Thursday, December 27, 2012

This Is It

Here we are, another year is almost over. 2012 is coming to a close and 2013 is knocking at the door.

For me, the week between Christmas and New Year has always been a time to reflect on the past year and think about making resolutions for the New Year. To look back at all I have accomplished and to plan for all the things I hope for yet.
"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called
Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day." - Edith Lovejoy Pierce, Poet, B. 1904
The end of the year can be a stressful time for many people. Because we’re spending so much time thinking about making resolutions and what we’ve accomplished, sometimes people can’t help but think on all the things they’re behind on too.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

How Christmas Anticipation Should Be Utilized in Writing

Christmas is one day of the year that can evoke strong imagery in the minds of many people.

Usually, the portrait is similar in everyone’s minds and contains some variation of the following: white, wintery wonderland-type scenery; trees decked out in sparkles and lights; carols being sung; time with family; bright bows and boxes wrapped in colored paper.

There’s also a feeling that is pretty universal. It’s what keeps people looking forward to this time of the year all year long.


You know what I’m talking about. It’s waiting for Christmas morning to finally get here, to rip into those gifts that have been protected by the branches of that evergreen tree…until that moment. Then there’s the excitement of what will be found beneath those ribbons and bows, veiled by the wrapping paper. We can’t help but let our imaginations run wild with what we hope may be beneath that paper.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Author Interview with Felicia Tatum

Some people labor for years, trying to capture their book on paper. But for newly published author Felicia Tatum, it took less than a year to dream up an idea (literally!), write, edit, and publish.  

The Twitterspher introduced Felicia and I earlier this year and I was able to watch, through social media, as she rediscovered her passion for writing and traveled along her self-publishing journey. I’ve seen her go through an emotional roller coaster, from the joys of story creation to the frustrations of editing.

On November 30th, Felicia debuted her first novel THE WHITE AURA and I’m excited to share an interview with her about this amazing journey to publication.

Me: Hey Felicia! Thank you so much for coming to my blog today! I’m excited to get to help share your story of publishing your first book. This has to be an exciting time for you!
Felicia Tatum: Hi, Amanda! Thanks for having me. It is such an exciting time :) I'm on cloud nine!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Very Inspiring Blog Award

First off this week, thank you so much to fellow writer and blogger EM Castellan for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blog Award! EM is a very inspiring person herself. She is currently seeking representation for her YA High Fantasy The Last Queen. I’ve had the pleasure of beta reading some of her work and, let me just say, it is good.

Keep an eye on this writer, folks.

Anyway, as part of accepting this award, I need to share seven things about myself. So, without further ado, here I am:

1)    If you’ve followed my blog for a while (or ever read any of my ‘About Me’ page) you’ll know that I was homeschooled and that I grew up on a farm. It’s a life that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Home Stretch!

Hey everyone! I’m deep in the NaNoWriMo word war trenches right now, so I apologize for not having a real blog post this week. While writing like crazy, I’m trying not to go crazy!

As of the writing of this post, I’m only a few thousand words away from being declared a winner of my first ever National Novel Writing Month challenge! …But, I’m just far enough away from ‘the end’ that I still stand a chance at losing.

Wait. Scratch that. At this point in the game, I’m not allowed to think like that.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks: Half Empty, Half Full or What?

Cute turkey, photo by me!
"If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul." – Rabbi Harold Kushner

A friend told me a tale last week. He shared a story of a time he was involved in a group of people who were debating the philosophies behind that age-old question: “Is the glass half empty or is the glass half full?”

They were debating the question to learn how people’s brains process things differently.

Now, I like to consider myself as a “glass half full” type of person, by what my friend’s response was to that conversation from their story was this: “Hey, I’m just happy I have a glass!”

This year has been full of ups and downs for me. I’ve been faced with challenges, the likes of which I’d never imagined having to face. I used to think that when a person reached a certain age, they were done growing up. It would seem life wanted to prove me otherwise this past year.

Yet, as we’re in the season of thanksgiving, I find myself giving thanks for the most elementary of things.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Point of NaNo

During pre-NaNo, I heard a lot of people criticizing the ever-popular writing program. Their point was always something along the lines that NaNoWriMo focused too much on producing high word count which resulted in bad writing.

Awesome and inspiring quote.
But that’s the thing. The idea of NaNo isn’t how pretty the prose of your novel is on December 1st when you sit down to reread it for the first time. That’s not the point.

Well then. What is the point? 

