Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Writing prompt time - and a giveaway!

Okay, so in a hat-tip to the holidays, let's do a Christmas-themed writing prompt today :)

You can choose to finish the below sentence in the comment box. Keep it under 100 words, and be creative. Have fun!

He looked so good standing under the mistletoe, she could just....

PS - If you participate, you'll be entered to win a copy of my novel THE GINGERBREAD SEASON, a novella in a two-novella compilation entitled MISTLETOE PRAYERS. (other novella contributed by fellow author Marta Perry) If you already have my novella, then play anyway and encourage others to enter too.


Merry Christmas! (We can say that now, it's after Thanksgiving. hehehe)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Your Dreams

For anyone who needs encouragement to keep following their writing dreams, even ten years into them... read this.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A little holiday comparison...

Did you know there's about 495084504859045840 different ways to make turkey crafts? I do, because my daughter has brought them all home from preschool over the past month. hehehe. Our home has been turkied, and it's not even officially Thanksgiving yet! And, of course, I can't throw ANY of them away. She's a turkey prodigy, and they're all so beautiful!!! :)

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? Apparently preschool has been ready for the entire month. ;)

I'm ready for the food, and the family time, and maybe most of all, the nap! Hehe. Just kidding. Sort of. What I'm definitely ready for is SLEEPING IN FRIDAY instead of going Black Friday shopping. Are you braving the crowds? Or will you be like me, snuggled under the covers and reveling in the fact that your Christmas shopping is already halfway done, and you already got your coveted Old Navy peacoat at 75% off earlier in the week, and you don't really care to risk life and toes in JcPenney or Best Buy?

Sometimes I think our writing is like the holiday season. You have this story. It's fresh and homey and lovely. Makes you feel good, like a big family dinner and a nap on the back porch. It's colorful like Autumn leaves, and typing the end is the pumpkin pie dessert. Its perfect. The perfect day, the perfect story, the perfect writing experience.

Then you sell the novel, and Black Friday hits. You're suddenly in a flurry of revisions and line edits and "OH MY GOSH WHY DID THEY CUT THAT" and red ink and you're wishing for the covers back. Your toes and spirits are crushed and you feel like the worst writer in the world and you're struggling to find that good deal and make the story what you want AND what your publisher wants and the tug of war between you and your editor begins, much like the one going on over at Toyrs R Us between two sleep deprived mommies over a talking Elmo doll. You are bruised and limping and thinking "why did I even leave my bed?" Why did I even try? Is this worth it?

Then Christmas morning comes. And your book is on the shelf. And you're sitting in Barnes & Noble signing books and drinking mochas. And the reviews come in. And just like the joy you get from seeing your kid open that coveted gift you practically risked your life for, you receive emails from readers telling how God used your words to touch their life. How God healed them or touched in some way. And you remember the real meaning of it all.

And you can't wait for "next year" ;)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Writing Prompts

Looking to add spice to your writing? Need excitement for your scenes or characters?

Let these stories spur you on:

When all else fails, truth really is stranger than fiction.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Let the craziness begin!

Is anyone else in a little bit of shock that Thanksgiving is THURSDAY?!

This is always the time of year that I start with such wonderful writing goals and end around New Years with absolutely NONE of those goals accomplished. Somehow between the eating of the pecan pies and the unwrapping of the presents, time just seems to melt away.

But this year, I've got plans. And a list. And I'm dangerous with a list.

Actually, I'm more dangerous without a list. It's why we currently have three unopened bottles of pancake syrup in my cabinet.

What writing goals are you hoping to accomplish? One of the best things anyone ever told me was to set personal deadlines - even if you've got a "real" deadline. I always like to finish my deadlines about a month in advance, just so I have the time to read back through it and make any corrections.

Can I encourage you guys to make a list with me? And while you're eating that third slice of leftover pecan pie, go ahead and lick the fork clean and then hit the laptop with all that happy sugar rush of energy. :)

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Erynn :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Yes, Even Writers Occasionally Loathe the Sight of Their Own Laptops

It's been a particularly crazy week on the freelance writing front, so that's why my normal post is (gasp!) a day late. I don't know why, but there are some weeks were everything is due—all at the same time, naturally.

I'm pretty sure by yesterday my brain texture officially changed from soft and malleable to downright crusty and burnt, and it's because I've been writing and writing and writing and writing—a blessing since that means I'll be getting paid soon, but a little stressful all the same.

To be honest, there was a point when I worried about my backside permanently becoming one with my chair and having to call 911 so someone could separate us. Thankfully, that never happened. But I did feel like I'd aged 10 years before popping an Advil.

