Thursday, July 20, 2017

Top 10 List of Ways Writers Can Utilize Their Time

I've been participating in a writing sprint this week with a group of writers. We have a leader who is incredibly encouraging and good at spurring us on toward our word count goals. She sent us a link to a past blog post on the Seekerville blog entitled Writers Write. Everyone Else Makes Excuses, by Tina Radcliffe.

In this post, she gives so many encouraging quotes on doing the hard part of writing. Putting your behind in the chair and doing the work of writing. It takes time. It takes sacrifice. It takes discipline.

We all have to find the "thing" that helps us - that motivates us - into writing when it's hard.

Life gets in the way. Your car breaks down. There's a funeral, a lunch date, FAFSA to fill out (can I just say UGH?), hair cuts, and...dare I say it?...toilets to clean.

So what do you do to make the most of your time, and feed your writerly self? Everyone has to decide for themselves. No one can do it for you, because only YOU knows what will work for YOU.

I decided to complete the exercise Tina suggested in her post, and this is what I came up with - in no particular order.

Top 10 Ways to Utilize Your Time

1. Use a diction app and dictate a scene on your way to work, or while doing dishes, ironing, etc.

2. Listen to a craft book or podcast in the car while going to work or hauling kids to school.

3. Carry a Moleskin notebook in your purse to write down ideas for your story, prompts for short stories, or blog post ideas.

4. If you get stuck in your story, move on to another project. (I stole this from Tina because it is so helpful.)

5. Stay up 30 minutes later to write. (I get up at 5 am already....can't go earlier!)

6. Read a chapter of a craft book at lunch.

7. Email a chapter to your Kindle so that it is there when you are in a waiting room, carpool line, etc. Highlight things that you need to change.

8. Alternate cooking nights with your husband so you have more time to write.

9. Make a date with yourself once a week and go to the library, coffee shop, or park to write free from responsibilities at home.

10. Purchase a cute timer or use the one on your phone to write in 30 - 60 minute increments. Then set the time for 15 minutes and clean a toilet or make the bed or do a load of laundry. Then get back to writing.

Nothing on my list is new. Many have already figured out the best way to get the most out of their day. But some of us need reminders that we can carve out extra time, and every minute we garner gets more words on the page.

What things have you found to help you carve out time and up your word count? 


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Sherrinda Ketchersid is a born and bred Texan, preacher’s wife, mother to 4 children, and secretary at public elementary school. With the children grown and out of the house, she weaves tales of fierce knights and their ladies in a time where men were warriors and women had to be strong enough to keep them in check.

After taking time off from writing, she has returned with a new motto in place to spur her on. “Writers write. Everyone else makes excuses.” ~Jack Bickham.  No excuses this time. She is weaving her love of romance with history to bring joy and the hope of love to those who may one day read her stories.

You can connect with her through:

Personal blog: sherrinda.com
Twitter: @sherrinda
Instagram: @sherrinda



Thursday, July 13, 2017

Present Over Perfect

If you could see my house right now—the overflowing number of Birchbox samples and Lord forbid, my closet—you might think I was completely carefree. And unorganized. (The latter of which would probably be true.)

But in reality, the notion of perfection has always been an inner dialogue for me, and sometimes, it can become paralyzing. So that I could throw the fiftieth hairspray sample away, but would if I needed it next week? And the mountain of shoes accumulating in my closet probably does need attending, but where would I even start? The Pinterest image in my head is too far away from reality, and so I just . . . don’t.

Been there?

The problem is, when the stakes are higher, so is the fear. (See where I’m going with this?) So that maybe you’ve got your first real deadline from a publisher, or an agent, or maybe you’re just bound and determined to meet your own deadline of finishing your WIP before a writing conference this year.

So you sit down at your computer, and one of two things happen. Either you spend countless time staring at the blinking cursor, or you madly dash toward an arbitrary word count, just to get those pages filled.

And either way, you come away dissatisfied. Unsettled. Because all your striving . . . well, it just wasn’t enough.

What if there was another way? A better way?

Lately in my writing, God has been teaching me to wait on Him for cues. We all say we want to wait on Him, and that’s fine and dandy until we need twenty more pages for our word count goals. But I’m learning that I could sit down for hours, writing away for the sake of achievement, all the while, spinning in circles. I can let fear of the unknown and rejection paralyze me from writing at all (--Is that where you are today? Because I’ve been there too.).

Or, I can wait on Him.

I can invite His presence into my story, and move when He moves. I can wait for those organic AH HA! moments to fall into place. And the funny thing is, I’m realizing I’m vastly more productive when I do.

Today I want to encourage you to be present over perfect. Because perfection and striving will leave you dangerously reliant on your own strength. Become more aware of the monologue inside your own mind and heart. What standards are you holding yourself to, and how do those align with the Spirit of God? Has your perfectionism become a stumbling block to the greater things God has called you toward? Are you so afraid of being imperfect that you’re afraid to move at all?


Let me hear from you! How do you manage to stay present with God rather than focusing on perfection?



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Ashley Clark writes romance with southern grace. She's dreamed of being a writer ever since the thumbprint-cookie-days of library story hour. Ashley has an M.A. in English and enjoys teaching literature courses at her local university. She's an active member of ACFW and runs their newcomer's loop. When she's not writing, Ashley's usually busy rescuing stray animals and finding charming new towns. You can find Ashley on her personal blog, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. She is represented by Karen Solem.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Freedom for Writers

This week we celebrated the Fourth of July, and over on the Facebook group we talked about how it's a great time to be a writer because independence is achievable. I wanted to expand on those tips and see what you would add.

1) Know your goals. Why do you want to write indie? What is motivating that decision? The same questions should be asked if you're pursuing traditional publishing. For me, I'm pursing indie for my books where I have received the rights back from the publisher. It's been a huge learning curve, but I know these are good books and there are readers who haven't discovered them. Indie publishing is a way to get them back out there, update them and more. I love traditional publishing, because I love the partnership aspects. I know they have a platform I don't have on my own. They have the team to help me with all the elements that are overwhelming to consider on my own. That's why I love being with the big houses.

2) The most important relationship is between reader and author. Regardless of how you publish, you have to think about how you will build that relationship. Part of it will be writing more, great books. Then there will be websites, social media, booksignings, etc. you will have to think deliberately about how you will build this relationship. It also requires you to know and listen to your reader. Involve them in the process. Help them acquire ownership of your books. How can you help them become your biggest advocates?

3) Hire an editor. This step is so often overlooked. If you are traditionally published, then you should have three rounds of editing: macro/story edit, line edit, and proofing. If you are indie, you need the same. Even though the book I have put up were edited at least three times, I still hired someone to proof each one. It's amazing what is caught each time. The quickest way to lose a reader is to have a poorly edited book. Don't skip this step. It is worth the expense to make the book is done well. As James Scott Bell says you're best marketing is the book the reader is currently reading.

4) Don't rush. Let's face it. We all get important. But let's not rush into print before we're ready. I have friends churning out 4-6 books a year. I can't do that with everything else going on in my world. Three is about my max; four if I'm writing two with Tricia Goyer. I know that's my pace, and I know this after writing 27 books. What's your pace? How fast can you write and still do a good job? Seriously stop and think about. How much time do you need to make sure you're going through the rounds of edits and putting out a great book? Is your first book really ready for the world to read?

What would you add?




An award-winning author of more than twenty books, Cara is a lecturer on business and employment law to graduate students at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Putman also practices law and is a second-generation homeschooling mom. She lives with her husband and four children in Indiana.