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


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.

Christmas in July

What do you do when you're about to melt from the soaring temperatures of summer? You dream of cold weather and pick up a good book.

Accomplishing both, my friend and fellow writer, Bonnie Harris, is doing a Christmas in July give-away. Head over to her blog to check it out.

My book, The Archer's Hollow, is featured. If you don't already own it, sign up to win a free e-copy and enjoy a fantasy adventure with romance, of course.

Proper Inflation

The other day my son's bike tires were a little low. After filling his with air, I attached the pump to my own bike tires and inflated them to proper levels. Big deal, right? Right you are!

What I found was that it took a lot less effort to get places with my tires inflated than it had when they were below optimal psi. Which got me thinking. I had heard how proper inflation is important not only to bikes, but to cars. But I had sort of dismissed it. Oh, everyone knows that, my tires look fine, what difference can it really make?, my tires still get me down the road, etc.

I think you know where I am going with this. Even though we hear things or know things as we progress on our writing journey, it's important to pay attention to the little details. Everyone knows you have to have a hook, right? But how seriously do I take having a great hook at the beginning of my story? That's just a tiny example (unfortunately there are more). What things do you overlook? What area of your writing can you improve today. Focus on it--like a laser! This is all about self-discovery and getting better as we go. Having the right things in place makes the journey--writing or biking--much easier.

Write on my friends, write on.