Wednesday, March 7, 2018

6 Ways to Celebrate Writing Milestones

This month's question posed to the writing community by The Insecure Writer's Support Group, is How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal or finish a story? A while ago I wrote an article for the group's website covering the 4 Reasons to Celebrate Your Writing Milestones. Today I will be talking about the ways.

1. A Special Beverage.
I have been known to crack open a bottle of champagne after finishing a novel's first draft. There is something momentous about finishing that first draft, getting past the doubts to get down the terrible words (and no longer having to chant the mantra, "The first draft doesn't have to be perfect. It's okay to have an ugly first draft.")
2. Chocolate.
Need I say more? Chocolate suits all occasions, but especially writing celebrations. 
3. Time to read just for the joy of it.
I don't know about you, but there are certain times when my writing is all consuming. When I complete a milestone, it's time to sit back and take a mini break. It's time to allow myself some me time. Reading is one of my favourite me times.
4. A Night Out.
I'm not what one would call a party animal. I like home. But occasionally, I love to go out and enjoy the city at night, a fine restaurant, the evening out. It's the kind of thing I do for a celebration.
5. A Walk through Nature.
There is something wonderfully revitalizing returning to nature, enjoying the fresh air, discovering everything it has to offer. It's awesome to get away from the computer for a while, and a great way to celebrate.
6. Write Something New.
Yep, sometimes I jump right into a whole new story. Often during a writing project, I'm bombarded by multiple ideas for other stories. So I don't lose focus, I write down the gist of the ideas then push them aside. When I finish a project, I finally have the freedom to explore those ideas that have been waiting not so patiently on the sidelines.

There are so many different styles of celebration. For example, spending quality time with loved ones, doing something I don't normally do, jumping up and down and shouting out to the world, sleeping in, playing a game. And the list goes on.

What do you do to celebrate a writing milestone?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Love of the Science Fiction and Fantasy

While I have a Christian non-fiction book out at the moment, Cling to God: A Daily Devotional, my most loved genre to write in is actually Fantasy and Science Fiction. Sometimes I write it for the young adult audience and sometime for adult. I have a number of novels, novelettes and short stories. All of them are currently in the proverbial drawer. Or they were. Recently, I pulled them out and started reading through them, which made me realise they aren't so bad. They need to be shared. So my plan is to start publishing them. But not yet. They need a little extra editing, they need cover designs, taglines, and formatting. I want to do it right because I love them.

Why do I love them? The joy of Fantasy and Sci-Fi is that almost anything can happen. They can be an exploration through a what-if, an escape into a remarkable world, an adventure to carry us away. They can scare us, delight us, and turn this ordinary world we live in into something exquisitely extraordinary. I love all the possibilities and the magic that entails.

What do you love about your favourite genres?

This post was written for the IWSG. Every first Wednesday of the month the members of our group post on their blogs about their writing insecurities or offer some encouragement to others. If you are new to the IWSG, then please go HERE to find out more and join up.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Winners and Schedulers #IWSG

Welcome to another year. Say cheese as it flashes by.

Time to announce the winners of the third annual IWSG Anthology Contest!

Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime.

Top honors go to Gwen Gardner for her story, A Stitch in Crime.

The other winning stories:
Gussy Saint and the Case of the Missing Coed - C.D. Gallant-King
Three O’Clock Execution - S. R. Betler
Until Release - Jemi Fraiser
Reset – Tara Tyler
Center Lane - Christine Clemetson
One More Minute – Mary Aalgaard
The Little Girl in the Bayou - J. R. Ferguson
The Tide Waits – Rebecca M. Douglas
Cypress, Like the Tree - Yolanda Renée
Special Mention: Heartless – C. Lee McKenzie

Thanks again to our official judges - Elizabeth S. Craig, Anne Hawkins, Candace Havens, Ion Newcombe, Patricia (Pat) Stoltey, and Mason Canyon.

Don’t forget our next IWSG Twitter Pitch Party – Thursday, January 18th

The IWSG is now on Instagram

This month’s question: What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

My pathetic answer: Nope. No steps have been taken as of yet... Nada. None. I do have hopes and dreams and they are currently an amorphous jellyfish. One day at a time is pretty much all I can do at the moment. If I manage to squeeze out 50 words in a day, it's a victory. I have by no means given up. I will hunt down my focus soon... but not yet.

How about you? What are your writing plans for this year?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Simple Writing Advice 101 #IWSG

The IWSG (Insecure Writer's Support Group) is, as the name implies, a group of writers who are eager to support each other. We learn from each other, grow together and become better writers as a result. To write in isolation is a mistake. Yes, it takes hours of sitting alone in a seat, pulling words together into something vaguely intelligible. Despite that, at regular intervals it's important to get up, share, interact, live. At times that might seem scary, especially when it comes to sharing our work, the creation we slaved over for so long. My simple advice is this: Get over that fear and get involved. Share your work, listen to other opinions, discover new opportunities. It gets easier with practice.

How was my 2017? I thought 2016 was a roller coaster. How wrong I was. They had better not come as a hat trick.  

How was your 2017? How has sharing your work changed your writing?

If you'd like to join the IWSG or know more about the group, click HERE. We have lots of helpful resources on the website and in free books, competitions during the year, a Twitter Pitch Party coming up in January and lots more.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Great Unfinished Novel #IWSG

It's hard to believe it's November already. Time is slipping away at a rapid pace. For many writers it's NaNoWriMo time. Not for me. Not this year. While I am working on a story that would have benefited from the intense November writing challenge, I just can't take on another pressure. And I'm ok with that.

This month's IWSG optional question is, Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project?

I have taken the challenge three times and reached the 50 000 word goal each time. However, I 'finished' only two of those projects.  That is, I got to the end of the stories and even went through the rewriting/editing stage. They read like real novels. Gasp. Am I completely happy with them? Not so much. They need more work. No longer the spring chicken beginner writer, I learned more as each year passed and came to realise that my old writing could be better, the characters could be more interesting, the structure could use an overhaul. The longer I hold on to those early novels, the more doubt I pour over them. What I really need to do is let them go. What does that mean? Either I need to push them aside and call them a great learning experience, or the better option: I need to complete them and send them out into the world.

If only I had more time. Focus might help a little too.

How about you? How many finished/unfinished writing projects do you have lying around? How many do you hope to get your sticky hands on again for another rewrite?

If you'd like to find a daily pocket of peace in this chaotic world, and wish to buy my book, Cling to God: A Daily Devotional, for yourself or as a gift (Christmas is coming rapidly!), then it's available from Amazon Paperback, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes.