I'm Going!

She Speaks Conference

I'M GOING! I'm super excited and eager to see what I learn and what God does! I can't wait!

I hit the Register button and my heart skipped a beat, but I'm going!

Now there is lots to do in preparation and I'm getting busy...

Have you ever attended a writer's conference before? If so, do you have any tips for me? I want to prepare in every possible way!

One Question

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Through all the noise in my life, there is one constant question that never fails to encourage me to set my priorities straight.

After all, can you have more than one priority?

And if not, what or better yet, Who will be yours?

To read more of my thoughts, please see my article, published on Radical Revolution, "Who Is It You Want?"

The Vision in Revision

If at first you don’t succeed, you’re going about average. - Leonard Louis Levinson

Don't you just love that quote?

It especially resonates with me now as the semester rolls to an end and I begin thinking seriously about digging into my novel once more. Okay, so I have been thinking seriously about my novel all semester (I just can't seem to not), but now that the weather is warm, the sun is shining, and summer is announcing his happy debut as if he has never come before, I find myself daydreaming more and more about my story, the plot, the characters, the...

Well,  I can't quite share here just yet... ;)

Anyway, by preparing to roll up my sleeves and do a little revision, I begin thinking about how I got here. With a bulging Word doc containing the unpolished story I long to share.

After typing 'The End' for the first time, I was esctatic. I had finished another of my many stories, which always brings a sense of pride and accomplishment to this ink-addicted heart. Second, this one was the one. I just knew it. Not a doubt in my mind. This story is the story. I had actually brought this story to full-length. At approximately 73,000 words, it was the longest and most fully fleshed out story I had ever written. I was quite proud of it.
Then, as I am wont to do, I let it rest. I let the story sleep, the characters be, and the ending stand on its own two feet. And as it always is, the time away was good for my mind (I even allowed a sequal to take seed!). When I began rereading it, the glaring inconsistencies were all quick fixes.

I discovered that my main writing peeve is using too many 'was's.' Instead of saying 'she was tired,' for example, expand! Don't just tell the reader the main character was tired ~ show her. That's what we're supposed to do as writers, anyway, and those 'was's' don't help.

After reading through my story (in ten-minute increments each night because I am still a college student, you know) and eliminating all of the major errors, I typed 'The End' on my now 75K darling.

But this time was different. This time The End didn't feel as final. I knew I had some serious work to do now. The second edit promises to be harder and more in-depth than the first. It's crunch time, when not just the spelling and grammar and lack of adequate description or dialogue get fixed...the second edit is the relentless chopping of those unnecessary scenes, the rearranging of minor plot points, and the further fleshing out of the character's struggles ~ beyond just the ordinary.

In other words, it's polish and sparkle time.

Partly because this manuscript is so long and partly because I have been diligently following the WriteNow program over at author Stephanie Morrill's blog (go check it, my writer friends, it's fabulous ~ from first drafts to first queries), I feel as if this second revision is going to make or break this book (and maybe this writer, too!). There's so much I want do, cut, change, and rearrange.
So sometime last week after my eyes had crossed from too much algebra,  I pulled out a pretty pad of paper and set to work. Pen poised, I closed my eyes and thought of all that I wanted to do. Move the prologue, for sure. It wasn't enhancing the story in its position...instead, it should happen over here...

Because first and foremost, with any Revision, there must first be a Vision.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. - Samuel Beckett

Time to Dance?

Sometimes it is time to let go and just...

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Somewhere in the middle of an elegant court with exotic animals and exquisite tapestries, Faith followed the path of a shepherd-made-king. He stood at the entrance to his palace, his city, and gaped at the throng of adoring people, his people. Faith tasted his nervousness, feeling as overwhelmed as he.

To read more, click here.

Why I Don't Recommend Taking 19 Credit Hours

{...And why I haven't been blogging as much as I've thought about blogging.}

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My e-mail inbox is not very happy with me at the moment. There are currently 20-something e-mails waiting to be answered. That's not a normal thing for this e-mail savvy girl. I love receiving e-mails from friends, and I often wait a day or two to answer them, just savoring their words.

 But...20? Mmmm...definitely atypical.

I don't recommend taking 19 credit hours.

I can remember when I could read a thick novel in one day. That was a long time ago, before gymnastics, a part-time job, church activities, and this alternative-form-of-breathing-called-writing started pulling at my heart...but I can still devour a good book if given the chance. My Read-A-Thon comes to mind as a prime example! Now I'm pretty sure I'm still working on the paperback I started a month ago (or was it longer?). 'A month, really?' And, no, it's definitely not that the story isn't good.

I hardly ever scroll through my Blogger Dashboard anymore. I follow quite a few blogs (you can read more about the best in the Kindred Spirits tab above) and in a spare moment I adore visiting the online havens of others of like mind - reading about their love of books, for one thing.

