Link-Ups

On Being a Writer: Limit

This is the final installment in the writing link-up: On Being a Writer on Kate Motaung’s page. These discussions have been centered around the book, On Being a Writer by Anne Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. The final topic is limit.

One important lesson I am learning about writing is the necessity of setting limits. Life is full of demands and we must all learn the power of setting priorities if we are going to be successful at anything in this life. I’ve learned that I need to limit my time spent doing any single thing in order to maintain a healthy balance. I have goals of writing for thirty minutes a day whether that be blogging or journaling. I’ve set aside two hours every weekend to solely focus on my novel writing, but the daily practice of blogging and journaling is helping to push me toward further writing goals.

In order to execute these goals I also must limit other things in my life. God and family are my top priorities and if I am going to accomplish my potential in any area I must set aside time to focus on those two things. As a family, we have set aside Thursdays as family time. We vowed to not make plans on Thursdays so that we have that day of rest. Some days that means even cutting out my writing time. In order to be productive at writing my mind must be at ease and that doesn’t happen readily when my mind and body have been going at warp speed for days on end. Instituting a family night at home (most likely watching Netflix) has helped me to stay sane amid the constant pull for my attention elsewhere.

Take time for you. Take time for top priorities. Everything else will prosper when you take time for these.

Link-Ups

On Being a Writer: Rest

I am joining a group of writers who are linking-up twice a week through the month of September to discuss some of the foundational ideas in writing. The topics for this link-up come from the book On Being a Writer by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. This link-up is being hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog entitled Heading Home. Today’s topic is Rest:

I’ve had a busy schedule as the school year has begun. I’m still working on a way to be sure not to lose my writing momentum that I worked hard to create over the summer. It’s insane how quickly demands can add up, but it is important to take time to rest. Without adequate rest one is prone to burn-out and more susceptible to illness. Neither of these conditions are things that sound appealing to me so as the first few weeks of school have come and gone I’ll admit that they came with a little rest from the regular schedule of writing. I’m looking forward to getting back on track in the next couple of weeks and plan to return to my regular routines fully by October. One thing I’ve learned from my journey of writing, however, is the importance of rest.

If I’m not well-rested my brain turns to mush. My words are futile and I can spend an hour staring at a blank screen. My purpose is weakened and my desire to pursue my passion wanes. Rest is one of the key components to writing, at least for me.

I’ve also been learning not to be too hard on myself. I set goals that I always intend to attain, but sometimes life gets in the way and that is okay. Writing is a passion and a purpose of mine, but it ultimately doesn’t define me. There are days when my writing must take a backseat to real life, relationships, and rest which I’ve come to accept as okay.

One goal of this blog is to write routinely in a positive environment. I feel that even though the months of August and September I have produced less unique content than months in the past that these were still successful months for fulfilling the purposes of my blog. I’m looking forward to what October will hold as I settle into a new groove. I appreciate all of your tolerance and continued readership during this period of re-adjustment. This much needed period of rest has renewed my drive to continue chasing dreams and I’m grateful for each and every reader who has continued to support me. Life moves in phases and sometimes we all need a little more rest to catch up on lost time. I’m excited to move on from this point, but am not naive to think that the coming months won’t have demands of their own. Life is all about balance and that’s why I rely so much on Christ and positive influences.

Be sure to make rest a priority!

Link-Ups

On Being a Writer: Plan

I am joining a group of writers who are linking-up twice a week through the month of September to discuss some of the foundational ideas in writing. The topics for this link-up come from the book On Being a Writer by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. This link-up is being hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog entitled Heading Home. Today’s topic is Plan:

Planning is one of the most difficult steps in the writing process for me. Okay, maybe not the actual planning itself, rather the time to plan. I am challenged to find adequate time to set aside to truly plan out where I’m headed whether that be with my blog or some of the other writing projects I am doing on the side. My planning is not super in-depth or detailed due to the lack of time I devote to the planning process.

