Ink-stained fingers inscribed words on a page, some remain in my mind persistently expanding until they age.
Perfection is the killer of creativity. When we aim for perfection, we fail to take risks and try to meet other’s standards instead of trying to achieve our own.
Perfection shouldn’t be our intention; instead, let’s concentrate on progress and making strides in our own time, no one else’s. Don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t be scared to try, you learn the most from your shortcomings.
So instead of coming up with a word for the new year, I have set a purpose or plan that I aim to accomplish. My intention this year is to be more intentional. I want to deliberately spend more time with the Lord, my husband, children, family and friends, and less on social media. I want to live in the moment and be with them taking the time to have deep, meaningful conversations, one on one time getting to know them better, and have more experiences than things.
Have you come up with a word or intention for the new year? I’d love to hear it, drop a comment below!
As a writer, I have these thoughts often, am I good enough? Will I ever be good enough? There are amazing writers, I will never be that good. First, I need to stop striving to be someone that I am not and second; they didn’t get there overnight. Practice makes progress, not perfect because none of us will ever be perfect. God has me on the path I am on and I need to stop listening to the voices around me telling me otherwise.
“Do you need someone to make you a paper badge with the word ‘WRITER’ on it before you can believe you are one?”
All writers, I have realized, have these same thoughts running through their minds. We all feel as if someone will find out what a fraud we are and our “fake it until you make it” attitude will be exposed for what it truly is. The truth of the matter is we aren’t fake at all. We love the craft of writing and forming words into sentences and pages and books.
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
Fiction writing is subjective. It’s based upon our thoughts and the things WE imagine and come up with. No one else can delve into your brain and write what you do. We need your voice in the Christian community, your ideas, your thoughts. Don’t hide that creative spark and passion that the Lord gave you.
“Bad writers tend to have self-confidence, while the good ones tend to have self-doubt.”
I went back the other day and read over my first novel that I wrote; it was awful, and I am not being hard on myself- it was awful. Now I look at my recent work and can see the improvements over the years and areas that still need work. So we work on those areas and we do our best! I’m in a large critique group as a member of the ACFW and it was difficult getting back that first critique from my WIP, but you do not understand how helpful their advice was. I want to put something out into the world that I did my best at, something that I can be proud of. There will be people that don’t like it and I am ok with that because I didn’t write my novel for them.
As a mom of three littles and a homeschooler on top of it things get chaotic and busy. My writing life is in the evening when the kids have gone to bed, but that’s also the time that I spend with my husband, clean the house, you get where I am going with this.I’ve been pondering the reasons I haven’t finished my novel yet. One of those being, I haven’t treated my work as a job. To me, it was more like a hobby, something I did in my spare time.
Balancing life between raising my littles and working on my writing is difficult. Can I do the thing I love and desire without sacrificing my children, husband and relationship with the Lord? Looking at my schedule and the season of life I am in my husband and I have come up with something that works for our family! It will look different for everyone but there is no right way or wrong way to do this. We’ll start small and go from there, one day a week I will either go out or lock myself in the bedroom and write. Once I come home, or downstairs, my computer goes off and I spend my time with my family. It’s a simple change, but it’s a move toward making this more than a hobby.
I’ve learned to bring my laptop with me wherever I go and when I have a moment, I will write. I use the voice recorder on my apple watch to remember things when I am driving, the note app on my phone catches everything else, and my journal goes more into depth about the ins and outs of my day. This helps when I sit to write I can quickly scan my notes and begin writing. All of that to say, I don’t want to waste time when I should be writing.
What does your writing schedule look like? How do you balance writing with littles?
One of my favorite books I reference multiple times while writing is, ‘Save the Cat! Writes a Novel’ by Jessica Brody. It has become a staple and I have sticky notes and highlighters to prove so. I’m not one for plotting but quickly realized that I needed to be as I rewrote my novel for the fifth time. Not exaggerating! I have put the beat sheets (plot points) outline into my scrivener workspace and followed it hoping and praying that this was it, that I would officially finish my first draft… side note; I’m not, but almost.
You may wonder why the book is titled ‘Save the cat’ and that’s a valid question. It comes from the late author Blake Snyder who wrote the original ‘Save the Cat!’ Book for screenwriters. It was a tip he used for avoiding common pitfalls of storytelling, “If your main character starts off somewhat unlikeable, then, in the early pages of your story they should save a cat (yes, like from a tree or a burning building or shelter), or do something comparable that immediately makes the reader root for them, regardless of their original likability.”
All right, so back to why you’re reading this post. Let’s talk about beat sheets and what they are. In the book, there are fifteen beats (3 acts) and Jessica goes over each one giving you examples from other books. She makes it easy to follow and complete each beat; it was the hand-holding I needed!
1. Opening Image: A “before” snapshot of your hero and their world.
2. Theme Stated: Briefly alludes to the transformative journey that your hero will take and the flaw or flaws they will eventually conquer
3. Setup: Sets up your hero’s life and their status quo world before everything changes.
4. Catalyst: Disrupts the status quo world with a life-changing event.
5. Debate: Shows how resistant your hero is to change and/or prepares your hero to break into act 2.
6. Break Into 2: Brings the hero into the upside-down world of Act 2 where they will fix things the wrong way.
7. B Story: Introduces the character that who will somehow represent the B Story/spiritual story/theme and help your hero learn it.
8. Fun & Games: Deliver on the promise of the premise of the novel and shows us how your hero is faring in the new Act 2 world (either having fun or floundering.)
9. Midpoint: Marks the middle of the novel with either a false defeat or a false victory while raising the stakes of the story.
10. Bad Guys Close In: Provides a place for your hero to rebound after a false defeat Midpoint or fall down after a false victory Midpoint, all while the internal bad guys are closing in.
11. All Is Lost: Illustrates your hero’s rock bottom (lowest moment) of the story.
12. Dark Night Of The Soul: Shows how your hero reacts to the all is lost and how they eventually break through to a resolution.
13. Break Into 3: Brings the hero into the synthesis world of Act 3, where they will finally fix things the right way.
14. Finale: Resolves all the problems created in Act 2 and proves that your hero has learned the theme and has been transformed.
15. Final Image: Provides and after snapshot of your hero and your hero’s life to show how much they’ve changed.
Detailed and what I was looking for, this book helped me when I direly needed revamping on my WIP. She also reveals the ten universal story genres which helped me nail down what direction would best suit my story. If you’re stuck and need a little extra help, or you’re looking for a new way to plot your story I highly recommend checking out this book!
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Anyone else feel this way? Anxiety is the worst, it makes you scared, almost as if paralyzed by doubts and fears. I’m tired of fearing everything, it takes a toll on my thoughts and emotions! Having scripture around my home and memorizing it are two ways that I have slowly started to combat anxiety. What are ways that you have found helpful to overcome it?
I’ve expressed a lot lately about taking breaks, and I grasp how fundamental it is to take one every so often. Inspiration is all around us, and we need to look up periodically to observe it! Here are a few things you can do to stimulate that inspiration:
- Observe your surroundings–When I am out, I like to observe people around me. Watch their facial expressions, the way they interact with others, and how they handle conflict. I write it down either in a notebook or my OneNote account.
- Use your sense–Try to describe the things you do daily with more flair and color, so instead of saying, she sipped the coffee, you could add in the five senses (or only a few). She savored the bitter black liquid. Keep a journal to look back on!
- Music–I love to listen to music! When I come across a line in the song, I like I will write it down to look back on. Same with words, phrases, quotes, and photos. I’ve got most of this saved on my Pinterest boards to look at when I need to be inspired. When writing I like to listen to music with no words, I feel I can concentrate better.
- TV & Movies–Use them to analyze and learn what makes a good plotline in the story. Would you go on the journey with them? What would you do if you were in the same situation? What flaw did they overcome? Did you like the story, or not, and why? What lie did they believe?
- What if?–Take a story, any story, and ask what if… what if Cinderella didn’t lose her slipper? What if Snow White had a sister? What if the seven dwarfs were dragons?
- Read–This is probably the most obvious one of them all, but I would encourage you to read. Read things that aren’t in the genre you write! I would LOVE to hear what books you’re reading this summer.
What are ways you keep inspired while taking a break? Leave me a comment below and let me know!