No one, not even the greats, is going to turn out a best seller in thirty days. No one can produce a great first draft that requires no revisions.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ways to Speak Out – A Guest Post

Today I’m hosting the gals from over at Moxie Writers for the Speak Out Against Book Tour, bringing awareness to the issues of bullying and teen dating violence. Authors Rebecca Green Gasper and Susan Oloier write about those topics in their books Break From You and Outcast. I am excited to help raise awareness for these issues on this blog tour for my friends and loved ones who have fallen victim to bullying and abuse.

Every year, millions of youth will become victims of violence. Some of the most common forms of violence are bullying and dating abuse.

One in four teens will be bullied, and one in three teens will become a victim of dating violence.

And the problems are all too often ignored. Eighty-five percent of the time no one will intervene with bullying, and over eighty-one percent of parents believe that dating abuse is not a problem.

Here are ways to speak out against teen violence:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Marrying NaNoWriMo

It’s taking everything I’ve got to write this post. I mean, it is November after all. I should be NaNo’ing!
As of the writing of this post, I am on track with my goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days, but I foresee myself getting behind very soon. What, with my sister’s wedding being tomorrow, I doubt I’ll have time to do any writing for a few days.

Today I’ll be helping decorate the church, the reception area and the dance hall. The rehearsal is tonight also. And tomorrow… I don’t even want to think about everything that has to be done before the “I do’s” take place.
Can the same thing of this quote be said of writing?
While there will be lots of joy and merriment in my sister’s wedding, my NaNoWriMo novel will not be far from my mind. Because while my sister is stressing out about details of her wedding day, I’ll be stressing out about my missing plot ending.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Just One

It’s November 1st, also known as NaNoWriMo, day one.


Today is the first day of a very long month. Thirty days is going to go by very quickly. It’ll help if you get used to the idea of having a lot of work to do.

The challenge of National Novel Writing Month is to write 50,000 words in thirty days. That means writing at least 1,667 words each day for the month of November, or about six pages. It’s overbearing to think in those terms, but I’ve found it easier to take in if broken into simpler terms.

One word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page, one chapter.

One book…in one month.

That’s my goal for November. And while that goal may be made up of 50,000 parts, for today I’m concentrating on tackling one thing at a time. Today I’m locking up my inner critic and putting away all the rules, all that self-doubt, all the questions – Is this story really ready to be told yet? Do you know these characters, this world, as well as you think you do? 

Can you really write 50,000 words in thirty days?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Final Countdown

It’s the final countdown, and I’m not talking about Europe or their hit single.

Don’t tell me you don’t have that song stuck in your head now.

Yes I know it's a catchy tune. You’re welcome.

No, I mean there’s only a week left until the beginning of National Novel Writing Month and I must admit I’m beginning to get a little uneasy.

NaNoWriMo must be daunting task for someone who knows what they’re doing, let alone for someone who is having a hard time wrapping their brain around their chosen NaNo project.

With only seven days remaining to prepare, I’ve got a lot yet to do. But if I work everything out right, seven days should be just right.

So I've put together a list of seven things I need to do yet before the beginning of National Novel Writing Month.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Next Big Thing

If you haven’t already heard the news, I’m excited to announce here that I’ve finished my novel!

The first draft of Silent Destruction weighs in at just over 57,000 words, but trust me when I say it’s going to take a rewrite (or two or three) before this one is really finished. 

But I’m going to live in this moment for a little while at least! …Until tomorrow when I have to start thinking about my NaNo novel in earnest.

On that note, I was tagged recently by Felicia Tatum over at Lost in a Sea of Words for The Next Big Thing blog hop – and she couldn’t have had better timing.

Thanks for this girl!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My NaNoWriMo To-Do List

Today is 10-11-12. What’s that mean? I don’t know, but I think it’s cool to note anyways. I’ve always thought it fun to look at the numerical patterns found on our calendar.

Today also marks twenty days to the start of National Novel Writing Month. If I thought my life was crazy for June Novel Writing Month then it’s going to be absolutely insane for NaNoWriMo!

Twenty days. Just twenty days. Only twenty days left. Yikes!

Am I feeling the pressure? Yeah, a little bit. Mostly because I’m a behind on planning; I had hoped to be better prepared for the November challenge than I am at this point.

On my NaNoWriMo to-do list yet is:

Monday, October 8, 2012

It’s NaNePaWe!

Blogger was supposed to publish this post on Monday - sorry for not catching it sooner!

