Life Interrupted

Congratulations! You’re finally writing that best-seller. The words are flowing, your characters are playing along, and your plot is mind-blowing. Life is good. Then it seems everything that can go wrong suddenly rises to meet you.

During these unexpected interruptions, you may find it hard to focus on your WIP. Don’t worry. There are still things you can do to keep your skills sharpened.

Time Management

Writers' Resolutions for 2017 by Karen JurgensLast year brought my writing time to a halt as I faced more responsibilities with elderly family members plus my own health issues. As days turned to weeks and weeks into months, it became necessary for me to write on the go. Here are a few places I found time to write.

Waiting in the doctors’ offices

In the nursing home parking lot

Waiting for my daughter to get out of class

While riding on long trips

While cleaning and cooking

Writing on the go isn’t easy. But with a little imagination and creativity, you’ll be surprised at how many words you’ll have written by the end of the week! Now, let’s look at what we can do with those words.

Goals

During difficult times, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with a project. If yours is a long-term interruption, why not set smaller goals. If you can’t work on your story, work on smaller pieces. Write articles, devotions, or short stories. Each small goal will hone your skills as you wait. The most important thing is to keep writing and reading.

Reading

If you are a writer who can’t write unless you have absolute solitude, try reading. Reading will hone your editing skills. Reading a well-written book makes you aware of plot patterns and sentence structure. It will also fill your creative tank and get the ideas flowing once more. Keep those ideas tucked away in a safe place until you can begin writing again.

Self-Care

I want to add a caveat here. If you are facing a physical ailment, family responsibilities, or the loss of a loved one, take some time off. Do not feel guilty for needing time away from the computer. The book will be there when you are ready. Your health is the most crucial issue. There is only one you. And guess what, you can’t do everything. Believe me. Take care of yourself.

Remember, God holds it all in His hands. He knew everything that would come our way on this journey. His timing is perfect. Our jobs are to submit to His plan, follow His directions, and be ready when the time comes to share what He’s given to us.

Happy writing, dear friend!

Click-to-Tweet: Learn how to deal with life’s interruptions. You might try writing on the go. Life Interrupted by @lgjohnson87 via @InspiredPrompt

Writing Prompt

Use your imagination and write down ways you can continue writing when life brings interruptions.

Anne and Gilbert: My Favorite Romance

By Candace West

Getting smacked with a slate was not how Gilbert Blythe expected to fall in love. I daresay most of us would avoid such a head-splitting blow to the heart. When L.M. Montgomery first penned that scene, I doubt she knew she was writing one of the most beloved romances of all time. Yet it works. It charms us. A skinny, red-headed orphan loses her temper to a teasing flirt who in turn loses his heart. From that smack until Anne and Gilbert share their first kiss, we hold our breath.

Conflict between enemies turns eventually into conflict between two friends, one of them in love with the other. Can a story get any better than unrequited love? We agonize with Gilbert while we itch to shake Anne by the shoulders (even though we love her). The perfect guy is right under her nose, but she is blind. Bravo, L.M. Montgomery! You snagged our hearts forever!

Why, then, did it take three books for Gilbert and Anne to get it right? I think Lucy Montgomery would tip back her head and laugh at this digital, high-speed, instant gratification world. She instinctively knew that the future Blythe’s needed time. Gilbert had to first grow into a man shaped by his experiences. Anne had to taste freedom, independence, and a touch of romance before she could comprehend her “book of Revelation.” Their characters mature and strengthen, preparing them for that perfect moment that would otherwise be unperfect without it. Just as a rippling creek smooths and shapes the rocks beneath, time and trials shape Anne and Gilbert for that perfect moment when their love is ready.

Even now, their romance is timeless. Just the mention of Anne and Gilbert makes so many of us weak-kneed. This kind of effect does not happen at the whim of an author’s pen. Authors must develop it. Like the reader, they must get acquainted with every character to make a story live in the imagination. By investing time into characters, authors blur the lines between fiction and reality. By the story’s end, we feel like those characters really lived.

The result? A story we forever remember.

I am so glad Lucy gave Gilbert and Anne all the time they needed.


Click to Tweet: “I think Lucy Montgomery would tip back her head and laugh at this digital, high-speed, instant gratification world.”


Writing Prompt

Your characters have known each other since childhood. How do you plan to help them realize they care deeply for one another?


More about Candace West:

Amazon: Lane Steen www.amzn.com/B07VCZ5MV3

Connect with Candace West Posey here:
www.facebook.com/inspirationalnovel
www.instagram.com/candace.west.posey.10
www.candaceweststoryteller.com
www.twitter.com/candacewest111

Writing the Healthy Way

Let’s face it. Sometimes, it takes a wake-up call to help us see what’s right in front of our faces. And for “why” people (waving hand), it takes understanding why something is necessary.

itsawriterthing.tumbler

My wake-up call came in 2010 when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, Sicca, also known as Sjogren syndrome, arthritis, and bi-lateral frozen shoulders. For one who didn’t like taking breaks, drinking water, or eating balanced meals, my life was about to change.

Although the diagnoses explained all my symptoms, it didn’t give me the answers on how to change my lifestyle. The whys came by years of research. Hello, Google.

Relaxation

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that messes with your cognitive abilities, among other things. If I get overly tired, I struggle to make decisions and suffer memory lapses. On those occasions, I take time away from everything, returning when I’ve rested.

