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?

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.”

Today…

Today is a new day.  Thank goodness!  I’m very relieved that I get to start fresh because yesterday was rough

Today I’m really excited to get my copy of Kristan Higgins’ newest novel Until There Was You.  I absolutely love her writing, and have been looking forward to this book for months.  I’ll be standing by the mailbox all afternoon.  🙂

 

 

Today I’m putting the final touches on this paper crafting project that was inspired by this blog postThe Sometimes Crafter is one of my new favorite blogs – such cute stuff there!  It was really fun to work on my own “Three Little Pumpkins” project, and it was such a good distraction since I needed a break from writing.

Today I signed up for a beginner’s crochet class at a local craft shop.  The  talented Emma Lamb and lovely Natasja of crocheTime have inspired me with their gorgeous crochet work.  I don’t know if I’ll have the patience to create anything very big or beautiful, but I’ve really wanted to try crocheting for a while.  So I’m going to give it a whirl!

Today I am loving this quote by Leo Tolstoy.  It is such a good reminder of something so simple:  “If you want to be happy, be.”

want it wednesday – fall books preview

The Next Always:  Book One of the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy by Nora Roberts. (Being released on November 1, 2011)

I adore Nora Roberts!  This newest book of hers is on the top of my list for fall reading.  Here is a description from Amazon:

“America’s favorite writer” (The New Yorker) begins an all-new trilogy-inspired by the inn she owns and the town she loves.

The historic hotel in BoonsBoro, Maryland, has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. As the architect of the family, Beckett’s social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen…”

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Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins (Being released October 25, 2011)

Kristan Higgins is one of my all-time favorite romance writers.  She’s funny in her books and hilarious on her blog – one of those authors you’d love to meet in person.  I’m really looking forward to this next book.  There’s no description on Amazon for it yet, but I’m sure Kristan will be posting something on her blog soon.  In the meantime, here’s a little author info for you:

“Kristan Higgins is the RITA award-winning author of CATCH OF THE DAY and three other romantic comedies. Previously a copywriter, Kristan began writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous naps…so much more satisfying than folding laundry. She holds a BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross, which enables her to identify dangling participles and quote many great novels. Kristan lives with her family in Connecticut.”  (Amazon.com) 

Want It Wednesday – Redeeming Love

I read this book a few months ago and have been wanting to buy myself a copy ever since.  It’s such a fantastic love story, one that I will revisit year after year.  Here is a review from Amazon.com:

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.  In this splendid retelling of the biblical story of Hosea, bestselling author Francine Rivers pens a heartbreaking romance between a prostitute and the upright and kind farmer who marries her; the story also functions as a reminder of God’s unconditional love for his people. Redeeming Love opens with the Gold Rush of 1850 and its rough-and-tumble atmosphere of greed and desire. Angel, who was sold into prostitution as a child, has learned to distrust all men, who see her only as a way to satisfy their lust. When the virtuous and spiritual-minded Michael Hosea is told by God to marry this “soiled dove,” he obeys, despite his misgivings. As Angel learns to love him, she begins to hope again but is soon overwhelmed by fear and returns to her old life. Rivers shines in her ability to weave together spiritual themes and sexual tension in a well-told story, a talent that has propelled her into the spotlight as one of the most popular novelists in the genre of Christian fiction. This is one of her best. –Cindy Crosby

Want It Wednesday – book and a bag

The last of our summer adventures are on the horizon and I’m gathering my books and magazines for a little R&R.  I usually try to stuff these reads into my purse along with snacks and sunglasses, wallets and some of the boys’ toys.  But this year my purse is small.  And my pile of ‘to be read on vacation’ is growing larger by the minute.  Time for a book tote!

I’ve been eyeing up bags like this from Angie Gordon’s Etsy shop, Gathered and Sown.  The colors, the flowers, the white stitching (I have such a thing for stitching!) … now if I can just decide which one I like the best!  They are all so beautiful. 

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And one of the many books I plan to slip into the lovely tote?  Escaping Into the Open, the Art of Writing True, by Elizabeth Berg.  Here is a review from Amazon.com:

Elizabeth Berg (Talk Before Sleep) is a can-do kid. Forget the common wisdom–that writing is difficult and getting published nearly impossible without contacts or an agent. “What you need most,” she says, “is a fierce desire to put things down on paper.” And if a gentle nudge will help you on your way, well, Berg wishes to provide just that, cheerfully, with Escaping into the Open. For Berg, writing–and success–comes easily. In fact, she says, “What I like doing best is writing…. I feel like a drug addict with an exceptionally wise drug of choice.”

It is refreshing to come across a book so positive and friendly–even if a there is a little too much emphasis on the author’s own experience (did she really have to include a five-page essay by an envious friend and three pages of topics about which she herself has successfully written?). Still, how could one not appreciate a writing guide that espouses napping, eating chocolate-covered cherries, and standing by your “man(uscript),” and that likens passionate, risky writing–the only kind that’s worth anything–to great sex? Berg encourages her reader to look (and listen and feel) deeply, to learn from children, and not to let life interfere with writing any more than it has to. She addresses–sometimes with help from her friends–writing classes, writing groups, and the writing life. In a chapter called “If you’re a man, be a woman,” she offers up 30 pages of writing exercises. Berg is personable, whimsical, amazed by her good fortune, and direct. “There’s only one person who can stop you,” she says gravely at book’s end, “and we both know who that is.” –Jane Steinberg