Blog Archives

Begin to Write Again #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!

***

Back in May and really early in June, I had a fantastic new idea for a contemporary fantasy in the works. I was following the 90 Days to Your Novel by Sarah Domet. My mind was churning and my fingers were flying. I watched videos to build scenes, found the perfect tunes to create moods, and had my outline done and everything. Then I decided to buy a home. Ouch. Chaos erupted and I couldn’t find the concentration to write in my usual routine. I couldn’t even pick up a book and finish it.

So this month, my topic is what I’m doing to jump back in. It’s been slow, like one toe, leg and finally I might be up to my waist in that water, honestly, this is the first time in years, I couldn’t push my brain or turn on the fuse. So what am I doing now? What do you do when your life explodes and you’re finally ready to start the momentum again? I also found a couple of great articles on the web from Writer’s Digest and JaniceHardy.com.

  1. Revisit your writing routine. Time of day? Minutes per day? Before my stress exploded, I woke up religiously at 4:00 a.m. I’d have my coffee ready and I’d sit down for almost a good two hours. So this is where I started. I set my alarm again. I had no pressure or goals. I just wanted to condition my brain and body to the early rising once again.
  2. Binge read. If your mind is open and ready for that sort of activity again.  I have finally calmed down quite a bit and I am enjoying a few good reads. They are true to my genre and definitely where I want to be. Reading the competition for where I want seems to get my mind all conditioned again.
  3. Reread all the manuscript notes, scene developments and character outlines/maps.
  4. Listen to music and watch videos that remind you of your story.
  5. When you see the pictures again, push the words around without too much pressure. Right now, I added on a couple of paragraphs to my first page. Don’t be afraid to add on to current scenes. There’s no harm in deleting, and eventually, I believe the voice will come again.

There is a good side to stepping away from your work of course. I fine tuned a few scenes in my outline.

One last thought:

Celebrate the Small Things: Replace Worry with Peace #FridayFeeling

Fridays are all about celebrating the Small Things thanks to a weekly blog hop created by author Lexa Cain. Joint co-hosts this week are authors L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog The mission coincides with what I’m hoping to do with my own writing, inspire and focus on the light when those slippery shadows creep around our shoes. Want to sign up? Click Lexa Cain’s link to find out more.

***

I tend to over worry. At everything.

Did I say the right thing? Did I write the right words so every sentence pops? Did I catch every typo because I read and reread my work and even listened to it on a pdf reader out loud? Are my kids safe? Are they okay? Do they know how to handle the world if they aren’t?

If a thought flies through my head, I evaluate it, categorize it and dissect it into a million pieces. Maybe it’s my detailed mind that makes me love words so much. In any case, to Celebrate the Small Things this week, I’ve been working to find that inner peace again and to give myself permission to let worry go.

So what do you do to begin to find it?

  1. Give yourself permission. I started this week with a mantra. I am a human being. I embrace my flaws. I try my best. I give my best. If I screw up, that’s ok. I say it multiple times until I begin to feel it.
  2. Reach out to friends. My writing friend Becky has been the best resource in writing. We’re starting new manuscripts together and I couldn’t be more excited. We write similar styles, we read similar books, and we love the same authors. I think this is one of the key points in having a great crit partner.
  3. Be open and honest. With my kids, I try to explain everything. I let them know the things in situations that can be influenced. I talk to them about being nice to people, their friends, and complimenting others when you notice someone feels down.
  4. I busy my mind. I found a really great new book to read, The Girl From Everywhere, by Heidi Heilig. I’m 63 pages in and I’m loving the pirate ship, the maps to other time periods, and the mix of characters.
  5. Do something every day you love. I began my early morning schedule again. After my busy summer of moving into a new home and cleaning up my old place, I haven’t woken up as early as I should have. I haven’t been writing like I want to. I’m a bit scared I’ve lost my character’s voice, but I think I’ll get it back. Believe, right?

Questions: What do you do to relax and regain your balance? Are you reading something great right now?

Lastly, I found this great quote by author C. JoyBell C., and it really makes sense.

 

 

IWSG Post 21: The Human Flicker of Doubt

 

 IMG_4156

[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 JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner.

Thank you so much! And thank you founder Alex J. Cavanaugh!

****

  • I really wish I never screwed up.
  • I really wish my every last word and sentence I typed was exactly right on.
    • No typos. No forgotten punctuation, and every word flowed smoothly with purpose.
  • Why can’t my first draft be perfect? It’s perfect in my thoughts, right?
  • And why can’t I act the way I really want to act?

