GETTING PRIORITIES STRAIGHT

 

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Life is full of twists and turns, events, obligations, friends and family…

This requires us to make priorities and, the choices are often complicated.

If you are a writer, you know that the path to spending time at our craft is often blocked—sometimes by people and events over which we have little or no control.

Recently, I have had to make choices between what I might like to do—even feel called to do—and family obligations.

Because of my parent’s failing health, blocks of time have needed to be reallocated from my writing time to family time.

Because I choose to focus on what they need, writing has had to take a backseat.

As life circumstances change, our priorities change.

Although family was always a priority in my heart, I lost sight of this when I “found” writing, often pushing aside those things in life that were really more important.

Knowing that changes are inevitable and impact one’s deepest values, we must be willing to reevaluate, give up “the dream” for a season, and move in a new direction.

Do I still write during these last stages in my mother’s Alzheimer’s journey?

Of course. But, it has just taken on a different focus.

I Remember the Seasons is a work of the heart.

I will never forget the look on my mother’s face when she thumbed through the book and realized it was dedicated to her and Dad.

That one beautiful memory of her smile will last a lifetime.

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Stay in Your Own Lane

13366864053_840b7df994Driving home after an evening out, my husband complained about a driver in front of us. “Just look at that guy, weaving in and out of traffic. He’s going to get somebody killed. He needs to stay in his own lane.”

Perhaps writers should heed his advice. Settling on one genre, such as Amish Romances, for example, lets the reader know what to expect when purchasing one of their books.

When a brand is loud and clear, it not only benefits the reader, but it also helps the writer focus their writing.

New writers often have to feel their way through two or three books before they catch the vision for their writing, however.

Recently, I discovered that my books—Runaways: The Long Journey Home and The Choice: Will’s Last Testament—have a common thread: forgiveness. Then I took a hard look at my newest book, Simon Says, and found that this story about bullying  has forgiveness as its central theme, also. (Simon Says is not, yet, completed).

So, I guess I am in full “branding mode” and I couldn’t be happier than to be writing stories of forgiveness because they assure us there is hope after we mess up or make wrong choices.

So, if you don’t want your readers to be confused and you want to bring your writing into focus,

Simply find your lane and stay in it.

Whatever It Takes

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I’ve heard that artists, in general, are a quirky bunch. They need certain things in their environment in order to get their creative juices flowing.

Writers might demand that the room needs to be at a specific temperature.

Actors may require that friends or family must be in the audience for them to perform well.

Singers often ask for specific things to drink or that the air be purified in their dressing rooms.

I know I find it difficult to write unless my desk is organized.

Whoever you are, we all perform optimally when certain conditions are met.

For most everyone, being well-rested, fed, and hydrated may apply.

So, let’s say you’re a writer. You’ve met your requirement of having a quiet place to write. You close the door and sit down at the computer.

But suddenly you’re distracted by a bird outside the window or a telephone ringing somewhere down the hall. Isn’t anyone going to get that?

Now, you’re off track.

Unable to focus.

You want to push your chair back and forget writing for today, but instead just rewind.

Maybe you need a walk around the block. Perhaps simply refreshening your water glass with a slice of lemon will do it. Maybe say a silent prayer.

Then, get back to the computer and try again.

Whatever it takes. For as long as it takes. As many times as it takes.

I’ve found that one page leads to another…and that page leads to the next…and before you know it, it’s

a book!

In Defense of Doodling

 

My husband is a doodler.        32010585111_840dc8b024

I guess it simply gives his hands something to do while he watches a football game on television or waits for his order at a restaurant.

But, I asked myself, “Could doodling actually have some kind of value?”

I recall teaching my elementary students to map and use webs to organize information. Could using simple visual language help people think and solve problems, focus, and retain information?

Turns out that good old doodling activates one’s mind’s eye to access creativity with the subconscious mind.

I put it to the test.

I recently made use of doodling to solve a difficult plot problem in the book I am writing.

So, don’t get stuck on plot, character description, or action scenes. If you need to “see” what you are writing for descriptive purposes or keeping track of details, why not try doodling?

You just might find it to be more than mindless scribbling.