Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I've been caught red-handed.

Boy did I just learn a lesson:

Never read Scribble Chicks when you just went to Wal-Mart in your jammies.

Erynn’s post from yesterday pretty much upped the standard. I’ve been chilling out today, watching the mold grow, and formatting the next part of the book. In my head.

Yep that’s right. No actual words on paper yet. I was writing in my head while I shopped for groceries.

Ever do that?

Anyway, I have to say I’m inspired. ‘Cause I’m starting to realize that if I want to get something in life… I often have to give something up.

So yes, I’m upping the standard for  myself. While I’ve been semi-productive and chill, I’m moving it up to uber-productive… but hopefully still chill.

Thanks Erynn.

{And if my editor's reading this... have no fear. I am right on target to finish the book before deadline. Just thinking it's possible for me to apply myself and get it done even sooner... and also perhaps lose some of the baby chub at the same time?}

Monday, January 30, 2012

Quiet Time

I have an 18-month-old son whose new favorite word is "Play."

"Play? Play? Mommy? Play?"

It's very cute until I realize that May is coming quick and I signed my contract in ink. And not that erasable ink that was all the rage waaaay back in the second grade (please tell me I am not the only one to remember when those pens came out).

So, I've been trying to find ways to get my deadline completed and still have the time and mental energy to play with my son who loves it so. And the best and longest slot of time for me to write is when he's napping.

Which means that all of the other 153 things I usually do while he's napping I now have to get done before he wakes up in the morning or while he's awake.

I am not the best at early rising.

Actually, I'm not even second best. I'm somewhere WAY down at the bottom of the list amidst those other people who are clinging for dear life to their pillows and mumbling, "Go away! Good night Moon!"


For the sake of my deadline, though, I have been attempting to get up. And not just get up. I've been attempting to wake up, work out, shower, do my devotion and eat breakfast (previously in the last 18 months, I'd only heard rumors about this morning meal. Breakfast? Surely you meant coffee?). All before my son wakes up and is raring to go play.

One of the best things I do for my writing? Read my devotion in the mornings. Sometimes it's nice to just remember why I love to do what I do. I love writing - but more than that, I love the opportunities God has brought that come with the writing.

And so. My alarm is now set for every weekday morning. And my brain is finally starting to run out of excuses for not getting up. And my writing is actually reaping the benefits.

What about you? Is there something you've been putting off changing in your current schedule that will allow you more time or more quality time to write?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Making Time to "Suffer" For Your Art

While so much of writing is actually about hunkering down and doing the work, I think so much of what gets those creative juices really flowing is effectively setting the scene.

Like an actor "getting into character," it's incredibly helpful to immerse yourself in whatever will help you best capture what you're writing about. For instance, I'm working on a novel about a group of women who find unexpected friendship in an Italian cooking class, so in order to get into that frame of mind, I have Italian dinner party music playing in the background as I type away today.

And yes, it's entirely in Italian, which helps me get a flavor of that boot-shaped country while I'm actually in the land of cowboys, a.k.a. Texas.

Long before I even wrote a word of my current work in progress, research was a huge priority. In addition to signing up for a slew of Italian cooking classes (if that's suffering for my art, well, I'm happy to do so), watching Fellini films, Roman Holiday and Under the Tuscan Sun and making sure to take a gazillion mental notes when my hubby and I visited Rome last year, I'm constantly cooking and sampling the cuisine I'm writing about so I can describe it with authority.

While Google is certainly a great little resource that I use each and every day, nothing can beat old-fashioned hands-on research. So whenever you're deciding what you're going to write about, make sure it's a subject you're passionate about because when you're a writer, eating a delectable plate of spaghetti can be "research" depending on what you're writing about.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Are you a book, magazine or newspaper?

I know these quizzes can be a real addiction and typically reveal nothing about yourself, and are probably written by WHO knows who...but they can still be fun ;)

When I saw this one I couldn't resist! Take it too and see what you get!

Click HERE to find out if you're a book, magazine or newspaper. Let us know what you get!

My results:


You are a very intellectual and logical person. You like to think, and a lot of your thinking is quite deep.You are both philosophical and idealistic. You think it's interesting to imagine how the world could be.You enjoy spending a good deal of time alone. In fact, you tend to go sort of crazy if you don't get your space.While you may seem distant, you care very deeply for humanity. You're trying to figure out how to save the world.

