Stolen Moments

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I think everybody has a “to do” list.
Some are short, some are long. A few might even be considered part of a bucket list rather than a to do list, but everybody’s got one. You’ve written it down are in the back of your head. We’re all busy; kids, school, work, writing. And there’s only so many hours in a day to get everything accomplished. Often things on today’s list get pushed to tomorrow, because there just wasn’t enough time.
But every occasionally, you find a stolen moment. A moment with nothing on your agenda, a moment when no one is clamoring for your attention and you can breathe.
So, what do you do with that stolen moment? Do you pull out your list and work on something else?
I think that’s what most people do. But here’s a novel concept; take that stolen moment for yourself.

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Grab a cup of coffee and go out and sit in the garden with a book you’ve been longing to read or a blank piece of paper to doodle on. Perhaps you can simply sit back, close your eyes, and do some deep breathing exercises. Not every minute, not every second has to be productive. Sometimes it’s healthier to be inactive.
Once I get over the guilt of having a stolen moment and taking it for myself, I find my mind wanders. I come up with some of the best ideas this way. Things that were in the back of my mind finally work their way forward; getting the attention they need, and yes, deserve
There used to be a time in our society when quiet moments were expected. After a long day’s you work came home, ate dinner, and had a quiet time. It might have been in the company of your family, or maybe sitting by yourself out of the back porch letting your thoughts wander. Personally, I think our minds were more stimulated because of this. We were forced to use our imagination in the days before there was a TV in every room and a phone in every hand. Everything wasn’t programmed for us on the TV or in a game.

Recently I had the opportunity for some stolen moments for myself. My husband was out of town, leaving me on my own with no obligations. It was amazing! The first thing I did? Turn the TV off. It felt weird, the house was too quiet, so I turned onto my old music to listen to. The stress and tension when out the windows.
At first, I just unwound. But then, the quiet moments led to productive thinking moments. A lot of “what-ifs” were tossing around my head about possible story lines. But rather than hurrying up and writing down an outline, I let them develop and nurture inside, without forcing them. By the second day I was ready for an outline. Because I had given the chance for the stories to form  on their own, my outline flowed from my fingers to the keyboard.

 

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Now I’m not saying you should get rid of your husband (because I really did miss him), or family, or leave your job for a week in order to be productive in your writing skills. But, if you let some stolen moments work their magic, you would be surprised at the results.
And here is an original thought: why wait for a stolen moment?
Why not set aside five or ten minutes every day for quiet time? We used to make the kids do it, at least to my house we did. Quiet time was for either book reading, or quiet play. No electronics, no TV. Set aside ten minutes for yourself every day. Develop this habit, and before you begin writing for the day, let your mind wander; almost like you’re exercising your fingers before you sit down to play the piano.

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Not being productive might be the key better production.

http://www.VictoriaLKWilliams.com

 

 

Hi-ho, hi-ho, its off to camp we go!

My bags are packed and I’m running away for the month of April!

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Of course this is only in a virtual world. April is the first of the Camp NaNo months and I’m exciting to take part.

The camps are a bit more laid back than NaNoWriMo, with less emphasis on 50,000 words and more on your cabin and new writing friends. This is the time to finish up goals which may not have been completed (guilty!) in November and re-connect with other writers.

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I think this is what I love about the camps-the connection! No one understands your misery more than someone also going through the same process. This is the 4th year I’ve opened a cabin up, and I’m thrilled to see old friends return. This year there are  new writers joining us and I’m looking forward to getting to know them as well.

There is a special bond that forms here, one that will never fade. Encouragement is freely given, helpful ideas are tossed around and constructive criticism is offered if asked for and venting is allowed at any hour of the day or night.

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So, we authors set our goals and aim for our targeted number of words as we juggle or daily tasks, jobs and family. To those around us; have patience it’s only for a month.

At least until July rolls around!

http://www.VictoriaLKWilliams.com

Far, Far Away…

Don’t mistake that faraway look in my eyes as boredom.
No, I’m not ignoring you either, and I’m far from falling asleep.

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Writer.