Every time I finish something I write, I want to believe inside it’s really great. After all, stories are alive inside of us, and why can’t we get it out perfectly the way we really want and mean to do the first time?

I just told my kids the other day no one is perfect, and we must forgive and admit we screw up and say sorry. Emotion is a tricky thing though, and in answer to this month’s IWSG question, “Did you ever say ‘I quit?’ If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?”

My answer is never on purpose. My philosophy is to try and to keep trying until the sport, the class, the project is over. Reflect. Think about what works and what didn’t. Ask others to help. But the honest heart felt thought should be, if you loved it, if you liked it, then I encourage continued steps. True, at one point in high school I walked away from writing. I think my own emotional chaos erupted and my thoughts shifted to graduation, college, and how to prepare myself for the real world. I walked away from me then, too, and always felt something was missing.

But I’m back, and I wake up every day with stories and words in my head. I can’t always write every day, but I know I will try as hard as I can the next time, the next day because there is always a next day.

Victoria Schwab, author of A Darker Shade of Magic, made a video about writing and how difficult it is to finish something and submit it to the world to analyze and decide whether it’s fit to print or not. Waiting is the worse step and a very emotional piece in anything we do. We practice. We perform. Then we wait for the evaluation. Yes, my head goes back and forth with whether my stories are good enough. One day I say, ‘of course it is.’ The next day, I find human doubt poking at me, and I say, ‘what were you thinking?’ According to Victoria Schwab though, writers never stop. The best way to get through human doubt is to create something new, and keep writing.

Question: Do you have words of advice you follow? What keeps your own fire burning past the doubt?

 

Celebrate the Small Things 7: Build Your Mental Strength #FridayFeeling

Fridays are all about celebrating the Small Things thanks to a weekly blog hop created by author Lexa Cain. Joint co-hosts this week are authors L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog The mission coincides with what I’m hoping to do with my own writing, inspire and focus on the light when those slippery shadows creep around our shoes. Want to sign up? Click Lexa Cain’s link to find out more.

***

Mental Strength takes an entirely different set of conditioning. Fears erupt. Calm has to be found. Emotion must be dealt with. Honestly, I’d rather hit the gym and tackle a new health regiment and up my weights than define a strategy to surf tsunami mental waters. We don’t always have a choice though, and in celebrating the small things this week, I have a few victory points to note as well as a few tips to make it through those rocky waters when you’d rather turn back and head to your own sandy warm beach.

What went well?

  • This week, I uncluttered my house to prepare for a move. Oh, I’m still packing as it never seems to end, but at least I’ve combed through the clothes, the baby toys, small bikes and old furniture. Good Will was my choice location to give away these unnecessary items. The best distraction from mental stress for me is to keep my hands busy.
  • I celebrated another birthday with my son. We went fishing with friends, then finished the evening in a game of kickball. Played a game of it lately with your own friends? It’s really freeing. Kick that ball as hard as you can and run and run and run …who cares if you get out. It’s great stress relief.
  • The end of the school year means the end of a stressful sprint for me in public relations. Since I work for a school district, I make events like high school graduation sparkle. Details are so important and you go over it, and over it again and pray you haven’t missed a thing.
  • I finished my synopsis for my new manuscript idea. Yay! Next is the detailed outline. Hopefully it will get done next week and I can finally begin the real writing work.
  • Lastly, I said “no” a couple of times instead of over committing myself. That is a huge step for me. I usually juggle a million things at once and what’s one more, right? Yikes!
  • And my biggest mental war? I still have yet to face it, but I’m planning my strategy with a few tips I found on Forbes.com and have included them below.

 

Tips.

  1.    Revisit your values and core beliefs. Down deep, what matters most to you, then make a point to remember those things. Forbes suggests to be wary of “never” or “always” thinking statements in your head.
  2. Think about what you can control and what aspect is actual worry. Divert your mind. Set goals and priorities. Make an effort to switch your mental thoughts to helpful actions and topics. What’s happening that’s good in your life? What small steps have you made to accomplish your dreams? Have you done one today? If not, why not try? And may I suggest a quick game of kickball? 🙂
  3. Replace negative thinking with positive action. Do something that makes you feel great. Write great quotes to inspire your mind and place them where you need them the most.
  4. “Practice tolerating discomfort,” a phrase I couldn’t reword. Who do you want to be? Why not try?
  5. Always end or begin your day with the good things, the reason I love this weekly post so much.

 

We made it. It’s Friday. And don’t forget …