Friday, November 21, 2014

A book give-away!

***I received an email from Rafflecopter saying they had "issues" for a few days during the give-away. Therefore, I will be giving the book to whomever contacts me first. Thanks for understanding!***


The holiday season is upon us, and the retail world would like all to believe that if they just had that "one" thing, their life would be so much better, so much easier, so much more perfect. But those who grieve know better. They know that it isn't about "stuff." They may fail to see joy, or even find one thing for which to be thankful during this season. It's one of the reasons I wanted to do a book give-away. I hope that giving away this particular book will be a blessing and a comfort to whomever receives it.

Visit my grief blog below to enter a chance to win:

A Window Into Grief Blog

Friday, November 14, 2014

Connections

One of the most satisfying aspects of this writing journey has been making connections. Meeting other writers through attending conferences and participating in critique groups has been a great source of joy. I've never met a better bunch of people! They are so encouraging and truly sincere in wanting the best for you as a writer. They don't mince words and are honest in their critiques, but it's always for the purpose of making you a better writer.

I am not a natural when it comes to engaging people in conversation. I am far more comfortable behind the keyboard than I am making small talk face-to-face. However, I happen to be married to an extrovert, so I've picked up a few things over the past, shall we say, many years. One thing I've learned is to ask questions. My fear of appearing stupid has been quickly and easily overridden by my desire to know. When meeting other writers, I want to know why and what they write. I want to know how they persevere and what they think are non-negotiables in the writing process.

Asking questions has proved to be instrumental in building the writing connections I've made thus far. It's created new friendships, interesting dialog, and expanded my view of the writing world. It's fun, it's surprising, and it's unpredictable. I never know what kind of an answer I'm going to get, or even who I will end up connecting with. It's so far out of my comfort zone, but this is where I can stomp on fear and march forward with confidence and reap the spoils of newfound connections.


Fear can really mess with anyone, but for writers, I think it can feel extra thick. However, the best advice I've gotten regarding fear on this writing journey is to: 1) expect it, 2) face it, and 3) tackle it. Fear is part of the journey. There's no avoiding it. Writing is, by nature, vulnerable. Expect it and then face it head-on. Fear loses it's power when it's confronted. And when you're no longer controlled by it's power, you can then tackle it and get to the sweet payoff behind it. For me, the payoff has been making some amazing writing connections and gaining valuable writing knowledge because I faced my fear of putting my writing out there and of stepping out of my comfort zone.

I've been able to do this because of so many others who have done the same. They've been a great example, and I've appreciated their honesty, bravery, and encouragement. The act of writing may be a solitary process, but it's the connections we make as writers that make the writing come alive. Make some connections this weekend and write on!


Friday, November 7, 2014

If only I could be dramatic

After last month's critique group meeting, I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed. Actually, no. Stuck. Well, overwhelmed and stuck. It's discouraging and frustrating. The problem isn't a lack of ideas or writing material. It's a lack of climax or conflict in my writing. My picture book manuscripts have gotten favorable feedback, but the constructive criticism is the same. There is no drama, no problem to solve, no crescendo in the middle. Argh! Yet, my word count is good, my writing engaging, and the story line interesting. So what's a writer to do?

This, alas, is what I am still wondering. I can't seem to find my way. But rather than bang my head on the keyboard, I am pulling out reading material. I have several resource books on writing that I have yet to finish reading. I have learned much in the last three years, but it's only a drop in the bucket, really. The best thing I can do is simply keep learning, keep reading, and keep writing. It doesn't seem very exciting, but I'm o.k. with that. Writing isn't always exciting, but it's always personally rewarding, especially if one perseveres. My new mantra: