Friday, September 30, 2011

Writing in Slow Motion

I read all the time about writers who spend months researching before they start writing. I have a lot to learn and spend a lot of time each day figuring out how to do things on the computer that I'm not familiar with; the research is the easy part.

Lately, I'm learning something every day. Most writer blogs give advice on how to do things. One of these days I'll feel comfortable advising people, but for now I'm learning by experience, reading a lot of other people's sage advice, and working on my books.

I would say the actual writing is much easier than all the rest. These days writers have to be all facets of the publishing process as well as marketing. Most of us didn't sign up for this, but this is the direction things have gone so far. It, unfortunately, takes up a chunk of the time we could be writing and being productive.

I trudge onward and upward toward the shining goal of a wildly successful book. Some people make it. Why not me?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Working Away

I'm happily working away on two books at the moment. One of them will be ready soon and I'll fill you in on it when it's ready. I'm brain storming for a title.

Have a great day and a productive week!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The End of a Season

It's the last official day of summer and I plan to take the laptop outside and enjoy it. I know we'll still have Indian Summer, those hot fall days that bridge the gap between summer and fall's crisp days.

Working in a different setting makes my mind react in different ways - sometimes good and sometimes not so good. A crowded airport isn't the most conducive to work, though some of you may be able to shut out all the noises and get productive in that setting, but working outside on the patio with the birds chirping and an occasional sound from a neighbor's house or an airplane going by is just my cup of tea.

I have a new/old project to work on today and I'm looking forward to seeing it with older more experienced eyes and making it better than before.

Have a great day and enjoy the last day of summer.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Never Pass Up An Opportunity

The past few months have brought opportunities that I never could have imagined. Some I accepted because friends asked me to do them and some I felt obligated to do, but they have all been enriching.

As writers, we are more internal people than external, and would rather shut ourselves up in a room with a computer and play out things on the page.

Yesterday was Constitution Day and at the last minute, I was asked to tell the story of Emily Geiger, a teenage Revolutionary War heroine. It was WAY out of my comfort zone to speak to hundreds of people and tell a story to them, but I felt obligated since they couldn't find a teenage girl who would do it.

People came by in groups of a dozen or so and I did my best to tell them the story as if they were sitting in my living room and I was relaying a great story to them. The feedback was encouraging to say the least! Teens shook my hand and thanked me. You could see on their faces they were all getting into the drama of Emily's story. The expressions changed as the drama unfolded and ended with smiles, clapping, thanks, and hand shaking.

After the first round, when my voice stopped shaking, I really got into it and had fun. After all, a writer is also a storyteller. It was a lovely day and I met some great people.

The point of all this is to say: Opportunities are everywhere. Don't automatically say no because you don't think you have time or it's not your forte or whatever excuse you may want to give. I keep a running list with dates of all the events, projects, achievements (no matter how small) to remind myself of how far down the path I have traveled. I've just begun on my route, but I'm looking forward to reaching the point where I can look backwards too. Every writer started with that first article, book, play, or engagement. Each of our paths is different and mine is different than I thought it would be, but it's my path and I'm enjoying watching it bloom and grow.

My motto these days is to accept things outside my comfort zone. It kind of reminds me of a fence I built in my early 20's. We bought brick that matched the house and I laid brick posts every 10 feet around the perimeter of the yard. Because the yard sloped up, I used a level string to keep the posts looking neat and even. After the posts were up, I put up privacy wood sections, also leveled with the use of the string to fill in the spaces between the brick posts. It was a lot of work. I had never done something like that and once I got started, I wished I hadn't ever begun, but at that stage, it had to be finished or it would have looked horrible. I developed a rash from the cement, but I persevered. When the wood was cut, I rounded the top of each board using a dinner plate. The result was quite nice.

I have begun many projects in my life, not knowing what I was getting myself into, and having to finish them because leaving it half done was not an option I was willing to accept. Along the way, I've learned how to do many things I never thought I could do. Now, people call me for advice on how to do things.

It's funny how that works - do a few things and suddenly everyone thinks you are the expert.

My writing experience did not start with a degree in journalism, English, or anything else applicable. It began with a life of stories, a big imagination, a love of reading and a love of knowledge. I have no mentor watching over me, but people have come into my path and given me opportunities, encouragement, and tasks to do that have been wonderful additions to my journey. Now, when someone asks me to do something that I automatically want to say "no" to, I think about it before answering. What new avenues could this open up for me? Can I help someone or teach something along the way? Will I meet new people who I can help or who might be helpful to me? It's give and take and makes you feel great when you can help someone else. Don't always expect something in return.

Looking at opportunities in a new light may keep you from passing on something that could be a wonderful break for you and a blessinig to others.

And the Winner Is

The winner of the autographed copy of The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund is

(drum roll)

Debi from Eufala, OK. Debi, please send me your address by email: to

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Book Giveaway

Don't forget to leave a comment here with your name for a chance to get an autographed copy of Jody Hedlund's The Doctor's Lady. The drawing is on Friday.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Good Advice

Jody Hedlund guest posts on Rachelle Gardner's blog and gives excellent advice to all writers.

Betty Davis's line "Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy ride." fits a writer's life. There will be ups and downs, highs, and lows, and emotions swinging like a pendulum. Not letting those extremes affect you are part of the road we travel.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

11 Reasons to Own a Kindle or other E-Reader

1. You can carry a whole library on one device.

2. You don't have to touch the germy magazines at the doctor's office.

3. It fits in your purse or brief case and hardly weighs anything.

4. You can always carry it with you. Then if you sit next to someone on
the bus, plane, train, tram, or dentist's office that you don't want to
talk to, READ.

5. There are many free books and e-books are less expensive in general.

6. If you want a new one, you can have a new book in 60 seconds -

7. An e-reader is easier to hold than a book if you have arthritis.

8. Adjustable type!

9. When you travel, you aren't loaded down with several books and your

10. Time standing in line at the bank, Post Office, DMV, etc. goes much

11. Thousands of great skins.

I'm sure you have your own reasons for loving your e-reader. That said, there are a few books I prefer to have an actual physical copy of than an electronic copy. These are: cookbooks, art books, decorating books, how-to books, and I just can't for the life of me picture an e-coffee table book.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Book Giveaway

Here's your chance to get an autographed copy of Jody Hedlund's new book, The Doctor's Lady.

If you read the interview with Jody (scroll down) you know this Inspirational Historical Romance is about the first white woman to travel across country on what became known as the Oregon Trail.

To enter, leave a comment here with your name. Do not sign in as anonymous. The drawing will be held on Friday, September 16th. Be sure to check back and see who won. If the winner does not respond, I'll re-draw from the remaining names. Good Luck! U.S. mailing addresses only, please.

Friday, September 2, 2011

What Do You Eat (Or Drink) While Writing?

I see this question everywhere lately. Writers nosh on donuts, coffee, specific candies, fast food, and countless other specific foods that put them in the writing zone.

Maybe it's a habit. Maybe their best seller was written while they nibbled on Cheeto's or ate bags of Snickers candy bars. Maybe it is considered a good luck charm.

I might bring a cup of homemade soup to the computer desk, but I really hate crumbs, sticky stuff, or spills on the keyboard, so I tend to go eat somewhere else and then go back to writing. I think the walk from office to table is good for me and keeps the blood flowing. No specific food or beverage turns on my writer switch, although I've been known to keep a bottle of water handy.

How about you? Do you have a "writing" snack?