My results are actually very accurate this time! Go figure! I really do need my space, love to think alone, spend time with myself. I'm logical to a fault most of the time, and I do care deeply in times when others around me are more like "whatever" or not see it a big deal. I've also been accused of being a snob in the past for seeming distant. Interesting.

What'd you get?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Did you ever know that you're my hero??

Iced coffee. Seriously. I submit that there is very little better than it to stimulate the mind on days like today when the sun is shining outside, my house was just labeled a State of Emergency inside, the laundry is half-done, I've got an 18-month-old with a horrendous diaper rash running around and I'd like nothing better than to go sit outside on my back porch, close my eyes and take a nap.

Until spring.

But. That's not really an option. Not when the laundry probably needs to be finished seeing as how we don't live in a nudist colony, the rash needs Desitin, the house needs to be cleaned and oh yes, I have approximately 54K words to write before May.

Fill 'er up.

Today, we're going to talk a little bit about inspiration. As in, how do you get off the proverbial couch and settle down at the proverbial desk? (I use "proverbial" because I tend to do 90% of my writing in the exact same spot on the exact same couch.) Or, what do you do if you are writing a fantastic blockbuster of a novel and suddenly come to a halt?

First, I want to suggest my dear friend, the iced caramel latte. Delicious, sweet and creamy, it reminds me that there are still good things in this world, even if my story is not currently one of them.

If that doesn't work for you, here's a few other ideas to try:

* Change positions. Do you always write on the couch? Move to a chair at the table. Always write at your desk? Move to a bench outside. Always write in a room by yourself? Head to a busy coffee house. Sometimes just mixing up the scenery can do wonders for your brain activity.

* Do you tend to get sleepy once you sit down? (I never did until my Nater Tot came into being. It happens. I'm old.) Try getting some sort of snack to have with you while you write. (WARNING. This can lead to an even bigger indention in the couch than you've already left. Aim for healthy, brain inducing food like roasted almonds, dried cranberries, dark chocolate, etc.)

* Try turning on the tunes. Sometimes a great song can get the fun back into the writing or a creepy soundtrack can instill just the right amount of fear into your fingers as you write.

* The nose knows. Don't forget about ambiance. Light a fragrant candle or get out that Febreeze you have shoved in the mess of a laundry room (that might just be me). I love to light those Woodwick candles while I'm writing - the sound of wood crackling is just the right amount of background noise.

* Check out your main character. Is she acting out of character? Has she become boring? Maybe see if she needs the fictional version of an iced caramel latte. Sometimes, introducing your character to a new character or scene can instill more life in a novel.

* Finally, take a break. If you've tried everything and you're just stuck, trying closing the laptop and just walking away for a few minutes. Go for a walk or go to the gym. Get the blood flowing. Look on Pinterest and find a cool craft to make to get the creative juices flowing. Make some type of delicious dinner. Then get back to work! Sometimes the biggest inspiration we need is just someone telling us to DO IT!! :)

(images taken from thepioneerwoman.com. Go get the recipe and start writing!)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mixing It Up

It's definitely been one of those weeks.

I had all these wonderful goals in mind for my current work in progress and resolved this would be the week where the rest of my work wouldn't cut into my novel writing time.

Naturally (cue ominous music), when you've got the best of intentions, many, many things will come up unexpectedly that'll cut into your writing time and leave you feeling like a big fat failure.

Thankfully, it's only Thursday, and there's still another day this work week to make my writing dreams of grandeur happen. But in the meantime, I was thankful to come across this helpful little gem on one of my favorite writing sites, Write It Sideways.

It's about four writing routines that you can live with, and I gotta say, I felt downright inspired. It has solutions for people who've only got 10 minutes to write. Yeah, doesn't everyone have at least 10 minutes they can dedicate to his/her craft?

The answer, by the way, is yes.

Now it's your turn...what are you working on and what obstacles have prevented you from accomplishing your writing dreams? How do you make time for writing the thing that's so important for you?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No more writing?

What would you do if you couldn't write?

Not in the sense that writing didn't exist, or that you didn't want to or would rather choose a different hobby for the sake of an example - NO, I mean, what would you do if someone refused to LET you write? You couldn't as in, you were restrained. Not given the choice. Denied the chance or opportunity.

(I know some of us busy moms feel that way in theory but I mean on a deeper and more literal level.)

For example"

The other day my husband and I were talking about drugs and how it was so hard to understand how someone could get addicted to something so terrible. In my mind, I was especially thinking about meth and other super-hard-core drugs that destroy a woman's appearance in such a short time (premature aging, teeth yellowing or decay, wrinkles, leathery skin, baggy eyes, weight loss, vein protruding, etc.) How could someone want a high more than they could want to be a woman? Be attractive? Be inviting? How could anyone get so hooked on something that destroyed them and their quality of life and everyone they knew?

I've never done drugs so I can't put myself in their shoes. My husband, who knows people who have been on drugs before, tried to help me relate. "What is something you can't live without?"

I thought. "Um, diet coke?"

He snorted. "No. I mean, something you have to have, or you couldn't exist/function."

I thought again. Hmmm....

He then said, "What would you do if you couldn't write anymore? It's like that to them."


So ultimately, what I'm asking, is how important is writing to you? What would YOU do if you couldn't write? How far would you be willing to go "left field" to get the chance to write?

Drug addicts use this mindset to a fault, obviously, as they do dangerous things to get their next fix - and I still can't truly relate to that level of addiction but can sympathetize and pray for them. You should too.

But in a way, we can use this analogy to help us get our booties up and 'em, right? What's stopping you from writing and what can you change to be able to provide a means for yourself to do so?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Time Saving Tip of the Week

Two words: Harris Teeter! It saved my butt (and my deadline) this week.

(I’m not being paid anything to say this.)

If you have a Harris Teeter in your area, you can order your groceries online (I did this while the baby napped) and pick it up at the time of your choosing.

The service for this is $4.95 a visit or $16.95 for unlimited shopping a month.

You can even use coupons and your VIC card!

(I only spent $62 on groceries this week because I didn’t make any extra random impulse purchases I probably would have made by going to Wal-Mart.)

So tell us… how did you make more time to write this week?

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Prompt" goes the weasel

It's Monday, it's a holiday and it's very cold and windy here, so I've been yawning and having trouble getting myself moving all day. A great day to do a few writing stretches before starting the writing marathon!

Prompt 1: You are blasted into space and land safely on a new planet. What will you name it? What will you find on it? What would you like to put on it?

Prompt 2: Set a timer for one minute and write down as many different ways to describe the color blue as you can. Now use one of the best ones in your current WIP.

Prompt 3: PBS comes to you and needs a new kids TV show. What will it be about? Who will the characters be? What is the VERY basic storyline?

Prompt 4: Take a character from your current WIP and plop him/her on an island in the middle of an ocean. What one item from their life would they want/need? How will they survive?

Prompt 5: Look out the window and in ten seconds quickly describe the first thing you see. Now describe it through the eyes of a person who is colorblind.

All right! Now that you're all warmed up, get to work! And please feel free to share your prompt answers! :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kicking "Resolutions" to the Curb...

I'm proud to report that I've returned from my recent hibernation...

It wasn't easy, mind you, but I'm back...

For the first time in a good, long while, I took a legitimate break. Aside from the casual check of the e-mail and a scroll down the ol' Facebook feed, I didn't do much of anything in the whole writing realm. And it felt oh-so-good.

Instead, I read, cooked, got organized, watched movies, hung out with the hubby and yes, I even started thinking about the annual New Year's resolutions. What I wanted to change, what I needed to change, how I wanted my life to be different...

And that got me thinking about how year after year, I resolve a gazillion things and completely fall off the wagon a couple of days later. So instead of writing that big, long list that includes everything from finally losing those extra pounds to reading my Bible every day to quitting Diet Coke, to laying off the Starbucks, to finishing my novel, etc. etc. etc., I decided to retool the resolutions and essentially kick that big, long list to the curb.

Instead, I've decided to focus on a healthy life instead of a perfect one in 2012—a life where moderation reigns, and I learn to take a little more time for me like Bekah was talking about the other day. By having balance, there's time for all of those changes to actually get implemented—rather than simply being wishful thinking, and that's something I'm really, really excited about.

Now it's your turn... What do you hope will be different in 2012 in regard to your writing or other areas of your life? Also, what can we be writing about that'll help you in 2012?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cavities and Book Submissions

Yesterday I took my 3 and 1/2 year old to the dentist for the first time.

