Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January's Blogfest: A Great Success

Well the blogfest is over, at least January's blog fest.  It was a great month.  I was asked to be a guest blogger on several different blogs this month, and I had some great posts from some terrific people I know from the Speculative Fiction group over at AQC.

Thanks everyone for coming over and letting me be a guest on your blogs.

This months guests were:

EF Jace - Why EF Jace Writes
Ian Isario - Guest Post BTW interesting tid bit, he lives in Africa and loves fantasy.
Joyce Alton - Our moderator - Pre Writing a cure for Both Writer's Block and Limited Time to Write 
E. M. LaBonte - Staying Motivated
Peter Burton - Fifty More Feet

Thank you all for your time and thoughts.  You've made for some interesting reading and great insights this month.

I was also busy blogging about a lot of different things based on what the host blogger requested.  So here is where I went this month. 

EF Jace's Verbose Veracity - How writing and editing has affected my reading

A conversation about Fantasy Books with Ian Isario
Why I Write Speculative Fiction on Joyce Alton's Blog
E. M. LaBonte's The Realms of a Fantastical Mind - Plotter or Panster?
Peter Burton's A Story Teller's Musings - It Is All in the Delivery
TBruce - on the reluctant Hero.  She will be posting that later, I'll make an announcement when I've the details.

Whew!  What a month!  It has been a fun way to kick off the new year.  I will need to go into my blog links and add a few new blogs to my list.  These fine folks all have great blogs and are working diligently on their craft.  So add them to your blog reading list and stop by from time to time to see what they are up to.

Thursday's post will be on Inventory.  It should be a good one.  Still mulling it around in my mind, but it will be ready on time.  Until then have a great time.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Fifty More Feet

I met Peter over at AQC the first month I became a member. He has a really cool story. We were participating in posting and critiquing each other’s chapters. He sent me the first five of his book. I gave him feedback, and he liked the feedback. He has given me ideas for my own work.  So he has become a great beta reader and crit partner. 

We both contribute to the general mayhem in the Speculative Fiction group, and he has been off the radar for about six months.  Then, like a bad penny, he resurfaced last week, just in time to join me in our Blog fest.  I've a post over on his blog, and he has agreed to give a great post on my blog. 

So come over to AQC and check it out and get to know us both a little bit better. 

Here's Peter!

Fifty More Feet

My good friend, beta reader, and critique partner, Dean asked if I would like to guest blog for him, and he would return the favor. Naturally, I said yes. I knew I wouldn't have any worry from anything Dean wanted to post about on my blog, but I'm pretty sure he didn't think about the consequences of allowing a lunatic like myself post on his.

If this doesn't drop his stats into the Abyss... nothing will. That being said. Here we go, kiddies:

A particular problem that comes to every aspiring author is rejection. Hands down this has to be the most troublesome, demeaning, and heartrending situation any writer can face. To be told over and over that the work you poured your heart and soul into isn't good enough. That YOU are not good enough. Small wonder that many newbes become discouraged and hang up the hat before they really try. Smaller wonder that so many writers become more bitter than a New York critic with hemorrhoids.

While it is natural to have feelings of depression after taking such an emotional ass kicking, there are two things that can and do help the new writer to cope with such soul distroying rhetoric. They are perspective, and perseverance.

Perspective wise it is little more than realizing that our work may not be "all that and a bag of chips." However, there is nothing which says we can not improve that. Like any other art form, much of it is learned and you can learn to do anything you put your mind and time into. Set your ego aside, and determine to better yourself. Distance yourself emotionally from the work, and consider other points of view then ask yourself what you can do to fix it.

Perseverance. Now there's a word that has seen some of the most demeaned artists through history to greatness. No one can guarantee success for anyone else, but this little word has made giants out of dwarves.

I'm reminded of a little true story I recently relayed to Dean in an e-mail. Although I do forget the exact details, it is the lesson I remember the most.

An airplane crashed in the Swiss Alps during a violent winter storm. Fortunately there were survivors, but the storm ensured that they would not be rescued for days, perhaps weeks.

