Monday, March 13, 2017

The End - Is It Really Finished?






"The End."

Every writer faces it. Whether a novel, article, blog post, or other project, there's that time when we're finished and we hit publish or submit to an editor.

When approaching this finish line, I often think of a cartoon I saw on Facebook years ago. Here's the general idea to illustrate: 

An editor stood to the left side of the office. 

Writer #1 stood to the middle right, and had just handed the editor a submission. 

Writer #2, at far right, clutched writer #1 around the waist in an effort to keep writer #1 from grabbing the submission back from the editor. 

Writer #1 said, "But wait, I want to look at it one more time!"

The cartoon made me laugh. Been there. Done that. I know the feeling. I'm sure you know it too - that urge to tweak your content. One. More. Time.

It can be a challenge, right? Especially for the perfectionist or hyper insecure writer. While we strive for excellence, we know there's a balance too. We could edit forever, but that's just not practical. Or healthy. 


So what's the solution? While I still wrestle with a final draft sometimes, I follow these guidelines. They're simple but necessary reminders when I'm tempted to over-edit or linger too long on a project. 
 
  • Let it rest - Time is an asset. Even a short break helps us return with fresh eyes before hitting the send button.
  • Get outside input - Whether from writing friends or a paid editor, another perspective offers insight for optimum polish.
  • Deadlines - There's nothing that motivates like a good old fashioned deadline. I often impose my own to stay on track. 
  • Practice - As skills improve, so does our confidence. Moving on gets easier. 
  • Acknowledge that it's finished - Insecurities and perfectionism may urge us to adjust the words forever. But forever is a long time. Give it your best and move forward.
  • We are not alone - All writers face these or similar challenges.

What do you think? Did I miss anything?


Can it Be? 8 Years!

March 2017 marks my 8th Blogoversary here at Write Now. The time has gone quickly, and it's been a great experience. What would I do without you all? I've learned a lot and made wonderful friends. You all make it worthwhile, and I cannot begin to express my gratitude. You've blessed me in so many ways. You're the best!

I've decided the best way to celebrate this year is to take a break. Frankly, I'm a bit tired. Not of writing, but of keeping up with all the perceived demands that can accompany it. It's been a busy bunch of years, with projects, new freelance work, and fun family happenings.

There are a few changes on the horizon for my husband and me, too. All good ones, but a bit of time to refresh would be welcome and helpful. I also plan to do all those other things us bloggers do when we take a break, like spelunking, scuba diving, bungee jumping, and...okay, not those particular activities. But I will hang out with my grandsons and organize the office. Not at the same time, of course. :)  I'll return on April 10.

I invite you to celebrate my milestone of 8 years by indulging in something fun, like a little chocolate or your favorite dessert. While you're at it, why not curl up with a good book too? I'll be thinking of you all!


Do you fight temptation to endlessly tweak or second guess your work? How do you work through these challenges? What do you have planned for the rest of this month? 

Thanks for being faithful friends! :)

Much love,
Karen 



Photo credit: Free Images Suzanne Smith

Monday, March 6, 2017

Meet the Blogger with Lynn Simpson

 


Courtesy of Lynn Simpson




Lynn and I have been friends for a while now, and I'm grateful that blogging brought us together. We might not have met otherwise, since she lives in Canada and I in the states. Blogging has a way of shrinking the space between people, doesn't it? That is a great benefit. :)

Lynn's blog is a restful spot, and she features lovely and interesting photographs (taken by Lynn herself). Her wise and wonderful words illuminate truths, while encouraging hearts in her friendly and gentle way. I always come away encouraged, and with something on which to meditate. 

Welcome Lynn! Why did you start blogging? How long have you had your current blog? 

Hi Karen! I had to scroll back on my first blog, Connecting Stories on Blogger, to find the date of my first post. I blinked twice to believe what I saw: January 26, 2010. So I have been blogging for 7 years! I started blogging to sharpen my writing skills, meet other writers, and to share information on writing and goal setting. There were times I was writing on Connecting Stories up to 4x per week. My, I had energy then! In the beginning of 2016, I opened up a Wordpress blog under my name with the theme Inspiring Hope. Now I write regularly on at Inspiring Hope on Wednesdays with the odd additional post on Fridays. 

I knew you'd been blogging a while, but didn't realize it was that long. Congratulations on your faithfulness! What is your blog about?


As my writing focus fluctuates, and as I grow in my faith, my blog theme seems to change with me! However, my hope is that my readers leave feeling inspired and hopeful as they proceed into their day. Although not the original goal, my blog is very faith based sharing through my own stories, and God’s character and love for us. My hope too, is others will connect with my own struggles and weaknesses so they do not feel alone, and know that no matter what is going on we are never alone as Christ followers. 

Your posts inspire me, and I suspect, others as well. So I'd say you're doing something right. :) What benefits have you gained through blogging? 

Friends! I love my blogging friends. I have also found out so many new things about other parts of the world, and been inspired by other’s achievements. And the encouragement from readers and other blog posts has been fundamental in my pursuit of my writing and other personal goals. I must also mention photography. It is a hobby of mine, and I love seeing the photography on other blogs of places I have never been. Pictures from one of my blogging friends even inspired me to book a trip south this spring with camera in tow! 

