Needing Time Out to Examine My Writing Life

Photo/KarenJordan

A few weeks ago, I invited our StoryWriting Studio reader to join me in my “40-Day Challenge: Telling the Stories That Matter Most.” As part of that challenge, I discovered that I needed to take some time out from my on-going writing projects to examine why I continue to drop the ball on some of my most important projects. I need to resolve that problem. But instead of completely disappearing from my personal blog and the StoryWriting Studio, I decided to share a few post from the past that might give you more insight into my journey as a writer.

Writing Life: Taking Time Out

When you have a flat tire, you must stop long enough to change it. (Dan Jordan)

Photo credit/mikepetrucciWhen life sends us a “flat tire,” it forces us to take the time to stop and deal with it. If we don’t, it might destroy the tire and the rim. Then, we will have an even bigger problem.

Flat tires. The “flat tires” of life are different for each person. You may discover another problem with your car, like a strange knock in your car’s engine. Or you might find a virus on your computer. But you’d better not ignore them.

My husband manages a lot of the business problems at work. And when people get computer viruses, they often tell him that they don’t have time to deal with them. But he usually goes straight to the root of their problem. He reminds them that if they don’t stop and take care of the virus issue, eventually it will corrupt their work and shut their computer down.

Health. It’s hard to just stop what you’re doing at times, right? Even if you experience a health issue, like chest pains, a back injury, the flu, or an allergic reaction to something? In fact, I almost killed my husband with my guacamole once—he had an allergic reaction to some overripe avocados. So, we both had to stop in the middle of our dinner to deal with his unexpected breathing problem.

I’ve learned that I can’t ignore symptoms of health problems, especially as I’m getting older. But even if you have a newborn infant, you can’t ignore some symptoms. My youngest grandson experienced a bout with the RSV virus. I’m so grateful that his mom didn’t ignore his first symptoms—he might not have survived without her intervention.

Spiritual. You can apply the same truth to a spiritual problem. Sometimes, I refuse to stop and seek God for guidance. But God’s Word encourages us, “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God … above everything” (Psalm 46:10 MSG).

Work. So, when I complained about some work-related problems to my husband recently, he just repeated his “famous” statement to me. “Karen, when you have a flat tire, you must stop long enough to change it.”

Honestly, I had ignored Dan’s advice earlier, and my “flat tire” had put me out of commission for awhile in my work. And for me as a writer, that meant totally laying down my work and seeking God for new direction. But I still struggled with the decision, since I knew that I couldn’t explain my decision to everyone. “What would people think? I’ve made all these commitments!”

Promise. Then, I remembered a promised from God’s Word: “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met” (Matt. 6:33 TNIV).

I hope you remember to stop and check out the “leaky tires” in your life. Don’t wait, like I did, until you’re stranded in the middle of a busy highway, without a car jack or any help in sight.

Photo1/KarenJordan
Photo2/mikepetrucci

What changes to you need to make in your writing life to “tell the stories that matter most”?

Countdown to Christmas: Workshop and Lunch

Countdown2Xmas.pdf.110714Want to learn how to make unique Christmas gifts and discover new ways to write special family stories?

Karen Jordan and Mary May Larmoyeux will help you prepare for a Christmas that your family will long remember.

Ticket price of $30 per person includes workshop, lunch, a copy of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild’s Heart, holiday recipes, and more.

Click on this link to purchase online. Register online by November 4.

For more information, email Mary at legacyconnection@windstream.net.

 

National Novel Writing Month

- by Mary May Larmoyeux -

Pen_NotebookHave you ever heard people talk about NaNoWriMo? Well … that’s short for National Novel Writing Month which is the month of November.

I’ve known several people who have actually done this! Written a novel in one month!

Being part of NaNoWriMo will enable you to track your own progress and be encouraged online by other writers.

Here’s where you can find out all about this:  http://nanowrimo.org/

Read more:

7 Writing Tips We Learned From Our Dogs

Imagine Winning a Publishing Deal

12 1/2 Writing Rules

40-Day Challenge: Telling the Stories That Matter Most

Karen Jordan:

Join me on the WordServe Water Cooler for the “40-Day Challenge: Telling the Stories That Matter Most.”

What is keeping you from telling the stories that matter most? 

Originally posted on WordServe Water Cooler:

Photo/KarenJordanIn your busy life, how do you determine which things matter most?

A close examination of our priorities helps a lot. But often in the process of prioritizing, we realize that we’ve neglected some of our greatest concerns—like our health, marriage, children, or faith.

Priorities. As a writer, I have dropped the ball on some of my most important projects. I rationalize my failure to follow through with lame excuses. But I sometimes struggle staying focused on my main objective—telling the stories that matter most.

My daughter Tara phoned me with a similar complaint about her home life. “I can’t seem to get to the things that matter most to me.”

As Tara voiced her frustration, I understood her dilemma. Day after day, she faces the impossible task of meeting her family’s needs, having four small children in her home.

Prayer. The same issues haunt me, even though we have…

View original 401 more words

Don’t Write and Drive

I confess I’ve done it. Notebook staged precariously on the console, eyes flitting back and forth as I mostly scrawl without looking in order to capture the thought before it can escape. But it wasn’t the smartest thing I’d ever done.