Some of the less injured decided to take matters into their own hands and see if they could find a safe way off the mountain side. After much fruitless searching they gave up and returned to the wrecked aircraft to survive as best they could. They suffered through frost bite, sickness and, eventually, cannibalism.

After they were rescued it was discovered that when they turned back, they were fifty feet from a rise. On the other side of that rise stood a ski resort that had been evacuated for the storm. Had they walked fifty more feet they would have had shelter, warmth, food, and first aid supplies for the more severely injured. Just fifty more feet.

Personally, I would hate to discover that everything I desire could have been mine if I had just gone fifty more feet. Wouldn't you?

Who knows how many Kings, Koontz, Meyers, or Rowlings have been lost to obscurity for the lack of going a few extra steps? Hopefully neither you, nor I will be one of them just because of a few rejections.

Thanks for having me over, Dean. (You have no one to blame but yourself.)

Peter can be found as Peter Burton at Agentquery Connect

And of course you can read his own blog and other things of interest to writers at: A Storyteller's Musings on Wordpress.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

E. M. LaBonte talks about staying motiviated

The Blog Fest continues with today's guest E. M. LaBonte who blogs over at The Realms of a Fantastical Mind.  I have a guest post over there right now on being a Plotter or a Panster. I met her at AQC, yes I know most of my friends I have on my blog I've met there.  Although I've had twitter friends over here as well.  (It is called networking)  I enjoy E M's comments and feedback in the Spec Fic group and her twitters and retweets.  She is a staunch and loyal friend.  Someone you should get to know.  So to get to know her better here is her post written just for us over here at the Write Time.

Take it away E. M. LaBonte:

The question is: How do I stay motivated?

Here’s an example of how to push a writer away from their work:

I just finished what I think is a masterpiece. I’ve edited and reworked the chapter 6 or 7 times. I got a new critique partner, I have no idea how they handle another’s work. It comes back to me and all I see is red.

Notes such as: You need to change this and this doesn’t work. I don’t know where you’re going with this and your characters are flat. No personality.

I get so angry, I did all that work, that person must not know what they are talking about. Who do they think they are? Yadda yadda yadda.

So I walk away from it, grumble to my husband that my new critique partner is mean. I vent, and groan. After that I look at my work, see that the critique partner was absolutely right and cry the tears of failure. When all is said and done, I get over it, fix what needs to be fixed, and go for one more round of beatings on my creation.

We all get defensive of our work, it’s only natural, but we must recognize that in order to grow, we need to feel some pain.

I could say it’s easy to give up on writing, with all the distractions and disappointments that come with creating a novel, but it would be a lie. I could never truly stop. I stay motivated because writing isn’t just a hobby, or just a way to pass thetime. It’s a part of who I am. When I get harsh critiques or find myself having to rewrite an entire chapter becauseit just doesn’t work, I don’t have that feeling of quitting. I may need a break, step away from my brain baby, but I can never stay away for long.

Even during those times where I’m working on the hardest of edits, I can’t help but enjoy it. Each time I sit in front of my writing, going over the words, I see the picture I placed there. With every rewrite and tweak the picture becomes clearer, more real.

It helps to have a writers group. AQC has been amazing for that. Having other writers to talk with and to grow with gives me that desire to keep going. The more support, the more it just feels right. The critique partners that I get from the Speculative Fiction Group on AQC, are a greater asset than I had ever hoped for.


And there you have it.  Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the blog swap.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Putting the Check-Mark Next to the Goal.

One summer I went swimming with my best friend.  He talked me into jumping off the low Olympic platform.  I climbed all the stairs and walked confidently to the edge.  I looked down.  It was a long way to the water below.  Yet I wanted to jump off the platform.  I looked down again. It looked further with a second look.  I put one foot out into the air.  I put it back onto the platform. 

Okay on three I’ll jump.  One, two, three.  My feet were still firmly planted on the floor. 

Deep breath.

Then I just made up my mind and jumped. 

It was a rush!  I dropped then hit the water and went down, down, down, then I swam up, and up and broke the surface and inhaled air and exhilaration.  That was fun!  Back up the platform I dashed and didn’t even stop when I reached the edge.  I just jumped. I ran back again and again.  Then about the 11th trip I froze at the top again.  It took some time to work up the nerve to jump again.

