Why You Should Celebrate You #IWSG #WednesdayMotivation

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are: Mary Aalgaard,Bish Denham,Jennifer Hawes,Diane Burton, and Gwen Gardner!

And thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

***

Years ago, I met someone at work who wasn’t excited about anything.

I sat with her in a conference room, trying to help her imagine what life might be like at work if she could just plan out all the ways she could take control of her tasks, her work life.

Then the tears came. She grabbed a box of kleenex and meekly said, “I can’t. I don’t want to be here. ”

She went on to say she wasn’t living her dreams or the life she really wanted. She felt out of control.

I was much younger then. I didn’t understand at first. But now I do.

Almost twelve years ago, I set a very big goal for myself. I decided I wanted to finally address the passion I’d harbored all my life and had ignored. Writing.

I didn’t know how to get started or what the steps to achieve my dream might look like. I had no formal training, and barely a friend who loved creative writing and would commit to the process the way I tend to commit to things.  What I did have though, was a very big idea, and I knew the best place to get started was to first get up. Every day. And think or write or read for at least an hour. I wrote and planned with a fiery fury.

I finished that first book. I also learned that the first book isn’t always as great as we think it will be and I cried. And then I realized something, after the gentle coaxing of my mother and my devoted friends. I’d finished something huge. I started somewhere, and I used everything in my power in each moment to finish that first huge task. They were right. I needed to celebrate that, and bought myself a new book, and let myself disappear into the story for several days, letting go of my own goals for a brief period of time. I found my smile again, and the will to keep trying.

Today, I’m still not where I want to be. But I celebrate. Then I work. Then I celebrate some more.

This month’s IWSG question asked: “How do you celebrate when you achiever a writing goal / finish a story?”

I may have taken a different route to answer the question, but I think the important thing we all should do when we celebrate is to do whatever makes our hearts feel good. We walk taller, smile brighter and find that joy or light again within ourselves. It’s the best way I know how to make it through the tough days. And that’s exactly what I showed the lady I worked with back then. We may not be able to influence where we are in a present moment, but every moment has potential and we can influence how we feel about it and work to change it. Don’t forget to celebrate that.

Is it Writing or Speaking to Your Reader? #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

***

On February 15, I finished a first draft of a manuscript. Since then I have been combing through some of my earlier scenes and making initial edits before I hand it over to my editor. I remember something important she told me several years ago.

Make the scene and the dialogue reflect who your character is, and what they are honestly feeling.

I remember back then thinking sometimes what we say and do doesn’t translate to proper English, or make complete sentences. And then I thought about English class. Who likes getting red pen marks all across their sentences in an essay that took hours to write? Weeks?

Not me.

But after I saw her changes to my scene, the light bulb brightened and I think it might have busted from the brightness. She was right. Her edits were exactly what my gritty abused teen character would really say and do.

Today, I’m thinking about the craft in our stories. Most importantly, the ability to write like we speak, like we really react when facing conflict.

So how do you do that? After reviewing a handful of writing articles, I’ve listed my 5 top tips in no order of preference.

  1. Know your character’s reactions in different emotional settings and to different emotions.

In Sara Domet’s 90 days to Your Novel, she created several exercises to explore a character in different internal and external scenes. These scenes weren’t necessarily scenes in the book outline, but scenes to help a writer explore what you know about your main character. What does he/she look like enraged? Sad? Terrified? Is it different when they’re safe inside closed doors? What does it look like in public, or with his or her most trusted peers?

  1. Let yourself write first, then go back and ask the questions you need to perfect the action and emotion for your character.

In my first draft, I enjoy writing freely while the images and the emotions are fresh in my head. I don’t stop unless I’m forced to. I try not to overthink until the scene is done. If I did? I’m afraid I wouldn’t enjoy the art of writing so much. But now that the draft is over, and time has set between certain scenes, I am able to go back and ask the questions I need to ask: Would my character really think and do this? How is she showing it? How is she growing or not growing in the moment?

  1. Choose dialogue words carefully. Evaluate whether or not certain words are true to your character and fit. I tend to steer away from cuss words. But if I have a character who’s young and gritty and grew up with no boundaries, then of course they would push certain cuss words that make me uncomfortable. Or vice versa.
  2. Read your work out loud. Maybe read it to someone else you trust. Does it sound real to you? Does the motive or action feel real?
  3. Write to your reader as if you’re talking about the story and not writing it. This is an interesting point I stumbled across in my research. But it’s true. I want to feel my character like I’m watching them and talking to them. Why not write that way?

I hope my thoughts on writing to write or writing to speak helped.

