April (Word) Showers

I’ve temporarily changed the old saying, April Showers bring May flowers,  to April Showers Bring Lots of Writing Hours.

images[3]

Last April I participated in the A to Z Blogging Challenge,  and this year I’ve decided to head to Camp for the month of April. Camp NaNoWriMo. I will still be reading the blog posts of those participating in the challenge, however, and I encourage others to as well. There are such amazing themes by such creative minds, and it’s fun to be part of that community in any way I can. After all, supporting each other is what the blogging community is all about.

The past couple of weeks I’ve allowed myself to become somewhat lazy–okay, very lazy–in the writing department. I finished the 2nd edit of my mystery, Shear Madness, and along with it came the whole self-doubt crash. While it’s something every writer experiences, it’s hard to remember that while in the thick of it. So I’ve decided to let my manuscript cool a couple of weeks before beginning the next edit.

I’ve been wanting to write some short stories for a long time now, something I haven’t written for many, many years (we won’t say exactly how many 🙂 ) I’ve jotted ideas, plots, etc, but have continually put off the actual writing part. Until now.

For April’s Camp NaNo I’m going to let my hair down–or pull it up in a pony tail–and let loose the words to short stories I’ve been thinking about. I’m going to actually write them on paper–or computer–and have fun doing it. I’ve got my notebook, colored gel pens, computer, Camp NaNo coffee mug, my lantern, and the ingredients for s’mores set and ready to go. Heck, maybe I’ll even pull out a sleeping bag. 🙂

NaNo Coffee MugS'mores

It’s not too late if anyone wants to join in the camping experience. It’s among the most fun campgrounds I’ve ever camped. And rather than getting wet by rain showers, we get productive with word showers. That being said, it’s not necessary to commit to 50,000 words as is the case in November’s NaNoWriMo, but rather you set your own word count. While mine’s not set at 50,000 due to April being a busy month, I still set it high enough to challenge and stretch myself as a writer.

So–if anyone wants to join and has questions, head on over to the Camp NaNo website, or simply ask me in the comments section. I would love to help anyone get going on setting up a project. The more the merrier in this camping experience. And it’s one you’ll find yourself looking forward to every year. It’s too late to plan it at this point you say? No worries–and no excuses–there’s another Camp NaNo in July. 🙂

See you at Camp!

 Bonfire-Brainerd

Carpe Diem

 

My Writing Process

I met the talented Rachel Carrera during the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge and was invited by her to participate in the Writing Process Blog Tour.  I’ve been reading the answers to the given questions by other bloggers who have participated and I have to say it’s been enlightening to not only read about other writers, but to see how their process works.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always open to learning something that may work better or enhance what I’m already doing.  I will be  the first to admit that I simply write because I love to write and never gave the rest of “the business” much thought until the past year and a half.  For me it’s a learn-as-I-go process.  And how I love to learn! 🙂

Be sure to check out Rachel’s blog. She is a brilliant ray of sunshine and has a contagious love of life. Thank you Rachel! 🙂

Here are the answers to my questions, followed by the links to three + other bloggers I have tagged so you can check out their answers on May 26th.

1.  What am I working on at the moment?

I’m currently working on the final revision of my novel, The Inheritance.  Through the years I’ve written a few first drafts that lay cozily tucked within a filing cabinet drawer, but this is the first I’ve chosen to carry through to publication.  Let me tell you, it’s given me a whole new respect for published authors as I realize all there is to do after the fun of getting the story down on paper–or to the computer.  The things I thought I was good at–like grammar–I’ve learned there is so much I didn’t have down like I thought I did.  However, now that I’m able to see the finish line, I’m getting renewed energy and enthusiasm to take my latest first draft, The Last Resort, through to the finish line as well.

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not sure it differs from all others in my genre, or it would be in a genre of its own. But if I were to mention one area that I have noticed, it’s that despite it being women’s fiction and it has it’s share of relational content, it covers real life issues without the “drama mama stuff” that is exhausting in real life. I like to portray real life issues but also show hope–showing light in the darkness. I also try to avoid profanity and unnecessary crassness because I truly believe God blessed me with my ability to write and my love of writing.  That being the case, He is the One I want to please more than anyone with my writing. I choose to tell a story by honoring God rather than promoting what goes against Him.

