Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012- Keep My Priorities Straight

My 2012 New Year's Resolution: Keep my priorities straight.

 I will start this new year off with a bang by beginning my new role as president of my writer's group. It promises to be a fun challenge. I have already been working hard to prepare by selecting committee chairs, writing a couple of articles for the newsletter, setting lunch dates with fellow officers, and preparing for my first board meeting and regular meeting. I have several ideas for making our group even more fabulous than it already is and I hope that they are amenable to them. The closer January has come, the busier I have been.

My MS has taken second fiddle for three of the four weeks of December. Not. Good.

Despite this fun new adventure, I must keep reminding myself that my writing is the most important goal for this year. Definitely, I want my term as President to be successful, but not at the expense of my writing. Those revisions won't make themselves. 

Do you also have an issue with keeping your priorities straight? Rather than waste your time on another useless weight loss resolution, let's use this year's resolution to remember important priorities. 

God. Family. Friends. Writing. *grin*

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012!!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Trusting Yourself

Like most new writers, I struggle with uncertainty and lack of self-confidence. I listen to what other people say instead of trusting myself. While it is ok to listen to what others with more experience have to say, a new writer can't be afraid to follow their own instincts.

One of the most important lessons I am learning these days is how to trust myself.

While some of the technical stuff needs other people's advice, my instincts for story are pretty good. Thank goodness my friend, Ang told me early on not to delete early copies of my writing. I have some good stuff that's pretty awesome once I correct all of the technical grammar stuff, or put it in a better location within the novel.

I admit to being amazed. Until it was pointed out to me, I had no idea that some of what others had told me was wrong for my novel. It may work well for theirs, but their advice left mine boring. So boring, that the last two months have been a struggle. Something about my novel left me dissatisfied. Gone was the feeling of elation and excitement I felt early on when I would think about working on my book. Rather, a sense of dread filled me when I would even look at opening the manuscript.

My excitement is back. I realize my error and am working to make my novel into what makes me excited. Sure much of the advice I have received is beyond valuable, but I now plan to listen to my instincts. If I am told something that doesn't feel right then I will simply thank them and do what I want.

So simple, really.

Trust yourself as a writer. You have an instinct for what you want your story to be. Listen to it, even if someone you feel has more experience, says otherwise. Those people aren't writing your book. They aren't all-knowing gods. They are human, and as such, are capable of being wrong.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Motivations Killers

Staring at my computer, my eyes drift over my current work in progress. As I read through the scene I am working on, a blinking icon at the bottom of the screen distracts me. Someone has pinged me on facebook's instant message. I click on the icon. My facebook page pops up. I proceed to have a 30 minute conversation with a friend. The scene I was working on is totally forgotten.

A motivation killer has struck again. This time it is named Facebook.

My motivation killers have many names. Facebook, twitter, email, and my cell phone being a few of them, though they seem to be the worst. I sit down at my computer with good intentions. I get on the Internet with the intention of checking emails and other messages for a few minutes and before I know it I have been sucked into the black hole that these motivation killers create.

 Do you have issues with these same motivation killers? Will you take a stand against them with me? Let's pull our motivation up from around our ankles and hook it with a good pair of self-discipline suspenders. It is time to take a break from social networking, to set a timer on all those distractions that we let take us away from what we love doing best: writing. I am looking forward to resetting my priorities, and I am sure you are too. Good luck and happy writing!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Disappointment

Wiping sweaty hands on my pant leg under the table, I waited for the announcement of the contest winners. Backwards from honorable mention to first place, four names were read. Mine wasn't one of them.

Disappointment, the first of my writing career, washed over me like an arctic wave.

Knowing that most writer's first submissions are rejected many times before they make it anywhere if they make it at all did not help the sinking of my stomach. My mind kept repeating the reality of what I should have expected, but my heart didn't care. Telling myself that my submission hadn't been perfect changed nothing. My heart didn't want to hear it.

It wanted to win.

Doubts, clawed monsters looking to make holes within my self-confidence, whirled inside my mind. Am I meant to do this? Do I really have what it takes to be a writer? Am I smart enough? Am I being delusional? Like superwoman trapped in a cage fight with kryptonite hanging around my neck, I faced off against these clawed monsters. Their words ripped at me, shredding my confidence. I stumbled. My defeat near at hand. I looked up and saw my dreams floating outside the cage. With each swipe of doubt's claws, they became more translucent. They were fading. So. Not. Happening. With a surge of my formidable will, I shook off  the kryptonite and sprang free from it's cloying weight. With freedom came the instant, monster killing, realization.

I don't write to win contests. I write because writing is fun and I love it. Why would I give that up because of one contest? How dare these doubts tell me otherwise.

