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Write On 2017! Your Mission

Picture of frog

Have you heard the phrase, Eat the frog first? It references Mark Twain’s famous quote, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” When  I worked in the corporate world, this phrase essentially meant do your toughest work first, and the rest of the day will be a breeze.

Today I’m here to help you craft a writing plan that will help you stay on course and on fire about your writing throughout 2017 (Write On 2017! Worksheet). And it all begins with the Mission Statement. I’ll be honest, IMO, this is the single hardest task we’ll cover in the next seven weeks as we craft writing plans. It took me a week-long retreat in Mexico with some writing friends and a couple of margaritas before I finally got my head around my mission statement.

Simply put, a mission statement is a formal summary of your aims and values. It’s the heart of who you are and what you do. Above all, your mission should INSPIRE you.

Missions are short, about twenty-five words or less. Management guru Peter Drucker suggests your mission be short enough to fit on a T-shirt. Missions are broad; they don’t box you in.  Missions should withstand the test of time and changes in your writing and the industry. Finally, missions are realistic (practical and workable) and easily understood.

Corporate America has spent millions of dollars crafting mission statements to inspire and guide. Here are some good ones:

  • To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. (GOOGLE)
  • To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. (NIKE)
  • To make the world a more caring place by helping people laugh, love, heal, say thanks, reach out and make meaningful connections with others. (HALLMARK)
  • To spread ideas. (TED)

Your Assignment: Craft your mission statement.

As I mentioned, crafting my mission statement took me a couple of whacks. The task felt so big…so important. But when I reminded myself that missions are about that little nugget, the heart of who I was as a writer, the task got much more manageable. So what’s at the heart? You, your product, your aims, and your audience. Here is a quick exercise to get you thinking about these factors.

  1. List 3-5 words or phrases that describe your writing
  2. List 3-5 words or phrases that describe your ideal image from READERS’ POV
  3. List 3-5 words or phrases that describe your ideal image from YOUR POV

With these words/phrases in mind, take a crack at writing a mission statement for your writing. Start with MY MISSION IS TO…

Here’s mine: My mission is to tell great stories…that capture the hearts and entertainment dollars of a loyal and ever-growing reader bse.

Feel free to post the above exercise and/or your mission in the comment section below. Write on!

This is Part 2 of the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s series, Write On 2017! A Writer’s Guide to Prioritizing, Goal Setting and Time Management. Part 1 here.

Shelley Coriell is an award-winning author of mysteries, romantic thrillers, and novels for teens. Her debut thriller was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of the Year, and her other novels have been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, Best Paperback Original of the Year from the International Thriller Writers, and a Kirkus Recommended Read. A former magazine editor and restaurant reviewer, Shelley lives in Arizona with her family and the world’s neediest rescue weimaraner. You can find her at www.shelleycoriell.com and Twittering @ShelleyCoriell.

Write On 2017! Prioritize Your Writing

Stop clowning around!

Say it with me, writer friends: It’s time to stop clowning around and get serious about my writing! Maybe you’re a new writer hankering to finish your first novel. Or maybe you’ve been in the writing trenches a while and need to take that next BIG STEP. Get an agent. Self-publish. Quit your day job. Regardless of where you’re at in the writing journey, you can increase productivity and improve process through a thoughtful and focused writing plan.

Over the next eight Wednesdays I’ll share proven strategies and exercises to keep you on course and on fire about your writing. In these interactive posts, you’ll learn practical steps to prioritize your creative life, draft a writing plan to hold you accountable, and explore exercises that inspire and affirm. These blog posts are culled from one of my most popular writing workshops: Write On! A Writer’s Guide to Prioritizing, Goal Setting, & Time Management. If you’re a worksheet-y kind of writer, see the Write On Worksheet.

Today’s topic: Prioritize Your Writing Life

If you’re serious about your writing, you must honor it with your time, talent, and treasure. Bonus: When you take your writing seriously, others will too, such as spouses, editors/agents, and readers.

Do you see that little clown above? That’s my youngest daughter. After I first created my writing plan twelve years ago, I told my girls, including that cutey-patooty clown, that I was setting aside time every day to write. If my girls needed something and I was at my writing desk, they would ask me, “Mommy, are you on the clock?” If I said yes, they knew I needed to finish my work. This was a pivotal moment in my writing career. Words and book contracts soon followed.

