Ode to the Unpredictable Routine [Alternate Title: An Explanation]

winterchase_proofOur second book, Winter Chase (as well as our first - Tahosa Treasure), will make wonderful stocking stuffers this Christmas! At least, Baby Boy seems to think so ;)

Here I am at 7:30am on a Wednesday morning. I’ve been up for more than an hour and Baby Boy is still sleeping. This is unheard of.

There is a blustery wind whipping through… I was going to say the lone pine tree outside our patio doors…but I was interrupted. Baby Boy woke up. I went to nurse and cuddle him and – also unheard of at this hour of the morning – he slipped peacefully back into dreamland.

I will steal a few more minutes of quiet thought and quiet writing before he wakes again. MiMi is coming today to help us with a few projects and spend some time hanging out. Even though it is a blustery day outside, it will be warm and cheery in here.

I have a “to do” list for the day, as I do practically every day. But I will hold it with loose hands. I celebrate the little victories – like nursing & cuddling Baby Boy off to sleep at 7:45am. What gets done, gets done. That’s what I tell myself.

This has been life since February 15th of this year, the day our Baby Boy made his grand entrance. Being a stay at home mom is simultaneously the best and the hardest thing I have ever done. The pattern of my days is simultaneously routine and unpredictable. One moment flows into the next – from the first waking sounds of Baby Boy until his little eyes fall shut in sweet sleep (at least, most of the time!) at the end of the day.

I didn’t write this post as an ode to motherhood or stay at home moms or parenthood. I wrote it by way of explanation. Our ShadowTime Writers blog has fallen silent as I’ve stretched myself to catch onto my new existence as a mother. BUT we’ve still been creating; I’ve still been writing. Just not in the open for all to read.

Draft after draft has gone through our hands. We’ve critiqued and edited and added and taken away. We’ve written and re-written and then written again. After almost a year and a half, the second book in our Talon Family series is about to go live on Amazon! Winter Chase has truly been an adventure for us and we are excited to let you in on it. More details will be coming very soon!

If you’d like to keep up with my journey through motherhood and occasionally receive updates on ShadowTime Writer’s latest projects, please follow my personal blog. For now I’ll be consolidating so that when blogging is an item on my “to do” list, perhaps I can fit it into my unpredictable routine just a little bit easier ;)

~Hannah

Back in the Saddle

Back in the Saddle

This last six weeks have been filled with many things. A whole lot of writing hasn’t been one of them.

I had my baby boy on February 15th. As you can imagine, my days have consisted of feeding and sleeping and diapering and bathing and rocking.

Yes, not a whole lot of writing.

BUT.

April is a new month. Baby Boy and I were given the “all clear” at our six-week appointment. I am eager to get back into my writing schedule. I loved my 30 minutes a day writing sessions. I got so much accomplished!

So here’s to a new month and being back in the saddle again!

Cheers!

Writing in Real Life [Second Edition]

20130128-091406.jpg

In the first edition of “Writing in Real Life,” we talked about finding/making the time to write. I shared about how I write for at least 30 minutes at the start of every week day.

But sometimes having or even making the time to write isn’t the problem. Sometimes the problem is knowing what to write.

I am by no means an expert on coming up with material for blog posts, books, essays, etc. There really is no magic formula…at least, not that I’ve found. Most of the time it comes in waves – I’ll have a whole bunch of blog post ideas throw themselves in my lap at one time. Or sometimes an idea comes in a flash of brilliance, truly like a light bulb turning on.

But, most of the time, not so much. It’s like digging for gold in a sandbox.

So, what to do then? When you have the time to write, but you don’t know what to write?

Take from real life.

Don’t look too far or you’ll miss it. Chances are fresh inspiration is as close as the pen in your hand or the keyboard under your fingers. What you think is ordinary may be extraordinary to your readers. Drawing writing material from real life interjects humanity into your words. It gives breath to what might otherwise be a one-dimensional process.

Some of my best writing happens when the topic I choose is based on my life or experience.

What about you? How do you decide what to write about?

The #1 Way to Bring Your Stories to Life

20130127-184950.jpg

Nothing can substitute for heartfelt writing. Nothing can make up for sincerity and honesty.

When you think you have nothing to say…say what’s on your heart. This applies to fiction and non-fiction.

I always have two responses when I hit a wall in my writing.

1.) What I think I should write.

2.) What I know I should write.

And what I know I should write is always there. It’s always present. It’s just that sometimes it gets waylayed by a more proper, seemingly better (this is up for debate), more dignified idea of what I should write.

But as soon as I start to shape my writing to fit a certain idea…well, it’s all over.

The #1 way to bring our stories to life as writers?

Be real.

Don’t be proper. Or try to “write better.” Or be more dignified. Don’t try to shape your writing to fit a certain idea.

Be real.

Just as in every other area of life, being real breathes fresh air into the words you have to say. People take notice. They sit up and listen when you speak from the heart.

They will sit up and listen when you write from the heart, too.

What are some other ways we can bring our stories to life as writers?

4 Quotes to Inspire You

It feels like it’s time for a little inspiration.

Not that anytime isn’t a good time for inspiration. But now just feels like an especially good time.

So, here goes. I’ve got 4 quotes to inspire you today in whatever your craft or calling:

And a little bonus one for you:

rawr

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find our full writing inspiration board on Pinterest.

What is inspiring you today? Leave us a note/link in the comments!

Writing in Real Life

20130118-081358.jpg

Even for those of us who love to write, who were born to write…writing is a choice. A daily choice that really just boils down to doing it. 

But real life is messy and busy and a thousand other things. Some people may have the luxury of eight solid hours every day with nothing to do but write. But that’s not most of us.

Most of us have full-time jobs.

Most of us have other responsibilities.

Most of us have another life.

In less than a month I am due with my first baby. A little boy. My husband and I are thrilled! Being a wife and a mother will be my full-time job, my responsibility and my “other” life.

I still love to write and I know I was born to write. That won’t change. But how I fit writing into my life will. That’s just reality.

Here’s a simple technique that’s been working for me: I write for 30 minutes before I get out of bed in the morning. That’s it. Nothing super fancy. Just 30 minutes before the rush of the day begins.

I get more writing accomplished in those 30, focused minutes than I ever thought possible.

I make daily, consistent progress on my writing goals.

I feel so accomplished when I’m finished – like I’m on top of the world and the day can throw whatever it wants at me.

Because I did what I love and what I was born to do. That’s writing in real life for me. I don’t have hours upon hours to devote to my craft. BUT I do have a consistent block of focused time each day. My technique may need to be tweaked a little once the baby comes, but the concept will stay the same.

How do you fit writing into your life – right now, where you are?

Keeping It Simple

(via Pinterest)

Writing can seem like the most complicated thing in the world.

When you’re faced with the empty page. The blinking cursor. The ten chapters left to be written. The “blank” stare your imagination gives you when you just want to find the first word.

It’s easy to complicate the art of writing. And, even though it does take time and concentration, it’s really not that complicated.

It’s really pretty simple.

It really just comes down to the first word. And the last word. And all the words in between.

Words.

On the page.

That’s the writer’s #1 goal. Not to worry about whether or not the words will be great. Or whether they will be read. Or whether they will make a difference. Although those things are all good.

The writer’s #1 goal is to get the words on the page. 

It’s just that simple.

Question: does writing seem complicated or simple to you? Do you agree that the writer’s goal is to get the words on the page?