Category Archives: life as a writer

Writer Wednesday: The Beginning

If you are a writer, then you have probably heard about how important it is to have a good beginning. A good first sentence/paragraph/chapter… the beginning is the chance you have to hook your reader… and you want to do that so they will read your whole book! Right? Right (ish). (A problem many writers struggle with, myself included, is not wanting others to read you book. *sigh* It’s a rough life, let me tell you. 😉 )

The first sentence can be tricky because I try to capture my main character’s personality, and the overall feeling of the story. So, it takes me approximately 50,000 words to write a novel (and that is just approximately) but I’m supposed to give my book a good first impression, capture the overall feeling of the story, and my main character’s personality? Without it being a run-on sentence?


Do you ever write and think, “This is really hard, why do I do this to myself?” But at the same time you think, “I LOVE WRITING”. That’s basically me every time I write…

For fun I figured I’d share some of my first lines. Not because I think I know everything, but because they are mine and maybe I’ll learn how I need to change them. 🙂

1. From my story Pieces of My Heart: Most of the time, I prefer to be alone, but every now and then I long to be with someone who truly cares about me.

In this story, Rindy has been hurt and is very shy. So I tried to convey that with the first line “prefers to be alone” and it’s not that she hates all people, but she wants to be with someone who cares about. Not someone that is just forced to care about her because they are family, but “truly cares”. She does also have a sarcastic and silly streak, but compared to being shy and lonely, those are lesser personality traits to her.

2. From This Very Moment: We had one photograph of my mother when I was growing up.

Marilyn, the main character, was raised by her grandparents and had no contact with her mother. That picture was the only connection she had to her mother, and it was important to her. I think it helped emphasize the gap in her life that a mother would have filled? I don’t know, I just write the story. The characters don’t ask my opinion of stuff. 😉

3. This next one is from an unfinished, and unnamed project about a girl who worked in a hotel that her parents owned:  Whichever way you turn it, it wasn’t exactly a glamorous life I led.

I kind of wanted to compare it to Cinderella’s life and how always cleaning doesn’t equal a happily ever after. She was a little disappointed in her life because her parents were busy and didn’t always understand what she was going through.

4. Okay this last one I’m sort of working on off and on, tentatively calling it The Voice for now. It’s about a girl who has supernatural abilities and can kind of read people’s mind. It’s not exactly mind reading, though, it’s just like if she gets close to someone she suddenly knows things about them (she explains it as ‘getting a feeling’ about someone). The better she knows a person, the better she can read them, but the only person she is really close to is her brother. Anyway. More info then you needed, but here is the first sentence:  I’ve always had feelings… or just plain talent.

In this first sentence I tried to convey that there was something different about my main character. She wasn’t a… normal person. She was special, and she had been her whole life, in an unexplainable way.

I’d love to hear some of your first sentences! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by on this week’s post of Writer Wednesday!


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Filed under life as a writer, Uncategorized, writer life, Writer Wednesday

That’s a Wrap ~ 2017 edition

Well, another year is almost to an end. That’s weird, right? Time just slips by so quickly…

Before I get to my wrap up post, I just wanted to post a little something… at the end of 2016 I saw a lot of people talk about how happy they were that 2016 was over because it was such a bad year, and how they were so happy 2017 was coming… and now I’m seeing a bunch of stuff about how they’re so happy 2017 is over and 2018 is coming if they just hold on!

Just because you’ve had a hard time, don’t hate the year. 😉 (Though, if we’re being honest, I didn’t like 2015 much… I still think of it as a year I suffered from a lot of bad health…) A year is just a segment of time. If bad things happen, is it really a bad year? Really? Bad things can happen in a day, it doesn’t make it a bad day. Bad things can happen in a year, without completely ruining the year. If you’re going to remember all the bad things, you need to be fair and look for good things too. 🙂 ❤

Okay, anyway, to get back to my post… Today I’m going to remember 2017 and try to find a picture to share for each month! (Most of these pictures will be from my phone… I think I need to get it in my habit more to pull out my camera!)

  1. January.

I celebrated my birthday in January! The plan was to go see the movie Sing, but it was rainy that day and apparently a lot of people had the same idea… so we went to the mall and out to dinner at Red Robin because they have unlimited fries. Unlimited fries. Need I say more?

