Friday, June 28, 2013


So you’re stuck.

Here are some of my thoughts for you on this lovely (or stormy, depending on where you live) Friday night.

Things Not to Do:

1.     Bang your head against the keyboard. It’s bad for computers. And for your head.
2.     Hit random keys on your keyboard so you can fill up the page and pretend all those jumbled letters are words so you can feel like you made writing progress.
3.     Quit. None of that. =)

Things TO Do:

1.     Breathe. It’s okay that you’re stuck. You will get unstuck, honest. Do. Not. Panic.
2.     Figure out why you’re stuck. Do you not know your character well enough? Do you need to do more research on your setting, or another component of your story before you can keep going?
3.     Exercise. It gets blood flowing to your brain and helps you think better. Seriously, yoga has become my secret word count weapon. If I do 25 minutes of yoga and then sit down to write, I can write WAY more WAY faster than usual. It’s crazy.
4.     Breathe again. I have to remind myself of this a lot, hence last week’s post about how some days are like that.
5.     Brainstorm a new idea. Don’t do this EVERY time you’re stuck or you won’t finish anything. But sometimes it’s really useful. =)
6.     Rearrange your desk. Or clean it.
7.     Change rooms. Give yourself some new scenery.
8.     Find pictures of people who look like your characters. Maybe ‘seeing’ them will help inspire you.
9.     Take a break and try again tomorrow.
10.   READ! Seriously. This is another of my favorites. Alllll last week I struggled. And finally I realized it had been awhile since I’d read for fun. Sure enough, I started a new book and suddenly remembered why I love stories, why I love romance and suspense and writing and then I was CURED. I credit that and the yoga. And God. He should probably come first. =)

So there you go. My favorite do’s and don’ts for being stuck. Try some of them (um, from the second list. Haha) this weekend and let me know if they work!

Any other un-stuck tips you have?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

D is for Deadline

I have a novella due Monday so....this is all the post you're getting! Sorry I missed last week too. I'm going to be back and better than ever soon, I promise. Life is beyond hectic right now - you just have no idea. Prayers appreciated, and I will have a super awesome craft post hopefully next Wednesday! Or maybe just a "celebration" post that I made my deadline. Eeek!

Monday, June 24, 2013

It's not easy being green

We have all done it.

Set an amazing book down, grabbed our heads and started wailing. "I will NEVER be as good of a writer as he or she is!"

Maybe you aren't as dramatic about it as I am, but still. We have all experienced writer envy at some point or another. Maybe you wish you could write storylines like so-and-so. Or plots. Or descriptions. Or had the readership of another author.

What do we do with these feelings of inadequacy?

Focus on your strengths. Stop harping on yourself. No, you may not be able to write like whoever you are currently reading but you can write exactly like YOU and that's something that no one else can do. Figure out what you do well and focus on making that even better than before.

Find out what makes them good. Reread one of your favorite books by one of your favorite authors. What do they do well? What do you admire most about their work? Figure out how they made you, as the reader, feel like that. What wording did they pick? What tone did they set?

Aim higher. Learn everything you can about writing. Dissect every piece of good writing you find. And practice. Keep practicing as much as you can. You will see improvements in your work! But stay true to you and your style.

At the end of the day,  keep in mind that just like every other talent out there, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Andrea Boccelli and Britney Spears are both singers but goodness knows they are different and have their own audiences, songs they sing well and songs they don't. It's the same with writing.

Is there a writer you want to be more like? What do you do with writer envy?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Some Days Are Just Like That

As the mom of two adorable, rambunctious, creative, 100% BOY boys, I have had that phrase said to me to encourage me more times than I can count. I love my boys. More than I could say.

But some days there are...things that happen. Haha, I just typed them out, but I think they'd scare some of you away from having kids ever. ;) But seriously. Some days by the time we go to bed, all three of us have completely lost it. I feel like a bad mom and it seems they've spent more time upset than happy.

And some days are just like that.

Some days, like today, I spend some time snuggling my little one, he goes down for his nap perfectly, and then his brother and I went outside and played 'soccer' with a beach ball for almost an hour. Then we had a snack together and talked about the merits of blue plates versus green plates.

So far, today has been awesome.

On things like facebook, and blogs even, moms tend to like to share the second kind of days. And why not? I don't think there's anything wrong with celebrating victories! =)

But I think sometimes a little honesty is good.

With writing too.

I've seen people post their word counts on facebook. I do it a lot, because my kids really don't care all that much when I share I met my wordcount for the day. Haha, go figure. But I like to share.

But when was the last time you saw a writer talk about their writer's block on Facebook? Or talk about how they had no idea where their story was going. Or that they got rejected--again.

Sometimes. But not as often. But some days are like that.

