Time to Write with Lisa & Gail

Lisa Worthey Smith is a long time Bible teacher who ventured into writing inspirational stories a few years ago, and is now President of Word Weavers North Alabama.

She and her husband are empty nesting in northern Alabama where she spends time in her garden and writes stories of Faith*Hope*Love. Her first two books Oscar the Extraordinary Hummingbird and The Wisdom Tree are available on Amazon.com and she expects to release two books in 2019, Ground Kisser and COFFEE with God at Christmas.


Social media, daily chores, ideas for different stories, unexpected family needs all creep in and steal time that could have been used to crank out more words for the project of the moment. So, how do I manage my writing time?

Pray.

I ask God to give me direction for the day, deferring to His will rather than mine. If I get behind on my writing goals for the day because I spent time with someone who needed encouragement, I don’t count that as a lost day. I never want to be so headstrong on my goals, that I neglect His prompting.

Plan.

I work best with a plan to reach certain goals. I keep a small calendar on my desk to log in my deadlines and use that as a starting point.

Pare it down.

If I need to produce a 40,000 word story, I break that down into monthly, weekly and daily bites so I am not overwhelmed with a 5,000 word deficit a week before my deadline. There is great satisfaction in turning a page on the calendar, knowing those tasks are accomplished without panicking at the bigger picture of what is still before me.

Prioritize my time.

Work comes before leisure, so mornings are dedicated to writing. If something comes up, I still have time later in the day to reach my goal. If I have to give up something, I’ll give up leisure time to accomplish my goals and not deal with the stress of being behind.

Persist.

Of course, there are days when my computer remains unopened. Still, tomorrow I renew my prayer to follow His will, and adjust my goals to match His, and persist. The only thing stopping us from reaching our dreams is to give up. Persist instead.


From Gail Johnson—So, you’ve read the latest on carving out time for writing, but no matter how hard you try, the bullet list doesn’t seem to be working as promised. Oh, what’s a writer to do?

The best thing that you will ever do for your peace of mind is realize that writing isn’t a one size fits all profession. It’s a personal journey for each author. For me, it’s trusting myself, and God, to know what is best. I can’t sit in a chair and stare at a blank screen. It would be easier to lay an egg than writing my rough draft this way.

My goal each day isn’t so much about getting a set number of typed words on paper but staying in my head and listening to my characters. I can do this anytime and anywhere I’m able to pen words to paper, napkin, or shoe sole. 😊

When driving, I dictate to my sweet daughter who is glad to help in my time of need. My entire rough draft is hand-written conversations between my characters. That’s it. No settings. No internal thoughts. Just conversations. They reveal the plot. When I feel I have the gist of the scene, I sit and write the chapters adding the necessary components.

Remember, this is my process. It may not be your cup of tea. Learn what’s best for you. Trust your quirkiness; it’s what makes you, you. Finding your own process will make the words flow like warm honey across hot biscuits.


Gail Johnson enjoys sharing her passion for life and Christ through the power of the written word. Whether it’s through stories, articles, or songs, she invites her reader and listener to “taste and see” the hope she has found in a faithful God and loving Savior.

She is the author of Treasures of Hope, Discovering the Beautiful Truth Beneath My Painful Past, a memoir. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she writes fiction, non-fiction, and songs. Her Southern Gospel song “Less of Me and More of You” came in the top 5 runners-up in the 2010 Singing News/Solid Gospel Songwriters Search. Born and raised in Georgia, she is a wife and mother of two adult children. She enjoys lots of family time, good music, maple pecan ice cream, and southern living. In the past, she has published articles and interviews on the web, in the local newspaper, and in church magazines.


Click to Tweet: My goal each day isn’t so much about getting a set number of typed words on paper but staying in my head and listening to my characters.  Via @InspiredPrompt from @GailJohnson87 #amwriting #inspiration

Writing Prompt: It’s morning, the sun is shining. You open the curtains to find something you never expected to see in your front yard. Using NO adverbs or adjectives, describe what you see.

Time to Write with Bonita & Cammi

Bonita: Most of us writers think that writing, like breathing, should come naturally. But in the real world, life happens, and we wrestle with others and ourselves to eke out the time to put the words on the page.

Here are the four tips that I have implemented in my own writing to help me get the work done.