3.  Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do because I love to read the kind of fiction I write – fiction that shares the joy of living a spiritual life without being preachy.  Although I love to read a lot of other genres as well.  And I have stories that come into my head that I can’t wait to share with others.

4.  How does my writing process work?

I don’t really have a tried and true process yet. I guess I could say it’s a work in progress to find what works best.  I work full-time in a job that pays the bills, I’m a mom to two grown boys whose lives I’m so fortunate to still be a large part of, grandma to one toddler and step-grandma to 5 , and wife to an amazing husband who I love to spend time with. Whew! So with all that, I try to write daily, but am not always successful with that goal.  With The Inheritance and The Last Resort I wrote the first draft in 30 days by participating in NaNoWriMo.  The revision process has been the biggest learning process and is what I’m trying to achieve with the least amount of pain. But the pain has also been my biggest motivator and teacher. 🙂  

Jacque @ http://godisms.wordpress.com

Marie @ http://writingwingsforyou.com

Angela @ http://authorangelachristinaarcher.wordpress.com

Amanda @ http://insidethelifeofmoi.wordpress.com

 

“Z” is for…

Zoey and Zig Ziglar

Yes, you read that correctly.  My favorite “Z” word in the whole world is Zoey, my precious granddaughter. There is none so perfect as she. 🙂 Especially in her sassy little leopard print dress.

photo (5)

And Zig Ziglar? I couldn’t think of a better way to end this remarkable blog challenge than with one of his quotes.  This adventure has led me to the good habit of writing every day (which I hope I can keep), it has helped me get to know acquaintances better (My NCW comrades), and has brought some amazing blogging friends into my blogging life. It has been an amazing ride and I hope to stay connected with all of you. Every one of you has a special place in my heart.

“Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be. If we do our best, we are a success.”
Zig Ziglar

“Y”is for…

Yoga-2

Practicing yoga has woven its way through various aspects of this life I live. The parallels are multiple in number, and I believe it’s more than mere coincidence that it’s called “practicing” yoga. It’s a discipline that allows an opportunity to practice becoming better–at yoga and at living life.

Each stretch and pose, as uncomfortable and awkward as it may feel at first, carries me just a little further to becoming better the next time. It’s about stretching beyond my comfort zone to accomplish what I couldn’t just a moment before. It has shown me how to take the uncomfortable, make it comfortable, and move forward.

Yoga teaches me to show up even when I don’t feel like it.  In fact, especially then, because it leaves me with an immense sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when I’m enjoying those last cool down stretches.

That act of showing up regardless of what I feel like doing, reinforces how important it is to show up in life every moment of every day, not allowing feelings to dictate how I live that day. Negative feelings can be overcome by simply showing up, whether we feel like it or not, to live a life of purpose. It’s about pushing past letting feelings control you and using that power within you to control your feelings.

It carries over into my writing life, my running life, being-a-wife/mother/friend-life…and life in general.

Showing up at my desk even when I don’t feel like writing produces written words and pages, along with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when I’m done with my scheduled time, rather than feelings of wish-I-would have’s and regret when I neglect to show up, producing nothing, opening up the door to negative feelings.

Showing up when my husband/kids/friends need my time, even when I feel I don’t have the time, reminds me to set my “self” aside and put others needs before my wants, reminding me life is about relationship and being available to and loving others.

Yoga shows me it’s about the journey of mastering a pose, progressing a little further each time I practice, rather than being able to immediately conquer and perfect it. That making progress through hard work is key to growth–physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Yoga teaches me to focus on the importance of each breath as I breathe slow, even breaths through holding each pose, uncomfortable as it may be, teaching me to keep my focus on the matter at hand, anxiety at bay. Not thinking about the next pose, the next hour, or the next day. Just the here and now.  And that leaves space for nothing other than peace.

Yoga

Namaste.

“X” is for…

X-tra ready for the challenge to be over…Okay, so that may be cheating a bit. But the truth is there all the same. 🙂

This challenge has been an amazing journey.  It’s taught me that even when I am sure I have nothing to say or my mind feels blocked from thinking of something interesting to write about, I can overcome that self-doubt and conquer the blockage.