While we were at Red Robin one of our friends said, “You should get them to sing Happy Birthday to you, and then you get free ice cream.”

Since I’m allergic to milk I didn’t care, but I assumed he wanted the ice cream so I agreed. So they sang to me and I pretended to be excited, and then when the waiter walked away I gave the ice cream to him… and then he realized I was allergic. (And then Our waiter walked by and noticed I wasn’t the one eating the ice cream… XD)

Besides ice cream and my birthday, I started college in January. I may have thought I was going to die (more than once, lets be honest) but somehow I survived (and actually did pretty well?).


2. February

February was pretty uneventful, but my sister and I did get a group of coworkers/friends together and went to see LaLa Land (which is not as good as people say it is, FYI.) Since I don’t know if they all want me to share a picture of them (even though we did get a group picture to commemorate) I’m going to share a picture of my mom and I playing with snapchat filters. 🙂 I remember sitting on the couch next to my mom and continually sending snapchats to my mom and sister. XD I’m easily entertained.


3. March

I went to Florida in March. ❤ I love Florida. While I was down there, my sister and I went to Downtown Disney (some wrong people call it Disney Springs, but it’s Downton Disney. Trust me.) And you can’t go to Downtown Disney without admiring the lego creations that are there, like Buzz and Woody!


4. April!

In April my sister got engaged, but I apparently don’t have a picture of her being really excited or anything. You know what I did bother to take a picture of? Florida. I guess you know where my priorities are…


Leaving Florida is always my least favorite part. And the saddest part? This was the last time I went to Florida… hopefully I’ll have another Florida trip soon.

5. Up until the last few weeks (because I’ve been busy? Because my mind is still dead from school? Who knows…) I’ve been pretty active on twitter. While I get in Facebook and Instagram, I’m most active on Twitter.

And on a related note, you should totally make sure to take screen shots throughout the year. They can remind you of little, but important things. Like nice people who think you’re funny on twitter.


6. June (half way mark!)

I had a dentist appointment in June. Super exciting. 😉 But because of that, I went to school right after, which means I got to school like an hour early, and found this pleasant little spot (and planned and murder mystery).


It started because I thought, “This is where the unsuspecting college student would find a dead body.” Thankfully, I didn’t. (And because I didn’t take the summer off, I finished all the math courses I needed to get my Liberal Arts Degree. I’m getting there! Slowly…)

7. July…

July was pretty uneventful except… I bought my first car! I bought it from my sister, so it took me awhile before I started thinking of it as “my car” and not “Samantha’s car that I drive”. It’s a good little car though, and I like it!

Also in July we had my brother-in-law’s surprise birthday party! And here is a green picture of their lawn, I took trying to be artsy.


8. August

In August a sweet girl on twitter, @HanneAsInHannah made me this collage! I love it.


Isn’t it beautiful! ❤

9. September

In September my sister got married!


Don’t worry, that’s not from her wedding but from her rehearsal. Which, in case you were wondering, I was starving. But we did have cupcakes, WHICH WERE AMAZING AND I ATE TWO AT THE WEDDING. NOT ASHAMED. (especially because after the wedding they disappeared. We didn’t eat them all, someone else took them home… XD)


In October I hosted my Inkling to Write online writer’s conference! Because of that I got to know some cool writing people. I also have a few more pictures from October because I was challenged to do a black and white photo thing on Instagram. One thing I was excited about was….

Capture - Copy

I wrote a proposal for my story! I have nothing else about this I want to share (at the moment) but I thought writing a proposal was pretty cool. 🙂

11. November!

I love fall and in November the leaves started to really change colors! And that’s when the holidays really start to get started. November is a good month. (And there is NaNoWriMo, which I didn’t do, but it did make me want to write, and I wrote 7,000 words in one day. Not my record, but not bad either. 🙂 )


12. December

And that leaves us with December. The last month of the year. The month of Christmas cheer. ❤


Cheating a little bit because this picture is from last year (and last November at that!) but I really like it, and I don’t really have any picture from this Christmas season I love (yet).

Anyways, thanks for helping me remember 2017! It was a pretty good year. How about you? How was your year? I’d love to see you do one of these posts! If you comment your link, I’ll read your posts!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

(I realize I didn’t talk about Christmas that much in this post, but I just wanted to assure you that that doesn’t mean I’m not excited. I am still excited and Christmas crazy. This post just doesn’t happen to reflect that. 🙂 )


Filed under Christmas, Holidays, Inkling to Write, life as a writer, Uncategorized

Book Birthday!

