Monday, May 31, 2010

Journaling, Free Writing & Clearing Your Head

For most of my life I've kept a journal. At first it felt awkward to share my feelings, so I filled it with a boring list of my daily activities, but nothing more. After several weeks, however, something happened. I started to feel something. It was almost like I'd created a confidant and sharing my feelings, my dreams and my disappointments became easier. Every night before going to bed, I'd fill page after page of who I wanted to be and what I wanted out of my life. My childhood was, to say the least, psychologically debilitating, so along with the happy times, I recorded my fears and a lot of anguish. To avoid my father's verbal abuse, I spent a lot of time alone in my room and my journal became my best friend. Without it, my life would have been so different.

Now that I'm older--much older--I still find my journal to be a huge part of my life. I don't write every day, even though I know I should, but when I'm stressed or feeling I need to purge my feelings, I always turn to my old friend. Being able to take my emotions and write them down gives me a great deal of relief. It clears my head and helps me sort things out so that I can deal with them better.

As a writer, I find the same thing is true with "free writing." When I'm stuck on a scene or in a characters head, I turn to a pile of spiral notebooks, open a blank page and record everything that comes into my head. It may only take one or two pages to loosen up the muse, or it may take dozens, but it always gets my creative juices flowing and I'm able to free up whatever is holding me back.

Some of my friends do similar things to record their feelings or boost their creativity. Many use an online journaling program, but I find that putting pen to paper helps make the process more personal. It's like going back to my roots when I was lost and alone and being able to find myself all over again.

So, do you journal? How do you record your feelings or loosen your creativity? I'd like to know.

Friday, May 28, 2010


A mulligan, in a game, happens when a player gets a second chance to perform a certain move or action. The practice is also sometimes referred to as a "do-over."

I read this post about first novels by Tamara  over at Why I Get Up.  It really got me thinking about how we all need mulligans.   Not only do we need them on our first novels and first drafts, but we also need them in our non-writing lives.  (That is assuming we have a life outside of writing.....)  But seriously, each of us knows that we are not perfect. I know that I can easily lose patience with my daughter; I am guilty of quickly judging/misjudging others; I tend to give into temptation (especially food) instead of sticking to my set restrictions .... there are many more faults I have.... but the point is I make mistakes.  I make them frequently, and I tend to fall into the same mistakes.  I do this is my writing and I do this in my life.

Go figure I am not perfect and my writing is not perfect.  But I often expect perfection from myself.  When it becomes evident that perfection has become unobtainable I tend to fly my white flag and surrender to the path of least resistance.  After proving a failure once again, I return to my knees in pray to my Father in Heaven and inquire why he hasn't given up hope on a daughter that continually fails Him.  I whine to Him that maybe I am just not meant to be what He wants me to be. I want to give up.  When things don't look pretty and sparkly and easy like the lives and the books of others appear to me.... why should I continue.  I am just one small daughter.

It is in these moments before my Heavenly Father when He gives me a mulligans.  He let's me know that life is a work in progress.  He reminds me that the road to perfection is long.  He knows I will get sidetracked.  But He has given me a GPS, and He unlike myself... never seems to lose His patience when his daughter.  And He reminds me that even this one daughter matters.

Mulligans... we all need them.  Whether for ourselves or our novels.  Don't forget that you can try again.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Guest Post---Sugoi Harris

Thanks for the guest post Sugoi! This post really struck a chord with me. It is something struggle with alot when it comes to writing. Thanks for putting it so eloquently!

Um, Writing? What's that again?

Several months ago my husband and I , after prayful consideration, decided to drop everything and move across the country with faith that something lay out here for us. Whatever that something may be is hiding from us. So to say the least I've been struggling.

For the longest time after we moved I didn't write. Not a word. I simply didn't feel like it. Which of course made my mood all the worse. I couldn't figure it out, nothing made sense to me. I thought I was following the promptings of the spirit but I couldn't help feeling like I made the biggest mistake of my life. How could I focus on my writing when I couldn't even manage to find employment? Then out of the blue it dawned on me. I wasn't stuggling to write because I was depressed, I was depressed because I was fighting the urge to write.

I realized that my Heavenly Father gave me a wonderful opportunity to focus on what I wanted and needed to do and pursue the talents that he has given me. I found it funny that writing was not only good for my mental health but my spiritual health as well.

What a relief it was to finally write again!!!! It was amazing the difference I felt when I stopped fighting it and began to write again. It didn't matter what I wrote as long as I was working on something. I failed to see that my desire and ability to write was something that I needed to do, it was something that was pleasing to my Heavenly Father and that he wanted me to develop.

