Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tips for Writers by Christa Allan

I hope you enjoyed Memorial Weekend as much as I did. (Dawn here.) But now it’s time to dive back into work and refocus on manuscripts that beg to be finished. Author Christa Allan is here today with tips for getting words put to paper – or computer!

Tips for Writers

Having recently celebrated the release of Walking on Broken Glass my debut novel, I feel woefully inadequate and truly humbled writing this post. But, it’s probably exactly what I need because Abingdon Press has contracted me to write another novel that’s due October 1. Writing on deadline. Ouch. I feel like I’ve been invited to prom by the cutest hunk in school, but he’s waiting to see my dress before he’ll actually escort me into the ballroom. It’s tough, though, to go shopping for prom dresses in the supermarket and truly difficult if you insist you’re a size 2 when there’s a missing digit in that number.

So, too, I discovered writing my novel involved more than my fingers tap dancing on the keyboard. Like, my husband and daughter expected dinner. I don’t live in a world where I step into a hermetically sealed luxury suite and depart with a completed novel. Life goes on, which means that the novel may not.

The tips here, while not specific to writing, may help writing happen.

1. If you have a family, remember to feed them. Spend two or three days cooking freezer friendly meals. Eliminate washing dishes; use disposable containers. Label the contents. Post the list on the freezer door. They can scratch off as they use, so you’ll know when they’re about to run out.

As far as I know, there are no documented cases of family members dying from eating too many frozen pizzas. Or sandwiches.

2. Stop writing long enough to do something. Go outside and yank a few weeds, walk around the block, boogie across the room. Movement is important to your brain and your brawn.

3. The telephone is not your friend. Warn those you talk to regularly that you’ll be in the writing zone, so you may not be answering their calls right away. If you’re experiencing withdrawal, reward yourself with a phone call after a set number of words or pages.

4. The internet is your frenemy. Checking your email, Twitter and Facebook are not research. Follow guidelines for telephone rewards.

5. Pray. Before, during, after.

A true Southern woman who knows that any cook worth her gumbo always starts with a roux and who never wears white after Labor Day, Christa Allan’s debut women’s fiction, Walking on Broken Glass, released in February. Her essays have been published in The Ultimate Teacher, Cup of Comfort, Chicken Soup for the Coffee Lover’s Soul and Chicken Soup for the Divorced Soul. Christa is the mother of five, a grandmother of three, and a teacher of high school English. She and her husband Ken live in Abita Springs.

You can learn more about Christa Allan and her work by visiting


  1. Thanks for letting me appear on your blog!

  2. Our pleasure!

    Thanks for sharing your helpful tips. :-D


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