Unfortunately, I can’t always control my schedule. Life has a way of interrupting our normal. What I can control is my nutritional intake. I do this by feeding my brain the necessary nutrients.

Nutrition

The way we eat affects our brains and our moods. Too much sugar weakens brain function and may worsen mood. Foods to avoid are refined carbohydrates, food high in trans-fat, highly processed foods, Aspartame, alcohol, and high mercury fish.

You may be asking, well, Gail, what do you eat?!

The omega 3 in fish is great for the noggin! Dark green vegetables improve memory too, along with berries and walnuts. By eating more vegetables and fruits, I have energy without the pain, and I think clearer.

 

Hydration

A good word for Sjogren is dry. You can’t swallow food or breathe when your nasal passages and throat feel like a desert, so I’ve learned to drink the required amount of water each day (that reminds me, I’ll be right back).

Hydration has become a way of life. A water bottle is always with me. Coffee is limited to one cup. Sweet tea with lemon and Dr. Pepper are treats for rare occasion. Hey, I get tired of water, but it’s a necessary element for good health. 😊

Want to think clearer? Drink water. Your brain is made up of 73% water. How about breathing better? Your lungs are 83% water. Want supple skin. Your skin is 64% water. Lastly, your bones are 31% water. (I’ll wait while you get that water bottle.)

Action

As writers, it’s necessary to sit and type for hours. But this disease has made it necessary for me to move. Experts advise moving every hour to counteract the dangers of sitting. Some suggest every thirty minutes.

I often do household chores or fold clothes while writing, carrying paper and pen with me. I exercise by walking outside, on a treadmill, or riding a stationary bike. The idea is to get my heart rate up and keep it up for 30 minutes to build stamina, reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and lubricate joints. My favorite thing is cleaning yards, especially raking and hauling leaves to the burn pile. Pulling a tarp or pushing a wheelbarrow always does the trick. 😉

Do I ever fall off the wagon? Honey, I’ve jumped and rolled down the incline. However, I’m learning everything that tastes good, is not good for me. If I want a body that will take care of me, then I must feed it the right nutrients, get the needed rest, drink plenty of water, keep moving, and write the healthy way!

 

Learn More:
The 7 Worst Foods for Your Brain
How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Really Need?
4 Types of Food to Help Boost Your Memory
Your Brain On Food
2 Minute Walk Every Hour May Help Offset Effects of Sitting

Click to Tweet: “Do I ever fall off the wagon? Honey, I’ve jumped and rolled down the incline. However, I’m learning everything that tastes good, is not good for you.” ~ @GailJohnson87 via  @Inspired Prompt  #writing #health

Writing Prompt

Ding. 
Jane’s hands paused over the keyboard. She couldn’t stop, now! She glared at the kitchen timer.
To lower your blood pressure and reduce stress, you must start moving, Miss Reynolds.
In the scene, tell if Jane obeys or ignores her doctor’s instructions, giving reasons for her decision.

I Think I Did Pretty Well

Steve Martin quote by Gail Johnson on Inspired Prompt

I pray you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Until next year . . .

ClicktoTweet: “I think I did pretty well . . .” ~ Steve Martin  #writing #quotes @InspiredPrompt @GailJohnson

Writing Prompt

Sandra ripped the red metallic paper from the box and lifted the lid. Seeing the crisp white pages inside, she squealed with delight. The first thing she would do . . .

5 Tips to Hone Your Craft

This month we’re sharing our ideas on how to become better writers. In this post, I’m sharing what’s helped me to hone my craft. Let’s get started.

Writing

Practice makes perfect. Just like musicians learn a piece of music by practicing every day, a writer learns by writing. The more you write the more writing becomes second nature. If you’re not writing every day, you’re missing out on opportunities to hone your craft.

Joining a Critique Group

I can’t say enough about this tip. Nothing can teach you more than critiquing another’s work. When I’m reading a manuscript—or a book—I listen to the cadence of words in a sentence. I notice what works and what doesn’t. If you’re not in a critique group, make it a priority to join one today!

Blogging

Whether you post every day or once a week, blogging connects you with an amazing group of people who will teach you even more about the craft. You will learn the art of networking as you follow and meet new people. Blogging also adds accountability to your writing schedule. And who knows, you just might meet that fantastic critique partner!

Conferences/Online Classes/Websites

The last weekend in September, I attended the ACFW At-Home conference. The classes included downloadable lessons, PDFs, and PowerPoint® presentation along with a Facebook Group where the attendees could meet and ask questions. It was fun and informative.

Another way to hone your craft is online classes. I’ve taken several classes on writing and self-care this year and enjoyed each one. I like the convenience and the affordability of online classes. Some were free while others required a small fee.

Finally, websites are a great way to hone your craft. Find one you like—like this blog—and follow. A search for writing on your favorite social media app will list several sites to follow. I’m sure you will find one you like. Here’s a link to get you started.

Books

Need advice on editing your story? How about publishing? You can find a how-to book on most subjects in your local library or your favorite bookstore app. While you’re there, don’t forget the fiction section. The more you read, the more you learn!

And there you have it. 5 tips to hone your craft. So, don’t waste anymore time. Your story is waiting!

Click to Tweet: If you’re not #writing every day, you’re missing out on opportunities to hone your craft. by @GailJohnson87 via @InspiredPrompt

Writing Prompt: Plan to search the web and social media for blogs on writing. Make a list of sites and books that would help you hone your craft. Then put that plan into action.