So I started writing again and soon I found another sister in my ward that has always wanted to write and had story ideas but never had the confidence to write. She reminded me of me (thanks Nikki by the way). I got to share my experience with her and find a new friend! Then she told me about another sister in the stake that writes and like that I had another friend!

It's still a stuggle to write, I think that it always will be. I'm sure everyone here understands that. However, it does make a difference to struggle to write instead of letting it fall by the wayside, intentionally or not. I have been given a wonderful gift and I need to expound it. Like the three men and their talents, I can't waste my talents or bury them deep inside, I need to grow them and improve them!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Guest Blogger Megan Oliphant:The Sweet Spot

sweet spot–noun; Sports. the spot on a club, racket, bat, etc., where a ball is most effectively hit.

I love this definition.  Athletes, especially professional ones, practice for hours everyday finding that sweet spot. They repeat the motions over and over, replicating the same muscle movement, finding the perfect zone in their concentration, searching for the same spot every time. All to create a home run, or a hole in one, or an ace.

The part that sticks out to me the most and is the most applicable to me as a writer is "...most effectively hit". How do I find my own sweet spot in the work I do everyday as a writer? How can I "most effectively hit" the ball that is my writing?

The answer is obvious: practice, practice, practice. We do that in real life as well, as we rear children and grow in the gospel. A child does not become a contributing member of society, with all the good habits and attributes we hope for them without daily practice at things like telling the truth, not procrastinating, work first and play later. No one expects a man to become the prophet without having practiced the necessary things to be in tune with God: prayer, scripture study, and repentance.

As a writer, we have to be willing to put in the time. To ponder and concentrate on our craft. For some that means having your behind in front of your computer the same time everyday. For others, it may mean taking every stolen moment to write another sentence, or outline another scene.

But as Latter-Day Saint women, we have an added bonus: we have the Lord on our side. Each of us have felt called to this work. It is the thing that we know we are to do to contribute to beauty, to the "virtuous, lovely, and of good report" things in this world. We know that just like for the most important job we have, being a mother, we can call on our Heavenly Father for support, help, comfort, and to just find the right words to say.

And isn't that what we want, as writers? To find the right words to put down on the page? So along with the things that published writers preach, like writing everyday, having a comfortable place to write, limit distractions, associate with other writers, etc., we should make it a practice to ask our Father in Heaven, before we begin our writing practice, to help us find our own sweet spot. Somehow, I think if we add this step, if you haven't already, that sweet spot will be easier to find and our own home runs easier to achieve.

Thanks again for this opportunity!
Megan Oliphant
Visit Megan at her blog, A Writer's Work is Never Done

Monday, May 24, 2010

Guest Blogger - Tamara Passey

Tamara is one of many who submitted her blog post for review by MMW. She's in hopes of becoming a full time member of our blog so I thought I would share her story with everyone. We have so many great applicants, the decision is going to be extremely hard to make. You can check out Tamara's blog HERE.

We welcome your comments.

Thanks again for your interest, Tamara. And GOOD LUCK!!!

A Little About Tamara:
I was born and raised in Massachusetts - I know, gesundheit! Dropped the Boston accent after a six year stint in Utah. It was either that or hire a translator to enunciate my r's and explain when I said wicked, I meant it in a good way. I currently live in Arizona with my adoring husband and three children (he said I could say that.) I've written poetry for years and have won a few awards. My sister says I should tell people I'm an award-winning poet, but I don't think I can handle that kind of pressure. I've been working on my first full-length novel, The Keeper, and won third place for General Fiction in the First Chapter contest at the LDStorymaker's Conference, 2010. I think someone should have warned those judges how risky it would be to encourage my ramblings!

A Funny Thing Happened . . .

. . .on the way home from cake class. I forgot to secure the cake. Maybe it was late, maybe I was in a hurry to get home. Maybe I wasn’t thinking about the large chunk of my life I’d already spent mixing, baking and icing this cake. Could I have forgotten the two plus hours I had just spent learning how to make it look like a bakery shelf showpiece? Evidently yes.

It happened at the first stoplight; I was in the car five minutes or less. I stopped and the cake slid easily off its ridiculously precarious perch, flipped over and landed near my feet. Really, what was I thinking?

I got home, surveyed the damage and consoled myself, “this was a practice cake.” I felt deflated anyway–all that learning & practice --and for what?

The resident teenager arrived on the scene and quickly pointed out my cake didn’t look so good, but followed that keen observation with a worried, “Is it still okay to eat?”
Deflated me, “Of course.”
Hollow-leg teenager, “Now?”
Me, “Oh, why not – just take a picture first.”
Confused teenager laughing, “Are you sure you want to document this?”