Three years ago today I finished one of my stories! Usually a “book birthday” is the day the book was released, but I’m considering this my book birthday, marking the finish of one of my stories. 🙂

In celebration of this, I decided to post the first chapter of the story on my blog! 🙂 (It’s not going to look formatted correctly going from a Word Document to my blog, but just pretend… ;))

(In other exciting news I’m done with my finals and have completed my first year of college! I was about to write high school… my brain has been dead for, like, two weeks, but I’m hoping it’ll come back to me during break…)

Chapter 1


Most of the time, I prefer to be alone, but every now and then I long to be with someone who truly cares about me.
Obviously Dad and Margie, my stepmother, must care somewhat, at least in a Florinda is still alive, right? Because I’m pretty sure accidentally killing her would look really bad way.
All I can say is when you’re alone, warm showers can act like the hug no one else is willing to give you.
A sigh escapes as the shower beats down on my back, relaxing my muscles. Taking a deep breath of the steamy air, I turn around and turn off the water. For a moment, I rest my forehead on the shower wall… just breathing. There is only ten minutes left for me to eat breakfast and get ready for school, but sometimes being in a rush is somehow reassuring, like it tells me, “You have some place to be. You’re here for a reason.”
The extra mile I jogged took more time than I thought it would. Training for a Suicide Awareness Marathon takes work- there is no way I’d be able to do that if I didn’t push myself. I dry off quickly and pull my hair in a messy ponytail.
When I get to the kitchen, Margie’s pouring herself a glass of orange juice and Bobby is in his highchair babbling something as he bangs his fists on his tray in front of him. My fingers run through his soft brown-red hair as I pass him on my way to the cabinet.
“Remember to look people in the eye.” Margie goes the fridge. She gets the milk and hands it to me. I nod and get a bowl out of the cabinet. She chews her lip for a moment, going over the same words she said to me every morning this week before school.
Here it goes. The speech she thinks is helpful. The speech I’ll smile and nod too and then completely disregard as soon as I get to school. At school I’ll have one goal—be invisible.
“Smile, and walk confidently.”
My head bobs up and down as I pour my cereal and milk, and get a spoon from the drawer. I continue my nodding, even though now that I’m crunching on my cereal I can’t hear a word she says.
Margie always nags me about going too fast, running too fast or eating too fast, and as I look down at the empty bowl I know—this time at least—she’s right. With nothing to give me an excuse not to listen I hear her rattle off her last few tips.
“Work hard, but try to make friends.” Her eyes plead with me. Plead that I’d give this place a chance, try to be happy. Sure I can try to be happy– I can even pretend, but I doubt I’d ever actually make it to being happy. With her in place of my mom? Yeah, I doubt it.
She smiles and reaches up to brush some of my corn-silk blonde hair behind my ear, but stops and pulls her hand back. “How has your first week at school been going?”
“Fine.” Surrounded by strangers and getting lost at least once a day. But how did she think I’d respond?
She nods. “Good.”
I shift from one foot to the other. I should probably tell her something. Thank you, maybe? Instead, I put the empty bowl into the sink and say, “I’ve got to go, or I’m going to miss my bus.”
Margie follows me to the back door and gives me a hug before I can prepare– before I can move away. “Bye, have a good day.”
“Thanks, I’ll see you later.” I pat Bobby on his head. “Bye, Bobby.” Grabbing my backpack I force a smile at them both. I go out the back door, but walk to the front porch to wait for the school bus.
A few minutes later the bus stops in front of the house. I pick up my backpack and start walking towards the bus. After slinking near the back of the bus, I slide into a window seat. I put my backpack on the seat next to me in hopes that no one will ask to sit there.
Chances are no one would ask to sit there anyway since I’m still new and haven’t gotten to know anyone, but just in case, I’m prepared. I hope.
I put on my headphones and listen to my mp3 player the entire trip to school.
When the school bus finally pulls into the parking lot, I grind my teeth together. It’s so big, and with so many people. Maybe one day I’d get used to it, but I guess it isn’t going to happen in the first week.
As I get off of the bus, I remind myself over and over, I will get through today and I will be fine. Just breathe and smile, I tell myself. It will be okay.
But…. if I was going to draw this school, what would it look like? The looming one story brick buildings don’t look all that scary, so why do they fill me with fear? To do these buildings justice with how it’s making me feel, I’d have to draw bars on the windows and cobwebs in the door frames.
“Come on, be positive,” I mumble under my breath.
In reality, the pearly white pillars in the front of the building seem to make it stand tall and proud. I stand behind a tree to block myself from the slight wind, but also to take a moment to prepare myself for going in.
Life is so much easier when I can bury my face in my sketchbook and block out the world with the music. Unfortunately, things like school often get in the way.
Several people glance at me as I weave between them to my locker. The hallway echoes the voices of every talking student.
All week Margie would ask me what my locker combination is—making sure I had it memorized. Not that I’m comfortable with Margie, but it’s so much easier to recall it when I’m not surrounded by strangers. Fortunately, it’s getting easier to remember. It had been much harder to remember on Monday, but it’s easier today. Hopefully I won’t forget it over the weekend.
A few minutes later, I have everything I need and I turn to the exit. The school is larger than I thought it would be when we first moved here—small town, small school, right? I guess not. Apparently every teenager from all of the neighboring small towns collaborates into this gigantic high school. I head out the main building that contains the gym, cafeteria, office rooms and lockers. Outside, as I stand under the covered walkway, I glance at the other buildings. Which one is my first class in?
It was the same questions every day. What’s my locker combination? Where is my next class? As far as first weeks go mine was fine, but next week should go even better. Pretty soon, I would automatically remember….
Pretty soon this all would be normal.
I start my best guess and start walking with my heart pounding as if I just went running. As I walk towards where I hope my first class is, I watch my fellow students. Some of them notice me, but too others I’m invisible, just the way I prefer it.
Somehow I get my homework finished fairly soon, even though I keep doodling in the notebooks I’m supposed to using for school. A glance at the clock makes me smile. I have time for a walk before dinner. I grab my cell phone and mp3 player and hurry down the stairs where Margie is chopping up onions for dinner.
“Hey, Flo,” She greets me.
Flo. The nickname makes me want to gag. When Margie found out Mom made a special nickname for me, Rindy, I guess she thought I’d be all for having another nickname. “Hi. I’m going to go for a walk, ok?” I hold up my phone so she knows I can contact them if I need them. “I’ll be gone thirty minutes at the most.”
“Ok, I’ll see you later.”
Once I get on the road I put one of my ear buds in my ear and start a slow walk. Whenever I went for a ‘walk’ I never end up walking the whole time. Maybe Margie is right about me moving too fast, I always have to be going. My feet were made to run. I just can’t help it. The thrill of having the ground pass under my feet and the labored breathing is a strange, comforting reminder that I’m alive, that there is something to this life… or there seems to be.
Ten minutes later I get to a small park surrounded by houses. I sit down near a tree and pull put my mp3 player to switch to a different album. This would be a beautiful place to draw… maybe I could draw myself well here.
Whenever I sit down to draw myself, I always do it wrong. Somehow, no matter how big I drew the smile, it looks fake, no matter how I drew the eyes they always look like they were holding back tears. Obviously that can’t be how I look in real life or more people would notice me and ask me how I am… so why did I always see myself like that?
Closing my eyes, I lean against the tree, concentrating on the music and trying to ignore the nipping cold air. To draw this place properly takes more than a look at it. You need to get the feel of the place to draw it correctly. Maybe that’s why I always drew myself wrong, because on the inside I’m–
Beyond the soft music, I can hear someone coming, walking on the rocks by the swing set.
As soon as he is in view he stops in surprise. He smiles a little in a ‘I didn’t know anyone was here, but don’t worry—I’m not a killer’ kind of way.
So I smile back.
“I’m Sam Hamilton,” He moves his book from one hand to the other and sticks out his hand.
With my heart flipping, I reply in a wobbly voice, “Rindy.” I shook his hand. Why, why did I have to tell him my name is Rindy? Florinda, or even Flo like Margie calls me would’ve been so much better. No, though, I had to say Rindy. And with the nickname comes a flood of memories of Mom calling me that.
“You’re new around here?” His blue eyes meet mine.
His book is probably far more interesting than me… so why did he stop to chat?
“Yeah, just moved in. Have you lived here long?” Even if my heart is pounding so hard I can feel it in my chest, if a cute boy like him wants to talk to me, I should be polite.
“Yeah, almost two years.” Sam sits on the ground about two feet away and leans against his own tree.
I put my phone in my pocket.“What’s the book you’ve got?”
“Oh,Lord of the Rings.” He shifts his hold on the book so I can see the cover. “I was told by a friend to read it. Have you read it?
“No, I haven’t.” I start to stand. “I should go.” How can I just sit there and talk to a stranger like that? Just because he is an attractive stranger doesn’t mean I should just have a chat with him.
“Oh, no problem.” He stood also and steps closer to shake my hand. “It was nice to meet you. Rindy… right?”
I nod, looking up a few inches to meet his eyes. “It was nice to meet you too, Sam.”
As soon as I am a few steps away from Sam, I put my headphones back in and press play.
Dad is getting out of the car when I get home. He waits for me by his car, his jacket in one hand and his tie hanging loose around his neck. “Hi, Dad.” I give him a hug, my arms wrap around his waist. Maybe if I close my eyes hard enough or maybe if I hug him tight enough I can forget everything that happened in the last year.
He hugs me back, tightly. “How are you, Flo?”
I pull back with a sigh and shrug. “Fine.” The typical lie he doesn’t see through.
It isn’t his fault. Well, not exactly. Okay, so it is, but I can try to pretend it isn’t—he is pretty good at pretending after all.
“Let’s go see what Margie’s made for dinner.”
So maybe Margie’s only five years older than me, but if she makes Dad happy… I could live with her. Unfortunately I have no choice to live with her until my eighteenth birthday… which is coming right up at the end of June.
Dinner is pretty silent. Daddy tries to get conversation going, ‘How was your day’ ‘What did you do’, but Margie looks tired and I already said everything I want too.
“I bought chocolate pie today,” Margie smiles. She pats Dad’s hand. “I know it’s your favorite.”
Well, no, it’s Mom’s—specifically Mom’s– homemade apple pie, but I don’t say that.
“I’ll take a shower first, I think.” He stood up from the table, kisses Margie and leaves the kitchen.
Margie picks up Bobby and starts to coo, “Come on, Bobby, let’s read a story.”
I look at the empty seats at the table. If Mom were here… Nope. Not going there. I clear the table and fill the dish washer. I finish just as Margie and Dad come back to the kitchen.
“You going to have some pie, Flo?” Dad asks as he starts to get a few plates.
“No, thanks.” I dry my hands on the hand towel, and take a couple of small steps away from them. Enough so that it will be easier to make my escape, but not enough to be noticeable.
Dad and Margie sit at the table and get absorbed in chocolate pie and a conversation of their own, so I slip away upstairs to my room.
By habit, I pull out my sketchbook and a sharpened pencil. Ten minutes later my pencil marks are taking a shape of their own. With each line drawn on the paper, I try to push the events of today away. When I finish a picture of my high school, though looking dramatically more evil than it really does, stares up at me.
It’s getting late fast, so I prepare for bed and grab a book. Outside my bedroom window, I see raindrops soaring past and the dead Christmas lights decorating the house across the street. Who knew people left their Christmas lights up past December twenty-fifth? Dad is always adamant that they come off the day after Christmas. It was a little weird last Christmas. Margie expected the lights to stay up for a little bit afterwards, ‘just a week’ she said with a shrug. Down they came though, because what Dad wants, he works until he gets. Yet our neighbor has them up still, halfway through February.
I crawl into bed and cover up with my favorite red blanket. The sounds of the house might be different, my bedroom walls might be a different color, but there is something nice about having the same mattress under me, the same blankets over me, and the same familiar clean smelling sheets wrapped around me.
This is home, not chocolate pie, and forced conversation over spaghetti, not pretending we were a real family when we weren’t, but comfortable, wrapped up and warm

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Filed under life as a writer, Story, Uncategorized, writer life, Writer Wednesday

What it Means to Self-Publish (from a self-published author)

This afternoon I’m happy to give the blog over to Abigayle Claire! 🙂

What it Means to Self-Publish
(from a self-published author)

Self-publishing is all the rage today because anyone can do it. Gone are the days of having to get picked up by a big-name publishing house in order to be a published author!

Silly Picture

And before we go any further I want to briefly explain those two terms:
— Self-publishing is publishing a title independently, usually by uploading files to an online publication site (such as CreateSpace or Lulu) and passing minimal technical approval
— Traditional publishing is publishing a title dependently, usually by getting signed by an agent and represented to a traditional publishing house who agrees to help you make your title into something they can sell and get a percentage of

As a self-published author, I’m here to tell you that I really do think self-publishing is the best thing since sliced bread and air conditioning. But even sliced bread can make burnt toast and air conditioning can make you miserably cold. So while self-publishing is an amazing opportunity, it’s just that: an opportunity. You don’t have to do it. Because (1) it’s not for everyone, and (2) it requires a steep learning curve to be done well.

Thanks to self-publishing, anyone with enough willpower can be published. This means it doesn’t require any amount of talent to become an author. This fact really bothers some people about self-publishing, and it’s the reason that many people view self-publishing as lower quality than traditional.

But the fact still remains that it takes a degree of writing talent to make books sell and keep selling.

What it really comes down to is this: Are you someone who will take the time to learn the process and work hard in order to have control over every aspect of your publishing experience? Or would you rather only have to sell your book once (to an agent or publisher) and then rest easy knowing many of the details are in the hands of professionals who will publish your book for you?

I chose self-publishing because I’m a true control freak who wanted to learn how the publishing process worked. Now that I’ve been through the entire process with two books, I’m curious to know if I could make the traditional publishing cut. Thus, I’m looking at becoming a hybrid author (someone who publishes both independently and traditionally). There’s no reason you have to be locked in on your decision between the two!

Since I am successfully self-published, I want anyone considering it to know what they’re getting into! Because it’s entirely independent, you can quit at any point—you’re not tied down to a contract. And you don’t have to do elements like marketing if you don’t want to. But if you let your books just sit on Amazon, that’s probably about all they’ll ever do. So if you’re really serious about being an author, you’ll want to commit yourself to all of these things.

Here’s a brief rundown of some of the decisions you’ll be faced with:

Self-publishing or traditional publishing (I’ve covered this here)
How you’d like to attain an ISBN
Who to hire for editing, formatting, and cover design (note: not if to hire; while it costs money, it’s worth it for professional services)
How much you’re willing to spend on the whole process
Cover finish and trim size
Marketing channels
e-Book and/or paperback
Writing a back cover blurb
Release date
Your independent publishing name and logo (totally optional)

Phew … and you thought character names and passive voice were daunting?

I had no idea what half those things were when I decided I was going to self-publish, so that made it a Google-intensive road 😉 And there’s nothing wrong with doing that! If I had gone the traditional route, I’m not sure I’d be any the wiser, because I could have let the pros help me with all those decisions or make them for me (it really depends on who you work with; obviously I’m not traditionally published yet to know).

If you’re still on the fence about self-publishing or still completely lost (don’t worry!), I’ve done an entire blog post series on self-publishing. You can find the first post here. I’ve also created a self-publishing checklist that helps outline not only the many decisions but the general timeline they take place in as well.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I hope that was at least somewhat enlightening, but if you have any specific questions please feel free to ask them below! I know publication can be a daunting thing, but you wouldn’t even be reading this if you weren’t considering it. 😉 And no matter which route you choose to go, I think it’s a complete waste of talent to never be published at all! (No pressure, of course. :P)

What appeals to you about self-publishing?


About Abigayle:

Abigayle has been a writer ever since her mother taught her how to hold a pencil. However, she devoted more time to reading words with her green eyes than penning them with her left hand. Inspired by a crazy dream at the age of sixteen, she set off on a journey to self-publish her first novel, Martin Hospitality. Since then, Abigayle has devoted herself to sharing what she has learned through the mediums of freelance editing and her blog … when period drama films are not calling more loudly. None of her successes, including winning a Readers’ Favorite award, would be possible without the support of her Savior, large family, and online community.