Hey gang! A quick update this week just to point out that October 7-13, 2012 is National Newspaper Week. That’s right, seven days worth of celebrating my profession.

Did anyone remember the cake?

While there’s no doubt that newspapers are the cornerstone of a community, I also know they can provide an unending supply inspiration for novelists.

Just grab your local newspaper and glance through its pages real quick.

Read the feature stories for plot and character ideas. Look closely at the quotes from real-life people to get a better understanding of how real dialogue sounds. Study the advertisements to understand how consumers (people, characters) think. Need to know a bit more about how government works for that conspiracy novel you’re working on? Look to the public notices.

And the ways you can harvest newspapers for your fiction writing goes on and on.

Happy National Newspaper Week!

Just a reminder: I am opening my blog to guest posting in October and November - drop me a line!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Writer’s Momentum

It’s almost here. NaNoWriMo.

A year ago I had no idea what that even was, but now I’m counting down the days until November with an eager anticipation.
One would think that since I’ve known I was going to participate in this fifty thousand-word mad-dash a year ago that I’d be well-prepared. But then, it would be obvious that the one doing the thinking along those lines wouldn’t know me very well.

Actually, knowing myself the way I do, I’m kind of surprised how calmly I’m approaching the guillotine-err… I mean starting line.

At least, I’m not panic-stricken – yet.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wake Me Up

Sheep are so cute!
I need to wake up.

I’ve been walking around in a haze, lost and feeling confused.

At last minute, I decided to change what this blog was going to be about because I wanted to make sure and include this cute little article that helped get me going again.

It was just the something I was looking for to light a fire under my butt.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

In the Midst of Distractions

(Think: Writing vs. Life)

We all know the importance of writing daily. At least I do.

Creative writers have it pounded into their heads all the time; we should write something, anything – good or bad – daily. It’s just like working out, building muscle.

You won’t win any weight-lifting competitions if you only go to the gym every other week. 

But every now and then, Life (think: sumo-wrestler sized) lumbers along while you’re in the middle of word sprinting or working on your novel (think: pushups), and it just sits on you, making it impossible to keep going (think: not a pretty picture).

Thursday, September 6, 2012

To Mystery and Wonder – An Evening with a Bestselling Author

Is there some unexplained phenomenon in the universe that allows people to automatically tell if another person is a writer? Something that causes you to look at a person and just think, I’ll bet she writes for a living. And what is the strange connection between writer folks that gives them the power to just know?

Lorna Landvik, bestselling author
That’s somewhat of my line of thinking tonight as I stood in my local bookstore with a room full of eyes turned on me while the guest speaker of the evening waited expectantly for an answer to a question she’d just asked me.

“Are you a writer?”

In fact, she had returned my question with a question. I didn’t think it was a question that warranted suspicion as to my profession.

"What time of the day do you find most productive for writing?” 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Visited by a Muse

Isn’t a muse a fickle thing? Today, while sitting at work, my muse snuck up behind me and whispered a thought between my ears.

She lit a fuse is what she did.

It was a good idea – the kind that knocks you back in your chair for a minute and you’re left gasping because you’ve suddenly forgotten to breath. It was the idea. One of the things I’d been missing to bring about a proper conclusion to my story.

It was one of those things that your subconscious had been working on while you didn’t even notice. Then you feel taken aback that your brain could have come up with something like that without you being present.

When this type of thing happens to you, a range of emotions may run through you. You may feel exuberant that this missing puzzle piece has – FINALLY! – showed up and fits perfectly into place. And after a while, you may be disappointed when you realize that you have no idea how your brain came to that conclusion, thus, being unable to replicate the process anytime soon.

So there I was, at work, clicking away, Muse shows up, whispers in my ear and suddenly – BAM! The idea exploded in my head.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Challenging Times

Authors note: This was meant to post Sunday night, but for some reason Blogger’s automatic scheduler didn’t post right…unless I did something wrong, which, you know, never happens... ;-)

Here’s a bonus post for you all this week! I actually meant to do this yesterday, but didn’t quite get that done. You see, yesterday was the first day of a challenge.

A challenge to myself that is.

I shared last week that I had signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo and hadn’t really gotten anywhere. All I want to do is finally finish the Work in Progress that I started during June.