Yes. Disfigured as it was, I wanted to remember my cake and the new lesson I was reluctantly learning from it.

I thought of my writing efforts and current work in progress (for the record – I don’t try to compare everything in life to writing, my brain appears to do it for me automatically!) and realized the same kind of thing could happen. I could spend hours, days and okay, years working on a project and it could fall flat on its face. I don’t like to contemplate such anxiety-inducing images, but a funny thing happens when I accept the worst possible outcome. I decide it is worth it – the work, effort and risk –are all worth it. For the process, for what I learn, for what I gain. If I have a finished product that looks like a showpiece, I won’t complain, but I’ll remember it’s the creativity that brings joy.

I’ll also remember –if I ever take a field trip with my manuscript – that little bundle of joy will be securely fastened by a seatbelt!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Supporting your Habit

(Thank You Getty Images)

I don't know what your say is but I just don't know how J.K. Rowlings did the whole single-mom and writing 7 novel bit.  When my hubby is out of town my writing habits go down the drain and my stress levels go up.  I don't get alone time.  By the time my little one is down for the night, I am so exhausted that I crash.  I try focusing my mental energy toward developing plot, scene and character.  Unfortunately, I rarely get to a computer or a notebook so this time is wasted and progress forgotten.

Luckily for most of us, we don't have to do it alone.  We have a spouse that supports our habit(I know that the podcast Writing Excuses has been mentioned various times on our blog; I will be mentioning it yet again.  The reason for this is that it is AWESOME.)  Writing Excuses is very motivating to me as a writer to hear other published authors talking about their struggles and strategies.  They had a podcast at the beginning of the month about Living with the Artist.  The focus was on what is was like to be a spouse of a writer.  Be warned that if you listen to it you will want your spouse to hear it too. 

Whether your spouse is your beta reader, your marketing expert, or your chef and maid while you write... I hope you thank him/her.  Because try as we might we can't be everything to everyone at all times.  We must divide our time.  For me, it is my husband who makes it all possible.  Without him around I have no time to write. 

How does your spouse support your habit?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Everything I Need to Know About Writing I Learned in Grade School

Just a quick note before I start my post--Today is the last day to apply to become our next MMW blogger. See this post. We have really enjoyed the entries so far and will be using the submissions as guest posts really soon.

I've been working in a school since January, and one thing that really mesmorized me was the instructional signs in the classrooms about writing. The school I work at only goes to thrid grade so they are only learning the basics at this point. But what I realized looking at these itemized lessons on writing is that in writing that's all there is, the basics. Oh sure, you can pay hundreds of dollars to take classes on how to write the best novel, but when it comes down to it they will only tell you the same things you learned in grade school...well maybe they'll use bigger words. I think that is what's so great and so overwhelming about writing. You only need to know the basics to be a writer and on the other hand, there's no secret out there waiting for you. Just alot of practice and hard work!

So without further ado, here's the instructions on the signs lining the hallways of the school I work at (I got some funny looks standing in the hallway to write these down.)

Sound Ideas:

* It all makes sense.

* I know the topic well.

* I have included the most interesting details.

* My paper has a purpose.

* Once you start reading, you won't want to stop.

Powerful Word Choice:

* This is the best way to say this.

* My words create mind pictures.

* I've tried new ways to say everyday things.

* Listen to the power in my verbs.

* Some of the words and phrases linger in my mind.

Good Organization:

* My beginning will interest the reader.

* Everything ties together.

* It builds to the good parts.

* You can follow it easily.

* At the end it feels finished and makes you think.

Smooth Sentence Fluency:

* My sentences begin in different ways.

* Some sentences are short and some are long.

* It just sounds good as I read it aloud--it flows.

* My sentences have power and punch.

* My sentences make sense.

Individual Voice:

* This really sounds like me.

* I've been honest and written what I think and feel.

*Can you feel my commitment to the topic?

* I want you to experience my writing with me.

* I know why I'm writing and who my audience is.

* I bet you'll want to read this to someone.

Correct Conventions:

* I don't have many mistakes in my paper.

* I have used capitals correctly.

* Periods, commas, exclamation marks, and quotation marks are in the right places.

* Almost every word is spelled correctly.

* I remembered to indent each paragraph.

* It would not take long to get this ready to share.

