Inspiration in a difficult week

Sorry that I’ve been absent from this blog for most of this week. I’ve been absent from most things.

My husband and I had a loss Wednesday morning when our dog passed away. It was quick, which was a good thing, but it was a terrible shock for us.

My husband and I don’t have children yet, but Newton was our child, our boy. He acted like a very hairy five-year-old with a limited vocabulary. He even loved opening presents at Christmas. He went just about everywhere with us that dogs could go, and his absence has been very difficult to deal with.

SirNewton8x10Newtie is also the inspiration behind my Sir Newton books (the picture is the promotional photo we gave to kids at book signings), and when he died, I couldn’t imagine working on another book. I had a lot of plans for these books. During the last year, I’ve focused on my novels in an effort to get those moving along with an agent and publishers, so the next book in the series, Sir Newton’s Color Me Florida, has been sitting in my computer mostly done. I planned to finish it when I had more time, and I planned to expand the series to every state in the U.S. as well as every Caribbean island and then the world, each one following the same pattern as the first two and providing funds to local children’s charities in each area the books describe. With my real Sir Newton gone, I couldn’t imagine doing another book. But my husband said, “You have to keep doing them for him.”

You see, one of the amazing things about Newtie was how happy he was. He was always wagging his tail, even the day before he died, he was wagging his tail, bright eyed, tongue hanging out. The amazing thing about this is that Newtie had a lot of health problems throughout his life, but, to quote his vet, “to look at him, you’d never know he had been sick.”

Newton was born with a herniated diaphragm; part of his intenstines rested in his chest cavity, keeping his right lung partly closed. When we adopted him, Newtie had been on the streets of South Central, Los Angeles, for a few months, we estimate. He had horrible mange and a rotting ear (we have pictures and they’re not pretty). He was three days away from being euthanized at the pound, because no one would adopt a dog in this state, when a rescue worker with the Much Love organization picked him up. The group paid for all his vet bills to get him fixed up then found him a foster home, which happened to be some friends of ours. I went with our friend to pick him up, a hairless dog except for a little white mohawk with the best and most friendly personality of any dog I had ever met in a situation like that. I was immediately smitten.

Newton quickly became a part of our family, and was with us for around five years. He enlived our lives more than I can describe, and everyone who met him called him “the happy dog.”

Last year, he was diagnosed with cancer. I prayed and prayed for him, for my boy, and God answered my prayers. After his first round of chemo, Newt was in remission the following morning. He had had tumors the size of golf balls under his mouth, but when we woke up the next morning, they were competely gone. Our vet had told us it would take a couple weeks to see a difference, best case scenario a few days. But he was in full remission the morning after.

We continued his full treatment and, as happens with chemo, Newtie lost a lot of hair again. But he started growing his hair back two months before he was done with his chemo treatment, which the vet kept saying was “amazing.”

His vet continued to be impressed with Newt’s recovery, and his follow up tests since he finished chemo were clean. Then a couple weeks ago, Newtie started to show signs of something being off. He was still wagging his tail and squeeking his toys and running up and down the stairs like a puppy, though. On Tuesday, I took him to the vet for some tests. They thought maybe his cancer had returned, and the next day, I had planned to get the results and see where we went from there. That night, I prayed again. I prayed and prayed that God would take care of him, to take care of my boy. After Newton passed away around 6:30 the next morning, my husband said God did answer my prayers; He did take care of Newton. He made it quick and relatively painless. That is a comfort. Newton was a very special dog — and I’m quoting my vet, so you know I’m not being biased (although I don’t mind if you think I am biased, because I am) — and he had had enough problems in his life. He didn’t deserve any more pain.

Comfort as it was, however, it’s still very hard to so suddenly have him not in our lives.

