Skip to content

March 20, 2020

Lots of writers think they should be getting more writing accomplished during this lockdown, especially those who have more time. But many report that they’re finding it hard to concentrate on writing. Perhaps there’s simply too much reality in our lives now.

To help us all write more and better, we’re offering writing tips from some Southwestern authors. Writers helping writers. This is the first of at least two mailings. If you have some tips of your own to share, send them to us. We hope these tips spark an idea or two and extra excitement for your own writing project:



Waiting for inspiration is a form of procrastination. Get your butt in a seat and write. Something. Anything. Write.

— Kate Rauner, author of Glory on Mars


Critique Groups:

Sharing your writing with a trusted group is a sure way to help your work develop. Writing partners help to uncover blind spots you may have, give fresh ideas when you are faced with difficult sections, bolster morale, find typos you might never see, and inspire with their own process and work. Partners also can be essential to the overall development of your story.

— Alethea Eason: New novel coming soon: Whispers of the Old Ones


JJ Wilson at the opening ceremony, September 27, 2013Writers reading:

Pablo Neruda described his early love of reading thus: “comí todo como un avestruz” – “I gobbled up everything like an ostrich.”

Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, you need to be a prolific reader first. Reading is how we learn to write well: to pace a narrative, use the best words in the best order, sustain an idea, express ourselves with clarity, avoid false notes. There is no shortcut and no substitute.

— JJ Amaworo Wilson, WNMU writer in residence



Read a lot, prose and poetry.

Keep a small notebook to jot down words/phrases that resonate with you for future reference.

— Beryl Raven Artist/Writer



Rich, textured characters, like real people, rarely give themselves unconditional approval. For insight into the limits of your character’s self-acceptance, let your character finish this line: “I’m good enough as long as I’m…”

— Kris Neri, author of Hopscotch Life


Memoir Writing:

Make a list of all your accomplishments, not just career accomplishments but also family-related events, achieving personal goals, and overcoming difficulties.
Flush out details of each accomplishment. How old were you? Where were you living? Was anyone else involved? What influenced you? What did you learn? Did it lead to something else? What would you do differently?
Describe values attached to each accomplishment. Where did these values come from? What else has demonstrated this same value? Is it still important to you?

— Julia Fricke Robinson, author of All I Know



Just write a first sentence or two or three. Doesn’t have to make sense or match your idea. Somehow writing those first words releases any potential block.

— Mary Alice Murphy, Author of God’s Umbrella: Southwest New Mexico Survivors of World War II


Memoir Writing:

Therapy is private and its goals of understanding and integration are not meant to be projected into the imagined public space of literature. They remain particular to the individual. Memoir is sharing a lesson or experience so others can learn from it. Read over what you have written and take out any slight hint of revenge, whining or request for sympathy from the reader.

— Julia Fricke Robinson, author of All I Know



Have someone you can talk to or call that will remind you that it is OK to walk by the dishes waiting to be washed and the dirty laundry. Sit down and write first. Then worry about the rest.

— EJ Randolph, author of The Ambassador Calls Twice


Motivational/Establishing Ritual:

Call upon your muse. Really. A little ritual before you write can be the needed action to get you in your chair and working!

— Alethea Eason: New novel coming soon: Whispers of the Old Ones



Write every single day. Don’t wait for the muse to inspire you. Discipline yourself to sit down and pump something out. Anything. Keep the flow going.

— Lynne Zotalis, author of Saying Goodbye to Chuck


Take care and keep writing,

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Southwest Word Fiesta™ or its steering committee.

Enriching Life Through Learning in Community

We respectfully acknowledge that the entirety of southwestern New Mexico is the traditional territory, since time immemorial, of the Chis-Nde, also known as the people of the Chiricahua Apache Nation. The Chiricahua Apache Nation is recognized as a sovereign Native Nation by the United States in the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Friendship of 1 July 1852 (10 Stat. 979) (Treaty of Santa Fe ratified 23 March 1853 and proclaimed by President Franklin Pierce 25 March 1853).

Related Articles

Mimbres Press Logo Large

Mimbres Press of Western New Mexico University is a traditional academic press that welcomes agented and unagented submissions in the following genres: literary fiction, creative non-fiction, essays, memoir, poetry, children’s books, historical fiction, and academic books. We are particularly interested in academic work and commercial work with a strong social message, including but not limited to works of history, reportage, biography, anthropology, culture, human rights, and the natural world. We will also consider selective works of national and global significance.