For blogging at the end of each week I write out a plan for posts to be written the following week in my planner from Plum Paper Designs. I outline what I want to write about accompanied by a couple of rough ideas, but generally I don’t articulate too much until the time comes to actually beginning writing each post. With that process, it does allow for a little wiggle room and occassionally my writing will take on a completely different shape than what I had originally intended (which I think can be both a positive and negative thing).

With the novel I am currently working on planning has been a little more crucial. Before setting out to write any of it I created a chapter-by-chapter blueprint detailing some of the major events. As the story progresses I’m constantly editing that plan, but I found that having this plan has been very beneficial in giving me purpose each time I sit down to write. I’m nearing the half-way point in the novel and am looking forward to the road ahead. I also found that starting from the climax of the story and working backwards has also helped to shape this story. I guess time will tell how successful that plan actually is.

How do you incorporate planning into your writing?

Link-Ups

On Being a Writer: Engage

I am joining a group of writers who are linking-up twice a week through the month of September to discuss some of the foundational ideas in writing. The topics for this link-up come from the book On Being a Writer by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. This link-up is being hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog entitled Heading Home. Today’s topic is Engage:

Today’s post is all about creating a community of writers with whom you are able to engage. At this point, I’m still building that solid community. There are certain blogs and bloggers that I engage with on a normal basis for moral support in life, but really the focus for today is based on those I interact with that challenge my writing. As a writer I have sought advice from several bloggers and I would like to share those blogs with you. The following is a list of my Top 5 Blogs for Writing:

Live to Write

Kate Motaung

Michelle Richmond

Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire

Rachel Wojo

Many of these blogs offer advice, ideas, and open communication that have helped in the process of developing my skills. Some write about their faith and have authored books of that nature, while others are more raw with the type of writings they publish. There are plenty more notable writing blogs out there, and I am still in the process of building my community and looking for suggestions. Do you have a go-to blog or blogger to help challenge your writing?

Link-Ups

On Being a Writer: Discover

I am joining a group of writers who are linking-up twice a week through the month of September to discuss some of the foundational ideas in writing. The topics for this link-up come from the book On Being a Writer by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. This link-up is being hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog entitled Heading Home. Today’s topic is Discover:

When I write I find myself. The emotions and deepest thoughts buried beneath layers of the things that make me uniquely me. I find those things when I sit down with my fingers ready to type or my hands ready to write. I pause and in the silence God begins to peel back my layers and reveal what it is that I’m made of. I find my strength. I find my faith. I find my voice.

Writing helps me to discover the plans that God has for my life. Some days God’s purpose in my writing is just to cause me to reflect on who He is and what He has done in my life. Other days God has a specific story for me to share whether that be a real experience or a creative piece. Without writing I would not have documentation of this journey of life and evidence of God’s provision and plan for me and the world to see. Writing provides me an opportunity to share what my mind is incapable of explaining. For me the eloquence of words on paper comes much more easily than spoken word. I can be heard more clearly and louder than any voice when I express myself in writing.

I thank God everyday for this gift he has bestowed on me to help me discover my story and share it with others around me.

Link-Ups

On Being a Writer: Promote

I am joining a group of writers who are linking-up twice a week through the month of September to discuss some of the foundational ideas in writing. The topics for this link-up come from the book On Being a Writer by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. This link-up is being hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog entitled Heading Home. Today’s topic is Promote:

The practice of promoting my own writing is not a natural one for me. There are some areas of my life where I have no problem sharing what I’m doing or have done, but when it comes to writing for some reason it has been a struggle. For the longest time my writings were private. I saw them as intimate thoughts that were between myself, God, and a sheet of paper. I’m still not an expert on promoting my own writing, but I’ve learned to open up and accept praise or criticism.