Jumping off the Olympic platform was a ball.  It was scary, but once I jumped it was a blast.  That first time fear paralyzes many into not achieving what they set out to do.  I’ll use the example of getting published to illustrate this point further.

The goal, publish my book.

The book has been written.  The book has been edited.  The book has been read by critique partners.  Your baby has been read and loved by qualified beta readers.  The platform is up, fans are ready to get the book into their hands.  The query letter is written, the synopsis just gleams. 

Send off that query letter and you are on your way.  Yet, it sits on the desk.  The e-mails are not sent.  Other things come up and the sending of the query out just sits.

The dream:  Have your book published.

The reality. Procrastination.


Gut check.  The reason for all of this:  Fear of failure, fear of rejection.  Two huge barriers to achievement and success.

Remember Thomas Edison and his light bulb?  He kept trying until he found his success.  There are many authors who had 60+ rejections until the agent or publisher ran with it and the story became a best seller.  They just kept at it until they succeeded.  

I’ve spent years on my story.  Sadly it isn’t ready to go just yet, but someday it will be.  However I understand how much work goes into this.  So much time and effort, emotions and hopes have gone into the story.  Time to put it out there.  It is time for your baby to leave the nest. 

Yet the finger hovers over the send button.  It just won’t get pushed.  What if they don’t like it?  What if…….

It isn’t easy.  Yet the dreamed and planned for success will never happen if fears are not faced and procrastination turned into action. 

So return to the list of goals, and things to do.  Put together the list of agents.  Do the research, send the query.  Eventually a yes will arrive.  Then the next set of goals and tasks fall into place. 

Your ship will never come in if you never send it out in the first place.  The same action holds true if the decision is to self publish.  Write that blurb, set up the blog, get the twitter tweeting,  

Failure is out there, set backs come.  These are just that; setbacks. Overcome the setbacks to achieve the successes.  Just like standing on that platform and looking the loooong way down to the water below.  The thrill of jumping won’t be there if you don’t jump. 

So take that deep breath and take the plunge.  You can not deal with the setbacks if you don’t take the leap.  So push that send button.  Success is out there for you, you just have to overcome your self doubts and fears.  Sometimes that is the bigger battle, and one most never see.

So what can you do today to overcome those fears?  What has worked for you? 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pre-Writing: A Cure for Both Writer’s Block and Limited Time to Write

By now you know one of my favorite online haunts is AQC Connect.  One of my favorite forums at AQC is the Speculative Fiction Forum.  The Forum's Moderator is Clippership.  Clip, as we call her, runs a great ship, and this months blogging guests was her brain child.  We are all blog hopping and doing posts for each other's blogs.  We have a new spec fic member badge for our blogs as well.  Yes, that too is her design.  She unveiled it earlier this month.  So I have it on display, but wanted to give Joyce due credit here on my blog for her blog badge.

I've had several bloggers from AQC here this last week, and hope to talk a few more in to making guest appearances.  I've also done several guest posts for other members as well.  It has been fun. 
I am so happy to have Joyce here on my blog, she is so busy I've hesitated in asking her over, but the blog swap month made it easy. (and it was her idea as well!)  She and I have talked about what she should write about, and I knew she would deliver the goods, and she has.  So here is Joyce Alton's post about Pre-Writing:
Pre-Writing: A Cure for Both Writer’s Block and Limited Time to Write

Dean knows I’ve been struggling for a couple of weeks now to come up with a worthwhile post for his blog. He’s had so many great time saving posts of his own, in addition to all the other great guest bloggers who’ve shared their thoughts and tips here. I didn’t want to sound like an echo.

So…what is pre-writing? I’m sure some of you know the term. All of us have put it into practice even if we didn’t know the term. I think pre-writing gets ignored or taken for granted a lot. Most often we only count the time we actually spend in front of our computers typing away as actual writing work. Guess what, you can drop that misconception right now. (Cue stadium cheering.)