Not having a nature that dwells on disappointments, I quickly reminded myself that another contest waited just around the corner. I have work to do if I want my submission to have a chance in that contest. But I am determined. I will revise, edit, and keep entering these contests until I see results. I am no quitter.

I am a writer. And I don't listen to clawed monsters.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

From Idea To Reality

It's been a little while since my last post. I've been so busy, I hadn't realized that my blog remained overlooked. The last couple of weeks have been busy. I am working hard at revising my book, writing a new short story, running my mommy group, and preparing to take over as President for my writing group.

Is it any wonder something got overlooked?

I am a list person. A long list sits on my desk for to-do's for all of these projects. I have so many ideas running through my head. Ideas for scenes to add/amend in my manuscript, ideas for short stories to increase my portfolio, ideas for how to improve my writing group, ideas for the history book I am creating for this year's PTA at my son's school of which I am the chair, and ideas for the local stay at home mommy group of which I am the organizer.

My lists help make sure these things all make the transition from idea to reality. Which is the best part, of course. An idea, not realized, is a sad waste. I don't like being sad or wasteful. *grin*

Do you have ideas bubbling in your head that need to make this same transition? Just knowing a friend who writes helped me to take my story idea and put it on paper. Now look at me. I have an entire manuscript only a few hundred revisions away from being ready to submit to agents and publishers. *girly screech*

I challenge you to look at that friend/co-worker/family member doing what you have always wanted and let them inspire you. Don't let your ideas, your dreams, be a sad waste.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This Week I Am Feeling A Little Evil

I decided to take this week off from the huge project that is my current manuscript. I need time to clear my mind and gain some perspective. At the same time, I definitely do NOT want to stop writing.

So I shall write my first short story.

I typically don't care for short stories, because they are evil. By evil, I mean they start in the beginning of some issue without giving any back story. They usually end before anything is really resolved and gloat on the life lesson they have taught you along the way. That totally drives me crazy as a reader. I must be a glutton for punishment though, because I continue to read them.

This week I am feeling a little evil. *grin*

I started my own short story and should have it finished tomorrow. I will, of course, let my few chosen critics read it for me and pass judgement. I am excited to see if I nailed the torture that is the short story or if I missed the mark by a mile. I'll be sure to share my lovely critic's opinions when I get them.

For now, I hope that even when your current MS has you stumped you won't quit writing. Rather, switch to something completely different for awhile. You'll be amazed at how refreshing it is. I sure am.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Hate The Word 'Is'

Today, I hate the word 'is' with a passion that I cannot begin to describe in words. I am currently combing my MS for weak words. By weak words, I mean those words that are overused or shouldn't be used at all. I had 583 'is' words in my MS. I now have 403.

Have I said that I hate that word?

Admittedly, the sentences I have taken them out of are 1000 times better. And that I do like, but the fact remains that I do not like editing. I'll do it anyway, because I like the end result.

Editing is tedious. I must admit that I really dislike this part of the writing process, but I keep telling myself that it will all be worth it when I can submit to agents a MS that I can be proud of. I have to tell myself this a million times a day as I comb through for the 60 weak words on the list my friend, Ang, made for me. Though I love her dearly, right now I don't think I like her or her list very much.

*Kidding of course, darling Ang.*

I hope I don't dream about that word attacking me in my sleep or something equally horrible. As vivid as my dreams tend to be, it wouldn't surprise me if an army of giant 'IS' words charged at me on horseback with swords raised. *laughs*

I currently have a couple of people reading my still imperfect MS and their feedback so far is awesome. My friend, Melanie, has a gift for helping me make a scene pop. She always pushes me to take a scene from pretty good to excellent. I am so thankful for friends like her.

Thanks so much to all those fabulous friends who listen when I need help getting unstuck or making a scene better. If you are writing, I hope you have a good group of friends as well. Oh, and watch out for those darn weak words. If you'd like my list, give me a shout and send me your email. Misery loves company, right!?!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nail Biting Wait

I have been writing, revising, and editing on my very first fantasy manuscript for exactly 11 months at the end of this week.

What a journey!

Though I am still editing, I have given it to a couple of trusted family members and friends to read for content. I look forward to hearing what they have to say. Are there any major flaws I have failed to catch myself? Do they like the overall story? Did they feel my protagonist/antagonist lacked interest? Is there clear development of the characters as the story progresses? Would they want to read the next book in the series?

What a nail biting wait!

I find myself oscillating between dread and anticipation. I have a long wait ahead of me. At 330 pages, even the fasted reader will need time. Patience has never been a virtue of mine. *sheepish grin*

My book is so close to being finished, dear followers. Thanks so much for staying with me through this long process. I look forward to beginning the process to get it published soon so that you all can finally read what I have written. So with a sick feeling in my stomach at that final thought, I bid you farewell until next time.