Now I use the recorder in my phone, hands free of course, to make sure I save the idea as well as the lives around me.

Sometimes looking back helps us think forward, and a comical view makes us take serious pause. Writers can’t always control when an inspirational thought hits, in the shower, during an important meeting, while driving a car. But we must control how and when we put our words down — otherwise our creative endeavors could turn dangerous, or make us look as silly as those in the short video below.

Don’t write and drive! Have you ever done something dumb in order to capture a great creative thought?

Anita Fresh Faith

Have You Ever Thought About ePublishing?

Nancy Downing and Mary Larmoyeux hold book The Grandparent Connection- by Mary May Larmoyeux -

Have you ever thought about publishing an eBook? Well, my friend Nancy Downing (who has been named a USA Today Teacher of the Year) and I did just that.

But to be quite honest with you, I was terrified of formatting our eBook myself, and pushing the “publish” button.

Yes, I had heard others speak about how they had made their eBook dreams come true. Yes, I had heard about the wave of ePublishing. But one question haunted me: Could I really do it?

But with the encouragement of my wonderful husband and a friend, prayers, a great how-to article by Katelyn Kelley, and of course the easy-to-follow information on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, I actually formatted Nancy’s and my book for Kindle and it’s published today!

The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild’s Heart has now been a reality for five days!

My heart right now is filled with gratitude for family and friends who encouraged Nancy and me along the way. One of the Facebook posts that touched my heart was by one of my sons. He shared the picture of Nancy and me that’s on this post and said: “You know how moms always say… ‘That’s my son!’ Well, now I get to say, ‘YEP! That’s my mom!’ If you’re a grandparent, have a grandparent or know a grandparent check this out.'”

And then my sweet daughter-in-law spread the word. She said: “Today I was in my kid’s class and noticed she was using a bookmark made by Nana that had a Bible verse and marked the day of her baptism. Mary is one intentional grandmother! Check out her book!”

And a friend I once taught with shared our news by sharing Nancy’s and my picture: “My friend, the writer.”

I could go on and on.

I am not a marketer and hate to promote myself. But in this world of social media it’s not too hard to get the word out about a new book. All an author needs is a little help from loved ones and friends!

If you’ve ever thought about publishing an eBook, you can do it! After all, that’s what a friend who ePublished told me. And I was crazy enough to believe it.

Copyright © 2014 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Read More:

After You Sign the Contract
Writing Survivor Tips
The Juggling Act of Marketing While You Write

After You Sign the Contract

You did it! You succeeded in acquiring an agent, your book sold, and you just signed your contract. Ahhh. Life is amazing.

But…

David Schwartz Magic of Thinking Big

Little Thoughts Keep Your Writing Small

There’s more work to do. Maybe the hardest work of all. This is where an author truly needs encouragement, practical ideas, and inner strength. But it all starts with thoughts.

“Success is determined not so much by the size of one’s brain as it is by the size of one’s thinking.” The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

Allowing any task to become daunting can deter us from doing all we are capable of. Especially when there’s a lot at stake — like the completion of a life’s dream. I know, I almost let it happen to me.

I was approximately 85% finished with my final manuscript and three weeks from deadline. Then I froze. There’s no reasonable explanation I can offer as to why. My outline was solid, and until that morning, my words flowed smoothly.

At first, I attributed it to exhaustion. After all, I was still working over sixty hours a week as the general manager of a large river resort, and it was early September. But after taking a couple of extra days off, catching up on rest, and trying again, still no go.

I panicked. A swell of fear felt like it was swamping over me. In a choked voice, I told my husband, “I guess I’ll send the advance money back.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I can’t finish.” I felt my chin quiver. “I don’t know why I ever thought I could write a book. It isn’t good enough to send in, and I can’t get any new words on the page.”

“I thought you wanted this.”

I ran out of the room. My husband meant well, and he was right. It was what I wanted, but in that moment, I didn’t know how to get it done.

First Hired Last Fired

Available online, at Barnes and Noble, and select midwest Walmart Stores

The next morning, I awoke feeling no less anguished, but one thing had changed. My determination not to give up. My husband’s final words on the subject resonated in my heart. I did want this. So I got on my knees and thanked God for helping me finish what He had started. Then I took advice from my own book, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market, and resolved to get the job done, regardless of how I felt.

I won’t lie and tell you things suddenly got easy. Those final pages were excruciating, and to this day, I can pick them out of my book by the weakness I see in the sentences forced into existence. But I did it. Exactly on my deadline date, I submitted the full manuscript according to contract. And I learned something.

I’m not the first author to experience soul-crushing panic deep into the book writing journey. Many have relayed similar experiences, including best-seller Michael Hyatt.Michael Hyatt Video

But I also learned how to push past my fears, and whether the world likes it or not, to put the message out there. It was hard, but the satisfaction is sweeter than my earlier efforts and emotions.

I’m not sure where you are on the path to publication. But if you’re new to the process, be prepared for some emotional bumps after you sign the contract. And remember — sometimes we need to do what we love, versus what feels safe.

Have you ever panicked in the middle of a big accomplishment? It’s never too late to start again.

Anita Fresh Faith

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