Most of us don’t have the luxury of writing for hours and hours every day. That makes us normal and rather than seek to be pitied or view ourselves as self-sacrificing heroes (I’m guilty of that too) we shouldn’t dwell so much on the number of hours or words we’ve chalked up as our only progress. Ever struggled with that state of mind known affectionately as writer’s block? We sit down, we feel the urge to write, we have deadlines or goals to meet but…the…words…just…won’t…come. Agh!

The key is to pre-write. You can do it at anytime, anywhere, even while doing other things. Keep your mind open to those subtle bits of inspiration and trust me, they’ll come. Sure we need to focus on other priorities too. I’m not saying you should jeopardize your job, school, family, or (insert other major occupation) for daydreaming and plotting. Pre-writing is work. Immeasurable of course, in terms of word count or hours, yet most valuable in regards to what you do when you finally sit down to actually write.

Plan out conversations, play out situations and choices, rework your plotlines first in your mind before trying to write them. It eliminates writer’s block. Some people like to keep a notebook or other (insert small writing tool or device of choice) in order to remember flashes of inspiration. That’s a fantastic idea. Sometimes we don’t have time for that. It’s alright. If the idea’s solid, you’ll remember it again by tracing back your train of thought and the triggers that ignited the inspiration to begin with. If you’ve already thought through what you want or need to write, then you have no reason to sit and stare blankly at your computer screen when the precious writing time comes.

I know it’s frustrating when I have lapses of time when I’m not able to sit and write at all. Life happens. Pre-writing helps me keep my sanity. As long as I keep working through the stories in my head, I’m still technically working on them. (It saves some revision time too in the long run.)  I can truthfully say to anyone who asks, on any given day, that I’ve spent hours working on my WIP. You can too. I’ve enacted battles in my head while folding laundry. I’ve had an engaging bits of banter teasing my brain while I drive. I’ve “written” entire first drafts at night while I’m lying in bed struggling to get those vital hours of sleep before a busy day.

My one caveat to pre-writing is that you don’t get so caught up in it that you never sit down to really write it all out. Pre-writing is easy, enticingly easy. Remember it’s the actual act of writing that gets the job finished. Pre-write when you don’t have time and write when you do. Both are necessary parts of the writing process. 

Thanks Joyce for some great advice.  I have done a lot of prewritting, it makes it so easy to sit down and write, because it has been on my mind for so long I just got to get it on "paper".  Great post and great points.

Joyce has lots of other great tidbits like this on her blog Yesternight's Voyage.  She can also be found on twitter @JoyceAlton.  so follow her blog and follow her on twitter as well.  (But stop back here for more tips on time management and suggestions to stay motivated.)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Guest Post by Ian Isaro

More guest posts from my friends from AQC.  Today is Ian Isaro.  In a few days Joyce Alton will be here with her guest post.  I've enjoyed EF Jace's thoughts, so now it is time for Ian.

  I met Ian Isaro in the speculative fiction forum over at AQC connect.  He always has some great insights that he shares with all of us. 

Here is Ian, with his advice for staying motivated with your writing. 

It's easy to get bogged down in self-criticism. There are a thousand things to do wrong when writing a story and every reader has a different opinion about what quality means. Yet you can't ignore them, because criticism is how you improve your writing.

So the trick is staying motivated and also self-critical: developing a thick skin instead of ignoring any criticism. I can't say I've mastered it, but I have some suggestions that might help.

- Find a good balance of writing and editing. One of the best antidotes to editorial cynicism is to enjoy yourself in the raw creative process.

- Accept that success has more to do with difficult-to-pinpoint "x factors" than any standard of technical proficiency. Pick a popular series you don't like and relax.

- Step back and get some perspective. A lot of "unbreakable laws" of writing only came into being in the last 50 years. Think about how many rules Shakespeare and Dickens ignore. Realize how different speculative fiction looked with it was written by Tolkien and Wells.

- Receive a mix of critiques. Find people who tear apart your story on a structural or sentence level, but also those capable of evaluating what works well. For authors, strengths are often more important than weaknesses, so it's important to be aware of them.

- Read. Read for pleasure even if you can't turn off your inner editor. It will strengthen your ear for prose and keep you outside the world of editing conventional wisdom.

