Monthly Archives: August 2011

Day 32

This Monday, instead of fighting procrastination and the lure of housework, I’m off and writing. There’s nothing like a good challenge to get you running to your keyboard, excited to write.

Today is the first day of the BIAW challenge through my RWA chapter, Faith, Hope and Love. Actually, it’s a sub chapter of the chapter, aptly named Finish the Book. This small, warm group of women provides an encouraging and welcoming atmosphere for both aspiring and published writers to complete their novel(s). I can’t even find the right words to express how fond I am of all of these amazing women.

 The BIAW, or Book in a Week, is a seven day writing challenge where each member establishes before day one what their daily or weekly goal for a word count will be. Narelle, who runs the challenge, keeps a spreadsheet with our totals and everyone cheers one another on throughout the challenge. You would be surprised how much one can write when they have a little cyber voice in their ear yelling “yay!” “go, girl!” and “keep on writing!”.  Many writers, like myself, wait for this challenge to either start a new project, work on lost momentum, or complete a project that is due.

So, today I am challenging myself to get my first one thousand words done for the BIAW. My goal is 1k daily and I have chosen a novella that I am writing to enter in a contest in September. Once I have met my daily word count, I’ll jump over to email and shoot off a quick note to let everyone know that I’ve got Monday under my belt.

And then I’ll treat myself by reading everyone else’s posts about what they’re working on and, best of all, I’ll wait for the replies from my chapter mates that shout out “Great job!” “Way to go!” and “Keep on writing!” And I will. Because there’s nothing like a little bit of encouragement to keep you on track!

Who or what  keeps your writing on track?

Chris

 

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Day 31

It’s been a productive day. Though I just missed my 1k mark, I did manage to complete chapter 7 and begin chapter 8. I also managed to get quite a bit of research done. With my second novel, Garden Variety, taking place on a flower farm, I’m finding myself surfing the net as I write, anxious to make sure my flower facts are accurate. Though it slows down the writing, I’m finding that I actually enjoy my excursions into the world of flowers and gardening.

Though my novel is about two sisters working through betrayal, all three Kohler sisters will have to come to terms with a shocking family secret. It’s a secret that will pull them close and change their lives forever. All of this takes place on a flower farm that’s been in the Kohler family for three generations. And you can’t write about a working flower farm without knowing what’s growing.

I’ve learned so much about common flowers like tulips, carnations and irises as well as Nigella, a flower found in English gardens. Though I do have a small wildflower garden (and I mean small – two containers LOL) and a rose garden (again small – two bushes LOL), I had no idea how much there is to know. Too much sun, too little sun, too much moisture, too little moisture and to top that off slugs – ugh! Now I can tell my hubby how to get rid of our slimy pests; just a little side benefit of research. Still I’m enjoying myself and seeing how these details sprinkled in the pages of my manuscript really make the setting come alive.  I have no problem setting up a scene with my main character putting together table centerpieces and displays for several affairs she will be providing the flowers for. And I think I’ve found a clever way to tie in flowers to the affairs of the heart. But I’ll save that for later!

For my fellow writers I ask this: Have you found it easier to research as you write or research before you beginning the writing of your story? Any pros and cons of either method that you’d like to share? In the meantime, all this flower talk makes me want to take a stroll out to my gardens…and maybe think about expanding a little bit next year!

Chris

 

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Day 30

This blog has gotten away from me. Or rather I have gotten away from it. Though it was my every intention to update daily, life just seems to get in the way. Lazy, hazy days of summer? Not in my house. It’s been one busy, on the go season with more frequent errands, day trips, chauffering someone somewhere and the siren’s lure of warm weather and a dip in the pool. Despite all that, I have been moving along with my work just at a slower speed than I had hoped for.

In just the last two days I have written a little more than 3400 words on Garden Variety, my second novel. On the flip side, Bethel Christmas Visitor, my first novel, is still waiting on massive edits. An author friend and writing consultant both agreed on one thing “If you  love the story and feel you have something there, don’t walk away from it. Fight for the story.” I love this story. Yes, it is the first novel I have ever written and completed but I still get excited just thinking about it. So I will. I’ll give it a good old college try and see what comes of it.

As for my second novel, Garden Variety, I have completed just a little over twenty-seven thousand words and things are heating up. How ironic since much of the novel takes place outside in the gardens of the Kohler flower farm during an exceptionally hot May. I have lots of twists and turns planned for this story and can’t wait until I can say I have novel 2 under my  belt!

I’m learning so much from Debra Dixon’s book, GMC – Goal, Motivation & Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction. I’ve been plotting my third novel, something that the pantser in me has never done before. Now I’ve also written up GMC charts for both my heroine and hero. I’m learning a few things about my hero that I didn’t know before. I’m especially excited about this novel because it will take place in a butterfly habitat, an idea that came to me after a day trip to a local butterfly habitat. My hero is a Lepidopterist. How’s that for a mouthful?!? My heroine is new in town. As a teen she was lured away by a trafficking ring while at the mall with a friend. Though she is rescued several years later, life in her small town can never be the same and so she leaves in search of a fresh start. That’s all I can say. Oh, wait, there is one small exciting plan I would like to share. It’s my hope that when (not if – positive thinking here) the book is published I will be able to donate a portion of the sale proceeds to a church group that has made stopping trafficking a part of their ministry. For now I can not reveal their name but someday soon…..

That’s about it in a nutshell. I’m pleased with my progress, excited about my newest story and hopeful that through this story I will be able to make some small contribution to a serious problem that gets very little attention in the media. Thanks to Lisa Bloom and her wonderful book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, for throwing light on this horrible epidemic. I highly recommend every woman to read this book. And it wouldn’t hurt a man to read it either 😀

If the sun is shining in your neck of the woods, get out and enjoy one of the last few weekends of summer. September will be here soon enough!

Chris

 

 

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Day 29

It sure is nice to be noticed! I stepped away from this blog for a few days, figuring no one would notice anyway. Yes, I do tweet when I’ve updated this blog. I even post a link to it on Facebook. And I’ve been so happy to see so many comments. But I just didn’t think anyone would notice my absence.

Today, after reading a message from Tonya, a friend and follower of my blog, saying that ‘there have been no new updates. Hope all is well”, I knew it was time to get back on track. It was the gentle prod I needed. 

I’d taken a few days away from my work, hoping to gain some perspective on where to go with both the editing on my completed novel and the middle of my other novel. I also took the opportunity to do something I have never attempted before. I outlined my third novel.

I’m a pantser but I recently mentioned how author Julie Jarnagin shared her plotting outline with me. It sat on my desk for several days before I gave it a good look over. So here I am trying out Julie’s plotting technique, hoping that when it’s time to write this new story I’ll be able to not only take off like a shot but sustain the momentum. Though only on this quest for just a short while, in that time I’ve learned that sustaining the momentum while writing is the most important thing of all. In the near future I’ll let you know how this new approach is going for me.

Aside from this new direction in my work, I am about to crack open a book I’ve been wanting to read for at least a year. No matter what writing website, blog or list I’ve read through, the one book that they all seem to rave about as a ‘must’ for every writer’s shelf is GMC by Debra Dixon. Today my copy came in the mail.

So for today this will be all as I get back to work. Once I’m happy with my day’s work, I’ll sit down with a bottle of water and get reading. I’m hoping this one little book will be another tool in my writer’s tool box. By the end of the week I hope to be able to share my thoughts about the book with you.

So to Tonya and anyone else that wondered where I’ve been, thank you for noticing and….I’m back!

Chris

 

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Day 28

Well, I’ve been working straight through since 7am this morning, taking only a fifteen minute break to shower and eat. Let me correct that. I showered first, which took minutes. My daughter always teases me about how fast I can get in and out of the shower. Comes from those toddler years when I learned to shower in between bouts of colic and naps that often only lasted twenty minutes. After that rapid shower, I choked down a sandwich and hopped right back to my desk.

Though I don’t think I should work at this pace every day, I do like the fact that I got so much accomplished. So much so that I’m going to let myself  ‘go home’ for the day and take a book outside.

I’m pretty pleased with my current WIP, Garden Variety. I started Chapter 7 (again) and wrote 4 good pages. I like them anyway. And being a perfectionist, I’m my own worst enemy sometimes.  I worked on the edits for the next chapter of my completed novel, Bethel Christmas Visitor. And on top of that I fleshed out a new novel notebook for an inspirational romance I hope to pitch to Harlequin’s Love Inspired line.

After that I took care of non-writing chores like replying to emails, commenting on a few blogs I follow, and my volunteer duties for the RWA chapters I belong to. Yup, I feel like I’ve put in a good day’s work.  Oh, and let’s not forget popping in here and there on Twitter to read and tweet with some colleagues.

Yes, it can be a time waster and a great way to procrastinate, but it’s a great way for we writers, who often work in isolation, to feel like we’re surrounded with co-workers. And sometimes co-workers are a great way to get motivated. After reading tweets about completing stories, submitting stories and getting contracts, what writer wouldn’t want to get down to business?

So, what did you get done today? What gets you moving full speed ahead?

Chris

 

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Day 27

Like life, sometimes our writing plans get off track. I should have known to expect it since I didn’t even get to my desk until the afternoon. That’s a bad sign right there. I know I shared with you all in a previous blog my surprise to find out I am at my most creative in the early mornings. So by afternoon I’m usually wiped out for the day.

When I should have been adding words to my work in progress, or editing my completed novel, I was sitting at my desk pounding out several short articles for a client. Though I no longer really have any writing clients, I occasionally do some freelance work for one special client, my son. My son has been in business for a little over four years now. That may not seem like much when you look at the history of most successful businesses but when I add that my son is only 19 years old, it throws a different light on things. One of the two companies that he owns often needs website content and SEO work, two very boring types of writing that are anything but creative. I had worked for him for several years and only recently stopped in order to spend more time writing novels. But today he was short a writer and it was Monday.

Mondays are always so hard for me to get going. So when he asked me if I could take on a small job I thought “why not?”. Getting myself to the keyboard to do some writing, any kind of writing, had to be a benefit. I was sure with my hands flying across the keyboard as they were that I would be revved up and ready to get creative. Well, 1500+ words later those articles are written, polished and ready to go. And my work? Did writing those short articles get me motivated?

No. I hate to let this Monday become a total wash. But here I sit typing up my blog, my account of my writing day and all I have to share is that I wrote. I didn’t write what I had intended to write. The words I wrote were good ones but will they get me any closer to the prize? Will they move me down the path to my destination of published writer? Probably not. But hey…I’m still here. I’m still typing, and there’s nothing like accountability to make you feel that little twinge of guilt.

Yeah. That’s what I need on a Monday morning. Good old guilt just might be the best motivator of all. So I’ll sign off here for the day, close my Twitter and Facebook tabs (another twinge) and get to work. And tomorrow when we meet back here I’ll not only have a day’s worth of work to tell you about, I’ll be able to tell you that my Monday wasn’t a complete wash after all!

Chris

 

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