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An Hour with a Blank Notebook #WW

An Hour With A Blank Notebook #ww Jillkemerer.com

How often do you find a quiet spot and let your imagination play?

Part of the writer’s life is exploring ideas. For a long time, I neglected carving out an hour to sit with a notebook and just explore. But I overhauled my approach to my workweek and now have dedicated time every week to do this.

I usually don’t stay at home for this creative session. I like to go to a local park or, if the weather’s bad, I’ll head to a coffee shop. I bring my idea notebook and a black Pilot G-2 pen. Sometimes I have an agenda–a plot that isn’t cooperating, a short story starter, a future workshop brewing in my head–but other times I just sit and let my mind wander.

I’m finding that an hour with a blank notebook:

  • is relaxing.
  • untangles the stories jumbling up in my head.
  • provides clarity about my current work-in-progress.
  • reminds me of being a kid.
  • helps me prioritize.
  • makes me laugh when a weird idea jumps on the page.
  • goes by quickly.
  • but also goes by so slow–a good slow.
  • makes me feel like I’m taking care of myself.
  • is necessary. Absolutely necessary.

When I think of all the weeks I let slip by without intentionally tending to my ideas, I get sad. I mean, it’s one hour a week. I can find a measly hour.

It’s skipping one television drama.

Cutting back on social media.

Working smarter to fit my writing in for the day.

Since I made this mandatory–I even gave it a firm day and time–I can’t believe how much simpler other parts of my life have become. Suddenly I have a blog plan for the rest of the year, two short stories ready to be plotted, a deeper conflict for an upcoming book, and a lot of random thoughts that might go nowhere! Who cares? Imaginations are there for a reason. Ideas breed more ideas. What’s not to love about that?

Do you set aside time to just sit and think and let your imagination skip around? If yes, what works for you? If no, why not try it?

A HUGE thank you to everyone who purchased my current release (still in stores!), Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets! It hit #18 on the Publisher’s Weekly mass market paperback bestseller list on October 1! What a dream come true–thank you!!

What are Your October 2018 Goals?

What Are Your October 2018 Goals? Jill Kemerer Blog

October already? I feel like I blinked and missed September! And you know what that means–blink twice and Christmas will be here. We’ll have to make the most of the days we have between now and 2019!

How did your September go? Mine rocked. Buckle up!

{Please share your progress and new goals in the comments!}

Jill’s September 2018 Goals:

  • Revise the novella (February 2019 release).
  • Plot a Christmas novella.
  • Create a production plan for the remaining months in 2018. (If you’re new to production plans, check out my post “Creating a Production Plan.”)
  • Take notes on four more sessions of the online writing course I’m taking.
  • Health: Workout DVDs at 8am Monday-Thursday, log calories every day and stay within calorie range.

How Did I Do?

  • Revise the novella? Check! Line-editing and polishing, here I come.
  • Plot a Christmas novella. Check!
  • Create a production plan for rest of 2018. Double Check! I not only created a production plan, I created an entirely new approach to my schedule, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.
  • Take notes on four more sessions of the online writing course: Check! I’m enjoying the class so much, I ended up studying eight sessions. Score!
  • Health: Check! It’s about time…I think it’s been four months since I met this particular goal. Feels good to have a win!

Jill’s October 2018 Goals:

  • Start writing Christmas novella
  • Line-edit and polish February novella
  • Final edits, His Wyoming Baby Blessing, Wyoming Cowboys Book 4
  • Put Sugarplums and Second Chances up for preorder (previously released novella)
  • Submit two freelance projects
  • Health: Work out M-F at 8am to exercise DVDs, log calories, stay within range.

I have a lot of nitty-gritty work this month. I’m looking forward to it!

What about you? What are you working on? Share in the comments!

Join me today at Seekerville for my tips on how you know if an idea is book-worthy! There’s a giveaway, too!

What Being an Author Really Means

What Does It Really Mean To Be An Author? Jillkemerer.com/blog

How many hours a week do you work?