A few quick tips to prioritize: 

  1. Regular Writing Schedule – Writing is a muscle, and it works best when used regularly. Follow a writing sked that works for you. Write 500 words a day or 5,000 words a weekend. Or write from 5-6 every morning or 9-11 every night. When I’m drafting a book, I write 2,500 words a day, Monday-Friday. Interestingly enough, I became more productive (and less weary) when I decided to take weekends off.
  2. Writing Environment – Create a place to write. Home offices are great, as you can close the door, but don’t get caught up looking for the “perfect writing spot.” I use a desk in my living room. A friend of mine writes at Starbucks every day. If it helps, put up a few inspirational quotes, a vision board with your latest book project, or even a Writer-At-Work sign.
  3. Dollars and Cents – Set aside money for writing conferences and craft books. A solid investment now leads to greater future returns. Even though writing conferences exhaust me, I’m wonderfully productive once I get home. Perhaps it’s all that shared energy and filling of the creative well. 
  4. Writing Groups – Join a writing organization (RWA, Sisters in Crime, ITWSCBWI, etc.), great places for education and motivation. Likewise, critique groups and writing challenges can help boost productivity. Check out the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s Winter Writing Festival for a heaping dose of writing inspiration and productivity challenges.
  5. Writing Plan – Create a writing plan and review it at least quarterly. Check the Ruby blog every Wednesday for the next eight weeks, and I’ll help you craft a simple but effective writing plan for 2017. 
  6. Your Manifesto – Say it. To your family. To your friends. And most importantly, to yourself. “I am a writer…a storyteller…an artist who paints with words, and I shall nurture and honor my creative soul.” This above all else.

Your Assignment

Now it’s your turn. Identify at least one thing you can do to prioritize your writing life. Write it in the comment section below. Then, DO IT!

Shelley Coriell is an award-winning author of mysteries, romantic thrillers, and novels for teens. Her debut thriller was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of the Year, and her other novels have been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, Best Paperback Original of the Year from the International Thriller Writers, and a Kirkus Recommended Read. A former magazine editor and restaurant reviewer, Shelley lives in Arizona with her family and the world’s neediest rescue weimaraner. You can find her at www.shelleycoriell.com and Twittering @ShelleyCoriell.

 

 

There Is No Use Denying Who You Are

This is a republished blog posted here on the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood as Closet Writers that was felt by many of our readers. I hope it will connect with a few more as we go into a new year.

Closet writers break my heart. Any reason a writer keeps their writing a secret is just wrong, unless the writing is extremely personal and not meant for other’s eyes. I was a closet writer.

There are many reasons why writers remain in the closet and the Rubies have had discussions concerning them. At some time or another, many of us have faced the road-blocks that kept us from being us.

Some writers think they haven’t read enough books to be considered a writing expert. In their minds, if people find out they write, they must’ve read every single book ever published. I’m here to tell you that I’ve never read Huck Finn, War and Peace, Fifty Shades Of Gray or a zillion other classic or best-selling books. Does that confession make me less of a writer? I think not.

Being shy, it can take years for some people to join a writer’s group. A long, long time ago, when the internet was young and a thing called dial-up was used to connect to it, writers actually went to public meetings to connect with those of like minds. Walking into a meeting can be daunting to a wall flower. I know because I’m an introvert. The internet and the ambiguity it provides, has made it easier for some writers to connect to others, but not all. They remain in the background, unsure of themselves. To them, I say, “it’s always the quiet ones who make the biggest impression when they’re ready.” Rest assured most writers are genuinely nice and more than willing to help other writers in any way they can. You only need to be serious about the craft to be considered a writer by them.

A closet writer might feel they don’t know enough about the craft and until they know all there is to know they remain in seclusion. I’m not sure if there is anyone out there who knows it all. Well, maybe King, Patterson or Nora. Only they can answer that question. The point being, the majority of writers will openly admit that they don’t know everything and that they learn something new all the time. Join the club that strives to be better at their craft.

My writing sucks. It very well could, but are you the best judge? You’ve read and studied and wrote and edited. Now it’s time to trust yourself and share your work. If a critique offers constructive advice, weigh it, and then accept it or not. In the end, it’s your story. There is no greater joy for a writer than when a reader enjoys your work. The only way to know that joy is to share your gift.