Let's just say Dread with a capital D. I had NO idea what to expect from her - tears? Whining? Complaining? Tantrums? Fits? Fleeing from the chair?

But we had to do it, and it wouldn't be any easier waiting another 6 months. So I made the appointment, armed myself with a mental supply of bribes at the ready, and went. I talked it up to her in the days before, explaining they would use a noisy toothbrush and nothing hurt, it wasn't like the doctor, and that we had to brush our teeth regularly and go to the dentist regularly so we wouldn't get cavities. A few times she said she wanted to go, a few times she said she didn't. And I really didn't know what to expect because this was a dentist I'd never even used. I had to switch us from my older dentist to this one because he's near retirement and won't take child patients anymore (smart man, haha) and I decided it'd be better for us to all go to the same place.

So again - I was clueless, and sweating. I'd only heard horror stories from other moms about first dentist trips, and how yet other moms put off appointments until their child was 5 or 6 years old to avoid freak-outs. I figured we'd soldier through and go home and nap/recover (i.e. mommy stuff face with comforting chocolate)

And you know what? She was a rockstar. She sat patiently in the waiting room, never complained or got nervous, and when they called her name, she immediately hopped up and approached the assistant and didn't even ask for me to carry her. We got to the little exam room and she sat in the chair, then hesitated and asked to sit in my lap. The assistant said that was just fine, so I sat in the chair and she laid on top of me as we reclined.

The dentist was AWESOME - explained each thing she did or used before she did it, had a fun nickname for all the equipment (the bright light above was Mr. Sunshine, the air-sucker-thingie was Mr. Thirsty, etc.) and Little Miss LOVED her. She opened her mouth wide every time she was asked, spit into Mr. Thirsty, and never complained, cried, protested, or turned her head away - and they did the cleaning, flossing AND painted on some flouride.

I almost cried.

I was soooo proud. So were they. She got to pick three toys from the toy box and left toting a little bag containing Disney princes floss sticks, big kid toothpaste and a brand new pink Little Mermaid toothbrush. She was ecstatic. And so was I. I didn't even need chocolate! (which is good since my exam is coming up at the end of the month)

I say all that one, to brag, because my kid totally rocks and that's all the grace of God! And secondly, to tie in to an example. Sometimes, things we dread really aren't that bad, and that's true in our writing life as well.

How many times have we dreaded finishing a manuscript, feeling that maybe the end wouldn't be as fun as the beginning? (yet it was!) How many times have we dreaded entering a contest, afraid of the feedback from judges? (yet found it to be eye-opening and helpful?) How many times have we dreaded submitting our proposal to an agent or editor, certain we'd be scarred for life from the rejection? (yet found their feedback to be just what we needed to propel our writing to the next level?) How many times have we dreaded branching out as reserved writers and being social at a conference or writer's retreat? (and walked away after with a ton of new friends and a closer relationship with God and newfound inspiration for our stories?)

Sometimes, we just have to make the appointment and go. Even if we're scared we have a cavity (even if we're afraid our book sucks), even if we're worried about causing a scene in a public place (or stepping outside our comfortable safety box in front of our computer), even if we're afraid of something hurting or making us uneasy.

Because without taking that step, without taking control and as Nike says "just doing it", we could miss out on a really, REALLY awesome Disney toothbrush.

(or, say, a contract ::wink::)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Make Time for You

Writing might just be the loneliest hobby in the world.

I suppose that’s why creativity attracts introverts, but in my case, I’m likely to lose my mind if I spend too much time with the characters in my head.

That’s why I sit and write and wave at this kid:

After a while it gets old that she doesn’t wave back.

On days when I force myself to stay at the computer screen, the work gets done.

But I’m also discovering something I didn’t expect.

When I make time for me – which in my case means connecting with PEOPLE – the writing gets done 3x as fast. I’m not making that up. The creativity hits when I get home and it’s like the floodgate opens.

It’s all about balance, folks. You know yourself best. Do you need more time – or less time with those characters in your head?

Bekah Hamrick Martin was born in Savannah, Georgia, in an event her brother keeps reminding her was completely unnecessary. She spent the better part of her high school years vacationing on the North end of her mattress due to an illness, where she developed a deep taste for chocolate and sarcasm. Today Bekah writes and talks to teens about healing, tough times, and surviving their high school years – no matter where they spend them.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Working hard or hardly working

I had an agent once tell me that writing is the only career where you could legitimately stare out the window for hours and actually be working.

