Posts Tagged ‘becoming a writer’

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.




Have you always known you’d be a writer?

No.  I never had any idea I would be a writer.  I thought writers were a special breed.  I didn’t know ordinary people like myself could be a writer.  

Like many young girls, I had a locking diary — that small book with two pages per week; I think it was.  The narrow-lined paper had at most three to five lines per daily entry.  I’d write entries as soon as I received the diary — usually at Christmas — writing as small as I could to get as many words as possible in the minute space.  But by the end of January, or before, the diary would be long forgotten and misplaced.

Then when I was in sixth grade, everyday after lunch, while we worked on writing our spelling words ten times each and copying the definitions from the dictionary, my teacher would read us a chapter from a Nancy Drew mystery.  That’s when I fell in love with books.  I simply couldn’t get enough of Nancy Drew and her adventures.  I found myself so engrossed in the stories that I’d forget to do my spelling assignment.  Thank you, Mr. Engler, for introducing me to the wonderful world of books!

That summer my Mom took us to the library nearly every week.  I remember checking out nearly a dozen books each time.  I spent that summer reading and reading and reading.  By the time seventh grade started, I had an inkling to write a novel, as did my friend Karyn Cross.  I remember writing the whole first chapter, by hand, of course, and in my best handwriting.  Sometime that same year that, too, fell to the wayside.

In ninth-grade English, the teacher assigned the class to write a report about an “important” invention.  I don’t know why, but for some reason I decided to write from the viewpoint of a safety pin.  After I read my report aloud, the boy sitting across the aisle from me smirked and commented that the topic was supposed to be an “important” invention.  I remember the teacher championing me, telling the boy that for a girl, the safety pin was an “important” invention.  That teacher was the first to comment on my writing.  I believe her name was Mrs. Chastain.

I never thought about writing again for at least five years, or reading.  Then one day I decided to go to the library and check out an armload of books and began reading voraciously.  But it was another fifteen years before I ever thought about writing again.

The inner urgings grew stronger and stronger until one day I decided to put words to paper.  But by then, I’d committed to my college education.  So I assuaged the writing bug by reading about writing until I finished my Master’s degree. 

During those last few months, I heard of a local writing group.   It took a while for me to summon enough courage to attend that very first meeting, but I did.  The month following college graduation, I began writing, and within a year attended my very first writers’ conference where I met more real writers.  I joined distant groups and networked with them in monthly meetings.  Then I gathered my courage again, stepped out of my comfort zone, and entered the Internet community.

Wow!  The writing life was not so lonely anymore.  There were lots of others just like me on the writing path.  We shared common hopes, common dreams, and common disappointments, but we were also there to support each other along the way.

So that’s how I came to the writing life and began walking the writing path.  It wasn’t because I’d always known I’d be a writer.  I was led here by a Higher Creative Power filling me with irresistible inner urgings to take action.  So if I can be a writer, you can be a writer, too.  Follow your heart.


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!


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!!!