Ask For What You Want

Recently I read James A. Owen's trilogy Drawing out the Dragons (also available at Amazon and BN). I had heard the author speak and one of the things that stood out was to have the courage to ask, because we just might get what we ask for. Thank you, Mr. Owen for the wisdom behind that and for inspiring courage because recently something really good happened to me and my writing/critique partners.

It actually started about a year ago. I discovered a craft book, Mastering the Craft of Writing, by Stephen Wilbers. It's a wonderful book divided up into 52 lessons on writing. I asked my writing friends, who are also critique partners, if they wanted to do a 52 week challenge. We started and sputtered and then summer came and it went by the wayside.

We decided late in the year to try again, but to blog about what we did each week as a motivation to keep going. We set out the parameters and blog schedule. But we were concerned about copyright and what we could include on our blog. We decided to ask permission to use excerpts from the book on the blog. Not long after we asked, Mr. Wilbers very kindly granted us permission. I cannot describe how I felt. I think it was a cross between awe in the honor he gave us and sheer joy that he'd said yes. We have started the blog and you can check it out at Five Pages of Something.

It's Almost Here

What's almost here? ANWA's annual Time Out for Writers Conference in sunny Mesa, Arizona. I have participated in this conference several times and always come away with new and usable information.

Conferences are expensive, so choosing one is something to be done with care. No matter where you are in your writing journey, I think you will find something that applies to you. Class descriptions can be found on ANWA's website.

I hope you'll join us, it's going to be another great Conference. If you aren't able to make it, keep learning and Write On my friends!

Creativity Brings Joy

I love the quote by Elder Richard G. Scott, "Attempt to be creative for the joy it brings."

Last week I spent many hours creating. Nothing in the way of the written word, but in the assembly of fabrics. I made two Halloween costumes for my oldest daughter and her friend.

 They wanted to be Christine Daie and Meg Ghiry from The Phantom of the Opera. I took a look at the pictures and went to work. Many trips to the fabric/craft stores, long days, and a couple of late nights all produced fun (and granted, they would never be used on Broadway) but pretty close to the real look costumes. There's something about finishing a huge project that is beyond satisfying. Now, I really need to apply that to my writing.

Let's gear up for a huge project in November: National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo, or NaNo for short. When your cramming 50K words into an already busy schedule, who has time to say the whole thing... I'm in. Are you in? Then let's Write On my friends!

Strange and Lovely

It's a paranormal giveaway.

Well, not really, it's actually a giveaway of paranormal short stories. You can buy Strange and Lovely at Amazon but you can also win a free copy. How do you do that? It's easy, just enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Validation. It's a personal thing. Much like your fingerprint: everyone's is different.

I grew up constantly seeking validation, approval, if you will. My parents are wonderful people and I love them very much, but I never felt like this happened. Then, I went away to college. I don't remember much of what I learned, except that at some point in my Psychology class I came to the realization that there is one and only one validation I need. That validation comes from God. This changed my life. No, I'm not going to go all religious in this post. But I will say that my life is so much better when I feel in tune with God. He knows my greatest potential. He cheers for me every second, minute, hour of my day. He makes up the difference when I fall short. His gift allows me to write. 

Perhaps, subconsciously, I chose to self-publish because I didn't want to face the rejection of the people who don't think it's good enough. Perhaps, which is my story and I'm sticking to it, I'm lazy and didn't want to go to all the work of creating a query, seeking agents, creating a synopsis (really?), etc. I just want to write stories. The best I can. I'm sure at some point I will look back and laugh at my amateur attempt, but guess what? I wrote a book. I will write another one. And I pray that my stories will lift and encourage others, that they will be what God wants them to be. Really, what else is there?

What's Your Favorite?

We all have favorites: favorite colors, favorite animals, favorite books, movies, food, and the list could go on for many pages.

How about a favorite phrase? Or word? Sometimes in our writing we overuse phrases or words. The difficulty comes in identifying those phrases or words (perhaps because we love them, we overlook how often we use them). When I did one of my final editing runs for The Archer's Hollow, I used a list of commonly overused words (that, just, etc.) and discovered not only did I overused them, but there were some phrases I really liked. You can't find these phrases with a read-through. Holy cannoli, by the time I did that edit, I think I'd read that manuscript a hundred times. OK, so that is a bit of an exaggeration, but it felt like it. When you go through and find specific words, you are able to see the manuscript from a different perspective. It's a good thing, I promise.

After your first and maybe second drafts (or even your fifth or sixth), go through searching for those common words and see if you can find your own Pet Phrases. In the meantime, Write On my friends!

Do It Right

I want to share a contrast with you. All the houses I have lived in during my married life have involved rock in the landscaping theme. The first one didn't have any water to the rock except from the rain. In Arizona, that isn't often, so clearly nothing grew there. The next three houses had either black plastic or black weed prevention mesh stuff (I don't know the name), very little grew there and if it did, it was usually after a rainstorm. The bonus being that those weeds were usually super easy to pull. The house I am currently in has lots of rock. Nothing but hard Arizona soil under those rocks, but you know what? Weeds grow there. And not just a few. A. LOT. I don't think millions would be an exaggeration, but it obviously is. How is it possible that every day I am pulling weeds out of the rocks only to find many, many more the next day. When people say their kids grow like weeds, this is what they're talking about: day one, a tiny sprout, day seven, nearly a bush. Can you feel my frustration? Are you thinking "Weed killer, duh!"? Oh, I've tried weed killer. I know, I need a different kind, one with pre-emergent stuff in it. I'm not too confident that even that would work.

How does this apply to writing? Funny you should ask. A proper foundation, or doing things right, saves so much time and work in the long run. Learn your craft, never stop learning it, set a good foundation for your writing, and Write On my friends.