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How to deal with stress

The Eye of the Mustang
what’s your perspective?

It’s a big project. Almost too big, you think. But how do you keep going when it’s too late to turn back?

Yep. Even if you don’t write, you’ve been there. Stress. A million times over. But really — is it stress?

Well … maybe, but take heart: it only lasts for a short time. As a wise friend once told me, “You can do anything for a short amount of time.” I apply that to my writing. Yes, my writing. If you ask if I dislike it, I will say no. If you ask if I dislike planning, I will just grin, the grin meaning yes, but it will be okay.

See, it’s all in our perspective, that lens we call our mind, the chain of thoughts that link together to form the best result in the end.

So no matter where you’re stationed in life, though never totally easy, it will, however, be okay. Keep charging.

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ACFW Judge


Ever take on a challenge you think might be bigger than you ever dreamed?

Exciting things live in each challenge. Embrace each challenge with courage and coffee.

What kinds of things are you jumping into?

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Book planning: how to hook readers


Okay. Most of you (myself included) would admit that it’s challenging, if not exciting, to plan out your next book.

It must be simple, right? Think of an idea. Create characters and a good plot. Write a few hundred pages. And you’re done.

Not. That. Simple.

You’ve got to think of a plot that works. A beginning, middle, and end.

Beginning: introduce your characters, bring in a conflict or desire between your main character and an antagonist (can be animate or inanimate object), and set up how the main character is going to achieve his/her goal.

Middle: continue story with riveting twists and turns to achieve the solution to the problem/desire. You can even introduce a subplot, which is often more exciting than the main plot.

End: begin to wrap up the solution to the problem, but not before your character is forced to choose between good and evil in order to obtain his/her goal. This is the most exciting part in your story because you’ll hook your readers even more and keep them reading late into the night. Your conclusion should be satisfying and solve the problem your character faced in the beginning of the story.

Remember: readers who have a reason to care about the characters you’ve created will be hooked from beginning to end.

Here’s an example of my own story idea:

Clara has to babysit her little sister while their mother goes shopping. Clara also has to can the tomatoes (goal). Little sister Bevy proceeds to wreck Clara’s work (problem).

Clara is frustrated that Bevy is squashing all of the tomatoes and reacts angrily toward Bevy. Bevy runs outside (climax).

While cleaning up the tomato mess, Clara sees Beverly running toward the tractor where their dad is harvesting crops (unexpected climax that causes reader to care). Clara realizes the importance of her attitude toward Bevy (resolution to the problem).

The instructions might sound simple, and they are. But it takes practice to grasp the concept and execute it. Then. It. Will. Be. Simple.

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Blogging de-bunked

Mary Jaksh over at Write-to-Done offers a very credible argument for the myth that has writers believing that blogging is deader than a door nail.

Visit Mary’s awesome article.

And after you’ve read it, skip back over here and share your opinions!

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When you can’t stop

write for inspiration
photo credit: etsy

Even writers who’ve been at the pen or typewriter or keyboard for ages will agree: the key word here is “becomes.”

To write well, it takes 5% creativity and 95% determination to stick with the task. Determination is how

LM Montgomery unearthed Anne of Green Gables after storing it in a hat box for years,

Stephen King plowed on after hundreds of rejections by the time he was fourteen,

Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit tales are a legend,

Alex Haley spent eight years before finding a publisher,

and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind has continued to succeed after it was rejected 38 times.

So, what does this boil down to? Write, read, write, read, write some more. Be determined to do what you know you’re supposed to do. Natural writing, like breathing, will come.

And you won’t be able to stop.

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A poetic bit


Photo credit: blue table writers

So, inspiration comes at odd moments. When we least expect it.

Mine came on the frigid Friday evening when five writers and an artist gathered around an inspiring blue table.

Haiku. We all had to write a haiku based on the topic of flowers.

I agonized over correct wording and imagery, and managed to pen three haiku right on the spot.

In the words of Catherine Drinker Bowen, “For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.” Well, I may not have scored the right word yet, but we artists did have fun creating fragrant haiku.

What poetry or snippets of words have you created recently?

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Series Reveal


It’s a blustery evening. What better to do than hash over book marketing ideas, themes, and photos?

This. A series I’ve been working on since ’98. If you hanker for adventure with a lot of heart, and love to have your hope renewed, then stay tuned for this heart-warming new series.

When does it premier? My Father only knows, so am hanging in there until events line up.

What new ideas are waiting for you?

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And the day came


(Photo credit:

The day has come. Not by my strength, but by my Father’s strength through prayer, hard work, and a whole lot of patience.

A complete stranger called me an author!

Deirdre Lockhart, editor and writing coach at Brilliant Cut Editing, was one of the entry judges for the First Impressions contest through ACFW.

And she called me an author. As if she’d handed me a million dollars for a lifetime supply of my choice of coffee, dark chocolate, and all the subscriptions of Writer’s Digest and Poets & Writers I wanted.

I’m beyond stoked.

So, encouragement for today, dear friends — never give up. Keep doing what God has called you to do. Always a reward at the end of all the hard work.

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A Free Day in the Den — Can’t Beat That!

I’ve signed up for e-newsletters from The Den, a nifty nook bursting with information for writers. Yesterday, owner Carol Tice offered a contest for a free month’s stay in the Den. Then, last night, I checked my email and found an invitation for a free day in the Den! Woot woot!