Articles on the art and craft of writing and industry news.

Why do you want to write a book and tell your story?

What holds you back from telling your story? Ideas are like a flooding rain in my mind. I have more thoughts about stories and concepts than I can work with until I sit down and focus on the one idea that I’ve decided to turn into a book. At that point, a drought settles in which is usually followed by doubt.   What was I thinking? Why do I think I can write a book? Ali, if you were a real writer, you could pick an idea, outline it into a sequence and write a story or nonfiction book.   The pressure from my inner voice tempts me to procrastinate until I give up. However, if I had listened to the naysayer in my subconscious, I would not have 12 books for sale on Amazon.   So, how does a writer move from procrastination to publication?   Today, I want us to look at what I believe is the most important step for a writer to go forward and that is to answer a very personalized question. Understanding your deepest motivation for writing your books is not the only tool a writer needs to move from procrastination to publication, but it is a big one. The #1 question to answer before writing a book Why do you want to tell your story?   The answer to that question is your BIG STORY goal. Knowing this fact will carry you through doubts and negative self-talk about becoming a writer.   Goals [...]

Tyranny Of The Good

“Sometimes saying ‘No’ is the only way back to a life of ‘Yes.’" Shauna Niequist All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things build up.       I Corinthians 10:23 Good Things Have there been times in your life, maybe even now, when you are doing good things—really good things, LOTS of good things—but you realize that something isn’t quite right? If you’re like me, the answer is a resounding “YES!” And if we’re honest, most of us walk...or run really fast...that pathway more often than not. We get busy doing activities or jobs that are productive and helpful and serving others and life-giving. Why would we NOT want to do those things?? When our family moved from our beloved east Texas to Colorado several years ago, I felt that if I didn’t get involved and be of service and make friends pretty quickly, I might sink. We had left the place where we raised our children and ourselves; where we helped start a church, served in the community, and were involved in myriad home school activities; we left friends we did life with and with whom we developed roots. So even before we got unpacked, I started putting my name on lists, volunteering for needs at church, and looking for people who were in the same life-vein as I was. All of those things were good! STOP! Slow Down!   But about a year after we got settled in CO, something—or [...]

By | 2017-06-15T16:46:11+00:00 June 16th, 2017|Making Time, The Art & Craft of Writing Toward Publication|Comments Off on Tyranny Of The Good

YOU ARE A WRITER!

A few decades ago, writers were only considered writers if they were published in print. This misconception is no longer true in our digital age. There are all kinds of writers with all sorts of styles writing many different things. Guess what—YOU are a writer!   A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Proverbs 25:11 ESV   You are a writer: Your words are powerful. Words are powerful. The power of life and death is in the tongue! While writing is not speaking, it is a form of communication within which you have power. You are a writer because you write. It doesn’t matter if you write in your journal, letters to friends, long emails, poetry or short stories. Writers write! You need no other accomplishments or distinctions to let you know you are a writer. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18:21 As a writer, you have a responsibility to use words carefully and intentionally. Words are impossible to get back once published. Chances are, if you have been writing for any length of time or even thinking about what you want to say - that is your voice. You are a writer: You have a voice. So, we know you are a writer or that you want to be. You might be sitting scratching your head saying, “But Karen, I have nothing to write about.” Yes, you do. You [...]

By | 2017-06-01T13:41:26+00:00 June 2nd, 2017|The Art & Craft of Writing Toward Publication|Comments Off on YOU ARE A WRITER!

Do Less, With More Focus: Five Tools for Managing Your Distractions

I used to end my writing sessions feeling unproductive and defeated—like I had wasted so much time with nothing to show for it—until one day, I learned something about managing distractions that changed my writing career. It’s much easier to write about solving the problem of distractibility than it is to live out the process. With practice, we can take control of our writing time and complete each writing session with a sense of accomplishment. Rest assured—all successful writers face distractions and need a plan to fight them.     The Parable of the Distracted Baker Once upon a time, a girl decided to make a fresh blueberry and apple pie. Her neighbor across the street had a blueberry farm and an apple orchard divided by a wide river with a bridge connecting them. The girl crossed the street with two baskets in hand. She started at the blueberry farm because it was on her side of the river. She’d only picked a handful of blueberries when the wind blew in from the direction of the apple orchard. She inhaled deeply, relishing the sweet aroma. Her mouth watered as she thought, I want an apple. She set her blueberry basket beside the bush where she was picking and crossed the long bridge to the apple orchard. The orchard spread out as far as she could see. The girl picked a few apples for her basket and one to eat right away. Oh, it tastes delightful, she thought, the perfect blend [...]

