Dusty Mauve, Homecoming, and the Day that Ruined Shoe Shopping

Every girl loves a good day of shoe shopping, am I right?

Well, you’d think so…then today happened.

My daughter received a fantastic homecoming “proposal” this week and so the endeavor to find that perfect dress and the shoes to match began.

 

Our mission started out fairly well, we found a gorgeous dress that she absolutely fell in love with in the first 40 minutes. It is simple and feminine with a beautiful lace pattern. The color? Dusty Mauve. Ahhhh, so pink and so pretty. Obviously I can’t share a photo of the dress just yet as that would break all the homecoming dress rules-you guys understand.

Next, we started the hunt for shoes and let me tell you, we had no idea what we were getting into.

Let’s start with the silver sparkles.

silver

Gorgeous, but it they just didn’t match.

 

Next up, champagne gold…that goes with everything, right?

gold2

WRONG!

 

Okay. Now we’ve got it. Rose gold! That’s basically the same thing as dusty mauve, right?

rosegold

No, my friends! No it is not! Appearances can be deceiving and just when we thought we had a perfect match, we discovered that dusty mauve makes rose gold look orange.

I’m telling you guys, if this color had a personality it would have the most narcissistic, self-centered disposition you ever did encounter.

At this point, even the color’s name was wearing thin on me. Dusty Mauve…how conceited. You’re just a powdery dark pink. Get over yourself.

7 stores and 4 hours later, we found the ultimate match! Jessica Simpson dusty rose heels! The colors blended perfectly and they had just the right amount of bling…and guess what?

dusty rose

WRONG SIZE.

*facepalmfacepalmfacepalm*

We gave up. Shoe shopping has been ruined, at least for the time being. After venting our frustrations and kicking back a 10 piece McDonald’s chicken nugget, we finally settled on a plain pair of nude pumps–which just so happen to look like they were made for the dress.

nude

Sometimes less is more. Tomorrow the journey for jewelry begins. Please pray for me…and don’t ever let me buy dusty mauve anything ever again.

blogendshapeblack

 

Advertisements

Bash Writer’s Block in a Flash

WritersBlock

Writer’s block. Ugh. The dreaded phrase. I’m pretty sure we all know what that is, so no need to define the term here. What’s important to know is how to get rid of it, am I right? Well, the first step would always be to admit it even exists in your reality. None of this denial business.

Chalkboard-Writers-Block

The next step is to write Flash Fiction.

Yep, totally serious.

Flash fiction has numerous definitions floating around the internet. Basically, it’s an extra-short, short story. Most sites classify flash fiction as anything less than 1000 words, some less than 700, and a few even define the genre as less than 300 all the way down to a nano story of 100 words.

WritersBlockPic_opt_LargeWide

Seems easy enough, right?

Haha…Ha. Ha. Not so much.

Though trying to cram a compelling story that makes sense into a piece shorter than most blog articles can be daunting, the process can also be incredibly rewarding…and in ways that surprised me. I had been stuck on a chapter in my current WIP, tentatively titled-A Temporary Home, for some time when I decided to take a break and work on a piece of flash fiction.

Deep in the throes writer’s block, I hadn’t been serious about the story at the time and was really just looking for a good distraction. What I found was so much more. Here are just a few of the ways flash fiction helped me out of a writing rut.

1. Practice

I was working. Most of us have heard the famous Picasso quote, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

A week had gone by without any progress on A Temporary Home. For me, that’s a long time. I mulled over the scenes that bothered me…and then mulled them over again. I thought, I daydreamed, I read, and still, nothing. As a writer, I like to think of imagination as a part of the job, but when that’s all you’ve done for a week, it doesn’t feel like you’ve done much of anything. I needed work to do and flash fiction provided that work.

2. Creativity

This sort of goes along with the work, but working on a new project allowed me to free my mind from present troubles and focus on something fresh. I also didn’t have any writerly guilt about it because I knew the story wouldn’t interfere with the work on my book. Flash fiction is a small enough project to be easily managed with any writing schedule.

