Writer’s Resource: Goodreads

We all know that Goodreads is a great place to find books and share them with fellow readers, but did you also know it’s an excellent resource for writers?  If you’re interested in connecting with other writers, learning from authors, or creating your own author presence on the website, check out today’s Goodreads blog.  You’ll find gems of advice like this:

Write something—anything—for 15 minutes a day

“Here is my advice: I get out my kitchen timer and set it for 15 mintues. I am not allowed to stand up until the 15 minutes are over. During that 15 minutes, I write something. Anything — a letter, a poem, a list of people you hate, a prayer, all my favorite words, a childhood memory, a dream. Something. I might even sit there for 15 minutes writing, “I don’t know what to write!” but I learned long ago that a “bad” day of writing is still a good day.”

-Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

If you’re a member of Goodreads, pop over and visit me – I’d love to connect!

Books to help you write your book

books

A friend recently told me (with pure exasperation) that this year she’s going to write her book.  She’s not the first person I’ve heard the words from.  It’s not a typical New Year’s resolution, but we writers are not a typical bunch, are we?

One of the things I’ve found to help me write my books is to use resources from other writers who are successful.  There are endless articles online, in writing magazines, and on blogs that can offer inspiration.  And there are a zillion writing books out there to help us as well.  But how do you know which book is for you?

First, let me reassure you that I’ve been in your shoes.  I know how daunting it feels to want to write that book, but to have no idea how to start.  Here are the books that helped me at different stages of my writing process.  Try one out – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

  • You haven’t written a word, or at least nothing that resembles a book.  Start with Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones or Wild Mind to get you going.  Goldberg introduces you to writing practice, offers fun writing prompts, and helps get those creative juices flowing.  Remember that it can take weeks or months (or years, like Goldberg found for herself) to find your voice and your story, so be patient.
  • You’ve been writing for a little while but only have the basics down.  You know your book’s perfect beginning, you know how it should end, and you know some of the scenes… but not much else.  Character work and outlining can go a long way in solidifying your story.  Try 90 Days to Your Novel by Sarah Domet to kick start your book.  You’ll come up with a strong outline and characters that will carry your story, even if you don’t stick to the 90 day schedule.
  • You’re halfway finished writing your book… and stuck.  Writer’s block, anyone? Middles can be a painful slog.  But don’t give up!  Check out James Scott Bell’s new book Just Write.  You’ll find useful tips on everything from creating a strong premise to building  memorable characters.  Bell even wrote  a section on writer’s block in the chapter titled “Brave the Writing Life.”  This book not only inspires writers to strengthen their stories, but to pay attention to the rewards of a writing life.
  • You finished your rough draft.  Now what?  First of all, treat yourself to a nice meal, a glass of wine, a massage – whatever makes you happy.  Read something fun.  Do the things you put off while you were busy writing.  And be proud of yourself, because completing a first draft is a huge deal!  Then, get back to work.  It’s time to pull that manuscript out of the drawer and find a marking pen.  Hone your editing skills with the book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Brown & King, where you’ll learn how to use professional editing techniques to perfect your manuscript.

Feeling a little more motivated?  Good!  Now remember, there’s one fundamental act that will see you through to a finished book.  It’s not inspiration or time or talent…  it’s actually writing.  Like William Faulkner said, “I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.”

Well, it’s 9:00 a.m.  I’m off to my writing desk.  Are you?

Happy New Year!

I really can’t decide what’s more amazing – that it’s already the new year, or that I actually completed Project 365 on December 31st.  I didn’t know if I’d make it!  I am so proud of myself for sticking with it, and really really love the results.  An entire year of my life, my family, our adventures – all scrapped and organized and snug in two fat binders.  It was a wonderful project.

And now I need a year to recover.  🙂

So it’s a brand new year.  Have you made some resolutions?  Chosen a few goals?  Picked out your One Little Word?  Christen Olivarez wrote this in her Editor’s Letter of Somerset Life Magazine:  “This year, why not make a resolve to do more of something?  More reading.  More laughing.  More creating.  Simply resolve to do more of what makes you happy.”

I couldn’t agree more.  This year I’d just like to do more of what I love:  Take care of my family.  Take care of myself.  Read good books.  Sew and scrap and make things.  And I’d especially like to write more.  Just Write.  Write because I love to, because it’s fun, because it makes me happy.   For now, I don’t want to worry about publication or agents or e-books or blogging… I just want to write.   Novels, short stories, journaling – whatever my fingers and my heart feel like working on.  It’s time for me to remember why I fell in love with writing in the first place.

Whatever your plans are, I hope that the year is starting out wonderfully for you!  And may you find peace and happiness all year long.

Happy New Year!

Project 365 – Day 345

I’ve always wanted to photograph this beautiful old barn.  It sits on some family land and is so rickety that you’d swear a strong wind could push it down.  I can tell there are amazing stories in every painted board and every old stone.

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I thought I’d take a minute to share a few of my favorite things from this week.  I hope you have a wonderful and restful weekend!

Favorite Photo

 

 

 

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Favorite Quote

“Make choices based not on fear, but on what really gives you a sense of fulfillment.”  ~ Pauline Rose Chance

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Favorite Finds

Book description from Amazon:  “In Taking Flight, you’ll find overflowing inspiration–complete with a kindred spirit in author and mixed-media artist Kelly Rae Roberts. Join her on a fearless journey into the heart of creativity as you test your wings and learn to find the sacred in the ordinary, honor your memories, speak your truth and wrap yourself in the arms of community.

Along the way you’ll be inspired by:

  • Step-by-step techniques–learn the most-loved mixed-media methods of the author and seven talented contributing artists, and combine them in fresh and unexpected ways.
  • Thought-provoking prompts and quotes–along with encouraging stories, insights and gentle guidance for finding your bliss, whatever your art or craft.
  • Plenty of eye-candy–pages and pages of the author’s endearing artwork, along with the varied works of the contributors.

Of course, learning to fly isn’t entirely a step-by-step process–sooner or later, you just need to take a deep breath and spread your wings. With Taking Flight as your guide, there’s no doubt that when you do, your creativity will soar.”

scrapping, geometry, and a little crochet

There’s a lot of busy creating going on around here this week.  Some of it is purposeful, some of it is just playful (which, really, is purposeful too!).

Baby Sophia’s album is coming along nicely.  Only four more layouts to go.  I haven’t overdosed on the pink and frills yet…

I never imagined I’d be using a compass to help me make a scrapbook layout, but here I was yesterday, conjuring up memories of tenth grade geometry classes!  This layout was inspired by a table placemat (of all things!?) and will be part of my Project 365 album.  This is just a little peek of the unfinished page – lots of adhering and sewing and embellishments to add.  I’ll post pictures and some instructions and products when I’m finished.

Last night I took a crochet class for beginners… and am very, very thankful that I had such a patient instructor!   While crocheting may not be my calling, I will say that it was really fun to learn.  It was also really relaxing once I figured out how to hook without tying up my fingers or making terrible knots in the pattern.  And one perk I was not expecting –  it smothered my writer’s block and helped me get back on track with my book today.  After a two-week hiatus, I just edited eight pages!  Whew!!  I think I’ll keep the crochet hook and yarn handy…

What creative adventures are you up to these days?

Project 365 – Day 319!

Yep, I’m still plugging away at Project 365!  And also still working on Baby Sophia’s album.  There are butterflies and pink patterns everwhere – I love it! 

Can you unscramble the letters to find the title of this layout?  🙂

**Supplies:  Martha Stewart Crafts butterfly embellishments, My Mind’s Eye “Lime Twist” paper, Prism six strand floss, Close To My Heart – My Acrylix “Alphabets” stamps**