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How Tech and Culture writer Chelsea Leah gets writing done at Wordloops

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Jay

Jun 28 2021

4 mins read

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Chelsea Leah is a writer's writer, owning no less than fourteen books on the craft of writing, everything from Strunk and White to Chuck Palahniuk. It was her inspired idea to start Craft Camp, a book club and workshop in which Wordloopers have been practicing techniques learned from the minds of these great masters. Chelsea -- a regular scribe at publications like WIRED and The Writer -- was gracious enough to take a break from destroying opponents at Hearthstone to agree to this interview, in which she shares some magician's secrets.

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How do you plan what to write during your Wordloops sessions? Do you plan the week ahead? The day of? Or is it more spontaneous?

Ha! Planning ahead is for dungeon runs and trips to Costco. With Wordloops, I prefer to take stock of whatever writing goals I have day by day. Sometimes this feeds into my procrastination habits (if it’s due Friday, you can bet I’ll wait until Thursday to start it), but mostly I find that I’ll write whatever inspires me in the moment. That’s when the best stuff usually comes out. 


You put a lot of work into From Tamagotchi to Nintendogs: Why People Love Digital Pets for WIRED, and it turned out to be an amazing read. Can you break down how you organized your Wordloops sessions to get this piece done on time and at a high quality level?

Aww, thanks! This particular one was fairly cut and dry in terms of organization. I knew there would be some research involved, so I did that ahead of time, writing blocks of information into my notes. So the first Wordloops session was just a translation of those notes into readable paragraphs. In subsequent sessions (I believe there were five in total), I was able to add a personal element, bring some cohesiveness to the article, and polish it. Being able to concentrate for a session, walk away for a little bit, then come back to another session brought fresh focus and new clarity each time. I remember the exact moment another Looper said something during check-in that gave me the “eureka!” angle I needed to finish the piece.


What advice would you give someone who just started using Wordloops to maximize their success?

Show up, and keep showing up. Try out different times of day to see what works best for you. Morning writing can sure sound different than night writing! Treat Wordloops like a gym - although it might be tough to get yourself there some days, you’ll always feel better once you’ve done it. Unlike the gym though, bring snacks. Trust me. 


What are you working on at the moment? We heard something about a novel!

Write a novel and get a tattoo are the two things I always say I’m going to do but never do. The world is not yet strong enough to behold either one; I’d be way too formidable. But yes! There’s a novel in the works, a contemporary romance with a twist. I’d like to bang out a solid first draft with NaNoWriMo this year, but every now and then a breeze of creativity will blow by and I’ll write a scene or tweak the outline during a Wordloops sesh. The Saturday Craft Camp workshops are a great way to keep my mind engaged with my novel while also navigating the other writing projects I’m working on.


Last but not least: got a great writer or book to recommend to other Wordloopers?

As writers, we need to read as much as we can. Read the kind of authors you aspire to be. I can’t sing the praises of V.E Schwab enough. Not only is she a phenomenal writer and storyteller, but she’s also a voice for other writers. I turn to her for inspiration, courage, coaching, motivation, and entertainment. I’ve also only just discovered Matthew Norman, and devoured his entire back catalog over a long weekend. He’s one of the most talented character writers I’ve encountered in recent years.


Wordloops is like a virtual gym for writing. Online writing sessions help you structure your writing life, motivating you to build consistency and hit your goals while surrounded by a network of talented writers from around the world.

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