Then I came across this article the other day where author Charles Sheehan-Miles challenged himself to write a novel in 14 days. I had read about a similar self-challenge from an author who wrote a novel in a week, but that always seemed unobtainable. However, Sheehan-Miles took a more relaxed approach. What really caught my attention is that he said he still worked his full time job while doing this self-challenge.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Interrupting the Program Because My Brain is Fried

For those of you who are expecting the sixth and final installment of the ‘Lesson’s from the Newsroom’ series, I apologize. I felt the need interrupt the regular programming to bring you this special blogging report.
Art by Amanda Fanger - "The Burned Out Writer"
I wanted to take the liberty of a few hundred words and update you guys on my goings on in life on this side of the keyboard.

Since my awesome word count in the month of June, my life has gotten pretty crazy and I’ve done relatively little writing... or reading... or any creative endeavor.

I know, I know! I’m a failed writer!

Honestly, I have no idea where July went to. I just know that life got busy after July 1st.

Today Author Jody Hedlund helped me diagnose one of my problems on her blog. This ailment is one of the biggest enemies a writer can face, she says. It’s called burnout.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How Journalism Can Make You a Better Novelist – Be Professional

'A Lessons from the Newsroom’ Series: Part 5
(You can read the rest of the series here)

“You’re a writer, huh? So I guess that means you come up with stuff and write it down and… stuff."

Really, it’s no wonder that this is the way some people view writers. There are too many who are claiming the title of writer but aren’t living up to the hard-earned reputation of their predecessors. They’re not being professionals.

When I started working at a newspaper I had, literally, come straight off the farm. I had just graduated homeschool high school and had no college education or schooling in journalism. 

So when my editor decided to take a chance on me and give me the job, I did the one thing that I’ve always been really good at – I faked it.

Yup, I totally faked the fact that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How Journalism Can Make You a Better Novelist – Deadlines

‘A Lessons From the Newsroom’ Series: Part 4

Welcome to part four of my series of lessons from the newsroom. You can see the other posts by clicking here.

Today, we’ll be talking about the dreaded d-word; that’s right – deadlines.

There are some lessons all writers could learn about deadlines from journalists.

In a newspaper office, you’ve got to write fast and you have to make your best effort to write it right the first time. Because, if you’re late turning in an article, proof department is going to be late; and if the proof department is late, the page lay-out department is going to be late; and if the page lay-out department is late, then the printer is going to be late.

And then everybody’s mad at you.

So basically, if you ever get the chance to work at a newspaper, my biggest tip is this: Don’t ignore the importance of a deadline.

But that’s just one of the results of pushing the deadline in the newspaper industry; the other is far scarier.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How Journalism Can Make You a Better Novelist – Cut the Crap

'A Lesson From the Newsroom’ Series: Part 3 (read the introduction here)

This week’s lesson from the newsroom comes straight from the law of journalism. Even Stephen King had to deal with this lesson:

Thou shall write lean. Let no words be wasted.

It’s the importance of saying what you must in as few words as possible.

The reason for doing this is because a newspaper is restricted to the amount of space they have with each issue. There has to be a proper ratio of stories (known as copy), pictures, graphics, and advertisements.

Because of this formula, sometimes an article will come out too long to fit in the space available. This has been painfully illustrated to me on more than one occasion, but the first time is embedded in my memory forever…

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How Journalism Can Make You a Better Novelist – Driving for Answers

'A Lesson From the Newsroom’ Series: Part 2 (Read the introduction here and Part 1 here)
There really is power to the ones
who know how to properly wield
the mighty question.

I am a strong believer in the question mark. Period.

Growing up, I was always known for my curiosity. For a while, my grandfather had nicknamed me “Why” because of my tendency to question everything. 

It would seem that a job in the journalism field was perfect for me then. I am never satisfied with a simple answer. A good journalist doesn’t take something at face-value. They always dig deeper.

“I was fortunate that I was at a newspaper for eight years, where I wrote at least five or six stories every week. You get used to interviewing lots of different people about a lot of different things. And they aren’t things you know about until you do the story.” – Chuck Klosterman

While it’s an enthralling thing to be on a story like a hound dog on a scent trail, journalists are limited to writing the facts.

That’s my favorite thing about being a fiction novelist; having the ability to ask, “what if?”

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How Journalism Can Make You a Better Novelist – The Art of Interviewing

‘A Lesson From the Newsroom’ Series: Part 1 (read the introduction here)

"I always begin with a character or characters, and then try to think up as much for them as possible.” – John Irving

There’s no doubt that one of the most important aspects of a good book is a good, solid character – or cast of characters. The believability of the main character is one of the first things I notice about a book when I read it for the first time. How an author presents a character through thoughts and dialogue are important.

As the staff journalist for a weekly newspaper, I’ve been privy to hear literally hundreds of stories from various people over the years. I get a first-hand peek at people’s lives and to see why they are the way they are. I’m paid to pay attention to how they string their words together to tell their stories.

Not only have these stories given me a steady supply of inspiration and ideas to implement in my fiction, but because the words used to tell those original stories are coming from real people, I’ve been able to pick up on speech patterns that are used in every day situations and in turn have been able to write real dialogue for my characters.

I’ve done this through a tool called interviewing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

6 Lessons for Your Writing From the Newsroom

Stacks of newspaper - web image
Besides being a creative writer, I am also a weekly newspaper reporter.

In this post I want to discuss a few of the aspects from my day job that have taught me how to write better fiction and be a better blogger.

Since there's too much to fit in one post, I think I'm going to expand this into a series.

My very first series, how exciting!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Author Interview with Andrew Mellusco

Blackstone & Brenwen, The Mirror & The Meretrix

Today I am excited not only because this is my first author interview on my blog but also because I get to share about an awesome story; BLACKSTONE AND BRENWEN – THE MIRROR AND THE MERETRIX. Oh, and we’re also doing a giveaway!

Anyone who’s following me on any form of social network or even took the time to ask me what I’ve been reading lately will know that I LOVED this book.

While reading, I kept thinking, “I can’t believe this guy isn’t famous yet! Why isn’t this book a best seller and why aren’t hordes of fans arguing and discussing who should play each character in a movie adaption?!”

In my humble opinion, some big publishing house better pick this guy up before their competition does.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Novel Writing Challenge

Report: JuNoWriMo 2012

At the start of this year, I had set a goal to finish my current Work in Progress before November. I wanted this one done and out of the way so I could start fresh with a new WiP for NaNoWriMo.

Then, I heard about June Novel Writing Month.

It was literally the day before it was to start, and I quickly did the math – story problem style of course.

"If your goal is to finish a book in a year, how much more could you accomplish if you complete the first draft in June...?"

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Somebody Thinks I’m Beautiful

I had a pleasant surprise waiting for my on Twitter on Monday morning. Sydney Aaliyah had nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger Award!

I am truly flattered.

So, now I shall go forth and attempt to bring no disappointment to my nominator.

This was really hard trying to narrow it down to only seven people to nominate this award to... but in the end, these are people who have really picked me up, encouraged me, and taught me how to expand on my craft through their own writing.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Writing is Easy... Right?

Terry Rossio, an American screen writer, is quoted saying, “It takes courage to be a writer. Courage to face yourself, work through your demons and make your art.”

But wait a minute. Being a writer is the easiest job in the world, isn’t it? I mean, all you have to do is:

  1. Come up with an idea.
  2. Write down the idea.
  3. Get published.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the alternative end steps, like, become famous, retire early, and live luxuriously off the millions from book sales. Sound too good to be true? Probably because it is.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

So Many Stories, So Little Time

The other day I had an entire afternoon to myself and got the chance to squeeze in some extra writing. This does not happen very often.

The only thing I had to do was about two weeks’ worth of laundry (yeah, I’d sort of let it stock pile). Anyway, I was elated at the idea of having a few hours to work on my manuscript, aiming to add at least a thousand words.

Which path shall I take?
Alright, so here’s the thing: I’ve got so many story ideas locked up inside my brain that it’s hard to concentrate on just one at a time. Some of the ideas have been floating around in my brain since I was a preteen, so many are pretty well developed – plot wise – and most feel like they’re all but written, pun intended.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

5 Core Practices for Killing Writer’s Block

In last week’s post, I talked about a time when I had given up on writing. It was a dark time in my personal life when I lost all will to continue my craft. It was a sort of chronic Writer’s Block.
Learn how to drool words all over the page!

I’ve heard some writers talk about Writer’s Block like it’s some make-believe disorder of the brain. They say they don’t believe in it. I, on the hand, totally believe and know that it’s not some imaginary ailment.

However, I also believe that Writer’s Block is something that comes from within and only has power over you that you allow it to have.

I think that if you profess Writer’s Block too often, it’ll begin to feel more like the “dog ate my homework” excuse. You can’t just say you have Writer’s Block whenever you don’t feel like writing.

