My Writing Life

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Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

I have been writing fiction for a very long time and I love it. It is my favorite thing to do. However, it takes a very long time to make any money as a fiction writer. Yes, I have a completed historical fiction novel, but only the first draft is completed. I am working on revising/editing it, but time is another problem I struggle with.

As a homeschool mom with one remaining child/student, I spend every morning working with my child, which means I don’t get to do any writing related items until the afternoon. So, roughly three hours a day, then it’s time to make dinner. Then I may or may not have two hours to work on writing related items after dinner before I get too tired for my brain to focus on such tasks. So, on a good day, I get about five hours to work on writing related items.

What writing related items do I have to work on? Well, I have this blog, which I really enjoy writing posts for. As a writer, it is also suggested that I have a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, which means posting on all of these media sites daily. But I don’t. I have found that I am not very interested in social media, so I try to have a presence by connecting my blog posts to my Facebook writer page and Twitter accounts. At least that keeps me present there.

I have been writing for Almost an Author, a popular website for writers, for about a year now. I am one of the regular columnists for the site and am required to post four romance and four historical posts each year. This is not a huge commitment, but it is a commitment nonetheless. I am also a regular interview writer for Faith Filled Family Magazine and have been doing this for almost a year. I love the writing I do for both of these. However, none of these wonderful jobs offers a salary, but I am not willing to give them up. I enjoy them too much. Besides, they give me material for my portfolio.

Back to the part about homeschooling. Being a homeschool mom means being there for your child(ren) all day every day. This was an important decision my husband and I made seventeen years ago, and it was an important decision we haven’t regretted.  However, it can be quite challenging to live on one income in today’s world.

Therefore, I have entered a new writing world–the world of freelance writing. I have also taken my freelance editing skills with me, and have become active on a reputable freelance website, where I am applying for writing and editing jobs that I will actually get paid to do. However, the writing is not fiction. So I am learning and experiencing writing in the “real” (nonfiction) world. It’s very different and quite challenging as compared to my preferred fiction world, but I am finding it enjoyable so far. But, it is time consuming–time to look through the “want ads”, time to write proposals to apply for the jobs I am interested in and believe I am able to do, and then, time to do the jobs. So now, I am working with solid deadlines–no procrastinating is allowed or tolerated.

In conclusion, my writing life has changed once again. For now, I need to put most of my time into the freelance writing that will enable me to earn an income. That may mean that my fiction works, like my novel, will have to wait longer to meet the world. But, as in every part of my life to this point, I have always been one to do what needs to be done and to keep my priorities straight.

There are three more years, after this one, until my last child graduates, then I’ll have eight or nine hours a day to write. (At least that’s what I keep telling myself.)

One-Day Super Saturday Writers’ Conference

A writers’ conference is a great place to learn more about writing techniques and marketing and publishing opportunities and possibilities.  It is also a great place to meet other writers and make connections and form bonds, which is a wonderful thing since writing is a lonely business.  You can make lifelong friends who can help and encourage you and you can do the same for them as you walk your writing journey.  I attended this event last year, and cannot wait to attend this Saturday.  If you are anywhere near Lancaster County, I invite you to come and see what this one-day conference has to offer, and if you like, I can meet you face-to-face if you let me know you are coming so we can connect.

LANCASTER CHRISTIAN WRITERS HOSTS ONE-DAY CONFERENCE ON APRIL 11, 2015, AT LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE

For a bargain of excellence and price, no writer, whether beginning or advanced, within driving radius will want to miss Lancaster Christian Writers’ Super Saturday 2015!! to be held April 11th, 2015, from 8:30am.-4:30pm at Lancaster Bible College, 901 Eden Road, Lancaster, PA 17601.

This one-day writers conference offers a full slate of workshops taught by top industry professionals in both fiction and non-fiction fields. An early registration price of $50 is due by Wednesday, April 8, and includes soup/sandwich buffet lunch (think Panini!) and LCW membership. Registrations after April 9 and walk-ins day of the conference are $60.

A fiction track will be taught by award-winning novelists Dina Sleiman and Kelly Long along with children’s author Brenda Hendricks. Non-fiction faculty include TV/radio speaker, marketing expert, award-winning author of 19 books Karen Whiting, professional memoir and ghostwriter Shawn Smucker, journalist/social media experts Lisa Bartelt and Alison McLennan.

Keynoting the opening session will be linguist, missionary, and author Grace Fabian. Workshops cover such topics as: 

Market Yourself Now! Learn Tools to Develop Press Kit, Bio, Website, and Other PR Products.

Writing Blockbuster Scenes: How To Keep Readers Flipping Pages and Asking For More.

 Transformed Manuscripts: Repackaging Your Ideas (Sold or Rejected) to Expand Marketability.

 The Unfortunate Truth in Fiction: Addressing Hard Issues Without Pulling Down Your Story.

 A Story To Tell: Surefire Do’s and Don’ts to Write a Gripping True Life Story or Memoir.

 Myers-Briggs for Your Protagonist: Applying Personality Types to Create Characters with Distinctive Qualities, Motivations, and Voices.

 Let’s Ride the Seesaw: Recruiting Your Inner Child to Communicate with Young Readers.

 100% Guaranteed (Oh, Yeah?) Secret to Blogging Success Beyond Your Wildest Dreams!

A conference bookstore will offer a wide variety of writer resources and faculty titles. Conference attendees can get personal consultations with faculty on a first-come, first-serve basis. Lancaster Christian Writers welcomes writers of all churches and denominations, all levels and genres. Monthly meetings offer opportunities for manuscript critique, networking with other writers, workshops and guest authors.

Did You Know that Your Characters are Important in Determining Setting?

At the last Writers’ Group meeting, the author who writes under the names of “Shelly Bates” and “Shelley Adina” taught: People interact with their settings.  Therefore knowing your characters helps to determine their “world”/setting.   You should ask yourself: “What do I need to support my character’s growth?”  The culture of your location impacts sports, social life, what defines “in” and “out”.   You need to know about your character’s home because home reveals something about him/her as well as a lack in him/her and his/her society.  Otherwise, there’s no reason to leave. You need to determine your “Adventure World”:  Where does the story happen?   Setting can reflect internal qualities of the character.  Setting can reflect change in the character.  Setting can foreshadow change. Setting can create the challenge to change the character. Setting and interactions with it are filtered through the lenses of the character’s senses and knowledge. Your character influences your readers’ perception.  Details are filtered through the character’s senses and experiences.  This gives your readers the same sensations and experiences.  Add details as the character notices them. “The fantastic becomes normal when your character takes it for granted.” Use setting to highlight conflict, secondary characters, dialog.  Setting is one way to establish mood.  You can use weather, objects, light or shadows or darkness, and space. One great idea she mentioned, especially if you want to use a real place or simply model a made up place after a real place, it can be very helpful to have a photo of the place to refer to as you write.