Promoting your writing looks differently from author to author. A lot of my promoting takes place in every day conversation because many of my blog followers are people who know me in real life. However, I have gained a large following of people who do not know me let alone live on the same continent as I do. Some of those followers of my blog stumbled upon my blog by chance  and others found me through some of my means of promotion. They may have found a tag on my writing that interested them or used a specific phrase in a search engine which led them to me. I also like to comment on other blogs regularly to build community and that ends up connecting people with my blog as well.

I’m focusing on my blog on this post because it is the only medium of my writing where I have any experience in promoting. My prayer is that one day I could come back to this post and discuss the promotion process for a novel, but I’m not ready for that quite yet.

How do you promote your writing? What are your struggles with self-promotion?

Link-Ups

On Being a Writer: Send

I am currently taking part in a link-up that will be posted twice a week for a little over a month discussing ideas from the book On Being a Writer by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. To visit the link-up pop on over to Kate Motaung’s page, Heading Home, and check out other bloggers’ writings on a similar topic.
Today’s topic is Send: 
It takes a lot of courage to send forth your writing to publications. Until recently the idea of taking a private writing piece of my own and handing it over to be scrutinized by a total stranger completely terrified me. But the more I write the more confident I am in my ability and in the chance that one day I will find a piece of my work published.
I have set a personal goal to send out writing to five publishers a month which I discussed in my earlier post I Took the Leap of Faith. I’ve only been doing that for a few months at this point. So far, I have been unsuccessful, but I’m praying that one day the right piece will fall into the right hands and this life goal of mine will be realized.
I don’t take rejection personally. The hardest part about the submission process is having a piece of writing that fits the rigid requirements of the publishing companies you are sending to. Two publishers have responded to my submissions with some variation of “we really like your writing style, but we are looking for an article/story on a different topic.”
Some publishers are quick to give feedback while others may never respond. It does annoy me when my writing is returned without an explanation as to why it is not being used. A simple response like the one above satisfies my desire to know the purpose for my rejection.
As I eagerly anticipate the day when I receive that first acceptance letter or email, I have begun several opportunities to use my gifts on a smaller scale. I am a member of a writing team at my church which I discussed in more detail in my post Writing as a Ministry. My role consists of writing weekly discussions that my church uses during their weekly small group meetings. I’ve also done some editing and small projects for friends, colleagues, and blogging buddies. Additionally, I’ve been asked to lead and/or create devotional/discussion content for a ladies’ church group.
I continue to purse my goals despite the lack of publishing. I’m not content with where I am in my writing and I am constantly searching out ways to continue to improve. I’m learning the importance of writing daily and seeking out inspiration in the small things.
Please feel free to share a success story of yours in the comments below or to offer advice. That’s what today’s post is all about!
Link-Ups

On Being a Writer: Write

The reason I have been blogging for six months now is to facilitate a more regular pattern of writing. When I have goals set for myself I am much more likely to complete what it is I want to accomplish. Also, when I have people holding me accountable for those goals then I feel even more responsible for making sure those tasks actually happen. With blogging I have sought out a way for me to routinely write and practice writing about a multitude of topics while you, my readers, hold me accountable.

There are many things about the craft of blogging that I have yet to perfect. I want to make it clear that I don’t always follow the guidelines I am about to list. Also, I’m sure that there is a better and more efficient process for blogging. This is just the process that I have found that works for me.  I set out each week with a list of potential topics and ideas. Those ideas get plugged into a Blog Post Planner which I purchased from Plum Paper. I use this planner to track posting ideas, titles, where I am in the process of each post, and my blog statistics.

Modified copy of IMG_1537

On an average week I aim to create six posts, but sometimes life keeps that from happening. I’ve never done fewer than three posts in a week, however. Each post begins with a fifteen to thirty minute session of getting all my thoughts and ideas out. This process is then followed by editing. After I’ve cut and pasted, removed, and added to my original writing I run everything by my editor (my husband). Almost every post gets reviewed by him. He has the permission to be a Grammar Nazi. He also helps me catch any missing information from the posts. So, if you see any glaring mistakes blame the hubby. (No, I’m kidding. Sometimes this step gets skipped and that’s usually when you see the mistakes)

One thing that helps me achieve my goal of six posts per week is the feature on WordPress (my blog platform) that allows me to schedule posts in the future. With this feature I am able to work on posts when time allows and I don’t have to feel pressure to actually create a post every day.