It has shown me what an amazing group of people the blogging community is comprised of.  The support, the camaraderie, the pooling together of minds.

The diverse subject matter has given me knowledge I did not have prior to the challenge.  And knowledge is truly power.  However, I’ve learned more than just subject matter content from all my blogging peeps. (That means friends where I come from. 🙂 )

It has shown me the importance of making writing an everyday occurrence and not simply when I feel like it.  Writing every day is what produces results.

It has also shown the importance of endurance–to see it through to the end, even when it got difficult or time was hard to find. We make time for what is important to us.

Finish Strong Quote

But that being said, I’m ready to finish–and not just finish, but finish strong–and carry on with the revisions on my novel, The Inheritance, and to start the revisions of my “novel-in-waiting,” The Last Resort, which has been patiently waiting since I completed the first draft this past November. Writing novels is where my heart is.

What will you be working on after the A to Z Blog Challenge?

 

“W” is for…

Writing on the Wall

kid_drawing_on_wall

After reading a blog post some time back asking how far back our love of writing went, I began thinking about when my love of words began, and discovered it was the writing on the wall.  Literally.

Much to my mother and father’s dismay, I began experimenting with writing on our living room walls when I was about four years old.  In crayon.  And despite getting into trouble, that was the beginning of freedom as I knew it. 🙂  (The second time words got me into serious trouble was in elementary school when a boy kept getting me out in four-square and an obscenity I didn’t realize I knew flew out of my mouth before I even knew what happened. Right in front of the playground aid.  I’m not sure who was more shocked, me or the aid. 🙂

I never wrote on the walls again, but I practiced my writing and my penmanship endlessly–on paper and chalkboards, taking great pride when my teachers would compliment my near-perfect handwriting.

As I grew into my teens, I spent endless hours and evenings in my room, walls decorated with all things writing, and immersed myself in writing in my journal and writing heartfelt poetry about the life of an adolescent.  When I wasn’t writing, I was reading.

As I grew into my late teens I still enjoyed writing but it fell to a lower rung on my list of priorities, until I got married.  It was then I decided to try my hand at a novel.  Although, truth be told, I hadn’t even thought about it that deeply to realize that’s what I wanted to write, I just knew I had a story I wanted to tell and sat down to write every evening until I realized I had finished the first draft of a novel.  A whopping 90,000 words before I even realized what I had done.  That manuscript, along with another completed first draft, still sit in a box in the bottom of a filing drawer.  Someday maybe they will see the light of day, but for now they’re tucked cozily in place.

For several years I took a break from writing to raise my boys, and have found my way back to it about two years ago. And what joy! It was like finding a long lost love after being separated for far too long.  And now that its been rediscovered, I can say I will never separate from that love again.  I found my way home.

When did you have that “Aha!” moment that you knew you wanted to be a writer?

photo (61)

 

“V” is for…

Vacation

MN 2013 043

Who doesn’t love a vacation? The image of my toes in the sand, a cool drink in my hand…ahhh…heaven.

When I was younger my definition of vacation was narrow, including only the traditional meaning of the word–“a period of time that a person spends away from home, school, or business usually in order to relax or travel.” (Merriam-Webster).

As I get older–although I prefer the word “seasoned” rather than older–I have developed a much broader view of the word, which now encompasses the full definition–”

1:  a respite or a time of respite from something :  intermission

2a :  a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended
 b :  a period of exemption from work granted to an employee
3:  a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation
(“Vacation.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vacation)

Vacation means more than just a break.  Taking a break from something has its time and place, but taking a vacation is feeding the soul.

It means spending time reading a book in the sun, even if it’s on my backyard patio, with a glass of lemonade, without a shred of guilt from thinking I should be doing something.

Vacation means going somewhere with no phone service, no television, and no computer.

It means pitching a tent in the woods with nothing but a backpack, the smell of oak trees and bonfire smoke, sounds of rustling leaves, black coffee early in the morning, and the ripples on the waters surface to start the day.

MN 2013 061

DSC_0013

It means a day spent lying in a boat floating in the water for an afternoon, throwing a line in to catch dinner, and even dozing off in the sun.

It means picnics under a big oak tree, eating nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chips, stretching out for an afternoon nap afterwards.

What does your ideal vacation look like?