While I was standing in the hallway writing this all down a first grade boy asked me why I would want to write that down. This was my response, "Because this information is very important if you like to write. Isn't it wonderful that if you want to be a writer someday all you have to do is know the stuff that you are learning in school right now?" He gave me a nice courtesy nod and quickly made his way back to class. Probably thinking about the crazy lady that has to learn about writing in the hallway. But I did feel a measure of excitement over the accessibility of writing to all people. Even Helen Keller wrote several books. Being a writer is exciting and there's no special clubs or expensive degrees that get you there. Just the basics and your own tenacity!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Heros of the Fallen, my review

David J. West, author of Heroes of the Fallen, has truly swept me into a world that he has brought forth from the dust.

It is a time of war, deception, intrigue. The Gadianton Robbers hide away in the mountains and slowly, like rabid rats to a sprawling wheat field, infest the rich cities--namely Zarahemla.

Corrupt men twist the laws as they overtake the government, hoping to bring the Robbers onto their golden streets.

No one is safe.

Join a handful of stouthearted warriors as they traverse the countryside, seeking unity to squelch the human plague.

It is a very rich, vivid, unforgettable world where the characters leap out of the pages and breathe life into the imagination. I love the people and truly feel beside them as they courageously take the roles against the corrupt leaders of their society. Others fall into their poisonous claws of deceit, and twisted to cruel will. The scenes took me from page to page, hurling me into gripping encounters.

The voice is both innovative, and riveting. With so many colorful peoples to salt this world, I found myself a bit confused as I tried to keep up with the many extraordinary names as this is written in the omniscient point of view. But because Heroes of the Fallen is well-paced, its battles gripping, and kingdoms true, I couldn't put the book down.

David makes harrowing traditions come alive to a seamless fault. He can tell a good story.

Watch the trailer!

Add Heroes of the Fallen to your library today! :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


They tell us not to use -ly adverbs when we write.

I can understand that rule when it comes to phrases like, she yelled loudly or he hurried quickly. In those cases, the adverbs are useless. Redundant.

But then again, some adverbs aren't unneeded repetitions.

The other night when my husband read aloud to the children, I heard the line, she glanced up at him inquiringly, and a perfect image of her face, her posture, even the way she moved, came into my head! All from one powerful little word, inquiringly.

If the author had cut out the adverb, written only she glanced up, then it wouldn't have given me such a clear, strong image. The author could have danced around the adverb and written, she glanced up at him with questions in her eyes. But that uses more words. And draws more attention to her eyes. I don't see the whole picture anymore.

English is a marvelous language. I like using all kinds of words when I write. Just because adverbs are often misused doesn't mean we shouldn't use them at all. If we learn to use them graciously, then I believe they can add a lot of meaning.


Monday, May 17, 2010

MMW Blogger Wanted!!!

To all our wonderful readers, we have a question for you. Would you like to join our blog as a weekly writer? We would love to have you!! Unfortunately, our Monday writer, Mary, will no longer be able to write weekly for us. She is amazing and we will miss her inspirational pep talks that always touched our hearts and our minds. But you can still catch her on her blog, Crafter's Guru.
So how do you become a MMW blogger? It's simple, first be sure that you are willing to write a post, mostly about writing, once a week. The next step is to send us a blog post that we can use as a guest post. It could be something you wrote on your personal blog or you can write one just for us. Get your posts in by May 20th. We will then pray about the person that will benefit the most from being a part of our family. Send your posts to and be sure to include your name, email address, and phone number. We will announce our newest writer the first week of June.
I suppose I should tell you why you would want to be a MMW blogger. That's easy, because our readers are the BEST! When you go to conferences and other writerly activities people come up to you and say they saw you on MMW! How awesome is that? Besides the awesome networking possibilities, as a writer on our blog you get the chance to write for a large audience that gives you wonderful feedback. This is a huge boost and step in helping you to feel like a real writer. This blog is amazing, and so are our readers! Please join us!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Guest Blogger - Or Not

First I need to apologize for getting this up late. There was a misunderstanding with another blogger and I thought she wanted my slot. My bad.

So, because I'm literally on my way out the door, I'm reposting from my blog. Although this person was a guest on MY blog, she is certainly not here. She's like royalty among us. So without any further ado, I present.....the one.....the only.....Jenni James.

Thank you for having me Christine!

For those who don't know me... I'm Jenni James, mom to soon to be seven kiddos. No really, I have one due on Monday! Eeek! So crazy, I know.
I'm also rewriting all the Jane Austen novels for modern teens. The first book, Northanger Alibi comes out June 1st of this year!
Okay, so I was going to write an awesome guest post... but honestly, this one is my absolute favorite! So instead, I thought I'd share it with you...
I first wrote this back in 2008, just as I was at the final chapters of Persuaded, and days before I got my agent Kirsten Manges... I hope you enjoy!

