When You Have to Start All Over, Again!

garbage-3259455_1920

Photo by Steve Johnson

Writing is not for the faint of heart. As writers, we know from the onset of any new project that the first draft will not be perfect. Actually, it will be far, far, far from perfect. We expect rewrites, revisions, critiques, and edits, but what happens when you spend years on a story just to come to the conclusion you need to start over, again?

One key to sustaining a writing career is perseverance. You can’t give up. Every writing project is different, some come easy and some … well, they can leave you in tears.

In my own experience, I spent ten months working on a second book in a series only to have my Beta readers tell me they didn’t like my heroine at all. She came off as harsh with a chip on her shoulder.

I spent the next two months trying to figure out what was wrong with her and how to fix her.

When I finally diagnosed the problem, I realized that I needed my one character to be two. This meant most of the scenes were either rewritten or taken out altogether.

By the time I finished, I had physically taken the book apart scene by scene, rearranged the sequence of events, added a character, and wrote the necessary new scenes.

As I endeavored to complete this fourteen-month quest, I thought my eyes would cross from the amount of time I spent looking at the thing.

However, the end product exceeded all my expectations. The story flowed so much better, and the romance between the hero and heroine bloomed beautifully. The happily-ever-after caused a slight sigh to slip from my lips when I did the final read through before sending it to the editor.

But the only reason that story exists is because through God’s grace and a push or two from friends, I persevered.

classic-1834499_1920

photo by Pexel

Here are a few tips that helped me when I had to start all over, again that I’d like to share with you.

  1. Pray. This is the one essential. Give your feelings of frustration to the Lord and let Him fill you with His peace. He has answers.
  2. Talk with other writers. They can encourage you with their own war stories. You’ll be surprised by how many authors go through this, and all are willing to share their experience and how they handled it with you.
  3. Seek out books on revision. First Draft in 30 Days by Karen S. Wiesner has some excellent advice and worksheets to step you through the process, and I am sure there are others out there that can work for you.
  4. Call a friend. Ask a friend to act as an accountability partner to keep you from quitting. Frustration and the feelings of defeat can pull you down, making the task in front of you seem impossible. A friend holding you to your goal of finishing can be a great motivator. Plus, they can act as your cheerleader along the way.

Did I enjoy starting all over again on that fifth draft? No.

But am I glad I did it? Yes.

Just know, every writer experiences the ups and downs of emotions as they meet the challenges set before them in their writing journey. The difference comes in how you persevere in those challenges.

Remember, crying is allowed, as long as you move forward once you’re done.

Click-to-Tweet: “…every writer experiences the ups and downs of emotions as they meet the challenges set before them in their writing journey.”

Writing Prompt: Sarah shut her laptop, fighting back the tears. The critique pointed out all the bare places in her manuscript. Beef it up was the consensus. For whatever reason, the story didn’t work.

O Romeo, How Many Are There of You?

relaxation-3359535_1920

Love, Love, Love.

It’s floating all around us this February, and here on Inspired Prompt, the crew is looking at some of the best love stories ever written.

For me, the one that rises to the top without question is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Now, you might call “Foul, sweet writer. ‘Tis not a novel nor a book. You, fiendish foe.”

And I would answer, “Tis true, but no sweeter love hath any two, then Juliet and her Romeo.”

Though a tragic play, the story of Romeo and Juliet has been reproduced in books, movies, and television shows throughout the twentieth and twenty-first century, making it one of the most popular and beloved plots of Shakespeare.

A few of the more popular versions from the past of the Romeo and Juliet plotline are West Side Story, When You Were Mine, and Love Is All There Is.

More modern versions include Romeo and Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Shakespeare In Love which talks about the writing of the play, and Warm Bodies which turns the issue of the feuding families into the issue of zombies and humans.

Not to be outdone by the zombies, even the animated world has a version of this play called Gnomeo and Juliet.

Some of the best-loved TV series have also done their own take on the Romeo and Juliet plot including Still Star-Crossed, Bones, and Castle. If you watch for it, you can find it in most series at least once if not as two teenagers in love from feuding families, then the classic Hatfield and McCoy type of scenario. Where Pa would never allow it.

According to the International Movie Database, there are thirty-four movie adaptations alone of Shakespeare’s tribute to young love. What a story!

So, in true Shakespearean form, I will leave you with this thought:

“A glooming peace this morning with it brings;

The sun for sorrow will not show his head:

Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;

Some shall be pardoned and some punished:

For never was a story of more woe

Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”

Prompt: Bernice sighed as she read over the playbill. She wanted to see Romeo and Juliet so bad she ached. It had been the last play that they had seen together.

Click-to-Tweet: #Love. It’s floating all around us this February, and here on Inspired Prompt, the crew is looking at some of the best love stories ever written. A classic look at love via @InspiredPrompt #ValentinesDay2020

Walking Into 2020

run-3190777_1920

photo by Alexas Fotos on Pixabay

This year, 2020, I am challenging myself to walk for at least 20 minutes five times a week.

I came across this idea through a podcast I listen to called Happier with Gretchen Rubin. This podcast contains life hacks, practical ways to manage time, and ideas for living a happier life.

Now, I am not new to walking. In fact, years ago, too many to claim, my doctor told me that I had high cholesterol and I needed to start exercising. He suggested walking. At the time, I had small children, so taking the kids for a walk a few times a week was easy to add to my routine, and they loved the adventure.

Then while the kids were growing up and going through those wild but wonderful teenage years, my reasons for walking changed. My motto became “not for vanity, but for sanity.” My few minutes walking through the neighborhood or meeting up with a friend at the walking track gave me perspective and made me recognize that my need for exercise went beyond the physical to the mental.

Now as a writer, my need to move has increased tenfold. My sedentary job pushes me to keep up my walking in order to maintain good health, but I have also discovered when I exercise my creative juices flow more readily, giving me inspiration and new ideas. Once again, my reasons have gone beyond that of the physical and mental to include the creative.

So, when I heard this podcast, I decided to pick up the gauntlet and accept the Walk 20 in 2020 challenge. I would increase the number of days I walk from three to five and see how the Lord uses this investment of time in my life.

If you have been feeling the nudge to get more active, I would challenge you to join me in my quest for twenty minutes of walking five days a week, and to entice you, I want to leave you with five great reasons to be a walker:

  1. Walking clears your mind and ups your creativity by 60 percent according to a Stanford University study.
  2. It gives you time to pray and think.
  3. It reduces your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stroke.
  4. It strengthens your bones and muscles.
  5. It improves your mood and leaves you feeling happier.

With all these benefits, you might want to give walking a try and walk into the New Year knowing you’re doing something worthwhile for your mind, body, and spirit.

“But they that wait for Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings of eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (ASV).

Prompt: The bells chimed midnight. Carol couldn’t wait to begin her new project. She loved the clean slate of a whole new year in front of her.

Click-to-Tweet: Five great reasons to be a walker – Bonita McCoy in Walking into 2020 via @InspiredPrompt

If Tomorrow Were Christmas

 

bright-christmas-christmas-decor-716738 (1)

 

Corrie Ten Boom – Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.

 

If tomorrow were Christmas and the presents weren’t wrapped,

The pies needed filling, the gingers weren’t snapped.

If tomorrow were Christmas and the stockings lay limp,

the fire didn’t roar, the tree mostly bent.

If tomorrow were Christmas and the cards had no stamps,

The turkeys sat frozen, the lights had no amps

Would Christmas still come if nothing got done?

 

If tomorrow were Christmas and the hymns were not sung,

The flights were delayed, the wreaths never hung.

If tomorrow were Christmas and the snow didn’t fall,

The stores wouldn’t open, the kids couldn’t call.

If tomorrow were Christmas and the bells didn’t ring,

The pudding went flat, there were no carols to sing.

Would Christmas still come if nothing got done?

 

If tomorrow were Christmas, what would it bring?

Rushing and stressing, or worshiping the King?

If tomorrow were Christmas, what would it hold?

Feasts for our bodies, or feasts for our souls?

If tomorrow were Christmas, what would it be?

All about Jesus, or all about me?

Yes, Christmas would come if nothing got done.

