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!

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?

Finding Balance

I’m slowly learning the lesson that there must be a creative balance in the artful life.  I can write late into the night until my eyes cross, and I’ll probably get some good stuff out, but I must also take a break.  I’m really glad that I gave myself the Color My Monday project for the week – it’s making me play and relax and feel less anxious about my writing.

Stitching is a form of quiet therapy for me, a way to replenish my inner well of creativity.   Playing with paper and sewing all over the pages actually gives my mind a break – and you’d be amazed at the helpful ideas that sneak into my brain during this time.  I have to keep my manuscript nearby so I can jot down the lovely suggestions that my muse slips to me. 

Here’s a little peek of the project – a pattern all poked out and ready for sewing.  I can’t wait to show you the finished layout.  Just a few more stitches and a little stamping…  See you soon!

Wanted: A little inspiration

I have hit a brick wall.  A full face plant on the task of editing my second book. It’s painful and frustrating and driving me crazy!

For a week I’ve been trying to get into my 3rd round of editing this manuscript, bribing myself with chocolate and breaks and yes, even naps.  But nothing is working.  My goal of editing at least nine pages per day has only been reached once – all other days have ranged from zero pages to a whopping three. 

So today I’m trying something different.  I’m reaching for a little inspiration in the form of images that remind me of what I love most about my book.  Keep your fingers crossed (and toes and eyes too, please) that this gets me going again.

These pictures represent the things I love about Lola and her story (click on the image for source info):

And yes, I want each and every one of these lovely items.  It is Want It Wednesday, after all!

Blog awards!

Sometimes I worry that my blog is a little too… random?  scattered?  perhaps showing signs of ADD?  Because some days I blog about writing, others about scrapbooking, still others about the chaos of my household.  I often wonder, what is the purpose of my blog?

So you can imagine how pleased I was when C.B. Wentworth, a writer and blogger friend that I really admire, gave me a couple of blog awards – one of which is for being a “versatile blogger”.  Whew!  So it’s okay to blog about a lot of everything!

One of the rules when receiving these awards is that I must provide seven random facts about myself.  So, here you go:

 

  1. I studied international business administration in a Danish school during college.
  2. Then I returned to the States to get my bachelor’s degree in Geography.
  3. And never used either of these subjects in my post-college career, choosing instead to teach special education.
  4. And now I’m a romance writer.  How’s that for random?
  5. I’ve traveled in nine different countries.
  6. I’m married to a Welshman.
  7. I wear purple writing glasses.

And now I’d like to pass these lovely awards along to other very deserving bloggers.  Here are five new writing blogs that I have recently discovered and really enjoy following:

Don’t Pet Me, I’m Writing.  Tawna Fenske is hilarious.  I haven’t even read her new romance novel yet, but it’s on the top of my list – and if it’s anything like her blog writing, it’s gonna be gooood

Wilde Life.  Lori Wilde was the instructor for my very first writing course.  Ever since then I have been in love with her books, and her blog is fun and full of good writing advice.

Grab A Pen.  I think I may have linked to Tahereh Mafi before, but she’s worth mentioning again (and again!).  Tahereh’s blog is always entertaining along with being chock-full of writing inspiration and advice.  Her first (highly anticipated!) book is coming out this fall.

The Sisterhood of the Jaunty Quills.  This blog is co-written by a number of published authors, one of which is my favorite Kristan Higgins.  What I love most about Jaunty Quills is all of the prizes that readers can win!

Journalize This.  Okay, this isn’t a new blog to me.  It’s actually one I’ve followed for a long time, written by my very good writing buddy Kristen Fairgrieve.  I just couldn’t resist because she’s already received the award once and now she’s going to want to kill me for sending it to her again.  Ha ha!  Hi Krissy! *wave, wave* How ya doin’?  🙂