Yesterday could’ve been better. I mean, don’t get me wrong it was good, just not GOOD! See what I mean, it’s all great calling yourself a writer and an author, but a whole other kettle of fish to actually be able to think long enough to write out your thoughts.
Here’s how it started. I’m at the end of a teen romance novel. So it’s of course the kissing scene. Let me show you what a good rehearsed—sans children interruption—kissing scene looks like:

Excerpt PERSUADED Chapter 16 Jenni James copyright©2008

“Oomph,” my back connected with the wall.
“Andy,” his hand was on my shoulder; his other hand reached down and gently held mine. “Don’t—don’t shut me out. Please let me say this.”
I looked up, right into dark intense eyes that were too close for comfort. My throat was so dry I couldn’t have spoken even if I wanted to.
“I want you to be happy, okay?” His fingers slowly laced through mine. “Please, be happy. It’s all I have ever wanted for you.” Gregory leaned forward then, slowly and surely he leaned so close there wasn’t a hairsbreadth between us.
Instinctively, my eyes closed--they couldn’t focus on his nearness. I could feel the warmth of his lips as they hovered just above mine. I gasped, but did not move a millimeter. I was too scared to move.
He did. I could feel Gregory’s lips as they lightly skimmed up to the tip of my nose and followed the slant gently on to my forehead, before they settled there. A long soft kiss lingered, while the tip of my nose tickled against the sensation of Gregory’s slightly stubbled jaw. He smells so good! And then my eyes fluttered open as he moved away. He stepped back, two, three steps before he felt the tug of my hand still laced through his. Gregory stopped then, and we both looked down. Carefully, I removed my fingers one by one until my hand fell motionless to my side.
“Goodbye,” he mumbled, slightly shaken.
“Bye,” another croak. I blinked. When I opened my eyes, he was gone. I few moments later I heard the front door slam shut. With a great sigh, I closed my eyes and slid down the wall and collapsed into a puddle on the floor.

YEAH! Steamiest forehead kiss ever, right? That is how a kiss scene should turn out! That, was of course, written at night, without children. When I prefer to write a good kissing scene-at night. BUT, no... Gregory HAD to kiss Amanda/Andy yesterday—during the day—(no idea what I’m talking about? refer to blog: I’m going insane!)

So this is how my day went:

PERSUADED excerpts Chapter 23 Jenni James coppyright©2008

“I can’t believe you’re here. I half expected you to be gone.”
“Hmm … Are you kidding, after that email?” My hands stilled again, this time Gregory didn’t notice.
“You liked that, did—

Son: Mom? Mom--Mom!
Me: What?
Son: Can I ask you something? It’s real important.
Me: Fine. What?
Son: Can I get a drink?
Me: Of course you can get a drink… you get drinks everyday. Now, go get your cup and use the fridge dispenser, okay?
Son: Okay!

“You liked that, did you?”
His warm breath on my cheek splayed out and caused a million tiny sparkles to dance and shiver their way down my spine. I was having a hard time concentrating. “I-I—yes. I-I liked it, very much.”
He pressed his face into my hair and—

Daughter: Mom? Mom--Mom!
Me: (Deep breath) What?
Daughter: Did you say Carson could have a drink?
Me: (Another deep breath) Yes. Anything else?
Daughter: No, that’s all. I was just wondering.
Me: Good. Now, go watch you movie.

He pressed his face into my hair and inhaled slowly. I felt his nose nuzzle its way down to my ear and then just below it, before he placed a delicate kiss there and whispered, “Andy, I’m not going to let you go. I can’t. I’ve already—

Daughter 2: Mom? Mom--Mom!
Me: What???
Daughter 2: Did you say Carson could have a drink?
Me: (Huge breath) Yes.
Daughter 2: Oh, that’s not fair. Can I have one?
Me: For crying out loud! You kids. It’s water, get a grip. WATER! YES! You can have as much water as you want. Got it? Now go watch the movie, while mommy works on this, okay?
Daughter 2: Okay!

I’ve already lost you twice. Once, because of your stubborn pride.” He kissed below my ear again sending sizzles everywhere. “And—

Son 2: Mom?
Me: WHAT?!
Son 2: Can I--?
Me: YES! You can have water! Now go!
Son 2: Uh, okay… but…
Me: (Huge breath) Yes?
Son 2: Okay, but I was wondering—if I could have lunch—I mean, I mean, after my water?
Me: What? Lunch? It’s not lunchtime! (Looks at clock 1pm—Dang!) Fine! Give me as sec, I’ll make lunch for you guys! Ten minutes! Okay? TEN! Now, watch your movie.
Son 2: Okay! Thanks, Mom.