Never stop trying to improve. But in the end, remember that every book an author revised and polished, that went through several editors to be professionally published, has then had people drop it saying, "Couldn't get into it because the writing was bad." You can't master a subjective craft until you have your own standard to strive toward.

Great advice Ian.  Thank you for taking the time to do a guest post.  You can check out Ian's blog and Ian's Smashwords profile.  Pop over and see what he is up to.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Why EF Jace Writes

I met EF Jace over at AQC.  So now EF is welcome as a guest on The Write Time where she will let us all know why she writes. 

Why do I write?

Why, is there some alternative I haven't been told of yet? Writing, I have found, is the only outlet for the creativity and sometimes flat out weirdness that my muse insists on vomiting forth when she gets drunk on my imagination. I mean, yeah, most fantasy writers will say that they love to immerse themselves in an alternate world. Floating islands, unheard of magic, dashing rogues and smooth tricksters, it all sounds so enticing and really, so much more sane to say instead of the truth. And the truth my friends, is that my characters won't shut up otherwise. The bad guy keeps monologuing, the lovers' steam is fogging everything up, and ghoulish horrors silently lurk, waiting to strike.

My mind doesn't stop moving or turning over an idea. Dialogue, action scenes, key points to a plot I haven't yet figured out are all mixing around in there and just begging me to do something with them. On top of that, the act of writing is exhilarating. I can't think of any thrill-seeking sport that can elicit the same feeling writing does. I can assume (as you'll never catch me doing it) jumping out of a helicopter with a cleverly roped up shower curtain between you and a certain pancake-esque future can provide for one heart-pounding, head-spinning, lungs-in-your-throat and tingle-in-your-pants moment. But it's just that, a moment. A single, transient moment of excitement that, in order to relive it, you’ll have to rely on your fading memory. No such dilemma exists with writing.

From the moment you sit down to the keyboard, typewriter, pen and paper, voice recorder, whatever, that's when the excitement starts. Even if it's veiled by difficult scenes and uncooperative characters or speed bumped by writer's block and lack of inspiration (as they can be two different things), it's all still part of the adventure. Banging your head on the keyboard, downing your fourth cup of coffee followed by a shot of Redbull, and highlighting paragraphs or pages of work then staring at the 'delete' key is as integral - and as exciting - as double-checking your buckles and straps and what have you before you make that jump.

As for the jump itself, that's when you're sitting there and experiencing that fight blow-by-blow with Main Character McGee. When you feel just as angry during that argument with Antagonist-guy or as flushed when MC McGee brushes hands with That-Guy. When hiding in the floorboards of the tavern listening to Antagonist-guy monologue his evil plan of evil to his minions gives you the same nervous lurches in your stomach as your character. There is nothing comparable to knowing you have the ability to give this story a happy ending where you'll sing and laugh along with the characters, or crush hopes and dreams, making you cry along with them.

But what really gives writing the winning point, is that when all is said and done, when you've got that scene or chapter or entire novel hammered out, when Antagonist-guy has been defeated by MC McGee and they live happily ever after with That-Guy (or if the exact opposite happens), it's still not over. Because when you sit down to read it again, whether for editing purposes or just to reaffirm how damn good that scene was, you get to experience it all over again. And not just the excitement or fear or sadness along with the characters but the line-up of emotions you went through while writing it. That frustration when you were absolutely convinced that one scene was going to be the death of you and the jumping up and down and taunting of your computer screen when you finally do get it (no? is it just me that does that then?).

In short, I'm addicted to writing. It's a drug that's free, fairly without side effect - if you don't count lack of social skills and, at times, questionable hygiene ethics - and so very, very, good.

I want to thank Dean for allowing this off-the-wall and mildly verbose writer anywhere near his blog! Feel free to check out my own blog at Verbose Veracity and my twitter @EFJace!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

On Being Productive

I got an e-mail a few years ago about someone who was going to mail a letter, but first they were going to finish washing the car, but had to go inside to get the car keys, and saw the remote and needed to put it away, on the way there they saw a can of coke and needed to put it away before it got knocked over, and saw their glasses, and ….