When I am able I like to finish each post a couple of days in advance so that I have ample time to revise and edit each post. This isn’t always the case, but during my organizational phases I could be almost a week ahead of schedule as far as revising and editing go,

I’ve learned that my writing is best when I am locked into a habit of writing regularly. Some days my posts are short and sweet, but they still count as progress for my skill. I enjoy spending time alone with my thoughts and getting ideas out in a timely manner.

How do you frame your blogging or writing process? 

Link-Ups

On Being a Writer: Notice

This is my latest installment on the link-up On Being a Writer based on the book by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. Head over to Kate Motaung‘s page to join or read this link-up.

Today’s topic is Notice.

Why is it so hard to take the time to notice the beauty and inspiration around us? This is the hardest part about writing for me. I can generally get words flowing pretty quickly once I have a topic, but noticing the details in life that can become those topics is so difficult.

I struggle with this practice not only in my writing, but in everyday life. We all go through seasons where things get  busy and hectic. We forget to slow down and appreciate every aspect of creation. That’s me right now. I’m hoping for story ideas or writing prompts to appear, but I’m not taking the time to slow down and notice the beauty and creativity around me. A sunset could lead to a poem. A toddler tantrum could lead to a blog post. A conversation with a friend could lead to a creative, Biblical piece of writing.

When we get so busy we miss out on a lot. We neglect to see the possibilities in our writing because we aren’t looking. If you ever feel like me and struggle with what to write take a step back and notice the world around you. Write down what you see. And go from there. Writing is so much more than words on a page. Writing is about seeing the potential in everything, big or small, to make an impact on the world around you. It’s about harnessing those ideas and giving them life. Take some time today to NOTICE.

Link-Ups

On Being a Writer: Surround

I am currently taking part in a link-up that will be posted twice a week for a little over a month discussing ideas from the book On Being a Writer by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. To visit the link-up pop on over to Kate Motaung’s page, Heading Home, and check out other bloggers’ writings on a similar topic.
Today’s topic is Surround: 
When I write posts on my blog I oftentimes write about whatever has stolen my attention on that particular day. Some days that means I blog about a book that I’m reading or have just finished. Other days I write about activities my family took part in. At other times I may share a recipe I found on Pinterest or a DIY project that I’ve been working on for my home.
My blog posts always reflect whatever it is that I’m surrounding myself with. If it seems like my topics are widespread it is because I’m passionate about so many things, but the idea that ties every post together is my passion and desire for writing. I blog because I love to write and though my inspiration varies my motivation and reasons for blogging do not. I am a Christian-Wife-Mother-Teacher-Writer-Homeowner-Friend and that is why my blog explores so many topics. I can’t just write about one of those aspects because all of those things make me who I am.
Some ideas I would like to tackle in my writing life would be some more short, creative stories. In order to make that happen I first need to be reading more and taking time to develop my ideas in a more orderly fashion. I’m not the best at collecting my ideas in a nice and neat notebook or file. I think in order to do more creative writing projects I will need to be more adamant about taking time to cultivate topics and ideas. I will also need to put myself in state of mind where I am searching out inspiration as opposed to waiting for it to hit me.
One of the most inspirational places for me to write is at a coffee shop in my hometown. Some of my most focused and productive writing has come from sessions at this cafe. I think whenever I hit a dry patch in writing I need to take some time to myself and venture out of my home to find that inspiration. I also do well to write in serene spaces. Packing up my laptop and traveling to the Great Outdoors is a great way for me to get inspired.
What inspires you? What can you surround yourself with that will make you a more focused and passionate writer?