“And once because of mine; I don’t think my heart could handle losing you a third time.”
“Your heart?” I gasped as he kissed below my ear a third time. “H-have y-you any idea what mine has been through? Knowing—

Son 3: Mom?
Son 3: Uh—
Me: What? Is someone bleeding? Is the house on fire? Are wild bulls running down the street? What?
Son 3: I was just wondering if we could have lunch--?

Thanks for being a guest on my blog, Jenni. And please know that we miss you TONS here on MMW. HUGS!!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Promises and Expectations

Last year, my husband and I browsed the real estate market in Virginia.  We were seeking a house to fit our family and our cars.  We moved into a house with a two car garage.  In our area this is a really nice luxury.  A lot of homes don't have garages, so a two garage garage is a blessing.    It has taken some time to get the boxes cleared out.  Yesterday, I put on my working clothes and headed into the disaster zone known as our garage.  I slayed spiders; I emptied boxes; I rocked that garage. 

With at least one half of the garage sparkling and ready for my car I hopped on in.  I had been waiting for this moment since we bought the house.  If you bought a house with a two car garage would you expect to be able to at least park one of your cars in it?  So what do you do when your car is too long for your garage?

You browse the bookstores.  You are seeking for that book that has it all: romance, thrills, excitement, maybe a touch of the paranormal.  You read the back, a few sample pages and you think you have found it.  The book you have been dreaming of all your life.  You cuddle up into your favorite reading spot and you rock that book.  With over half of the book read you begin to wonder; "When this thing is going to start living up to its promises?

You and I know that unfulfilled promises leave you feeling cheated whether they are from your house, your book, or your friends.

Have you checked your book for unfulfilled promises? 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

MMW Blogger Wanted!!!

To all our wonderful readers, we have a question for you. Would you like to join our blog as a weekly writer? We would love to have you!! Unfortunately, our Monday writer, Mary, will no longer be able to write weekly for us. She is amazing and we will miss her inspirational pep talks that always touched our hearts and our minds. But you can still catch her on her blog, Crafter's Guru.
So how do you become a MMW blogger? It's simple, first be sure that you are willing to write a post, mostly about writing, once a week. The next step is to send us a blog post that we can use as a guest post. It could be something you wrote on your personal blog or you can write one just for us. Get your posts in by May 20th. We will then pray about the person that will benefit the most from being a part of our family. Send your posts to and be sure to include your name, email address, and phone number. We will announce our newest writer the first week of June.
I suppose I should tell you why you would want to be a MMW blogger. That's easy, because our readers are the BEST! When you go to conferences and other writerly activities people come up to you and say they saw you on MMW! How awesome is that? Besides the awesome networking possibilities, as a writer on our blog you get the chance to write for a large audience that gives you wonderful feedback. This is a huge boost and step in helping you to feel like a real writer. This blog is amazing, and so are our readers! Please join us!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

No Regrets

I woke up today with the strongest feeling to write this. Lisa's post inspired me today. It was a powerful read that had me thinking about how shy I used to be at one time and how I can be even now.

How many of us are shy? There are times when I wonder if what I say/write offends anyone. Or if I sounded foolish.

As a writer, how much of our souls are we exposing? I know a huge part. We are revealing an inner piece of our hearts as we open up.

I posted this quote: "So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains And we never even know we have the key." Aubrie, from Flutey Words, said, "Powerful quote today. I'm wondering what my chains are...maybe my doubts?"

Wow . . .

When I started out in my writing journey, I was reluctant to share with anyone. Sure I was thrilled to tell the story by mouth, but I felt it too personal to let them read it. As time grew older, I got braver. I came out with a few wounds, but they scarred over and since then vanished. I was able to handle criticism the more I shared.

The last few years, I've faced a similar but different phase of writing. That was to let everyone know my love of writing. I would say, "I've written a book," sometime during the conversation. They would politely nod and change the subject. Then, I felt unworthy to 'own' the title of writer.

Now, it's oh so different. Writing is mine and I'm writing's. I can go up to someone and tell them that I'm writing a book and plan to it have published very soon. I don't feel shy about it anymore. It's mine. I've owned up to what I want to be without having to worry about what others may think of me.

How does your writing journey look like? How did you face your demons and finally claim that you are a writer--an aspiring author?

(photos found here)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Time to Write---Time to Think

In the early days of my young motherhood, I had lots of time to think. My toddlers required a lot of time and attention, but not much brain power. I could help them build block towers or else watch them run around at the park while secretly plotting out novels in my head. When washing dishes or folding laundry, my mind ran free, scheming up stories and visualizing scenes.