There are those who really, really want to be a writer but struggle to do the work required. Writing is hard work and takes a huge amount of time. Completing a work is possible a word at a time. Commit to the work, or perhaps another hobby would be better for you.

I’m fortunate. I’m a writer who has had the support of family and friends for many years, but that wasn’t always the case. I once was a closet writer. I was told that my dreams of becoming a published writer were stupid and thus I hid my passion. Now, when I read the notebooks I filled during that time, I cringe at the darkness that shadowed my life.

One day, I finally broke and said to myself, “This is my life and I don’t want to look back and wonder what if I’d taken one step. Would my dreams have come true?” That was a year of change for me on many levels. It was a hard trial but through it I learned I had the support of many family members. I read craft books. I joined a writer’s group. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I attended conferences and workshops.  I found more support through my writer friends. I met the man of my dreams and he became my biggest supporter. I will love him forever for letting me be me.

Life doesn’t give us do-overs, but it does give us second chances. Take the step toward being you.

 

Autumn Jordon is the award-winning author of Perfect and Perfect Hearts.  She enjoys writing  contemporary romance, romantic suspense and thrillers/mysteries.  Subscribe to her newsletter at www.autumnjordon.com and be entered into members only contests. perfect-box-basic-2

Accidental Hitchhiker: The Story Behind the Story

hitchhikerPeople often ask writers where we get our ideas. Mine come from anywhere and everywhere—a dream, a snippet of conversation overheard in a bar, a walk with my husband. After that initial burst of inspiration, I build on the idea. Expand and improve it as only a romance writer can, making it more. More exciting. More funny. More romantic.

My first published work was a short story in Woman’s World magazine. I’d decided to try my hand at short stories, and when I sat down to brainstorm, the first thing to come into my head was a decidedly unromantic incident from my college days, in which I’d managed to get into a car with a strange guy because I thought he was my ex-boyfriend.

See, my sophomore year in college, I had dated this guy, Troy, who drove a blue Toyota Camry (name, make, and model changed to protect the innocent). Things didn’t work out, and we went our separate ways, but every time I saw a blue Camry, I’d find myself looking closely to see if the driver was Troy. This got to be pretty annoying, because there were a lot of blue Camrys on the road.

One day, as I was walking home from class, I saw yet another blue Camry. I did my usual check. The car was going pretty fast, but the driver looked like he could be Troy–same color and length hair, eyes disguised by sunglasses. As the car passed me, I turned around to see if the sticker Troy had on his car was on the bumper. It wasn’t.

Yet another blue Camry that wasn’t Troy’s, I thought, and continued on my way.

A minute later, the Camry pulled up next to me. “Want a ride?” the driver asked.

Oh, I thought. It was Troy after all. Why else would the driver have turned around to offer me a ride?

I was so convinced it was my ex that I was in the car with the door closed and my seatbelt fastened before I realized that the reason Troy looked so different was because he wasn’t, in fact, Troy. He was a complete stranger who had stopped to give me a ride because he thought I’d been checking him out.

Let me stop right here to explain something–I am not an adventurous person. Take the least adventurous person you know, and then imagine someone way less adventurous. That’s me. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t even make eye contact with strangers, much less get in their cars.

Cue total freak out. I was certain my life was over. I was speeding down the road with some random guy. He could be a rapist. He could be a murderer.

But, as it turned out, he was a perfectly nice person who drove me straight to my apartment. As he dropped me off, he said, “Well, at least you got a ride home out of it.”

But, actually, I got much more, because as I thought back over the incident, my romance-writer brain kicked into gear, massaging the chain of events and the characters until I had something totally different. Something funny and romantic. Thus was born my first Woman’s World short story, in which the heroine thinks she’s getting into her brother’s car, but is actually getting into the car of the hot neighbor she had been crushing on. If you want to see how the two versions of the story differ (in just about every way possible), you can read the fictional version at my website.

And that’s one of my favorite things about being a writer. I can take a terrible real-life experience and reimagine it in a totally different, infinitely more satisfying way.

What’s your favorite part about being a writer? Are there any crazy real-life stories you’ve fictionalized?