This is a question I’m asked often. I don’t mind. I’m curious about people’s jobs, too! The person always seems surprised when I tell them I work roughly fifty hours a week. The only conclusion I can come to, based on the frequency of the question and the surprise at the response, is that people assume being an author is not very time-consuming.

Being an author IS time-consuming.

Many writers have full-time jobs in addition to their writing careers. For some authors, writing is one of their part-time jobs. Others are stay-at-home parents fitting writing in around their children’s schedules. I was the latter for years. Trust me, it isn’t easy! For other authors, writing is a full-time job.

I now write full time, and I do not take the blessing of my open schedule for granted.

No matter what your schedule, if you’re an author, you’re sacrificing time and money to pursue this career. You are, essentially, your own boss.

What does being an author really mean?

  • Authors are small-business owners. We keep track of our income and expenses. We buy our supplies. We determine where and when we work. We promote our products. We make decisions–and wonder if we’re making the right decisions–about our books. We plan, we budget, we write.
  • Authors are self-motivated. We don’t have a boss breathing down our necks to get the words written, and we don’t have a weekly paycheck to motivate us, either. Some of the books we write are not contracted, meaning we might never make a dime off them. Retirement plans, 401K, and paid vacations are incentives that keep many employees committed to their jobs, but we don’t have those either. We write because it’s what we do.  We know any retirement plan or vacation will be funded by us and us alone.
  • Authors are marketers. We promote our work and network to get the word out about our books. We have websites and social media accounts, and whether we want to or not, we spend time adding content to keep readers informed and interested.
  • Authors are creative. We find time to explore ideas, and if we don’t? The ideas hijack our showers, our walks, and our going-to-sleep routines. Well, ideas do that no matter what. We can’t really turn off the imagination, and we don’t want to!
  • Authors are vulnerable. We care what readers think of our books. We feel bad when we get rejections. We compare ourselves to other authors and tell ourselves not to, but we can’t help it sometimes. We hit dry creative spells. We worry we’ll never meet our full potential. We fear something will break us, and we’ll quit writing for good. The idea of not writing depresses us more than you could ever know.
  •  Authors are generous. We want to help fellow writers. We love helping new writers. We share our knowledge, volunteer our time and energy and money to help other writers.
  • Authors are hard on themselves. We feel guilty taking time off at Christmas or for a vacation. We always think we should be writing more–more pages, more words, more books. We see other authors and think we should be doing it like them. We wonder why we can’t get it together and write more, promote harder, build the career we want. We struggle to celebrate the process. We lose sight of how far we’ve come in our quest to get where we’re going.
  • Authors are in-tune to the human condition. In order to write characters readers will actually care about, we have to care about what makes life wonderful and tragic and beautiful and ugly. We see the world around us, and we process it through our characters. We learn while we write. We grow with each story.

I love being an author. I’m grateful and humble that I’m blessed with a life that allows me to write full-time (the credit goes to my husband, who has supported me for years). I hope you have as much joy in your work as I do in mine.

What did I miss? What else does it mean to be an author?

My Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets giveaway is still going on! Click HERE and scroll down for the easy entry options (US residents, 18+ only)!

Thank you for stopping by!

Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets Release!

Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets By Jill Kemerer October 2018

Guess what? My new book is in stores! Woohoo!

Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets is the third book in the Wyoming Cowboy series. It features cowboy Marshall Graham as he helps Ainsley Draper–a very, attractive baby nurse–take care of infant quadruplets.

Look at that cover! Aaah! Believe it or not, the story isn’t all Christmas delights. Marshall has a tendency to put his twin sister, Belle (the quadruplets mother), above everything else in his life. He’s working as a ranch hand on her husband’s ranch, and she’s behaving out of character. It isn’t until Ainsley arrives to help take care of the babies that he begins to understand his sister might have postpartum depression. Needless to say, neither Marshall nor Belle’s husband, want to tackle that issue.

I adored writing this book. Ainsley is a vulnerable, kind, very strong woman, and Marshall is loyal and selfless. I loved watching them interact, and I hated to see their story end!

 

A nanny at Christmastime…
Will she find love in this Wyoming Cowboys novel?

