Holiday Spirit

Last weekend I participated in the Harvest Craft Fair in my hometown. I look forward to it months in advance and am usually a bit bummed when it’s over. Anticipation hangover. The craft fair signals the start of the holiday season with lights, music, and community. My favorite parts of the holidays.

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Each year I have one or two new books to add to my table. If I stay the course I’ll need to add another table. ūüôā The turnout, both vendors and shoppers/browsers, was the largest yet.

The holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on our blessings and seek out ways to make life better for those around us.
~ Terri Marshall

The rest of my week, and the weeks to come, are more centered around these books:

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For most people, it would be frightening to see these books on someone’s shelves. For mystery writers they couldn’t be more normal. And helpful!

And with that, short and sweet as it was, I’m headed back over to Birch Haven, Minnesota, the home of Melanie Hogan, to finish up NaNoWriMo strong.

Until next week…

Carpe Diem

Same Blog, New Look

Sunrise in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India

 

 

 

 

 

I decided my blog needed a facelift. Something lighter, brighter, and airier–is that even a word?¬† ūüôā

I’m back to blogging after the intensity of NaNoWriMo and the week of basking in the afterglow.¬† I’m working with an editor on my novel, The Inheritance, I’m looking forward to the first revision of The Last Resort, the first draft of which was written during this past NaNo, and have begun¬†writing my Memoir.¬† In order to make time for these works in progress, in addition to¬†working a full-time job and making time for my family–the most important of all–I’ve concluded I need to make a change to my blogging schedule.¬† I will be posting one original post on Wednesdays and a meaningful, thought-provoking quote over the weekend.¬† This blog and my blog community has become a special and important part of my writing life, and I’m looking forward to this new change.

I used to fear change, but as I’ve grown more¬†confident in who I am, a child of God and the daughter of a King, I welcome change as new opportunities to enjoy and conquer, revealing a bright horizon.

All is Grace.

NaNoWriMo 2013

NaNoWriMo is over for this year, and I reached my goal of winning–two years in a row.¬† While I thought I would be¬†looking forward to taking a bit of time off from writing,¬†instead¬†it¬†made me¬†desire to¬†adhere to my writing schedule even more.¬†¬†Writing is¬†blissfully fulfilling to me.¬† It’s what I do for fun, for peace, for growth.¬† And I¬†believe God¬†gave me this gift for a purpose–to honor¬†Him.¬† And I am humbly grateful He chose little ole’ me to¬†honor Him.¬† What a gift! ūüôā

2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover

“Relax. No, celebrate. You were meant to be on this road you‚Äôre walking. And because others have walked it before, you can do so as well‚ÄĒif you do not give up.

What we all have in common is our desire to tell a well-crafted story. To create characters and worlds that stand the test of time‚ÄĒbe it one month, five years, or a hundred. So do you. Tell your story.”

‚ÄĒ Sharon G. Flake, on soaring.

All is Grace.

Writing My Memoir

English: Typewriter "Hermes" Deutsch...

So the idea of writing my memoir has been tumbling around in my mind for a long time now. Having a tendency to cram ten lifetimes into one, I’ve experienced so many things in my life, good as well as some not-so-good (aka: mistakes), that I would like to share in the hopes of helping others get through their trials and tribulations. Even if it’s just one person I am able to reach. And even if it’s simply by letting that one person know that someone out there has experienced what they’re going through, understands them, and has overcome.

Research I’ve done revealed numerous articles which advise that in order for your memoir to be effective and worth reading, one cannot sensor what is written for fear of what people will think. That the writer cannot fear what the reader will think of them or anyone else, and the writer cannot worry about upsetting other people.

 Pen and Paper

I need to say I struggle with that concept. That being said, maybe I’m reading into those sentiments all wrong. While I don’t worry what the reader will think of me, I don’t believe it is my place, writing memoir or not, to tell someone else’s private story, even if it directly affected my life and how I grew from that connection or grew tired trying to overcome the obstacle from that connection. I would like to believe that there is a difference between writing the truth about an incident, even if someone else is involved, and throwing another under the bus. That it is possible to tell my story even where it involves others, and not hurt them in the process of telling that story.

As I finalize the last details in publishing my book, The Inheritance, and begin outlining my memoir, I think I will insert the word “Pray” at the top of every note card I prepare for each writing session. A reminder to pray and ask for God’s guidance to write the truth, to help those I can with my story, and to keep information with a potential to hurt anyone at all confidential and out of the story. Even if it’s just the name. To always remember that making the story interesting and credible means not hurting another. And that if hurting another is what it takes to make a sale, it’s no different than selling one’s soul. May my soul always belong to God.

All is Grace.

Why I Write

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Last week I received an email from the author of a blog I follow,¬† The Creative Penn, and the author asked her readers to think about why we write.¬† And that did, indeed, get me thinking…

I write because when I do, I:

*     Feel freedom and the ability to express myself in a way that nothing else can match.

*¬†¬†¬†¬† Feel joy, ¬†peace, and pure contentment.¬† Even if I’m working on a piece that doesn’t come easy, I’m in my element in the quiet¬†¬†¬†¬† of¬†my office with pen in hand or fingers on the keyboard, mood music playing softly on Pandora, and my mind creating whatever it happens to be creating at that moment.

Create.

 

 

 

 

 

*¬†¬†¬†¬† Get more connected with God by making my thoughts concrete on the page, where oftentimes it’s then I can see where God is working in my life, or where I’m not, showing me I need to make myself available for more of God.