A Picture Paints A Thousand Words (I Hope!)

People always ask where I get my story ideas. It’s a complicated question…and yet it isn’t. Because they never come from any one place. Sometimes an article I read on the internet will get the wheels turning. Sometimes an overheard conversation sparks something. And sometimes it’s a picture.Lane 10

A picture like this one. 

My son went snow tubing with friends this past winter. When he came back, he had several pictures. This was one of them. I chuckled and told him his facial expression seemed a little sinister. But as I looked closer, I caught a little flash of red just behind him. A small marker that said Lane 10. And there it was. The idea and title for a new book. A thriller. One where something terrible happens on Lane 10.

Right now that’s all it is. The smallest kernel of an idea. But once I get a chance, I plan to explore it just a little more. And hopefully, one day, that photo will give birth to a brand new book–painting not just a thousand words, but tens of thousands of words.

And there you have it. Short and sweet. I would love to hear your thoughts!

If you’re an author, do you have an interesting story about where you got one of your ideas? If you’re a reader, have you ever read a book and wondered how on earth the writer came up with the plot?

Consolation Day 2015

Silent PhoneA few days ago (March 26th, to be exact), calls went out to several dozen very talented writers and authors in the romance community. I’m pretty sure this is not news to you.

That same day, hundreds of folks who had entered did not receive a call. I admit, I was one of those. Woe is me. If you’re stopping by here today, I’m guessing you may have been one of those waiting by the phone, disappointed when it didn’t ring (or it rang, but it was a telemarketer or family member or someone else equally unaware of how the ringing of the phone on that particular day can make your blood pressure skyrocket).

But after the phone call never came, and I commiserated with my friends, and I had a lovely cocktail (or two) with my husband that night, I picked myself up and wrote this post—because I know the healing power of venting (in a civilized, non-attacking way). I love this annual Ruby tradition because it reminds me that I’m not alone. There are so many of us striving for the brass ring, trying to get ahead and have our talents recognized.

Oh, and I love this tradition because I get to give away PRIZES! Fabulous, healing, nurturing, monetary or delicious prizes!

Finding the Aha Moments

Last week, for about the twelfth time, I found myself befuddled up to my eyeballs over a romantic suspense work in progress. Whether you’re a panster, like myself, or a plotter, at some point you could find fresh ideas hiding in the deepest, darkness recesses of your mind amongst a pile of crappy overused ideas. When this happened to me in the past, I’d walked around for days mulling over my problem, my plot’s direction, which is perfectly fine, if you don’t have a deadline and or have time to waste. This time I purchased a few books (Snap: Seizing Your AHA Moments by Katherine Ramsland and Your Creative Brain by Shelly Carson, PHD) and learned for one that mulling is an acceptable process to release your muse. What I also learned, so far, that the more tricks you use to open the gates the faster that will happen.

We’re like the grains of sand on a pearly white beach. Besides having the potential to be stuck in places we really don’t want to go, we’re totally awesome and unique and we all learn in different ways. And in combination of ways.

It’s alleged that we have seven mind-sets (seven ways of learning and using our minds): Absorb Brainset, Envision Brainset, Connect Brainset, Reason Brainset, Evaluate Brainset, Transform Brainset, and Stream Brainset. I’m not going to divulge every detail I’ve learned from these books so far. I suggest you check them out for yourself.  However, I will share a concise description of each mindset and an exercise you can use that key to unlock your mind’s muse.

Absorb Mindset: Ability to absorb new information in a non-judgmental way to be stored for use later when you can use say information to see associations between objects and to remain open to your subconscious.  

Exercise: Pick a space, indoor or outside. For five minutes, really absorb your surroundings. Notice the colors, textures, lines and shadows.  Then touch, listen, smell and taste. Next pick an object and think of a new way use for it. We’ve all seen the Knorr Side Dish commercial where a cork screw is used as a coat nail and a fork is used a cabinet handle. That is the same idea.

Envision Mindset:  In this mindset we deliberately imagine ways to solve problems, using absorb information. This mindset is well known to creative people.  The exercise below will help you increase your mental imagery. It turns off the stream of unwanted thoughts.

