Writer’s Group: You get an extra week — what will you make of it?

Hey everyone. So this month we have five weeks between meetings.

We all bumped up our goals for the month, but seriously, I bet we can all beat them by a significant margin. There are still three weeks left, but don’t be like that 1600 meter runner who lags badly on lap 3 out of 4. The “third lap” on the track for the runner who is attacking the mile (metric version) is where the gap is made up. It’s easy to run a good time the first lap when fresh, and easy on the last lap when almost done. It’s what you do with the middle laps that makes all the difference. Roger Bannister got this, and the mental edge gave him the first sub-4 minute mile. Granted, he was gassed:

bannister

SO we get three middle laps this month instead of two. Stick to your pacing!

Our next group meets Oct 22 at 8 PM eastern. Drop comments on how you’re progressing!

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Writer’s Group: We are writing books

Just a quick encouragement for the people in our writer’s group (see writer’s group page in sidebar).

Yes. We are writing books. Last week we got an update from Justin, whose goal was 8000 words this month. He wrote 8100 in spite of duress. Tim also chimed in on his goal of 4000. He wrote about 5000. And on my goal of 10,000 I had written 14,400. 6100 of those were on my novel, which really feels like a side project while I finish The Art of Motivational Listening, but when that book is done, it’s going to feel really good to have the next novel moving along even if it’s at a fairly slow pace.

Because we are committing to write words every month, we are, therefore, indeed writing books.

If you’re in the writer’s group (next meeting is Oct 22 at 8 PM Eastern) please hit us with a comment on how the week went!

Using your Non-Dominant Hand

Last night my writer’s group was talking about whether or not we, as novelists, were more comfortable writing by flying by the seat of our pants, unsure even where the plot is headed, or whether we preferred instead to structure our work with a tight outline, then fill in the gaps. The one we are comfortable with, Justin Fike said, is like our dominant hand. (A third way emerged, which is to write fiction by taking copious research notes.)

Justin Fike then urged us to set goals that would help us increase our ambidextrousness.

The image that came to mind was that of a baseball player learning to use a glove. My left is my dominant, so my right hand is my glove hand. I am one of those people who is extremely dominant on one side. My right hand is so bad that I have trouble typing the O and P keys on a keyboard (making matters worse, I damaged my right pinkie when I was 14 years old). But when I was only 4 or 5, I learned to put a baseball glove on the right hand and catch with it. I can’t throw for anything with that hand, but I can snap that glove shut on a ball. And for playing baseball, that’s the main thing I had to learn with the non-dominant hand.

Writers have to learn at least some competency with their non-dominant hand. Your dominant one is fun, easy and relaxing. For me, I can just get an idea and take off writing. Coming back to the structure part is work, takes concentration, and isn’t fun. At first, it’s awkward, just the way a kid feels when you first put that glove on their non-dominant hand and tell them to catch with it.

I suspect even if you’re not a writer, whatever job you have there are aspects that come more easily than others. Some people say to focus on your strengths, which probably has some value in certain seasons of life. But no baseball coach ever told a kid not to worry about catching and just focus on throwing. That would be stupid. You can’t really throw if you haven’t caught the ball.