What is truly important to you?  

At an environmental education conference, I participated in an activity about personal values. We individually had to write down all these different values (about 30) on index cards. Each of these things were important to us in some way and categorized into the following:

Family, Occupation, Activities, Religion, Health, Traits

Some of mine included: mom, dad, husband, each of my kids, painting, social media, television, teaching, creativity, book and financial stability.

Then, little by little, the moderator asked each of us to eliminate a few things from our life by ripping up the cards. The process was hard when I ripped up an activity or a trait. It was tough to get rid of things like my cell phone and my house. But it was very emotional and heartbreaking when I had to eliminate people from my life.

Tears gathered in my eyes as I tore up my parents cards and my husband.

In the end, I was supposed to have one card. However, I am a rule breaker and I had two cards: each of my two kids. I just couldn’t bring myself to rip up their cards. I would have much rather ripped up myself.

Personal Values

But what this activity did do for me is help me focus on the things that are truly important in my life. And that one thing (or, in my case, two things) should be the real reason you do anything and everything else during your life.

Definition: A personal value is an individual’s absolute or relative and ethical value, the assumption of which can be the basis for ethical action.

So, ask yourself: what is truly important in your life? What keeps you going? What helps you get up in the morning? What helps you fall asleep peacefully at night?

Personal Values (and there are so many more than this!)

Accountability, Achievement, Adaptability, Ambition, Attitude, Awareness, Balance (home/work), Being the best, Caring, Coaching, Mentoring, Commitment, Community Involvement, Compassion, Competence, Conflict Resolution, Continuous learning, Cooperation, Courage, Creativity, Dialogue, Ease with uncertainty, Enthusiasm, Entrepreneurial, Environmental, Efficiency, Ethics, Excellence, Fairness, Family, Financial stability, Forgiveness, Friendships, Future generations, Generosity, Health, Honesty, Humility, Humor/fun, Independence, Integrity, Initiative, Intuition, Job security, Leadership, Listening, Making a difference, Open communication, Openness, Patience, Perseverance, Professional Growth, Personal fulfillment, Personal growth, Power, Recognition, Reliability, Respect, Responsibility, Safety, Self-discipline, Success, Teamwork, Trust, Vision, Wealth, Wellbeing, Wisdom

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My Manuscript is a Victim of Distraction

I’ve been working on my manuscript for two years and am currently in my third or 10th draft of revisions. I honestly have lost track. Writing is a tough process, but getting published is way more challenging and painfully heartbreaking. But I haven’t even gotten published yet.

When you come to a stopping point in your writing, you typically take a break to see what everyone else is doing. There are zillions of distractions and temptations, especially on social media.

Every few days, I am tempted to research lit agents or participate in a Twitter pitch contest or something related. However, each of these distractions take me away from my main purpose and goal: To have a complete and polished manuscript.

Temptations come in all different forms to distract you from your writing/revising focus. If they offered free donuts and coffee, I would be screwed. Here are some typical questions that may come to your mind when you are feeling tempted:

  • Am I ready to query?
  • Is my MS good enough?
  • Am I missing my big break?
  • Does anyone care about my story?
  • What if I just try it now and see what happens?
  • What have I got to lose?

Stop! Be HONEST with yourself. Are you really ready? Sometimes, you have to pull your head out of the clouds and ask yourself the tough questions. Combat those questions with ways to continue working on your MS:

  • What is your story goal?
  • What does my main character want? What does my main character need?
  • Why is my character reacting like that? What fuels him/her? What is their motivation?
  • What is my word count?
  • Do I have a plot? Is there tension, conflict?
  • Who is the antagonist?
  • Do my characters have bios?
  • Have I checked for overused/unnecessary words? Should I check for crutch words?
  • What does my CP think? Do I even have a CP?
  • Have I received all feedback from my beta readers? (Tip: make sure you have objective beta readers, not just friends who will tell you what you hope to hear.)

During my process, which is always going to be a process, I found some great resources to link to:

Writer’s Digest

Better Novel Project

Helping Writers Become Authors by K.M. Weiland

If you know of any other resources, which there are tons, please let me know!

However, for all those seeking temptation and information, here are a few Twitter Pitch Contests/Resources to know about for your future (in no particular order):

PitchWars

PitchMas

PitchSlam

PitMad

Pit2Pub

MSWL

…and there are SO MANY MORE…check out Carissa Taylor’s Blog for a massive list. Pitch Contest Calendar.

 

 

 

Disastrous Rainy Days in South Carolina

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Rainy days are supposed to a time to hunker down and catch up on anything and everything indoors. However, when it rains for days, things tend to have a much different, disastrous outcome. We just experienced historic rainfall in South Carolina, tremendously impacting my coastal county. My family and I are very fortunate for not having any flooding issues in our neighborhood or any problems with our home or vehicles.

However, several friends and coworkers have had a different experience. Here is a slideshow of images from a local news station. Scenes of Flooding. As we get phone calls and texts checking on everyone, my heart aches as we work to rebuild and try to find normalcy.

Schools and daycares have been closed due to road closures and flooding, so I have been home with my kids for a few days. Weirdly enough, I haven’t gone stir-crazy. But I have been obsessively watching social media updates, news stations and contacting friends and family.

While it was fine for me, I am praying for others and waiting to see how my friends’ homes are doing as the river continues to rise. It has not been a good situation and we aren’t out of it yet. Thoughts and prayers are welcome for South Carolina.

Aerial Video of Flooding

Concerned About River Flooding

South Carolina ‘We Lost Everything’

What kind of writer are you?

Every writer’s writing process is personal. There is no one way to do it and it may evolve as you move forward. All of my writing depends on so many factors, such as my environment, my state of mind, any distractions, and any slivers of inspiration. I’m actually writing this blog post from a zebra printed chair in my bathroom at 11:46pm while my family is sleeping. It’s hard to find peace to write with a husband and two small kids.

I write like I put together a puzzle. I’ll start a section, leave it and then return to it a few days later. I also jump around a lot. There are some days I write all my notes on my phone and there are times, I write through GoogleDrive throughout different times of the day. I recently learned that I am a pantster (panster).

What is Your Writing Style?

Pantster (Panster): Writing by the seat of your pants. Needs: varying degrees of freedom. A pantster (panster) wants to know a few ideas or scenes to run with and they rarely know the end of their book as they start writing.

Plotter: Writing in an organized fashion. Needs: structure, outlines, diagrams and knowing things ahead of time. A plotter wants to know and understand the beginning, middle, and end of the book before they start writing.

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the term “pantster” was popularized during that time.

What do you do when you are stuck?

If you find yourself struggling in your writing, here are some ideas to get you back on track:

  • Seek out other writers for encouragement and advice.
  • Change your physical writing location.
  • Distract yourself with a good book from your TBR list.
  • Fix yourself a comfort beverage, such as coffee or tea.
  •  Play with some plot bunnies.
  • Take a different approach to your editing/revising.
  • …and never give up!