Six weeks on a ranch caring for quadruplets—aspiring nurse Ainsley Draper’s prepared for a busy Christmas. When the children’s handsome uncle opens the door, her task gets extra complicated. Marshall Graham is upholding his promise to look after his twin sister, the babies’ mom. But as family loyalty clashes with new love, will the perfect present include a future with Ainsley?

Click HERE for Purchase Links!

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Do you picture the characters in novels? See if your idea about what they look like matches mine! My Pinterest board features all kinds of inspiration, including Sam Hunt (my Marshall!) and Ashley Benson (my Ainsley)!

Click HERE for Pinterest board!

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I’m hosting a giveaway until the end of September. You could win all three books (book 4 releases next May) in large print, a cute picture frame, ornaments, candy sticks and a $10 Starbucks gift card! (US residents, 18+) Go to “Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets Giveaway” and scroll down for the easy entry options.

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What are you looking forward to this fall?

What are Your September 2018 Goals?

Four more months–just four more months until 2019. Sobering, isn’t it?

I’m excited, though. It gives me plenty of time to work on new projects. All the fun holidays are coming up, too, so I’ll be motivated to finish projects early. Now that my fall schedule is in place, I’ll be blogging every Wednesday. Goals will be the first Wednesday of the month.

Before we get to September goals, I want to bring your attention to two things.

1.Melissa Henderson’s adorable children’s book Licky the Lizard is available now! It would make a super cute Christmas gift.

Licky the Lizard by Melissa Henderson

2. To celebrate Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets, my eighth Love Inspired novel releasing next week, I’m hosting a giveaway until September 30 (US residents only) and would love for you to enter! Click HERE and scroll down for the easy entry options.

Okay, back to goals…how did I do last month? Let’s see!

Jill’s August 2018 Goals:

  • Set up promotion for Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets, releasing September 18, 2018.
  • Plot and begin writing a novella–part of a fun collection releasing in February 2019.
  • Relax and enjoy time off with my family!
  • Health: Exercise 4-5 days/week. Track calories every weekday and stay within calorie range.

How Did I Do?

  • Set up promo? Check! I still need to create a few graphics, but the heavy hitting is done.
  • Plot and begin writing a novella? Check! I finished drafting it yesterday, and it was a LOT of fun!
  • Relax and enjoy family? Check! This was the easiest goal of the month and desperately needed. 🙂
  • Health? For three months running, this got a NO Check. Needless to say, I plan on changing that.

Jill’s September 2018 Goals:

  • Revise the novella (February 2019 release).
  • Plot a Christmas novella.
  • Create a production plan for the remaining months in 2018. (If you’re new to production plans, check out my post “Creating a Production Plan.”)
  • Take notes on four more sessions of the online writing course I’m taking.
  • Health: Workout DVDs at 8am Monday-Thursday, log calories every day and stay within calorie range.

How did you do? Please share your goals in the comments!

Allie Pleiter and I wrote a blog post Monday on Ladies of Love Inspired that might help you stay on track–“Top 3 Tips to Stay Productive This Fall.” Check it out!

Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets Giveaway

Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets Giveaway By Jill Kemerer

*Please stop back at 2pm EST to enter the giveaway!*

It’s giveaway time again! Yay!!

I hope you had a lovely summer. Mine was busy writing! Nothing wrong with that. And I’m very excited for my upcoming release–Wyoming Christmas QuadrupletsThis is book three in the Wyoming Cowboys series and follows Marshall’s bumpy road to love. The babies on the cover are his sister’s, and he and the new baby nurse are helping out with the infants. Needless to say, this holiday season will be memorable for them all.

 

Here’s the back cover description:

Six weeks on a ranch caring for quadruplets—aspiring nurse Ainsley Draper’s prepared for a busy Christmas. When the children’s handsome uncle opens the door, her task gets extra complicated. Marshall Graham is upholding his promise to look after his twin sister, the babies’ mom. But as family loyalty clashes with new love, will the perfect present include a future with Ainsley?

 

Purchase links and extras HERE!