But I didn't have time to write. My eyes and my hands were constantly busy. It made me crazy, having all those stories pile up inside me. So eventually I found time, made time to write. When my youngest child reached his toddler years I started to write in earnest. I decided to make a career out of it, called it my part-time job I didn't get paid for yet.

Then everything changed. My oldest children entered the teenage years. Teenagers require a lot of time and attention, and some serious brain power. I've got schedules to coordinate and real-life dramas to untangle. Now my children help with the housework, but as we wash the dishes or sort laundry together we talk about the doings of the day. I love this. It's a stage of my life I've been looking forward to for many years.

But when do I have quiet time to think?

Too often lately, I sit down at the computer and realize I haven't taken any time to think about my story since the last time I wrote. So instead of pouring the words out like I used to, I just sit and wonder what to write next.

I made time to write when there wasn't any. Now I'm just going to have to make time to think.

Maybe next year when the youngest one starts Kindergarten.

Okay, busy moms of older children, how do you find time to think?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Seeing Double

Stolen from the archives of Seriously Amber Lynae
Sorry If this is a repeat for you.

Timmy and Tommy live in a small suburban home. If you did not notice they are twins. They share the same taste in almost everything - including girls. This was always a hardship between the two until they made a pact that they would only date twins. Problem Solved?

They dated Candy and Sandy who were too cute to boot. It did not take long to discover that they were both complete nuts (explains the squirrels don't you think).

They were hopeful when they met the flight attendants , Mia and Mya.

But they could never remember who was who?

Kelsey and Chelsea were fun, except for their constant obsession with cleaning.

And they had twin seals in the limo pool....with a TV. A little weird.

They were certain it was time to give up at their chances at love and scheduled a nice cruise. That is when they met Cat and Kate.

Tommy and Cat fell in love over a triple scoop sundae, (who wouldn't?)

They shared their first kiss by the end of the cruise.

Timmy and Kate spent their days in the sun discussing all kinds of intelligent topics, like the weight of coconuts, the center black holes, and where all the matches to socks go.

They danced together to the melody of the Beach Boys.

After months (or weeks, or minutes) of preparation, they stood waiting for their brides. Their clothes all mismatched, and their ex-girlfriends staring.

What you didn't have all your exes at your wedding? Oh well.

Cat and Kate knew this was their fate.

They gladly married the men they loved....

Took a few traditional wedding photos....

Threw their bouquets.....

And headed to their new suburban residence, with their animals and husbands.....


Back at the reception there was .... how do I explain... Well see for yourselves.

The preacher was taken out, I'm not certain if it was by the mob of angry single twin ladies... because we also stumbled upon the following crime scene.....

A wig, two dead squirrels, an unconscious woman, a noose of some sort, and a witness.

If you have any information regarding the crime please leave a comment. The happy couples are hoping to head to their honeymoon, but are unable to leave the area until all issues have been resolved. Your help would be much appreciated.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Gotta Keep Reading!!

Reading has always been very important to me. From the first moment I learned to read, books became my best friends. I remember going to the library in the first grade checking out a book that I would read by myself for the first time ever. I remember struggling through the words with my mom and committing them all to memory. My childhood was full of ups and downs that I didn't really understand, divorce, moves, emotional abuse. But one thing was always my solace, books. Whenever I moved to another new school and found myself without friends...again, I could go to the library and find my favorite author. I read about my favorite character and knew that they would always be there. They were constants in my life. Just a few of my best friends were Anne of Green Gables, she understood being new at school and not quite fitting in. The girls from the Babysitter's Club had such a tight friendship and it wasn't always roses, maybe it made me feel better about not having such tight friends at that age. The Sweet Valley High Twins captivated me from the beginning. I read them at a young age and was facinated by their stories of high school, which I soon found out wasn't how high school worked, even if you did live in California.

My point here is that reading means alot to me. The connections you make as a reader are precious and important. I now know that connection is just as important to the writer. As a writer, I want other children to feel that safety and connection that I felt. I want them to have books to turn to to escape the realities that face them. So when I went to the assembly at my kids' school the other day and watched a presentation in which 65 third graders held their favorite books in their hands, I was brought to tears.

Here is the youtube video that gave our school the idea to do this presentation.
BTW, love this middle school that took the time to promote reading in such a wonderful way!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

P. S.

Before and After

This is what I'll do to you when you win my contest! ;)
(okay, I could've drawn my Avatar's eyes a touch bigger, oh well. *sigh*)

My Birthday Contest!

