Writing—Cinnamon Rolls version

Writing is like making cinnamon rolls. To make the dough, you need the right ingredients—characters, wants, needs, plots. You mix these all together and knead into a structured pile of dough—your first draft.

Now you wait for it to rise.

Ignore it.

Pretend it doesn’t exist.

Go play a game or binge watch a show.

Once enough time has passed, go back to your dough. Punch it around a bit and knead it some more—yes, more revision.

Good work! It’s time to roll it out and fill it with goodness in the form of more revision. I know! It feels like it’ll never end.

It will.

But not yet.

It’s time to roll it up, cut it into appropriate chapters, and shape it into the best story you can. You may think you’ve already done this.

You haven’t.

Not really.

Do it again to make sure.

Cut out the not so great parts . . . but maybe set them aside for now. They might inspire later.

Yay!

Okay, set your work aside again. Let it rest and rise. When you go back to it, pop it into the oven for . . . more revision. Hey, no one said this would be easy. Or, if they did, they’re big, fat, lying poopy faces.

Your story needs to bake so it can grow and change and become even better. No one likes raw dough. Unless it’s cookie dough, but we’re not making cookies right now.

When your work is baked and the best you can make it, add a bit more revision at the sentence level.

Seriously.

You need this. This is the icing. You must have icing. The icing perfects the whole thing.

Don’t skip the icing.

The time has come.

No, not more revision . . . unless you think it needs it.

I’m talking sharing time! This can mean sharing with critique partners or your agent or a trusted friend. Just share it, and ask for honest feedback.

You can take it.

You’re a baker.

You’ve been burned before.

Based on what you’re told, you may need to tweak your recipe or bake longer or something. That’s okay. Make changes that resonate with you and fight for the ingredients that matter.

You did it. Congratulations!

Enjoy it for a bit.

Now, get to work on your next project. 😉

What will be your next creation? Pie? Cake? I’m sure it’ll be delicious, and I hope I can devour your work someday. ❤️

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Goals and such

Echo can’t get the ball from the toy. She needs to rethink, evaluate, and decide what to do next.

Sometimes you can’t reach a goal you worked toward. That’s okay. It happens to all of us. You have to rethink your strategy, evaluate the goal, and decide how to move forward.

That might mean letting go of the goal. That’s okay.

It might mean formulating a new strategy to reach the goal. That’s okay.

It might mean tweaking the goal or methods to reach it so you can approach it in a new way. That’s okay.

Whatever you decide to do to move forward is okay as long as you are moving forward. Life is about learning, growing, and progressing. Don’t let yourself or your goals stagnate.

Always. Move. Forward.

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Wednesday Writing Wisdom

Punctuation and spelling are important.

We are human and prone to make mistakes. Is it fun when our mistakes are out there for everyone to see?

Nope.

Is it the end of the world?

Nope.

But it can sometimes send mixed messages. In the sign below, the car wash (two words) management likely meant to convey their apologies for not allowing mud in the tunnel area. Without the needed comma after “sorry,” however, the message seems to say the car wash has poor management. Then again, maybe an employee created the sign and omitted the comma on purpose to subtly share an opinion.

It’s difficult to proofread our own work. Find someone you trust to help. But, if a mistake slips by, don’t beet* yourself up about it.

*I know it’s beat. It was my lame attempt to further emphasize the point.

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Find your joy

Ah, what a year it’s been so far. The chaos and the crazy and the frustration have been most prominent, but there’s more to life than this. There is joy. It might be hard to see, but it’s there. Like this baby watermelon, if joy is looked for, it can be found. If it’s nurtured, it can grow. And the sweetness will be refreshing. Look for the joy in your life, in your day, in your hour, in your minute. It might be small and difficult to see, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find it. Be joyful.

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Kindness

Be kind. To everyone. All the time. Even if they’re a pest. We need more kindness in this world.

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Saturday Stuff

Trees may seem to block your way, but, if you persist, there can be a way through.

Find your way through.

Don’t give up.

You got this!

Or, if you don’t got this, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

❤️

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I live

So…it’s been a while. 😳

Since my last post in 2014, I’ve gone back to school and am nearing the completion of my associate of arts in English. I gained new animals (cat, dog, golden pheasants, ducks, hedgehogs, guinea pigs…I think that’s all. 🤔

I took up photography and have been enjoying the learning process (though I don’t use photoshop because it’s complicated, and I’m not ready to go there). Photography has been my sole creative outlet for a while–I took a break from writing. Well, not a complete break. I wrote things, but mostly papers for school. The creative writing I attempted usually didn’t get finished.

I currently work part-time at the local community college. My main job is covering the front desk in the Learning Resource Center (library) during lunch, but the college also pays me to assist the Math, English, and Biology professors. This includes making copies, grade papers, assisting in the biology lab, etc.

However, the majority of my time is spent helping with the English writing lab. I get to work with students to edit their papers and help them improve their writing. It’s my favorite part of the job. ❤️ Also, I learned it’s easier to see mistakes in other people’s writing than in my own.

