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!

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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.”

take time to create

If you’re anything like me, you’ll sometimes find that your creations don’t turn out quite like you’d imagined they would.  Take my latest paper crafting adventure, for instance.

I found this magazine at the local craft store last week and fell in love with a design that was stitched on a tea towel.  At the bottom of the towel were little triangle-shaped trees in different colors and patterns, making up an adorable forest.  It was so cute!  And looked so easy!  I could transfer this simple idea to a scrapbook layout, right?

Wrong.

I started with some funny little triangles.  Found some colorful papers with patterns and textures.  And when I was finished pasting them down, along with a patterned base, it looked nothing like a forest.  Instead, I had created a… seascape?  So my trees became sailboats.  And my scrapbook layout became a small sign for my desk.  I realized when I’d finished stitching and stamping and sewing buttons in place that I had actually enjoyed the fun diversion.  What had started as an assignment for myself turned into an adventure of playing and exploring… and not knowing what I was making until I was nearly done.

So, sailboats it is.  I could use an inspirational sign for my desk, and I already know the perfect place to hang it up!  It’s a good lesson learned; even if your creativity is not leading you where you’d imagined, let yourself get lost for a little while.  Sail in a different direction, even if for only a few minutes.  It’s fun to discover new horizons!

Sophia’s Baby Album

This is the first page of Baby Sophia’s scrapbook album.  Little Sophia joined the world a few weeks ago and resides in Sweden with her parents.  A friend asked me to make the album as a holiday gift.  Of course I said yes!  I rarely get the chance to play with so much pink and frills!

The hand-stitched flowers were a lot harder and more time-consuming than I thought they would be!  But I adore how they turned out – I keep touching them because I just love the texture they give to the page.

Sophia was given the nickname of “little bug”, so of course we had to add some butterflies.  I will be adding lots of other cute bugs to the rest of the album too.

Welcome to the world, sweet little Sophia!

Three Little Pumpkins

Earlier this week I posted a quick peek at a paper crafting project I’ve been working on called Three Little Pumpkins.  Well, I’ve finally finished it, and I’m pretty pleased with the result!  I took some pictures from start to finish, in case you’re curious about the process of making this little cutie (just click on the images for a closer view).  And make sure to check out the fabric version of this project on Christina’s blog The Sometimes Crafter.  Happy crafting!

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.”