Sad to say, I've used that excuse a time or two too many. ;)

While you can spend hours and days and weeks and months and even years crafting the backbone of your novel or book - fleshing out characterizations, creating a fictional setting, even forming a new fictional culture - eventually, you have to look away from the window and back to the computer. And start the actual writing.

Which might be the hardest part.

I've always said that my least favorite two words to write are "Chapter" and "One." Starting a story has so much pressure - is the opening sentence strong enough? Have I written the correct mix of back-story so the reader knows who the characters are and current action so they don't get bored?

Writing isn't for wimps, guys. Countless hours staring at your computer screen, countless hours sitting there in the same position (that one gets me the most), usually a year of edits and waiting before you see the book in its book form and then a check for waaaaay less than minimum wage. :) If you're in this career for the money, for the job flexibility or for the lack of effort you think you'll need to put into it, you're in the wrong career.

But, if you are reading this post because even though it frustrates you to no end, you just can't resist the pull of those two little words, "chapter" and "one", and all the wonderful possibilities that await for you behind them, then welcome. And please accept our gift of understanding mixed with pity. ;)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

To resolve or not to resolve...

This week we're talking about Resolutions and making new goals for this New Year.

I'm not usually a Resolution kind of gal, personally - because in my head with that stuff, the more of a Thing I make it, the more likely I am to fail!!

Like with dieting. I get consumed with it that I see nothing else and then overstress and usually miss my goal. I get hungrier on a diet, not because I'm eating less but because it's constantly in my head. Sigh.

So this year, I DO want to lose a few lbs, but I'm not making it a written down, stressful thing for myself. I'm just trying like I have been for the past two weeks to do better and see results slowly. Same with my writing. I have goals that I will pursue step by step, but I was going to do that anyway, whether the New Year rolled around or not.

If you're the type who thrives on Resolutions and makes the mark every time, I envy you! ;)
And I believe you can do it! With practice and motivation, regardless of the resolution, it can be done. And of course, the most important factor - prayer! Don't forget to bathe your resolution in prayer because really, if it's not God's will for you, you don't want it anyway...

How can we at Scribblechicks help you keep those New Year goals, especially the writing related ones?

What posts would you like to see from us this year? What topics have we overdone and what can we start doing? We're here to help, because, new year or not - writing rocks :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Multi-Tasking 101

There’s an old Proverb that says “her children will rise up and call her blessed”. I’m pretty sure my child has taken this Proverb to heart, minus the calling me blessed part. She pretty much just rises up and calls me.

Nature is a cruel thing. Just when my baby started sleeping through the night, her salivary glands went into overdrive. She now drools like a Mastiff while howling every thirty minutes all night.

My three-month-old is cutting a tooth. This is not what I meant when I prayed for my baby to be an “advanced” child.

I am not a natural multi-tasker, but I am learning that if I try hard enough I can get everything done despite my poor teething baby. My first step is to make my priorities. {After a panicked e-mail to Erynn, she helped me realize I could still write with a cute albeit needy child.}

I am learning that the baby swing, mobile, Jonny Jump Up, and an oversized cup of coffee are all my very good friends. So far I have stayed right on track with my writing, thanks to Eynn's encouragement.

Life goes on. I’m glad I have a baby instead of a Mastiff. Mainly because a baby doesn’t require potty training for another couple of years. If I can just get her to stop howling and start calling me blessed…

But that’s okay – I guess I don’t need her to call me blessed. Because in my heart I already know I am.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Apologies and Resolutions

So sorry for the LOOONG hiatus here, guys. I've been in something of hibernation over Christmas break. But it's a new year and there is LOTS of work to be done!

And, first things first, CONGRATS BETSY!!!! Everyone should definitely head over to her blog and check out her new novel!! :)

My New Year's resolution?? Write, write, write! I want to get better at plot development and become a better time manager (a.k.a. buckle down during Nater Tot's naps!).

What are your writing-related New Year's resolutions??

Happy New Year, and Fun Announcements...


Erynn, sorry to steal your post day, (hehehe) but I had to ask everyone to come over to my personal blog today and celebrate the official release day of ADDISON BLAKELY, CONFESSIONS OF A PK - my first YA novel with Barbour. Available now! :)

I've got some fun announcements on my blog so come see!! Then come back here later ;)