  1. Bathe it in prayer. Before I begin writing, I pray. This is a new discipline for me. Not the praying but doing it right before I begin. It has helped me to keep my focus on the One who called me and made me to write. It also serves to shift the focus from the deadline, the opinion of others, and my own feelings to the quality of the work. Just like you, I always want to do my best for the Lord.
  2. Make a plan, Stan. Yes, we must plan. Bob Hostetler shared with us at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference in 2017 that he would plan as far out as forty days. By doing this, his writing was already on the planner before other things could take over. I liked his idea and started planning every six weeks in advance. Using this method, I got several articles and blogs written as well as two books during 2018.
  3. Attitude of Gratitude. Be grateful for the time that the Lord gives you to write. I am terrible about viewing this wonderful opportunity of work as a burden, but the secret is it’s not a burden. It is a gift. So, every minute you are given to use your wordsmithing skills count it as joy.
  4. All grit; no quit. Shirlee McCoy shared this on one of her Facebook posts, and I loved it. In order to write, you must determine this is your calling and nothing is going to stop you from doing what God has called you to do. Sure, there will be times that the Lord puts other things in your life that have to be taken care of, but it’s the getting back to it that makes you a writer.

May God bless all your writing endeavors this year, and remember, if he called you to it, he will equip you for it.


Bonita Y. McCoy hails from the Great State of Alabama where she lives on a five-acre farm with two horses, two dogs, two cats, and one husband who she’s had for over twenty-nine years. She is a mother to three mostly 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 and novels are an expression of both these passions. Drop by and visit. Facebook Author’s Page or visit her website bonitaymccoy.com .


Cammi: I am a low-tech girl living in a high-tech world, at least when it comes to writing. I keep paper and pen with me at all times. We all have our dedicated writing time, but think about the rest of your day. We have times during the day when we have a minute or two of waiting – at the doctor, at the grocery store, sitting at a restaurant. Those are great times to grab that paper and jot down ideas. Look around you and see what people are wearing, listen to what they are saying, notice what they are doing. I like to tell myself I will remember later but I know I will not!

On my last trip to the grocery store I noticed—

  1. A man checked out with 17 packages of chocolate chip cookies, 2 bags of plant food, and a spatula. I am curious! What was he doing?
  2. A pretty girl was sorting through the tomatoes. She had expensive clothes and jewelry, meticulous makeup, and manicured nails. On her wrist, she had a string of paper clips with a rusted key hanging on it. Did a child make the paper clip bracelet for her? What was the key for?

Will these characters make it into a story later? Maybe, maybe not. But I have this trove of inspiration I can draw from whenever I need it.

You won’t have time to craft paragraphs or even write in complete sentences but that isn’t what these sessions are meant to accomplish. Inspiration can strike at the oddest of times, and always having something to write on will ensure that you do not forget your ideas. You never know when a simple observation might spark a whole novel!


Daughter, sister, friend, huge nerd, procrastinator… All are words Cammi Woodall uses to describe her self. A new one she is using is writer. That is scary! Cammi is a writer. Her hands shake when she says it or writes those words.

After keeping her stories hidden away for decades, she’s decided 2018 is her year to jump out of her comfort zone and get her writing to the public.

Despite darker reading habits, a comic thread weaves its way through her fictional stories. Even in emotional pieces, her characters use humor to cope with everyday tragedies. Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying!


Click to Tweet: Will planning ahead keep you on task with your writing? Find out how Bonita Y. McCoy and Cammi Woodall keep their writing energies flowing. Time to Write with Bonita & Cammi via @InspiredPrompt #NewYearResolution #amwriting

Writing Prompt: Using the following words and phrases, create an opening paragraph for a story:

  • One black boot
  • Candelabra
  • Ficus tree
  • Crock Pot

Have fun!

Time to Write with Fay & Jennifer

Finding time to write is our topic of conversation this month and today’s guests are author Fay Lamb, and author and Inspired Prompt co-founder, Jennifer Hallmark.

Fay Lamb

The art of time management has always been a plague for me because I always have five or six balls in the air, and sitting down for an extended period of time has never been my style—except when writing. Yet I still struggle with consistent word count. On occasion, I have been able to pound out my word count for about two days in a row.

Many writers preach that the only way to get the job done is to firmly place the derriere on a chair, hands on a computer or holding a pen, and pounding out an exact number of words per day. Hemingway did it. He even managed to stop daily at a place he found exciting, the act giving him something to look forward to each day. As a seat of the pants author, I want to find out what’s going to happen. No stopping for me. Robert Benson pens exactly 600 words per day. No more. No less. I write more than 600 words in a Facebook post in ten minutes. Too easy.

Nothing in life is more enjoyable to me than writing. My mind takes a vacation into its own little world, and I’d love to declare that I write 1,500 words every single day. Even though the goal is clearly a pipe dream, I still hold to the illusion that I need to get those words accomplished, because it creates an urgent need for me to get busy, especially as the days without a word count rack up. When I finally sit down, derriere firmly placed in chair, hands on keyboard, I churn out at least 1,500 words, but most days, the count is a 6,000 to 10,000 word vacation.


