Catherine Pelonero was the featured reader.

Making Time to Write with Rachel Howzell Hall

By Shannon Muir Broden

Rachell Howzell Hall’s topic last month, entitled “Use Your 9 to 5 for the Write Life,” contained some useful tips for those of us who work full time jobs that may not necessarily be 9 to 5 on the dot, or even those of us who work in open office settings versus having the ability to close oneself up in an office as Rachel can in her job.

The most important thing to remember, regardless of your start time or office environment, is to work smarter not harder. Find ways to use your lunch breaks to write, by bringing tools you can use anywhere in the office (pen/pencil, little notepad, and similar) that allow you some privacy and not have the rest of the office looking over your shoulder. Carrying things like this around at all times also works great if you are at other places like appointments where you are waiting and have time. If you have your own office where you can arrive a bit earlier on your commute and take some time before your actual work hours to write, Rachel advocates trying this as well.

Rachel also reminded us that it is important to identify with yourself the “why” of the importance of this story. That’s not only why it should be told, but why you should be the one to tell it and why you are excited about it. Always remember to leave your writing aside “when it’s easy” to help motivate you when you first come back, instead of always bailing out when you’re stuck and coming back to an area of high frustration.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Find a circle of people you can trust to give you honest and constructive feedback.. This will help you grow.

Rachel had additional tips, tricks, and questions for people who attended as she helped them with advice specific to their situations. Attending the meetings provided by the chapter that are free and open to the public are a great benefit to access other writers and experts on a monthly basis. Your membership dollars that help support Sisters in Crime/LA to continue to exist as a chapter help provide these local support opportunities that enrich not just our fellow members but the Los Angeles area.