Midweek Motivation

Happy Wednesday!

Feeling the midweek drag? Wondering if Friday is ever going to finally roll around? Tired of trudging through each day, all the while hoping the weekend goes by nice and slow?

No? Me neither.

I might have thought to myself once as a child, “good golly, it’s only Tuesday!” But since I’ve been an adult for the better part of my life now, it feels like the weeks fly by. One moment I’m waking up on Monday morning and then the next thing I know it’s Sunday evening. Usually I’m scratching my head as I crawl in to bed, wondering where all my time went.

I hear others say they feel the same way, and I’ve heard a number of the theories about why our days seem to slip past so rapidly (we’re more aware of time as adults, this day-and-age is go, go, go, there’s so many more distractions, etc.). Regardless of the reason, I do know that whether time is really going by faster or I just perceive it to be, I don’t want to waste the moments I’ve been given.

When it comes to making the most of my time, I use the following three tools:

  1. The weekly schedule (which is less boring and rigid then it might sound)
  2. The weekly goal chart (to help me form new habits and grow personally)
  3. The to-do list (specific things I want to accomplish during my work time each day)

Listening to motivational speakers, like Zig Ziglar, has really helped me to understand that you don’t achieve your goals on accident, or by doing the same-old same-old day in and day out. You’ve got to write down your goals, form an action plan, and take it one step at a time. Creating the schedule, chart, and to-do list helps me keep it all together so that each day I can get one step closer to having a published novel.

And with as quickly as time flies, I don’t want to let another day go by without being on the journey!

If you feel like you’re running out of time to achieve your goals, I challenge you to take a deep breath, relax, and create your own personal schedule. Β It may seem impossible at first (who doesn’t have a ton on their plate?), but you might be surprised to find what some rearranging and a little bit of sacrifice can open up throughout your day. Who needs an hour of videos when you could be using that hour to help your dream become a reality? (Unless, of course, your dream is to be a video editor and you’re using that hour to study other peoples’ work, but you get the point.) πŸ™‚

What new habits could you form (or old ones you could cut) to create more room in your schedule for working on your goals? Do you schedule your days already? What works for you?

Wishing you all the best.

– Melinda

 

#WritingResources

IMG_1215

Amongst the many writing resources available, some of my favorite come from none other than K.M Weiland of Helping Writers Become Authors. Straight forward and easy to understand content, the book and the accompanying workbook are well worth the investment.

Structuring Your Novel is one of three (also, Outlining Your Novel and Creating Character Arcs), and possibly my favorite. (Really though, they’re all three great). Ever been confused about where exactly to place certain scenes in your story? This book will help you understand how to start the story, what the midpoint should consist of, and how to bring it to that tense climax. Plus, it hits some of the smaller points along the way so that your story doesn’t do that ‘lag in the middle’ business that can cause a reader to put down the book and not pick it back up.

I highly recommend K.M. Weiland’s series on writing a novel. I’ve seen an improvement in the strength of my plot already!

What are some of your favorite writing resources?Β 

– Melinda

A Dream Come True

Well, it happened. Today, one of my most precious dreams came true: I became a homemaker and a full-time writer!

IMG_1212

This wouldn’t be possible without the support and encouragement of my husband. He’s been a blessing from day one, and I’m very grateful for this opportunity.

Not wanting to squander the time I do have to pursue my dream of being a published author, I’ve gone so far as to create a daily schedule. Here’s a sampling:

IMG_1214

And yes, I’m that big of a nerd that I scheduled my Bible study and shower time. πŸ™‚ They say if you want to achieve your goals, you need to write them down and outline an action plan. I figured this was a good start!

The first steps in this renewed journey are outlining, research, and reading in my genre. That will give me the tools I need to be ready to write the new draft of the story, which starts two weeks from today.

So thankful!

How much time do you have to focus on writing? If not much, how do you find the time? What tools do you use to keep you on track of reaching your goals?

– Melinda

The Next Steps: Life After NaNoWriMo

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly two months since NaNoWriMo 2017 ended. I was able to complete the rough draft of the third book in my three-book series, which was a relief for numerous reasons. Not the least among them was the fact that I had little idea of where the story was heading when I sat down at the keyboard on November 1. But it is complete, and the manuscript is in the drawer until a date yet to be determined.

The next order of business now that the holidays are over and we have settled in after a quick move to another town? Re-write the first book in the series.

My goals at this point are simple. First, re-write the first book into a stronger and truer first draft. Second, do more research to make sure my historical tidbits line up. Third, write the second draft and make it presentable for a group of early manuscript readers. Then from there it will be a matter of re-writing the areas that need it, do any more research that is suggested/needed, and prepare the work for a second round of reading.

I may need to reconsider my definition of simple…

The most simple part of the plan is to chronicle my journey via this blog. My hope is that you’ll join me and share your experiences as a writer (or a reader!) along the way.