Exercise: Close your eyes and take three deep cleansing breathes. Now image your happy place. Where you feel the most relax? Picture yourself there. Allow yourself to feel the surroundings. If your recliner, feel the texture of the material against your skin, the firmness of the cushion surrounding you, the angle of your body as you relax. Are there sounds around you? Soft music or maybe a ball game on the T.V., or your children playing at your feet.  How about smells, tastes.  Allow yourself to enjoy your happy place for a few minutes.

Connect Mindset:  This mindset allows you to spawn many ideas without concerns to how they will play out. You’ll think out of the box. Successful use of this mindset could lead you to become overwhelmed with creative possible ideas. You’ll become energized and excited about your work.

Exercise: Set a timer for three minutes. On a piece of paper write down as many uses for a shoe you can think of. Then set the timer again and write down all the things you can do with a shoelace. Set the timer again and jot down the consequences of a torn shoelace.

Reason Brainset: This brainset solves problems logically, using all your storage memories and knowledge. It allows you to control what thoughts occupy your mind. It is deliberate and necessary as you complete your creative project. It is the perfect mindset to flesh out a whimsical idea and make it realistic. It helps you motivate action, manage time, increases chances for success, strengthens self-confidence and heightens sense of control over your life. It’s one mindset I’ve consciously worked on every single day, several times a day, over the last several months.

Exercise: You will stop particular unwanted thoughts or train of thoughts as soon as they enter you mind by simply saying, “Don’t go there.” Or “Thinking of this is not my on my hour’s agenda.”

Evaluate Mindset: Coming up with fresh ideas is vital is our line of work, but judging whether those ideas are indeed worth spending time one is also essential. This is where this mindset comes in. Three factors are necessary: active judgement, focused attention and impersonality. We need to judge our work against others of which it’s competing. Not us against them. This is about our work, not ourselves. In order to do that, we need to get some distance from our work, judge it with respect, don’t toss the work mid-project, look at each of its parts and evaluate their merits, and look at the work from the point of view of your audience. Be flexible. Consult others. Be hard on your work and not yourself!

Exercise: On a sheet of paper write the titles of your top ten books of all time.  Imagine they’re no longer available anywhere or ever again. Now, ( I know you’re going to hate me)  cross off five. Behind them, write why you crossed them off.

Transform Mindset:  Is all about emotion. Our emotion. Our negative emotions and how they affect our memories and visions. It’s important we know this mindset and how it disturbs our creativity. It is a what-if state, just like the envision mindset, but unlike the purposeful imaginings of the later, this mindset’s themes are worry, anxiety, self-pity or regret.  But this mindset can help with your creative project. Our characters are an extension of humanity.  People have flaws, negative thoughts, regrets. We can use this mindset to write timeless characters if only we draw on the transform mindset.

Exercise: Pick three things in your home that you feel best represents you: personality, taste, qualities. Now write a paragraph about each and how they relate to you. Did you learn anything about yourself? Was there a negative or positive view of yourself?

The Stream Mindset: We refer to this mindset as being in ‘the zone.’ It is the unique melding of self and action. You lose your sense of self and focus on the world at hand. But how do we achieve this mindset.

First, you need the expertise to enter the stream mindset. Second, you need to be engaged in an activity that intrinsically motivating you. (Intrinsic motivation means that you’re involved in an activity because of an internal award and not an external one.) Do you write for the joy of writing?

Exercise: On a piece of paper jot down five activities that had your blood surging and your mind whirling. These activities are your passion.

 

As I said at the beginning of this blog, I’ve only touched on the information contained in these two books. In fact, I’m not finished with either of them, but what I’ve learned so far has helped me to be more productive, to think out of the box on my wip, and be more acceptable of the amount of work I can accomplish in a day.

Catch Your Muse & Win a Pot of Gold

big-shamrockHappy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Do you have your green on? This fun holiday has a number of myths associated with it, one being the elusive Leprechaun. Considered a fairy who likes to cause mischief, yet also brings luck and riches, this little fellow has the makings of a great literary muse.9muses

Originally a Muse was any of the nine sister goddesses in Greek mythology presiding over song and poetry and the arts and sciences. The term has come to mean “a source of inspiration, especially: a guiding genius.” (Merriam-Webster)

 Well, I don’t know about you, but I could ALWAYS use a guiding genius! And so I employ ways to lure my elusive muse to help me write. Everyone’s muse is personal and unique (like your writer’s voice). I envision my muse as female, a strong Amazon-type warrior like Xena Warrior Princess.