3.  Audition

Audition? In the world of writing? Sure!

I took the opportunity to try on a new genre for size. All of my work so far has been contemporary fiction, but I’ve always held a fascination with historical novels. Why not use this chance to test those waters? Writing a short historical story allowed me to see if I liked writing in the genre, enjoyed the research, and really, if I was any good at it.

Guess what? I loved it! Doing the research sparked a new interest in a time period I knew little about (other than biblical aspects I’d learned throughout the years). I safely assumed the story was fairly well done since Splickety was awesome enough to publish it on their Lightening Blog. So, big score! I found out I liked the process, enjoyed the research, and might want to explore that genre for a book in the future.

4.  Accomplishment

Yeah, yeah. We’re writers- we write for the process.

But really, don’t you just love typing ‘The End’? I know I do. Feeling stuck was really getting me down, but once I finished my flash fiction piece, A Golden Promise, I was ready to jump back into work on A Temporary Home with fresh inspiration because I felt capable again. I had set a writing goal, accomplished it, and reminded myself once again- I can do this.

All in all, writing flash fiction has been an overwhelmingly positive experience and I really can’t wait to do it again.

Have you written flash fiction before? What was your experience like? Did the process help you with writer’s block? Tell me in the comments and leave a link to your story!

short story quote

blogendshapeblack

Make Writing a Priority by Eliminating These 4 Things

4 Surprising Things to Get Rid of When You Just Don’t Have the Time

hourglass

Most writers will say that writing itself is a priority in their lives, but is it really? What holds the seasoned writer back from penning a new novel every month? The answers can be numerous and complicated, but here are 4 surprising time-suckers to get rid of if you find yourself slacking—and no, none of them are Netflix—I’d never suggest such a thing!

Get rid of what doesn’t matter.

Sometimes this might mean letting the bathroom sit a day before its next scheduled cleaning. Let yourself be immersed in your writing without worry and distraction. When planning a block of time to write, don’t rush just to get to other chores. Its completely fine if your family eats an ordered pizza once in a while. Think of all the things you accomplish in a day and write them down. Does each activity really matter more to you than writing? If not, identify where you can make cuts…and do it!

Get rid of negativity.

Many of us have family and friends who support us. But some of us have at least one Negative Nancy in our lives who just doesn’t get it. Or, maybe they do get it, and they really just don’t want you to succeed. The psychology for why people do this is so far outside my ballpark, I’m not even going to go there. Ask yourself if everyone around you is really for you? Is anyone bringing you down? Personally, I’ll cut a toxic person out of my life faster than their legs can carry them. But that’s me. If you have negative people in your life who bring you down about your writing-simply don’t discuss it with them anymore. You don’t need their opinion or validation. Believe it or not, when we look at things optimistically, we tend to get a lot more done.

Get rid of doubt.

This sort of goes along with negativity. Perhaps ignoring a negative person’s opinion will also eliminate your doubt. But if it’s self-doubt you’re struggling with (and I think that applies to every writer in existence) then that can really eat up your time and impact your productivity when it comes to writing. When we doubt ourselves or feel we will fail, we tend to become big-time procrastinators. Believe in yourself and your abilities. You can and will do this- but only if you actually take the time to do it!

Get rid of expectations.

Some writers try to meet word count goals and then wallow in the depths of despair when they’ve spent 4 hours staring at a screen and have less that 500 words to show for it. It’s been said time and time again—any writing is good writing, at least in practice. If you’re writing, you’re creating. And the more you create, the better those creations become. Give yourself a break. So what if you only hit 50 words yesterday? Those 50 words might be someone’s favorite line in your book one day! Keep going and give yourself room to be flexible.

I realize we could dive into this much more deeply than we have, but I think you’ll find if you rid yourself of these things, you might just have a little more mental room for that next chapter.

How do you prioritize your writing? What holds you back? Let me know in the comments!

blogendshapeblack

Love in Three Quarter Time

Love in Three Quarter cover

This week I had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy of Love in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan. This novella weaves a lovely tale about Evelyn, a woman close to my heart in both emotions and habit, who is unexpectedly swept away to Vienna, accompanied by her former co-worker–and, um…crush. A perfect Valentine’s Day read! And guess what? It released today! So, Rachel was kind enough to stop by and tell us a bit about writing Love in Three Quarter Time! Pick up a copy today–you won’t be disappointed!

A Tribute to the City of My Heart

vienna1As a reader, setting is often as important as any of the starring characters.  When I was 10 years old, I read Vienna Prelude by Bodie Thoene for the first time.  Before this, my only real conception of Austria was the Sound of Music.  As much as I loved Vienna Prelude’s history and music and love story, I loved Vienna itself. It became the city of my dreams.  For years when anyone asked me “where you would go if you could go anywhere?” I would say, without a beat of hesitation “Vienna.”  My love for Vienna was very much intertwined with Thoene’s brilliant use of it as a canvas for a pre- WWII love story between an American journalist and a violinist with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.    I lived in that world often, tucking into its pages, listening to the Bach and Haydn and Mozart pieces Thoene describes so vividly in her canvas of the onstage and backstage world of Vienna’s orchestras.  Vienna is so beautifully described in the book that the first time I visited, I immediately knew the basic directions and proximity of several famous buildings because I was so familiar with them through Thoene’s fictional world.  Vienna in person—as in fiction—does not disappoint. It is a city that is opulent and grand and filled with glorious customs and history.  I describe the ornate Baroque architecture as being dollops of too much whipped cream. Wandering down the Kartnerstrasse can be deliciously overwhelming.  Taking a trolley on the carousel of the Ringstrasse, hearing Mozart waft from every crevice and corner, sitting at a table in the Café Mozart piercing that first bite of torte while chasing it with that first sip of Einspanner (Coffee and Vienna are as simultaneously intertwined as Waltzing and Vienna).

I had long wanted to write something in tribute to the city of my heart and decided after my most recent trip there last Christmas, that it was time to pursue a few Viennese romances.  In the Vienna trilogy of novellas I am releasing this year, I wanted the romance between the couples in each of the three stories to be met with the romance of the city.  These stories are as much as love letter to Vienna as they are a magical look at three different couples.

vienna2And while I was writing Love in Three Quarter Time, I was ecstatic to realize I was writing for my own enjoyment.  While I also enjoy writing my traditionally published books, I knew that I had no holds barred in letting my romantic nature fly.   While I always intended to release the story for readers, this is the closest experience I had to sitting in my childhood bedroom writing in a teddy bear notebook.  I was writing like no one was watching and it was wonderful.   I was writing a dream. My agent wouldn’t have to pitch the book, editors and sales people wouldn’t have to meet at long board room tables to discuss its financial prospects. This was just me, Vienna and romance…   My romance with the city hopefully encapsulated in the story of a young woman who learns as much about herself and her perceptions of love as she does about the city she spends time in.

My romance with the city hopefully inspires readers to take a look at Vienna and maybe day dream their own trip just as I do every time I read Vienna Prelude.   But as much as I want people to fall in love with Vienna, I want to inspire them to take a look at romance in a different way.  This Valentine’s Day—married or single— take a moment to acknowledge romance in its many forms. In a delicious cup of coffee at a neighbourhood café, in a walk in the snow just when the sky is cotton-candy twilight, in reading a favourite poem aloud, in visiting a museum, in seeing a local concert.  Romance is an art form and a movement as well as an emotional attachment between two people and Love in Three Quarter Time hopefully moves readers to think of the many different tenets of love.

You can get your copy of Love in Three Quarter Time today on Amazon! Visit Rachel’s blog to learn more or follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

Thanks for stopping by!

blogendshapeblack

5 Reasons I’m Grateful to be a Writer

Being a writer isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be.

Wait…what? You mean I can’t just churn out an amazing story and become a millionaire?

Noooooo. No, you can’t. Well, maybe if you’re Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, but let’s face it, we’re not.

