discipline, giveaway, winner

Nose to the Grindstone

Photo by Stuart Miles
 from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My week off is over and it is back to the trenches, off to the workforce, nose to the grindstone. OUCH! I didn’t do much on my “vacation”…spent time with family, read, watched Netflix, did a little editing. I didn’t even clean the house like I should have.

There’s something about getting back to a routine that I like. I get up at 5am and get to work by 7:30am. I get home at 5:15pm and I cook supper. I clean the kitchen. I get on my laptop and/or watch TV. I go to bed. I know what I’m supposed to do and I do it. It is a forced discipline – of which I sadly lack on my own.

It’s weird how you make yourself do something when you know you HAVE to do it. I get up early because I HAVE to go to work. I cook dinner because we HAVE to eat. I do laundry because we HAVE to have clean clothes.

Here’s the thing…I’m not one of those writers who HAS to write or they die. It’s a fun thing for me, so if I don’t feel like it, I don’t. But that won’t get a book written. There has to be some kind of discipline going on to get a book written.

So what’s a girl to do? Make a plan, of course. With consequences. Mwahahahhaa. I must write 1000 words a day or I do not get a diet Dr. Pepper the next day. Sigh…I know what you are thinking…that’s harsh! I love my diet Dr. Peppers.

So tell me, what’s your plan of action to get things accomplished? 


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Winner of Keli Gwyn’s debut book, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California is….Patty! Congratulations! Be looking for an email from me! 

discipline, encouragement, personal, writing

What My Son Has Taught Me

Last night was the post season basketball banquet. Sure, there was good fajitas and lots of sweet tea poured out, but what was so special about the night was watching my son get his plaque from his coach. It was a huge moment in my eyes, because last year he was on the 9th grade B team. This year he was a starter on the JV team. I realized in that moment my youngest child has a lot to teach me.

Hard work pays off. After my son’s 9th grade season, he would get his basketball, go outside and shoot around. He did this every day, even through the summer –  and I’m talking 100+ weather here in Texas. At the start of school he asked us to take him to our church gym, where he would set up chairs on the court and maneuver around them to develop dribbling skills. He worked hard, and it paid off.

Make use of the tools that will help you succeed. My son decided he needed protein shakes to help him gain weight and build muscle. He drank three shakes a day even though they don’t taste all that great. And while he didn’t gain that much weight, he did gain muscle to made him strong.

Surround yourself with people who will help you. While my son has a built in support system in us, his parents, he also had friends he could text and go play a pickup game of basketball.

Coach Whitfield and my son

Don’t give up. At the beginning of the basketball season, my son was still sitting on the bench. He would be one of the first picked to go in after the start of the game, but he was not a starter. That might have made some people give up trying to better themselves – but not my son. He kept practicing and shooting at home, even after a long practice at school. He kept drinking those shakes. And it paid off, because it wasn’t very many games into the season before the coach made him a starter.

There have been so many times I have wanted to give up my writing. Fear, slow progress, doubt…all that makes me want to give up sometimes. But when I look at my son, I take courage. He has been teaching me that working hard will pay off. I need to write every day and build up those writing muscles.

I need to work on the techniques that will make my writing shine. I need to utilize the tools that I have. Writing books need to be read and highlighted. Conferences need to be attended. Websites need to be utilized (www.mybooktherapy.com – I just became a Team Member!).

I need to surround myself with other people who “get” the whole writing thing. I have my fellow Alley Cats at The Writer’s Alley who are always such an encouragement to me. I have developed online friendships that help me grow as a writer. I have family members who are cheerleaders and encourage me to keep going. There is a huge support group for writers, and you just need to jump in and be an active participant in the world of writers.

I am proud of my son and for what he has accomplished. He is an inspiration to me and I wish I was more like him in so many ways.

beginning, challenge, contests, discipline, encouragement, fiction, time management, writing, writing fun

Speedbo and Me

I am embarking on a new adventure this month and it is called SPEEDBO, hosted by the incredible ladies at Seekerville. If you have heard of NaNoWriMo or Book-in-A-Month, then you know what kind of adventure I am talking about.

SPEEDBO stand for Speed Book…I think. It is all about writing a book in a month, or at least write as much of a book in a month as you can. You set your daily word count. You don’t have to share if you met your daily goal. You just write the most you can, every day. Simple as that. I’ve even added a word count meter in the side bar…look to your right…to keep track of my progress for the month.

Stop by Seekerville’s blog HERE for instructions to sign up. Did I mention they have tons of prizes to dish out for those participating and commenting on the blog? Hmmmm, yeah…they are awesome like that.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up and be my accountability partner! 

discipline, editing

The Common Trait of Published Writers

The past year has been full of great news for a few on my online novelist friends. Keli Gwyn got an agent and then sold this past week! Jody Hedlund had sold and had her first book release this past fall. Katie Ganshert got an agent and she has exciting news today on her blog! These wonderful ladies are very talented, and I’ve discovered they all share a similar trait.

