Goals for Writers: How to set them; How to keep them

We all have our bad writing days. You know, the ones where you spend twelve hours of the day thinking about what you might write when you actually sit down if those ideas come to mind? Yeah. But sometimes those days stretch past a single day. The next thing you know it’s been a week then maybe even a month, since you’ve written or edited any of your work. You’ve neglected your social media. And when was the last time you connected with another writer? Your confidence drops, which gives you no motivation to actually do that one thing you intended on doing in the first place: write. 

Don’t beat yourself up about it. It happens to everyone–not just writers–and it won’t be the last time it happens, either. Life happens. Stuff happens. Sometimes we just get sidetracked and need a good kick in the tush to get moving again.

Setting realistic goals–and having a system to keep yourself accountable–can really help get you motivated so you can finish that manuscript! There has never been a day where I’ve thought, “Man. Sure wish I hadn’t set those goals. What a waste of time!” But I have definitely reflected, “Wow. Look at all I accomplished today! I got so much more done than I thought I would!” If that’s not motivation enough for the next day, then I don’t know what is!  Continue reading

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Pulling Weeds from your Writing Garden

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Photo cred. Pixabay

Weed Words. Even the most experienced writers find those pesky repetitive words that creep into their manuscripts.

One of my personal weed words is “now.” I honestly had no idea how often I used it in my writing until a friend of mine pointed it out in a text! At the time I was shocked by her comment. Did I really use that word so often? A quick check of the manuscript I was in the process of editing confirmed her accusation. I had a serious weed word problem!

So what are these weed words? Well, they are exactly what they sound like–words that worm their way into your writing repetitively, without your knowledge. Because we are the creator of those words, our brains are immune to “hearing” them in our mind. Therefore, repeated words can fill our pages and make our writing look lazy.

The good news is, there’s a relatively easy fix for this problem! To highlight a particular word within your manuscript, simply type that word in the upper right hand corner of your Word document and hit ‘enter.’ That word will appear in yellow and you will literally get a visual of your attachment to it. (One trick that I use is to type only the first few letters of the word, in case you’ve used different tenses.) I’ve heard varied suggestions of how often to allow that word to appear–anywhere from only once per chapter, to once per page. My personal opinion is to ask myself how common that word is within our daily speech, and decide from there.

So, how do you know which words are your weed words? Well, some you will just have to discover on your own. Ask beta readers or critique partners to read some of your work and make note of any they notice. Otherwise, check out this comprehensive list of commonly overused words at the Writers Helping Writers website. (It’s listed as ‘Crutch Words.’) This site is a great resource with lots of downloadable pages to help writers get organized with their writing!!

How about you? What are your weed words that seem to crop up in your writing? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Happy writing, friends!

One Book, Two Book, Three Books… This isn’t Dr. Seuss!

Yesterday I gave an update on my monthly challenge, so today I thought I’d update where I am with my writing. I do realize I still have that ‘Watch Me Write’ section on the sidebar of my blog, promise! But here’s a bit more in depth look at where I stand with my writing.

Orphan Princess – This is the manuscript that has been in my agent’s hands since early 2016. I did just send it out (once again) to another beta reader who caught a few more grammar/spelling errors (ACK!), and a publisher has asked me to do a minor revision to include a theme that aligns with their company before they will read the entire manuscript. The plan is to tackle these things within the next two weeks and see where that leads.

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The Prophecy Tails – The idea for this trilogy came to me around Christmastime last year, and I successfully knocked out book one in the series by late February 2016. Book two quickly followed, with that rough draft completed by late spring. I did begin writing book three at the start of our move this summer, but it got waylaid and I haven’t revisited it since. It’s about 25% finished. My goal is to finish that rough draft by participating in NaNoWriMo in November. We shall see if I can get this entire series drafted by the end of the year!! That will mean 2017 will be a year of revision. (*blink, blink*) Continue reading

My #WIPjoy September Update

Some of you might remember I took up an August challenge to write Flash Fiction every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. At the end of the month I was pleased with how the challenge of meeting that goal really helped push me toward more blogging. So, I decided to dive right in and take up another monthly challenge for September–this time through the daily #WIPjoy Twitter post! 

Because this is shows up in my Twitter feed, you may have missed many of my updates on my WIP. So I thought I’d give an update on how it’s going and which WIP I chose to focus on for this month! 

The Book – Almost 2 1/2 years ago I self-published a series of six novellas titled ‘Now I Sleep’. Over time, I realized I wanted to get the series professionally edited to ensure my best possible work was available. At the suggestion of my amazing editor–Nadine Brandes!–I decided this past spring that I would combine the six novellas into one single full length novel. Although the info for the individual novellas remains on my website (under the Books section), it will be updated once the revisions and edits are complete. ‘Now I Sleep’ is a YA Sci-Fi fictional work that takes place in present day, as well as in the future. 

The Tweets – Surprisingly, I’ve actually done quite well keeping up with this! I will admit, consistency is my Achilles Heel, but the encouragement I’ve seen on Twitter has helped motivate me to stay up a few extra minutes before bed, to be sure I got that tweet done! I have missed tweeting twice, but made up for it the next day. I’ve made a number of new contacts on Twitter and hope to join in with the next #WIPjoy, once it comes around! 

The UpdatesThe good news is, this challenge has kept me on my toes and helped guide me in my edits/revision on this book! Major things were cut, major things were added and it helped me focus in on the themes and struggles that may have been glossed over within the series. I’ll follow with a few of my favorite tweets from this month, in case you’re curious to see what this book is about!!

I’m already on the lookout for my next monthly challenge for the month of October! If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below! Or tell me about a challenge you’ve joined in this month or year! Oh, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter if you haven’t done so!! 

Happy writing, friends!

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