Tag Archives: writing help

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?

Things I Like: Scapple

Another nod to the folks at Literature and Latte (creators of Scrivener, which I’ve already raved about)…this time, for Scapple, a brainstorming, white-boarding, mind-organizing free-form tool that uses boxes, lines, and arrows to help you organize your thoughts. Or, in the case of my book, to help me organize my character’s actions and reactions.

What I like about Scapple (aside from the 30 days-of-use — not 30 consecutive days — free trial) is that Continue reading

Beta Reader Back-and-Forth

Today, my post on Eight Ladies Writing was about cultivating a good writer/beta reader relationship. It occurred to me that showing an example of some of the points I made might be in order.

What’s below is the email exchange between me and one of my beta readers, fellow Eight Lady Jilly Wood. Jilly has read two versions of my planned submission for the Royal Ascot contest; her comments are based on the second revision. The email trail is in chronological order from top to bottom. I hope you find it useful! Continue reading

Avoiding Critiques That Sting

scorpionLiving in the desert southwest, there is no shortage of stinging or biting things: black widow spiders, Africanized bees, gila monsters, and the ever-present, always lurking scorpions. Last week, my younger son was stung by one (fortunately, the sting from a bark scorpion is non-fatal). He was in the kids’ bathroom, reaching for the faucet where I had laid a wet washcloth to dry (apparently a scorpion’s favorite “hang out”), and *ZAP* he got stung on his right hand. I’ve never heard him scream so loud or wildly. I felt horrible for the pain he was experiencing, as well as the fear he had when I told him I was unable to find the nasty thing. Continue reading

Focus Hocus-Pocus

Oftentimes, I have trouble staying focused. For example, I was cleaning up the kids’ play room today and went downstairs to return a few cups to the kitchen. I wasn’t finished cleaning their play room, but a large stack of “stuff” littering the kitchen counter distracted me. So, play room forgotten, I started sifting through everything, making neat piles of mail, receipts, old newspapers, things-to-go-upstairs, things-to-go-outside, and God-knows-what-else in an effort to clean off the counters. In short order, I had a stack of “office things,” so I grabbed the stack and made my way to the office, where…you guessed it…I got distracted by a mess there and promptly forgot about the kitchen. Unfortunately, there’s no magic wand I can wave to finish cleaning the rooms I abandon, so I have to backtrack, and it often seems I’m never finishing anything. Continue reading