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November Challenge Day 5 | #nanowrimo

Friday, November 6, 2020

Something was happening. Mac struggled against the confusion and darkness and reached for the thing that seemed to be the root cause of the perturbance. A loud clatter brought her closer to a sense of reasonality. Forcing her concrete-laden lids open a crack, she rolled over, leaned over the side of the bed, and picked up the cellphone now creating even more ruckus by vibrating against the wood floor as the alarm continued to beep at her that it was time to get out of bed and become a productive human being again — or some semblance thereof.

November Challenge Day 4 |#nanowrimo

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Karsten stood just beyond the doorway, numb. After years of nearly silent melancholy from his mother, he couldn’t believe what he was hearing coming from the kitchen. Chatting and laughing like her old self. Mom had rarely even cracked a smile for her husband and sons since the accident landed her in the wheelchair. Yet after just a few days of knowing Mac, Mom was acting as if the accident had never happened. What was so special about this somewhat bizarre redhead — who dressed every day as if it were a 1940s costume party — that made Mom so happy, when nothing Kars had tried in the last five years had elicited much more than a wan smile?

November Challenge Day 3 | #nanowrimo

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

If there was one thing that had been true all her life, it was that she couldn’t depend on anything to just work itself out for her good; and when everything hit the fan, she was good and truly on her own.

November Challenge Day 2 | #nanowrimo

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

When Mom and Dad said they were going to hire someone to help out with cooking and light housekeeping, Kars had imagined someone like his grandmother, not this curvaceous creature who’d looked like a 1940s starlet the first time he’d met her.

November Challenge Day 1 | #nanowrimo

Sunday, November 1, 2020

At his intense scrutiny, Mac became suddenly and acutely aware of her appearance: no makeup, yoga pants and oversize T-shirt, and hair still in pin-curls and covered with a flowery chiffon kerchief. At least they weren’t pink foam rollers, right?

November Writing Challenge | #nanowrimo

Sunday, November 1, 2020

November 1 is once more upon us, which means millions of published, unpublished, and first-time writers are picking up the challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. Many times in the past, I’ve signed up for this challenge, assuring myself that even though I haven’t created a daily writing habit in . . . ever . . . I’ll write at least 1,667 words per day for the next thirty days. I’ve even written a NaNo prep series in order to help prepare myself and others for this daunting task.

In October, I was supposed to be doing a writing marathon with a small writing group I’m in. My goal was to write something every day—the idea was at least five to seven hand-written pages on my reMarkable tablet, which would be about 500 to 750 words. I even had a story idea I was interested in working on.

Then October came and the motivation didn’t. And instead of following my own advice, given countless times to aspiring writers over the past couple of decades, instead of making myself sit down and write whether or not I felt motivated to, I just didn’t write.

So now, in a month where it seems that half the world’s population will be focused on writing a story, I’m making a commitment to myself.

I will write at least one sentence of a story—any story—every single day in November.

And my secondary commitment is that I will share one sentence of what I’ve written every day here on the blog. No context, no explanation. Just a sentence of whatever fiction writing I did that day. I may even have to use the daily blog post to compose my sentence for that day.

So if I don’t do this—if you don’t see a daily post from me here—hound me until I do it. I want to go from a water pump with a handle so rusty it won’t move to a flowing fountain by the end of the month. (And by “flowing fountain,” I mean writing at least a paragraph or two each day, LOL.)

What’s your challenge, writing or otherwise, for November?

Plan with Me | November 2020 Planner Design in MS Publisher

Saturday, October 31, 2020

As I struggle to find the creative juices to return to writing regularly, I have allowed my creativity to flow in other ways—and in ways that also indulge my left-brain/analytical side, such as designing and keeping a planner. And since I’m doing it, I might as well share it. So…

Come along on my graphic design journey as I set up my November 2020 planner pages (in high-speed, of course!).

The page layouts are my own design, created mainly in MS Publisher (the software used in this video), with a little help from Word and Excel. If you’re interested in purchasing these (as printable PDFs – without the artwork, just the grid designs), let me know.

The artwork is “Fall Digital Scrapbook KPaper Washi Tape Clip Art Pinwheel Banner Pendant Flag Watercolor Crisp Fall” by PrettifulDesigns on Etsy

The font used in the header is “Autumn in November” by Misti’s Fonts.

Video Music:
“Our Big Adventure,” “Storybook,” “Upbeat Party,” and “Ukulele Whistle” by Scott Holmes

Design with Me | October 2020 Planner Design in MS Publisher

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Come along on the journey with me as I design my October 2020 planner pages. I use MS Publisher for this process, with a 2-page spread layout to enable printing front-and-back to put into my three-ring binder.

Let me know if there are any parts of this design process you’d like to see done slower/with explanation!

Etsy Graphics Packages purchased/used:

FALL FEELINGS Printable Planner Stickers/Fall Weekly Planner Sticker Kit/Functional Stickers/Digital Sticker/Silhouette/Cricut Cutfiles by PaperCrownPlanner on Etsy:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/82485831…

FALL MASQUERADE Printable Planner Stickers for Erin Condren Planner/Travelers Notebook/Autumn Weekly Planner Stickers Kit/Pumpkin Stickers by KatkaCreaPlanner on Etsy:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/84023630…

Sometimes You Eat the Carrot First

Saturday, September 12, 2020

As you all may remember, my last book came out in 2013 (An Honest Heart) and I haven’t really been able or motivated to write since then. Every year, I say I’m going to get my writing “mojo” back. And each year, I jotted down a few ideas for stories or characters. But everything just fizzled away.