So, I’ve been pretty much feeling in a coma for the last few days. I had emails sitting in my inbox waiting to be answered. I haven’t done anything on my books. I haven’t even looked at my blog. Then, yesterday, my husband and I were talking about Newt — again — and remembering how happy he was all the time despite all the hardships he had to deal with during his life. And it was then that I realized that Newton was much better than me. I have none of the health problems he had, and although I’m generally very happy, I have my worries, concerns, over really small things. When Newton died, I didn’t feel like doing anything, not even one of my favorite things: writing. I want to be a novelist full time, to tell stories all the time, but when he died, I didn’t care about it. It just seemed like it didn’t matter.

But remembering Newt’s tail swinging back and forth, and his shining eyes as his pink tongue hung out of his mouth, his running around and squeeking his toy even though he only had one and a half good lungs, I realized that remembering is much better than mourning. Remembering all the wonderful things he did is the best way to honor him. And to aim to be as happy as him no matter what is the best way to be.

My husband encouraged me to return the emails I needed to return today, some from prospective agents, so I did, with images of Newtie wagging his tail at my feet.

Things will never be the same without our Newtie, our Sir Newton (who often lived up to his pen name), but I’m getting back on my horse, so to speak, and trying to remember that he wouldn’t worry or be sad; he’d smile and wag his tail.

This blog post is for him.

Write On

Goals keep you motivated

  • Current word count: 35,826
  • New words written: 539
  • Words til goal: 4,174 / 188 words a day til the end of September

I’m almost at the end of this novel, and it’s exciting. In the chapter I just started, a bunch of questions from earlier will be answered; it’s an ah ha moment. Then I have the climactic battle chapter and the wrap-up chapter and it’s done.

I’m a list person. When I have a lot of things to do, I like to write lists and get the satisfaction of crossing items off when they’re done. So, for me, one of the things that I think has really motivated me the most during the writing of this novel is the word counts I’ve been putting at the top of each blog post. After each writing session, I’m itching to be able to cross off what I did that morning, so to speak.

And lately, one of the biggest motivations for me has been seeing  the “words a day til the end of September” number going down. This is how many words I have to write each day to make my goal of finishing the novel by the end of September. It’s the “words til goal” number (my goal being 40K) divided by the number of days left until the end of September (a date I aimed for after being imspired by other bloggers aiming for the same date). Today is the first day that number is less than 200.

Each day that I write more than my necessary goal, the lower that “words a day til the end of September” number gets and the more of a reality it becomes that I will make — or even exceed — my goal. I’m now hoping I’ll be finished the book by the end of this week, but this week could be busy, so I’m not sure I’ll achieve that. We’ll see. I’m still way ahead for my end of September goal, and that keeps me motivated.

I think making goals like this is a great way to keep yourself accountable with your writing, but make sure the goals are doable, and keep long-term goals and short-term, even every day goals like this. Each day that you achieve your daily goal will make you feel good and hungry to achieve another one. Before you know it, you’ll have finished another novel.

What are your short- and long-term goals?

Write On!

Never feel alone as a writer

Current word count: 22,588

New words written: 729

Words til goal: 17,412 / 415 words a day til the end of September

Another good writing day. I’m waiting the well to dry up! hahaha Hopefully, not til I’m done.

Writing is very solitary work. It’s just you, a computer or notebook and your story in your head. It’s great to have others that you can bounce ideas off of, but, sometimes that can be difficult as everybody has their own lives and no one else is as obsessed about our book as we are. 🙂

But as much as we’re the only one who can actually write our story, we are not alone as writers, and that has never been more clear to me than yesterday when I was catching up on some blog reading. We have friends on the blogosphere who are going through the exact things we are going through.

In blogs online, writers are talking about their experiences from all different levels, like Will (21st Century Paperback Writer blog), who posted a comment on my blog post yesterday and is a long-time reader who’s currently outlining his first novel; Brit (Dream the Dream blog), who’s currently working on her first novel; Katie Anderson (Plot This blog with Sarah Francis Hardy), who like me has written and revised her novel and is seeking an agent; Beverly (Prana Island of Witches blog), who has just signed with an agent; and Shelli (Market My Words blog), who has a number of books already in the market.

