Tag Archive: motivation

Poem A Day Challenge: April 11-12

The April Poem A Day Challenge is still going strong! So far, I haven’t a missed a day! Hope you’re enjoying National Poetry Month!

Here’s two more of my entries in the challenge:

April 11, 2014
Prompt: Create a statement and make it your title. Then, write a poem that responds to it or expands upon it.

For A Limited Time Only

Cue the countdown,
days are numbered
Fences are few,
so don’t hold back

Get up and stand,
rather than kneel
With just one shot,
everything counts

Toes to the edge,
dare to look down
Take a deep breath,
inhale the sky

Inspiration: I saw an infomercial with the title phrase and then I thought about how I always put my toes to the edge of a cliff, (seriously!).

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April 12, 2014
Prompt: Write a city poem.

A concret forest
replaces trees and fields
The roots go missing

Inspiration: My mother recently found out urban sprawl will be invading her rural ranch. Such a sad occurrence needed a poem.

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Happy Poeming!

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c.b.w. 2014

Both of my previous posts this week were free writes. There’s something pretty special about starting with a blank screen and ending up with a piece of writing. The randomness is probably what I love best as its like a little window into my muse’s world. I guess we never know what’s hiding inside of our minds unless we provide an open door from which the words can flow.

I find I am most inspired by images. I suppose this is why so much of my poetry and free verse lines are accompanied by photographs. Sometimes I wonder if I’d be writing poetry if I didn’t have my camera with me all the time! Between pictures taken at home and those taken while traveling, I’m always inspired and amazed by the world around me.

When I’m working on larger projects like a novel, I usually start my writing session with a free write to get my muse juices flowing. It’s almost like the words in my heads need to stretch just like my muscles before I go for a run.

Recently, as work continues to be busy and I feel like I’m being pulled in too many directions, I find solace in the free write. Every evening I look forward to my few minutes to just be still and find the story or creative expression hiding inside of me. It’s often surprising how the words come together – some pieces of joyful, while others are dark and gritty. Perhaps we really are made up of a million different pieces in all different shapes and shades.

After a very stressful week, I can honestly say free writes are my favorite thing this week. They remind me what matters and what really doesn’t in the wide, wide world around me.

Give it a try. Here’s an image to get you started:

Photo by: c.b.w. 

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

2014 Goals: February Status Report

Sometimes it feels like I’m not doing nearly to reach my goals, but then when I sit down and reflect on the last month, I’m amazed at some of the big steps I’ve taken for my writing “career.”

1. Pitch The Muse.

February brought the annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition. Every year I’ve watched this competition from the sidelines because I either hadn’t finished a novel or I didn’t have enough confidence in the novel I had written. This year, however, it’s a different game entirely. Not only do I have a finished novel, but I believe in every page of it. The Muse is ready for some readers!

I wrote a new 300 word pitch, (which is leaps and bounds better than my query) and sent it off along with a 5,000 word excerpt and full manuscript. I figured I had nothing to lose by jumping into this competition, so it’s worth a shot!

2. Outline and start writing The Muse: Lineage.

My day job continues to be all consuming, but once again planning AP Art History is giving me all sorts of inspiration. As I delve into Post-Impressionism and Art Nouveau, new characters are starting to take shape. While I can’t write the story right now, it is exciting to see new faces!

3. Submit writing.

A winner was announced for the Writer’s Digest November Poem A Day Chapbook Challenge, but it was not me. However, the poets who won totally deserved the honor. Follow the link to read their work.

4. Continue to build author platform.

Pinterest continues to be my favorite place to hang out, but I have a feeling I’ll be playing on Twitter a little more as it’s been unblocked at work. Yay! Now if they could just unblock Facebook all would be right with the world.

Facebook Likes grew from 357 to 363

Twitter followers grew from 544 to 549

Thank you so much for the follows and the likes!

5. Inspire others.

As always, I hope I am a positive presence!

Let’s not forget the sixth “invisible” goal:

6. Be Flexible.

My eyes remain open for opportunities and my sense of adventure is always ready to take flight.

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c.b.w. 2014

Writing a great novel doesn’t guarantee publication. The publishing industry is brutal, highly subjective, and has no room for the weak-willed. I’m relatively new to the novel pitching game, but I’m already learning it takes a lot of determination and thick skin. Four rejection letters and two beacons of silence are all I have to show for The Muse, despite months of querying.  Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? I can go on and on about how important it is to be tough, but I think the bigger lesson is to remember to have a little fun with it and don’t take anything personally.

