Writing Excuses 9.54: Capstone to Season 9

As 2014 draws to a close we say goodbye to Season 9, and talk a bit about what we’ve each learned this year.

  • Howard explained the surprising changes that came with a change in his work space
  • Mary told us how she reached a new understanding of pacing
  • Brandon talked about how recent time pressures have informed his writing process
  • Dan learned why he is writing

Hopefully our discussions of how we’ve changed as writers this year will offer you some insight into how your own writing has developed, and how you might take steps to develop it in the future.

We also talk about how Season 10 is coming, and is going to be a bit different than seasons past.

Thing We Failed To Do: get a picture of the possum. It turns out that those things are sneaky, and none of us a very good photographers.

Can of Already Open Worms: Writing for fun. “Didn’t you guys just talk about that?” Yes, we did, in an episode that was recorded 3 months later, but which aired just last week.



What did you learn or accomplish this last year, and what are you hoping to learn in the coming year? Write this down, and then at the end of NEXT year, review what you wrote, and compare the reality of 2015 with your hopes for it here at the end of 2014.

Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, by Bee Wilson, narrated by Alison Larkin

10 thoughts on “Writing Excuses 9.54: Capstone to Season 9”

  1. Lucky me, because I am so eclectic I’ve always been able to write anywhere. My last NaNoWriMo novel was done partly at home, partly on a greyhound, and partly between panels and kaffeklatches at WFC 2014 where I was fortunate enough to meet Mary and Howard and get taught some good tips on how to funny at the Tor party.

    As I mentioned at WFC to every experienced writer whose ear I could bend, including Howard, pacing, pacing, pacing. It’s always been my weak point, so 2015 will be the year of learning how to make my pacing feel more smooth and natural. As it is now it tends to be a bit jumpy and clunky until something like the fifth draft.

    Season 9 was a very fun season, and I’m quite eager to see what these season 10 changes are. My curiosity is fully piqued.

  2. I learned while I edited my first novel that this is the novel I want to read and editing it has brought me back into the world I love and the reason I want to finish it.

  3. I just want to say thank you all for a wonderful year. I look forward to every Monday and I appreciate the time and effort you all put into this. Thank you for the inspiration you provide and the generosity in sharing your knowledge.

  4. Joyous New Year to everyone. Here’s my resolution: look over all the writing excuses prompts completed during this year and amalgamate them into a single sweeping epic. Here’s to the year of the Possum.

  5. Just started listening a month ago and cleared a few, but no where near all of your backlist. You joke about the 15 min length fallacy regularly and mention in this episode that 2015 will bring changes in a number of areas. I hope one is that you simply place the words “at” and “least” in the intro right before “15 minutes long”.

    I’ve never wished this podcast was shorter.

  6. In the very episode where you discuss showing the intriguing new development at the end of the chapter rather than hiding it as a cliffhanger, you *don’t* tell us what the season 10 changes are? That’s just mean. :)

  7. Just wanted to say the book of the week sounds AMAZING and so I’ve put it on my list of “Books I need to buy”. Shout outs to Dan for the rec.

  8. Looking back at the year… but no top ten countdown list, just a few words — okay, quite a few words — from each of the podcasters. And a cliffhanger bit of foreshadowing about coming changes in the new season. In the meantime, here’s something that hasn’t changed!

    A transcript!


    And a copy in the archives, for those who prefer to look there.

    Hope you enjoy reading! And will keep reading next year!

  9. In 2014, I learned to “now go write!”. I finally listened to you.

    1) From Brandon I learned that it’s okay to write a bunch of bad novels before you get better and that very successful writers also spend time worrying about whether their writing sucks.

    2) From Dan and Howard I learned that, yeah stupid me, you can write in small chunks of time. You can write when you have a bunch of young kids. You can write when you have a day job of technical writing and then STILL write fiction. That the excuse of “I’m written out today because of work” is just that — an excuse.

    4) From Mary I learned about the importance of the motions characters make, and just today I’ve learned more about ending chapters.

    5) [Not a podcaster] From Maria V. Synder I learned that you can write and be a mom. You can write a chapter a month and take six years to write your first book and still go on to be AWESOME.

    6) [Not a podcaster] From Peter Brett I learned that you can write a book, a real publishable book, on your PHONE!

    This last one is probably so obvious to everyone, but when this hit me, the door popped open. Write on my phone while waiting for the kids at lessons and pickup lines! This is so far outside of what I would do for my work that it never occurred to me. I would never write a scientific journal article on my phone. I would never write a nonfiction book about genetics on my phone. But I tried it and it turns out that, yep, I can write fiction on my phone.

    I’m an infant fiction writer at this point, but I’ve written my whole book outline and most of chapter 1 on my phone in the past 4 months, all in writing blocks no longer than 1 hour. It might take me 3 years at this rate, but I can do it. I will do it.

    And in 2015, I want to look back and realize “I have written and I will keep writing”. It doesn’t even matter if I ever get anything publishable. I’m so happy to be writing something not technical!

    Thanks to all of the podcasters who have changed my game this year. Best wishes in 2015 for you and your families!


  10. For the last six month I have been listening to writing excuses every time I drive to work or to the store and have made it through the entire run* just this past week. It has been an awful lot of fun and a lot of useful info!

    *I’m going to get the e-book and listen to those podcasts to hold me over ’til y’all get back.

    I’m also thinking of going back through and compiling a “greatest hits” – has anyone done that?

    Thanks for all your efforts ~ Michael Ray, RSF

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