In the blogosphere, we’re not alone, no matter where we are on the writing road. And no matter what, we can always find help, comfort and encouragment in the experiences of others.

So, build up a set of go-to blogs, keep adding to the list whenever you find new ones, and anytime you feel alone, start browsing and reading. We’re all going through the same things in front of our computers.

And if you ever feel like you need help with anything, I think I speak for all bloggers by saying, just reach out. Post a comment saying what you’re feeling. You won’t be alone.

If you want help in setting up a go-to set of blogs, check out the ones listed on the right. And if you’ve got favorites you think I should add, post them in the comments.

Write On!

Why I need to write every day

Current word count: 9,744

Words written today: 504

Words to goal: 30,246/ 348 per day til end of September

Congrats to all those who have been posting their progress in the comments of this blog. It’s great to see, and is encouraging me to strive forward. I hope my word counts are doing the same for you.

I set my alarm and got up early again this morning so I could get in an hour of writing before church. It’s Sunday, and I would love to have slept in and fitted in my writing later in the day, especially after staying up late last night watching a movie. But I learned something on Friday, something I already knew but needed a good reminder: I really need to make sure I write every day, AND, unless I get up early and do it in the morning, I most likely won’t fit it in at all.

Like many people, I had Friday off from work. I had one main plan for that day: Write. I did want to get to the gym, as my husband and I go every weekday, and I had to go grocery shopping, do some laundry and make a desert to take to a friend’s house for her Fourth celebration, but other than that, I planned to write.

As I had the day off, I figured I’d let myself sleep in instead of setting my alarm early and writing like I usually do. That was my big mistake. By the time I had gotten up, eaten breakfast, and gone to the gym, it was 11. The rest of the day went just as fast, and needless to say, I didn’t get any writing done. I was thinking about my writing all the time, though, and I did manage to do some research about point of view, which I wrote about that evening.

But I didn’t get any time to actually sit at my computer and create. And, here’s the funny thing, I felt annoyed all day.

Come Saturday, I set my alarm and got a good two or three hours in. Then this morning, I set my alarm and did an hour. And, here’s the other funny thing, I felt happy both days. Tired, but happy.

A friend of mine and I have had many conversations about this, and I think it’s common among writers. For those of us who have that itch that keeps us coming back to our stories no matter what’s going on in our lives, we’re better off when we’re writing — despite whether we’re published or not.

Anyone else feel their day isn’t the same unless they do at least something on their manuscript?

 Write On!

Tracking word counts

Current word count: 7,743

Words written today: 949

Words to goal: 42,257 / 340 per day til end of September

They say great minds think alike. Not to say I’m necessarily a great mind (hey, the phrase is more fitting to the subject matter), but yesterday morning I posted on this blog that I was going to start tracking my word count progress in the new book I’m writing and invited readers (you guys) to do the same in the comments.

Looks like author Holly Lisle had the same idea. Yesterday, on her Pocket Full of Words blog, Lisle invited readers to write a book alongside her as a beginner (250 words a day), intermediate (match Lisle’s word count, which she’ll post on her blog every day) or advanced (do your own word count and report it). Later that day, Lisle set up a special section on her website for the word count challenge.

As Casey of Literary Rambles and Karen of Musings of a Novelista affirmed in my comments yesterday, having a word count goal is a great way to keep you going in your writing. Reporting it somewhere helps to further keep you motivated. You become accountable.

So whether you post your word counts on my blog, on Holly Lisle’s or just record them on your calendar, set a goal and stick with it. Even give yourself little rewards for every goal reached, and share them here with us.

Write On!

Blog readers and iGoogle

For anyone interested in writing, reading blogs about writing can help in many ways. As well as gaining useful information about the craft of writing and the publishing industry, reading blogs also can help inspire writers and remind us that we’re not alone.

I became an avid writing-blog reader when I got serious about wanting to write fiction full time. Mainly I wanted to suck up whatever information I could. But along the way, I realized that on days that I’m tired or busy or blocked, reading a blog can help me get back on track by simply keeping my mind on track — on writing.