What I’m doing is plotting. There are ideas all around us and sometimes you must stop and think about how one little item that caught your interest can work into a story. How one little phrase you overheard can be worked into a conversation. Or maybe it’s a news item you saw the night before, that’s been sitting in the back of your mind, wondering how it can create an alternative universe or whole new world and a completely different series.
I would say half of my writing time is spent daydreaming. But not daydreaming in a useless way. These daydreams are a productive thought gathering, plotting exercise. Let’s face it our minds are our biggest tools, probably the only tool we need, other than a writing devise. When we let allow our thought to wander where-ever they want, we can produce some great concepts.
If we don’t use this tool regularly, it will become dull and foggy. We need to sharpen our minds and use it to the fullest potential possible. This might mean thinking of things outside of the realm of your normal everyday expectations. If you don’t use those tools and you allow them to become dull and unproductive, you’re heading down the road to writer’s block, I’m sure of it.

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Fortunately, I have a very active imagination and I love to tell stories; never seeming to run out of ideas. Instead the opposite happens. Too many ideas bounce around in my head, often causing difficulty in concentrating on one story line at a time. Thankfully, I’ve never experienced writer’s block.
I keep my mind sharp and I keep thinking and imagining: creating scenarios out of nothing, forming conversations between characters and asking a lot of “what ifs. A good exercise is to have somebody just toss you a word. See what you can do with it; whether it’s a phrase, an object or an action— weave it into your story. Give your story on a new twist, make your characters do something unexpected. Remember if it holds your interest, it will also hold your readers.

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Find a way of recording those ideas, be a pen and paper or your phone or your computer. Jot them down when you get them and please, don’t tell yourself that you’ll remember. It seems the minute you do this, you’ve already set yourself up to forget them. Honestly, with so many thoughts going to our mind daily just with our everyday actions it’s sometimes impossible to remember what we need to get through the day.
Don’t discard an idea or thought path simple because it doesn’t fit your current work in progress. Jot it down and put it in a file for future work. Keeping a file of ideas is another way to fight writer’s block or adding a twist to your story that will keep it original and interesting.
So, what did you see or hear today that created a “what if idea”?

www.VictoriaLKWilliams.com

Do you share?

Do you share?
As an author, do you share with your readers? Do you let them into your world where they can find out about you? Do you have a platform where you let them know what’s going on with your writing life?

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If you are blogging– how much of yourself do you let your readers see of yourself? How often do you share: once or twice a week, daily, once a month? Do you freely share or are you just a matter-of-fact type of person only recording your writing progress, not letting your readers know about your personal side?
Whether you realize it or not, as a writer we share with our readers much more than we think. We can’t help it; as we write thousands of words on the pages, some of our personality has to seep through. Our core values refuse to be ignored, no matter how hard we try. Some of them will make their way into one of our characters, be it good or bad. It’s how you connect with your reader. Letting part of “you” onto the pages is what makes your book successful. It’s about finding something that the reader can connect with and imagine themselves in the same position.

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There are other ways we connect with our readers: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any of the other many social media outlets are avenues to let our readers get to know us.
Personally, I think it’s important to connect with my readers and let them know what’s going on my life. Make them feel connected to you as if you’re a friend about to sit down, share a soda and talk. I know when I read a blog post from another author, I can relate to what’s going on in their life. It does feel like I am chatting with an old friend.
The term author platform is used so much that it’s almost overused. To me, having a platform simply means I’m connecting with my readers. And how I do that has to be comfortable for me. I must be honest and sincere because I would never put out a fake persona. Sooner or later you’ll slip up and dissolution your reader.

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So how much do you share with your readers?

Not much? Well, maybe you should be.

Time to Say Farewell…

This past week I had to say goodbye to an old friend.

The one my son commonly called the toaster. My business was a mere five years old we bought this car, and it lasted for 12 years taking me to and from my customers homes, nursery shopping, and running around town. Sometimes she overflowed with flowers and herbs, giving me a full day’s work and an everlasting supply of different scents. It was a well-known car in town, between the shape and the logo ( a white Scion), and I often heard people saying they had seen me driving around from job to job in my unique car.

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It’s funny how you form an attachment too an animate object. I knew every nook and cranny of my car and the sounds she made, so I realized she was in trouble. And I had to make the decision to let her go, the time was here for her retirement.
After a fond goodbye, I now I have something new, “does happy dance”! It’s bigger and bluer, and I’m hoping it will last me another 12 years.