The good news is there’s some pretty cool perks to being a writer. Whether it’s your full time gig, a second job, or even a hobby, there’s a few very special things to be found in the world of words. Here’s a short list of reasons I’m grateful to be a writer.

1. I may have a lot of feelings, but I’m glad I have a healthy way to express them.

Ok, I might be a tad moody from time to time. I also tend to fly high on the wings of anticipation as one of my favorite fictional character’s, Marilla Cuthbert, said. But, I’m super grateful for all of those wicked emotions because I love assigning them to the characters in my story. Not to mention the cathartic benefit of  working through those emotions by jotting them all down!

2. I may doubt myself at times, but others do appreciate my work.

I don’t have to radically change someone’s life with my writing for it to matter. When someone says that they simply enjoyed one of my stories, I feel as though I’ve added value to their day. Nothing feels better than putting a smile on someone’s face!

3. I might not be wealthy, but I love my job.

Even if you haven’t made a dime, writing is still a job. It’s work. Period.

There is tremendous joy to be found in doing something we love. All the money in the world could never make up for the happiness and exhilaration that writing brings.

4. I might not be the most talented writer, but God has given me the freedom to use my gifts.

I don’t think I’ll ever be the one who pens the next literary masterpiece. But, you know what? I don’t think any of our author predecessors did either. If there is something you love to do, and you feel you’re pretty good at it-do it! There’s a reason we feel drawn to certain activities and vocations. Practice and learn and eventually, you might just be the next Jane Austen!

5. I might not be the most popular kid on the block, but I’ve made friends in fellow authors I wouldn’t trade for all the success in the world.

I can’t tell you how much the level of support I’ve received from other writers–better writers- has impacted me. To find so much support in such a competitive industry was not only heart-warming, but surprising as well. I’m grateful for each and every one of my author friends-the ones I’ve spent time with and the ones I only know because of the wonderful internet!

These are just a few of the reasons I’m grateful to be a writer. What are yours?

Tell us in the comments!

Not a writer? Tell us about yourself and what you find to be grateful for in your profession!

blogendshapeblack

 

 

 

 

Joy in the Morning

IMG_7578

Quite a few experts in the field of writing say to find a time that works best for you and stick to it. That’s easier said than done for us working writers.

By working writers, I mean those of us who work a job, raise a family, or have other commitments besides getting to wake up and write all day.

And I’m pretty sure that encompasses most of us.

I find the morning to be the best time for me, creatively speaking. Considering I’m due to work at 7:00 AM, that isn’t always possible. So, I’ve found a compromise. Instead of taking advantage of weekend mornings for extra sleep, I rise early, about 5:00 AM, grab a steaming cup of coffee, and get to work.

The first part of that work is prayer. I know I need guidance with my work and I’m developing a habit of requesting that from God daily.

Once I feel properly equipped, I find the sweet song of morning birds coupled with a soft background of classical music really gets me into the world of my characters.

Every day is new, perhaps that’s why mornings hold such a tranquil hold on my heart. Because with each new day, comes the possibility of new stories, new ideas, and new blessings.

What time of day do you find yourself the most productive?

(image credit @peaceforthestorm)

IMG_7576

4 Reasons to Get Up and Go to a Writers Conference

This past week, I had the pleasure of attending my very first writers conference. The St. David’s Christian Writers Conference in Grove City is an intimate affair where all sorts of bookish people gather. The theme this year was Created to Create, and though I only attended half-time as a commuter, I left feeling just that.

A conference is something I’d put off over the past year. Fear, anxiety, and perhaps a bit of intimidation at this whole new world I was entering kept me at bay. Seriously…first day of school-type stuff. Once I gained the courage, I decided to bite the bullet and go. Here are 4 solid reasons you should get up and go to a conference yourself. You won’t regret it!

1.  Learn.

As writers/bloggers/editors, we are never done learning. There are always new techniques and perspectives that can further enhance our work. A conference is a great place to take classes and workshops that hone our craft.

The amount of information I gathered in 3 short days was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I took a class, taught by author/acquisitions editor, Eva Marie Everson. She is also the director of the Florida Christian Writers Conference and President of Word Weavers International (talk about a qualified instructor!). Foundations of Fiction through Film not only forever changed how I view movies and television, but also gave way to an entire new set of writing skills.