Xena

 

When I fought (and beat the crap out of) ovarian cancer, my muse wore teal-colored leather and battled with grit and precision every day with her razor-sharp spear (okay, I was on some pretty nifty drugs during that time). Today she is still tough and wears way more leather than me, but she seems to be a bit more elusive now that my days of obsessing about survival are (hopefully) a thing of the past.

Now I call upon my muse to help me write historical paranormal and YA paranormal romances. And despite my love of writing and a desire to create tantalizing hooks, amazing worlds, and emotion-provoking characters, my muse sometimes fails to show up. I’m left alone, staring at the last sentence I wrote with hundreds of blank pages left to fill. Oh Muse, Muse, wherefore art thou Muse?!

I try to coax her out of hiding. I beg her for just a pinch of inspiration, a quirky description, a perfect line, something to get me going again. And then one of my kids yells “Mom, where’s the…?” and my muse vanishes like a dandelion puff in a tornado.

Over the years I have developed a few techniques to create the muse-alluring rainbow. And on lucky days, I can find her and her inspiration (aka, her pot of gold).

1. Clear my desk. I can’t think about my WIP when there are bills piled next to my computer or kid permission slips or my list of a million little things that need to happen. The clutter pulls my attention away from the book and my muse refuses to waste her time coming near me.Eleri

2. Make a cup of chai latte. I’ve addicted my muse to hot chai lattes. I make them at home to save on cost and limit them for the calories. But if I’m stuck and am desperately seeking the end of the rainbow, the spicy taste of cinnamon mixed with hot milk, black tea and cardamom really entices her out of hiding. I now save them for the time when I know I will be writing.

3. Find my playlist. At the beginning of a new book I create a musical playlist with songs that represent the time period and songs that help me understand the characters (which is why my iPhone has both Gregorian monks chanting and Eminem). I don’t listen to music every day, but when my muse is playing hard to get, the music lures her in like the Pied Piper.

Gregorian-Voices Eminem

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Cut and paste. I’m very visually oriented, so I like to see what I’m writing about. Consequently I collage my stories, or at least the characters and settings. At the beginning of a new project, I take a day or two to look up pictures of places and people, print them off and glue them to poster board, manila folders or blank books. I actually brainstorm this way, discovering backstory and plot details in fun or creative images. My muse loves my collages so I prop them up in my line of sight (on my clean desk) when I write.CrH collage

 

 5. I walk. There is something about fresh air and rushing blood that gets my creative energy sparking. If I dwell on a scene while walking, dialogue pops into my head. It is almost like my muse is skipping along, flicking ideas at me until I grasp one and we run with it. By the time I get home I’m usually itching to start typing.

walking 

 We all have a muse, our inspiration for creating art, expressing our ideas, and molding something beautiful out of lifeless material. She or he is a one-of-a-kind personal guide to finding our pot of gold. You just need to lure her in and grab on.

What are some ways you find inspiration to create your art? What lures your muse out of hiding?

 

 

You. Your Life. Your Writing.

My children came into the world with two sets of grandparents and two sets of great-grandparents.  Safe within the nurturing embrace of their large and loving family, they thrived.

I can’t recall whether Son was in kindergarten or first grade, but one day, he arrived home confused and agitated.  A classmate claimed to have no grandparents.  How could that be?

The shattering of normal had begun. 

This is one of my favorite memes (sorry, Angelica, but Carolyn will always be Morticia to me).  In one pithy sentence, the truth is revealed:  Normal isn’t a wide brush that coats every life with the same paint.  It’s a series of brushes comprised of various materials, camel hair, boar bristles, razor wire, each a different width and bearing a different color.

We’ve all heard or read about that mystical, magical, elusive element called Voice.  From whence does it come?  How do I get it?

The answer is simple.  As you experience life, you acquire streaks, stripes, and spots of matte, satin, gloss, and glitter.  It’s from that chromatic chaos tinting the neutral base of your inherent nature Voice emerges.