And it's in these moments where it's a great reminder that no matter how long we've been writing that it's okay to occasionally loathe the very sight of my beloved Macbook Pro. Like the best things in life, writing is work, and we have to be prepared for the times when it's not all sunshine and lemondrops.

So that's why I'm about to log out for the day, grab a caramel macchiato and see Breaking Dawn Part 1 (yes, it's a guilty pleasure of mine, bad writing and all)...after all, when you love something as much as I love writing, you have to set it free from time to time. :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jesus Loves Me! No really it's true

Do you ever have moments where something random or really minor but great happens, moments where you find such joy in something so ridiculous or small that you think "It really is the little things in life?"

I do. I call them my "Jesus Loves Me moments"

Like when you're going through a certain tough situation, and right when you get in the car, a song on the radio comes on that applies to you so specifically, a song that hasn't played on the radio in FOREVER. And you think "Jesus loves me".

Or when your husband is about to go buy a motorcycle in New York and drive it all the way from New York to north Louisiana, and in the middle of your panic attack, the seller of the motorcycle gets all shady and refuses a mechanical check, and the deal is off. And you think "Jesus loves me."

I had another moment like that today. I was planning on going to McDonalds and getting a hot caramal mocha. I had counted calories before and planned my day around it (was only 200 calories or so) and was going to get it to help my throat (Fall allergies). But I couldn't get over into the right lane, so I turned into Sonic instead and was just gonna get a boring ol' Diet Coke again. Then I remembered Sonic had coffee, so I ordered a hot caramal mocha from them.

And instead, I somehow was given a cold caramal mocha Java Chiller, which is like a coffee milkshake, and I had no idea how many calories it was, and didn't care, because honestly, it was the best thing I'd eaten/drank in a super long time. It was FABULOUS. And I was free to enjoy it and just relish it because I had no idea how bad it was for me and truly didn't care. It was my little "have a good morning" treat from the Lord. A reminder to quit being so uptight, so strict, so organized and detailed and anal about everything and just enjoy life sometimes.

Jesus loves me!

Some of those examples might be silly to you, but they're real, nontheless, and if we don't take the time to find Jesus in the daily grind, in the everyday hectic moments of life, and appreciate Him, acknowledge Him, thank Him - what do we really have? Abundant life? Not so much.

A ton of people - Christians or not - could experience all of the above (all 3 of those examples happened within the past week FYI) and blow it off. Not even notice. Call it coincidence or destiny or whatever else they wanted to. But I call it Jesus.

What do you call it?

Have you had any moments like that recently? Moments where you felt connected to your Saviour in a way that would sound totally dumb if you tried to explain it out loud, but knew in your heart it was the real deal?

Please share! I'd love to hear about it and praise with you!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Post Where I Confess I'm A Wuss

I’m as fly-by-night as they come. When Ethan and I got engaged, it was kind of like, Sure… why not now? We just met three months ago, but we know this is forever. 

(Yeah, there were raised eyebrows from friends, but when they met him (some five minutes before the ceremony) there was unabashed approval.)

I figured having a baby would be the same way. Since I’m not a planner I decided NOT to take a birth class (insert raised eyebrows from friends again). I preferred the ignorant rout.

I knew it was gonna hurt... what more did I need to know?

In the end I caved and took a 60 minute session just so I would “know how to breathe”. (I didn’t realize labor would take away that ability, but apparently it did. Somehow I did manage to gasp out the word “epidural”, though, and suddenly my world was a much brighter place.)

OK, enough evidence that I don’t like planning. But sometimes, folks, planning is necessary. Especially for writers.

The truth is, writing a book is a lot different than engagement or childbirth. Both of those things are dependent on other people. Ethan popped the question – Zoey popped my butt bone.They were both going to happen no matter how unprepared I was.

But there’s one thing I've learned if you don't work in a newsroom: You have to create your own deadlines.

So join me, fellow fly-by-night artists. Set a real deadline. Something attainable. Ask someone to keep you accountable.

Your book is not going to write itself. SCHEDULE TIME to write, and do it, preferably before the ninth hour like this post. (Which actually proves my point – schedule your time to write BEFORE the day you want it to happen.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Because it's Monday...

Ha! What are you guys working on today?

(P.S. No, toilet paper is not a valid answer.) ;)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Seasonal Bliss Part 2

What's been keeping me company during NaNoWriMo you ask?

Well, my brand of seasonal bliss, the illustrious gingerbread latte, of course.

Since I'm attempting to write 50,000 words in a single month, there will be no special holiday stories for me this year. But I will say that I'm pretty sure that I write soo soo much faster when there's happy Christmas music playing in the background (my favorites of late are She and Him's holiday album and Michael Buble's new one).