For me, though, unless the blogs were in front of my face, I’d rarely go to them and would forget which ones I liked. That’s when I discovered iGoogle, and I wouldn’t be without it now.

There are many types of blog readers, and iGoogle might not be for you, but as that’s the one I know, that’s what I’m going to talk about and why I think it’s useful. A blog reader is simply a technology that allows you to see the titles of the latest posts of a number of blogs in one place, then you can click through to the blog post and read it on the blog if you’re interested. If you’re into children’s book, the networking site JacketFlap also offers a blog reader.

I use iGoogle because I wanted to have the blogs on my home page and I wanted to also have a Google search bar handy. There’s also a Google search bar in the top right corner of the Web browser, but for whatever reason, I like having the one on my home page. Google is my prefered search tool, so that’s why I went with iGoogle.

The cool thing about iGoogle (and this might be the case with others) is that you can set up the page pretty much any way you’d like. There are loads of widgets you can put on your iGoogle page with your location’s weather, the time and date, the current time in other countries and news feeds from CNN, BBC, etc. I’ve got all those in my right-hand column.

Also, I should point out, all of this is free.

My left two columns are writing blogs, mostly agents and editors because of where I am in my writing right now, but also some writers, and I regularly add new ones and move them around. I put the ones I read the most and find the most useful at the top and the others below, where I have to scroll to get to those. Those are the ones I read maybe a couple times a month when I have time. The ones at the top, I read whenever they post something new.

The other fun thing about iGoogle, which I particularly like as an inspiration tool, is that you can choose out of masses of themes to decorate your iGoogle page, and you can change them whenever you want. I just changed mine yesterday to images from the Hubble, and they rotate all day. I’ve had cartoons, beach pictures, lots of things.

I’ve set my iGoogle page as my home page for my browser, so when I open Internet Explorer, it’s the first page I see and I can immediately see if any of the blogs have posted new items. I’ve also got my daily weather, some news headlines and my Google search bar. So, from there, I can do whatever I want.

A while ago, I was talking to a friend about staying in touch with publishing and writing and how it helps you get motivated to write even in the difficult times. She didn’t have a blog reader, so this past weekend, I set up an iGoogle page for her and put on it a bunch of blogs, including this one, of course.

If you’re interested in doing this, I highly recommend it. I find it very useful to keep up to date without spending a lot of time. And you can find out some really great stuff.

If you’d like to try iGoogle, go to www.igoogle.com and click on the Get Started link under the search bar. It’ll ask you to select your interests, a theme and your location. Then it’ll give you a basic page based on what you clicked. Once you have your page, click on Add Stuff in the top right corner to search for and add widgets like a clock or a to do list, whatever you’d like. On the Add Stuff page, you can also add blogs. Use the Add Feed or Gadget link on the left hand side about half way down the page. Paste the URL of the blog you’d like to add in the window that pops up when you click the link and hit enter. Add as many cool writing blogs as you’d like, then click on Back to iGoogle Page at the top left hand corner. You can move the blogs around on your page by clicking and dragging. Make this your browser’s home page, and keep up to date with your writing news every time you go online.

Got any other tech tips?

Write On!

More on persistence in writing

Yesterday I wrote about Lynn Viehl’s journey to the New York Times bestseller list and how it reminded me that persistence is one of the most important things to have when pursuing a writing career.

Last night, as I was doing more research on prospective agents, I found two posts that tell anecdotes that prove that persistence really is key.

First up is a guest blog post from literary agent Edward Necarsulmer IV, McIntosh & Otis Inc., on Lyons Literary LLC agent Jonathon Lyons‘ blog. Necarsulmer’s post is from 2007, but it might as well have been from yesterday. He tells the story of a client’s book that he had a hard time selling and how it finally found a home when an editor read it and called it a “gem.” Here’s an excerpt from Necarsulmer’s guest post:

The reason I tell this story is not to encourage Hail Mary submissions to as many editors as possible, but rather as a reminder of what an enormous part perseverance and individual editorial subjectivity play in our business today.