At the end of the day they can’t find the remote, didn’t remember where their glasses were and the bills still weren’t paid, but they were tired, and had been busy all day, but nothing seemed to be done.

Have you ever started the day with great big plans on all the things you want to accomplish before you collapse into bed at the end of a day and think, wow, what a great day?  Then at the end of that said day while brushing your teeth you look in the mirror and wonder, what happened, all the great ideas just didn’t happen today?

Perhaps something unforeseen loomed up and snatched your day from you.  Something urgent derailed where you were heading.  Those things do happen.  Life happens when you are making other plans. 

However, (there is always a however, isn’t there?)  However, more than likely you sidetracked yourself.  Something caught your eye and sapped that productivity you were so game at the start of the day.  Someone left the TV on.  (Okay, you turned on the TV) just watch the news, and then….  Three hours later you wake up and say opps,  I gotta get this done…..

Or check e-mail, then twitter, then……    An hour and a half have been gobbled up.

Angry Birds

I’ll do a quick check on…..

You get the idea.  All these gadgets that have news, info, etc can and often do eat up our time.  Someone posted on their blog that they were not going to post as much on their blog, or spend as much time in the forums, or tweet because they wanted to get more of their things done and they found that the time on the internet was taking away from the time they wanted to spend on other things. So they were going to shut down the blog for a while.

I’ve read a few other bloggers saying they were going to cut back to do other things as well.  I took a week off a few weeks ago myself.  So yes, we set priorities, and sometimes some of the fun things we enjoy doing have to take a backseat to something that has a higher priority.

So here are a few tips to stay on track.

1.  Check e-mail once a day.  Yes I know the new phone chimes every time something arrives in your inbox, but set up a time to do e-mail things and stick to it.

2.  Pick one or two TV shows if you need down time in front of the TV.  Then shut it off.  Or if you have that DVR or TIVO or whatever, record the show and watch it on your time frame.  You can fast forward through the ads and watch the show in less time.

3. Set a time limit for your “break”  I’m going to play this computer/video/whatever game, but I’m only going to play for x minutes.  Or to this level or what ever.  Then shut it down when you reach that point.

I think you see where I’m going with this.  Recreation and breaks are great.  They are needed.  But too often we indulge and spend more time in those areas and never get what we really wanted to do done.  There are reasons we put off doing those other things and I’ll talk about those reasons next week, but in the meantime work on that self discipline and set up your limits so you can increase that productivity.

What are some of the things that chew up your time?  Any tips you’d like to share?  What works for you, or what doesn’t?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why do I write Speculitive Fiction?

Joyce over at Yesternight's Voyage poised this question to me.  So I answered her question on her blog.  Go check it out.

And to go with why I write I also am proud to place the Speculative Fiction group member badge on my blog.

Also Calista Taylor has done another blog interview over on Mac Wheeler's Blog.  You can check that out as well.

Now to work on Thursday's Time Tip...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday's Time Tip: Focus on goals pt 3: Daily Goals

In all my research and work on getting to where you want to be I've come across this idea for happiness and fulfillment.

The narrower the gap between where you are and where you want to be, the greater your contentment, fulfillment, and happiness.

Again I'll look at the sporting world.  All the effort and long hours training pays off at the end of the race.  You beat your best time, or, you win!

That moment, that instant the athlete crosses that mark you can see the elation on their face.  Mission accomplished.  You see it on the football field, you see it on the track.  All the hard work paid off.

Everyday has a challenge.  Everyday we are working towards something.

Today I want to discuss the daily goal.  Why is getting an A in economics going to help me with dance?

Each day is filled with things that need our attention.  Life is full of distractions.  How do we get the things done that matter most?

Look at the long range goals you've set for yourself.  What can you do today that will start moving you in the direction you want to go?  Look at your mid range goals, is there something you can do today to set those in motion?

I like to make a list of things that need to be done.  Then I go back and give the items a priority.  Then I start on A1 and then go to A2, then later B1, then perhaps get to C4 later in the day.  A are important items, things that are important.  (One day we'll discuss important vs. urgent and yes there is a difference).  B Items are important but not needed right now, and C items are nice but they can wait.

