personal, writing, writing books

Spring Break Has Sprung

Today I am back at work, probably inundated with new students to register for school. After any holiday or at the end of a term, we lose students and we gain students, making my job extremely busy. The problem with being busy today is that my brain will not be working like it should. It will be sluggish. That’s what happens after a break.

But what a great Spring Break it was. We bought a brand new couch on Monday! What makes this special is 1) We were given money to buy a couch, and 2) It was the second new furniture purchase we have ever made! I know, you saying, What? Your kidding, right? You see, when you are in the ministry, you don’t have a lot of extra money, and people know that, so they give you things. That is a huge blessing in our lives, truly, but it makes it oh-so-special when we can purchase something of our choosing. Here is a picture of the couch we chose.

The second best thing about Spring Break is that I got to sit on my new couch with my laptop and write. I critiqued, I wrote, I edited, and I blogged. Yes, I even changed my blog layout…in case you hadn’t noticed. The other was getting to busy for me. I got more done than I expected, which makes my heart smile.

The third best thing about Spring Break was I got to watch movies. My husband and I began Downton Abbey, which is excellent. March Madness has gotten in the way, and I am threatening to continue the series without my husband. I watched some chick flicks…The Switch, Morning Glory, and Life As We Know It. All good. (Well, The Switch was just so-so.)

And the fourth best thing about Spring Break is I got to read. There’s nothing like reading in bed late at night, knowing you don’t have to get up early. There’s also nothing like reading in bed until 10 or 11 in the morning. So indulgent. Let’s see…I read Deep Trouble by Mary Connealy (a galley copy on my Kindle from Very good, and my review will come out later in April, before the book is released. I then I started several other books. I am reading them all at once, so I haven’t finished any of them. I am reading Plan B by Pete Wilson, The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction by Jeff Gerke, and The Glory of Green by Judy Christie. All very good, so far.

That was the extent of my Spring Break. I didn’t go anywhere, since I didn’t have a car, and that was fine by me!

What did YOU do for Spring Break? Or what are your plans if you haven’t had your Spring Break yet?

words, writing, writing books

What Is Your WPH? (words per hour)

I’ve been reading From The Inside…Out – discover…create…and publish the novel in you! by Susan May Warren & Rachel Hauck, hoping that I will grasp the whole writing thing before NaNoWriMo next week. May I just say that this workbook is FABULOUS! I think what I like about it is that she takes you through a journey of questions to help you discover what you need to know your characters and plot your book. The questions get you thinking and spur the imagination. Perfect for a beginner writer like me.

Now, she wrote something that kinda floored me, and I wanted to know what your experience is. Here it is:

Let’s assume you have 12 weeks to write a 30-chapter book, with approximately 3000 words per chapter. That’s 1500 words per scene. That’s thirty minutes a page.

Granted, she said not everyone will write at that pace. Some may be faster, some may be slower. I know there are people on Twitter who do the 1000 words per hour challenge and are successful at it (search #1k1hr on Twitter to see who’s doing it). But I want to know what YOU do. What is your usual verbiage per hour? What is your WPM?

encouragement, writing, writing books

I Am At War & Loving Bell!

I’ve been thumbing through one of my favorite books on writing, The Art Of War For Writers by James Scott Bell. In a previous post, I mentioned the first of his three sections in the book. If you don’t remember…and it’s okay if you don’t…the first section is about Reconnaissance. The mental game of writing. Writing smart, and writing with discipline.

The second section is all about Tactics. It is all about craft. Bell has so many succinct and jam-packed chapters that cover all kinds of issues on the writing journey. He focuses on getting your work to rise to the next level and out of the slush pile.

One of the quotes Bell uses is by Katherine Neville. It spoke to my heart and really sends home the message that we must WRITE! There is no substitute for it.

Write. Remember, people may keep you (or me) from being a published author but no one can stop you from being a writer. All you have to do is write.And keep writing. While you’re working at a career, while you’re raising children, while you’re trout fishing–keep writing! No one can stop you but you.

Isn’t that awesome? Isn’t that motivating? Isn’t that inspiring? I don’t know about you, but I need to be encouraged during every stage of this writing journey. Sure, it is fulfilling, but there is also a lot of doubt and discouragement. We all face it. (If you don’t, then don’t tell me.)

Definitely go purchase Bell’s book. The Art of War. It is a keeper!

Oh yes! I just got a package from Amazon today. (You aren’t jealous, are you?) In it was A Novel Idea: Best Advice On Writing Inspirational Fiction. It has chapters written by various authors, such as: Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, Randy Alcorn, Terri Blackstock, Jerry B. Jenkins, Robin Jones Gunn, Angela Hunt, and more! I’m looking forward to this one and I’m sure I’ll share some of the juicy tidbits I find.

What writing books have you read lately that inspire and encourage you as a writer?

craft, writing, writing books

Are You At War?

I’m reading The Art Of War For Writers by James Scott Bell. Oh.My.Goodness! This is such a good book. What I like about it are the short chapters, full of words that motivate and inspire. It is based on the book The Art of War by Sun Tzu, written well before Christ. Sun Tzu wrote about war and the tactics and strategies needed to win wars. Well, that is what Bell’s book is, but for writers regarding the writing life.

It is divided up into three sections:

1. Reconnaissance: about the mental game of writing.

2. Tactic: about the craft of writing

3. Strategy: about the business of writing (publishing)

Today I want to add a few of my favorite quotes from the first section, Reconnaissance.

“The writers of great books zealously learn the craft of their profession so they can release the power and depth of their imagination and experience.” p. 11

“Every moment spent whining about your writing career is a moment of creative energy lost.” p. 27

“Determine that you will act as if you had no fear. Act as if you are a successful writer. Don’t do this with arrogance, but with determination.” p. 30

“Finish your novel, because you learn more that way than any other.” p. 65

Aren’t those great quotes? Seriously, this book is a MUST for every writer. It is not a “how to” book, but a book that fills in the gaps and highlights the important stuff for writers. There is so much good stuff in this one!