Dramaquill's All Things Writing

December 27, 2009

How do the holidays affect your writing habits?

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Tis the season to be jolly
Fa la la la la…la la la la.

Still one of the biggest celebrated global holidays, it’s Christmastime all over the world and the festivities are upon us.  For many writers, this time of year not only brings good will, gift giving and a hope for peace on earth, but also a total disruption to their regular writing routine.

With families and friends getting together to visit or trips to see one another, December can be a tricky month for writers.  With the season there are presents to buy, gifts to wrap, cookies and treats to bake and decorating to do.  All this along with the regular routine of daily life can add up to little or no time to write.

How do the holidays affect your writing habits?

Here are a few little tips for getting through this festive season without sacrificing all of your writing time:

1.      Get up an hour earlier than usual and write before you start your day.

2.      Stay up an hour later if you are more creative in the evening hours.

3.      Keep a notebook or small recording device with you when you go
          shopping.  It’s amazing how much time you spend in lines just waiting.
          That makes for some extra time to jot down ideas, flesh out a character
          or perfect that query.

4.      Since you’re shopping anyway, take a break for a cup of hot chocolate
          and observe people around you.  You never know what great ideas
          might come from seeing an interesting character or hearing an unusual

5.      Subtract an hour a day from your normal TV viewing and instead of
          watching another re-run of National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation,
          use that time to write.

6.      While you are shopping, check out a bookstore and look for potential
          markets for some of your work.

7.      Schedule in your writing time along with everything else you have on
           your daily “to do” list.

8.      If you know you’ll be too pressed for time to do much writing during
          the holidays, spend extra time on your writing projects before the
          festivities even begin.

9.      Plan a visit to the library during a quiet afternoon.

10.    Keep notebooks all over the house.  You never know when you might
           have a moment to jot something down.

And there’s good news, too.

Publishers, editors and agents are also much busier with their personal celebrations at this time of year so things slow down considerably during the month of December.

But with the holidays also comes the start of a new year.  Make your resoluation to devote more time to writing, revising and subbing and maybe 2010 will be your most amazing writing year ever!

I’d love to hear from other writers who have neat little tricks to work in some writing time amongst all the chaos.


December 4, 2009

Contracts and negotiating

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So the most amazing thing has happened and a publisher has offered you a contract on your book.  Suddenly, you are presented with pages and pages of legalese, fondly known as your contract.

Many new writers might be so filled with the excitement of having finally scored a book deal that they rush to sign and return their contract.  No matter how tempted you are to do this, always go over every clause and know what you are signing before you jumpt to return your contract.

Some things to look for:

What rights are you signing away? 
Try never to give up all rights.  It’s your work, afterall.  Check out all the different types of rights online by googling “writer’s rights” or “publication rights”.  Here are a couple of comprehensive articles on the subject:



Check out the publisher and see if you can find out how they rate in the business community of writing and publishing.  Make sure there aren’t complaints posted about not paying etc.  One place to check is the preditors and editors website:


As a new writer, don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek clarification on anything presented in the contract.  Publishers are more than willing to answer your questions as long as you remain professional in your communications with them.

Don’t take the deal if you don’t like the terms.  It’s tempting to just snatch up the first offer but you may regret it later if you aren’t 100% happy with the terms.

If at all possible, have a lawyer experienced in the publishing business look over your contract.  The lawyer will be able to explain things to you that you might not otherwise understand before you contact the publisher.

Be happy that you got an offer, whether or not you decide to take it.  You’re well on your way to more offers and acceptances once you’ve conquered your first hurdle.

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