

Whatever your process is, let yourself discover it. Write about yourself as a writer. Ask yourself:

How do I tend to develop my characters into living, breathing people?

For me, does plot tend to come first? Characters? How do they feed off of each other?

Do I have to know everything about a scene before I write it?

Etc. Knowing these things about yourself as a writer can be such a huge help.

3. Share what you can, if Tip 2 indicates it would be helpful (and maybe try it anyway).

Grab a glass of iced tea and swing your legs off the fire escape with a friend, and talk things through with them.

Last summer, I don't know how many hours I spent in the ocean with one of my best friends, floating over waves and exchanging our novel ideas, bits and pieces of information and revelations about singing dragons, teenage superheroes, detention centers, and zine writers. I can't ever describe how central that was to my process.

These conversations weren't just conversations. When I went away to speak at conferences or to see friends, I would print his novel drafts and bring them with me, reading on the bus well past the point of motion sickness (because his writing is just that brilliant). And he would do the same for me.

Writing communities -- even if they're small -- are absolutely invaluable. Sometimes, we can find them online; sometimes, we can find them in school; sometimes, we can find them at free writing workshops in our communities.

We tend to think of writing as a solitary process, and that's so true, but it can also be a recipe for unhelpful ruminating: a lot of us need idea bouncing buddies, cheerleaders, and critique partners who will be honest but gentle when something just isn't working.

So maybe it's just me, but I can't write without the people I love, and I love the people I write with. Period.

4. Map it out.

Even if you're not a planner -- even if you write scene-by-randomly-ordered scene -- keeping yourself organized can help so, so much. I always keep documents of notes on my character descriptions, their likes and dislikes, their relationships with each other.

I have lists of "twenty personal things that readers will never know about x character."

I have fan fictions of my own characters where -- since I'm writing fantasy -- I place them in today's world, without magic, in a given situation, and learn more about them through how they'd react.

I have little maps of when this happens, when that happens. As x is happening to y character, why is a happening to b character? How does this all affect c character and d plotline? (Index cards or post-its and colored pens are super helpful for this sort of thing.)

I have drawings -- and my students will be the first to snort, here, because I cannot draw to save my life -- mapping out where different things in my book happen, and when.

I didn't do most of these things while I was initially drafting; I did most of them while I was editing and rewriting. If any of these things sound helpful, though, don't be me: try to do these kinds of exercises and explorations with yourself while you're drafting, because I know how much more streamlined and generative my process would have been, sooner, if I had.

5. Read, Read, Read, Read. Oh yeah, and write.

What genre are you writing? Young adult fantasy? Adult contemporary? Middle grade historical fiction? If you don't know, that's okay -- find out! Book research is fun. (And let me know if yall want a post about different genres, or have questions about them.)

And then, read. Read it all. All the things your library has in your genre, and all the things your library has out of your genre. I count watching certain television -- really well-written stuff, and even not-so-well-written stuff -- as reading when I'm preparing to write, because great images and stories can inspire me, and terrible images and stories can also inspire me (to make something better, to never have that kind of plot hole, to never kill the lesbian).

I know sometimes when we're writing, it's hard for us to read.

We want to keep our own voice, and we want to be, quite frankly, not intimidated by what's out there. But part of the journey you're beginning -- writing your own book -- is trying to rewire the competition-thinking that makes us intimidated into the collaborative-thinking that makes us inspired by others' beautiful work. It can be hard, and might even take longer than it does to draft your book -- but it's a worth-while process to start off on.

And, of course, while you're reading... write. It's okay if it's out of order, and it's okay if it's outlined down to the finest detail. Just... write.

If you're the kind of person that likes internal deadlines, set them. If you need an accountability buddy to help make sure you stay on track, get one.

And when you accomplish a mini-goal -- like answering a series of deep questions about your main character or finishing that first chapter and moving onto the second or finishing that random scene that doesn't fit in the plot yet but hey, you wrote it -- reward yourself!

Because -- and now we're looping up to Tip 1 again -- you are on an awesome journey, and you deserve to treat yourself awesomely.

Writing on Vacation; On Vacation from Writing

Earlier this week over on my tumblr, a wonderful Anon asked this question:

"Hi Jenn! I'm going on vacation for two weeks today and I have a (personal) deadline for one of my chapters. I know I'm on vacation to relax, but is there any way you think I could get some writing done? -K.M"

I responded to K.M. here, but I wanted to take this weekly writing tips time to expand on that answer in three parts