I am excited to introduce you all to my new writing friend Samantha Proctor; she created a fantastic writing course called ‘Write Every Day‘ that encourages you to write more consistently. As writers sometimes, it’s hard for us to find the time to sit down and write, but when we do, the results are noticeable. Every day she will give you a daily quote, encouragement, daily action, writing challenge, and a comment conversation starter. Samantha was very involved and a great motivator, she sends you a personal weekly email and is there to answer any questions you may have, course-related or writing in general. That was probably my favorite part, having a writing buddy to keep me accountable, give advice, encouragement, and a swift kick when needed 😉
Included in the course are printables to help you achieve your goals and a private Facebook group. Honestly, this course came at the right time for me I had started so many novels and never finished them, my writing was sporadic and I could never accomplish my goals. Since finishing this I have a renewed hope and passion for writing, I have actually started writing short stories instead and have taken a break from my Novella. Not because I cannot write a Novella, but sometimes you need to step away from something to gain a new perspective. The daily actions and writing challenges were exactly what I needed to give me that push and get my mind and creative juices working.
Here is what you’ll learn from this course:
There are five parts to this course.
Part one is about getting started. It’s about writing instead of just thinking about writing.
Part two is about setting realistic goals that don’t overwhelm you. It’s also about learning to accomplish those goals once you’ve set them.
Part three is where you learn to stick with your goals even when it’s not exciting anymore. In this part, you’ll learn to be disciplined even when you aren’t motivated.
Part four is all about rediscovering your love for writing. This is the fun part where you get to enjoy the process of spinning words together and creating stories.
Part five is the shortest part. It’s all about celebrating your success and ensuring that you continue to write long after this course is over.
Most importantly, you’re going to learn how to write consistently. If you would like some more info on the course, you can go here, but if you’re ready to jump in and start writing my sweet friend has given my readers a discount code for 20% off the course use, WRITEMORE in the add coupon section to take advantage of this offer.
Scrivener, Scrivener, Scrivener I keep talking about this amazing program, but people, it’s fantastic! I use this app on a daily basis for my novels and sometimes even blog posts. I am going to give you ten reasons why this app is something you need in your life if you do any sort of writing.
1. I am able to keep everything stored in one place! You’re able to put your research, pictures, websites, PDF’s anything pertaining to your novel you can store in the same document your novel is. How cool is that? It’s wonderful to have everything in one place that I can access at any time.
2. Color-Coded. I love to color-code things and this app lets me do just that! It helps when you’re plotting and want to see the different parts of the novel, and you can create your own labels and assign colors to them. I’ve seen people use the labels for protagonist/antagonist chapters, and some will use them to label notes, first draft, revised draft, and final. You can use them however you want to that’s the beauty of this program.
3. Word count: Now this may NOT seem like a big deal, but it is. In Scrivener I am able to put the number of words I’d like to achieve in a certain amount of time and it will calculate how many words a day I need to write to make it to that goal
4. Storyboard: While I do most of my Storyboarding on Pinterest I will import the photos to my moodboards for each of the characters and add things I think they’d wear, what their homes look like, the town they live in, etc. Also, this is where I add all the data about the character and his/her backstory, quirks, motives, and so forth.
5. Folders: When writing normally I have a folder for each chapter of my novel and then subfolders for each scene in that folder. Scrivener also has specific folders for Characters and locations that you can use.
6. Templates: So many creative people have designed templates that you’re able to download for free and use. The one page novel plot formula is my absolute favorite.
7. Compose it to a kindle, Epub ebooks, or ibooks formats: this makes it incredibly easy to write and self-publish your own book to sell on Amazon, Apple, or Nook.
8. Ability to split the screen: This little feature comes in handy when I need to look at the plot points while I am writing a scene, or have a characters outline up to remember a certain quirk or specific quality they possess.
9. Distraction free writing: Wonderful tool when you really need to buckle down and focus on your writing without the distractions of everything else. The things you really need to know will pop up on the bottom of the screen when you move your cursor.
10. Sync: I am able to start writing on my computer, save it, and then work on it more from my phone or iPad. Now, this one may cost you a little bit more money but, for me, it was totally worth it. I love to pull my phone out and type up a scene when I have a spare moment of time; no writing time is wasted!
11. Revision Mode: I actually just discovered this one not too long ago! Revision mode let’s you go back and revise your novel with different colored text so you can easily see what you’ve changed and when. Such a handy little tool for editing 🙂