It was such a nice treat to open my blog comments and see this note from blogger, Jessica: “I have nominated you For The Bouquet Of Three Award! For more information please go here to my blog post http://ladykins.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/bouquet-of-three-awards/ Take care and congrats!” Jessica, I’m thrilled that you picked me. Thank you! Thank you!
Needless to say, I scooted over and found a great blogger, whom I’m now following, and the scoop on the award. It goes like this:
~Below Are The Rules~
1. Display your award picture, on a blog post. Done
2. Thank the person who nominated you, link them back in your post. Done
3. Pass the nomination on to 15 bloggers you have recently discovered.
I don’t have 15 on my list, but here are a few that you might like to check out and to whom I’d like to send these awards:
Kristi Holl http://kristiholl.net/writers-blog/
Kristi’s blogs are always inspiring and seem to always tell me what I need to hear, just when I need to hear it.
Lisa Maccoll http://lisamaccoll.blogspot.ca/
Lisa’s frank, touching and funny blogs are a pleasure to read.
Laura Best http://lauraabest.wordpress.com/
I love reading Laura’s posts for her insights into her writing and the joys in her life.
Teens Can Write Too http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/
This blog is nominated because I truly believe in empowering teens to write.
4. Finally share 7 things about yourself.
1. I am a terrible sailor. I can get sea sick on a calm lake. And yes, of course, my husband owns a sail boat. I’m all about the shore.
2. I reread books all the time. At bedtime, I don’t want to read something that really involves me because it would keep me up reading when I really need to sleep. So I choose Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Ngiao Marsh and just drift away.
3. I like to listen to music when I’m writing, as long as it doesn’t have words or isn’t the melody of a tune that I know the words to. I do listen to Gregorian chants, but they don’t count, because the only Latin phrases I know are are the mottos to my high school, ex oriente lux, and my university, veritas omnia vincit. When I’m driving, I listen to just about anything: country music, classical, CBC, easy listening–I just keep pushing the presets until I find something I like. And if I hit upon something I know, I sing along–loudly!
4. I don’t enjoy cooking. Enough said.
5. I love to knit and crochet and would love to learn more about how to paint with watercolours. I did a little painting a long time ago and really enjoyed it. It’s on the ‘when I retire list.’
6. I have never owned a dog, but this year I want to change that. We don’t have room for a big dog, and our family needs one with a fairly docile temperment, and we will definitely be considering our local shelter first. Lots more research and planning to do until the big day.
7. My favourite authors are Jacqueline Winspear, Susanna Kearsley, Louise Penny and Laurie King, and, lucky me, they all have books out this year!
Done! Whew! And thanks again Jessica.
It’s been a fun month of April. I wrote every day, which was good, and I got a good start on my sequel to a children’s fantasy that I’m currently publishing via Kindle Direct Publishing. More about that very soon.
What has also been fun is to check my website and find out that I’ve been getting visitors from South Korea who have been searching for me using the title of the book I wrote for the schools there. I had so much fun writing Sherlock Holmes and the Orphanage Mystery, and it has been very cool to know that students are actually reading my book and then checking in to my website. So ‘Hi guys. I hope you’re enjoying the book!”
And since it’s May 1st, here are your writing prompts for the month. Hope you have a creative May!
1. Use one, some, or all of the following words in a story or poem:
- hill, bloom, light, road, branch, blue
- box, cry, cap, bench, ring, lake
2. Try one of these opening sentences to start your story:
- No matter when sunrise is, it’s too early.
- I really hoped that was lightning.
- Bill hated coming second.
- “I don’t need any help.”
- It wouldn’t be long now.
- Lex couldn’t grip the sword a moment longer.
3. Try using one of these dialogue excerpts in a scene.
- This is important.
- Only to you
- That’s not true. Both our lives depend on it.
- Can’t you sit still?
- The ground is wet.
- Okay, you can get wet or you can find dry ground and risk being seen.
- Oh no, that’s just not fair.
- What’s not fair?
- On top of everything else, it’s snowing!
- Leave it on the desk.
- Leave what?
- The memory card that’s in your pocket.
4. Can you think of a story for one of these titles?
Disc Life, Grey Area, Left of Centre, Table for Three, In Danger, River View, Never Alone
5. Here are some “may”-themed song titles and expressions that might inspire a story:
Mayflower, Mayberry, First of May, May You Never, Lusty Month of May, Maggie May, May the Circle Remain Unbroken, Come What May, You May be Right, I may or may not, May the road rise up to meet you, Mother may I? I wish I may. I wish I might …
Today marks the last day of my early morning writing challenge. And now I face the ‘what next?’ question.
