Are you old school 3-D or digital?

I think I live in an awesome time to be a writer. What used to take months, even years, to research, I can learn now with just a few clicks. I don’t have to travel anywhere but to my writing cave to go all over the world. I don’t even need a thesaurus, dictionary or encyclopedia at my side. Click. Click. A plethora of resources appears at the command of my fingertips. As I’ve shared before, I really do wish it were possible to read the entire Internet. Then again, sometimes I read so much of it I’m left with even fewer answers than before. The reason? Not every expert agrees. Our knowledge on this earth is finite, and our faith, work and lives extremely complex. There’s simply no way to know everything. And then there’s the issue of digital versus 3-D. Print book vs. e-book. Hard copy versus virtual. I find myself unable to commit to one or the other. Fact is, I’m a hybrid consumer when it comes to using resources. When organizing your thoughts while writing and planning, do you lean more toward digital or 3-d? I find myself doing both. I still haven’t completely committed to a digital calendar. I record both in my hard copy planner and my digital google calendar. For some reason, the hard copy planner is like a security blanket for me. Maybe if I’d grown up recording my life in the virtual world I’d be more willing to let the hard copy calendar go. For now, though, I have it on my phone, computer, on the wall on a whiteboard and in my planner. I don’t know if that’s because I’m getting older and am afraid of being forgetful, or if I just enjoy planning. As for planning a novel, I find myself using both Kanbanflow, WriteWay software and a 3-D notebook for storing ideas, outlines, characterizations and research. I found a really awesome little notebook that I wish, oh wish, they’d make in a 2″ binder. In this I keep all sorts of notes, such as my Pixar graphic organizers, character charts, names, research and more. I like being able to reach for the notebook instead of having to figure out where I stored the info online or on my laptop. And while WriteWay has given me a great tool for storing research and ideas, too, I still like having that back-up of a 3-D notebook. For now, both 3-D and virtual/digital planning works for me. I know I’m probably working at it a little harder than the next person because I use redundant methods. But it makes me feel safer somehow. Plus, I’m an extremely visual person. Not being...

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An open letter to friends and family from a writer

Dear Friends and Family: (Note: This letter is not in any way a reference to my darling Mr. Himself!) There have been some rumbles lately about the time I spend writing. To help us all get on the same page about this wordsmith-ing gig I’m into, I thought I’d write this letter to set a few things straight. Few people understand the sacrifices a writer makes other than other writers. Especially writers with full-time jobs outside of writing. The perception most of the public has of people who write books, is that their work is easy and effortless. Authors sit down and *POOF* out pops a book. When you’re a writer, people assume you don’t have a “real” job with “real” hours. Deadlines, to them, are just excuses to say no to things you don’t want to do, when the opposite is true. People also assume writers who are published get big royalty checks each month. Um, no. Not unless you’re a national/international best-seller. So far, no one is banging down my door offering me movie contracts or begging me to publish with them. And if a big royalty check arrived in the mail, someone stole it. Some of you wonder how I juggle so many things and wear so many hats. It boils down to three basic things: I don’t watch TV. Think of how many hours you watch TV each week and add it up. That’s probably several whole days of writing for me. I get several whole extra days a week others don’t because I spend my spare time writing and researching instead of passively frying my brain on drivel. (As you can see, I have a high opinion of television these days.) Writing for me is as much a part of me as breathing. I must write. It’s been such a part of me, from such a young age, I simply can’t imagine not doing it. Ducks swim. I write. You hunt. I write. You are a car enthusiast, I’m a writer. I’m different from you. Different isn’t wrong, it’s just different. I’ve learned to say no. It upsets people. They call me names. They hurt my feelings by saying things like, “I’ll be sure they put ‘I have a deadline’ on your tombstone.'” (More about that in a minute.) But I’ve learned that no one will respect and protect my writing time but me. No one understands it, or wants it, as badly as I do. I’ve learned that there’s no way to please everyone, so I’ve stopped trying. My aim is to please God and God alone. This has taken me far too long to learn. I wish I’d have done so many years...

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Announcing Blog of the Year Winner!

Last year I held a contest in which I featured a different blog each month. The following blogs recieved the Brilliant Blog Award in 2016 and were in the running for the Most Brilliant Blog of all 2016: 1. Camels and Chocolate by Kristen Luna. My favorite secular blog. It’s a travel blog and the photos and layout of this blog are impeccable. 2. Miss NiNi’s Food Blog. There’s nothing I don’t like about this baker and writer’s blog. Her writing voice is just as delicious as her delectable pastries. Meet Miss NiNi here: 3. Zoe M. McCarthy’s Blog on Writing.  This is probably my favorite blog right now for practical, simple, easy-to-grasp advice on writing. I have printed out pages of this blog to file in my writer’s notebook, and have created graphic organizers with some of the tips she shares. I highly recommend this blog. 4. Grace on Parade by Karen Wingate. Karen inspires me with  her fortitude and commitment to leading a life dedicated to her Savior.  Her life as a pastor’s wife is intense, but there’s a peace and serenity to her blog that I favor. Her struggle with legal blindness and the miracles attached to that experience are riveting. You really must visit this blog, and often! 5. Kristy Cambron. This blog is not only pretty, it’s rich in encouragement and spiritual food. I fell in love with Kristy after reading her first book. I also like the way Kristy incorporates video into her blog. You’re missing out on something very special if you don’t subscribe. Kristy is a consistent blogger and you can count on her posts each week to inspire you to draw closer to Jesus. 6. Bob Hostetler’s One Prayer a Day Blog. I love getting these prayers in my emails each day. (I subscribe to his blogs by mail.) He also has other blogs you can check out here. Bob’s a former pastor and a best-selling author. I can hardly wait to dig into his latest book: The Bard and the Bible.  7. Books & Such Literary Agency. Everything you need to know about working with a publishing agent can be found on this blog. Read and digest! 8. Shelley Wilburn’s Walking Healed.  Ever since Jesus healed Shelley, she can’t stop speaking and blogging about it! Her blog is delightful. And anyone who wears mismatched socks is just okay with me! You’ll love her. She now has a companion study guide to go with her book. You’ve got to check it out! 9. Tom Threadgill’s wit and satire on his blog are second to none. I always giggle when I read Tom’s blog. He is also an editor and you can acquire his services over on...