Have a lovely rest of your day.

When writing a novel, a writer hould create living people ..."

What is Success in Writing? #IWSG #amwriting

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[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are: Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia,Angela Wooldridge, Victoria Marie Lees, and Madeline Mora-Summonte!

And thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

***

Success has multiple definitions.

Google helped me with three different ones: The accomplished aim or purpose, the attainment of popularity or profit, and finally, a person who achieves a desired goal either financially or personally.

I have a friend who is an incredibly successful romance writer. Her journey fascinates me, how she started off as a self published author quickly picked up by publishing division at Amazon because of her audience interest, and now bam, she’s out there traveling the world, marketing her books and making her dream list come true.

I think she’s amazing and talented. She’s living the dream. She’s developed a really great techy niche for herself in Romance.

Romance just isn’t my forte.

This month’s IWSG post asks; “What do you love about the genre you write in most often?”

I think author Isaac Asimov sums it up perfectly why I choose Young Adult, maybe middle grade one day:

"It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition."

 

I choose YA because of what it means to me and those young people I’ve worked with. I like thinking gentle guidance and strong themes and characters may impact their worlds.

So what is success? In my eyes, it is all the little achievements that amount to something great. It’s following through every day with a dream you hold dear to the heart. I like the definition of meeting personal goals. Maybe that’s success.

Currently, I haven’t met my own personal goals yet in writing, but I don’t plan to give up anytime soon. I’m on the home stretch of my work in progress at 61,500 K with three scenes left to go. I’m biting my nails. I’m scared the ending won’t amount to the build I’ve created. I know this is a first draft. Sigh. I know first drafts are never perfect.

Happy Wednesday, all. How did you decide on your genre? Have you ever tried a different genre just to try it? What happened?

🙂

 

Creative Chaos Contained with Scrivener #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

***

I am not the most intuitively organized of persons. Creative? Yes. Clean? Most of the time, but only because I focus really hard to remain that way.

When I write, I often disappear inside my mind and shove out the world to track a story. At least in the time frame I allow myself every day. When I have to stop, it’s painful. When I put down the pen, it’s a fight to remember the emotion in that moment. It’s been a fight to go back and search through the index cards, or the word document I used to use, and even the PAGES App I started out with when I outlined my new work in progress.

However, now I’ve purchased Scrivener for my MAC.

Below is a list of my top five highlights that still make me curl my toes every time I open my saved Scrivener file:

  1. Scenes are like Index cards, but are digital and never fade

I began as a color tabbed index card girl. I love pen and ink the most. But now in Scrivener, I have a binder window with a file tab for each chapter, and within each chapter are note cards listing each scene. The middle pane harbors the writing in that scene. The Synopsis window on the right is the perfect place for bullet lists I used to write out on the flip side of each index card.

  1. Multiple Window Views

At my day job, I have two monitors where I manage all my applications and tool menus. This is not a feasible expense at home, nor do I have the space. As I mentioned above, Scrivener organizes all of my prior notes, outlines and index card methods in one view with multiple screens I can see or expand based on the click of a mouse.

  1. Resource Bank Serves as a Collage Wall

I have always loved idea boards. There is a lovely option in the Binder window where I have idea boards set up for characters and complex scenes which include detailed research articles. I drag and drop pictures into these boards. I copy and paste web research articles as well and quoted notes I need. I used to design notebooks for this purpose. In the interest of time, sometimes I failed to pull them out and use them the way I had intended to. That’s not the case anymore.

  1. Grammar and Spell Check

Last year I purchased Grammarly. It’s a lovely multiple application grammar check. It works for PC’s really well, but I am a MAC girl and it currently isn’t available in Word for the Mac.

  1. Word Count, And Word Goal Tools

I’ve not utilized a word count goal tracker before. Scrivener makes it easy. I select the project drop down menu. Then I go to Project Targets. It allows me to implement the projected target date. It allows me to enter word count goals. It tells me how many days I have left and a graph shows me the progress. It’s fantastic. It’s helped me get up every day and know how many words I need by the end of the week.

True, we all have out writing methods. But in my world I need a seamless process where art meets digital organization. I have no office. I have an island in the kitchen and a lovely new storage cabinet to hide my printer and writing resources. Scrivener holds everything visual I need. I have my idea board, my scene and chapter view, my running words in the center, my organized chaos. My writing area is easier to manage with a clean counter top, a cup of coffee, and my writing prompt guide books I put away at the end of each writing session in my lovely cabinet.

This is my new Scrivener freedom, my newest organizational hero.

Chaos can be organized