Fay Lamb is the only daughter of a rebel genius father and a hard-working, tow-the-line mom. She is not only a fifth-generation Floridian, she has lived her life in Titusville, where her grandmother was born in 1899.
Since an early age, storytelling has been Fay’s greatest desire. She seeks to create memorable characters that touch her readers’ heart. She says of her writing, “If I can’t laugh or cry at the words written on the pages of my manuscript, the story is not ready for the reader.” Fay writes in various genres, including romance, romantic suspense, and contemporary fiction.


Jennifer Hallmark

Finding time to write? Wow. You’ve come to the wrong person. Well, maybe not. I can dial in my analytical side at any time it seems and make time to produce articles, blog posts, anything concerning the business/non-fiction side of writing.

Fiction is more of a struggle. When I’m working out of the creative side, I need focus. Peace. No distractions. Time which, around my home, is hard to find during this season of my life.

I’ve learned two things that help when I just can’t find the time:

  • Write away from home. I never thought I could write at a coffee shop or at a bookstore but low and behold, with home being a bit chaotic, I can. I seem to be able to dial out strangers and crowd noises better than the familiar sounds at my house.
  • I turn to handwriting. I often use the notebook by my bed to write out a scene or even a thought that might go in a book. Sometimes I’m riding in the car, at the doctor’s office, or even at church when inspiration strikes and I find a sticky note and jot it down. Writing like this always translates into time well-spent.

Find out what works for you. Guard your writing time well even if you don’t have deadlines and one day you probably will. 😊


Jennifer Hallmark  

I love writing, reading, and learning. 🙂

But I am so much more: Wife, Mother, Mamaw, friend and family to many,  cookie baker, LOTR marathon watcher, greeting card sender, church bulletin maker, day trip with Hubby and friends taker, snowman and Golden Age of Detective book collector.

Welcome to my world!


[Click to Tweet] “Hemingway…even managed to stop daily at a place he found exciting, the act giving him something to look forward to each day.”–Fay Lamb @FayLamb via @InspiredPrompt #amwriting #AskAuthor #Schedule

FUN Writing Prompt! Schedule five minutes by setting an alarm on your phone (or other timing device). Write everything that pops into your mind until the alarm stops you. GO! (Have Fun!) Extra: If you wrote something especially funny or interesting, share it in the comments. We love hearing from our readers.

Time to Write

Welcome to January, 2019 at Inspired Prompt. I’m Betty Thomason Owens, one of the blog’s founders, and I’m so glad you’re here. We’re starting the year with a topic all writers need, whether you’re just starting out or multi-published. In our busy, busy world, how do we make time to write?

Finding time in a compromised world can seem almost impossible. I’ve learned to grab time where I can, be it five minutes, fifteen, or five hours. Grab it and make the most of it. That may mean keeping a notebook and pen handy. I use a note app on my phone. That way, I can even dictate a scene for my work in progress while walking. The best ideas pop into my mind in the midst of my daily exercise.

Plan ahead: It’s a simple idea, but many times our schedules and plans get preempted by…well…life. If you have a family, you’re all too familiar with interruptions. Some moms get up early or stay up late for a few minutes of writing time. I’ve always been an early riser. I’m an empty nester now, but I still have a couple of part-time jobs, household chores, and a husband to factor in. Those things are like the bread of a sandwich. Writing time is the filling. Sometimes it’s thick and juicy. Other times, it’s thin and kind of tasteless. But it’s always there.

It’s there because I create it. I make space and time for the things I care about. I care about finishing what I’ve started. The show must go on.

January is a time of new beginnings. Inspired Prompt’s contributors are all going to chime in as the month goes forward. We’ll be sharing ideas, encouraging thoughts, and a few helpful hints. We’ll share what works for us, doesn’t work for us, and maybe a funny story or two. We’ll dig deep, ask questions, and I hope you will, too.

Help us get to the heart of this timely question: How do you find time to write?

[Click to Tweet] January is a time of new beginnings. Inspired Prompt’s contributors will share ideas, encouraging thoughts, and a few helpful hints to help writers find Time to Write. #NewYear #amwriting

About the author: My friends say I’m creative, loyal, thoughtful and funny. I’m a storyteller. A word-weaver, writing stories that touch the heart. If I was an artist working with oils, I’d want to paint scenes so real, you’d think you were looking at a photograph. They’d include minute details that grab your attention and pull you into the picture. My characters could be your next-door neighbors. They’re open and friendly. They include you in their conversations. My themes include the grace of God, forgiveness, restoration, and redemption, but most of all, love. For years, my tagline has been Love is the Legacy. That’s my desire, to leave a legacy of love. Betty Thomason Owens

I find a lot of my answers in scripture. We can pattern our daily lives after the teachings we find there. Apply a simple principle of living to your writing life. Take what you’re given and live in it.

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it!–Colossians 2:6-7 MSG