Sometimes we all need encouragement to keep writing. I have several things I do when I’m discouraged.
One, since I’m a quote junkie, is read or collect encouraging quotes. Here are some that either encouraged me or were reminders to press on:
“The mere habit of writing, of constantly keeping at it, of never giving up, ultimately teaches you how to write.” – Gabriel Fielding
“It’s easy to think that you haven’t made any progress when you forget where you were when you started out. Be kind to yourself, you’ve come a long way and overcome a lot.” – Patricia Caldwell
“A book might not sell, but that doesn’t mean the writer wasted time on it, not as long as the writer is learning and growing.” – Laurel Gale
“Rejected pieces aren't failure; unwritten pieces are.” – Greg Daugherty
“The voice of the inner critic can shut the whole process down. I tell it to take a number.” – Barbara Taylor Brown
“Have faith in your art, even when others don't.” – Sean Qualls
“The best way to nurture your love of words and language is to be around words and language.” – Mary Kole
This last quote is a good segue into number two. Catch up on reading. This comes in two parts.
Today I’m reading some writing newsletters I’ve not gotten around to. I’m reassured by things I already know. I’m inspired or challenged by others. I learn something new. And I share some of these posts or articles with my tribe.
Part two is reading in and outside my genre(s). That’s always a good reminder of what I want to do. Plus, it gets me into the rhythm of those types of stories or makes me look at something in a new way. Read what Nicholas Sparks has to say on this topic, “By reading a lot of novels in a variety of genres, and asking questions, it's possible to learn how things are done - the mechanics of writing, so to speak - and which genres and authors excel in various areas.” Yes, I learn by what others do and don’t do.
Three, spend time with your writing tribe.
It can be done online or in person. Online is a nice quick fix. I use Facebook groups, writing list serves, and Twitter.
Face to face takes more time, but in the end is more rewarding for me. I have a critique group and just knowing a meeting is coming up makes me want to have something ready for them to hear and comment on. But even if I don’t, I get encouragement from them.
Four, attend writing events.
These can be book signings, talks, workshops, conferences, intensives, retreats, writing times. I almost always get something out of them. Sometimes I get a whole lot. And, I'm with my tribe. But most importantly, they inspire me to write.
So, what helps you have the courage to get back to writing? Feel free to comment below.
2/22/2018 2 Comments
Steampunk and the Bible is an unusual combination. What gave you the idea to write Esther's story as steampunk?
Yes, steampunk and the Bible is an unusual combination. Even though I have another Biblical retelling published, this was my first attempt at it. Hayao Miyazaki gave me the inspiration for this blend. I love Castle in the Sky and Howl’s Moving Castle. So, they became the impetus for the background. Since as far back as I can remember I have loved the story of Esther. The court intrigue, absolute irony, and the story of a woman who stands for what’s right has made me return to the story to read it over and over again. With Hayao Miyazaki’s worlds floating through my mind and the inspirational music of Joe Hishaishi ringing in my ears, the story of a young girl forced into circumstances she has no control over came to be.
That’s so cool. I love Howl’s Moving Castle and many other books by Diana Wynne Jones. But it was my grandsons who introduced me to Hayao Miyzaki's animated movies. For my readers who aren't familiar with them here's an interesting interview.
Kandi, how long did it take you to write this book?
That’s a good question. I had to go search an old art account where I had uploaded it to remember when I had started it. According to my comments there, it was started for National Novel Writing Month in November of 2011. The last upload, Chapter 9, lists May, 2012 as the submitted date. The book sat unfinished on the site; in fact, I don’t know if I have any other backup of this story’s origination other than there.
This past summer, I realized my original plan of having my Ancient Egypt Biblical retelling ready by March wasn’t going to happen. The Ancient Egypt story had grown from a stand-alone to a trilogy, but I didn’t have the second and third books written. That left me needing something to publish in March. I wasn’t ready with the fantasy trilogy I have going, so I went looking for something I could do. That led me to the art site where I found Saving a Race—the original title for To Save a Race.
From the middle of July through August, the rest of the story came into being. I sat down and focused on writing. To my amazement, I was able to sink into Nubbikford and the duke’s castle.
Do you have any other Biblical retellings planned?
I have published The One Who Sees Me, a Biblical retelling of Hagar. That was also a National Novel Writing Month story. It’s considered a historical fiction since it’s set in a medieval castle. Besides that, I’ve written book one of an Ancient Egypt Biblical retelling. Unlike The One Who Sees Me and To Save a Race, this story takes place in Biblical Egypt during the plagues. However, instead of being from the point of view of an Israelite family, it’s the story of a young Egyptian scribe and his family as they deal with the upheaval of their lives by the plagues.
I honestly wanted to finish the tale with the last plague, but God had other plans. Our Sunday School class studied Exodus through Deuteronomy. That led me to realize there were too many other lessons to tell. This means that I’ll have to kill off some characters—the exact reason I didn’t want to make this anything more than a stand alone.
Are you a plotter, pantser, or a combination of both?
I’m definitely a little of both. When I write Biblical retellings, I have a basic outline which really helps, but I find there are some characters that just come in no matter what. I enjoy the free-flow of my fantasy writing that enables me to fly by the seat of my pants, but even there, I find myself writing down notes and planning a bit—things like names, main ideas, etc.
When did you first realized you wanted to become a writer?
I’ve enjoyed writing since I was young. During high school my teachers elected me to go to my first writer’s conference. The better question would be “when did I first realize I wanted to be an author?”. That happened somewhere about five years ago. I had my Dragon Courage series written and wanted to publish it for my kids. While I considered this, I went with my two middle children to a local writer’s conference in 2015. A presenter indicated that her publisher was accepting submissions. I debated, but out of fear, I didn’t tell even my husband when I hit submit that weekend. Three weeks later, I had an acceptance letter! However, even then, I didn’t consider myself an author. It wasn’t until after the fourth book was published and my publisher went out of business, that I made the conscious choice to be an author.
What authors have inspired you?
Michael Phillips was a big inspiration to teach through an engaging story. I love his Secret of the Rose series which had a lasting impact on me, not because he preached at me but because his characters’ lives were such wonderful examples of Christ-likeness.
Where and when do you write?
The majority of my writing is done in my bedroom. I have a recliner that my husband picked up at a yard sale for him. I love sitting in the recliner in the mornings and writing. Since I’m a school teacher, the majority of my writing is done during the summer or on school breaks.
Who encourages you in your writing?
I think my biggest encouragement comes from the Fellowship of Fantasy group. They’re a group of clean, indie, fantasy authors. As for people around me, my parents and my husband are the ones who keep me going. My kids are always interested in what’s going on. My youngest was the one I wrote for at the beginning.
What’s one tip you’d share with other writers?
Keep writing. Don’t let the reviews get you down. Realize the right reader is out there. You just have to find him or her, but when you do, you’ll have a fan.
A brief summary of Kandi’s book To Save a Race
When Duke Callon divorces his wife and decides on an uncanny way of choosing his next duchess, Arianna's left with little choice. Faced with the intricacies of politics, Arianna struggles to find her place. Just as she thinks she has her footing, a decree, issued with the blessing of her husband, calls for the extermination of her entire race.
A young innocent girl, a capricious duke, and a decree that will change everything. What will it take to save a race?
Follow along in this one of a kind Steampunk Biblical retelling of an Old Testament classic by Kandi J Wyatt.
The book comes out March 6th. However, it’s up for pre-order. Check it out here: https://www.books2read.com/u/49PG5k
Thanks for sharing with me, Kandi. This was very interesting.
Even as a young girl, Kandi J Wyatt, had a knack for words. She loved to read them, even if it was on a shampoo bottle! By high school Kandi had learned to put words together on paper to create stories for those she loved. Nowadays, she writes for her kids, whether that's her own five or the hundreds of students she's been lucky to teach. When Kandi's not spinning words to create stories, she's using them to teach students about Spanish, life, and leadership.
Recently, I’ve seen some writers post this question, “What do I blog about?” One writer didn’t understand the difference between a blog and a website and how the two work together—I’m sure she’s not alone.
I’m going to talk about these in reverse order.
Blog versus website
First, you can have a blog that stands alone. Blogs let you talk about things that interest you. Like social media, blogs can let you interact with others. For blogs that’s usually done via comments. I like what Andrew Sullivan has to say, “Blogging is to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud.”
Or you can have a blog that is a feature of your website. Blogs can give active content (changing content) on a website. If you want to only share links or funny videos, social media might be the best choice. However, a website can let you blog, and share links, etc.
Here’s a good resource for more info: Blogging - What is it and Why is it Popular?. I will offer a caveat—don’t blog with the intention of making money. To use a cliché “that ship has sailed.” “If you love writing or making music or blogging or any sort of performing art, then do it. Do it with everything you’ve got. Just don’t plan on using it as a shortcut to making a living.” – Seth Godin
What to blog
You can blog about anything you are interested in, but the most successful way to keep up with a blog is to blog about what you know, or are learning, and are passionate about. That’s why many writers blog about writing—myself included.