Did writing every morning make a difference in the rest of my writing for the day? Yes, it did. I really believe that, later in the day when I got down to doing my other writing work, having written in the morning did make it easier to focus and find the words I needed. I was encouraged by what my other group-mates were doing, too. Some were adding daily to their WIP. That was a big incentive for me, who was doing very little on that front. The early morning writing helped me sort out why. It gave me a place to think about the project as a whole and to find some positive self-talk about what I was doing, had done and would do. It gave me a place to make plans and think ahead. For that alone, the daily writing was worth it.
I often get caught up in a short-term to-do list because there just isn’t time to think out a little further into the future. The gift of that early morning writing time has helped me look ahead at what I want to do with my most recently published book and given me the patience to get more of my ducks in a row before I start marketing in earnest. The book is a fantasy for grades 5/6 and I want to finish a teacher’s guide and get my website organized before I try to interest people in the project. A lot of home-schoolers visit my book website. I want to have everything they need to teach my book ready for them. I’m thinking of branching out into Pinterest, too, because that’s where they share the free stuff that’s on my book site. (If you have any advice about using Pinterest, I’d love to hear it.)
So what next? What next means continuing to do my daily morning writing. It’s been too valuable to put aside now. I’m hoping that one or two others in my group feel the same, because checking in with other writers really helps keep me going.
So thanks Kristi Holl for launching this month of writing accountability. I hope you enjoyed the experience as much as I did! (Check out Kristi’s books, too. Writer’s First Aid and More Writer’s First Aid at http://kristiholl.net/writers-blog/more-writers-first-aid/
May’s writing prompts will be posted tomorrow!
I’ve been having an interesting time working on my challenge this month to write first thing every morning. I can honestly say that I have written every day, but I haven’t managed to do it every morning, first thing, which was the plan. Now that my semester is ended, I’m hoping to manage to meet the challenge for the rest of the month–and forever. I really have found it a useful exercise. I don’t write on my current project most days. But I do settle my thoughts, make my lists, get frustrations off my chest, and think about how thankful I am for the people in my life. And when I do get to write later in the day, I really do get into “writing mode” sooner, which is a nice benefit. So all good.
I had a couple of fun writing gigs last week. One included my visiting nurseries and finding out about new gardening trends. The other involved a trip to Lowe’s to find out about the latest in power tools. My family thought the latter was pretty funny. My feelings about treking around hardware stores are no secret, though I definitely do my share when home repairs are on the list. Both articles were fun to write, and, as usual, I learned something new. That is one of the best parts of being a freelancer. I get to talk to interesting people, learn new things, stretch my writing muscles with new topics and audiences–and get paid. I’ve posted one of the flower photos that I took while on my nursery visits. Spring is slow to come here, so seeing things in bloom was a real treat.
What writing projects have you worked on lately? Have you learned something from your research or from an interview that you didn’t know before?
I hope you are having a creative April.
Here are some writing prompts for April.
1. Use one, some, or all of these words in a story or poem.
a) robin, melody, fence, puddle, trunk, sigh
b) clip, branch, green, boot, window, call
c) meadow, snow, range, leaf, creep, sight, wonder
2. Here are some story/novel titles. Can you think of a story that might go with them?
Branching Out, Last to Die, Broken Glass, Heart’s Journey, Runner Smith, The Dread, Mystery on the Grand, Time’s Window, I Wish I May.
3. See if you can start a story with one of these sentences. Maybe one could work as the end of a story, too.
a) That’s blood.
b) Soon I’ll never have to answer that phone again.
c) I thought you two had already met.
d) I specialized in white lies.
e) Chris! Get that thing out of the way right now!
4. Here are a couple of exchanges of dialogue that might inspire you.
a) I’m tired.
You’re just saying that because you’re bored.
Okay. I’m bored and tired.
b) I thought he was supposed to be here by now.
Cut him some slack, will you?
And he’s earned that how?
c) What’s in your hand.
It’s mine. I found it.
Let me see.
I hope you have a creative month ahead and that you get the chance to enjoy some lovely spring weather. Today we’re in horizontal snow broken by sunshine and fat gray clouds racing across a blue sky. The wind is whistling down the chimney, and I’m actually thinking of lighting the gas fire. All I can say is, “Hurry up Spring!”
For the month of April, Kristi is running two challenges. One is called Writing on Schedule. Inspired by writer Dorothea Brande, this challenge asks you to commit to writing at one particular time every day. This can be tricky, but Kristi believes that it’s worth the effort to make that deadline stick: ‘Persevere! Ignore all the little voices that tell you it doesn’t really matter when you write, or won’t matter if you skip it just this once. Push on doggedly. If you do this, Brande says the “unconscious will suddenly give in charmingly, and begin to write gracefully and well.” From experience, I have to agree.’
