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Archive for the ‘Insecure Writers Support Group’ Category

How Many Sarah’s Can You Have?

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Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month we were asked, ‘What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?’

names from a hat

How Many Sarah’s Can You Have?

A Sarah here, a Sarah there…how many Sarah’s can an author have? This month’s question for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group was an easy one. Definitely choosing names are more difficult for me. The titles always seem to come with the germination of the book idea itself. And while they many change as I work on and complete the book – that is rare. I almost always go with my first instinct for a title.

But names, that’s where my own personal difficulty lies. I don’t have problems with naming characters, it’s just that I seem to always go to the same names. Sarah and William seem to be particular favorites to me, but I have no idea why. It’s like I have this internal list of ten to twelve favorites that my brain always accesses first. On my short stories spreadsheet, I had to add a column for main character names, so I don’t repeat names.

Another small glitch I find is that I can easily end up with two or three character names that all begin with the same initial. If I don’t consciously watch it, I’ll have Sarah and Sam with a dog named Spot. It must be that alliteration fascination coming back to haunt me.

Alas, if these were the only troubles I had to contend with, I’d be one happy author. Names I can change all day long. Now if fixing plot holes and characterization problems were just as easy.

Check out more Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts here.

 

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The Garden Beckons #IWSG

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Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month we were asked, ‘It’s spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?’

 

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The Garden Beckons

The seasons themselves don’t necessarily inspire me to write more or less. Now, they do effect the amount of writing that is accomplished. During summer and winter it’s too hot or too cold to be outside. So I’m nestled in the house, either in front of a fan or a heater and the words fly. Not because I’m inspired, but because the extreme temperatures limit my outside comfort zone. So, housebound I become.

But spring…that is my season! New growth is appearing after the dormant winter cold. Buds push their way through the earth. Flowers appear, waving their colorful blooms in the breezes. Roses spread their fragrant aroma in a swirl around me. Wildflowers usher in this most delightful season. Birds chatter and twitter away in the canopy of trees surrounding me. The cardinal couple flit in and out of the towering evergreen, tending to their nest of hatchlings.

Write? During spring? You have to chain me to my desk if you think I’ll be tapping away at a keyboard when the garden is growing outside. Thank goodness for spring time rains that curtail my gardening days.

You’d think fall would have the same results. The more moderate temperatures allow for being outside and comfortable. It’s not cold enough yet for thick, plush jackets. The searing heat is gone. But, no. It’s totally different. The garden is dying back. Even the weeds that have crept up between plants begin to wither away. It’s time to tidy up, cut back, bring in garden accessories and get ready to put the garden to bed. While I enjoy the coolness of fall days, I don’t like the threat of the impending winter. It dampens my spirits and makes me gloomy.

But spring it is, so this 300 or so words is all you get today. Next month, when the heat is here in Texas, I’ll be back writing longer posts. Today I’m out of here – I’ve got a garden to tend to!

 

Check out more Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts here.

Deadlines Banish the Cloudy Days

iwsg

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month we were asked, ‘When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?’

rainy day

Deadlines Banish the Cloudy Days

I wish I could say that my writing journey is all sunshine and roses. Not a peep of clouds here, thank you very much. Alas, I can’t say that. Truthfully, there are days that I question what I’ve been doing the past three years. I question the wisdom of my choices. I question whether or not to continue. I mull over the options of going back to a full time, punch-the-timeclock job.

What do I do to keep writing? I can’t say that I consciously have a plan in place to keep me moving forward. Sometimes the deluge of the current storm gets me in a funk and I don’t write. Sometimes for a few days. Occasionally the funk period has lasted a whole week. I wallow in the mire and waste away far too many hours playing mindless computer games. One weekend I binge watched a whole sitcom season in three days.