Penelope Trunk says, “A blog is a great way to figure out what you want to do with yourself because writing regularly is a path to self-discovery.” That’s one purpose of blogging. But here’s an interesting thought to keep in mind if you want followers, “People like to learn things, but they especially like to learn what they can do to improve their lives.” – Donna Merrill
When to blog
It’s up to you. But if you don’t continue to have content, your blog dies.
I like having a schedule. My goal on this blog is to blog once a week. Sometimes I miss my goal. But because I’m planning for it, I hit my goal more often. Neil Patel says, “If you want to continually grow your blog, you need to learn to blog on a consistent basis.” Amy Harrison says, “(Superheroes) can disappear for months or years and then burst back onto the scene with a climactic display of their impressive powers. Okay for superheroes, not okay for your content. It might feel boring and constraining, but publishing consistently brings results.”
How to publicize or promote your blog
You can share your blog on social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook. I find specific groups who are interested in a topic are good places to share.
Some bloggers have a newsletter email list. They send new content and old content to their subscribers.
Include a link to your blog in your email signature.
Answer questions with links to your blogs posts in forums and groups. (Of course, your post must really apply to the question.)
Thank those who reshare or tweet your posts. And if you quote others in your blog post, let them know.
Got more questions?
I know this hasn’t answered everything, so if you have further questions, feel free to ask them in the comments.
The caveat: this is aimed at fiction writing.
Close Point of View
If you want to write close point of view, you will stay in the viewpoint of your main character. The reader can only know what the mc sees, hears, experiences, etc. She is the only one whose thoughts the reader is privy to. This means no “head hopping” from one person’s head to another and another. The writer stays in one person’s skin.
Think of viewpoint like a camera riding on the main character’s shoulder or in his mind. This camera is special as it can record all senses. Everything is filtered through the main character’s senses. Think how individual people are aware of different things. For example, your female friend walks in the front door and has such a strong sense of smell, she can tell the litter box needs to be changed. Your male friend notices the circle of dripped oil in your driveway. Grandma only has eyes for the grandchildren. The teenager is only concerned that there’s food—lots of it. Someone afraid of dogs won’t want to step inside our house since my German Shepard thinks it is her job to greet everyone.
My husband and I had been married for eleven years and our six-year-old daughter was interested in what happens after everyone clears their plates from the table. I told her about putting the food away, loading the dishwasher, wiping the counters and the stove. My husband’s voice comes from the living room, “You wipe the stove?!” He’d never noticed. In eleven years. (Hmm, wonder what I missed that he does?)
Harper Lee said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” And isn’t that really why we read? To experience someone else’s world? When done well we are learning more than just a character’s actions—we learn his heart, soul and mind.
But what if you want to show something that happens when the main character isn’t present?
Think of ways around it. Does the mc absolutely need this information? If yes, how can she find out? Overhearing? Someone telling him? Does she see something that reveals information? Does he find a clue? Read a letter or text or email? Be creative.
I like what Mark Kennedy said, “Creating characters that feel real and that are doing things out of real motivation is much harder than just creating a plot and manipulating characters into doing what they need to do to service the plot.” Close point of view is what allows readers to see and believe motivation.
What if you want to stay in the main character’s viewpoint, but are having problems?
You may be writing in third person which of course can be close pov, but try writing a scene or two in first person. You don’t have to leave it that way, but you’ll more easily see when the camera source is someone else.
Here’s a suggestion from John Tang, “…select an emotion and a setting. And then guide all the concrete details to reflect that emotion. You will naturally enter the character’s mind and discover what he or she is perhaps musing over or growing annoyed at.” (Read the full post here.) https://thewritepractice.com/closer-characters/
What about multiple viewpoints?
I think stories work in multiple viewpoints best when changing pov from scene to scene or chapter to chapter. It should be clear by the voice whose point of view we are in. If your characters aren’t distinct enough, readers will get confused. Personally, if I’m too confused by pov, I quit reading. Too many character viewpoints can be annoying as well, especially for those of us who like to identify with one or two characters.
What about an objective viewpoint?
That’s great for nonfiction or an essay.
How about omniscient viewpoint?
I’m not a fan.
What are your thoughts on viewpoint? Feel free to share in the comments.
SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too. She also loves assisting other writers on their journeys.