I don’t think you ever stop doubting your abilities as a writer, no matter how much proof or experience you have to convince you otherwise. But I also think that any writer who achieves anything has learnt to accept these doubts as part of the process, and move past them.
Often it’s as simple as saying, “yes, I have doubts as to my abilities/this story/the popular taste, but I’m going to do it anyway.”
But it’s also good to get into the habit of turning these negative, doubting questions into positive – or at least proactive – ones. If you keep asking the same (weak) questions, you’ll keep giving yourself the same (weak) answers.
Then I think you’ll love these Corkboard templates I’ve created for you!
Scrivener’s Freeform Corkboard
Scrivener’s freeform Corkboard allows you to arrange index cards in whatever pattern you like without affecting their order in the Binder. It’s very useful for experimenting with different scene orders, but it can be made even more useful with some simple backgrounds. I’ve created a bundle of over 10 of these corkboard templates to help you organise your Scrivener projects…
Having searched high and low for a task management app that would integrate (or at least import and export) with Scrivener and give me a decent month-to-view calendar, I finally alighted on this simple solution.
This background allows me to schedule scrivenings or folders to work on for each day. I can track what stage of completion each item is at by using the Status field stamps or icons.
Because the backgrounds tile, moving an item to edge of the screen in either direction will give you another blank month to use! So neat.
There are 5 calendar backgrounds included in the full template bundle:
Month-to-view background (short)
Month-to-view background (tall)
Week-to-view background (Monday start)
Week-to-view background (Sunday start)
Year-to-view background (12 months)
DON’T FORGET you can use these backgrounds to organise your own workflow OR you can use them to get an overview of your story timeline.
I started designing some Christmas cards to send to my family this year, and as usual, I got carried away! If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I have a penchant (or a totally amateur obsession) with botany, especially 19th-centurybotany. I decided to create some cards that celebrated all the beautiful northern winter plants we associate with yule: holly, mistletoe, poinsettia, chestnuts, the winter rose, and of course, the fir tree.
The cards are decorated with plant names and latin descriptions, however, there are no sentiments, which makes them ideal for non-religious folk of a botanical bent. The ephemera sheets include sentiment labels which you can add to the cards if you wish.
You can use this kit:
To send as Christmas/New Year/Yuletide cards;
To gift as a stationery set (instructions below);
To create a junk journal for Christmas, winter notes, or New Year’s resolutions;
To wrap small gifts;
To gift books with coordinating bookmarks, gift tags, library cards & greeting cards.
NOTE: Lady Writers League members, this kit awaits you in the Library. Merry Christmas! ;)
Stationery Set Folder Instructions
To make a simple folder for the stationery set, simply print out one of the A4 damask backgrounds (and print one of the liners on the back of the sheet if you wish).
Trim away any white, unprinted edges.
Fold the page in half lengthways. I can’t give exact measurements, because every printer is different. If your paper is thin enough, just fold so the edges meet, otherwise measure and score along the centre.
Measure up 4.5cm (1 3/4″) from the bottom of the sheet, score and fold.
Place double-sided sticky tape or glue on the sides and centre fold of the “pocket” you just folded up.
Decorate the cover! Don’t forget to add the “Writing Set” label from the ephemera sheet. If you like, you can also glue a length of ribbon under the label to tie the folder closed. I used 55cm of 0.5cm ribbon.
Stuff your folder with the cards, envelopes, and bookmarks! You can also cut up the sentiment labels from the ephemera sheet and paperclip them to the pocket.
The knowledge that writing fast doesn’t mean writing bad, was one of the most important lessons I learned from NaNoWriMo. In fact, many famous novels and novellas were written in just a few weeks: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet, Matthew Lewis’s The Monk, H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, as well as many other works by writers who felt the pinch of a publishing deadline or an empty pocket.
Cranking out a quick story can also be a great way to take a break, find inspiration, regain your confidence, and perhaps even make some money, when you’re entangled in a long and difficult writing project.
Here are my top tips for writing your fastest story, ranging from the mechanical to the psychological, from the idea to the edits. They’re aimed not only at writing fast, but also finishing fast.
Write something contemporary
If you usually write in a genre that requires a lot of research or worldbuilding, you’ll be surprised how much quicker and easier it is to write a story set in the present and in the “real” world in which we live. If the “real” world is too boring for you, add in a twist of your favourite genre. That’s what I tried to do with my story, The Steampunk Club, which is set in present-day London, but with characters who like to pretend they’re living in the past.
1. You finish a writing project and feel great about your accomplishment.
2. A few hours later, you begin to doubt your ability. Maybe you think of something specific that doesn’t match up to your original idea.
3. The next day, you don’t even want to look at what you wrote, because you’re convinced it’s terrible.
How well do your habits of self-criticism serve you? Use this worksheet to help you find out.