The second challenge is called Harnessing the Unconscious. This challenge, also inspired by Brande, requires writing first thing in the morning before the rest of the day intrudes on your mind. Kristi explains, ‘This exercise helps you “train” your unconscious to flow toward writing (instead of something else). As Brande says, “the first step toward being a writer is to hitch your unconscious mind to your writing arm.” This exercise is to help you make that automatic connection so that later you can do this on demand.’
Well, this is definitely the challenge for me. By the time I get to my writing, I’m so fidgety and my brain is so full of to-do lists and other things that I would rather clean the bathroom than look at a screen or my journal. The words ‘flow’ and ‘writing’ have been strangers for quite a while. I really need to find an ‘automatic connection’ that will help me write ‘on demand’ and if that means waking up fifteen minutes earlier every day, I will do that.
If you need a writing challenge for April, one of these two might just be the answer. I’d love some company next month, so let me know if you’re signing up, and we can encourage each other to make these positive changes to our writing lives. I’ll be posting some new writing prompts for April soon, in case you need some inspiration to get the words on the page.
p.s. I reviewed Kristi’s book here http://wp.me/pBoEr-6U
p.p.s A reminder that my book 201 Writing Prompts is on sale at Smashwords, at 50% off the $2.99 price with this code ZA54M until March 31st.
Well, I said I’d report on word count this week, but I have realized what a dumb measure of writerly activity that can be. I finished a short story draft for the anthology (1190 words) and worked on a second story (771 words), which is the sum total for my creative writing word count. I’ve also rewritten the introduction to my book, 201 Writing Prompts (more on that later), many pages of handwritten journal notes, lots of information updates on Amazon’s Author Central, and a pile of research notes (also handwritten.) I also, finally, finished formatting my middle readers’ fantasy for ebook and hard copy publication–not a speedy process, but greatly helped by a set of book design templates created by Joel Friedlander. Yes, word count really doesn’t reflect the writing and writing-related work that does get done in a week and doesn’t count the staring-into-space thinking time that also makes up a part of my writing life.
The rest of the week was busy with classes, finishing a crocheted afghan for my mom, lots of driving my son around during March break to music lessons and friends’ houses, a visit from a plumber for a leaky pipe, a fun trip to Chapters, and, most scary for me, a trip to the licence bureau for my son’s learner’ permit. Although, after the most recent pick up, at midnight last night, I’m thinking we should have started on that sooner. All in all, a good week.
As I mentioned above, I’ve done some revisions on 201 Writing Starters, including changing the title to 201 Writing Prompts to land it in the right place in searches on Amazon, etc. To celebrate finishing this long overdue change, the book is on sale at Smashwords, at 50% off the $2.99 price with this code ZA54M. Here’s the extended blurb about the book:
All writers have those days when inspiration just seems to fly out the window—when the blank screen becomes a sadly accurate reflection of the sorry state of your imagination and you start your fourth game of FreeCell in ten minutes. Or you have a day when the current writing project just sits there like an ugly pile of February slush—all memories of the lovely white snow it started out as are gone, and all it’s good for is creeping in that one small hole in your boots and making your life miserable, wet and cold.
Some people call this writer’s block. I call it a temporary pause in the creative process—actually,I call it a lot of other things, too, but I’d have to change the rating on this book if I printed them.
The writing prompts in this book are for those days.
But they’re also for the days when you just want to play with words. They’re for those times when you need to clear your brain of the messiness of your day and warm up before tackling the project that means so much to you. They can serve as prompts for your daily writing journal, too. Trust me, if you break them down into their individual components, you’ll have enough to last a year! Maybe you could share one with your writers’ group one night and enjoy the completely different stories that emerge from the same prompt.
How you use the prompts is up to you, but I encourage you to use them for whatever purpose works for where your writing is right now.
The book is divided into chapters of ten random writing prompts each. The prompts come in a variety of formats from lists of titles and opening lines, to reflective questions, to random snatches of dialogue and brainstorming topics. Work through them in order, or dip into the book anywhere you please.
I hope you enjoy exploring these writing prompts, and I wish you many, many hours of imagination and creativity.
I still have to make changes to the book/cover on Amazon, and it will take a while for the other ebook distributors to get the current issue. All on the list for my next writerly week!
What writerly things are on your agenda for next week? Hope you have a creative and fun seven days ahead!