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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Coming to a Bookstore Near You

Playground-Treasures
Let me be clear, this baby was conceived five years ago and not the nine months I signed up for! All jokes 🙂
No, seriously, five years ago, I was teaching a fiction until to my fifth grade students and I usually write with my students while they write, so this story was born in my classroom, revised and expanded there, then taken home over the summer holidays where it underwent major surgery. Then it went through physical therapy with multiple patient, outstanding readers. After it was returned with a lot of red ink, it underwent more surgery. Wounds were opened, re-examined and fixed. This happened a few half-dozen times as I learned the writing process and became more confident in my writing voice.
And finally, this book is ready to make its big debut. So much time and effort…and tears goes into writing a piece of work, and this is one I hoped would eventually see the light of others’ eyes. 🙂
This book comes out at the end of July, so look for it and join me in celebrating the journey of writing my first book.
Hooray!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Writing....A Lonely Occupation

lonely


Let me start this post by saying that I love writing. Always have. And that love has grown as I have learned more about the art of crafting words together. But I’ve got to be honest.
The writing world is a lonely world.
Most of the time, to get work done, a writer has to separate themselves from the people around them. That means missing out on activities, staying up or getting up early when the others are asleep, and hiding in a room to get anything done. Other writers may be more successful at getting more juice out of their squeeze, but I can’t concentrate if my kids or husband are in the same room. I have learned, the more you write, the more you improve. If I want to improve, I have to give up more time.
Time that is spent alone.
That means I spend a chunk of my day separating myself from my family. Writing, then editing, then rewriting, and then virtually crunching that attempt up like a piece of paper and starting over. Occasionally I turn to other writers for feedback and crave the attention they give, even when their words are harsh, critical, and about my writing. But oh, when someone mentions something good about my writing, it is like a bloodline.
A compliment really goes a long way.
Someone commented on own of my blogs the other day, and her thought has stayed with me ever since. It made me think of my chosen career as a teacher, a mom, and a writer. It seems every career has their unappreciated moments and a kind word goes a long way in helping someone along.
So for future reference, I wanted to build a list of ideas that readers and writers could do to serve each other in this stand-alone world we try to survive in.
  1. Attend conferences– Meet other authors, connect with people who are like-minded. It is a great way to build on your skills, too, but who really only goes for that? Okay, just kidding, most of us do, but the connecting part is also important.
  2. Share your writing, even if you think you are not good enough. It may touch someone, and that will mean the effort and lonely time away was worth it. Especially share with your loved ones around you. They should already have a vested interest, but if they don’t it’s time for them to get on board.
  3. Review others’ writing– This is a big one. We learn from other writing. If you don’t believe me, read my last post about beta-reading. This also comes in the form of reading others published writing- blogs, novels, articles. Even better, leave a review, a comment, or a message with that writer if you learned something valuable from their writing.
  4. Sign up for online and in-person writing groups. Their feedback is invaluable, and connecting with other people on a consistent basis is essential in receiving encouragement that you’re on the right track.
  5. Serve yourself by stepping away. Let’s be honest- the continual grind of the author life is taxing at times. The continual rejection, frustration of starting over, or the occasional moments when we try to compare ourselves to someone better takes a toll if we do not remember to step away and take some R&R.
I’m sure there is more I could have added to this list, but 5 seemed like a magical number today. Readers and writers, feel free to share what you do to serve in the writing world to make life a little less lonely. Thank you for taking time to read this. If you made it this far, it means I did something right.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Beta-Reading is the Way to Go!

beta-reader
Five or six years ago, I decided to write a book. I have loved writing since I was little, and the only thing I love more than writing is teaching others about writing. I am a writing teacher by trade, but I love reading others’ writing and sharing how it can be better. When I needed a partner to trade with, I started scouring Facebook for groups to share critiques with.
I found a few, some really good writers too, but their content was sometimes hard for to write. I’m religious and so it was hard to read and critique others’ writing that had heavy swearing, violence, or sexual content. I did it for a while, but afterwards, I felt like scrubbing my eyeballs, and that just wasn’t worth it to me.
I continued to look for higher caliber groups, but I could never find any with the goals I had in mind. So, I created one. I called it LDS Beta Readers. https://www.facebook.com/groups/475461645922698/
The group started with 30 members, and three years later, we are hitting our 1000 member milestone.
This group has surpassed what I ever thought it could be. Since starting, we have held so many writing events, including sprint writing contests, first chapter contests, and a query letter contest. We started a writing skills blog earlier this year. http://ldsbetareaders.blogspot.com
We’ve held two online writing conferences with authors sharing writing advice and workshops.  This year we published an anthology with 25 of our writers and we are working on publishing two more. https://www.amazon.com/Mindgames-Anthology-Compilation-Members-Readers-ebook/dp/B06X6F92RC/?tag=amazon09d4d-20
We have made lasting friendships, kept a safe sharing environment, and grown in our writing.
I have learned so much by reading and critiquing others’ writing. It’s one thing to look at your writing over and over and make it better, but it is a totally new experience to look at your writing, look at someone else’s writing that is totally different, and then look at your writing again. That is where the fun begins.  Beta-reading has helped me grow so much as a writer. Writing really is a collective art. You gather pieces that shape you into the writer you want to be. I feel so lucky to be a part of something so great!
Three cheers for beta-reading!

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