Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Time to Write

Meggie Tolkland
If you'll forgive me for sounding like an old coot, during my 30 years of professional writing, I've learned one truth.
The good news? Anybody can become a great writer, talented or not.
The bad news? Becoming a great writer takes prolonged hard work and discipline.
This blog is ostensibly about finding time to write, but it's really about making writing your top priority. If you can't do that, writing's not for you. But if you can't live without the worlds in your head, it's easy to make time, regardless of how busy you are.
Start now. I can't overemphasize the urgency of this advice. Writing a first novel will take at least a year. Most writers claim you won't sell your first novel; I did, after revising it in places 30 to 40 times. Either way, selling a novel may take years. The production process is similarly slow.
This epic process, though, still breaks down into little steps. If time seems tight, create a goal to write 15 minutes a day. After a week, increase that to 20 minutes a day. After another week, write 25 minutes a day. Then, if you miss a day, tell yourself, "Oh, well. In four days this week, I made up the equivalent of one day last week, so I didn't miss any time at all."
  • Take your laptop with you, and write during kids' rehearsals and practices.
  • Waiting at the doctor's office? Write.
  • Before I drift to sleep, I tell my kids I visit my "imaginary world"--really, the staging ground for my next book. If an idea is awesome enough, I jot it down with a pencil and pad I keep in my bedside table.
  • While you're driving, concoct writing ideas, and scribble them at stoplights.
  • When you sit before a keyboard, type on your manuscript, and stop for no reason. If you experience writers' block, ask yourself what your problem really is. Here's a secret:
Writers' block doesn't exist. The most frequent culprit is perfectionism or fear of failure. Don't be scared. Have you memorized Shakespeare's entire catalogue? Of course not. Shakespeare wrote a gazillion words, some sublime, some clunkers. People, if you write a lot, you'll improve your chances of creating soaring prose. You need practice to improve, and with practice, your first drafts will improve.
  • If you procrastinate writing, pick another pastime. If you don't experience the urgency to write and the conviction you're destined to, you won't endure the countless rejections all professional writers inevitably experience. Or--be realistic with your goals. Maybe your goal isn't to write the Great American Novel; perhaps it's to entertain your family, itself a high and worthwhile endeavor.
But be your own best friend. If you miss a few days, simply resume your good habits, and congratulate yourself. You're making your dream come true, something most people never do.

I invite you to fall in love with my dream come true: The Mayhem: Roan's Story. You can order a paperback at To buy the e-book on Kindle, go to
The book is also available at Northwest Indiana's public libraries. Alternatively, readers can enter to win a free copy on Goodreads at and at

My mentor told me, "Writers always help each other," and I invite you to e-mail me at can also friend me at, connect with me on LinkedIn, and on Twitter @MeggieTolkland. You can also sign up for my free newsletter at

Meggie Tolkland
Dangerous romantic fantasy


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Another Successful Banquet

Another year, another successful banquet.

IWC held its fourth annual banquet on October 2. This was our second year at Avalon Manor in Merrillville. The food was delicious and overly abundant, so it's nice to know that Avalon donates the leftovers to a local shelter.

Author Michael Martone highlighted the evening with an enlightening and entertaining talk that kept the audience guessing. Professor Martone began by asking the audience members to keep their cell phones on and text him during the speech. The texts didn't come, however, because we were mesmerized by his comments on what makes a good story.

The evening concluded with an open mic. Thanks to all the talented writers who participated.

Here are some more pictures from this year's banquet.


Friday, October 19, 2012

And the Winners Are . . .

Congratulations to Shelby Englehardt and Kevin Bradley, who are the winners in the book drawing. Shelby will receive autographed copies of A Pebble in My Shoe by Katherine Hoeger Flotz, The Mayhem: Roan's Story by Meggie Tolkland, and Torqed by C.D. Echterling. Kevin will received autographed copies of Up Jumps the Devil by Michael Poore and In God We Trust by Kathryn Page Camp. Both Shelby and Kevin will also receive a copy of From the Edge of the Prairie (2011), which is a collection of poems and short stories written by members of the Prairie Writers Guild. Two IWC members, Jacqueline Huppenthal and Judith Lachance-Whitcomb, contributed to the collection.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Drawing Deadline Extended

In order to give more people the opportunity to participate in our book drawing, we have extended the dealine through October 17, 2012. See the previous post for more details.