As you may have guessed by now, though, I haven't been treasuring very many spare moments here lately.

Did I mention I don't recommend taking 19 credit hours?

I still answer the urgent e-mails.

I still read (a paragraph counts, doesn't it?) before going to bed each night. I find I often sleep better if I do.

I still occassionally click around and smile at other's uplifting words.

But there is one thing I must do - no matter how many credit hours I'm taking at college (did I mention I don't recommend 19?), no matter how tired I am, no matter how big the pile of laundry waiting to be folded grows...

Be still.

So the rain falls outside my window tonight as I write this.

The music plays. Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral (That's An Irish Lullaby) 1944 by Bing Crosby. Sigh.

I turn over my to-do list and silence the scream of schoolwork yet to be done in the little under a month that remains of the semester. 

Open the Word. Fold my hands. And...

"Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things. Who, O God, is like you?" Psalm 71:19

Don't Deny It

[What I would write to myself at age twelve...

when my stories were full of sixteen-year-old girls, horses, and epic adventures...

when I didn't write on a computer because I distrusted them. An old model had crashed right in the middle of the climax of what I was sure was my best story.

So, instead, I clung to rustling paper and scratching pens. I giggle about it now. I never truly identified myself. Was I too scared to admit it? Too naive to see the truth? No matter.

There's no denying it now.]

Don't deny it. You know who you are.

You feel it.

Your fingers itch, longing to grasp the pen or dance across the keyboard. Your hands twitch, ready to form the words that are burning in your brain, seared into your very heart.

That heart.

It overflows with stories of times long gone and places no one has ever known - until, of course, you bring it to life. It teems with people and characters and faces that make you laugh, smile, and cry (sometimes all at once). You would call them your best friends, but no one knows them except you.

You know it.

The ink stains on your fingers are living proof. The piles and piles and piles of pages that make you shake your head and sigh with delight also bear witness. No, there is no denying it. Besides, more than one person has told you so.

But even when you don't feel it. When your fingers are tired...When your hands shake with fatigue...When your heart is weary of this draining, outpouring, and constant giving, giving, giving that is a writer's way...When your best friends, the ones who share their lives with you and live inside your heart are achingly silent...

Even then, don't try to deny it.

Even if you don't know it (yet). Even if you feel all written out, even if the question marks are bolder in your brain than the reality of who you are, even if the pages seem to point to wasted hours and a time never to come again. Even if no one has ever told you so. Don't deny it.

You are a writer.

You are a writer.

You are a writer.

Linked to the April round of Sharing our Bookshelves here.

The Wellspring of Creativy...

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...is silence and stillness.

Soft music plays in the background as I stare at the computer screen. The glow of my desk lamp is casting serene shadows on the wall.
My to-do list glares from a stack of post-its beside my laptop. But I don't see it.

Or rather, I choose to ignore it.

For it is when I am silent, and only when I am completely silent and still, that I can be creative.

My mind may be running at a hundred miles per hour, trying to keep up with the ideas and the words, the dialogue and the plot that race around my tired brain.

My body may be walking my puppy around the neighborhood, slinging toddlers into the air (legally, I assure you, such is the life of a gymnastics coach), doing dishes, or folding clothes. I may even be attempting to study. (Emphasis on the 'attempting,' you understand.)

But when my heart is silent, oblivious to the call of school, work, even all other forms of play...

When my soul is still, listening to the One who whispers in words and music, stirred emotions and a friend's look...

When I am silent and still, then I can be creative.

So my fingers flow  across this ivory and ebony keyboard. I am still creating.

My story is still being crafted.

My characters are not being neglected.

My internal editor is anything but on vacation.

No matter how much it feels like the algebra and the English paper and the Excel are strangling it sometimes.

...The music goes on playing. The light keeps on shining. The to-do list continues growing.

But I...

I keep on writing.

For I cannot do anything less.

Sometimes I cannot do anything else.

And often, I wish that my storyland were real, that I could just step into it, and be free, there in the world of my mind, cast into the adventure and a part of it all. Meet the characters I love to eavesdrop on, hear the voices I love to listen to, and see the places I have created.

Then I chuckle to myself.

Because I am.

I am the author, and therefore an undeniable part of the entire story.

And isn't that what is all about?

When I am silent and still, then...and only, only then...can I be creative.

Note:  I learned about this scholarship, so I dedicate this post to my entry. Amid the anxious anticipation and the thought of 'oh, wouldn't this be better to write about?' and 'wouldn't that be more impressive?' He whispers 'no.' This is my heart to yours.

The She Speaks Conference offered by Proverbs 31 in August is all and only about women connecting the hearts of women to the heart of God through words - both written and voiced.
Shyly, humbly, I raise my hand and swallow the fear and say that my soul is striving and being still... to serve Him and His daughters, as He faithfully guides.