Do’s and Don’ts From Dorlana’s Writing Desk

Over the years I’ve developed habits while writing, some good and some bad. Here are a few of my personal do’s and don’ts when writing/editing.

  • Do email myself a copy of the draft I’m working on everyday. Not only does this save a file in case my computer crashes (I’ve lost 50 pages before) it also gives me a writing record. Accountability.
  • Don’t stop writing (rough draft) when frustrated. I have to remember that writing a character into a corner can create fabulous, productive frustration. That is not the time to walk away. That is the time to dig in, think, and analyze. It’s the magic portal past that top layer of fluffy clichés and memories of already written stories, to the raw imagination. Here is more on my thoughts about frustration and writing. Frustration: a writer’s BFF 
  • Do sit up straight. I’m constantly having to tell myself this.
  • Don’t ignore story changes/suggestions/critiques. When I first read through a critique, sometimes I’ll disagree with a suggestion. But then I have to remind myself: if something took the reader out of my story, something is wrong. It might not be what the reader thinks it is, but there’s a problem that needs fixing. Here is more on my thoughts about critiques: Don’t Take Critiques at Face Value.
  • Do trust myself and my work. I had a dream the other night that an artist was frantically rearranging her pictures on display at an art show. She couldn’t get them perfect. I told her she knew colors and she knew balance and at some point she had to trust herself. I then told her to stop and walk away and come back later to take a fresh look. ( I’m trying to take my own advice.)
  • Don’t bring an entire box of snacks to my desk. I get hungry when I type ….
  • Do put cut scenes in a separate computer file. I’m not a pack-rat in normal life, but in my writing life I’m like, “I might need that someday.” And even though I don’t think I’ve ever retrieved anything, it takes away all the anxiety when I highlight a page (or sentence) and hit delete. I’m not deleting it … I’m just moving it.

What are your personal do’s and don’ts when it comes to writing?

Love and Laughter, Dorlana

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