By | 2017-05-26T03:35:43+00:00 May 26th, 2017|The Art & Craft of Writing Toward Publication|Comments Off on Do Less, With More Focus: Five Tools for Managing Your Distractions

Pomodoro Time!

    Pomodoro: denoting a sauce made from tomatoes, typically served with pasta; Italian - ‘tomato’ OR    A time management technique developed in the late 1980s by then-student Francesco Cirillo. If we’re honest, most of us—at one time or another—have trouble managing our time; life happens, and too often, daily distractions keep us from getting the OTHER important tasks accomplished that we want or need to do. Like writing. The Pomodoro Technique is here to help! Prepare to be amazed! While the Pomodoro Technique can help with many daily tasks—cleaning, study, music practice, etc.—using it for writing is a great way to see progress. Cirillo decided to call this technique Pomodoro—tomato—after the kitchen timer that looks like a tomato. The idea is that you work using the timer, breaking your work into manageable chunks of time. Cirillo recommends 25 minutes for each Pomodoro session, working without interruption for that allotted time. Once the timer goes off, you must stop what you’re doing for five minutes (set the timer for this time, also). When the timer buzzes, signaling that it’s time to work again, set it for 25 minutes and work diligently for that time, then take a five-minute break, and so forth. The key to success is that you schedule and work as many Pomodoros as possible during your day, with three or four sessions being the minimum. Your break time can be anywhere from five to fifteen or so minutes, depending on your day—but I have found that scheduling [...]

By | 2017-05-13T01:57:16+00:00 May 13th, 2017|I Need a Writing Coach!, The Art & Craft of Writing Toward Publication|Comments Off on Pomodoro Time!

Outlines: What Every Writer Ought to Know

Outlines are like road maps. You can get to your destination without one, but you run the risk of chasing rabbit trails, or even worse, getting lost. It’s the same with writing a book. If we don’t know the end, how can we write the middle? Outlines solve that problem for us. Think of a book as a vacation destination. When my family goes on a trip, we Decide ahead of time where we want to go How long to stay What to do while we’re there. Your book has a final destination. You have imagined what you want your book to accomplish. You know what you want for your readers. What you want your readers to walk away with after reading your book is the thesis or goal. Every step, every chapter along the way ought to draw your reader closer to your imagined outcome for the book. Therefore, thinking this through ahead of time will make your writing time more efficient, enjoyable, and in the end, produce a high-quality product for your readers. What every writer ought to know about outlines Outlines make writing more efficient Planning and writing use different parts of the brain. Switching gears from planning to writing and back to planning isn't an inefficient use of our brain power. Since planning and creating use two different parts of the brain, we will save time if we spend time planning the logical progression of our book before creating the text. Creating is more fun this [...]

By | 2017-04-27T00:36:52+00:00 April 28th, 2017|The Art & Craft of Writing Toward Publication|Comments Off on Outlines: What Every Writer Ought to Know

3 Ways to Avoid Writing RoadBlocks

No one ever said the writing life would be easy. Navigating my way around the roadblocks that get in my way is hard work! Self-discipline, determination, and confidence get me past the obstacles that bog down my progress. "The trick is not in becoming a writer; it is in staying a writer. Day after week after month after year, staying in there for the long haul.” — The Art of War For Writers, James Scott Bell, p. 12 Most writers know what it feels like to suffer from writer’s block, and we’ll talk about that another day. Today I want to take a look at the writer's roadblock and how it prevents aspiring writers from realizing their dreams. On some level, the idea of becoming a writer seems like it ought to be an easy career. We’re drawn to writing because it makes us feel happy when we do it. I feel at home when I put words on paper. Writing is simple; the words come effortlessly, and nothing stops me when I'm writing because the mood has struck me to write. However, a career as a writer can’t rest on whims. If you’re a newspaper reporter, your editor expects copy from you for the next addition. She has deadlines to meet. Therefore, you have deadlines to meet or get fired! Entrepreneurial writers, like authors, bloggers, and contracted writers need self-imposed goals. The hitch is that we must set our personal deadlines and treat them as seriously as an editor for a newspaper sets time limits for her [...]

By | 2017-04-24T03:12:38+00:00 April 21st, 2017|The Art & Craft of Writing Toward Publication|Comments Off on 3 Ways to Avoid Writing RoadBlocks