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6 Ways to Help Stay Inspired

Hi everyone! I’m so excite to kick off Inkling to Write with this post! 
Being a writer takes a lot of hard work. Sure we have our fun, but we do plenty of hard work as well. But… going from 0 words to 25,000, or 50,000 or 100,000 or even more can seem daunting… and sometimes we writers lose our steam.
So is there a magical way to stay 100% motivated through the entire process of writing a first draft? Or are we writers doomed to feel as if we are slogging through a good portion of it?
I don’t know of any guaranteed way to write where you are motivated the whole way through (if you do know of one, though, please share it!) but I will give you some tips on what I do to help keep me motivated.
1. Make a playlist. I love music. Even though I don’t play an instrument it’s probably right up there next to writing on the scale of how much I love it. But besides to just listen to music I genuinely enjoy, I enjoy it even more if it makes me think of my story! I love it when I listen to a song that makes me think of something my character would listen too, or maybe the song is about something my character is going through. It makes me happy… and when I have an entire playlist of songs that make me think about my story and characters? Well, that’s the closest thing you can get to having a movie soundtrack for your book! (That is: until your book is made into a movie… 😉 )

There is some disagreement on when you should listen to your playlist, though. I believe you should listen to it whenever you write that story but not limited to only that time. Even if I’m not writing, but doing chores and listening to my playlist I can be thinking about and planning for what’s going to happen next in my story. Other people believe the only time you should listen to it is when you are writing, but then there are people in the opposite party who can’t listen to anything while they write so… do what works best for you.

2. Make a Pinterest board. Often times when writers talk about Pinterest they mention that it’s a great way to procrastinate… and it is… but there is an upside to Pinterest as well. Personally if I ever am feeling discouraged about my book, I can go look at my Pinterest board for that book. If I see the settings, my characters, and some quotes… sometimes I get inspired all over again to write some more.
Just be careful you don’t get sucked in…. because that can definitely happen also.

3. Make goals. I can be a very, very goal orientated person. Sometimes I feel like if I don’t have a goal, I’m doing nothing with my life and I need to get it together. But I also discovered a loophole. 😉 Small goals! I’m still meeting my goals, but they’re more manageable and I can adjust them for myself. It can be a certain amount of words written a week, or a certain amount of time spent on your story, or even ‘do this by such-and-such date’. Make your goals fit your schedule. (And also be okay with sometimes taking a break and relaxing. You weren’t made to do everything all at once and I know some people don’t like to, but I promise it’s good for you. Take a break if you need it.)
4. Take a break. Wow that worked out nicely didn’t it? So you’ve been slaving away on your book or project, whatever it might be, and you want to pull out all your hair. You know what’s supposed to happen next but somewhere between your brain and your fingertips the idea just… dies and the words don’t work.
Take a break. Go for a walk, doing something else creative and relaxing, talk to a friend, take some pictures. There are so many things you can do, but the point is to relax. Sometimes after relaxing and taking a break, your head is clear and you can start working again. It may not be easy still, but your mind will be refreshed.
5. Don’t be afraid to share about your story. I love it when I start to tell someone about a story I’m going to write and they say, “I want it to be written now so I can read it already!” That may not always be their exact reaction, but if you go to the right people they will definitely encourage you to write that story—and sometimes they can help you unravel and particularly tough plot hole you’ve been stuck on. Even non writers are great at being a cheerleader for writers, and don’t underestimate the power of a cheerleader!
6. Remember why you’re doing it in the first place. This is a crazy world we live in and we can get caught up in so many different things. “I need my book to fit into this trend” or “I need my book to look nothing like that book” or “I need to work on my characters” and the list can be endless. Last year I even paused my writing and did some thinking about why I do this. I had been getting so caught up in the rules the joy was sucked out of writing. When I cleared my head and determined to ignore the rules and to just write for the love of it, my passion and love for writing came back. Of course you want to have good grammar, and a good story, but do it because you love it and because you feel called to it. 
These are just some of the tips I’ve learned on how to stay inspired. Have you heard of any of these before? Do you have more you’d like to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below! And… are you excited about Inkling to Write? You can use the hash tag #InklingtoWrite to connect with us all! 😀

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A Exciting Announcement!

During the summer it seemed like many of the authors that I ‘know’ (meaning, I following them on social media) were going to a lot of writing conferences. I was happy for them, it seemed like they were having fun and learning a lot (and meeting really, really cool people!).

And here I was, slaving away in my Statistics math class ( 😉 I had a good summer, I’m joking.) I thought, “I would love to go to a writer’s conference, but I won’t be able to afford that for a while.” And then I thought, “I can’t be the only one who thinks that…. what if…” (pause for dramatic music) “there was an online conference!”

