Archive for the ‘Writing Life’ Category

Baby Step Writing to Giant Leap with Story Notes


Wildfire Notes - Typed First Draft

Did you manage any progress on your writing yesterday?

My baby step wasn’t on my novel per se, but it involved putting words on paper. AKA writing. An upcoming contest I want to enter has a deadline of Feb. 1, and I can send several entries in different categories for one entry fee. So I took time yesterday to type a first draft from notes of a personal experience from this past summer while caretaking my elderly parents … evacuating them from a wildfire area.

Double-spaced, the piece measures nine pages long, about 2200 words. The sketchy notes I typed from were four sides in a spiral, handwritten, large loopy writing, not tight, small, condensed.

What this taught me?

Wow! A big aha moment.

Lesson learned — If I have notes, even sketchy notes, know where the story is going, and fill in more of the details as I type, I can produce more pages in a short time than I ever dreamed possible for me to accomplish.

I didn’t exactly time how long, but I know it couldn’t have been more than two or three hours tops.

Like I said earlier. Just WOW! A big aha moment for me.

Never have I produced so much writing in such a short time frame. Yes, of course, I’d written using notes before, but not in this manner, not so precisely.  I WILL try this technique again. 


What about you? Have you learned anything from taking baby steps toward your writing dream?

Please share. I’d love to hear from you.

With heart from the heartland ….



Create The Write Habit

Even though 2012 has already begun, it’s not too late to begin work to create the write habit, a writing habit.

Writing is one facet of a writer’s life, our complex lives, and as such, should be incorporated into our daily lives without a second thought. Just like bathing, combing our hair, making the bed, eating meals, and brushing our teeth.

We still have fifteen days left in January.  I’d like to challenge those writers struggling to find time for writing in their busy lives to take at least one baby step daily toward your writing dream. Make writing a daily habit. I’ve often heard that doing something for twenty-one days in a row creates a habit. Let’s work to create the writing habit as a part of our everyday lives. Start today.

City Reservoir

Today’s weather was a surprise of warmth, low seventies. So I drove to the local reservoir with a spiral notebook and pen in hand.  I spent a couple of hours with nature … and a writing friend. I wrote phrases about the environment that included the senses —
what I heard, saw, smelled, tasted, and felt (physically and emotionally).

I thought about my current work in progress, a YA novel, while doing laundry this morning and changing the sheets, mindless repetitive work, that left my mind ample opportunity to wander.  New ideas — possibilities for my story — popped into my head, so I quickly jotted them down before I forgot them. Details from a news story last night and repeated this morning stuck like magnetic filings in my mind and swirled with my story ideas, yielding ideas and situations for a sequel to the novel I’m currently working on. I jotted those notes, too, and quickly researched the topic on the Internet, copied URLs, printed xps files, and bought and downloaded a book on the topic for my e-reader.  All saved for easy access later.

Each of these actions individually comprise baby steps, but clumped together add up to more.

I dare you to accept the challenge to build a daily writing habit. <VBG>


How do you build and strengthen your writing habit?  What small step or steps are you taking that move you closer to your writing dream?

Share your techniques, your baby steps, and how you’re building your daily writing habit.  I want to know.




November Reflections

November has been a month for lots of new happenings. 

I learned many new things.  I learned how to maneuver around GoDaddy and set up my hosting account.  I took an online webpage class and learned basic HTML, how to read the code in a barebones webpage, sizing images, and a little about CSS.  I learned how to work the basics of WordPress.  I learned how to upgrade installed programs on my hosting account. 

Learning how to do these things as babysteps adds to my confidence and courage to try new things outside my comfort zone.  This also helps with writing, because an author learns these basic skills to help stretch the writing muscles, to keep the new work fresh, and to progress as a writer.

And I was on the go.  I traveled to the Arkansas Crater of Diamonds and visited the Oklahoma Runestone near Heavener.  I went to Oklahoma City and Wichita Falls, Texas.  I spent Thanksgiving with family and friends, shopped a little, watched the OU/OSU football game and parts of the Missouri/Kansas game, because it was on while I volunteered as Santa’s helper.  I toured the Christmas lights display at Ardmore, OK, where the lights are visible to motorists on I-35.

It’s so much fun to view the holiday season through the eyes of children, as if one is seeing the sights for the very first time — Christmas lights, Christmas displays, Christmas movies.  Remember those first times.  Recapture the joy, the awe, the excitement … the miracles of life and the always changing seasons. 

Give thanks for the little things, so many others have much less.  Find happiness and contentment in what you have.  Gratitude. 

Have you written today?  Think you have nothing to say or nothing to write?  Try making lists.  Select a topic.  List twenty-five items or more in five minutes or less.  How many lists can you create?


So Many Books to Read; So Little Time to Read

Wow! There are so many good books out there to read that I find many books I want to read, but feel I have so little time to read them all. However, when I look back at what I’ve read this summer–read the past six weeks–I see that I’ve made a dent in my TBR (To Be Read) stack, rather stacks. Yes, plural. And the stacks continue to grow as I find more books I want to read. But if I don’t start, I’ll never finish. So this is where I started this summer.

I read Linda Howard’s Dream Man, Susan Andersen’s Obsessed, Heather Graham’s Ghost Walk, all adult books.

Then I signed up for the Oklahoma Fall Arts Institutes to study writing with Sharon Darrow in a workshop called “Becoming the Author: Writing for Children and Young Adults.” So I ordered and read her books–Old Thunder and Miss Raney, Through the Tempests Dark and Wild, Trash, and The Painters of Lexieville. Wow! Talk about voice! The last two, the young adult books, showed me life as I’d never really thought about it. I found the books very interesting and powerful. I’ll never think of the name Patricia the same as I did before without remembering Pert’s mother calling her Pertricia. Wonderful!

After reading those, I delved into action adventure novels and read Meredith Fletcher’s work — Double-Cross, Look-Alike, and her contributions to two anthologies Upgrade in Smokescreen and The Get-Away Girl in Femme Fatale. Really fast reads with strong characters.

Following those, I read Xxx, a novelization by Mel Odom and decided to read more of his work. So currently, I’m reading Mel Odom’s Paid in Blood. See picture above. I’m halfway through the book. It, too, is a fast read. I’m amazed at the skillful weaving of the multiple viewpoints and the individual story lines. There’s never a boring part. I love the “little” bullets of narrative info. Quick in and quick out keeps the pacing moving. And each scene’s end is a grabber. Talk about not being able to put the book down. Mel sure makes it tough on a reader … hard to put the book down to go to bed at night, but even tougher to get up the next morning if the reader stays up late reading. Reads like this sure make me want to retire from the work force so I can read all day and night.

Next on my TBR stack will be two more Mel Odom books, Angel “Image” and Snowday, a young adult novel.

For now, ready or not, I’ve got to get back to the day job of being an elementary teacher. Duty calls!


Yikes! Life’s Busy

Yikes! Life’s busy. I’ve been so busy that it’s been nearly five weeks since I posted to the blog.

During that time I’ve — rewritten parts of my novel and developed a new story for a novel, created a soothing getaway for my writing muse on my back patio – complete with fountain, swing, plants – flowering and non-flowering, bird feeder, miniature bird bath, and inanimate yard critters. In the front yard, I’ve hung pots of petunias, a bird feeder, and set up a birdbath I can view from the bench on my front porch.

I’ve also vacationed in San Antonio, Texas, at Sea World and the River Walk, where I took loads of pictures.

I’ve hosted a weekend Plotting Party for one of my RWA chapters, which was fabulous. Here we are after dinner Friday evening.

Yesterday I drove to a nearby metro area where I bought a brand new notebook computer for my birthday. I didn’t want to order off the Internet and wait nearly two weeks for it.

Now, I’m charging into my writing to add a layer that will round out my flat characters and strengthen the romantic relationship between the hero and heroine.

Have a great day! And think of your intention to write today. Focus on that intention. Then take action. Write on!


Life’s A Whirl

This week has started in a whirl.  I’m spinning, meeting myself coming and going, not to mention dog paddling with all the new experiences life brings as a writer — like blogging. 

Monday one of my best friends — Di — and I went to lunch and then spent the afternoon planning an upcoming Plotting Party for one of our writing groups.  You know who you are.  I’m excited!

Tuesday we went to lunch again — wow! lunch with a friend two days in a row — Iife doesn’t get any better than this!  Afterward we visited some of the local nurseries — garden type, planning little getaways of our own as close as our own backyard patios to pamper our writing muses.

Oh, yes!  Life does get better.  Tuesday evening my other best friend — Burna — popped to town, so we talked writing business for a while then twirled off for dinner.  From there I barely had time enough to turn around and head straight to writing critique meeting.

Today, Wednesday, starts with a couple of spins and a twirl to the local day spa for a massage.  Thursday I’ll go teach a writing friend a couple of new tricks on her computer and what I’ve learned about how to blog. Whew!  Life’s a whirl.

Life is good!  Life as a writer is also tough, I tell you.  You may not believe me, but I still have to “make” time to sit down and type or handwrite words on the page one word at a time.  Yeah, I haven’t yet learned/mastered how to type or handwrite words concurrently.  To be a writer, one must write.  So I’ll keep spinning and twirling.  Life is all about balance even if life is a whirl!  (-:


Jumping In — Sink or Swim

Since all my writing friends are raving about blogs, and blogs are the “thing” to do, I guess I’ll jump in. I just hope the water’s not too deep, that I’m not in over my head, and that I don’t drown. Here’s to sink or swim time! Here I go! Splash!!!