 

2. Resources.

Conferences offer a seemingly never-ending amount of resources you can access to better your projects. From agents to editors to critique groups, opportunities to have your work looked over aren’t hard to find. Using those chances to receive constructive criticism can only help you.

I had the opportunity to meet with Jim Hart from Hartline Literary Agency at St. David’s. His expertise enabled me to understand the process of acquiring an agent and the challenges many agents and writers face when shopping a book for publication.

Though our work is what matters most to us, learning how the industry functions is equally important. What good will dumping all your energy into your project do if you never learn how to navigate the proper routes to publication?

 

3. Friendship

Even if you show up alone, without knowing a single soul there, you are guaranteed to leave a conference with at least one new friend who shares the same interests as you.

I received such a warm welcome at St. David’s, I felt completely silly for ever being nervous in the first place.

If you’re a writer, you’ll meet other writers. Blogger-other bloggers. Editor-other editors. These are your people! Go. Meet them. Develop friendships. Because friendship in the competitive world of books isn’t just the cherry on top of a meticulously built sundae, it’s a necessity.

Writing is hard. Having support makes it easier.

 

4. Fun.

Conferences aren’t all work and no play.

From pink-sequined hats to weather reports through interpretive dance, St. David’s offered up a level of merriment I hadn’t experienced in months.

Writing a book is serious business. Taking the time to let loose and have a little fun, all while learning new ways to sharpen your skills, lightens the load.

 

So, what are you waiting for? Go! Get yourself to a conference!

Been to a conference recently? Tell us about it in the comments!

blogendshapeblack

Meet Teresa Tysinger: Someplace Familiar Blog Tour

 

BlogTour_FacebookPost

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger. Teresa stopped by today for a little Q&A about this debut novel, a contemporary southern romance with themes of faith, hope in new love, and grace. It’s the first in a series of books set in Laurel Cove, a fictional town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. I’m joining other bloggers this week to tell you a little about the book and spread the news about the giveaway Teresa is hosting! Be sure to enter to win a signed book and more from Teresa at the end of this post. And leave your comments and questions below—Teresa will be stopping by to visit with us!

Q&A with Teresa!

1.       Where did you get the inspiration for Someplace Familiar?
The inspiration for the book came from two places. First, my memories of my own great-grandmother’s charming home and gardens inspired Livy’s Gram’s cottage. It gave me the chance to catalog my memories into a living story. Also, I am completely enamored with the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Having grown up in Florida, when I attended college in the mountains, I fell in love with the area and knew writing a story with it as the setting was meant to be!

2.       What is it about the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina that made such an impression on you as the setting for this book?

Oh goodness, the list is so long! I love the four distinct seasons—each offering something uniquely beautiful and enchanting. The culture is rich, eclectic, and full of whimsy. And don’t forget the slow pace of easy rocking chairs, bubbling brooks, rustling trees, and the gentle roll of both the mountains and the southern drawls. I love it all!

3.       Christian romance is a popular genre. What defines the genre for you as a writer?

The story of Christ’s love for us is the truest, most pure romance. So, when a book of fiction can combine the love story between two humans with the transforming, powerful love of God it’s the best of both worlds. I personally enjoy romances that show readers that real life and relationships are messy and the “happily ever after” isn’t necessarily riding off into the sunset, but rather comes with sacrifice and compromise. So, that’s what I aim to write, too!

4.       What is your favorite part of the writing process?
My favorite part of writing a book comes at the earliest stages. I love naming characters and being creative putting the plot together. At that stage, anything is possible and it’s okay to be a little messy with it!

5.       What was the biggest challenge about the decision to self-publish Someplace Familiar?
Oh boy! Self-publishing has taught me so much about the business of being a writer. The most challenging part is keeping all of the spinning plates moving and not crashing to the floor. Editing, design, marketing, networking, etc. These days, however, even traditional publishing requires authors to be major players in every step of the process. So, I think all authors must learn to multitask—and, for me, that’s a challenge.

