Category Archives: writing

Crappy first draft done

I couldn’t write when the pandemic started. I planned it, even carted my computer with me to our Spring Break trips.

But once the lockdown was in place I couldn’t: no sleep, constant worry. Especially since the week before I’d flown to Cleveland and back.

Once spring break was over I focused solely on the yearbook. It was awful to do the work from home, but looking back, I’m thankful I had the distraction.

I thought I’d get back to my steamy hockey romance after the book was done, but no. Instead I fought on Facebook with people who said masks were dumb and COVID wasn’t that bad.

Then the protests against police brutality started.

I watched the news for hours.

School was done, summer break started and I was stunned day after day by what I was seeing play out on screen.

I’d written some words. Not a lot, but my writers group met on Zoom pretty often so I had some. And I had the complete novel plotted.

And in the midst of the madness I decided I wanted to remember a different time, a different place. I wanted happily ever after.

I couldn’t get that on Facebook or twitter. I couldn’t get that watching police tear gas peaceful protestors. I couldn’t get that wishing for playoff season.

So I started writing.

And this morning at 2 a.m. I finished a crappy first draft.

My plan is to have it revised and ready to go by next beach season.

I actually plan to relaunch my writing career then. One women’s fiction a year and three steamy romances.

Wish me luck.

Blog Beginnings

I started my blog Jan. 16, 2005. That is crazy.

I started with a mission statement of sorts. The message that I wanted this space to be a sort of positive reinforcement for my writing and getting healthy.

Over the years it’s become something much more.

It’s been a space to write about family, writing, diet, politics, books, movies, teaching, advising journalism and more.

I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve raged and I hopefully have inspired.

I haven’t focused on a platform. I’ve just shared thoughts and life.

I’m looking forward to more of that!

 

What I’m Loving: The Daily Calm, coffee, Torani sugar free syrups, Pod Save the World

What I’m Writing: So Much For Happily Ever After

Escapism

Back in the day I’d log on to my blog and write about all the things. Writing, family, diet struggles, books I loved, God, TV, tales from the classroom and the politics of education. Every little thing.

The blog was my way to share little bits of life with friends.

Back in the day before Facebook and twitter and the constant bombardment of my News App.

I love the ease of the blog, the breathing space of the blog, the focus of the blog.

When I’m here I don’t worry about notifications or nuclear war. I just write. I just share.

Sometimes I write to make readers laugh. Other times I share to get through a moment. Often I post to ask advice.

I like that about the blog.

It’s my little place in the vast space of online infinity.

👩‍💻

What I’m Loving: The Daily Calm, Dumplin‘, coffee, my giant down comforter, my Dallas Stars gloves, Cali’flour pizza crust

What I’m Writing: blog posts and So Much For Happily Ever After.

Not the Plan

The postcard on the table when I walked in from school surprised me.

DFW Writers Conference.

On the way home from school I’d been thinking about the blog post I planned.

The postcard changed everything because it far surpassed my expectations. The summer workshop is one of the best I’ve attended, but I can’t go this year. I figured the postcard was a reminder to register and I was a little sad.

I figured wrong.

I completely forgot they had us write the message to ourselves. Seeing the words, remembering the excitement of workshop moved me to tears.

I won’t be there this year, but if you’re a writer you should go. It’s incredible.

Check it out here!

What I’m Loving: Friday, Aguage hairspray, Diet Dr Pepper, DoTERRA On Guard

What I’m Writing: So Much For Happily Ever After

Surround Yourself With Creatives

Creativity is contagious. My writers group meets at the local library Tuesday evenings. The meetings always inspire me.

It’s easy to not write, but when I go to the meetings I HAVE to write something, even if it’s not great. The more I go, the more I write. The more I write, the better I write…it’s a cycle.

There’s something about writing in community that refreshes my writing spirit.

I almost didn’t make tonight’s meeting since I came home from work with enough time to do a short workout and decided to try HIIT. I nearly died. It’s back to Zumba tomorrow!

What I’m loving: my current WIP, Night Writers, the Dallas Stars, Mixtiles (they are as good as the Facebook ad says!), Quest snickerdoodle cookies, LCHF

What I’m writing: So Much For Happily Ever After

Process Not Outcome

At the beginning of Atomic Habits the author James Clear explains why goal setting is not the best place for our focus. Goals end when you make them and it’s easy to go back to previous behaviors once the goal is achieved. Instead he says to focus on the habits of process.

I love that. When I first read the words I saw how true they were for me.

