Claim Your Story

Writing Conference, Ashland, Oregon


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Please stay tuned…..

radio towerPlans are underway for two conferences this fall……

Dates and locations to be announceRun-with-itd

And it’s so true: I do love gathering writers.
From Run With It by Melissa Hart

Keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart

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Q & A With Melissa Hart

Melissa HartQ: What is your best writing tip?
A: Develop a habit of writing every day.  Carry around a spiral notebook and pen or a laptop and commit to at least ten minutes.  You can write a decent rough draft of a poem, a piece of flash fiction, or a paragraph of a novel or memoir or nonfiction article in ten minutes.  The goal is to make writing a habit–like flossing, only a lot more fun!

Q: Is writer’s block real? If so, how do you tackle/ circumvent it?

A: I don’t think writer’s block is real.  I think it’s possible to think you have no ideas, but a ten-minute freewrite on a major conflict you’re experiencing, or a significant joy, or a question that’s keeping you up at night, or your favorite funny family story, will get your ideas flowing.

Q: What’s your writing process?

A: I’ve structured my life so that when I get an idea for a piece, I can usually sit down and scribble out a rough draft that day.  I write the first draft longhand in a notebook, and then transcribe my chicken-scratch onto the computer.  I write multiple drafts, then have my husband read a polished version of a piece.  We discuss it in terms of his perceptions and editing notes, and then I revise again.  I read my work out loud several times during the process (sometimes to my cats) to check for pacing, flow, and believable dialogue.

Q: How do you make time to write?

A: It’s difficult when I’m teaching a lot and parenting a lot, and I must get exercise daily or I go bonkers.  But the time is there. Often, I’m lucky enough to be on deadline for a magazine essay or article, and that forces me to make time to write, even if it’s late in the evening or early in the morning.

Q: What are you working on next?

A: I’m in the editing stage of my first middle-grade novel, which Sky Pony Press will publish next year.  It’s called Avenging the Owl, about a California surfer-kid forced to move to Oregon and volunteer as a raptor rehabilitator after he accidentally injures a boy with Down syndrome while trying to kill a Great-horned owl that seizes his kitten.


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Q & A With Midge Raymond

MidgeRaymond-photo

Q: What is your best writing tip?

A: My best writing tip is to Write Every Day — and by that I don’t necessarily mean sitting at the computer typing but being in that writerly zone in which you use every possible moment to think about your project. While in line at the post office, for example, think about your characters, think about a letter she might write, think about a time he got someone else’s mail. There are so many moments in which we’re not able to write, but we can still be thinking like writers.

Q: Is writer’s block real? If so, how do you tackle/circumvent it?

I think it’s real for some writers, and probably nonexistent for others. When I find myself getting stuck on a piece, I try a couple of strategies. One, I’ll simply switch to something else; as a short-story writer, I usually have several short stories in progress. If I want to stick with a particular piece but am not getting where I need to go with it, I’ll take a break and do something related to the project: research, freewriting — or I’ll simply take a walk and think about it away from the desk, which always helps.

 Q: What’s your writing process?

A: It changes every day — I have no typical process because for me there’s no such thing as a typical day (which generally I think is a good thing!). For a while last winter, I got up before dawn to write; lately I’ve been writing in the afternoons at the library. It all just depends on when I can fit it into my schedule. One thing I’ve enjoyed a lot is getting away from my desk and writing in a notebook — being off the computer helps me get into a more creative mood.

Q: How do you make time to write?

It’s my biggest challenge! I make sure to take some time off every year to get away (out of town) to write — this is the best way to reconnect with my writing. I’ll also try to re-create this writing time at home, in my everyday life — a couple hours here, a Saturday there — whenever I can.

A: What are you working on next?

Right now I’m working on about six new short stories … all in various stages of development.


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Midge Raymond on Naming Characters

Midge Raymond has excellent advice on naming your characters. You can find her blog here. Romeo and Juliet–classic examples. Romeo and Juliet statueMidge will be teaching a workshop on marketing and will also take part in a panel on branding at Claim Your Story II, October 4.