I’m not an expert by any means, but I have pick up a few nuggets of wisdom along the way …

1. Agents are not evil-doers who love to say no.

I’ve read horror stories of vicious rejections letters and negative interactions with agents, but so far my experience has been quite positive. The rejection letters I’ve received have all been very encouraging even though they all said “no.” I don’t know if this is because I only pitched to super nice people or if my work is good enough not to elicit venom. Honestly, I like both possibilities equally.

2. Sometimes a response can take months.

We all like to think literary agents have the superhero ability to stay up all night and read really fast, but the fact is they are human. They need sleep and they like to read carefully while considering someone’s work. The last response I got from an agent came four months after I sent the query letter. I had already marked the agent’s space on my spreadsheet with “no response!” It just goes to show you never know when a response will come. Patience is everything.

3. Finding the right agent takes a lot work.

There are literally thousands of agents looking for a good book. And they all want different things! It took months of research to create a list of six agents I though might be interested in my novel. As much as I hate using a cliché on this point, the process of looking for the right agent is exactly like looking for a very tiny needle in a huge haystack. In the end, I’m hoping all relentless research will be worth it when I find the perfect agent.

4. Writing a synopsis sucks.

I know as a professional writer I should be able to write anything, but squishing my entire novel down to a single page is pure torture.  Moreover, it’s ridiculous that I can easily write a short synopsis for a book I just read, but not my own! It’s been six months and I’m still editing a synopsis for The Muse. I’m either being too picky or I’m a moron that can’t write a synopsis.

5. Persistence will pay off.

Every account I’ve read from a published writer reinforces the reality that persistence is everything. Agents don’t go looking for you, so you have knock on their door with a kick-butt query and novel. Getting published is all about self advocacy and seizing every opportunity. If you skulk in a corner and refuse to speak, your writing will never see the light of day. Persistence is everything … and so is a little luck.

Write those queries and believe with everything you’ve got!

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c.b.w. 2014

2014 Writing Goals

Happy New Year!! I like to think this is the start of 365 days of magic. Good and bad days are sure to come, but how I choose to see the bigger picture is what matters most.

This year, it’s all about keeping things simple while also attempting to accomplish my dream of publication. Things got a little too complicated in 2013 and I almost gave myself a stroke trying to keep up with the nitpicky goals I set. For my own sanity, I’ve decided to  set five goals with wider parameters. However, these simple goals are also geared towards keeping me accountable and on track.

1. Pitch The Muse.

Once known as Novel #2, The Muse is the novel I’ve poured everything into for the last two years, (yes, I’ve finally chosen a title!). It’s been pitched to five agents and received one official rejection. The other four answered with silence, so that means it’s time for another round of pitching. I’m not setting a specific number of pitches, but I am holding myself accountable to the following:

  • Consistently send out query packages over the course of 2014
  • Research agents and add to the list of prospects
  • Do not give up!

2. Outline and start writing The Muse: Lineage.

The Muse is not a stand-alone novel, rather it is the first book in a planned trilogy.  The big-picture story is mapped out in my head,  (I know how it ends!), but the small details are still a work in progress.

During the summer of 2013, I began brainstorming the story layout for Lineage and piecing together a playlist. However, there is a lot more research and work to do. I’m hoping to have the outline complete by June 2014. By the end of the year, my goal is to get the first draft rolling.

3. Submit writing.

Last year, I made the mistake of trying to tell my muse exactly what we’re going to write. She retaliated by giving me tunnel vision for The Muse. This time around, I’m just going to make the broad goal of promising myself to submit any kind of work whether it be short stories, poetry, or articles.

4. Continue to build author platform.

To keep my pen name afloat, I’m setting my usual goals of maintaining an author platform via my blog and social networking. I’m also looking to expand my presence by joining at least one more network or challenge before the end of 2014. As I work on Lineage my Facebook and Twitter feeds will certainly be jumping with updates. Be sure to join me on both networks to follow my journey.

5. Inspire others.

As always, a huge goal of mine is to inspire others to write or explore their creativity. This blog is a major vehicle for that goal and I intend to offer content that both inspires and motivates your muse!

While I’ve set these five goals, I’m also adding a sixth “invisible” goal:

6. Be Flexible.

In three months I may decide to blow the dust off Novel #1 or read one or more books on writing/publishing. Maybe I’ll find a writing challenge that sparks my imagination in an unexpected way . . . the point is I’m going to keep my options open. And I will take opportunities as they come.

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Every month, I’ll be self-assessing where I stand on each goal. In the past, these posts have really helped motivate others to not only make goals, but also to stick to them. We all know how easy it is to wander off when the words just won’t come. Writing is something that takes commitment and consistency. Otherwise, the stories stay inside of us or get lost along the way. Let’s pick up that pen and write in 2014!

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c.b.w. 2014


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