 

For presents and singing and eating and such

The myriad of things, on which we spend so much

Are tidbits and pieces of the true celebration

Of God’s only Son; man’s hope and salvation.

So, open the presents and hang the wreaths

Call the kids and enjoy the feast.

For Christmas Day has come to us; it’s nothing we have done.

Five Strategies to a Successful Launch Team

A launch team can be a great asset for an author. They provide the author with early reviews, a way of spreading the word about his book to a variety of social circles, and they give the author more leverage on social media. They are his peeps.

Launch teams are a must.

Great launch teams.

Great launch teams shout from the mountain tops.

But what happens when an author is unclear about his goals for the launch? Well, things can get messy quick. Instead of the launch team being a group of positive supporters, they can become another obstacle for the author to overcome.

In order to avoid a break down in launch team etiquette, here are five strategies to put into place before the launch team ever gets started.

  • Make a list of supporters

Make a list of potential Launch Team members who you think will follow through on their commitment to you and who are enthusiastic and positive about your work. This list doesn’t have to be long. It is better to go for quality over quantity. You want those on your list to include friends and family who are cheering for your success and super fans who have been following your writing career.

You may also want to think of any influencers you may know, or people located in other parts of the country or the world. This will automatically add new social circles to your launch and broaden your reach to potential readers.

  • Set your Goals

Before you contact anyone on your list, sit down and set some clear goals for your team. What is it that you need your team to do?

Is your focus on getting them to leave reviews, or do you want them to concentrate more on their social media contacts? Or is your focus more on handing out swag and word of mouth marketing? Whatever your focus is, be sure to communicate it concisely to your team.

  •  Set up social media copy

Since you are enlisting the help of others, you want to make it as easy as possible for them. So, you need to provide the social media copy for your launch team. This will entail both memes with your book cover on it and interesting pictures that play on some aspect of the story. This gives your launch team a variety of choices and keeps the interest of their social media friends from waning.

You will also want to provide the copy to go along with the pictures. Use a quote from one of your characters or vibrant description of a place in your book. Think outside the box on this one.

  • Make a calendar

To keep everyone on the same page, use your goals to create a calendar of events. When does the book need to be read by? Have that on the calendar. When should the launch team post reviews? Again, have that on a calendar. By putting everything in one place, you not only keep everyone in step, but it acts as a reminder of what should be happening and when.

The less your team members have to plan and do for themselves, the more likely they are to follow through and help you spread the word. You want to make it as fun and easy as possible for your people.

Say thank you to your launch team.

Always say Thank You. It means so much.

  • Plan to say “Thank You”

Be sure to include in your planning a way to say thank you to your team. If everyone does what is asked, they will have given you many hours of their time and lots of their energy.

So, work into your calendar of events, some giveaways for your team. Make them unique and special. Maybe a tee-shirt with a cool launch team name on it like “The Dream Team” or maybe a mug that says, “llama tell you about my Launch Team”. Be creative but make it something meaningful to your people.

Launch teams are a valuable set of people who can help an author achieve success. These strategies should help to pave the road to a happy partnership in this adventure of writing. If used wisely, launch team members can become an author’s number one source of encouragement and information.

Click-to-Tweet: #HowTo #BookLaunch – A launch team can provide the author with early reviews, a way of spreading the word about his book to a variety of social circles, and they give the author more leverage on social media.

Prompt: Jan sat her dinning room table with the pen and paper in her hand. Who was she going to ask to be on her launch team? She hated to impose, but …

Bio head shot for Inspiration Blog - 2017Bonita Y. McCoy hails from the Great State of Alabama where she lives on a five-acre farm with two cows, two dogs, two cats, and one husband who she’s had for over thirty years. She is a mother to three grown sons and two beautiful daughters-in-law, one who joined the family from Japan. She loves God, and she loves to write. Her blog, articles, and novels are an expression of both these passions.

Drop by and visit her Facebook Author’s Page or Instagram page or visit her website bonitaymccoy.com where you can find her books, blog, and all the other things she might be doing.

No Room In His Heart  NoRoomInHisHeart_Final_ebook

On Amazon

Truth Be Told     TruthBeTold_Cover_rev7-19_ebook

On Amazon