 

About Someplace Familiar

SomeplaceFamiliar_COVER

Artist Livy Johnson needs a fresh start. That’s what a broken heart and forgotten dreams can do to a person. On little more than a whim, she reclaims her grandmother’s old home in quaint Laurel Cove, North Carolina and vows to restore its original charm. When she literally collides with childhood friend, Jack Bowdon, Livy wonders if she’s back for an entirely different reason.

Jack can’t believe his childhood crush is back. As the owner of Bowdon’s Supplies, and once again the town’s most eligible bachelor, he offers to help Livy with repairs. Together they embark on the project—and an undeniable whirlwind romance.

But it’s not all smooth sailing. Can they survive the destructive pain of their pasts to discover God’s grace waiting to renovate their hearts?

Someplace Familiar is available on Amazon. You can also add it on Goodreads!

 

About Teresa Tysinger

TeresaTysinger

Teresa Tysinger is a wife and mother transplanted from North Carolina to North Texas. When not working as the Director of Communications for a large downtown church, she writes charming southern romances inspired by grace. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Religious Communicators’ Council, and the Association for Women in Communications, Teresa has spent over a decade committed to telling stories of faith through written word. She loves coffee, caramel, and stories with happy endings.

Connect with Teresa on the Web,  Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or her Amazon author page!

 

Someplace Familiar Giveaway

ENTER HERE to win a signed paperback copy of Someplace Familiar, a custom 8×8” canvas painting by artist Cyndi Browning (in honor of the book’s heroine, Livy, who is an artist), and $10 Amazon Gift Card. Winner will be announced on Teresa’s website on June 18 once the tour wraps up. (Open to continental US residents only; sorry international readers!)

Thanks for stopping by, Teresa! Can’t wait to read Someplace Familiar!

blogendshapeblack

Bash Writer’s Block in a Flash

WritersBlock

Writer’s block. Ugh. The dreaded phrase. I’m pretty sure we all know what that is, so no need to define the term here. What’s important to know is how to get rid of it, am I right? Well, the first step would always be to admit it even exists in your reality. None of this denial business.

Chalkboard-Writers-Block

The next step is to write Flash Fiction.

Yep, totally serious.

Flash fiction has numerous definitions floating around the internet. Basically, it’s an extra-short, short story. Most sites classify flash fiction as anything less than 1000 words, some less than 700, and a few even define the genre as less than 300 all the way down to a nano story of 100 words.

WritersBlockPic_opt_LargeWide

Seems easy enough, right?

Haha…Ha. Ha. Not so much.

Though trying to cram a compelling story that makes sense into a piece shorter than most blog articles can be daunting, the process can also be incredibly rewarding…and in ways that surprised me. I had been stuck on a chapter in my current WIP, tentatively titled-A Temporary Home, for some time when I decided to take a break and work on a piece of flash fiction.

Deep in the throes writer’s block, I hadn’t been serious about the story at the time and was really just looking for a good distraction. What I found was so much more. Here are just a few of the ways flash fiction helped me out of a writing rut.

1. Practice

I was working. Most of us have heard the famous Picasso quote, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

A week had gone by without any progress on A Temporary Home. For me, that’s a long time. I mulled over the scenes that bothered me…and then mulled them over again. I thought, I daydreamed, I read, and still, nothing. As a writer, I like to think of imagination as a part of the job, but when that’s all you’ve done for a week, it doesn’t feel like you’ve done much of anything. I needed work to do and flash fiction provided that work.

2. Creativity

This sort of goes along with the work, but working on a new project allowed me to free my mind from present troubles and focus on something fresh. I also didn’t have any writerly guilt about it because I knew the story wouldn’t interfere with the work on my book. Flash fiction is a small enough project to be easily managed with any writing schedule.

3.  Audition

Audition? In the world of writing? Sure!

I took the opportunity to try on a new genre for size. All of my work so far has been contemporary fiction, but I’ve always held a fascination with historical novels. Why not use this chance to test those waters? Writing a short historical story allowed me to see if I liked writing in the genre, enjoyed the research, and really, if I was any good at it.

