Saturday, July 22, 2017

I Am an Author ~ Success Mindset

I am an author.  I write for others people's reading enjoyment.  My cozy mysteries have just the write recipe of warmth and danger sprinkled over a heart-warming, Christian character who has flaws just like you and me.

   Hmmm... If you're wondering about those first few words, let me explain.  I recently listened to an interview of writing coach, Jennifer Blanchard.  She talked with Lorna Faith about story structure and success mindset - how we should imagine ourselves already having reached our goal rather than chasing it.  She said if we were always thinking about the goal we haven't reached, we see ourselves as always falling short.  To be honest, the whole thing sounded pretty hokey to me.  I can't speak myself into the existence of being a prominent mystery author.  That wasn't her point, though.

I dug a little deeper into her idea.  She wasn't saying to speak yourself into your goal.  What she said was to act like you already had it.  If I am an author who has a readership, I'd better sit down and write, and my character better fit the bill.  I would be working on my platform on a regular basis.  I would be considering the best marketing strategies.  It still sounded a little off to me, but I decided to take that approach.  Here I am working on my platform, and Sarah Stone is 2100 words closer to solving the murder in Santa Marie.

I approached another goal of mine with the same mindset.  That goal would be to host art retreats in our home for women going through cancer treatments.  What would a retreat host do?  Well, she'd be planning projects, cleaning her house, and working out the details of a retreat.  I just played with those ideas in my mind.  In other words, the house is still dirty.  But, think about it.  If I were doing those things on a daily basis, I would be moving a lot closer to the goal - same as the writing.

You can find the podcast HERE.  What goal are you working on?  What are you thoughts about Jennifer's success mindset?  I would love to hear what you have to say!

God bless.

Friday, April 14, 2017

I Never Thought I'd See 20,000 Words...

Writing my first novel has been a daunting task.  Yes, I have started many books before, but I am committed to see this one through to the end.  I hit the 20,000 word mark today, and I feel like doing a little victory dance.  I know it is a long way from compete, but I made it over a hump.  
What have I learned so far?

 #1 - Plan out the whole novel.  I'm telling you this because I didn't.  I had a great idea, a fairly strong beginning, one good scene, and the wrap up after the murderer is revealed.  I couldn't ever get an entire outline planned out because I could not come up with one.  I know that sounds silly from someone who wants to be a writer, but I could not come up with good ideas to hide the murderer's identity and to have my protagonist slowly uncover clues while chasing red herrings.  Now I am knee-deep in the middle of the book trying to wade to the other side.  
  Let me say it again.  
      Plan it out!  Don't even listen to the whole Plotter vs. Pantser thing.  Just do it!

#2 - I love word sprints!  I am a slow writer...a S L O W writer.  I think and rethink.  I write a few paragraphs and go back to reread.  I edit as I read.  
     Yes, I've read the books on writing a first draft and how to leave the inner critic locked up until you're done.  I didn't buy it, though.  That is until today.  NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) occurs in November, and I have played along for several years without success.  Camp NaNoWriMo is happening right now in the month of April.  I happened to listen to a virtual "Write-In" where the hosts were doing word sprints along with the audience.  I have heard about word sprints as long as I've been a WriMo, but I had never done one.  I decided last night that I would sprint - write for 20 minutes without stopping, editing, or overthinking.  I did another one this morning.

  The outcome - I've written more in 40 minutes than I have the rest of the month.  It was not a lot, but it broke something loose.  Maybe there is something to all of the advice out there.  :) 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

War of Art - Worth the Read

One of the biggest struggles I have as a writer is the feeling of not being good enough.  Why would anyone want to read the things I write when they have so many incredible authors to choose from?  The resistance is real.  My guess is that it will be real for you, too.

Yes, there are countless better authors...and, yes, I will never write the perfect story, but I have a story to tell.  I want to tell that story.  I know in the previous post I talked about stopping the endless reading of "How to Become an Author" books; however, if you relate to what I'm saying, you do need to read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  I bought the audio book, and I have listened to it multiple times.  Pressfield calls out resistance and gives creatives a pathway to overcome it.

Things I have learned so far:

  • Just write - even if it's worthless junk.
  • You don't need permission to tell your story.
  • Decide how passionate you are about writing your story.  Ask yourself, "What am I willing to give up to do this?"  
  • If you answered nothing, you probably don't need to be a writer.
  • The story will NOT write itself.  You must be present to win!
I know these are ridiculously obvious, but wait until you are in the midst of trying to write your story.  I guarantee you will need to remind yourself of these things!

Now, get your rear in the chair and write.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Full Steam Ahead - Take the Journey

This blog sat dormant for the last three months.  One day I would open it to delete it.  The next I would decide I would wait until I knew something about writing before sharing with others.  I have struggled to find my place as a Christian in the world of novel writing.  How does it all fit together?

I have decided I either have to get out of the boat or go home.  I took stock of what I know.  I have spent ten years studying how to write a novel, but I have nothing to show for it.  Why?  Because I spent all of my time thinking I needed to read one more book or listen to one more podcast before I could venture into writing a book.  Have you been there?  Stop it.  Enough is enough.  Put the words on the page - good or bad - get them on the page.  That is what I am doing, and I have decided to share the journey with you.  Aspiring writers hear from accomplished authors all the time, but wouldn't it be nice to know you are not alone in trying this for the first time?

Let's do this together.  I would like to know I have company in the journey, so please visit often and share ideas, questions, resources, and encouraging words for each other.  I don't expect this blog to take off over night, but I would love to know that you dropped by via a comment.

And remember...

Friday, December 30, 2016

Why Are We Here?

I love to write, and I dream of bringing stories to the world one of these days!  I am on a writing journey, and Brush and Plume just happens to be my journal of the trip.  I am not an expert author who is sharing tips on writing your breakout novel.  Instead, I am a writer who wants to document the journey and share things I find along the way.

So, just what is Brush and Plume?  It happens to be the name of Sarah Stone's book store and art studio...and who is Sarah Stone, you ask?  Ok, maybe you didn't, but she's my character that will be taking this journey with us.  She and I struck out together this November for NaNoWriMo - to write a novel in a month.  We didn't make it.  I had graduate school to finish, and she had plot holes - lots of them.  We did make progress, though, so we're celebrating!

Along the way, we found WritersHelpingWriters.  The site offers all kinds of information for new, as well as veteran, writers.  Check out their Top 5 Posts for 2016.  The posts are packed with great information.

So, back to why we are here.  I know there are others taking the same journey to write their first novel, or some sort of writing venture.  I also know those of you on this journey are searching for information, tips, ways to improve, and some sense of community with others just beginning.  I'm on the hunt for all of these things, and I thought sharing what I find might help someone else along the way.

Pull up a chair in the Brush and Plume and stay awhile.  Share your thoughts, your questions, your ideas, or just a little inspiration for someone else!

So, what are you writing?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Welcome to Brush & Plume - Where the Writing Journey Begins

If you are a reader of my blog at Sherry's Cabin, just think of this is another room at the Cabin.  If you have stumbled on this blog looking for information about becoming a writer, we can take the journey together.