My LCHF way of eating is a process to focus on not the weight loss goal. I’ve hit the goal twice and gained weight again after because I didn’t focus on process. With writing I’d finish a book and quit writing for long stretches of time. I had a goal, but I didn’t really have a process. This is especially true since moving to Fort Worth. I see now I had a finish goal with no real process habit built.

I’m looking forward to developing my processes.

What I’m loving: The Dallas Stars, Within Temptation’s new album Resist, the novel Dumplin‘, DoTERRA’s On Guard mouthwash, Torani sugar-free peppermint syrup, LCHF

What I’m writing: So Much for Happily Ever After

 

Girl, Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

“It’s hard to write this without killing someone or blowing something up.” Me while working on my current work in progress during my writers group tonight.

The group just left and I spent a few minutes “woe is me-ing” because I hated my words and loved theirs.

And then I sat in my chair and focused on breathing and reclaiming my comfort in my process. Okay, that’s a lie. I haven’t reclaimed the comfort. That’s why I’m here on the blog talking to myself. 😊

Simple truth: writing is messy. And sometimes I get lucky and I’m blessed by the writing gods and a scene just falls out of me fully developed with snappy dialogue and conflict and character development.

But MOST of the time the first words are flat placeholders for what will come next in revisions.

But they’re there on the page. Words. Words that weren’t there before. Words that give life to the story I will eventually tell.

I’m working on this. On embracing me. On being okay with who I am, in how I am, in why I am. No, not in being okay with it. I’m learning to love me.

It doesn’t matter if I’m talking about the words I write or the food I eat or the words I say or the clothes I wear or the weight I lose or, well, anything.

I’m me. And I’m doing just fine. ❤️

What I’m loving: one of the new characters who popped up in my story completely unexpected but perfect for it right now, DoTERRA On Guard mouthwash, HGTV, my writing group, Within Temptation’s new album

What I’m writing: So Much For Happily Ever After

I Can

I am a big believer in speaking words to power. I tell my students all the time “don’t release that negativity to the universe.” But sometimes I live in the do as I say not as I do universe.

For the last few weeks that’s where I’ve lived with my writing.

I read a book, love it, sigh and say, “Nope, can’t do it. I can’t compete with this.”

I stare at my computer screen and see the blinking cursor and it fills me with fear and dread and emptiness.

I’ve given myself permission to write crap, and when I look at my words, that’s what I see.

That negativity isn’t real. I know it’s not real, and still it shuts me down. SOME of the words are crap. Total crap. But at its base, the story I’m working on is good. I KNOW this and still I let my fear of inadequacy get in the way.

The last couple weeks I haven’t had words to share with Night Writers, the group I go to weekly at my local library. I help critique others, but that makes me feel like a fraud of a writer because I haven’t written anything other than a bajillion social media posts and a handful of blog entries.

Instead I’ve looked at my words, readied my writing space and after thirty minutes of thinking “I can’t!” I turn on a recorded Grey’s or This is Us or open my kindle app to read another Jill Shalvis or Kristen Ashley or Nora or SEP (…the list of authors I love is LONG!) book and wonder how can those writers be so good?!?!

Last night, though, after my writing group met, I opened my notebook and iPad, gathered my editor’s notes (Penni, you are a Godsend!) and told myself to get over it. The only way to get through the I CAN’T WRITE moments is to sit down and do the work.

I almost didn’t write this today because sometimes I write these “I can do this” posts, and my brain taunts me.

But you know what? My brain taunts me anyway, so here it is. I can do this. I want to do this. I LIKE the end product when it’s all said and done, but getting to a real The End is not easy. It takes real work. There’s no pretend. If I want to be successful as an author, I’ve got to write and tame that negativity beast. Tame her because she’s not going anywhere. She’s there in my brain ready to pounce when I least expect it. She’s part of the process.

I can do this. I can.

Oh NaNo

Oh NaNo. I had such sweet hopes for our relationship this November. October had other ideas.

Here we are 8 days in to our NaNo fun and I’ve written zero NaNo words.

It’s okay though. October’s work is slowly moving toward conclusion.

Looking forward to you, NaNo.

👩‍💻

The NoNaNo NaNo

It’s Nov. 1, aka NaNoWriMo kickoff. And I’m not NaNo-ing because I missed my self-imposed draft deadline for book 3 in a romantic suspense trilogy.

I was sick with alien flu. But I still could have finished the draft IF I hadn’t procrastinated.

Soooooo, I’m sprinting with NaNo on the draft. When it’s done, I get to start Sharlene Gallagher book 4, my 2017 NaNo Novel. Until then…ACK! Write like the wind.

*The picture is my so called glamorous author life. Ahahahaha.