Tapping into the Writing Network by Robin McCormack

                It amazes me the resources available to writers these days.  The World Wide Web brings writers, authors, publishers, editors, teachers, critics and readers all together seamlessly.  The blogosphere has opened up the world of writers.  It has become an invaluable resource.

Who do you want to connect with today?

What do you need to learn today?

Where am I going to place the setting of my story?

When is the best time to contact a publisher?

Why seems like such a simple word but it isn’t. A simple why demands an explanation, an answer, a hypothesis.

How do I make, break, kill, injure, design, say whatever?    The internet is a writer’s playground. I won’t give you the negatives because we all know what they are.  *grin*

The number one thing I love about the blogosphere is that it lets us know we aren’t alone.  That no matter what stage you are in your writing journey, there will always be someone experiencing what you are.  That is the beauty of ROW80.  It has helped bring all together so we can tap into each other and learn from each other.   It’s actually heartening to know that some of the biggest authors have ‘those’ days when nothing is flowing and all they want to do it toss it and play.  That no matter how many books they’ve written, this current one is like the first and they are experiencing all the doubts that go along with it.  And they are willing to talk about it, share their journeys, and glean wisdom even from those with less experience.

When I first started writing, I did more writing than learning.  I read one or two books about writing, but didn’t want anything to interfere with creating the story.  I didn’t want to think about ‘the rules’ because you know what happens when you do.  Remember the old adage ‘too many cooks spoil the broth.’  It applies to writing as well.  You have to write freely to find your own voice and the story’s voice.  It takes a lot of practice. And I discovered something a long time ago.  The owner’s manual always makes sense after you’ve figured out how to work the machine.   Now, five years into my writing journey, I’m devouring books on craft because now they are making sense and not covering up my voice.  I can see how the rules apply.

3 craft books that have been beneficial to my journey so far:

Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland:  Whether you are a plotter, pantster or somewhere in between, her suggestions are invaluable.

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron:  This book helped me discover so much about myself, my dreams and taught me how to brainstorm and set goals.

Revision and Self Editing by James Scott Bell:   He just makes sense.

What are the top 3 books on your writing shelf that have helped you in your writing journey?

Another beauty of the internet – online writing classes.  Classes taught by authors that are inexpensive and you get to pick the author’s brains as much as you want: Savvy Authors, Writer’s Village, Writer’s Digest, etc.    Candy land!

Practice makes perfect is the old adage that applies to everything – sports, cooking, art or writing.  The more you practice, the more comfortable you get and the more you want to know, the more you want to learn. The more you learn, the better you get.

Now go sit your butt down in that chair and get back to writing.


Robin McCormack



  1. For me, the most useful thing about “The Artist’s Way” was morning pages. The rest of the book struck me as “eh…” but the morning pages have been worth it. I just finished Weiland’s book and really liked it, and that’s also one of my favorites. The others would be Jack Heffron’s “The Writer’s Idea Book” and Larry Brooks’ “Story Engineering.”

  2. Robin, I think your advice to find your voice first, then learn the craft is a good one. I know some people who would do it differently, but finding my voice first was important to me. After all, doesn’t everyone say that the first novel or two are bad?

    Thank you for the book suggestions–I have Revision and Self-Editing in my “Open First–Writing Books and Mss” box–which seems to have gotten buried in the garage behind the sewing machine cabinet and lord knows what else in the move *taps foot*. But I have Weiland on my Kindle, so I’ll start there!

  3. I did the same thing — wrote my first novel and then learned more about story structure. It informed my editing, but not my voice. Now I plot the structure ahead of time, but my voice is still there. It might have always been there, but I don’t know! I still relish those days when it was just me and my laptop pounding out the tale of characters I loved and not telling anyone outside my family what I was doing…not yet. Thanks!

    As to resources, the two most practical things learned have been Save the Cat’s logline to form the story and Story Engineering’s structure breakdown. But I loved James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure and want to read it again!

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