Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Keep your goals close

I recently made this goal poster and stuck it right to the side of my computer (a couple weeks ago now I guess, as you can see I have changed the look of my blog again 😁)

Goals themselves are very important--you need something to work toward, a way to measure your progress, and hopefully inspire forward momentum.

But over the last few months, I have been trying to figure out why I always seem to circle in the not-quite-productive-as-I-could-be patterns over and over again, and it occurred to me that, though it is good to have goals and better to write them down, when too much gets in the way--family, work, health, life in general--it is easy to lose track.  Not necessarily forget, but sort of shuffle the ideas and even notebooks to the side, piled under the bills and report cards, newspapers, and grocery lists.  Know what I mean?

And that brought me to the realization that goals need to be VISIBLE, somewhere they can be seen EVERY day.

So, one of the big "ah ha" moments came when I remembered seeing this type of sheet on an Instagram feed sometime last year. (If you know where it originated or are the originator, just let me know and I will happily shout out credits and links!)  I liked the sticky-note idea so as each goal is accomplished, new ones can be added, to keep progressing and growing.  And this time, I set it front and centre.

I am at my computer more often than not six out of seven days a week as I edit at night after the day job.  Having the goal poster right in front reminds me of what I am working toward, reminds me not to overwork one area (usually editing) but instead stop and give my own goals twenty to thirty minutes a night, too.  It is not about spending gobs of hours on your goals, but simply doing something toward them every day--writing for twenty minutes while the chicken is in the oven for dinner, or for the last twenty-minutes before I shut my computer off for the night.  Getting up halfway through editing to take a walk in the lovely evening rather than "powering through" and not leaving the seat for three hours straight--my knees are NOT happy when I do that!  The goal sheet is a great reminder to put on a timer so I don't get lost in the work or in my own head, which are two of my worst habits where self-care is concerned.

And don't think you have to have something like the picture above, that's just the need of the artist part of me.  Even a simple sticky note with your goal(s) in big letters and tacked to your computer will benefit you, remind you physically of what you are working toward, and get you there sooner rather than later.

Practice makes progress, right?

Give it a try, and feel free to let me know how it works for you😉


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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Black and White

I prefer to live my life in colour, but sometimes it is simply black and or don't, yes or no, black letters on a white manuscript page after page after page. 

Even so, there is ALWAYS positives, even in the feeling accomplished when an edit is complete and I can send an excited author her manuscript back to work on, to fine tune, to really bring her characters to life and her story to completion.

I wish it was a lazy Peace Love Lattes Sunday...and maybe that isn't today, but it will be, just like the picture above will someday get colour, too.  Life is lived one day at a time, sometimes they are black and white, and sometimes they shine with colour, but either way, each one is special, each one is a gift, and each one is yours to make with it anything you can imagine!


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Sunday, September 09, 2018

And you ARE amazing!


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Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Common Mistakes in Creating Characters

Here are a few things you don’t want your characters to be:

1) Stereotypical.

Too predictable or clichéd. Think of a strong, manly cowboy drawling all his words, scuffing his boots through the dirt with a bow-legged walk, and calling every woman he meets darlin’. Don’t fall into the trap of making your characters sound like a bad movie. It’s okay to use bits and pieces of known characteristics, but make sure your characters are unique with something different to personalize them and help them stand out.

2) Flat.

No one likes a blah/boring character. Actions and dialogue make characters who they are, so make sure you’re including strong verbs, movement, quirks, and specific descriptions relating to characteristics in order to bring them to life.

3) Too stupid to live.

A common phrase used to describe characters constantly falling into trouble and making inevitably wrong—and usually silly/ridiculous, out of character—choices. These characters are those with no validation for their actions such as dropping in a hole out of nowhere and needs to be saved, a long, lost, never heard of before past love or enemy showing up out of the blue mid-story, or characters engaging in a constant reign of miscommunication that could have easily been solved by one face to face conversation in the very first chapter. Wanting to have creative or wacky events in your manuscript can be fun and unique, simply make sure your characters have purpose and follow a thought process or action sequence that is rooted to some form of validation woven throughout.

4) Too perfect.

It is more often the flaws that endear a character to the reader than the heroics. People are not perfect. EVERYONE has flaws and THAT’S OKAY. It makes us human. These flaws can help create unique aspects to the conflicts in a manuscript, and as noted, flaws are what makes your characters relatable to your readers. And this relatability is what draws a reader to your characters, to your voice, to your books, over and over and over again.


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