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

Four Ways to Give Your Fantasy or Sci-fi Character a Name

Hello friends! The SFF post I wrote over at AlmostAnAuthor has gone live! Visit here to glean a few ideas on how to choose a name for your characters. I’ve had a busy week moving into my new home in North Carolina! Yesterday was official “signing” day and today we have a team of people coming to help us unload our moving pods! Yippee! Hopefully the next post I write will be from my official writing desk!! Prayers appreciated!

Happy writing friends!

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Photo credit Unsplash by NASA

Our Journey through the Desert and Back Again

It’s been a while since I’ve given an update on our journey across America. In fact, it’s been a full ten months since I wrote the last blog post. (You can find that here.) I know many of you have been wondering, “What about Hawaii?”, “When will they get to Hawaii?” And to be honest? We were wondering the same thing for almost half a year. This is one of the reasons I’ve taken so long to give an update–any update–on where/how/when we were going. It’s hard to tell others what the plan is, when you don’t even know yourself, right? Right.

To sum up the past few years (for those that my have missed it or just plain forgot!) our adventure west began shortly after Tim’s mother, Irene, passed away in 2011. Over a matter of months both Tim and I felt led by God to begin selling our stuff and pairing down what we owned. We also sold our house and moved into a rental so we could be ready to “go where God led” when the time was right. Fast forward to January 2015, and we finally felt like we got a clear answer on exactly where to go: Hawaii. It took a year and a half and countless confirmations to finally get us out the door and headed in that direction. We landed in Phoenix, AZ simply because the logistics of moving a family of five (and the possessions we still had) across the pond to an island was much easier said than done. We decided to move in faith and let God handle the details, as He had been doing thus far. 

But what do you do when God has given you a direction and then things don’t turn out the way you had planned? What is a family supposed to think when God has laid it on their hearts to adopt a child, yet at every turn the paperwork is denied and the process seems to move backwards and not forwards? Or what about that person who feels led to begin a ministry, yet each time they seek to begin the work, something stands in the way and brings things to a halt? For years I’ve known countless Christians that have faced these very situations, even though God has clearly given them the desire and motivation to do what they were called to do. What do we do with that?

Where has God gone when He falls silent? Continue reading

Guest Post: 8 Ways to Find Brilliant Story Ideas by Kellie M. Parker

Hello, readers of Caffeinated Fiction! I’m delighted to join you here today. One of the things people often ask me when they find out I’m a writer is, “How do you come up with your story ideas?”

Great question! I’ve put together a list of 8 different techniques I’ve used to find inspiration for my stories. Hopefully they’ll help you too!

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Photo credit PEXELS

  1. Asking “What if?” questions

The world is full of interesting possibilities when you start asking questions, and you can use this tactic to look for ideas wherever and whenever you have time to think.

What if the magnetic poles suddenly reversed? What if everyone born in 1999 had superpowers? What if a future version of you shows up in a time machine in your living room?

There are so many things in life we take for granted, like gravity and running water and the weather. Turn some of those things upside-down and see what happens. Once you start asking questions, you never know where your imagination will take you! Continue reading

Caffeinated Convo: Early Bird or Night Owl?

Ahhh, the age-old question: Are you an early bird or a night owl? Google this topic and you’ll find a plethora of posts defending why one is better than the other, or which great historical figures fell into what category. But despite what the media might lead you to believe, there has never really been one correct answer when it comes to our creativity, right? Whether you are more productive as an early bird or as a night owl depends entirely on you as an individual. You just need to figure out which category you fall into and roll with it!

Where do I land? Well, if you’d asked me that fifteen years ago, the answer would’ve been absolutely, undeniably, whole-heartedly a night owl! For most of my life, the bulk of my creative inspiration always seemed to hit sometime around the midnight hour. I had no problem staying awake into the wee-hours of the morning if the creativity was flowing. Since my children have been born? Not so much. I’ll never know if it was all those nights I stayed awake against my will (as a baby wailed her lungs out) or if my body just decided it needed a change. But all I ever feel after the 10pm timeframe is tired and brain dead. Zombie-time! Furthermore, I was shocked to discover a few years ago that I actually work amazingly well in the early morning! (And by this I mean 6am-ish. I’m not that much of a crazy-person!) Give me 30-60 minutes before breakfast and I can have 1000-1500 words written, no problem. Boo ya! Apparently, I’m an “early bird writer”. 

What about you? Do you think best early in the morning or does the dark of night work for you? I’d love to hear the different routines you have that keeps your creativity flowing! Please leave a comment below! 