Second is a more recent post from author Toni McGee Causey, who wrote about persistence on the Murderati blog. McGee Causey’s post talks about when to quit (or not; click the link and have a read), using British singing sensation Susan Boyle, who I’m sure you’ve seen on YouTube (the clip made me cry) and author Christie Craig, who, as McGee Causey tells us, showed a room full of conference attendees her thousands of rejection letters. Thousands! (You’ll have to scroll down the blog post to read the story, but it’s worth it.) Here’s an excerpt:

Christie became the definition… of tenacity. Determination. She has talent, and the skill to put it to good use.

Here’s another excerpt, this time about McGee Causey’s own rise to publishing success:

…When I got that phone call about the offer, it was a soaring feeling, like the audience suddenly coming to its feet on that second line of Susan Boyle’s performance. Almost twenty years to the day after I’d first sent out my first non-fiction piece. It wasn’t overnight. I’d worked two jobs, gone back to school, was mom to two boys, helped run a construction company, and wrote in the wee hours of the night when everyone was asleep, because I dreamed a dream. I wanted it. I wanted it enough to not sleep that extra hour, to take the notebook with me to the kids’ practice, to skip out on movies or TV shows.

That’s persistence. That’s what sets apart the successful and the not successful — I truly believe this. Lots of people have talent, but not the drive to see it through. Lots of people can start a novel, but never finish it. Lots of people have dreams, but don’t want to put in the work to make them come true. It is work, and it demands sacrifices. But if you’re persistent, it will happen.

Write On!

Author Interview: Rachel Dillon

Today on Day By Day Writer, we welcome debut author Rachel Dillon, a fellow member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Rachel is currently doing a blog tour talking about her book Through Endangered Eyes: A Poetic Journey Into the Wild, published by Windward Books.
Rachel Dillon

Rachel Dillon

Here’s her bio:

Rachel Dillon was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. She attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison and graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Art, emphasizing in Graphic Design. Outside of art, Dillon held a special interest in evolution and extinction and took several classes in paleontology, and geology. Her passion for animals grew as she learned more about endangered species.

Her book is beautiful, so check it out. Now onto the interview:

Rachel, I read that you were in marketing. Did you always want to be a children’s book writer/illustrator, or is it something you stumbled on?

Stumbling is a great analogy. I hadn’t ever thought about writing a children’s book and most certainly not doing illustrations. It all just seemed to fall in place. My book combines all the things I love: children, animals, painting and writing. I went to UW-Madison, for art and graphic design. I was in marketing for many years after college.  I think my goal now is to say, when someone asks what I do for a living, “I am an author and artist.”

Poetry is an amazing form of writing — one I’m terrible at, so I’m in awe of those who can write it. Did you study poetry before you wrote the poems for this book or is poetry something that comes easy to you?

I really haven’t had formal training in writing and poetry, other than college classes in English Literature. I know when I was growing up, I would express myself with poems and lyrics. As a mom, I love books with clever rhymes. I can’t stand rhymes that don’t quite sound right. There is a rhythm, a cadence, and a rhyming poem flows or it doesn’t. I wrote what sounded right to me.

book_cover_tee-squareYour book is about endangered animals. What is it about endangered animals that inspires you?

My sadness inspires me. My heart aches when I hear stories about animals and what has happened to make them endangered. There is something so innocent about animals. They are driven to survive. I also believe that everything has a purpose on Earth. Each species is unique and interesting, and when you eliminate one species, others will be affected. I know that extinction is part of nature, but I have read the rate of extinction is occuring at an unnatural rate.

Your painting style was inspired during a trip to Australia. Could you tell us more about that?

When I was 19, I took my third trip to Eastern Australia. My aunt and uncle live in a town called Ulladula, the sweetest place on the coast. We travelled south to Canberra, where I was inspired by all the Aboriginal Acrylic Dot Paintings. They were in galleries; on the sides of buses; in museums; and even on sidewalks. I loved the colors, patterns and textures. I learned more about the dot painting technique in books, although resources were slim in the U.S. I decided to try out the technique on some of my own art projects and loved it. Painting in dots is soothing and meditative and after 16 years, my technique is still evolving.