Fortunately I have several pre-committed deadlines already in place. I have a monthly newsletter, Back Story. I have my weekly reader’s newsletter, Trisha’s Tidbits. I’m in a weekly writing group, Tuesday Tales, that writes to a word or picture prompt each week. And, the first Wednesday of each month? I need a blog post ready for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. So after a few days of inactivity and slothfulness, one of these standing deadlines rears its talon and snatches me back into the writing game. Usually I find once I’ve written the 300-800 words needed for one of these projects, my self-pity party is over and I’ve placed my ‘Writer’ hat back on my head and I’m pounding the keyboard, the fears, insecurities, and doubts vanquished once again.

 

Check out more Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts here.

The Sound of Crickets #IWSG

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. If we want to. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month we were asked, ‘How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal or finish a story?’

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The Sound of Crickets

So much for my first-thing-in-the-morning-project. It’s now turned into first-project-after-lunch. Which is ridiculous really, because the answer to this question isn’t that difficult. It will take me five minutes to write this post and another five minutes to post it. I shouldn’t have procrastinated on an easy task.

I don’t celebrate at all.

If I finish a writing goal, I cross it off my list and head to the dozen others that are awaiting my time and attention. If I get something published, I might have a high-five with my significant other, and then go post the good news on Facebook.

That’s about it. My celebrations are the sound of crickets in my office. Nothing. Now crickets might be a symphony outside in a field, but in my office…nada.

But, now I’m debating my routine. Maybe I do need to celebrate my accomplishments in some small fashion. Hmmmmm……

No. Then it adds another task to the list. You know, that list that never seems to go away no matter how much I work towards that goal? I believe I’ll keep this routine just the same as it is.

 

Check out more Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts here.

Taking Me Back #IWSG

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. If we want to. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month we were asked, ‘What do you love about the genre you write in most often?’iwsg

Taking Me Back

Like many authors, I write in several different genres. It depends on what muse I’m listening to that month – or that day. But the genre that keeps calling me, luring me back time after time is historical fiction. Not as historical as in pirates and vikings of long ago, or even Civil War. Although, who wouldn’t love to write the next Gone with the Wind? The historical time frames I enjoy writing ranges from 1900 – 1950, with my all-time favorite period being the post-Depression years. It must have been reading Grapes of Wrath in junior high, which turned into one of my top-five favorite books, and one that I end up re-reading every 5-10 years.

There’s something about writing and researching that pulls me back to an era I personally know nothing about. But I feel like I do. I feel like I lived it. I think I’d like a time machine so I could really travel back in time and live a day in these times past – as long as I can bring my air conditioner and washing machine with me.

Check out more Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts here.

1930 chevy

IWSG – Making the Plan Isn’t the Problem

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. If we want to. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month we were asked, ‘What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?’

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Making the Plan Isn’t the Problem

Making a plan for my writing and publishing isn’t the problem. I’m a great planner. No – I’m a terrific planner. A planner like no other. I make plans for my plans. (Not really, but I think you know what I mean.) Making the plans isn’t what gives me any trouble.

The problems lie in implementing the plans!

Since I started freelancing in 2015, I’ve made a plan for what books to write, when to publish them, what blogs to write, what short stories to write, etc. I made my 2018 plans at the beginning of December. I planned which books to write, when I’ll publish, what classes I’m working on, what Vintage Daze Short Stories I’ll complete and publish, etc. I even made plans for what books will go on sale each month.

By the time we got to the first day of this brand new year, I’d already changed the 2018 plan…twice.

Plan B

And, in all truthfulness, a great deal of the plan for the New Year was already in place. It’s simply the tasks and milestones left over from 2017 that I didn’t make. And I think several of those items probably got pushed down the list from 2016.

Part of the difficulty I know is because when I’m sitting down planning where I want to go, I make very ambitious plans. And then with a part-time day job that becomes very needy with my time and energy at all the major holidays, I find that I don’t have the necessary resources to continue on as scheduled. And once I get behind…it’s downhill from there on.