There are many benefits of blogging, but I agree, the friends are the best! And your photos - they're always lovely. I appreciate when you share them. What projects are you working on right now? 

In 2015, I published a journal to help us create a habit of seeing the joy in our lives, the successes we have, and the remembering what we are grateful for. I am working on creating a second intentional journal incorporating devotionals and photography inspiring rest and displaying God’s beauty. 

Another beautiful image by Lynn

Congratulations on the journal! It sounds wonderful. The second one sounds like a great combination. You'll have to keep us posted about that. What might people be surprised to learn about you? 

I was a registered Dental Assistant and worked as an assistant for many years. I know quite a bit about teeth! 

I did not know that! That's a fun bit of info about you. What advice would you share with a newbie blogger? 

Create community by visiting other bloggers and commenting; however don’t burn out with trying to build a platform. Like your face to face friends, build quality relationships that encourage and grow you. I know there are so many great bloggers out there to engage with, but know not engaging with them ALL is okay, and you are still succeeding at blogging. When first blogging I did begin to burn out, and then learned to limit my engagement to up to 5 blogs a day.

That is excellent advice, Lynn. Appreciate you sharing it. Thanks so much for visiting with us. Wishing you blessed success with all your projects! 

Thank you, Karen. 


More About Lynn  

I am Lynn, a mom of three grown children, a grandmother, a career woman, photographer, writer, and most of all, a precious daughter of our mighty God.  I am a Certified Christian Life Coach and love helping others move on their dreams, goals, and visions that God has placed in their minds and hearts. Recently, I self-published a journal titled “30 Day Journal of Thankfulness, Success and Joy,” a tool for you to move toward your hopes, dreams and goals, one step at a time. 

Lynn's Blog - Inspiring Hope 

View or Purchase Lynn's 30 Days to Change Journal 

How long have you been blogging? What benefits have you gained from it? Do you have any questions for Lynn?

Happy writing,

Karen

Monday, February 27, 2017

A Visit with Susanne Dietze



I'm delighted to welcome author Susanne Dietze back to see us. She's one prolific writer, with the recent debut of her novel, The Reluctant Guardian, and the upcoming My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho, which releases in May. Susanne's also one of the fabulous contributors to recently released historical collections, including The American Heiress Brides and The Matchmaker Brides

I've been a fan of her blog, Tea and a Good Book, for a while, and was excited to hear of her latest books. Thought it would be fun if she had a minute to stop and see us. And she did - even took time to answer a few questions. :)


Hi Susanne! It's so nice to have you visit. Congratulations on your 2017 releases! I'm reading The Reluctant Guardian now and enjoying it very much. :) Do you have a favorite marketing tip now that you have several books to your credit? 

Thank you, Karen! I'm not sure if anything I've tried translates to sales, but I do think posting memes on Facebook and Twitter help draw attention. I've enjoyed using the free programs on Canva and Picmonkey to make memes, and also headers for my website, blogs, etc. I'm not great at it, but it's fun!

It sounds like fun! I recently discovered Canva but haven't tried it yet - good to hear that you like it. Wishing you much success in the marketing department! From draft to published book, what is your favorite part of the process?

I do not always enjoy writing first drafts as much as I do rewriting and revising drafts. Some people are the opposite, but I think the second time through is fun! I also thoroughly enjoyed working with the art team at Harlequin to create the cover of The Reluctant Guardian. What a blast! I think they did a great job, too. It was important that the characters be dressed exactly as they are (hero in black, heroine in red cloak) and they nailed it!

The cover is lovely. It's great that you were involved in the process. On a lighter note, do you have a favorite writing snack? 

When I'm writing, a typical snack is a mug of herbal tea or hot apple juice and a scoop of nuts or a nutrition bar. On occasion I treat myself with a square of my favorite candy: Nideregger Marzipan covered in bittersweet chocolate.

Sounds like great inspiration for writing. :) Do you prefer coffee or tea? Chocolate or vanilla? 

I love both coffee and tea, but I drink more tea than coffee these days. A special treat is a pot of brewed loose leaf tea. Bingley's Teas offers a line of Jane Austen-inspired teas, and my husband usually gets me a box for my birthday. My favorite blends are the ones inspired by Jane Bennett and Fanny Price. Chocolate usually wins over vanilla for me.

I've not heard of that tea - will have to give it a try.  Sounds delightful! Thank you for spending time with us this week. Wishing you many blessings and continued success with your books!

Thanks so much for hosting me, Karen!

A Quick Review

I won a copy of the The Reluctant Guardian through Susanne's recent Goodreads giveaway. I began reading it last week, and although I haven't finished it yet I can tell I'll be giving it a "two thumbs up". Susanne is a skilled storyteller. Her characters ring true, her settings come to life through rich description, and the plot is shaping up to contain a great deal of intrigue and other interesting goodies. I was engaged from page one and am looking forward to finding out what happens!   

More About Susanne 

Susanne began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she's the award-winning author of almost a dozen historical romances who's seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher's Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and enjoys fancy-schmancy tea parties, genealogy, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. 


Coming May 2017
Find Susanne

Website
Blog  
Facebook
Goodreads






Do you have any questions for Susanne? What is your go-to writing snack? What are you reading this week?

Happy writing,

Karen