How did you go about designing the book? Were there specific things you wanted to achieve?

I wanted to create something unique, that children had never seen before. I wrote the text first and painted the animals second, so they were consistant with the poems. It is important to me that the children understand the issues that endangered animals face, as well as how each species is unique and has a job to do on the planet. The facts help to break down the poem for the child or reader, so it can make a real impact. I wanted to create something beautiful that people would want to take with them as they grew up.

I read that many of your poems were written on scraps of paper at a stoplight while you were taking your daughter to daycare. As a writer or illustrator with a day-job, it can sometimes be difficult to fit in your passion, and even more difficult to keep it going long enough to finish the work and see it through to publication. What kept you going? And in what ways did you make the time to finish Through Endangered Eyes?

I am a Taurus. 😉 I am stubborn, and when I get an idea in my head, I do my best to see it through. I also had a lot of people that believed I could do it, and a lot who didn’t think I could — which motivated me more. Most of all, I believed that what I was creating was important for kids to read. I want to make a difference for animals, and this was one way I thought I could help.

Creating the book was my creative escape. It was time for me. I fit writing and painting in any time and place that I can. It is so easy to for me to pay attention to the needs of others and forget myself. My book and the commitment to my publisher was the motivation I needed to complete the project.

Talking about publishers, please tell us about your journey to publication after your book was finished.

It took a LONG time to get published. I started writing the book “Through Endangered Eyes” in 2002.

I submitted to 3 publishers in 2003. With 2 illustrations and all of my text for nine species + human.

My first publisher, Stemmer House, sent me a contract in 2004. After I thought I completed the book, they asked me in 2005 to take the book from 9 species, to twenty. Many drafts later, I thought I completed the book again in 2006.

My first editor, Craig Thorn sadly passed away in 2006. 😦 I was released from my contract from Stemmer House in February 2007. After which, I submitted to 14 publishers. I lost count of rejections.

In February 2008, I got a call from Windward Publishing, and they wanted my book! I signed the contract with them that month. A new draft, with their suggested changes was sent to them in April 2008. After three more drafts, my book was completed in December of 2008 and published in January 2009.

What a rollar coaster ride, especially when I have a hard time being patient.

Wow! That must have been emotional. I understand you’re working on a second book, again about the wild kingdom. Please tell us about it.

My second book has a working title of “Through Desert Eyes.” I have chosen 21 desert species that are endangered from all over the world. I will include a couple of pages about desert ecosystems and how species are adapted to a dry environment. I want to talk to more specialists for this book and not rely as much on the internet research. I am very exciting about the paintings too. I have matured as an artist through this publishing process.

Could you tell us a bit about the types of things you’re doing to market Through Endangered Eyes?

At each reading I give away bookmarks, so if the kids are interested in the book, my Web address is on it, so their parents have a place to buy the book. For the teachers or event coordinators, I give out a notecard and a magnet with an image from the book on it. I have my blog, my Web site, business cards, a facebook page, and I always carry a box of my books in my car, ready to sell! I am building a mailing list from the checks I receive, so I can mail out postcards if I have a new painting out, or have an event coming up. I also have a large email list that I use to promote things. I send out a press release to the local papers and add to their online calendar, if I have an event coming up. For events that are unique, I will contact the local TV stations and see if I can do a morning show visit. I would love to be a part of a local NPR giveaway, during their fundraising event. So many options.

In the future, I want to add video of me reading my book, and audio of me reading the book; keep posting images from the classrooms I visit, and events I do. I want my blog and site to remain interesting so that people return for more information.

My favorite thing to do as a marketer is to do readings and visit schools. The comments and enthusiasm, makes the book all worth while!

What advice do you have for first-time writers and illustrators pursuing their dream?