Guess what? I loved it! Doing the research sparked a new interest in a time period I knew little about (other than biblical aspects I’d learned throughout the years). I safely assumed the story was fairly well done since Splickety was awesome enough to publish it on their Lightening Blog. So, big score! I found out I liked the process, enjoyed the research, and might want to explore that genre for a book in the future.

4.  Accomplishment

Yeah, yeah. We’re writers- we write for the process.

But really, don’t you just love typing ‘The End’? I know I do. Feeling stuck was really getting me down, but once I finished my flash fiction piece, A Golden Promise, I was ready to jump back into work on A Temporary Home with fresh inspiration because I felt capable again. I had set a writing goal, accomplished it, and reminded myself once again- I can do this.

All in all, writing flash fiction has been an overwhelmingly positive experience and I really can’t wait to do it again.

Have you written flash fiction before? What was your experience like? Did the process help you with writer’s block? Tell me in the comments and leave a link to your story!

short story quote

blogendshapeblack

Writer’s Block

Welcome to Tick-Tock, Writer’s Block. We hope you will find this 10-week series informative as we dive into time management and that little annoyance that seems to plague all writers from time to time, writer’s block.

10 writers have teamed up to offer you tips, tricks, and general information about these issues. We hope this series provides insight and useful tools you can put into practice with your own writing habits!

Don’t miss our giveaway and your chance to win the awesome prize pack we’ve put together!

Writer’s Block

Even writing those words freezes me, makes me want to sit and stare at this blank page and not even attempt to tackle the topic. There are a million opinions on it; if you’ve been writing for any period of time, you’ve likely heard at least a few (thousand). Everyone experiences it at some point and everyone experiences it a little differently, but I think we all agree on the feeling it causes: alksdjfkaljrgklefjalkf!!!!! (That’s angry gibberish. Ha! *bangs head on keyboard just to get letters on the screen*)

I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve found a few things that help me. If they help you too, great! If not, well, I tried. 😉

1. SET A TIMER

This was one of those rules – rules? suggestions? thingies? – that I read somewhere and scoffed at. Until one dark, stormy winter night – erm, not really, but it was Nano, so it might’ve been cold – I was desperate to hit some sort of word count, and I was like, “Okay, seriously, what would it hurt to try this timer thing? Worst case scenario, you waste a half hour. Like you’ve never done that by getting on facebook instead of writing…” *gives Angie the evil eye while Angie looks away and whistles innocently*

So, grudgingly, not feeling it at all, and not expecting much, I set a timer for thirty-five minutes and forced myself to stay off facebook and look at my story. And lo and behold, when the timer chimed, I had written a whopping – wait for it! – zero words. Yeeep. But I was determined (or crazy?) and reset it. And that time, I wrote. Was it good? Don’t remember. Was it coherent? Probably not. Was it redundant? Um, duh. But it was also words. And by the time that second one went off, guess what? I was lost in my world.

Nearly every time I do this, if I push through my feelings, I end up resetting the timer at least once…and then usually not after that because I get so into the story that I forget. (Also: it is okay if your timer scares you when it goes off. You are not alone. #solidarity)

2. WHERE DID YOU GO WRONG?

This requires caution. Don’t assume this is the case and keep changing things at the beginning of your story. It may not be the issue, so think carefully before you start hacking (and save the discarded material somewhere!). That said, sometimes when I’m blocked, it’s because something earlier in the story went wrong.

I restarted book two (Quelling) several times because of this. I had what I felt was a solid beginning. Once, I even had about fifteen chapters. But I’d get to the end of that “solid” part and sit there, unsure how to proceed. Since I had the help of book one’s (Sowing) events, I looked at the end of it again to see if I missed something.

And there, I found my issue. I hadn’t quite started Quelling correctly given how Sowing ended, and what I had managed to write, while solid-ish, led to a dead end. So, yet again, I restarted (literally calling it “Fixing Quelling YET AGAIN.” Fifth time’s a charm, right?). While it still needs edited and revised, it’s written.