So if you are writing, a goal for writing would have an A priority.

I love big projects, but my current life situation doesn't allow for big blocks of time to devote to the big projects, so I find I have to do a few things a day.  Nibble at it.  Eventually it gets done, not the way I prefer to do things, but the important part is it does get done.

So each day take a look at things and find at least one thing to do that will get you closer to where you want to be.  There is just a great feeling about checking things off that list.  Each check mark is one step closer to that finish line.

What are some things you do each day that help you achieve things?  How do you plan your day?  What have you found that works best for you?  I'd love to hear your ideas as well.  I too am learning and am always willing to try new things.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Keeping Those Resolutions

New year, fresh start.  This year is going to be different.

Yes, we all say these things, and start with good intentions, but then life keeps coming and the same old issues plague us and soon all the resolutions are discarded and we kick ourselves for not being stronger, more disciplined, or what ever else comes to mind.

The reason most of these New Year's Vows fail isn't because we give up on them.  They fail because we don't help them to succeed.

Let em explain:  I've planted many a garden.  In the spring I till up the yard, I go to the store and get the seeds, I plant them, I water them, then I get busy and the weeds take over.  Most of my gardens end up a mess.  I've had some successes, but for the most part they don't do well.

We all have habits, and routines.  When we make a resolution to stop smoking, or lose weight, that calls for a change in habits.  We have to decide what is going to take place of the action we've been doing.  Losing  weight calls for change in diet, exercise and sleep.  So when that next doughnut is sitting there and you pick it up and eat it you say, "I'll start tomorrow."  Or "Well I blew that resolution, oh well."

Find a way to get healthy snacks in reach.  Eat smaller portions of things.  Start eating right, then add exercise.  Slowly things will change and the goal to lose weight starts to happen. 

I know I've oversimplified this.  The secret to keeping those resolutions is making small changes in your life so you can.  You want to, you said I will do such and such. Make that commitment to yourself and hold yourself to it.  Replace the thing you want to stop doing, with something you want to do.  That is the secret to keeping those resolutions.

So write the book, lose that weight, stop smoking, start exercising, start reading, turn of the TV and tune into life.  Whatever it is you wanted to do, go for it. 

What is it you want to change and do better in 2012?  What is your game plan?  What do you think?  I'd love to read your thoughts on this.

Have a great 2012!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Guest blogging and guest bloggers

Writing is no longer a solitary endeavor.   True, the writer has to take the time to write the story, and only the writer can write it.  However with the internet and on line communities and workshops and blogs, and books and, and, and....  The writer is no longer all alone.  Several months ago I joined an online community: Agent Query Connect.  I was under the false impression my book was ready to query and publish so I was looking for an agent and stumbled upon this writer's forum.  I joined.

Life hasn't been the same since.

I participated in a writing marathon last summer and learned a lot of things about my book.  Now I'm in the process of rewriting.  (That isn't nearly as fun as writing fresh and creating, but hey writing is work after all, at least some aspects of it.)  

So chat groups, critique partners, Beta Readers, and the local writer's groups all play a part in helping the writer improve his/her craft.  Yes, all this takes time, but the sharing helps so much.  After all the story does come first.  I love all the help I've found with my writing, and I think I've given some good advice to fellow writers as well as I try to give back.  It has been great to rub virtual shoulders with some wonderful writers in the forums and chat rooms.  If you haven't joined any writing groups or forums you really should think about finding one and participating.  It will help with your writing. 

So one of my favorite places in the forum is the Speculative Fiction Group. (Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, and other genres that explore with demons, magic, future, past, alternate realities, other dimensions, I think you get the idea.) 

So the Spec Fic group is doing a blog jump this month.  Members are writing guest posts for other members.  So I'll be posting links to other blogs this month as I try and help my writing friends with their blogs.  I also invite them to share their ideas here on The Write Time.  So, hopefully, January will be a great month to stop in and see what is going on with guest bloggers and links to other blogs where I'll be a guest as well.

Here is to a wonderful start of 2012.  May you achieve all you hope to do this year.