books, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Writing Tips

Write Every Day, They Say…

I guess you can think of your ability to write as a muscle. If you train it and use it consistently, it becomes stronger and more defined. If you don’t use it, it shrinks down, gets surrounded by fat and can’t be found unless you’re cut open. And that’s just not a good idea at all. I say because I’ve convinced myself that I’ll be doing actual writing every day. That’s it. I’ve said it, so let it be. Well, maybe not that instantly, but that’s the plan.

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This is how my writing guns need to look!

Just moments ago, I was kicked back on my bed, mostly laying on my squishy, comfy pillows, with my eyes closed. I was right at that point where I could just let go and fall all the way to sleep. BUT, I realized that my dogs are still in the backyard and my son is still up playing on the iPad. If they stay out and he keeps watching it unchecked, I can’t be responsible for the havoc that will be wreaked. Not really. I’d be totally responsible. Thus, the reason I cracked open the laptop.

I’m taking this moment to type while sleepy. Yes, it’s dangerous. I have no idea what I could be sending out onto the web, but I committed. In between turning on the laptop and now, I actually found a very interesting blog and a post therein that encouraged me to jump into writing daily. And it made sense.

The more you use it, the better you get. The more you type, the faster you are. The more you run, the less you feel like you’re going to die. The more you fly a plane, the more credibility you have as a pilot. While writing a shoddy article is not as life-threatening as potentially crashing a plane,  it still reflects on you poorly. Clients are looking for well-thought out commentary and interesting subjects. They don’t want to hear the same thing with new descriptions and colorful words. They want to be moved.

The same goes for books. You can’t repeat the same rhythm over and over with your sentence structure. You wouldn’t want to hear the same cadence repeatedly in your music, so why would people want to see it in your writing. Such an amazing observation and so true! I’m easily distracted, so the book or article needs to keep my attention or the proverbial butterflies will drag me away.

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Oooooh, butterfly!!

The awesome thing is that you will pick up on that the more you write. And the more you forgive yourself for making errors or putting a bad string of events together, the less likely you are to do it. The even more awesome thing is that you don’t have to keep those particular pieces. You can let them go and give it another try tomorrow. Isn’t that lovely? Second chances and endless opportunities.

Have you made a similar commitment? Do you write daily? weekly? monthly? Ever? Are you a schedule person or a do-it-when-you-feel-it person? I’ve always been the latter but I’m embracing the former and giving this a try. Tell me your thoughts – I’d love to hear different perspectives!

 

books, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Stay Humble, But Brag

I can’t stand writing about my accomplishments. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love to write and talk about my books and I love to dig into them and relate them to other peoples’ experiences because, let’s just agree on this, life is pretty universal and there is very little in this world that another person hasn’t already experienced. But that’s why we reach out. We want to connect. We want to relate. We want to know that we aren’t alone on this gigantic, floating rock, hurting through space. Right?

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Your bio should have a quick shot of fireworks that makes the reader stop and say, “hey, I like this person”…

That’s the fun part. But actually putting in writing what I’ve accomplished in my life and trying to pull someone into my world is a challenge to me. Especially if I’m going to keep it under 300 words. I’m a bit of a Chatty Cathy when I’m at the keyboard, if you haven’t noticed yet. I’m not sure if it’s humility or shyness or if I’m just no good at summarizing who I am. This is my current struggle.

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I can get to talking sometimes. Okay, a lot of the time. But there’s so much to say!!

On the back of the books, or on the inner sleeve if it’s hardback, is generally a quick bio of the author. And some people are really witty and silly while others are serious with credentials up the wazoo. My credentials aren’t necessarily in creative writing or fiction writing or journalism. But I can write. And my life is fairly standard, 2 dogs, 2 kids, a husband and a house. Where do you add the personality?  Where’s the character? What will draw you to connect to me as an author and make you want to ready MY book?

I found a great blog post today with some instruction on exactly how to do that. And I’m going to revisit my own bio and play around with it. I like it but it’s missing a little something. I need to add some originality, some Jenn to it. Because it is me. It came from me. I want it to invite you to get to know me and come hang out with me for a while because we have a fantastic story to discuss.

books, Inspiration

Trusting the Process…

I decided in November 2017 that I was going to finally put words to paper, or computer screen, and I was going to become an author. And I did. I published my first word search. Not quite a literary masterpiece, but it has had a great reception since it’s very irreverent, curses, talks about sex and teaches new insults. It’s definitely “Not Your Grandma’s Word Search.”

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Yep, that word is in there.  A few times.

Then I got a little crazy and started finalizing a memoir I’ve been working on for about ten years now, Don’t Move, Don’t Breathe. This book is the ripping of my soul and my memories and sharing it for the world. I edited and edited, reread and rewrote passages. This book scared the crap out of me. If I’m honest, it still does. I FINALLY shared it with my sisters and held my breath. That was the 1st time I’d ever told some of my stories to any living soul. It was frightening and sickening. I was a hot mess. While yes, I had a few things to fix as I had switched from 3rd person to 1st person and I hadn’t caught all of my errors yet, they were 100% on board and loved it! The relief was palpable. I still had a lot of fixes to put in and it wasn’t ready to publish yet but that was a start.

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I was terrified. Telling your story is empowering, yes. But also one of the scarier things you’ll ever do.

In December, while working on the memoir, I put together a collection of poetry and short stories as a companion to Don’t Move, Don’t Breathe. At the same time I was going through some strong emotions because I was reliving everything I was reading. Yes, money was tight & holidays are always a difficult time for me. I won’t lie. It was hard. Really hard. And I was not in a good place. But I pushed through and got Memories & Snapshots published and completed the other book within the next couple weeks.

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Sometimes sitting and looking at nature helps when the world is just too much. Serenity. Peace. Solitude.

The big book, as I’ve come to call it, came out in January. The reviews are so amazing and supportive. I had no idea what to expect. Why would anyone care about my story? I wasn’t sure but I had a really strong need to get it out and shared with the world. I’m so pleased when I’m told that someone couldn’t put it down, that it spoke to them and they loved it. It warms me from the inside.

Now that the deep stuff is out, I’m able to focus on my other writing. I put out the 2nd edition of Not Your Grandma’s Word Search in February & followed it up with Not Your Kindergarten’s Word Search in March. This series is so much fun. I love to think outside the box and make people laugh. I started working on my YA Fiction novel in February and it’s about halfway done. I had a lovely dream this morning that sparked a great twist to the story line I’ll be flushing out once I’m finished here.  I hope to share that in May or June at the latest.

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How else can we look forward to the future if we don’t embrace the start of something new?

I’ve even amped up my copywriting business. I’ve completed a few articles and a research piece this week. It’s a great feeling to use your mind to generate an income rather than driving through traffic, putting in 40 hours and repeating week after week. I’ve been able to research very interesting, very different topics and it doesn’t even feel like work.

For me, that means trusting the process is actually working. The jobs are coming. The books are printing and being well received. My efforts are not in vain. Do you have a similar story? Do you have a dream that’s been nagging at you but you haven’t taken those first steps yet?