3. STOP TRYING TO EDIT

This was my vice early on. I never wanted to move on until a part was “perfect.” A few things cured me of this:

a.) having someone else read it and point out all the places it wasn’t even close to perfect (*cringes*),

b.) having something I wrote later in the story require a change to the earlier part that I just spent five hundred hours perfecting (how dare the story take a life of its own!), and finally…

c.) completing a 215k+ story that I slaved over editing and revising and now can’t use a single word directly from (because the plot changed massively, haha! evil little story…evil little characters who were dead for two years and decided they wanted to be alive and change everything… *grumbles*)

All that to say this: STOP trying to perfect it! Stooooopppp ittttt. Just write it, get it down, and go back. I revise a bit as I go, but I don’t agonize over it because I know I’ll tweak it when I edit. The goal is to get the story down where you can see how it all connects (or doesn’t). If you keep “fixing” the beginning, you’ll never reach the end…and you’ll never actually do anything with the story. Make it clean, sure – and move forward

4. TAKE A BREAK ALREADY

I get it. I do. It’s hard to step away from your world(s), your characters. For many, writing is an escape, therapeutic, or a way to relax. We pour our hearts and souls into this art and often get so little in return, feel like we fight for every single word (and then go back and delete them later anyway because they’re so awful and we’re horrible writers and horrible people and what business do we have calling ourselves authors and…)

Yet we can get so caught up in the work that we forget why we fell in love with stories in the first place. We forget the joys of discovering a new world, meeting new characters, losing ourselves in the beauty of words. Everything we write feels dry, life loses its color, and I, for one, get snappy in my regular life. If I’m not writing, I’m not right. (I even have a tattoo that says “write to live.”) So what do you do when the thing that is meant to relax you stresses you out?

Sometimes, you need to step away. Let yourself breathe. Read. Give yourself permission to rest. Find inspiration in someone else’s creation.

And once you’ve done that, come back and try again (with the timer!).

Above all else, know that you’re normal.

And never, ever quit.

Angie Grigaliunas

agtickAngie Grigaliunas (grig-ah-LOO-nahs) is a fantasy writer and blogger. She’s a country girl at heart, in the sense that she wants to be in nature and away from civilization. She loves Jesus, the woods, and the stars, and has always wanted to be a superhero with a secret identity. Seriously.

She has completed four books: one about elves that needs a massive revision before it ever sees the light of day, one that is part of her current story but also needs a massive revision to fit a new storyline, and the actual first and second books (Sowing and Quelling) in her dystopian fantasy series (The Purification Era). When she’s not writing, she’s usually Facebooking – ack! – or thinking about story stuff. Despite several of her writing friends claiming she’s Canadian, she is not; she lives in Ohio with her dear husband, their goofy dog, and their crazy cats.

Sowing

sowing AG“They can take your house, your daughter, whatever they want.”

For Ariliah, life under the militarized Hulcondans is one of order and safety. Despite the soldiers’ ruthless policies, she trusts their judgment. Beyond the city wall, enemies lurk – a vicious race bent on devouring humanity. And if anything ever happened to the protectors, nothing would keep them out.

For her older sister, Rabreah, every glance from a Hulcondan is a threat. When even a whisper against them is treason and treason is death, Rabreah can’t risk one seeing through her as she sees through them. Joining an underground resistance to end their corruption seems like her only hope – until she meets the group’s enigmatic leader and realizes she doesn’t know the people she’s aligned herself with at all.

But when rebellious posters appear throughout the city and people start dying, their world begins to crumble.

And as the line between friend and enemy blurs, both girls must face the truth: everything is about to change.

Sowing is available on Amazon.

 

You learn more about Angie by visiting her Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook page !

*GIVEAWAY*

Click the image below for your chance to win an amazing prize pack!

Tick-TockPPFinal

***

Check out last week’s post,  Writing Tips for Busy Authors by Lisa Prysock.

Tick-Tockauthors

blogendshapeblack