Tag Archives: The Artist’s Way

Release Day Tomorrow!

Angel EyesAngel Eyes, The Guardian Book 3 releases tomorrow on Amazon kindle. The paperback will be available everywhere books are sold soon. I hope readers will enjoy the third installment in the Sharlene Gallagher mystery series.

I’m starting a new book right now, and it’s sooooo hard to get back into the rhythm of writing new pages. I forget that sometimes. I forget that I have to write and write and revise and write and try different music until the perfect combination hits and then I write a draft Fast Draft style. That draft is nowhere near publishable, but it’s a start, a skeleton of the story that will be.

Earlier this week I read a post by a NYT bestseller that said the key to writing isn’t just writing. He’s right. Becoming a writer is about studying words and word craft. But he’s also wrong. I can study the craft all day long, but if I don’t sit down and write, it won’t make a difference.

I do love craft books. Donald Maass’s books are some of my favorites. Gary Provost’s Make Your Words Work is fantastic. The exercises are great for the classroom as well. The Artist’s Way is invaluable to releasing your creative spirit. I worked through The Artist’s Way with friend/colleague/former student Scotty Coppage the summer Sharlene Gallagher showed up on the page one day. The rest is history.

I’m looking forward to an amazing release week and a week of Fast Draft style writing. If you subscribe to my newsletter, you’ll get one tomorrow! If you don’t, you can subscribe here.

 

 

Another rough draft done….

…and now the real work starts.

I started writing for publication the fall of 1997. Back then I wrote religiously.

And after five years of rejections, I started fiddling around. I pretended to write. I wrote in spurts. I played at being a writer. But those rejections slayed my writing spirit. Another five years of rejections killed that spirit.

Honestly, even though I’d write a book a year–usually–, that book wasn’t heartfelt. It was almost fearful. I tried to write to the rules and to what I thought Harlequin would want because Harlequin was my dream.

Two and a half years ago (or maybe three) I put my thesis online. Honor and Lies was my heart. My professors loved it…which isn’t always a good thing. I mean, you don’t want an audience of professors to be your only fans.

But what did I have to lose? The book was sitting on my computer and in the MSU library. It was a tribute to my grandma, and I wanted to give it a chance to be shared by others.

A couple months later I published a couple romances and that was that. I figured I had a backlist of written works, I’d go through them and post them and whatever happened, happened.

Only I started The Artist’s Way with colleague Scotty Coppage and I started working again. It was bits and spurts at first.

The first book I wrote to self-publish was Dead Girl Walking, the first of the Sharlene Gallagher guardian angel mysteries. And since then I’ve written everything to self-publish.

Last summer I came up with a business plan and a publishing schedule. And my arm quit working.

If you know me in real life or kept up with the blog, you know I mean it quit working completely.

For a month I cried because all my plans were flowing away with every day the arm got worse. Not only that, but with each non-writing day I saw myself growing closer to the “writer” Mary Beth. The girl who wrote some, when the muse hit, when she wanted to, instead of the committed writer, working on her craft.

Right before NANO one of my former students Emma found out about my arm and suggested the Dragon software.

In two weeks I wrote an novella using spiral notebooks and dictating to Dragon. The arm wasn’t an excuse. Since then I’ve worked on novels and novellas. I haven’t worried about the business side. I embraced the creative side and the excitement of creating characters and worlds and conflicts.

I’m not writing for anyone but me.

And I’m loving every minute of it.

Suddenly I’m not okay publishing the books I’ve got lined up on my computer as possibilities just because they’re done. I’ll go over them later. I want them to be the very best they can be. Sexy, scary, heartfelt…whatever it is they’re supposed to be, I want them to be that times a ten million.

Self-publishing gave me this even though I haven’t published a word since August 25.

I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words since then. I re-discovered my voice, my art.

And I’ve learned to trust in my creative soul. To pray first then write and let the words work.

I’m not ready to publish the books I’ve written since August 25. They’re all in different stages of the revision or editing process, but I will be soon.

For now, I’m happy that I’m writing and creating and loving it and hating it and working the craft.

