Mentors and Routines: It takes a tribe

Even as I sit at my desk alone in the dawn I know that no one truly writes a novel by herself. At least not if she wants to hold onto a shred of sanity as she does so.

Of course, aside from that paper muse I showed you yesterday, I have a little tribe to gain confidence from.

First of all is Tapestries, my local writing group. We are a group of 6 women commited to writing and publishing our novels. Three of us have been meeting monthly for over ten years. Without these women I would have given up long ago. We help each other stay on task, brainstorm plot ideas and provide feedback as we each read portions of our novels.

Sometimes mentors come from outside my writing group, like the help I've gotten from Martha Alderson who is better known as the Plot Whisperer. Her books and videos provide wonderful guidance. Though I don't typically write from an outline her books provide a bit of structure to my plot planning and her prompts and direction in terms of rituals and routines help me stay at my desk.

I'm trying out her plot prompt book for the first draft of this new novel. I helps me spend my morning writing time adding pages to the novel instead of journaling about why I'm not writing.

Brainstorming is a help and I do that as I slowly wake up in the morning or fall asleep at night. Starting a new novel after not having finished the previous one creates a bit of a challenge. The main character in the first novel keeps popping into my head. Her red curly hair and her name haunt me and I have to remember that this new character has a different name, a different story, and long straight black hair.

I'll get there. This time I'm certain and I'll take you along for the circuitous and winding journey from the beginning, into the muddled middle, and on to the climax and ending of this novel.


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