Claim Your Story

Writing Conference, Ashland, Oregon


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Q & A With Midge Raymond

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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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The most important things are the hardest to say

love writing in the sandThe most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.” (Stephen King)


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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.

 

 


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Reminder: October 5 is the final day to receive room discount

If you’re attending the conference and don’t live in the Ashland area, please make your reservations at Lithia Springs Resort by Friday, October 5 to receive the discount.

The place is incredible–restful and lovely and filled with small thoughtful touches that make your stay more enjoyable. Jay and I are looking forward to our third stay there.

Be sure to mention “writer’s workshop” to receive your discounted rate.

Thanks,

Jessica

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