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Photo credit Unsplash Korney Violin

The Many Worlds of Sci-fi and Fantasy

My contribution to the AlmostAnAuthor website for March has been posted! The subject for this month: The Many Worlds of Sci-fi and Fantasy. Where do the characters of your story live? Check out the post to see!

Happy writing, friends!

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Photo credit Unsplash by NASA

Flash Fiction Friday: A Cry in the Night

The baby was crying again.

Sarah rolled over with a groan. Her husband, Tom, was gone from bed. Probably getting a midnight snack. With a yawn, she got up and padded down the hall.

She peeked into the nursery. A figure stood over the crib and the baby cooed happily. Tom had gotten him. Good. 

Sarah climbed back into her bed. Tom exited their adjoining bathroom with a stretch.

“You were in the bathroom?” she said, her brow pulled tight.

“Yeah.” He shrugged.

“Then who’s in–”

A chill ran down Sarah’s spine. The baby had fallen silent.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo credit Unsplash by freestocks.org

Flash Fiction Friday: The Date

Chris rolled his eyes at the selection of flowers in the grocery store. When had the price gone up? He sighed and grabbed a bundle of discounted carnations. Whatever. It was only a blind date.

One self-checkout register was open and a woman headed for it. He sped up and cut her off just in time to make it look like he’d arrived first. Her sour look said she knew his game. He shrugged to himself. He couldn’t be late.

The coffee shop was around the corner. There were plenty of parking spaces open but he wanted one near the door. He hit the gas to snag a spot from another car with it’s blinker on. Was that the woman from the store? Small world.

He raced inside and looked around. No single ladies here yet. What did she look like?

“Chris?”

The woman from the store walked in. Chris’ throat closed and his palms went sweaty.

“I’m Lisa.”

He gulped.

She crossed her arms. “I’m your date.”

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman

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Photo credit Unsplash by Clem Onojeghuo

Caffeinated Convo: What are you Binge-Watching?

Hello friends! Welcome to another week of Caffeinated ConvoThis week’s question: 

What are you binge-watching? 

There are so many options for watching new (and quite old) seasons of television shows. And now that Netflix, iTunes and Amazon have joined in the fun of creating exclusive shows just for their subscribers, it makes it hard to walk away from that boob-tube, eh? What shows have caught your interest, anyway?

Currently, I’m re-watching the entire Downton Abbey series, along with my teenaged daughter, who had been too young to watch it when it was first released. I must say, watching all the episodes one after another (and sort of squished together!) does make the experience quite different. I remember at the time that some storylines felt like they took forever to come to completion, but now I realize they really only flowed over 2 or 3 episodes.

What about you? What is your current obsession you’d like to suggest? Have you re-watched a series you’d already seen before? How was the experience different when watched back-to-back, as opposed to having to wait weeks/months in between episodes and seasons? Feel free to talk, friends! I’d love to hear from you!

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Photo credit Unsplash by Korney Violin

Flash Fiction Friday: The Music Room

“That’s the last of them.” Dylan wiped sweat from his brow as he fell into a chair.

The new Music Room overflowed with boxes, just like the rest of the historic building that would hold the fifty-two students from the extraordinarily small Dunbath Private School. His sixth-grade class had volunteered to help with the move.

“I heard this place was a plantation back during the Civil War,” Maggie said, popping open one of the boxes to peer inside.

Dylan nodded. “Yeah. Some rich guy owned it, had slaves and everything. Until slavery was abolished, anyway.”

“One little slave girl never left.” Maggie bit her lip to keep her smile hidden.

“Huh? What d’ya mean?” Dylan squinted his eyes and straightened up.

“Oh, just a rumor that she drowned in the pond out back. I heard her ghost tried to communicate with the family here.”

Dylan frowned. “Stop it, Maggie. You’re just trying to scare me.”

“Maybe. Maybe not.” She gave him a wink and turned to leave.

A sound stopped them. Music, electronic and muffled, came from one of the boxes in the corner. Maggie gasped.

“What the…?” Dylan said, as he pushed boxes aside.

They worked together and were finally able to find the right one. Dylan flipped open the lid and peered in. The sound grew louder. Inside, the box was filled with small electronic keyboards meant for young children.

At the very bottom, a keyboard was in the ‘on’ position and played a pre-recorded melody.

Maggie’s eyes grew wide. “Ummm….”

Dylan turned the keyboard off, plunging the room into silence. “I think we know where she is.”

Then the music started to play again.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo Credit Pixabay