Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Monday, March 29, 2010

Check Out My Interview!

Today, Aubrie Dionne posted an interview with me over at Flutey Words! Go check it out to learn more about my stories and about my role as editor at Mindflights. One commenter will win a copy of my novella "The Bearer's Oath" in Mindflights print edition.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Writing as an Act of Courage

There are many parts of this crazy writing quest that require courage. It takes courage to get the ideas from your head down on paper. It takes courage to let someone else read what you've written. It takes courage to ask for a critique. It takes courage to submit, and it takes even more courage to submit again after being rejected. But I want to talk about courage in the actual writing itself. I once received a critique that said something along the lines of, "It seems like you're afraid of your own writing. You need to go all out on the descriptions here." Wow. That gave me pause. Afraid of my own writing? He was absolutely right. I was writing timidly, as if thinking, "This isn't really that great. Maybe it's just a stupid idea." That's no way to write! Really. Boldness is required! I rewrote the scene in question and I sold the story a short time later.

I still find myself falling into a trap of timidity when writing. I have to remind myself often to be bold! Be courageous! Let my imagination fly wherever it wants to go, and just write it. If I start worrying about what others will think, I just become paralyzed. I've found boldness to be liberating. I find that when I am bold, the story turns out much better than when I write worried about if it sucks or not. Usually, if I use boldness, the story doesn't suck. So, my challenge for you today is to sit down and write with courage, however you define it. Boldly go where no writer has gone before! I think you're writing will be better for it. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Awards and Inspiration

I feel so lucky! I was given three awards last week. Now it's time to pass them on.

Abby Annis was kind enough to pass on the Sunshine Award. Thanks, Abby. You should check out her blog if you haven't. I'm supposed to share five things about myself. I'm trying to think of five things I haven't already shared on previous lists. I think I'll share five of my favorite things:
1. My favorite day of the week: Wednesday--womens choir practice!
2. My favorite national park: Capitol Reef
3. My favorite shake flavor: Strawberry. Mmmmmm.
4. My favorite indulgence: Ice cream and Ruffles potato chips
5. My favorite mountain: Mt. Loafer (see the view above). It used to be Timpanogos, but now I love Loafer better.
I pass this lovely award on to:
Ali Cross
Elizabeth Mueller
Karen Akins
Kimberly Franklin
Emily Griffin

Nicole Green of Chapters passed the Creative Writer award to me. Thanks, Nicole! Go check out her blog too.
I've already made up lies about myself. If you missed them, read them here, and if you want to know the truth, find it here. I've already passed this one on, so I won't do that again.

Aubrie Dionne of Flutey Words was kind enough to pass on the Prolific Blogger award to me. If you read her blog, sometimes she posts videos of her flute concerts. Awesome! (Plus a lot of great writing stuff too.) Here are the rules:

1. Every winner of the Prolific Blogger Award has to pass on this award to at least seven other deserving prolific bloggers. Spread some love!
2. Each Prolific Blogger must link to the blog from which he/she has received the award. (see above).
3. Every Prolific Blogger must link back to this post, which explains the origins and motivation for the award.
4. Every Prolific Blogger must visit this post and add his/her name in the Mr. Linky, so that we can get to know the other winners.
I'd like to pass this one on to:
Kasie West
Cynde Hammond
Stephanie McGee
Mary Campbell
Danyelle Leafty
C.K. Bryant

And now (if your still with me) for some inspiration. Check out this awesome post at a blog I just discovered. Charlie is a musician, not a writer, but his thoughts totally apply to all of us creative types.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Writing as an Act of Service

Sometimes when I'm all safely ensconced in my writing chair having the time of my life with my characters, I'll suddenly have the thought,  Shouldn't I be doing something else? Shouldn't I be, you know, out there serving others? Well, maybe. I really do try to know and do God's will each day, and there are times when I have to sacrifice writing time for the sake of something more important. But I don't have to give up all my writing time, because in many ways writing is serving others.I mean, think about how you'd feel if your favorite author decided that writing was selfish and stopped. Yikes! I shudder to even think about it. Those authors that have brought me joy and made me think and created worlds and characters that I love have served me in doing so. Here's just one example. After I brought my preemie baby home from the hospital, I kind of had a postpartum nuclear meltdown. Basically, I was a basket case. One thing helped me through that time. I read the story, "Miracle" by Connie Willis. Every day. It made me feel happy to read it. I must have read it every day for two or three weeks, because it made me smile when I felt like crying all the time. She served me with that story. (I also got through with a ton of help from the incomparable Suzette, but that's another story.)

Do I serve others when I write? Yes, I do. Some things I've written are really obvious acts of service: girls camp skits, Boy Scout programs, puppet shows, Primary programs (lots of those), letters to the editor. I once wrote a short story especially for my Mom to read to the teenage girls at church. But if something that I've written has touched someone else in some way, then yes, it was an act of service. No need to feel guilty about doing that. Of course, in order for writing to become an act of service, you have to actually share it. So, get out there and share it!

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Chair, Same View

My writing chair broke. :( It broke a few weeks ago, actually. At first, I thought, no big deal. I'll just sit on the couch and write. But soon I felt lost without my chair. Everyone would go to bed and I'd stand there wondering where to go. The couch just wasn't cutting it. I was still writing, but it just wasn't the same. It soon became apparent that despite his good intentions, my husband would not be fixing the broken chair anytime soon. So I decided it was time for a new chair. Something not breakable. I decided to go for one of those big comfy bean bags instead. Saturday, I went and bought myself a five foot, hot-pink "monster sak."