For some reason hearing "It's Beginning to Look a Like Christmas" and "Silent Night" gets those words flowing on the page in record time. Maybe I should listen to Christmas music all year long then? Hmmm. But then again, there wouldn't be gingerbread lattes to accompany it. Oh well, a girl can dream, right?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Seasonal Bliss

It's beginning to look a lot like...Peppermint mochas at Starbucks!

I mean, er, Christmas...hehehe.

What is your favorite holiday treat to look forward to? And do you incorporate these goodies into your novels?

I LOVE writing holiday-themed stories. The only problem was one time I was revising a Christmas novella (THE GINGERBREAD SEASON, Love Inspired novella compilation October 2010) in the summer. That was tricky. And hubby is one of these Scrooge types who can't bear holiday music until the day after Thanksgiving at the earliest, and even then, he would rather not hear any at all. LOL. So yeah that was an interesting couple of weeks.

I'm trying to be good this year and not skip Thanksgiving celebrations. I always get ahead of myself and start humming O Holy Night in, like, mid October. I won't forget turkey day this year - especially because right after Thanksgiving we're going to DISNEYWORLD!! WOOHOO!! Talk about a great holiday season. :)

What do you have coming up this holiday season? Are you writing a holiday story? Or are you taking a break from writing to enjoy a seasonal break? What inspires you the most about this time of year? :) (I think we all know my answer to this can be found in the Starbucks drive through line, and well, probably Erynn's too. haha)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Playing pretend

I remember when I was a little kid, I loved playing house.

I loved to dress up in aprons - because, of course, all moms always wore aprons. I loved to set up pretend beds and tuck my baby dolls to sleep. I used to plan activities for them and then scold them when they did something wrong. I'd make their meals, help them with their homework and teach them how to play leapfrog.

I had a very vivid imagination.

And today, I took the first step in introducing the gift of an imagination to my little Nater Tot. We went and bought some plastic fruits and vegetables, an eighty-eight cent set of spoons and spatulas, a set of measuring cups and a bunch of plastic bowls. And he pretended to make soup for the next HOUR.

Considering my boy has about a sixteen-second attention span, this was amazing!

I was thinking about it today though - it's not just fifteen-month-olds who need to learn how to use their imaginations. Writers do too. Maybe not in the same way - I'm not sure I'd get a lot of inspiration from stirring a giant purple plastic eggplant and what looks like a yellow orange around in a bowl. :) Instead, writers have to learn how to "force" their imagination and inspiration - deadlines don't get made by just writing when you feel like it, sad to say.

So, if your well is running a little dry, try out a few of my ideas to get your imagination and inspiration back up and running!

* Read a book you've never read before.

* Read a book you've read before and love and try to figure out why it means so much to you.

* Create a winter wreath (sometimes doing something creative in a different way can get the writing juices flowing!).

* Learn a new card game.

* Check Facebook. (Ok, I can hear all of you now: "WHAT??!!" Just do it. Those status updates will definitely provoke some sort of story idea! Another new favorite - Pinterest. Need setting ideas? Check out the houses/rooms on there. Just be sure to give yourself a time limit or you may never get to your writing.)

* Go for a walk or do a workout. Brains need blood flow and oxygen. Plus, you might make a little progress on counteracting that "writer's booty" that is a matched set to your couch cushion.

* See how you can dress up an ordinary chocolate chip cookie recipe.

* Try changing your location from where you usually write. Do you write at a desk? Move to the kitchen table. Inside? Head outside for a little bit. At night? Try writing in the mornings (assuming you aren't operating off a nap schedule.)

Now, stop reading this and get to cultivating that inspiration!! And come back and let us know how it went!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

God's fingerprints

Do you ever look back on your life and see how God worked all those (at the time) random, confusing or hurtful situations for good? Romans 8:28 in action! I call this God's fingerprints.

I see them today. There's a situation going on in my life where I look back and realize now that all the devotional topics I read during a period of time, all the encouraging songs I kept hearing on repeat on the radio, all the comments from friends, snippets of certain topics in church, articles I read on random Christian blogs, were all leading me to this point in time. To strengthen, encourage, uplift, and comfort. To give direction for my actions today, in the storm. To prove God is there and was there all along, and most importantly, will continue to be. :)

God's fingerprints.

Do you see His hands at work in your life today?

I tell you, there is NOTHING on this earth more comforting than that. It's almost like having an inside joke with the Lord. And that's worth every heartache, every question, every soul-character development going on.

God doesn't wear gloves. He lets His glory shine through, He gives us evidence of Himself if we simply open our eyes and LOOK for it.

Will you look today?