Voice is you–who you were, are, and even who you will become.  If planning your next visit to an exotic land is your normal, that adventurous spirit will traipse across the page.  A perennial optimist?  Sunshine will light your words.  Pessimist?  Gloom will shadow your prose.  Try though you might to disguise it, Voice will illuminate the real you.

Have things in your world ever become so overwhelming you wanted to divorce your life?  Okay, maybe not divorce, but how about a legal separation?  Or, at the very least, a lengthy vacation?

Life will, eventually, test every hope, dream, belief, and perception, pushing you to the edge of your mental and physical endurance.  It will leave you asea, battling crashing waves, glowering skies, and circling sharks.  Survival will demand all your attention.  Day by day, you’ll struggle, hope for rescue, search the horizon for signs of land.

This becomes your normal.

Then, for better or worse, it will change.  You’ll look back and either be relieved to have washed ashore or nostalgic for storm clouds because the sun is baking your brain.

Here’s the thing:  As much as you curse what- or whoever tossed you overboard, there are things to be learned within your circumstances.  Without these lessons, your stories will lack depth, credibility, and empathy.

Your Voice will lack resonance for your reader.

(Just for the record, the same holds true for joy and other aspects of living.  Trials, however, seem to sharpen the learning curve.)

Authors, and their work, mature and grow within the framework of each individual’s normal.  The frames are all different and constantly changing.  Some are heavy and gilded, some thin strips of salvaged wood.  Time can strip the gilding, embellish the wood, but within the frame, Voice, although evolving, remains unique.

Thus, I encourage you to reevaluate your normal, the joys, trials, and general messiness of living.

Accept it.  Embrace it.  Learn from it.

Put it to work.

The vanquished is always servant–or, in the fly’s case, dinner–to the victor. 

 

Authors On Writing

Thoughts on writing from authors I thought you would enjoy.

Set your sights high, the higher the better. Expect the most wonderful things to happen, not in the future but right now. Realize that nothing is too good. Allow absolutely nothing to hamper you or hold you up in any way. ~ Eileen Caddy

If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place. ~ Nora Roberts

Keep a diary and one day it’ll keep you. ~Mae West

A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down. ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

When things don’t go your way – change your way. ~ Me

The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. ~Agatha Christie

I think it’s bad to talk about one’s present work, for it spoils something at the root of the creative act. It discharges the tension. ~Norman Mailer

If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten,  either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.   – Benjamin Franklin

Some of us aren’t meant to belong. Some of us have to turn the world upside down and shake the hell out of it until we make our own place in it. ~ Elizabeth Lowell

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions. ~James Michener

Women with clean houses do not have finished books. ~ Joy Held

All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

People do not deserve to have good writing, as they are so pleased with bad. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.  ~ Robert Benchley

I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter. ~ James Michener

When you get to the point everyone else would quit –keep going. ~ Unknown.

Tell the readers a story. Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences.  – Anne McCaffrey

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.- Anads Nin

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. – Mark Twain

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. ~ Mark Twain

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary—it’s just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences. ~ Somerset Maugham

Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader -not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon. ~ E. L. Doctorow

Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money.~ Moliere

I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~Elmore Leonard

When asked, “How do you write?” I invariably answer, “one word at a time.” ~ Stephen King

If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write. ~ Stephen King

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.~ Ernest Hemingway

It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way. ~ Ernest Hemingway

Rejection is not Fatal ~ Author Unknown

Now go and write.

Forget the guilt, -“Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving.”Erma Bombeck

Forget the housework. -“Housework, if it is done properly, can cause brain damage.” Erma Bombeck

Don’t worry about your family.-“No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed.” Erma Bombeck

Enjoy the moment.- “Just think of all those women on the Titanic who said, ‘No thank you’ to desert that night. And for what?!” Erma Bombeck

 

Please share your favorite quote.

 

Rita writes sexy stories about Military Heroines. Extraordinary women and the men they love. 

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The Latest Comments

  • Elisa Beatty: WElcome, Kathryn! So glad you’ve joined us!
  • Elisa Beatty: As a teacher, I can 100% confirm that everyone’s brain works a little differently, and a...
  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: Do you edit as you go? I have to resist the urge to do that or I never get to the end....
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  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: I am in awe of those who can write out of order and patch it together in a way that makes...

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