Monday, August 31, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away Ten

Ten Things to Do on a Rainy Day

Begin or update an interesting character names list. Haul out your baby names or other name source book and start reading through; stop and jot down whatever name appeals to you or pops a character in your head.

Catch up on your correspondence. We all whine about how little time we have to e-mail; this is the perfect opportunity to catch up with your colleagues and friends. If you're already caught up, e-mail some friends you haven't heard from lately and see what they're up to. Also see 15 Tips for Writing Effective Email.

Clean out your filing cabinet. Bite the bullet and file everything that's sitting around. Come up with a color label system and redo your file labels. Also see Sally Allen's article Get Organized!
Filing Systems: A Four-Step Formula That Really Works

Edit some pages or a chapter from your WIP by hand on paper. Everything looks different printed versus appearing on the screen. To take a different approach to editing, read your pages in reverse order -- start editing on the last and work your way backward to the first.

Make a writing to-do list. Plan your writing time, what projects you'd like to work on and when you can work on them for the next week or month. Write out your plan on a calendar or notepad to keep at your writing space. Also see How to Write a Work At Home Business Plan.

Practice writing premises and synopses. Challenge yourself to write a premise for your current WIP in less than 25 words, then 15 words, then 10 words. Try writing a one-page story synopsis for your WIP, then a three-page, and then a fifteen-page.

Read the book at the very bottom of your TBR. Or pick the one you've been avoiding for whatever reason. An unread book is an adventure in limbo, and you never know what gem you might unearth, especially if it was recommended by a friend. If you're all caught up on reading, organize your book shelves. Group your books by subject, author, or however you like to keep them in order. And dust!

Start a novel notebook, or update your current notebook. If you're having trouble writing a character, fill out a worksheet and get to know them better. Cut inspiring images out of magazines and newspapers and make some visual note pages. If you've only planned out one novel, write up some notes on a potential sequel.

Tidy up your work space. Remove any trash or clutter from your desk, dust your equipment, vacuum under your chair. This is also a good time to clean out the debris lodged in your keyboard or the dust and pet hair stuck to the fan vent on the back of your tower (follow your computer manufacturer's instructions on how to do this.)

Write up or plan a week's worth of blog posts. If the power goes out, use your Neo, your netbook, your laptop or other battery-operated device. If you're tired of blogging, look for some ways to recharge your own batteries.

Now if you've done all that and still need something to do, stop by Drops of Crimson and read Kristopher Reisz's free short story Quiet Haunts.


  1. Nice list. It's been a while since I blogged ahead or planned future entries. And since you're posting, does this mean it's time to congratulate/commiserate on The End of StarDoc?

  2. The "how to write e-mail" article is a must-read. The author points out that most e-mails are too long and that the writer must assume the receiver has a full in box. This is good advice for writers sending queries. Assume the agent or editor has an overflowing in box and write the query accordingly.

  3. Charlene wrote: And since you're posting, does this mean it's time to congratulate/commiserate on The End of StarDoc?

    Not quite yet; still working on it (I took my own advice and scheduled some posts to publish while I'm off writing, ha.) I'll put up the official "thunk" when I finish. :)

  4. Margaret wrote: Assume the agent or editor has an overflowing in box and write the query accordingly.

    Agreed. I don't know an agent or editor who is ever completely caught up on their e-mail.

  5. Maybe that's why I've been letting things pile up lately, not enough rainy days this summer (and we're talking Seattle here!). Good ideas though, rainy days or not, and a few I think I'm going to get started on.

  6. My 'tidy up your workspace' has become a four day job *blinks* I knew I had to clean it, but I didn't realize how much so until I started. The good news is, I can see the piano now! lol

    I looked at your Premises link, hadn't read that one before. I have to admit, this is one of the best openings I think I've read!

    All I was trying to do when they caught me was bury my mother in an unmarked grave.

    I'm still wiping the coffee off my monitor. I just didn't expect that.

  7. Oh dear, we haven't had rain since March and won't get any until Jan. I will file this great list until then...or maybe I will just stop being lazy and do it anyway. ;0

  8. Here's the thing to do on a rainy day. Train Dragon naturally speaking. I've gotten some really good laughs out of this so far.

  9. ...wanders off to read the story, while stashing the links for later... and thanking goodness that she didn't see this post earlier in the day - she might've missed all the sunshiney goodness that was outside!

    (I keep telling myself that, one of these days, I'm going to write a story using all these nonsense words from the verification thing as names.)