Thursday, June 22, 2017

Writing Delima

A potter finishes his/her pot, paints it, and puts it in a kiln. Once fired, it’s done. Once an artist applies the last stroke to a painting, it’s finished. When I create counted cross stitch or Swedish weaving projects, after working the pattern, it’s complete. Not so with writing. Writing is never finished. There simply comes a time the author sends it out. There are always improvements to be made. That brings me to my current novel.
            I’m at a crossroads with my Latter-day Saint romance, Hidden Heritage. Do I send it out next month, or wait until I go to Time Out for Writers conference in September and make even more changes? Either way I’ll work on something else this summer.
That presents another dilemma. Do I edit the completed Escape from Fire, or fill in the partial Car Crash? Maybe I could even dig out Divine Love and its sequel Diane’s Story. Then there’s always my semi-autobiography.
            But I digress, back to the topic. With writing, like in music, there’s always room for improvement: This sentence might be better if I use a fancier word. Perhaps that sentence sounds too pompous. A paragraph may need more description. Another one slows down the narrative with too much description. Would this scene work better later in the story? Does that dialogue sound realistic? The list goes on without end.
            Beta readers are valuable with their opinions, but they’re just that—opinions. Don’t get me wrong, I love the improvements made when I have beta readers.
Whether novel, or note I find better ways to say things nearly every time I go over stuff, even my Face Book posts. One of my college professors said, “Writing is never finished. Just send it out there.” He told us about a famous poet that had 2 or 3 versions of the same poem in print. How do I know if it’s time for Hidden Heritage?
            I don’t expect the reader of this post to tell me. You haven’t read it. I’ll decide when I finish this time going through it. I already have the dreaded Synopsis, query letter, and such because I’ve sent it out before. Naturally I made changes in those as well.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

How to Stay Underwhelmed in an Overwhelming Author World.


by Lisa Rector

I haven’t been able to write steady for about six months. Too many author voices are in my head and bogging me down. It’s not that they are telling me I can’t measure up; it’s just that everything seems too much. Social media has added demands to my author life that I never thought possible. How do I get back to writing and not letting the world overwhelm me?

I’ve considered quitting Facebook and Twitter altogether, but don’t want to abandon them. I don’t mind retweeting. I’m in a Facebook book club, so I want enjoy that. But suddenly I’m finding my beta-reading group and other writing groups too exhausting. My Facebook feed and Twitter feed will never stop. I’m also in charge of setting up blog posts for an up-and-coming LDS beta reader group, so I have to stay connected for that.

Here’s what I’ve been doing, other than taking a break from the world and hiding in a corner.

I’ve unfollowed many friends and family on Facebook. I follow those who don’t share every. single. thing. I stay away from people who post recipes. I follow those who offer great interaction and posts that help me as an author. What’s great about FB is that you don’t have to unfriend people. Just unfollow them for a time. You can always hop over to their profile if you want to catch up.

I don’t scroll my Twitter feed. Often porn pops up, despite my attempts to block it. I created lists of people who I want to engage with and who I want to retweet and scroll those. I click on followers to see who else I want to follow, and I post maybe once a day.

I just don’t have time for anything else in the social media world.

About the author voices in my head. Every author I’ve engaged with seems to have their own opinion about how to do things as an author, and they seem to think they are right. I just stopped listening for a while. Yes, I surface for critiques and feedback, but when I start scrolling posts about other authors and what they are doing, I get overwhelmed, thinking I have to do what they are doing now or learn what they are learning now. I had to stop and tell myself I’m in a different place. And that’s ok.

There’s a time for engagement and a time to work things out on your own. When I’m drafting, I have to turn everything off. I can’t focus if someone is spouting story structure over here and character arcs over there. Write the story first, without the other voices. Revisions are the time to get opinions.


As always, write for yourself, and only write the parts people want to read. That is the best writing advice above all.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Finding Time to Write

This blog is called LDS Mommy Writers. The staff has allowed this LDS grandma writer to join in with a monthly post. You might think I’d have all the time in the world to write—no children to interrupt, no carpools to drive, relatively little laundry to do, only one other person to cook for, no homework to help with, the list goes on and on.
I remember laughing at (not in front of her) at my older sister when she and her husband retired and she said she was as busy as ever. She’s eighteen years older, and I was in the middle of raising our eight children.
I’m not laughing any more. I serve the mid-day shift at the temple on Wednesdays, babysit grandchildren, serve as an assistant compassionate service leader, substitute teach on occasion, have Toastmaster speeches to write and practice, and more.
Yes, most days I do have more time to write than a busy mother, but it’s easy to find distractions—books to read, okay; I’ll admit it; Face Book to check out, blogs to read, needlework to create (TV while doing that), I'm only up to 1999 on scrap booking my pictures along with the normal cooking, errands, and cleaning.
I need to find my writing time during the day and early evening. I can look over other writers’ projects later in the evening, but can’t work on my own stuff after 7:30-8:00 pm or I’ll have problems sleeping because my mind won’t turn off.
It takes self-discipline to make myself sit at the computer, especially when I hit a brick wall in my WIP. I think of other things that need to be done—oh dear I haven’t watered and cared for my vegetable garden in a couple of days. Gotta run.

A Day in the Life of an Indie Author

An ideal writing day is one where I sit at home and tackle my WIP, and I’m not interrupted by errands or life. I try to set aside the hours between ten a.m. and two p.m. to write a rough draft, revise, or edit.

So what about the rest of my life?

I wake in the wee hours of the mornin’. I have two and a half hours from the time I wake until the time I send the last nugget off to school. In those hours, I accomplish amazing things.

I eat. Wow. I pack lunches and wake kids. I either load or unload the dishwasher. Counters and floors are wiped down (everyday). Within those bustling minutes, I make time to stretch and tone and time to read spiritually uplifting material, often a religious magazine or book. Somehow I get dressed and ready for the day.

I slink back to the house after carpool and give myself an hour of electronic housekeeping. This is updating my blog and the two other blogs I post on. I clean out files and make memes or graphic images. Emails are dealt with.

It’s ten o’clock. Lunchtime. I’ve been awake for four hours. Need to fuel up.

Now I dive into my works in progress. I set a timer for forty-two minutes. In the middle of wherever I might be, when that screaming bomb goes off, I jump up and hightail it to my kitchen. “Not to eat again?” you ask. Nope. To dance. I crank up the music in the room that has the most open floor space and shake out the stiffness in my body. This is great and energizing before I get back to the grind.

My dance-a-thon happens three more times.

Then the best part of my day happens. A steaming hot shower followed by an hour-long nap.

Crunch time has arrived. If I haven’t thought of what to make for dinner, I palm through the frozen foods in my freezer and invent something. I usually preheat my oven and prep before running off to scoop kids up from school.

We’re all home. Dinner ensues. Now it’s me time. I either catch up on my shows or curl up with a good book while interspersing time with the kids and homework.

But this is a best-scenario day. Often anything flies.

What does your writing day look like?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Rejuvination



Everyone needs a break: writers, moms, hospital staff, kids, teachers, doctors, garbage men, artists, etc. You get the idea. 

Spring Break came really late this year. This means a couple of things: warmer weather at the beach and less school until the end of the year. 


Image result for image of the outer banks



Back to that beach. I LOVE the beach. All times, all weathers, all seasons. A bad day at the beach is 
still a day at the beach. 

Flying kites, Duck donuts (if you vacation at OBX you know what I'm talking about), eating out, beachcombing for shells, watching movies, board games . . . you get the picture. 

Of course, I still have writing/publishing deadlines to meet, which I'll squeeze in between everything else. 

Rejuvination is part of balance and promoting creativity. 

Maybe you can't take off a whole week to go to the beach. So take a day to do something that rejuvinates you: a museum, art show, hike in the mountains, visit a garden, see a movie, have lunch with a friend, paint that room or furniture piece you keep putting off, etc. 

Can't take a day? An hour will do. Read a book. Watch an episode of your favorite show. Talk a walk and chat with a friend. Yoga. 

Rejuvination is only limited by your imagination (and sometimes your budget ;) ). 

Even Christ took time to be apart from his disciples and demands for balance and peace. If the Savior can find the time to do it, so can you. 

What will you do today, this week, to rejuvinate your life?

                                                                    

Monday, March 27, 2017

Being Steadfast and Immovable

by Lisa Rector

I’m a firm believer in being able to find a lesson or reason for every chapter of scripture in the Book of Mormon, even the war chapters. It’s the same with fiction; only write the parts people want to read, so there must be a reason God wanted some parts included in the scriptures, even if we think they are boring. If we prayerfully seek, we can find hidden meanings.

I had to look carefully to find the meaning for me in Alma 1. The chapter is about Nehor, who goes about teaching false doctrine. His teachings led many in the church astray, and they started persecuting their own brethren of the gospel because of their pride. The hearts of many saints hardened, and they withdrew from the church. 

Did the trial of their persecution cause their hearts to harden because they were unable to bear their afflictions? What could have been done to prevent this?

Many saints remained steadfast in the faith. How?

Alma 1:25 says, “They were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them.” The rest of the chapter goes on to tell how the saints were blessed for their selflessness and obedience.

We can have peace, despite persecution. Our steadfastness will lead to blessings and prosperity, but our persecutions can harden our hearts if we are not careful and don’t humble ourselves.

The key is being steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments. The saints also worked hard, laboring to have the necessities of life. And through their efforts, they were blessed.

I feel comfort in knowing that, though trials in life may come, my determination and diligence in keeping the commandments of the Lord gives me peace. Everything I do is an extra buffer of protection; my heart is less likely to harden when faced with overwhelming adversity. And patience with persecution is not something to frown upon. It is a blessing beyond measure.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Even as I Am

by Lisa Rector

While struggling with my own shortcomings, and feeling as if I fall short of the mark every day, I was touched by a video I recently watched in church.

The video begins with this scripture.

“Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” 3 Nephi 27:27

The video goes on to list the attributes of Christ.

Humble                      Obedient                       Healer                 Kind                 Teacher            Courageous            Servant               Submissive                Selfless                       Full of love

 As I watched the Savior in all these roles, which the video portrayed, one thought crossed my mind. He’s genuine. In every role, in displaying whichever attribute, the Savior was Himself. He always expressed His true feelings, which were based on true motivations and love—Christlike love, which is charity.

And I realized that in my life, I only ever want to be genuine, even when I fall short and despite my shortcomings. I want to exhibit these Christlike behaviors with all my soul. I don’t want to grumble through life. I don’t want to complain when asked to do something. I don’t want to wallow in my sins. I want to be happy when I serve.

I want [to] “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny [myself] of all ungodliness; and if [I] shall deny [myself] of all ungodliness, and love God with all [my] might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for [me], that by his grace [I] may be perfect in Christ . . .” Moroni 10:32

I might have shortcomings, but perhaps the good in me can outshine the bad as I “come unto Christ” and be “even as [He is].”