Oh, it's so comfy! Maybe a little too comfy, but we'll see. As you can tell from the picture, the chair (or sack, I guess, and no I'm not changing the name of the blog) is under the window, so I won't really have the same view unless I contort myself somehow to look up out the window. Actually, though, I'm usually writing at night when it's dark outside anyway. I can always prop it up against the other wall and look out at the view or I can just stand at the window and admire the mountain whenever I need to. So, I'm really hoping that the addition of a new writing chair will kick me into high gear so I can finish this novel already! I've been working on it for one year tomorrow, and I have written 507 pages. Woohoo! Now I just need to be a little bold, a little courageous and write the coolest ending ever and I'll be set.

PS. Please go and check out the brand-spanking new writing blog my friend Heather just started Wake the Happy Words  You'll be glad you did.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Writing as an Act of Faith

Writing itself is an act of faith, and nothing else. -EB White

It's always lurking there, sometimes in the background and sometimes right out in front. It's that awful fear. Am I just wasting my time? Is this even worth it? What if I never succeed?

You know what I want? Some kind of guarantee. A guarantee that all the work I have put in and will put in will eventually pay off in some way. I want to know I'm not just wasting my time. You know. I want an angel to come down from heaven and tell me I'm doing the right thing. Yeah. Not gonna happen. Sometimes (most of the time, actually) you just have to go on faith.

So that's what I'm going to do. I'm writing as an act of faith. I'm going to choose to believe that my Father in Heaven did not give me this desire and talent in vain, that my writing actually means something to someone, even if it's just to me. I'm going to believe that it matters. I'll take it on faith. Faith has never failed me.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tag, you're it!

Julie Dao over at Silver Lining tagged me with this meme. I'll try to include stuff that I haven't already put on other lists.

  • I like writing.
  • I like notebooks in every shape, size or color.
  • I like brand new pens all full of ink.
  • I like the mountains.
  • I like bags.You can never have too many bags.
  • I like pajamas. Ditto on too many pairs of pajamas.
  • I like sunflower seeds, my favorite writing snack.
  • I like finding a really great story to publish at Mindflights.
  • I like my blogging friends.
  • I like achieving my goals.
  • I like daydreaming.
  • I like going to conferences.

  • I love acceptance letters.
  • Today was my favorite day of the week.

  • I hate being rejected.
  • I hate negativity.
  • I hate self-doubt.
  • I hate getting stuck.
  • I hate being told what to do.
  • I hate that my writing chair is broken :(
  • I hate forgetting important things.
  • I hate feeling lonely.

  • I (secretly) like research and revising.
  • I love having others read and respond to my stories.
This is such a fun list that I'd like to tag YOU! That's right. Anyone who leaves a comment here and wants to do it, feel free. Let me know if you're going to, and I'll add a link to your blog to this post.

You're It! (Check out these great blogs to read their lists)
Cynde's Got the Write Stuff.
Transformed by Words

    Monday, March 8, 2010

    The Truth Comes Out!

    I know you're all just dying to know the truth from my "Creative Writing" post, so okay, here it is. Sadly, I cannot communicate telepathically with fish, chickens, or anything else. Bummer. Also a bummer is that I have never been to Mars. The Lehi Roller Mills were in the movie Footloose. I, however, was not. I was never a cheerleader, though my sister was. That same sister also loves to sew and does it well. I, on the other hand, would rather gnaw off my own fingers than sew anything. I do think platypuses are cool and I'd love to see one in real life someday, but my very favorite animal, as my children would tell you, is the giraffe. Which leaves the truth. My husband and I were introduced by a felon who later went on the lam. He was guilty of identity theft against the guy he claimed was his best friend. What a creep! When he was found out, he fled the country. That guy really was a bald-faced liar. You couldn't believe two words that came out of his mouth. But, my hubby and I do owe him a debt of gratitude for bringing us together. Here we are on our wedding day. (Yeah, I've got my tongue out.)

    So thanks, Steve, for doing at least one good thing in your life.

    Thanks to everyone who commented and tried to guess. I had fun with this. Thanks again, Danyelle and Jackee for tagging me!

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Good Thing I Don't Normally Lie

    Because I had way to much fun with this. Both Danyelle and Jackee passed on the "Creative Writer" award to me, in which I get to tell you six outrageous lies and one truth about myself.

    Well, here goes:

    1. If you look closely you can see me as an extra in the movie Footloose. (Yeah, I'm old.)
    2. My husband and I were introduced by a felon who later went on the lam. Don't know if they ever caught him, but I sure hope so, the rotten liar!
    3. My second great love after writing is sewing.
    4. I have been to Mars. Here's the proof:


    5. My favorite animal is the platypus. Is it a bird? Is it a mammal? No one knows!
    6.I was a cheerleader in high school.
    7. I can communicate telepathically with the fish in our fish tank and occasionally with the chickens in the backyard.

    So, what's the truth there? You decide.

    I'm going to pass this one to:

    Hope you have as much fun with it as I did!

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    March Story Feature: Brierly's Lilies

    "Brierly's Lilies" fist appeared in Dragons, Knights, and Angels in April 2006. Readers called it, "A compelling story . . . Very well done . . . I loved the descriptions in this piece. Great description of the cockatrice. Okay...I confess this made me teary-eyed too."

    "Lilies," Brierly had said with a wistful smile, so Tiann went out for lilies. She jogged home in the warm spring sunshine instead of porting, and saw by chance the old woman standing in the path. 
    I hope you enjoy "Brierly's Lilies." Just click the title to download the PDF. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.