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Because of autism in this family

Autism looks different in every family because autism is different in every person. My experience with autism is unique and different from my friend’s experience with her son with autism. There are similarities, yes. The frustration, and the damage to our sons’ brains is the same. But her son exhibits behaviors my sons don’t and vice versa. Raising identical twins with autism definitely had (and has) challenges. They are almost 22-years-old now, and many of these challenges have integrated so much into our daily lives, that I forget other families don’t live like we do. (Yes, the twins still live at home with us.) Because of autism, I have numeric key pad doorknobs on my bedroom and office doors. This is because autism in this house loves to rifle through closests and drawers. Most of the time it results in something being broken or ruined. It only took us 21 years to finally install locks. I don’t know why we waited so long. It has solved so many problems. Why a keyless entry? They can pick locks or twist the doorknob hard enough to get in. Also, keyless keeps me from having to carry a key with me all the time. Because of autism, my expensive watch (a gift from my husband) was broken the other day because I left it in the kitchen after removing it for doing dishes. Autism tried to wear it. A 22-year-old man’s wrist is a lot larger than mine. And I have exceptionally small wrists. I don’t know when I’ll ever have the time or money to get that watch fixed. Because of autism, I can’t leave my laundry basket in the laundry room when washing clothes. I have to lock my clothes up in my bedroom and take them load by load to the laundry room. Then, I have to guard the dryer very carefully so that nothing gets stolen. Autism loves the sensory input Mom’s soft, warm clothes provide. Because of autism, my husband and I can’t go anywhere alone because the twins can’t be left unsupervised. If they are, they could rifle through every drawer, eat every morsel of food in the fridge, or worse, burn the house down (they are fascinated with candles and, well, fire). Plus, if you’ve ever had twins, you know the nuclear fallout sibling rivalry can cause. They don’t know their strength. They are the best of buds when things are going well. But you never know when a fight over the remote can erupt into a firestorm. (There’s that fire thing again…) And yes. Sometimes? Autism sucks. But beause of autism, I get to laugh every single day at the funny things that happen....

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2017: Progress not perfection

I gave up on New Year’s resolutions several years ago. But I didn’t give up on choosing a theme or slogan for the year. For 2017 I’ve chosen “Progress not Perfection” as my mantra. This is because I tend toward perfectionism, which is a sin of pride, and also an excuse to procrastinate.  Example:”I can’t get all the laundry done in an hour, so I’ll wait until tomorrow when I have more time. ” Well, no, but I could do one load, right? Am I the only one who puts stuff off this way? Well, if I am, then I’m happy to write to myself because I have room for improvement here. Do you have something you’re putting off because you can’t do it perfectly? There are piles of things I avoid because I’m afraid of not getting them done “just right.” So silly. You’d think I’d approach life the same way I do writing a book. Bite by bite. Little by little. But I’m still learning to eat my elephants one bite at a time. One calorie choice at a time. One workout choice at a time. One household chore at a time. It bugs me when I can’t finish something or can’t see an immediate, lasting result, so I don’t start at all. But that only punishes me and makes me feel down. So, I’m learning to break huge jobs into small steps, just as I do when I write my books. I’m determined to focus on progress instead of perfection. For example, when I’m going to dig into a room to purge and clean it, I divide it into sectors. Then, I set the timer and tell myself, “You can do anything for 15 minutes. Just do it in this one small area.” Usually, I get to 15 minutes and find myself wanting to keep going. Getting started is the hardest part. Are you having trouble getting started on something God is telling you to do? Are you afraid to try because you fear imperfection? Why not join me in 2017 and embrace progress instead? Let me know in the comments below if you’re willing to make this your theme for 2017, too! I’d love to have a progress posse! Tweet this: Is there something you’re putting off? Progress not perfection....

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Countdown to Christmas Day 24

Welcome to Countdown to Christmas Day 24! Tomorrow’s Christmas! Today’s Random Act of Kindness Go to a Christmas Eve Service and give a family a treat. Today’s Scripture, Isaiah 9:2-7, TLB The people who walk in darkness shall see a great Light—a Light that will shine on all those who live in the land of the shadow of death. 3 For Israel will again be great, filled with joy like that of reapers when the harvesttime has come, and like that of men dividing up the plunder they have won. 4 For God will break the chains that bind his people and the whip that scourges them, just as he did when he destroyed the vast host of the Midianites by Gideon’s little band. 5 In that glorious day of peace there will no longer be the issuing of battle gear; no more the bloodstained uniforms of war; all such will be burned. 6 For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder. These will be his royal titles: “Wonderful,” “Counselor,” “The Mighty God,” “The Everlasting Father,” “The Prince of Peace.” 7 His ever-expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule with perfect fairness and justice from the throne of his father David. He will bring true justice and peace to all the nations of the world. This is going to happen because the Lord of heaven’s armies has dedicated himself to do it! Today’s Song: My Soul Magnifies the Lord   Tweet this: Christmas Eve is a great time to spread random acts of kindness! Leave your comments below and let me know if you’re participating! Have fun and Merry...

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