Some days you sit down at your computer and nothing comes. Your fingers are paralyzed. Your mind feel like apple sauce. Doing laundry or cleaning your room or cutting the grass with nail clippers sounds so much more exciting than--dum dum DUM--writing!

I know some of you are feeling super inspired right now, and I say YAY--take advantage of summer and all the enthusiasm it brings with it and WRITE WRITE WRITE.

But for those of you who are struggling with your writing right now, it's okay. You're not a 'bad' writer because of it. It just means you're real. You're human. This season won't last forever for you. Tomorrow you may wake up and start or finish THE story. The one that launches you into whatever place you want to be in your writing. So maybe today isn't your writing day.

That's okay.

Some days are just like that.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

You could win $150 to celebrate the release of my book!

You can register here to try for a $150 Visa card in celebration of the release of The Bare Naked Truth! Then join us at our celebratory Facebook party to find out if you won on Thursday, 6/20!

Monday, June 10, 2013

How to infuse humor into your writing

I love funny books.

I love to laugh, I love to giggle, I love to snicker as I'm reading. For me, it's what helps me relate to a story the most. Because life is funny. Even when you are in the worst season of your life, God still always has a way of putting fun into your circumstances - even if it's in the form of another person's story.

And that, friends, is why I love to write humor as well. It's so nice sometimes when life is so heavy to sit down with a light-hearted book and forget your troubles for a little bit.

So. How do you add funny scenes to your book?

I like to do these three things:

1. LISTEN to other people. When someone is telling you a funny story, listen to the way they tell it. Listen to the inflections, the timing, the order they put their words into. You can learn so much about writing by just listening to people. Find your funniest friend and take them out to coffee and just let them go for it with their stories.

2. PRACTICE your timing in your writing. Write a funny story down - something that happened to you or a friend. Now, hand it around. Do people laugh? Do people smile? Figure out the timing in your words. Writing is just like speaking - there is an ebb and flow to your words.

3. STAY away from exclamation points. As a little kid, you learn the best way to make a funny point or to show emotion is to use an exclamation point. After years of being over-used, most editors nowadays are chopping them all. Learn how to convey emotions through the words instead of through the punctuation. It's okay to use them every so often, just not after every funny comment.

And if worse comes to worse, just find a two year-old to hang out with for a while. My son keeps me rolling with his comments. ;)

Do you like to read books that make you laugh? Or are you more of a drama person?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Read Something!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read something this weekend. Not, like, the back of the cereal box either. ;) Really read something.

I believe that as people, we're shaped by all the other people we come in contact with. As writers, we're shaped by many, many things, but one of them is the books that we read. This doesn't mean if you read your favorite author enough, you'll sound exactly like them (which is good! The world already has their voice--let it have your own unique voice too!), but reading books that are wonderfully well written will spur on your own desire to craft stories like that. Reading books that are infused with God's love and grace so thick that you can feel it just from reading the book will make you want to make sure you're putting spiritual truth in your books.

So this lovely summer weekend (or rainy/stormy weekend, depending on where you are), that's my writing challenge for you. Find something to read.

Two of the books that have utterly inspired me in these last couple of weeks are Robin Jones Gunn's Victim of Grace (non-fiction) and Ronie Kendig's Talon. Go find a new book by an author you love (If you're stuck for who to read I can think of three authors *cough* Betsy, Bekah, and Erynn *cough* whose books you could start with... ;)  )

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What punctuation mark are you?

My post for today accidentally got posted on my other blog! LOL Oops. Please go over there and take the quiz ;)

Monday, June 3, 2013


MYTH: You can tell you are supposed to be or are a writer because you cannot imagine living life without writing and you don't enjoy the time when you aren't writing.

TRUTH: There are definitely times when I greatly dislike writing. Usually it's when my deadline is creeping up on me and I have gotten myself backed into a wall in my story. There are often times during breaks in deadlines when I really wonder if I have another book in me. Or after I've gotten a contract when I stare at a blank Word document and I can't for the life of me figure out a good opening scene.

MYTH: Once your book gets published, you immediately get sent on a multi-city book tour and become a millionaire.

TRUTH: There's lots of truth to the words "starving writer". Very, very, very, very, very few authors sell so many books that they can live comfortably on that salary. And unless you are one of those authors, you likely will not be going on a multi-city book tour unless you plan and pay for it yourself.

MYTH: If I can just come up with a good idea, I can get my book published.

TRUTH: Not necessarily. Most first-time authors these days need to have a completed manuscript to show the publisher before any contract is even in place. And once you have written the book, then you'll need to either get an agent to represent you or meet with a publisher at a conference to get it even into their hands. And then, once it's in their hands, it really comes down to three things: 1) Is it a well-written book? 2) Is the timing right for your book? 3) Can the publisher afford to produce it?

What are some myths you've heard that have turned up false in your writing?