~Sabrina

Monday, October 17, 2011

Happy Dance!

***Jump - Twist - Fist Pump - Wiggle Wiggle - Twist - Stomp Stomp - Woop for Joy***

I hope you enjoyed my happy dance, because I just finished this draft of my manuscript. I am sure my fellow writers can imagine my joy at this moment. I feel a little light headed knowing that only a long list of revisions separate me from being publisher ready.

I think I'm going to hyperventilate! Where is that paper bag when you need it?

Though I still have work to do, I feel on top of the world knowing that it is all written. My brain is so excited that it is not capable of anything profound. I know my loyal fans are as excited as I am. So for now I sign off to go celebrate.

Revisions start tomorrow! Woot Woot!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

One week!

The current draft of my manuscript is finally within 3 chapters of being finished. I will start on the long list of revisions that still need my attention soon after, but it feels good to be able to say that I am within three chapters.

One week!

 I am so excited. The small group of people I have chosen to read the manuscript will be happy to know that I will be getting them a copy as soon as next week if all goes as planned.

I still have a ton of work to do, but I can see that tiny pinprick of light at the end of this long tunnel. And believe me when I say 'long'. At 95, 595 words and 309 pages long, this manuscript still needs a a lot of editing. Though I realize that this is not out of the ordinary for fantasy novels on an epic scope, I am not perfect and have already noticed moments of unnecessary redundancy.

So stay tuned! I am sure everyone will hear me roar in triumph as I pound out a happy dance when this draft is finished!(You know you just pictured how that would look! *grin*)

Thanks for following my blog. I hope you will share it on your facebook page and help me grow my platform.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Writing At Every Opportunity!

My friend and fellow writer, Angela Archer(right) and myself, waited in line for Twilight: Breaking Dawn I movie tickets at our local theater. We waited 4 hours. So what else was there to do but work on our current manuscripts! I actually wrote 4 to 5 pages during the wait.

Write at every opportunity is our motto!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Writing From Experience

My book is set in a medieval type world...meaning no modern technology. My characters use bows & arrows, knives, and swords. None of which I have any real experience with. 

How then am I to convincingly write about it?

I have been mulling over the idea of taking archery lessons the last couple of months. At last month's writer club meeting, I met a new member who just happens to be starting archery lessons. She told me the first lesson is free and they let me borrow the equipment. I told my brother, who unbeknownst to me, has a compound bow that he doesn't use. He is bringing it to me this weekend.

Do you ever feel like God is trying to tell you something?

I guess He thinks that I should write from experience, too! Now I just need to schedule my visit. I wonder if the hubs would be willing to join me? I think it would be a fun date night activity.

Next up: dagger fighting lessons. Anyone know where you would find a teacher for something like that? *grin*

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Best Work Always Comes After A Really Good Work Out

I have found that I am much more productive in producing pages for my book when I begin the morning in the gym. This morning I spent an hour and a half between the elliptical, weights, and working the abs on the mats. My mind feels awake and excited to work on my book. Even if my body is beginning to complain.

Loudly. *grin*

Something about wearing myself out with exercise just ignites the inner workings of my mind. The creative wheels start turning and my fingers race across the keys as they try to keep up.

My best work always comes after a really good workout.

Exercise is good for my self-esteem, my health, and my for my characters. They seem so eager to talk to me after an hour or so in the gym, or maybe I am just able to understand them better. I don't doubt the path they want to take and the answers to difficult sections jump out at me. The sun shines brighter, the air seems clearer, and my muse sings louder. At these moments of rightness, I know that the struggle to get myself out of bed in the morning is worth it.

Tomorrow morning when I groan as I get out of bed with stiff muscles, I will remind myself about the fabulous feeling of rightness that is waiting for me. My muse will whisper in my ear about the additional pages we will produce on the book. I will force myself to find my self-discipline. Try it. You may find exercise does the same for you.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Making Every Moment Count

I am having a busy month.

I am the historian for my son's elementary school PTA. As an avid scrapbook-er, it was the perfect way for me to participate without cutting into my writing time.

I received a call yesterday from the nominating chair of my writer's group asking me to be president for 2012. This one is a bit on the scary side for me, but I think it will be a fun experience.

These things, along with my role as organizer for one of the local stay at home mom groups keep me busy.

Every hour of every day is spoken for.

For example, I drop my son off at preschool at 8:45am, I go to the gym until 10:30, I pick my son up at 11:30. We enjoy lunch and playtime until 1:30pm, then I write until 6pm while my son naps and then my husband entertains him. Dinner at 6:30-ish and then the evening with my wonderful hubbie and son. Every Thursday I work at the model home in my neighborhood from 1pm to 6pm(this is a writer's dream job as I practically get paid to write). One evening every other week, I enjoy a scrapbook session with a friend. Once a month, I enjoy ladies night with my girlfriends. One Saturday a month is my writer's group meeting.

This month I have birthday parties every Saturday and Sunday of September.

I make every moment count. This busy schedule doesn't stress me out. I don't worry if I don't get to start writing at 1:30pm. I don't worry if I have to miss a day here and there at the gym. It's a schedule, but it is fluid. I adjust it as I need to. Every moment counts. I love it and I am happy.

Do you make every moment count? Are you doing what makes you happy?

Thanks so much for reading my blog. I hope that you will share it with friends you think might enjoy reading it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Slow Day

I spent five hours writing yesterday. A slow day in my book's progress. I have a whole 5 pages to show for my efforts.

*Please note sarcasm*

This is after deleting 5 pages of crap. I hate, hate, hate days like that. Most days I am fairly confident that I am a good writer, but then days like this trip me up. I knew what I was writing wasn't working, but I kept going for a lack of a better direction. The better direction hit me after I finished the scene. Of course.

I am working on the end of the book. It is harder than any other part of the book has been. I know where it needs to end...that last scene, but getting my characters to that point is hard. I have all these threads that need to be neatly tied up by the time I get there. That is what I am working on. Tying those small threads so that the book climaxes right.

My brain hurts.

So few pages left to type, yet I feel like I am... never. going. to. finish. Thank goodness for great friends who would be willing to kick my rear if I tried to stop. So I guess I'll quit complaining and procrastinating with you all.

It is time to write. Hopefully, I can produce more than 5 measly pages today.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Dear Distractions

Dear distractions,

You know who you are.

That excellent book I want so badly to finish reading.
That scrapbook my inner artist craves to work on.
That PTA event that needs volunteers.
That mommy group that needs its organizer.
Those friends I love to hang out with.
My child who only needs me to come save the world when I have gone into my office to write.
My dear husband who likes to come into the office and flick my ear or muss my hair when he thinks I need a 'break' from my writing.

I love you all, dearly. However, I have a goal to get this book sent to my trusted circle to be critiqued by the first of October.

In exactly four weeks.

So since this is my birth month, would you let my birthday present be uninterrupted time to write and finish?! Thanks so much. I would appreciate it.

~Sabrina

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Stubbornness Has Always Been The Source Of My Biggest Roadblocks In Life.

Feeling good after today. I made great progress on my book. Progress sure helps lift spirits when the metaphysical mud has been sucking at your feet. Writing happens in surges for me. I have periods of rapid progress followed by days of slow to no progress.

Today marked that switch. I finished a couple chapters after struggling on one for the last week. The slow periods usually happen when something needs to be removed and I am resistant.

My stubbornness has always been the source of my biggest roadblocks in life.

I always have to learn things the hard way because I think I know everything until I figure out I don't. As a child, my mom told me I would regret wanting to grow up so quickly. I just knew she was wrong, until I turned 18, moved out, and had to start paying my own bills. My dad told me I should wait to get married back in 2002, I said he was wrong. I discovered my error when I joined the divorce statistic in 2005. My mom told me my mind would change when I said I never wanted children, I said she was wrong. In 2007, God blessed my husband and I with the most beautiful baby boy. I love being a mom.

So it is with writing. My muse tells me that something isn't working for my story. I insist I can make it work. I spend days beating my head against that metaphysical brick wall, until finally I concede. As soon as I remove the offending scene, my muse and I move into perfect accord and the magic happens.

A new scene is born.

Suddenly, I am looking up at the clock. Five hours have passed. I have 20 or more pages to show for my efforts. So I get up and do a happy dance. What a fabulous day!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Self-Editing: A Process With No End

My friend, Angela, and I attended our monthly writer's group meeting yesterday. We were fortunate to hear Steffie Corcoran, Editor of the magazine Oklahoma Today, talk about self-editing. Ms. Corcoran emphasized the need for writers to think like an editor when polishing their manuscript.

I took notes and enjoyed what she had to say, but I must admit that my favorite moment of the meeting came when Ms. Corcoran had us do a writing exercise. We were asked to bring a piece of our current work in progress or we could choose to work on a piece she brought with her.

Ang and I both chose our own work.

We were told to take the first paragraph or two and rewrite it. The point being to come up with a fabulous opening sentence. Initially, I sat in my chair completely stumped. I liked my lead line. Then I remembered one of the things Ms. Corcoran had just told me. "Kill all your precious angels. If you are emotionally attached to a lead, sentence, or character then get rid of it." So I re-read the first two pages of my manuscript and did as I was told.

I got rid of the lead line I liked so much.

Imagine my amazement when what she said actually worked!!! I not only came up with a better opening sentence, but I now have a whole new opening paragraph for my book. Though the other was not terrible, this is so much better. I know you are curious, so why not share. Here is the old and the new opening lines for my prologue, which is the very first page of my book.

Old lead line: Ashra crouched invisibly against the wall behind some of the Zimri-Lim soldiers.

New lead line: Ashra watched her best friend fall to the floor in a puddle of blood.

I'll admit that when I first read this new and improved opening sentence I felt a little irritated with myself. This prologue was supposed to be finished. Yet here I sat after one writing exercise finished and proof that Ms. Corcoran was right yet again when she said, "Self-editing is a process with a start, but no end." Though I'll eventually reach the point where it will have to be good enough, that point is obviously not right now.
So I'll continue suppressing the need to pull my hair out when something else I think is finished, turns out not to be.

Thanks to Steffie Corcoran for her wonderful advice on self-editing and thank you for reading my blog. I hope you have enjoyed its contents and will share it with friends that you think might be interested.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Writing Buddies

Writing Buddies.

You know who they are if you are also a writer.

Those priceless people who are not just friends or family that support your dream. They are people who have the dream to be a writer like you. They understand when you send them something to read, you are really sending them something to critique. They understand that you are waiting on pins and needles to hear what they have to say, so they do not put off reading it for weeks. They understand when you hit a metaphysical wall and freak out. They also help you pull the wall apart brick by brick.

I have two of the greatest writing buddies in existence. At least that is my opinion. If they were your writing buddies, I know you would agree with me.

 Angela and Erin are two great writers who have the same dream that I do. We support each other through the hard stuff that our non-writer friends just do not understand. We support each other when one of us feels the need to go on about our book because something just is not quite right. We support each others need to talk about our writing ups and downs no matter how many times we already have before.

Here are my two writing buddies blogs. They have fantastic works in progress. I know becasue I have read them. I took the liberty of putting my favorite pictures of them with the blog address so you could see the faces of two future published authors. Aren't they beautiful?! Believe me when I say that this beauty is inside and out! I can never thank them enough for the invaluable feedback and support they give me on a daily basis.


Angela Christina Archer http://authorangelachristinaarcher.wordpress.com/



 


                        Erin York http://www.bloglovin.com/m/2658060/271341295/fb


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Half Full vs Half Empty...The Epic Battle

After this last weekend, I am drained. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday I yo-yo'd between extreme ends of 'glass is half-full' vs. 'glass is half-empty' frame of mind. In other words, I hit the metaphysical wall and completely stalled out.

Most of the time writing this book is so easy. The writing just seems to flow out of me like water. The ideas just seem to be sitting there waiting on me to let my guard down so they can flood my mind with all the possibilities.

The last four days were different. I experienced an epic battle between knowing I can do this and feeling like I am delusional for daring to think that I even have a fraction of the talent needed to write a project like mine. I felt bruised and beaten.

Every time I would sit in front of my computer to write, my head would begin pounding. I tried to force the words for three days. Negative thoughts flooded my mind. I felt depressed. I had no idea where to go with the scene I was supposed to write.

My world wanted to come crashing down. Negativity cut me to ribbons with its razor sharp sword, doubt. My glass was definitely half-empty. I wallowed in my own self-pity. Then the thought, "Maybe I should quit" floated through my mind and something in me rose up like a tsunami of rage.
I lifted my metaphysical sword and attacked. I AM NO QUITTER! I parried and thrust my way past doubt. I shredded negativity.

I reached out for support from my writing buddy and good friend, Erin.

Why had I not done this sooner? I have no idea. However, if it happens again, which I am sure it will, I will make sure to reach out sooner. Not only did she understand, but she suggested a solution to my problem. That terrible wall on which I had run up against could be scaled!

So today, I am armed with dagger in one hand and sword in the other. The 'glass half-empty' side has lost this battle. My world is safe...for now.

After all...the glass is ALWAYS full, isn't it!

Thanks Erin York! You're the best!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Favorite Books

I have been told by other authors that one of things an author should remember is to KEEP READING. It is so easy to get wrapped up in your own writing and not make time to just enjoy reading a book that is not your own. I thought this was common sense, but I have run into writers who say they do not read as much if ever since they began writing.

How sad! There is so much you can learn from reading work from other writers...especially within your own genre.

I have been so caught up in my own writing that I failed to realize until two days ago that my favorite author is releasing a fourth book to my favorite series! What!?! How could I have been so negligent?! At the same time, I wish I could go on being ignorant of this until November when the new book comes out, because I am ready to run out and purchase it now!

I will admit to not reading as much as I work to get my own debut manuscript finished, but I still manage to find time. I would not dream of ignoring the release of this book. Every time I read the Mistborn Trilogy or any other book, I learn something new. Brandon Sanderson is truly a fabulous fantasy author. I can only hope my work will be enjoyed by someone as much as I have enjoyed his books.

If you are a writer, I hope that you still find time to read for pleasure. Imagine the worlds you are missing if you do not! Good luck with your writing, but most of all...happy reading!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Progress Is Like A Wave In The Ocean

Progress is like a wave in the ocean. When the tide is in, I make so much progress. But when it is out, I feel like I am slogging through wet sand. Yesterday was a 'tide is in' kind of day. Today? Knee deep in wet sand about covers it.

I am so excited about where my story is going. I made a big change in my plot. It set me back a bit, but I can already tell it is worth it. It took having my head metaphorically banged on a brick wall before I would admit that the change needed to be made, but I must admit the pain was worth it.

I feel as though I should share something with my readers from my book. Something that I hope will wet your appetite. So, I will share my hook line. It is the line that hopefully will reel an agent into becoming interested in my work. I came up with it on my own, but I would not have tried without Bill Bernhardt's insistance. Enjoy the teaser.

From The Severing by Sabrina A Fish
---Ruark is summoned to his father's dungeon to watch his mother die.---

Does this make you want to read more? I hope so.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My muse needs a new watch!

I just returned from a 3-day vacation. I feel rejuvenated and ready to write after swimming, hiking, and hanging with my family.

When I left Tuesday, I was mulling over an issue with my book's plot that did not make me happy. As I was driving the 2 1/2 hour trip to my destination, it became a little more clear what I needed to do. I was so excited. Since I was driving and, therefore, could not write it down, I called a dear friend. Not only did she answer her phone, but she also agreed to write it down and email it to me. Thanks, Ang!

I arrived at my destination, greeted family members, and unloaded my stuff. I forced myself to push the book to the back burner and concentrate on relaxation. That night I sat straight up in bed from a heavy sleep. The plot issue was now perfectly clear. I grabbed my phone, cursing that I had made myself leave my computer at home, and emailed myself notes. I looked at the time when I was done...3:30am.

 My muse seriously needs a new watch!

She(the muse, of course) did not want to be pushed to the back burner again. She chattered to me all night, refusing to let me sleep. I now have several emails.

I really enjoyed the fun and relaxation, but am extremely eager to get into my office tomorrow and write. So is my muse!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sad Endings

      Today was the last day of my level 2 workshop and I must admit that I am a bit sad. The last few weeks I have been so caught up in the intensity that is Bill Bernhardt's writing workshop. I didn't realize how fast it was flying by. Now it is over. I already miss it. We had a farewell lunch today and I will admit to feeling a little teary eyed as I told Bill goodbye. He really is such a fabulous person. It is very apparent that he loves teaching new writers all of his hard learned tricks. My book is much more polished and will only continue to get more so as I apply what I learned to the rest of it. Thank you, Bill.
      I now have a fabulous synopsis, an incredible query, and most of the important parts of my book are finished. So close to being finished, yet so much work left to do. I even have an outline for a completely different book.

      My friend, Erin, stayed with me during the entire workshop this week. It was fabulous having someone to bounce ideas off of and have read my work before I submitted it to Bill each night. I am truly going to miss having her here. Thanks, Erin, for being so awesome.
      The sense of family I have for these wonderful people with whom I have spent such an intense week of baring my soul is amazing. I am truly going to miss them all. I am glad they will be only an email or phone call away.

      I am super excited to use all the ideas from this workshop even more on my book. What a blessing that I was in the right place and the right time and met Bill. God truly has blessed me in my life!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My version of scene arranging!

Most writers use notecards or sticky notes to write their individual scenes on in order to arrange them the way they want, but I have found that typing them up on paper and then cutting them out into individual strips does just as well for me. Here I have them arranged on my son's art table, complete with his personal art on its surface.
I was studying the table and noticed that beautiful art, so I had to share with you all. My husband made 2 of these 6 foot tables so my son still has one to play on, but this one is mine. Though you cannot see all of it, it works perfectly for helping me see all of the many many scenes that are in my book!

Feel free to share you method of scene arranging. You may help some other new writer find a method that works better for them!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Writing Despite Distractions

On the last day of the workshop I recently attended, Bill Bernhardt gave each of us the official "Writer's Contract" to sign. As he is also an attorney, signing the contract makes it morally binding.

As soon as I purchase a document frame for it, I am planning to hang it on my office wall as the quintessential reminder. I think that holiday weekends like this one are definitley going to be the real test. The fact that I am managing to stick to it, is telling.

Yesterday, despite family 4th of July plans, I got myself up in the morning and dedicated 3 hours to writing. I am so proud of myself. It would be so easy to say, "Well Sabrina, you said you would write at least 30 hours a week, so theoretically you don't have to write today as long as you write tomorrow." But I haven't had any problems with motivation.

Though it is a ton of work, I genuinely enjoy writing. I have found that if my mind is not actively engaged in another thought or action, then it defaults back to thinking about some aspect of my book.

Do you have a dream you are chasing but are having a hard time committing to? Well, how about drawing up a contract for yourself and having your spouse, partner, or someone else you trust witness for you? My husband is my witness and he has been fabulous in supporting me, motivating me, and generally checking in on occasion to see what progress I have made. I hope you have someone in your life like that. Remember to frame that contract and hang it on the wall. Seeing a reminder like that everyday will do wonders for helping you not 'forget'!!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Fabulous Experience

Today ended the most intense, inspiring, and incredible writing workshop. I will owe Bill Bernhardt for the rest of my life. He has helped me to refine my work into something that I can not only be proud of, but that I can also say is publishable.

I met the most amazing group of women, whose critiques have inspired me to create bigger and better scenes. It is amazing to be able to call each one of them friends and know that anytime I need help with overcoming any walls, they will be there for me!

I am excited to return for Bill's Level 2 class on July 11th with my friends Angela and Erin. It promises to be just as enlightening. I plan to work diligently until then to finish my novel's 1st draft and begin revisions.

Thanks so much to William(Bill) Bernhardt for such an amazing workshop!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Writing Workshop = Mushy Brain(at the end of each day)

It is 10:30pm and I just finished the homework assigned at my writing workshop today.

I am attending the William Bernhardt 5 Day Writing Workshop this week and in class from 9am to about 1pm each day. I have been doing homework since I arrived home at around 2pm except for a short 15 minute break to fix dinner. (Yeah, it was pretty much a fend for yourself night in my house...yet somehow I still ended up preparing the 4 year old slave driver that runs my house his meal as well).

I am learning so much and really enjoying the experience! I can already tell my book is better, more refined. Mr. Bernhardt really is an excellent teacher. Reading about the proper way to set up the perfect story in a book is a great resource, but finding a great teacher to give you the nuances that you don't completely understand is absolutely priceless.

Having said that, this teacher really loves assigning homeworkd which has caused my brain to become total mush. So much that I am going to keep this post shortened for fear of rambling on and repeating myself. I just wanted to check in and let you all know that I am working feverishly to produce a beautiful piece of work that I can enjoy sharing with you all!

P.S. I have a friend, Laura, who has a 3 year old that is in serious need of prayer. Please join me tonight in praying for her little boy, Jackson. Please pray that he, his mommy, and his daddy are stregthened in this time of need and that little Jackson's health be restored. Thank you.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Websites, Blogs, Forums, and Progress

Though I have been raised in the computer and Internet era, I must admit that I have managed to skate by on the basics. Most of you will know what I am talking about...e-mail, online shopping, and social networking. I did not have any interest in building pages for anything on the Internet, I simply wanted to look at the ones already out there.

All of that has changed, however, because I now want to be a published author and in today's market that means getting out there and creating my fan base, or platform before I actually begin the publishing process. That my friends, in an intimidating process. It is not that doing this is difficult, but that there is so much to take in while attempting it. So blogs, forums, and websites have become a real part of my thought process' as I get closer to finishing my first novel.

Blogs and Forums have been time consuming, but I have managed them. I hope you noticed the updated look on this blog and like what you see because lots of trial and error occurred until I got it to look this good. *grin* The website, however, is not something I am looking forward to tackling. Luckily I have a friend of a friend that is willing to help me, but I still hesitate to jump into that one just yet. I would like to be able to say that my manuscript is finished and I am currently submitting it for publishing before I feel I should have a website, otherwise what do I put on the thing? My friend, Angela and her friend Regina make good points for doing it now, but I am still mulling that one over for now.

I have made huge progress in my writing this week, despite the time spent on my blog and forum endeavors. I realized that my book was winding down and I only have about 3 or 4 chapters left to write before I am finished with my rough draft. The editing and refining will need to begin after that, but to say I am finally almost done with the first draft is euphoric for me!!! I must admit that when I realized this I stood from my desk chair and did a major happy dance. That's right! I looked like a cross between a chicken flapping its wings and mickey mouse doing the hot dog dance. Needless to say, it was a fine moment in my life. Then I sat back down and called my grandma, who is a huge fan already of course and loves to get excited with me when I feel the need.

I hope soon I can be updating my blog to announce that I finally finished it, but until then I thank you for caring about my journey to getting there enough to read this blog each time I post. I hope all of my friends and fans out there have a blessed day!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Writer's Group...Strongly Encouraged!

   Today was the monthly meeting for my writer's group, Oklahoma City Writer's Inc. If you are a new writer and haven't looked up and joined a writer's group in your a area, I would strongly suggest that you do so! It is such a good way to network with other writers AND learn things associated with your craft.
   My group likes to host workshops for the meetings in the summer months. This month author Carolyn Wall spoke on 'how to create suspense in fiction' and it was fabulous! She sent us all home with an assignment asking us to take her formula for creating suspense and overlay it on an outline for something we are working on. When told by her editor that it was time for her to write the BIG ONE, she immediately pulled all the books off her shelf that were fabulous and whose authors were still remembered and asked herself...what do they all have that has made them the BIG ONE for their author. The answer was simple: suspense.
   She listed several books that were good for their suspense including To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Help by Kathryn Stockett. She also suggested a movie we should all see, Reign Over Me.
   I always feel as though I know so much more about writing after attending my group's meetings! I hope you will get on the computer and google your local writing groups also! DO NOT SIT IN THE BACK ALONE! Introduce yourself to the other members. You never know who you could meet that will play an instrumental role in making you a best selling author!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Synopsis...ugh!

   I decided that I want to submit my first 2 chapters into a writing contest my writing group hosts each year in September. So I need to write a synopsis. Now until the conference I attended in May, I had no idea these were considered a HUGE nightmare to writers. However, I now fully understand why and I must agree that I have a serious hate going for the synopsis.
   After thinking about it, the hate writers have for the synopsis does make sense. In a synopsis a writer is condensing their whole book into a 1, 2, or 8 page summary, depending on what the situation requires. How in the world is that supposed to happen? I spend almost 5 hours last Thursday trying to figure that out and when I was done, I had a terrible 2 page draft. I mean it really was embarrassing how bad it was. The next morning I was brushing my teeth trying to gear up to tackle the thing again and I admit that my eyes might have teared up at the notion. How could I be a good writer if I couldn't even do this one little thing? So I decided to leave it alone for a few days and go back to writing on my book until I could think about it without having my stomach heave.
   I am sure you could imagine my horror when earlier this week I received an email from Bill Bernhardt about the workshop I am attending on the 25th. He asked that I send him my first 20 pages and a ONE PAGE SYNOPSIS! My stomach hit my knees, I felt like I was going to be sick, and I wanted to hide under the covers on my bed for the rest of my life. After that brief(it may have lasted 10 minutes) panic, I pulled up my big girl panties and got down to business. Somehow I managed to get my pathetic attempts edited down to one page and I sent it to Mr. Bernhardt along with my first 20 pages. I'll admit that it wasn't very good, but I thought, hey, what is the class for right?!!!
   The day after I sent the horrid thing, I was talking with my friend, Angela and I had an epiphany. I had been trying to write a synopsis for my entire trilogy, rather than just one book! WTH?! While it still wasn't easy, I must admit that it went so much better. So now I have a decent synopsis that I will just have to take with me to class in order to redeem myself AND I can quit worrying about it so much! Praise be!

Side Note: Thank you so much for reading my blog! I hope you will click to follow me below and help me to grow my platform, or fan base for the day when I finish my book and start the publishing process!!! ~Sabrina

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Welcome To My 1st Blog Post!

   I am a writer and aspiring author, but I have only been on this journey for about 8 months. I discovered at a writing conference recently that 8 months is, in fact, a very short time to be pursuing this dream. Since highschool, I have thought that being an author would be a something I would enjoy, but my own self-defeating voice would always brush that aside as unrealistic. So I continued to ignore that tiny voice that said it would be fun as I went through highschool graduation, choosing a degree in college, and colledge graduation. After college I became a mother for the first time and yet again the voice was ignored. Then, I met my friend Angela. She was working on her first novel and wanted me to read what she had. As I would talk with her about her book, that tiny voice began to grow again. If an average person like Angela could write a book, why not an average person like me?
   I love science fiction/fantasy and have always had vivid dreams and ideas for what would make a good story. So I started writing them down in secret. I was afraid to tell anyone what I was doing, too afraid they would laugh at me. My first story quickly began to take shape and it wasn't long before I began to type it out on my computer. I began to write my first book at the end of November 2010 and now have 11 chapters complete and a shaky synopsis. Along with my friend, Angela, I have joined a local writing group, attended a local conference, and will be attending William Bernhardt's writing workshop in a couple of weeks.
   Now I have written this all very nonchalantly, and if you believe that it has all gone as smoothly as I just made it sound, please hit yourself in the forehead for daring to think such a thing. Now wasn't that fun?! In fact, this journey has been so full of emotional ups and downs, nervousness, and stress that I am not really certain how I still have my sanity. I can be certain that I owe my family HUGE kudos for all of thier support. I would like to think that without them I wouldn't have scrapped the whole thing, but you know, I am really not sure!