4 Quotes to Inspire You

Find our previous inspiring blog posts here and here.

Now, on to the good stuff…

1. “Real joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of men, but from doing something worthwhile.” -Wilfred Grenfell

2. “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” -Henry David Thoreau

3. “It is necessary that you not become frightened of failure.” -Lillian Hellman

4. “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Question: what wise words have inspired you lately? Link in the comments!

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3 Ways to Focus [When You Feel Like You Can’t]

Here are a 3 ways I’ve learned to focus even when it’s the last thing I feel like doing:

1.) Make it fun.

This has got to be the #1 rule. You have to make it fun. I have to promise myself a cup of coffee or tea and something sweet. I have to be in comfortable clothes, in a comfortable place. In those times where it’s the last thing I want to do, I have to “trick” myself into focusing.

For you it may mean getting into your sweats or pajamas, grabbing your drink of choice and curling up on the couch with your laptop. Or it may mean hauling yourself to Starbucks – sometimes being in fresh surroundings makes all the difference.

Whatever you do, make it fun. That’s the #1 rule.

2.) Set a time limit.

Sometimes I think I’ll go crazy if I have to focus for an indefinite period of time. So, I’ll tell myself, “Just focus for 30 minutes. That’s it. Then you can get up and walk away.” Most of the time that 30 minutes turns into a couple of hours.

A timer might work for you or the stopwatch on your iPhone. Fifteen minute increments might be your thing or an hour chunk at a time.

Just give yourself boundaries. Do what works.

3.) Have clear goals.

I’ve learned not to overwhelm myself right out of the gate. If I set clear & reasonable goals, odds are I end up accomplishing more than I thought I would. Completing one goal provides momentum to tackle the next goal. If your goals aren’t clear or they are unreasonable, you will end up discouraged.

Try making a list of your top 3-5 goals. Write them down in order of priority. Make them clear and concise. Make them reasonable (i.e. don’t make it a goal to write an entire chapter; make it a goal to write for 30 minutes instead).

Set goals. Make them clear and reasonable. You’ll be surprise at how much you accomplish.

How do you focus even when you feel like it’s an impossible task? What are your tips & tricks?

Next Up

Following up on my last blog post – No Time Like the Present – I’ve been tapping away on my laptop today.

I’m working on the rough draft of the second book in our Talon Family series. The working title is Winter Chase! and we are so excited to have it ready as a sequel to Tahosa Treasure.

Why is it that the first word is always the hardest to write? It is this intimidating, monster of a thing….taunting me, daring me to try to confine it to the page. That first word knows that it’s the flood gates: once it is on paper, the rest of the words pour out like a raging flood.

That first word is more than mere letters. It is a psychological battlefield, one I must win every time I put pen to paper or cursor to page.

The. That’s the first word. The great hulk that rose over me, telling me I better just give up now.

The day was perfect. That’s the first sentence. The psychological battle has been fought and won. All that for four words???

Yes. But four words that will now unleash paragraphs…and chapters…and a book.

No Time Like the Present

I posted this pic on our Facebook wall this morning. [Head on over and “like” us if you haven’t already!]

I found it floating around on Pinterest and couldn’t help but pin it (it’s actually a clock you can buy; I think it would fit great above my future writing desk 😉 ).

There is truly no time like the present. It will soon be gone. This moment that I have right now, how will I spend it?

I make up so many excuses not to write…it’s time I make up a list of excuse to write.

Here goes:

– I was born to write

– I have something to say

– I have a rough draft of the second book in the Talon Family Series due by the end of November

– I have an audience to reach

– I have the time

What are your excuses for not writing?

Now go ahead and replace them with a list of excuses for writing.

There’s no time like the present.

4 Blog Posts to Inspire You [Take 2]

It’s time to gather some more inspiration from around the blogosphere. It’s been a few weeks since the last time.

Because some days are just hard writing days. Or dry. Or…nothing.

When the cursor just blinks at you. And there is nothing. And you need something.

Anything.

So, here are a few articles I’ve come across lately that I hope will inspire you as you write:

1. Because You Can on creating via Jasmine Star.

2. Five Things You Can Do – This Week – to Become a Better Writer via Writer’s Relief.

3. A Simple Plan for Writing One Powerful Piece of Online Content per Week via Copyblogger.

4. Fear Prohibits Ideas from Happening via Jeff Goins.

I hope these help. I hope they give you something.

Anything.

And I hope they inspire you to keep on writing!

Question: what’s been inspiring you lately? Link to it in the comments!

My Favorite Professor’s #1 Tip for Getting Published

Don’t wait to feel “good enough” to get published. Put yourself out there. Starting now.

That was the message my favorite professor communicated over and over again.

Actually, he never said a word about “being good enough” or “not being good enough.” He believed his students were writers. That was a writer. And that fact meant I should pursue publishing. Right away. No excuses.

He even made it a requirement in a couple of classes. I had to get at least one piece published during the semester as part of my grade.

I was terrified. Because I didn’t believe in myself or my writing as much as my professor did. He acted like it was a given.

“Don’t worry. Send your piece in. It will happen.”

Amidst my doubts, my fears and my insecurities,  I wrote. I sent in a piece. And – low and behold – my professor was right. I got published.

Not once. Not Twice. But multiple times. I was thrilled!

While I don’t think those doubts, fears or insecurities ever fully go away (I had them with our book), I will always remember my professor’s belief in me as a writer.

And his #1 tip for getting published: Put yourself out there. Starting now.

Question: Do you have doubts when it comes to getting published? If so, how have you pushed through them?

How I Started Writing

(It’s a little grainy…but it’s me)

When I was 11 years old I wrote my first book.

I honestly can’t even remember what it was about. Nor do I still have that first book. I wish I did. I’m sure it would provide plenty of entertainment on this side of things.

I do know that I poured my heart into that book (we’re talking a “book” that was 15 hand-written pages max). I was so proud of it. It felt like such an accomplishment.

It was written in pencil. On lined notebook paper. I’m pretty sure the main character was a girl. My age. My height. Like me. A girl who had dreams. A girl who wanted to go on grand adventures. And I’m pretty sure that girl loved to write, too.

So, that’s how I started writing. I might have kept a diary before then, but – if I did – I have no remembrance of it. I really have no remembrance of writing at all before my “book.”

I should have known then. What I was born to do. Write. Spill out my heart, my dreams, my ideas, my myriad of words onto an empty page. And not even worry if someone would ever read them. Or even want to.

When I was 11 years old, I wrote because I loved to write. Because I was born to write.

That’s how I want to write now. Not for an audience. Not worried whether someone will ever read the words I write. Or even want to.

I want to write just for the love of writing.

Question: How did you start writing?