Coupled with this is another malady I often fall victim to. The ‘Bright Shiny Object’ (BSO) Syndrome. Too often I find myself rushing about working on a brand new project – one that didn’t exist when the plan was made earlier in the year – but…it’s so fascinating.

I already added one BSO to 2018. That was the first change. The second was when I realized that I’d planned on spending most of December 2017 working on an old project from 2015, planning to release it in February. When I didn’t write a word to this old project, and it’s one that I need to spend some time with and get it right because there’s a corporate connection, I made the second change and pushed it off of 2018’s schedule and into 2019.

We’re on the third day of the New Year. And I haven’t made any other changes to the 2018 schedule. Now if I can just focus on completion for this year – and not adding anything new to the list – maybe I’ll make more progress towards what I actually plan. We’ll see. Update to come in 11 and a ½ months!

Check out more Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts here.

Plan Quote

Third Times a Charm #IWSG #Nano #Nanowrimo

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. If we want to. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month we were asked, ‘Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?’

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Third Time’s a Charm

National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo – or NaNo as many call it – descends every November, sending scads of writers into a writing frenzy. Today, the monthly posting day for our IWSG blog, coincides with Nano’s kickoff.

The goal sounds simple. Write 50,000 words in a month. Only a mere 1,667 words per day. You write fast and furious. Banish your inner editor to oblivion for 30 days. Then, after the New Year, take your project and begin the editing and polishing process. For your month long effort, you end up with a nice novella, or a good start on a larger novel.

Only 1,667 words a day. Piece of cake. It’s easy. Right?

It is. Until you try to put it into practice.

Unfortunately the rest of the world doesn’t stop for our writing marathon. Jobs continue. Family life continues. Children and spouses still want fed. They still want clean clothes. Pets still want attention. And then there’s the holidays beginning to edge out all available time. Thanksgiving, with its many family obligations is towards the end of the month and Christmas is breathing down our neck like a demon. We’re trying to write, knowing that we should be buying gifts, addressing cards, and any of the other holiday tasks that multiply like breeding rabbits on steroids.

F&S coverIt took me three times before I completed the goal in 2013 and hit 50,000 words. Or, to be more precise, 50,333 words. My project that year was Fat and Sassy, a story of my grandparents and their six children (one of my mother), mostly set in the early 1940’s. Taking tales of the past – mostly from my mom – and fictionalizing them into this book was very rewarding. It took another three years though before the project was completed and published.

In 2009 I tried Nano for the first time with Three Bags Full. I made it to 19,000 words. In 2012 I tried again with Prissy and Paige and made it to 24,625 words. Yikes! Better, but still not there.

Then…ta-da! In 2013 I finally made it!

I participated for the next three years, and made it each time. In 2014, A Better Life A to Z made it to 50,602. In 2015, My Wildest Dream hit my highest mark at 57,823. In 2016, Peonies & Peppermint reached the goal at 52,087. Alas, a computer crash wiped out A Better Life and My Wildest Dream. Since I had a pre-publication obligation to Amazon to upload My Wildest Dream by a certain date, I frantically wrote for several weeks to try to recreate that book. (Writing more furiously even than I did during Nano!) If I failed to upload the book, I’d lose the ability to offer prepublication deals – for a year I think. So there’s a book there, but I don’t promote it and need to either take it down, or add to it.

This year, starting today, I’m working on another project, Every Day’s a Good Day, which I’ve talked about writing for three years now. It’s time. And I need the kick in the pants that Nano gives us. And I’ll make it again – even if I have to use a dirty little trick. The book is about working in a retail environment and maintaining a positive attitude. ‘Retail’ is a word that will come up often. So, if instead of writing ‘retail’ I write ‘retail-job-that-sucks-the-living-life-out-of-mere-mortals’…I get 11 words instead of 1. That should help me stretch and reach that goal of 50,000 words in nothing flat!

 

Check out more Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts here.

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