Hello everyone! I am running a contest over at my blog!

Check out the wonderful prizes!

I hope to see you there!

Elizabeth Mueller

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It Is Good

On my way home from dropping off birthday cupcakes at the elementary school, I drove past a friend's house. She'd been on my mind lately, and when I saw her sitting outside enjoying the spring weather I thought I should stop and talk to her.

I slowed down and waved out my car window. She smiled and waved back. But then I put my foot to the gas pedal and drove on. My son's birthday party was in a few hours, and I still had to finish cleaning, decorate a cake, and get things ready for the party games.

As I pulled into my driveway a heavy sadness fell over me. Why hadn't I stopped? Am I so busy, so self-absorbed, that I can't take a few minutes to stop and chat with a friend? Had I failed some kind of test? I dragged myself into the house and started cleaning, but all my energy was gone. Were my priorities messed up? I had to get ready for this birthday party! I wanted my son to have a really fun time. But if I'd cleaned and prepared yesterday, I wouldn't have felt so busy today. Tears pricked my eyes, sorrow weighed me down until I collapsed on the floor in the middle of all the toys and crumpled papers. In confusion and utter misery, I prayed, what do you want me to do?

God said:

Stopping to talk to your friend is good. Coming home to get ready for your son's birthday party is good. 

THIS is not good.

I knew that "THIS" meant me having a fit of depression over it. I had made a choice between two good things, and I was making myself miserable because I was afraid I hadn't made the best choice. Laughing at myself, I got up again and got to work. My son and his friends were going to have a great time at the birthday party, and I could always call my friend later, or stop by another day.

So how does this apply to writing? Writing is good. Spending time with my husband and children is good. I should do both. But it is NOT GOOD to fling myself into depression because I'm afraid I spend too much time writing and neglect the beautiful family God has given me, or not enough time writing and neglect the wonderful gift God has given me. I need to seek balance joyfully.

Amen and hallelujah!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Biggest Looser VS First Place Winner

This post was published on my personal blog on Wednesday. I hope you don't mind me sharing it with you. I apologize if you've already seen it, but I thought it might be helpful to those who may be struggling with their writing.

Two years ago I entered the First Chapter Contest at LDStorymakers Writers Conference with an LDS romance novel, Forever In My Heart. At the time I thought it a great story and felt my writing skills were advanced enough that I just might have a chance to place in the contest. Boy was I ever wrong. Not only did I not place, but the comments I received from one of the judges (forever known as Judge #10) were harsh and hurtful. I wanted to give up, even considered leaving the conference early, but instead sat in my room and cried my eyes out for an hour. Self pity is NOT a good thing.

When I got home from the conference I discovered that several other members of Author's Incognito had similar comments from the same judge so we decided to have a contest to see who had the worst comments. We thought it might take some of the sting away if we made something positive out of it and tried to laugh about it. Well, I won the contest with this comment:

The new complication at the end of the chapter might keep me reading, but only if I managed to get that far in the first place.

Another comment made by that judge on the same chapter was:

Plot: What plot? A sudden medical crisis does not a plot make. And I really doubt a policeman would be so insensitive as to suggest Sage had run away.

When I received these comments, I wanted to give up writing all together, but instead I started a new novel. It was less than a month later that I began writing Blood Bound (the book contracted by Valor and then later released).

While I was waiting for Blood Bound to be edited, I went back to my romance for the first time since being the "Biggest Looser" in the comments that year, and began rewrites and edits. I took what I'd learned over the past year or so and applied it to that book, still believing that it could become something others would enjoy reading.

This year I turned in three first chapters for the contest, Blood Bound, Aquatara and, at the last minute, Forever In My Heart. Even though I had great comments and got high scores on the first two, it was Forever In My Heart that took FIRST PLACE in the Women's Fiction/Romance Catagory of the contest. I was SHOCKED, to say the least.

All this has taught me two very important lessons.

ONE - Never give up. No matter what others may say about your writing, no matter how bad of a writer you may think you are, DO NOT GIVE UP on your dream. Seek help from others, listen, learn, and PRACTICE, but NEVER give up.

And TWO - People's comments, whether from a contest, a critique group or just a friend, are subjective. While one person may hate what you've written, another may love it. Yes, the chapter that won is in much better shape than it was when it lost, but it still has the same "plot" and the policeman still asks if she's a "runaway," but this time the writing is better and I've had help from writing friends and my critique group to iron out any problems. It's kind of like the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." It takes more than one author to write a book. So this win doesn't just reflect what I've learned, but what others have taught me, the biggest lesson being NEVER GIVE UP!!


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