SELF-DISCIPLINE

Keli is an extremely organized person who can stay on top of two blogs, writing, editing, critiquing, reviewing, and encouraging other writers in their quest for publication. Katie works a full time job as a teacher, has a young toddler to chase after, and yet gets up at 4 a.m. every morning to write her stories. Talk about discipline! And Jody…well, Jody is a mother of five children, whom she home schools. She juggles teaching, an incredible blog, and keeping a home for her family. I’ve also noticed that these young ladies are slender–another testament to their self-control.

Writing is hard work. It takes super-human effort to not only write a book, but edit it and edit it again…and again. It takes discipline, determination, and perseverance.

This doesn’t bode well for me.

I am not a disciplined person. I can be focused, but it is on one thing at a time. I may focus on my blog. I may focus on critiquing. I may focus on Facebook. I may focus on keeping the house straight…well, not really for any length of time. I can focus-but to the exclusion of all else. And when I think something is beyond my ability, then I procrastinate and avoid that something like it was the plague.

And therein lies the problem. I think editing my book is beyond my capability. But I’ll never be a writer if I can’t edit. I know…just do it, you say. I know, I know. You are right. I should. And I am trying, in that I joined a large crit group. It is just slow going, and having to crit other’s work while working on mine (and working full time) is overwhelming.

So I’ve begun praying 2 Timothy 1:7.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

God’s Spirit works inside of us, giving up power. Giving us love. Giving us self-discipline! Yes! There is hope. There is encouragement in those words for those of us who are not naturally wired that way. We can overcome. We can live in that power, that love, that self-discipline. 

Are you one of those lucky people who are naturally blessed with the propensity toward self-discipline or do you find yourself lacking in that area?


discipline

Discipline and Consistency

I’ve had an interesting weekend, getting to know my new puppy and watching him like a hawk! I’ve forgotten how babies need so much supervision. In some ways this has been a great thing for me. I couldn’t get on the computer like I usually do in my free time. And you know what? I didn’t miss it. Because I have a worthy cause…training my puppy to be a fantastic dog.

All this training and attention I’ve lavished on Titus makes me realize how much the books we write are just like little puppies. In the beginning we are so excited about the possibilities and jump into the venture with gusto. We love it! And then we get tired.

I’ve been exhausted, listening to Titus cry at night and chasing after him, trying to catch him before he relieves himself on my floors. It takes a lot of discipline and consistency. So it is with our books. It takes tons of discipline. We have to keep at it, even when it gets tough. The discipline and the consistency will help produce a book we can be proud of.

Really, it’s the editing and revision where the discipline comes in. We fine tune our books, eliminating the unnecessary words, adding description, giving texture to a basic story. It is where we make our books listen to the storyteller and obey our commands. And this, my friends, is where I am sadly lacking.

As I’ve been thinking about a new story to write, I’ve been called back by my first MS. So I’ve been tinkering with it, trying to make it obey my commands. (Don’t you love the word tinker?) And my excitement is coming back for it, strangely enough. Maybe I just needed time away.

Or maybe I’m too tired right now to have the energy to do the legwork for a new project. I’m still letting my new story “stew”…doing lots of daydreaming and scene visualizing, but that’s about all I can handle right now.

Who knows, maybe when I get my energy back, I will go ahead with my new story idea. I’d really like to get a good jump on it this summer while I have extra time at home.

What a scattered post this is! Can you tell my brain is fried?

discipline, synopsis, writing

Reflections & Triumph

My week away from blogging helped me last week. I was refreshed. I was productive. I was victorious!

I wrote my first synopsis!!!!!

And it’s not all that great. Believe me, it’s not. I had a friend look it over, as well as my dad, and they both had some encouraging and constructive advice to give me. Once I get their feedback in written form, I will tackle the edits on it.
Photo: Tim Toole

This learning process is such an interesting thing. I had looked online at different synopsis and yet I still struggled with how the thing was supposed to be done. Especially the one pager…it is difficult to fit all the plot variables of your story onto one page–even if it is single spaced! lol
I learned how to write the synopsis through the actual act of writing it. And I learned even more by having someone with experience look at it with expert eyes and show me how to make it better.
I am finding that I can read writing craft books until the cows come home; I can soak up the great blogs about writing until I’m saturated and dripping all over the place; I can research and talk to other writers 24/7 and yet I will never learn as much, or as fast, as when I actually put fingers to the keyboard and write, write, write.

Newbies like me need to write. We need to write a lot. Practice may not make perfect, but it hones our skills and makes our stories stronger.
I’m confessing my addiction to blogs and to FB…and to Twitter…and to TV. (I refuse to confess to my book or chocolate addiction!) I am not giving them up, but I am cutting back. Paring down, weeding out, throwing out…I’m going to be strong.

Yay me!