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As a writer, I look back and I see I’ve given my characters unique cars setting them apart (Megan has an open jeep, Aiden has a cherry red ’65 cutlass, Jake has a red motor scooter), or gave them their own attachments with another item (Megan has a special bracelet, Makenzie wears a lightning rock). It’s easy to transfer your own emotions into your writing, your own likes and dislikes (Megan love chocolate, Mackenzie loves gardens, Paige and Rebecca love cats). Sometimes you might transfer the likes of somebody else into your characters; a comment a good friend may have made about loving a specific brand of handbags suddenly becomes your main character prized possession.
It’s not just inanimate objects we share with our characters, often we bring them in to our favorite place, too. Whether these places are from our past or from our present sometimes or even places we want to go to in the future, they find their way into the story. Some authors are talented enough to create their own places and bring the characters to that imaginary location. But each of those places, just like each of the inanimate objects we so love, means something to us as authors. We may not be aware that with our words we share this love with our characters, and in turn share with our readers.

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As a reader, this helps you identify with the characters in the story, creating a bond. As a writer, it is our job to find a way to bond with our readers. So authors, share a little of your personality with your readers. Help them make the connection to you and your books.

Two little words

 The End.

These two words can have so much meaning…
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Sitting in a dark theater, the theme music plays,  and these two words come up on the screen. It’s the directors announcement that the movie has finished and now it’s time to leave.

These two words are often used when referring to a period of time . They can indicate when a major phase of your life is over. For example; The End of high school– you’ve graduated and  are ready to head off to your next great adventure.

If you say the words when talking about a relationship, this could mean a great love affair has finished, for good or bad The End has come.

 

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But for the book lover, The End, has a different meaning. 
It means your story has come to an end.  The author has finished telling you her story, and whatever creative adventure you were on together is now finished. Hopefully the author has pulled together the story to give you the satisfied ending. If you’re reading a mystery; all the clues have been answered and you now know who the culprit is. If you’re reading a romance; true love has been found and there’s a happy ending to finish the story.
No matter what kind of story you’re reading, the main characters have accomplished what the writer wanted you to see. The world she is brought you into is closing its doors for now.
But for me, as a writer, The End is not a bad thing. To me, The End signals a new beginning. There’s a new story to be told, a new adventure to take my readers into, a new mystery to be solved, a series to  continue.
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Yes, for me, The End is simply a new beginning.

Bringing It to a Close

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How do I describe my feelings as I type these two words: The End?

I guess in order to understand my feelings, I  would have to go back to the beginning, the very beginning when the idea was just  a “I wonder”…

There was a sense of excitement, a sense of; I can’t wait to get to the typewriter and get working on the storyline. The fun of research as I looked up possibilities for what could be used as clues and locations, and stacks of pictures that could be used to visualize scenery, and start to develop my characters.

There was the excitement of writing the first sentence, then the first paragraph, than the first page and then the first chapter. The first few chapters run together smoothly and then you hit your first  road block. You have to pull back get over your frustration and figure out how to solve it. For me it often will led to a whole other thought process which might take my characters down a different path than the one I had originally planned. Sometimes these detours last for a couple of pages, or sometimes I found that it  became a permanent part of the plot.

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And then you hit that dreaded middle of the book. For me that’s the part of the book that I work the hardest at. The center has to be just right, because that is where  I have to include as many details as I can that can be used in conclusion and get the back story. Sometimes it feels like it’s so tedious: it runs on and on and on and on and on. But then you can feel it coming the conclusion is on the horizon.

Once you see that you’re getting close to conclusion, there’s a sense of urgency, a feeling of doggedness that you have to write. The words come swiftly and sometimes you can not get all your thoughts down  fast enough. You find there are all kinds of posted-notes on your desk and sticking to the corners of your computer as you think of ideas you want to incorporate into the ending.

And then there’s that last chapter, the climax, the part where everything comes to a head and you are glued to your keyboard -you can’t walk away . You type until your eyes blur and your fingers are sore, but you’ve got to get it done! Then you type that last sentence, the one that brings everything together and you’re almost there. There’s a sense of relief, a sense of letdown and a sense of closure: and that’s what you do -you close. You bring all your clues and little innuendos that were scattered throughout the book  altogether and tie it up with a pretty bow for your reader.

Finally you type those The End and you say goodbye to your story.

You pause for just a moment, take a deep breath, open your laptop to a new blank page and you start the process all over again!

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