This year, I dangled a carrot in front of myself: If I could get back into a habit of writing regularly and actually write a story, I would reward myself with a reMarkable e-ink writing tablet, which I’ve been obsessed with since I first saw it advertised on Instagram a couple of years ago. But even that wasn’t enough to get me motivated.

In a late-night (or, really, early morning) whim a couple of weeks ago, I made a very financially unwise impulse purchase (because I hadn’t budgeted for it, not because it broke the bank or anything like that). I ordered the first-generation ReMarkable tablet. Why the first-generation? Because it was on sale since they’re currently rolling out the second-generation device for a couple hundred dollars more.

      (Please note, this is not a sponsored post, there are no affiliate links, and I’m not making any money off of this! It’s just me gushing about something I purchased for myself and absolutely love.)

On September 2, a remarkable box was delivered to my house.


Even the packaging is wonderful!

What had I done to “deserve” this little treasure? Nothing. I hadn’t been writing. Sure, I’d done a little creative work on a new fictional setting over the past couple of years, but I had no real story ideas.

But then I had this thing, this new toy, that I wanted to play with.

Actually, back up a couple of days… Three days before I ordered, I woke up dreaming/thinking about a specific character and her story that would fit perfectly into my new fictional town. As I was lying in bed, I grabbed my phone and dictated the idea off the top of my head into the notes app.

The Android InkPad app is great because it emails the notes to me automatically.

So, I guess this was actually the catalyst for my impulse purchase. But other than saving the text of this note into my OneNote notebook for Gossettville (my new setting) on the computer, I didn’t do anything with it.

Then the tablet arrived.

Y’all.

I have been using this thing every day since I pulled it out of the box! And because I needed an “excuse” to use it, I transferred my story idea notes to it to play around with.

Ten days later, I have SIXTY handwritten pages of background work for this story idea, including seven pages of a potential opening scene!

I love that the file structure works a lot like a OneNote notebook!

With my handwriting, each page holds about 150–180 words. And some of those pages are diagrams, charts, or messy notes. But my longest file is 44 pages of almost solid line-by-line writing, which works out to over 7,000 words of character development and backstory!

      And … I can’t believe I almost forgot…

      It converts my handwriting to text that I can email to myself. Sure, it needs some editing/formatting once on the computer, but that’s so much faster than having to type in everything that’s handwritten.

Unlike the other ideas I’ve jotted down over the past several years that fizzled, every day I’ve been eager to pick up the tablet and keep working on this one. Every day for almost two weeks! I’ve even been thinking about it and having ideas for the story or characters randomly throughout my days, and staying up way past my bedtime writing those ideas down—something that hasn’t happened to me in close to a decade!

This coming week, one of my RWA chapters is holding a week-long writing marathon. Tomorrow, I’ll be spending the day prepping for it, and you’d better believe that I’ll be doing that prep work on this little beauty. My goal for the week is to write at least as many pages of story as I currently have of ideas/background (so, at least 7,000 words of story). I’ll try to remember to post updates either here or on my author Facebook page.

So, sometimes eating the “carrot” first can be the greatest motivator of all!

First day with the reMarkable—it’s about the size of an iPad, but much thinner and lighter.

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You can learn more about the reMarkable tablet here: https://remarkable.com/store/remarkable

Do you have an e-ink writing tablet? Have you or would you consider getting one?

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Plan with Me – September 2020

Friday, August 21, 2020

I create planner pages every month, but after a two-month study (at work) of the Enneagram personality typing system, September is about DOING (my repressed area) rather than just THINKING (my strength area). So making sure my planner is pulled together and ready to go is part of that!

Come along on my graphic design journey as I set up my September 2020 planner pages.

The page layouts are my own design, created mainly in MS Publisher (the software used in this video), with a little help from Word and Excel. If you’re interested in possibly purchasing these (as printable PDFs – without the artwork, just the grid designs), let me know. I’m thinking about opening an Etsy store!

The super cute planning artwork is Colorful Llamas Printable Planner Stickers” by KatkaCreaPlanner on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/779330388/colorful-llamas-printable-planner

The font used in the header is “Janda Apple Cobbler Solid” by Kimberly Geswein: https://www.1001fonts.com/janda-apple-cobbler-font.html

Video Music:
Clip 1 & 5: “Roll Jordan Roll – mix – Full Band, No Vocal” by The Joy Drops: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/The_Joy_Drops/Not_Drunk_EP/RollJordanRoll-mix-full-band-no-vocal

Clip 2: “Pine Apple Rag” by Scott Joplin: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Joplin/Frog_Legs_Ragtime_Era_Favorites/Scott_Joplin_-_08_-_Pine_Apple_Rag_1908_piano_roll

Clip 3: “Not Drunk – mix – Full Band, No Vocal” by The Joy Drops: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/The_Joy_Drops/Not_Drunk_EP/NotDrunk-mix-full-band-no-vocal

Clip 4: “Music Box Rag” by Heftone Banjo Orchestra: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Heftone_Banjo_Orchestra/Music_Box_Rag/Heftone_Banjo_Orchestra_-_Music_Box_Rag_-_04_-_Music_Box_Rag

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