I recently spent two weeks in the summer heat of South Africa, visiting with my wife’s family. It was nice to have time with her extended family and to show my little daughter (that’s her in the pic) some of the wonders of this country. But you know what else was great about this trip? I had the time to read four novels!
True Grit by Charles Portis, about a teenage girl avenging her father’s murder in the Old West.
A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes, about a group of children kidnapped by pirates.
Fatal Grace by Louise Penny, about a detective figuring out who electrocuted a woman during a curling match in Quebec.
Tell No One by Harlan Coben, about a doctor suddenly framed for murdering his wife eight years ago.
Great stories all, each with a high body count.
You know what’s as hard as finding time to read—finding time to write. A while back I wrote a letter with some tips on this. But we’ve also got some courses designed specifically to help you find time to write:
Novel First Draft – The focus here is on banging out a first draft of a novel, and you set a weekly word-count goal for yourself.
Just Write – You come in and just write for three hours a week, in the company of other writers, but we do have an instructor there offering tips and inspiration. (This is only available in NYC.)
Here’s some advice on making yourself write from Neil Gaiman:
For me, it’s always been a process of trying to convince myself that what I’m doing in a first draft isn’t important. One way you get through the wall is by convincing yourself that it doesn’t matter. No one is ever going to see your first draft. Nobody cares about your first draft. And that’s the thing that you may be agonizing over, but honestly, whatever you’re doing can be fixed. For now, just get the words out. Get the story down however you can get it down, then fix it.
And if you’re in the mood for some reflection, enter our Past-Year Memoir Contest, where you write an 18-word memoir about 2018, with a chance to win a free Gotham class.
Also, you might want to join us for our Winter Open House on January 3.
Hope to see you around some in the coming year!
(Just a reminder that you can find my letters, and other great stuff, on the Gotham Blog.)
President, Gotham Writers Workshop