How did your NaNoWriMo go? Did you ‘win’? What are your plans for writing in 2018?

– Melinda

NaNoWriMo: Day One

Whether you stayed up to write the first word at midnight, rose early to get a good crack at it, or are going to slip away this evening to delve in to your new novel, I wish you the best of luck and don’t give up! Keep working, unleash your creative side, and have fun. πŸ€“

How many words did you accomplish today? Did you find it fun or frustrating? How do you combat frustration so you can keep pressing on?

– Melinda

Life: NaNoWriMo Prep

Ah, life. Bills need paid, groceries need shopped for, and cakes ‘need’ to be made. The tasks of life seem to pile up so quickly that it can feel like there’s little time for writing. While that may be true for many of us, it doesn’t have to stay our reality. 

I’ve written about it before – find those little moments where you can jot down a few lines or paragraphs. Manage your time so you can carve bits and pieces out of your day. Be persistent and intentional in pursuing your passion, and you’ll be amazed at what you’ve accomplished. And if you need a place to start, I suggest NaNoWriMo 2017.

This year will be my third year in a row and I can’t recommend the organization enough. The support and encouragement to put paper to pen and simply write. Not edit, not proofread, not beat your brains out trying to write the perfect first chapter before moving on to the second, but rather the invitation to bring to life that story idea that’s been wiggling around in your mind so long it feels like a pet. 🐢

NaNoWriMo isn’t about putting life aside to focus on your dreams. It’s about blending your dreams into your everyday so that you can bring your stories to light and start living the life you want – the life of a writer.

Have you participated in NaNoWriMo before? Is it easy or hard for you to find time to write? How do you manage your time?

– Melinda

The What-If: NaNoWriMo Prep

My NaNoWriMo novel idea is all wrong.

That’s the revelation I’ve had in the last twenty-four hours. Twelve days before November 1st, with pages of planning already under way, it struck me that while the story I was plotting was a good story in itself, it’s the wrong story with which to wrap up my series. Hence, all wrong for NaNoWriMo 2017 since my goal is to have a complete series written by November 30th.

The plotter/planner in me is freaking out. The panster in me is excited for the challenge. So with only eleven days until go-time, what do I do? The only thing I can do: grab my favorite drink, find a back seat in my favorite cafe, and create a whole list of ‘what-if’ scenarios.

IMG_0598

The ‘What-If’ writing tool is great for the third book in a series (or really, any book), because in the case of a series you can draw ideas off of the material you already have instead of pulling them out of thin air. Since a writer wants to have threads carry from one book to the next in a series, the ‘What-If’ can assist greatly in this endeavor. To start my ‘What-If’ thread I asked one simple question based off my first book…

“What if my main characters buried a treasure somewhere around town that they thought no one else knew about?”

This one simple question has already lead to five other ‘what-if’ questions, and I know more are soon to follow. New ideas for book three are floating around in my imagination, and my plotting side is starting to feel the excitement of my panster side. πŸ™‚

So while my previous idea for the third novel was all wrong, and November 1st is lurking around the corner, there’s no need to panic. Armed with an effective writing tool, and some really good chai latte in a Hobbit-esque mug, it’s time to let the ideas flow.

What writing tools do you use when you need to start from scratch? How do you handle panic when something in your writing doesn’t seem to go ‘right’? What’s your favorite place to write?

– Melinda

Road Map: NaNoWriMo Prep


Eighteen days until November 1 and the excitement is thick in our home. Or, more accurately, I’m so full of excitement that it’s spilling over into every corner of our one room apartment. 😁 I’m grateful for my supportive husband who is pursuing his own passions – he understands the drive that pushes me to spend hours at the keyboard typing away. 

In preparation for NaNoWriMo 2017, I have laid out the road map that will help me get from beginning to end. While I’m sure each person’s method of mapping looks a little different, numbering chapters and dividing them in to sections is how I best prepare for the twists and turns in my story. 

For example, I know exactly where the starting action, mid-point, and ending are: Chapter One, Thirteen, and Twenty-Six. The doted lines represent other important major plot points, which are 1/4th and 3/4ths through the story. The dashes around Chapters Four, Ten, Sixteen, and Twenty-Three are where minor but equally valuable plot points take place. 

I develop this road map for three reasons:

  1. Helps control the pacing of the story while I write the first draft. This in turns helps make re-writing easier. 
  2. When I know where I need the story to go, I can create scenes that make the journey more enjoyable and not bog down the middle of the trip (as I have been known to do in past attempts at novel writing).
  3. And if along the way I decide to do some unplanned sight-seeing (I am a recovering ‘panster’), I can take the little side trip without worry because I have a map to get me back on track!

So as I continue to plot and plan, I’ll fill in the major plot points/scenes first and then go on to connect the dots with scenes that will build the story and help make it cohesive from beginning to end.

What sort of road map do you lay out before you begin writing? If you don’t plan, how do you determine where you will start and stop?

– Melinda