Tag Archives: writer’s life

Reconnecting with Writing

artsy handwritingIf you follow the blog regularly, you know that since RWA last summer, I haven’t done much work on Three Proposals, despite back-to-back Immersions in November and January. I’ve been spending a lot of time at my kids’ school since August as the Parent Service Organization (PSO) Vice President, having run a very successful Read-a-Thon last fall and having helped with a well-attended Daddy-Daughter Dance this past weekend. I’ve told the school that there’s no way I’m going to serve on the board next year. It’s time-consuming and while I love doing stuff for my kids, I do surprisingly little in my childs’ classrooms. Frankly, that’s where I’d rather be.

As a part of future planning with the PSO, I’ve been thinking about the trajectory of my career (or lack thereof). I’m not reading blogs as much as I used to, I’m not digging into aspects of craft, and I’m certainly not putting words on the page. I’ve had requests for fulls from agents and editors who judged the few contests I’ve won. And I have this book, Three Proposals, hanging around my neck like a pigeon (it’s not albatross-worthy, but it’s still annoying and I feel like I keep getting shit on).

My conclusion? It’s time for that to change.

I’ve started prioritizing writing into my life again. Hard to go cold turkey and clear my entire schedule for nothing but writing, but a key thing I’ve done is made a regular meeting time with my CPs and commit to giving them something of mine every week (in addition to reading their stuff) — even if it’s just work on my outline for the new contemporary story I started. It’s making me keep my head in my story (and in theirs).

I also started the James Patterson Master Class (I’ve seen the link on FB quite a bit and I was intrigued). The one thing James mentions in his first lesson is that he woke at 5 a.m. to make time for writing. He had a day job and I don’t, so I’m not waking at 5 a.m. (I’m really not a morning person, anyway). But I have started putting my foot down as to what I will and won’t work on each day.

For example, today was a story day. I did have a few “housekeeping” things to take care of after I got the kiddos off to school, but once that was accomplished, I spent the better part of the morning working on my outline, brainstorming over the phone with one of my CPs, and catching up on a few blogs. The amazing part? It felt so GOOD to get back into writing again.

My son asked me today why I quit taking tae kwon do lessons. I told him it was because I discovered writing and I liked writing more than I did TKD. What I’ve forgotten over the last 7 months was how MUCH I like writing. Discovering new stories, new characters, and new ways to make their lives difficult (but their stories interesting).

My goals for February are to keep providing feedback for my CPs, finish the course with James Patterson, and have a good, strong outline of my contemporary story completed.

How have you prioritized writing in your life lately?

Visual Imagery with Playlists

justine covington, book playlist, romance writingIn the McDaniel Romance Writing program, we had two assignments to help us visualize our book. One was a collage (hated it; hard to do using modern magazines to represent a story that takes place 200 years ago; I’m so not showing you what I did); the other was a playlist. I didn’t mind the playlist too much, because much of the music I like was actually “modern” for Regency England. Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach were all well-regarded composers at the time and ladies would perform their work at musicales.

It’s been over a year now since I visited my playlist for Three Proposals, but I played it yesterday and was surprised by how well my musical selections still stand up to my story, despite the massive changes I’ve made since then. In truth, about the only thing that’s the same story-wise are the character’s names! Continue reading

Shakin’ Up Your Brain

typewriter keysI assume most of you are like me…you get to a great place in your novel and then WHAM! your brain shuts like a steel door to a vault. You can’t think what your characters should do next. Ya got nuthin’!

This has happened quite a lot recently (I have a lot of other stuff on my brain) so I thought a little structure exercise might be what the doctor ordered to loosen those little synapses up. In class last year, we had to write a story where the first word of each sentence was the next sequential letter in the alphabet. So the first sentence had to start with the letter, “A,” the next with the letter, “B,” etc. In other words, an alphabetical 26-sentence story. Continue reading