And that is how I got the idea for hosting an online writers conference! I have several different authors commit to teaching at my conference and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you.

After putting together a ‘game plan’ of potential people to ask and potential posts to do, and lots of thinking and praying this project is getting closer to being released out into the world!


The conference Inkling to Write is going to be November 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, and anyone who is interested is welcome to ‘attend’. I’m planning on having a post in the midmorning and in the afternoon, with writers sharing their wisdom.

So. What do you think? Are you excited?



Filed under Inkling to Write, life as a writer, writer life

The Six Question Character Challenge

I was tagged by Luke over on his blog, to do a Six Question Character Challenge. Thanks so much for tagging me! I always get excited when someone tags me in a blog challenge. 🙂

Okay, so I decided I’m going to do it on my WWII novel, This Very Moment. (I thought maybe you were tired of hearing about that story, but I already got started to use that story so it’s too late now! 😉 )

These are the six questions I’ll be answering about some of my most important characters:

  1. A contradiction within the character (the good kind that indicates depth)
  2. The character’s Meyers-Briggs type
  3. Favorite color
  4. How would they slay a dragon?  (Even if there aren’t dragons in your book)
  5. What is their darkest secret?
  6. Where do they see themselves in ten years?

I’m also going to include pictures from my pinterest board. 🙂


Marilyn King: (main character)

  1. Contradiction: She is fun, and strong, and brave, and wild (in a good way) but she is also terrified of turning into her mother.
  2. Personality type: I actually don’t usually do MBTI tests, but I think I did for her a LONG time ago, and I think it may have been ENFP. Maybe. I wouldn’t swear by it.
  3. Maroon, or Navy. Those are usually the colors I imagine her wearing.
  4. I could see her standing up to the dragon, just herself and her God. 🙂
  5. Her darkest secret? I don’t think I can say without spoilers….
  6. In ten years, she would be relaxed. Happy. The war would be over, and those she loved would be able to have a peaceful life with little to know sadness in it. Kenneth, her twin brother, would be happily married with kids of his own for Marilyn to spoil– because marriage and children wouldn’t be in her future.



  1. He believes in right and wrong strongly, but he believes in getting the right results no matter the cost.
  2. I have no idea…
  3. Navy blue as well.
  4. He would charge at the dragon, yelling. Maybe a shotgun in his hands?
  5. Well. Um. Spoilers. So. I’m skipping. 🙂
  6. In ten years, he would probably be happily married, maybe back where his family came from. Someone high in society, and very rich, and smart. Someone people looked up too.


William Millbrook:

  1. He is brave and wise and strong. But the hardest thing he ever does is walk away.
  2. And again, I never figured it out (or if I did I forgot.)
  3. Green, like grass. Or red like apples from the apple orchard where he lives.
  4. He would quietly assess the dragon before trying his hardest to take it down (but probably dying in the process.)
  5. Darkest secret? He his head over heals, completely, 100% in love with someone, but he can’t tell her. (Wow, that sounds dramatic. I’m almost rolling my eyes…)
  6. He doesn’t really think about the future much. He just wants the war to end.


Kenneth King: (Marilyn’s twin brother)

  1. He cares about people a lot and loves to help them…medically. Other then that, he isn’t the best at making friends (kind of a loner, shy.)
  2. I think he is an INFJ. I think.
  3. White. Clean. Fresh. Pure. Like snow on the mountains, or a clean hospital room.
  4. He would probably try to take the dragon down, not by fighting but by poisoning him, or starving him somehow. Then when the dragon is weaker killing it.
  5. He thought he was in love once, or at least he thinks he would’ve been eventually. She hurt him, and now, even though he’s no longer upset, he doesn’t think he’ll love again– he just accepts is as a fact of life.
  6. In ten years, Kenneth wants to have his own medical practice, or even a hospital. He’d love to be an uncle and see Marilyn happily in love and married.

There we have it! Some things you might have not known about my characters until now! (I didn’t even know some of those things about my characters until now. Like their favorite colors. XD)

I’m tagging Kara (figures, right?) over on Saved By Grace, Sierra Abrams, and Tessa Emily Hall.

Any questions y’all want my characters to answer? Or from another story, perhaps? Let me know and I’ll see what I can do. 🙂

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