There are other crazy things going on in my life as well, but, even with it all, I have a bit more time on my hands and am tapping back into my creative writing side. As part of the whole getting in touch with my inner writer thing, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo 2019.

I’d say I’m going to do better at updating things here but it would be a lie. I’m awful. I know it. See you later…though hopefully sooner than five years from now.

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Looking Back/Looking Forward

First of all, please forgive any typos you may see in this post. Typing is difficult today since I burned the middle finger on my right hand yesterday in a tragic peanut brittle accident. Some of the candy dripped onto the back of my finger as I was pouring it into the pans for cooling. Burned it good (especially since I couldn’t get the candy OFF my finger right away).

I’m typing much slower than usual because of this because I can’t use the injured finger without causing pain. And I don’t like pain. Therefore, my right ring finger is doing its best to fill in, but it’s unaccustomed to it. And for some reason, not using my right middle finger throws off my left hand too (not sure what’s up with that), so there may be errors I don’t catch.

Okay, onto the post.

Hard to believe that Christmas is only a few days away. This year has flown by and today I find myself looking back. It’s been crazy! This year has brought many changes into my life. My oldest child going off to Africa to serve a mission for our church was the biggest and most dramatic (he’s doing well, by the way). I had my first car accident at the end of July (still having a few issues from that). Another big change that happened shortly after that was pulling my kids out of public school to home school them (that’s going well so far, but we’ve planned changes that will start in January). I made lots of new crafts and enjoyed being creative.

Speaking of creativity, my writing life has been a bit slower due to some of the changes that happened in my “regular” life. Still, I managed to learn more about the craft of writing, read many amazing books by many amazing writers, write a few things of my own, and come out stronger and wiser.

Would I like to have seen things end up differently this year in regards to my writing life? Yes. Of course, I would love to have signed a contract for one of my books (who wouldn’t—well, besides those who did), but that’s out of my control. I did write and revise and query, and that’s all I can do. So, even though I wish for more, I’m happy with what I HAVE accomplished this year.

Of course, there are several days left in this year, but I don’t expect anything to change in regards to my writing life at this point.

I want to thank all my friends and family who have helped and supported me—both in my writing endeavors and in life. I can’t do this alone, and I know it well.

May all of you have a happy holiday season, and may the new year bring wonderful things for us all.

Write/Live on!

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Beautiful Book Trailer

Today I’m taking a moment to stop in and share one of the most beautiful book trailers I’ve ever seen. I wanted to read the book anyway (and have pre-ordered my copies), but, after watching the trailer, I wish it were already released (not until Nov. 4th). Anyway, the trailer is for FORBIDDEN by Kimberley Griffiths-Little (if I can get it to embed correctly).

And you can check out her website HERE to enter the giveaway. There are amazing prizes including a Kindle Fire!!!

What books are you looking forward to curling up with this fall?

 

Write on!

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Monday’s Musings

Happy Columbus Day? Yep. It’s here. That glorious day when we celebrate/honor the man who “discovered” America even though we all know by now that he didn’t even reach North America. I’m not sure why we continue to have a Columbus Day—other than it’s an excuse for Federal Employees to have a day off. Not that Columbus wasn’t a great explorer. I mean, I suppose he was. But there are other explorers who did great things and we didn’t give them their own special day.

But while we’re talking about Columbus, I heard something amusing the other day. I can’t remember what I was watching on TV or who said it—and I’m not even sure I can remember the quote exactly—but it was about Christopher Columbus. The person said that Columbus was an excellent salesman. He convinced Spain to pay for three trips across the ocean to find a route that he never did find.

So true! I mean, Columbus got lost, was confused about where he landed, and lost a few ships and men along the way, but he still managed to convince the rich and powerful king and queen to continue to pay him to do these things.

But why celebrate Columbus? If we just need a Federal Holiday in October, let’s celebrate a wonderful North American! There are so many who have done wonderful things and deserve our recognition. But I suspect it won’t ever happen (though I heard that at least one state celebrates this day as Native American Day—I think it’s Washington, but don’t quote me on that). But here in Arizona, we will continue to take a day to celebrate Columbus. There will be parades in some areas (and there probably were in some other cities/towns in AZ—but not in mine). There will be children who glory in the day off from school. And there will be sales in stores.

Speaking of sales. I’m off to take advantage of them. Not that I want to, but necessity is a great driving force. My washing machine broke. And we are choosing replacement over repair. Sure, I could wash my clothes by hand like my poor oldest boy who is over in Africa (don’t worry, he’s in Accra, Ghana, where Ebola hasn’t reached—and hopefully never will), but I don’t wish to wash my clothes by hand. And since I don’t have to, I won’t.

After my shopping trip (and after getting my washer installed—because I don’t intend to come home without one—clean laundry is something to which I’ve become accustomed), I hope to get some writing done.

I hope you all enjoy your day! We don’t really do anything special to honor Columbus here. Do any of you do anything?

Write on!

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