*¬†¬†¬†¬† Am able to live vicariously through my characters–where else can one live so many different lives and have so many fun, funny, loyal, and even quirky friends? ūüôā

*¬†¬†¬†¬† Have the ability to reach and connect with other people that I wouldn’t have been able to without the magic of written words.¬† I’m able to connect with my sponsor kids through Compassion International, making a difference in lives in another country.¬† How blessed am I! I’m able to connect with readers on this blog, every one of which I am so grateful for. ¬†It’s a magical connection that other writer’s at heart can likely understand.

*     Can turn a bad day to better from being able to escape to another world, whichever I happen to create, or by simply writing my feelings on paper, making me aware of them and then being able to let them go.

*¬†¬†¬†¬† Spent a number of years getting too busy with life, which resulted in not writing, and I’m a much happier person when I write.

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*¬†¬†¬†¬† Cannot imagine my life without words and story, whether handwritten or from the keyboard.¬† The vehicle which produces those words doesn’t matter, only the fact that I’m able to do it.

‚ÄúThere is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē¬†¬†¬†¬† Maya Angelou

All is Grace.

Thankful Thursday — Autumn & New Beginnings

Autumn's Arrival

Autumn–even the word is beautiful, not to mention pleasing to all five senses.

It conjures up images of evening lamplight, candle flames flickering and dancing on walls of rooms darkening a wee bit earlier each evening, the scents of food cooking in the crockpot, fresh stewed tomatoes canning, and the smells of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Autumn brings with it the warmth of the sun on a clear, cool day, and crisp evenings in the rocker on the porch with a soft, warm blanket and a cup of herbal tea.

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It brings afternoons of fun, laughter, and exercising together as a family while raking leaves into huge piles in which to jump and bury one another.

It’s a time where the trees’ clothing magically turns from green to multiple hues of fire orange, golden yellow, and vibrant red–the hallmark of Autumn–as well as the scent of those changing and fallen leaves, the fullness and completeness of summer. The closing of one book and opening of another.

And that new book contains so many new beginnings. Fresh starts. Its energy breathes new life into my bones, hot and tired from the heat and busyness that tends to take over summer before we even know what happened.

It’s the start of preparing my home for cozy evenings spent in front of the fireplace, hot apple cider while reading a good book on the back porch, wool sweaters, and those soft and comfy hoodies.

Walks in the woods, dried, fallen leaves swirling around my feet and crunching under each step, the woodsy smell and earth’s aroma as nature, too, readies itself for sleep in order to prepare for a new season. The chill in the breeze making rosy circles on smiling cheeks.

Autumn seems to be the start of a new writing season for me. It’s the time I plan–the stories and a writing schedule that will carry me through the winter. Also planning my next NaNoWriMo project. And though it means a schedule, it’s a feeling of coming home to that place I find freedom, warmth, security, and even exhilarating madness that somehow feels comforting.

It’s the beginning of a new holiday season, of time spent with family and friends, the annual conference for my day job in the breathtaking mountains of Keystone, Colorado, as well as a Writers Retreat in a serene retreat center snuggled in the Rockies, the latter being a first time adventure. A new beginning.

Leaves Under Water

It feels like God is especially close in the Autumn season, His presence surrounding every side of me and His blessings interwoven in every aspect of my life. And as I breathe in His magnificent presence, I bathe in the glow of His goodness. And I am so grateful.

All is Grace.

When I Just Don’t Feel Like Writing

Words

Words (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

Whether it’s revising my novel, journaling, blogging, or writing letters to the children I sponsor through Compassion International, I try to do some sort of writing every day. But truth be told, some days I just simply don’t feel like writing. And from reading what other writers have to say, I’m not alone in that area. It extends well beyond the perimeter of my own limited space. What I can say from reflecting on my experience, however, is that it usually comes from complacency.

I’ve compiled some ideas on how I can forge beyond that barrier of resistance.

Visualize the End Result

If I visualize the final product of what it is I’m about to write, it usually can motivate me enough to at least get me to the keyboard, which can be the hardest part. And from there, it gets much easier. If it’s revising my novel, I visualize being that much closer to being done and what that will feel like. I imagine what it will look like when I’ve completed the revision, or better yet, the entire process of writing the book, reminding myself that getting my bottom in that chair and my fingers on the keyboard are the only things that can make that happen. If it’s writing to my sponsor children, I visualize their smiles when they receive the letters, the joy it brings to their precious hearts, and suddenly my not wanting to write seems so small in comparison.

A Reward for Reaching the Agreed Upon Goal

I’m not above bribing, and that includes myself. Whether it’s dark chocolate, a computer game, surfing the Internet, napping–whatever it takes to get me to my computer. Once I’m there, I’m usually home free.

Write Something Fun

Create a scene in my novel that I’ve been looking forward to writing, even though it may not be¬†what happens next. it still counts as words written and has, on occasion, motivated me to write more from there.

 Enjoy Other Forms of Media

Read, read, read. Read work by an author I aspire to emulate, motivational writing articles in magazines or on-line. Personally, I try to keep the Internet as a last resort, because my lack of self-discipline can sometimes lead to surfing, and that does nothing but rob me of time rather than inspire creativity. Watch movies while thinking of plot–or subplot–ideas. Movies such as The Jane Austen Book Club and The Words particularly inspired me.

Please share with us what works for you.