1. Be patient.

2. Research. You’ll cut your rejections if you find out what the publisher wants.

3. Stay positive during editing. I have probably gone through hundreds of manuscript changes, not to mention changes to my illustrations before my final book was completed.

4. Lastly, believe in your work. If you believe what you have created is amazing, someone else will agree.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Rachel. Good luck with Through Endangered Eyes, and we look forward to seeing Through Desert Eyes on shelves soon. You can read more about Rachel on her website, RachelDillon.com, and her blog.

Write On!

Writing quotes

I love writing quotes (quotes about writing, not writing them myself), those pithy phrases that inspire us and make us smile and think. I read some fun ones from author J.A. Konrath on his A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing blog. He uploaded them on Jan. 24, but I’m a little behind on my blog reading. Click here for his full post — the quotes start about halfway down. Here are my favorites:

There’s a word for a writer who never gives up — published.

This one inspires me and makes me want to dig into my writing.

Praise is like candy. We love it, but it isn’t good for us. You can only improve by being told what’s wrong.

Very true. Thicken your skin, take your writing to a critique group and just listen. Don’t defend your work; just listen. Some of what you hear you won’t agree with, but take it all in and make changes according to what you feel is right.

Anyone looking for you can find you. Get them to find you when they’re looking for something else.

Maybe not necessarily for the not yet published, but for those of us in the market, great advice. Konrath offers advice on how on his blog too.

Write when you can. Finish what you start. Edit what you finish. Submit what you’ve edited. Repeat.

Sounds simple. The only thing I’d change is that, in our busy lifestyles, “write when you can” could mean that you haven’t typed a word in months. If writing is important to you, don’t let that happen. I’d change that beginning part to “Write as much as you can.”

We’re in the same boat. Start rowing.

If you’ve been to a writing critique group, conference, on an online chat board, or anywhere that other writers gather, you know how true this quote is. I’m involved in children’s writing groups, and I can tell you, it’s definitely true. Everyone is friendly and helpful. Everyone wants to help each other. At our critique group, writers come even if they have nothing new to get critiqued. They come just to offer support for other writers. I don’t know if it’s true for other genre groups, but I’d guess it is. Writing is solitary, but you’re not alone.

Check out all of Konrath’s quotes here.

What are your favorite writing quotes?

Write On!

P.S. If you haven’t yet, check out our Community Story — which we all can add to. Thanks to Jamie who added the story’s next sentence in the comments. Click here to see what he wrote and post what you think should come next.

Community story

I’ve gotten so used to checking in from my NaNoWriMo posts, that after I was done with my writing this morning, I immediately came here. Knowing I had to post every day did help me stay on track (I missed four days of writing out of 30, but that’s a lot less than I have missed in the past), so I plan to continue to check in as motivation to get me out of bed early every morning to write.

Another thing I think helped this morning was setting a goal yesterday. Yesterday I set the plan for today to rework chapter 14 of my novel so it better fits the new outline I laid out. Setting that goal yesterday, I knew exactly what I was doing when I sat in front of the computer this morning, and it made the revising go that much smoother. I managed to do both scenes in the chapter. And my goal for tomorrow is to revise chapter 15.

On a different note, in the new year I thought it would be fun to try a community story (actually, it was my husband’s idea — Thanks, Babe!). The idea is that I’ll post a beginning of a story on the blog, and each week, I’ll add a couple paragraphs and we’ll see where the story goes. The fun part is that as it will be a community story, you can write it too. Add your ideas to the post, in the comments, as to where you think the story should go next. Even write the next couple paragraphs. Whichever is the best one will be the next post the following week.

Sometimes, working on something that’s creative outside of what you’re writing, can help get your juices flowing or give you ideas for what you’re doing. That’s the idea with the community story. It’s not for publication (outside of this blog). It should be something fun, a little aside to keep us going.

I’ll start the community story the first Monday in the new year. For now, I’m opening it up for story ideas and character ideas. Got a good writing prompt that we can start with? Post it in a comment. The week before we start, we can all vote on the one we like the best.

Write On!