It’s so funny to think that because of self-publishing I’m writing more–and better, I think–even though I’m not publishing a word.

 

 

 

What I’m Working On

It’s Revision Hell time for The Guardian Book 2 (Sharlene Gallagher). That’s the hard part. And the fun part. And the work part. And the part where I get to research and play with the words to make them their best. I’m doing this Fast Draft style. So far I’m loving everything about Fast Draft. I don’t think Revision Hell will change that. I’ll keep you posted.

This is also the week Letting Go by Mary Beth Lee debuts on Amazon. YAY! (blurb at the end).

Great news for one of my books: Honor & Lies has been in the top 50 almost all month for paid coming-of-age fiction stories on kindle. That’s awesome. In two more months the ebook will be available everywhere.

If you have questions about publishing, ask away. If I don’t have the answer, I might be able to help you find it. If you need motivation and encouragement, let me know. Writing can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. I you’re like me and you’ve gotten bogged down with life and change and rejection, and you wanted to write but now you just don’t know, go get The Artist’s Way and do the work. It changed my life.

Letting Go blurb: Clarissa Dye doesn’t put down roots. Stearns, Oklahoma, is a stopping point on her path to self-reliance. And God? Don’t even get her started. Enter Mackenzie Dillon and her cowboy dad, Jed. From the moment Mackenzie runs into Clarissa, the little girl worms her way into Clarissa’s heart, which proves to be terrifying. The fact that her strong father happens to work his way in there, too, only scares Clarissa more. Letting Go: a story of forgiveness, second chances and finding a love that lasts forever.

Happy Independence Day and Week 4 Fail

Happy July 4. We had an amazing service at church yesterday about the founding fathers and the US ties to God. It was fabulous! God Bless the USA. And a HUGE thank you to every person who has ever served protecting our freedoms.

Now on to the fail:
It started with the newspaper. The plan, hit the headlines and off the computer.

The reality; trn–dmn–cnn–msnbc–perez–eonline–people. One hour later, I looked up and groaned

It didn’t stop there.

I read and read and read some more.

Not books, but still. And then I watched a Lifetime movie and a Disney movie.

At 9:30 I’d written 1000 words. 4k under yesterday, a non-reading day.

Back to square one on reading deprivation. MAN, it’s hard!!!

The Artist’s Way, Chapter 4

Going along great on The Artist’s Way, when BOOM, here’s chapter four and reading deprivation. I thought it would be about making sure you read enough.

NO. It’s about giving yourself one week without reading.

I’m not doing it 100%, but I’m not reading books, or watching scripted TV, or hanging out on twitter and facebook this week.

Today, even though we went to Lawton, that translated to over 5K words.

Nice return on investment.

I’m not sure I can make it a week without reading.

I mean, I read cereal boxes and bottles of shampoo and the instruction booklet for the car. I read everything.

But this week, I won’t.

For now, my plan is to blog in the morning after morning pages. We’ll see if that works. If not, I might go a week without blogging, too. ACK!

 

 

Lessons Learned

Anyone who follows my blog knows this year has been tough. Tough enough that I wondered if God was sending me a message.
The end of the year came together in such a way that if God was sending me a message, I heard it loud and clear. I’m where I belong right now.
Today I met one of my former students who is now a co-worker for coffee and we started The Artist’s Way. The former student inspired me to do more in my classroom. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of my job. The last two weeks of school were spent distributing the book and clipping and mounting our contest entries for several organizations we belong to. That was fun and necessary, but I was so focused on the work, I didn’t tell my kids how much I appreciated them. I didn’t spend time on lessons or learning. I clipped and taped and wrote on the back of entries. I won’t get that time back.
The meeting today was supposed to be about writing and releasing the artist in me, but it was more than that. It was a challenge to spend this summer refilling the well for my teaching and to come back next year determined to do more, do better.
God really does speak if we listen. Today God sent me another message. It was one I needed to hear, delivered by an amazing teacher I’ve watched grow up over the years.
Thanks Scotty! I’m looking forward to The Artist’s Way, and I’m thankful I’m a teacher still learning my craft.