On the contrary, sometimes your puppy really does eat your homework. You can only bring your shredded pile of paper forward as proof. The key here is that you tried.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

5 Steps Back to Writing

Once, I allowed myself to do the worst thing possible for cultivating my dream of becoming a published fiction author.

I quit.

After journaling my way through adolescence and falling in love with telling stories on paper, writing became a part of my being. But when I became an adult and joined the real world, I wasn’t prepared for the new level of responsibilities that I would face, eventually slipping into a mild period of depression where I just didn’t care very much about anything.

I stopped writing, reading, playing piano, drawing, and basically every other endeavor I’d ever used to foster my creativity. I threw my whole being into the frenzy of my paid profession. At first I had a hard time shutting off the fiction and creativity, but I told myself that I’d get back to it someday when I had more time.

Then I realized that I never would have more time. 
I felt like my dreams were just out of reach.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

4 Simple Truths to Balance Life and Writing

I’m a busy person. I’m sure you are too, but I mean, I’m a really, really busy person. The only thing I can think of that could make my life more hectic right now is having kids.

Not right now, thank you.

Because I’m so busy, I know I’ve got to make the most of the time that I do have, which seems like so little. There are a few things I’ve figured out to try to stretch those precious moments as far as I can and to get more words per minute out of my keyboard.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Lucky 7 Meme Challenge

I was tagged by Christopher Waltz (He blogs here) to participate in the Lucky 7 Meme challenge.

I am so happy I could burst!

Let me start out by saying that I had seen something similar to this on another blog a while back and had decided that I would participate at some point. I was prepared to create my own thread but can’t even tell you how excited I am that someone actually tagged me first…I am elated!

Okay, so the idea behind the Lucky 7 Meme is for writers to get their work exposed to more readers. Each person that is nominated is supposed to chose seven words, seven sentences, paragraphs, pages, etc. from their work and post it to their blog. Then, they’re to link back to their blog and nominate seven more people to do the same.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Shift the Balance in Your Direction

Sometimes I feel like Clark Kent with his secret identity thing going on. I’m the type of person who gets carried away with the whole superhero idea, thinking that I can take on the world while doing this balancing act of having a full-time job, being an active church member, daughter, sister, outdoorswoman, blogger, book reader, pianist and novelist too. 

You see, by day, I’m a staff reporter and journalist, writing the news for my hometown newspaper. My secret life begins when I leave the office for the day. I become a fiction writer, pulling fantasy worlds from my head and living vicariously through the characters that inhabit them. 

Fiction is my first love, it’s my passion. I love being a story teller, sharing adventures of made-up people who live in made-up places through the written word. Someday I hope to be able to write fiction full-time. But there’s tons of other stuff that holds my interest as well and, in the meantime, I have to hold down a day job to make a living.

Sometimes, a full-time job can be a real drain, creatively speaking. But the newspaper I work at is understaffed and I wear more than my share of hats – as does everyone who works there. It’s common to work over 40 hours each week. And then there seems like there are so few hours left over by the time I get off work to do much of anything else.

I’ve been told that I’m one of the lucky ones. I get paid for crafting words, day-in and day-out. At my little newspaper, I already have readers. And the thing is, I enjoy my work and am fairly good at writing the news.

Because of this, I sometimes feel like I get a complex and have a hard time deciding how to balance everything. When I first started my newspapering job, it was difficult to get my brain to switch back and forth between the two styles. Even now it seems that I’m constantly struggling to find the balance.

But it’s not entirely impossible.

I’ve got two tips for today about figuring out how to accomplish your writing goals.

The first one is: Write. Don’t quit.

There really is no secret to writing, no magic trick or anything. It’s simply a lot of work. You’ve got to put your head down and keep on keeping on.

The second tip is this: schedule your priorities, don’t prioritize your schedule.

I feel that there is always something you can do to make time for your writing, whether that’s cutting back on the amount of television you watch or getting up earlier and going to bed later to squeeze in a few extra hours at the key board.*

*But be sure to know your limits and don’t push yourself too far. I’ll cover this top in an upcoming post.

Whatever you do, you’ve got to figure out how to shift the balance of life in your favor.

Erica Jong says, “Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.”

Although I’ve been writing since grade school, I feel like my journey is just beginning. I’m trying to learn from my mistakes and am finding that defining what those mistakes are is sometimes the hardest thing.

It can be scary to follow your talent, but oh-so rewarding too.

What struggles do you face daily with writing creatively? Do you know where your talent is leading you right now? Are you brave enough to follow it to that place of possibilities?