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The book will be in stores starting September 18, 2018! The ebooks will be available on October 1, 2018. To celebrate, I’m giving away a gift package! One winner will receive large print copies of Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets, Reunited with the Bull Rider, and The Rancher’s Mistletoe Bride. The package also includes three Christmas ornaments, a cute picture frame, candy sticks, and a ten dollar Starbucks gift card. The easy entry options are below!

*US Residents only. 18+. Giveaway is open from September 04, 2018 at 2pm EST through September 30, 2018 at 9pm EST. Winner will be notified via email. See entry form for complete rules.*

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What are you looking forward to this month?

Have a terrific day!!

What Are Your August 2018 Goals?

August 2018 Goals - Jillkemerer.com/blog

It’s that time again! It’s been a busy summer, and I haven’t been blogging much, but I LOVE seeing your goals! You all motivate me. I’ll review my plan for last month, share how I did, then state my new goals! Please share yours in the comments.

Jill’s July 2018 Goals:

  • Content edit, revise and polish the fourth Wyoming Cowboys book.
  • Revise and polish the three-book proposal drafted in June.
  • Health–exercise 4-5 days/week, track calories, stay within range.

How Did I Do?

  • Content edit, revise and polish the fourth Wyoming Cowboys book. CHECK! It felt GREAT to submit it!
  • Revise and polish the three-book proposal drafted in June. CHECK! Woohoo!
  • Health–exercise 4-5 days/week, track calories, stay within range. NO CHECK. Wah-wah. For two weeks, I stopped tracking calories, and I averaged only 3 exercise days per week all month. *sad face*

Jill’s August 2018 Goals:

  • Set up promotion for Wyoming Christmas Quadruplets, releasing September 18, 2018.
  • Plot and begin writing a novella–part of a fun collection releasing in February 2019.
  • Relax and enjoy time off with my family!
  • Health: Exercise 4-5 days/week. Track calories every weekday and stay within calorie range.

What were your goals? How did you do? What would you like to accomplish this August?

Enjoy!

What Are Your July 2018 Goals?

Jill Kemerer's July 2018 Goals

I hope you had a fun-filled first week of July! It’s time to share our goals. I’ll start it off by reviewing what my June goals were, how I did, and what I’m aiming for in July.

Jill’s June 2018 Goals:

  • Finish plotting three books and write short synopses for each.
  • Write sample chapters for book one.
  • Health–exercise 4-5 days/week, track calories using MyFitnessPal app and stay within calorie range.

How did I do?

  • Finish plotting 3 books and write short synopses for each? CHECK! I was thrilled to finish them up.
  • Write sample chapters for book one? CHECK. Drafted. Needs to be revised–yay!
  • Health–exercise 4-5 days/week, track calories, stay within range? HALF CHECK. I did okay on the exercising, but the calorie tracking went bye-bye a few times!

Jill’s July 2018 Goals:

  • Content edit, revise and polish the fourth Wyoming Cowboys book.
  • Revise and polish the three-book proposal drafted in June.
  • Health–exercise 4-5 days/week, track calories, stay within range.

My writing goals have been heavy for months, so I’m looking forward to posting lighter goals in August!

How did you do last month?

What do you want to accomplish in July?

If you’re heading to the RWA conference in Denver, check out my article at Pink Heart Society for some tips! It’s linked HERE, “RWA Conference Trip Tips.”

Have a terrific day!

Writing Links: Plotting, Rest and More

Writing Links: Plotting, Rest And More Jillkemerer.com/blog

It’s been a tad busy here with summer baseball still going strong and a few deadlines I’m hurtling toward, so I’m keeping this short.

Last Saturday at writer’s group, we discussed various three-act plotting beat sheets. I thought you might enjoy them, too.

Michael Hauge has a fantastic Structure Chart to print out and keep handy.

Download Michael Hauge’s Six-Stage Structure Chart here.

If you need help understanding the terminology in the structure chart, Janice Hardy broke down the stages in this excellent post.

Read Janice Hardy’s “Plotting with Michael Hague’s Six-Stage Plot Structure” here.

 

 

Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat has a fantastic take on the three-act plotting structure. I’m a big fan of Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat beat sheet. I’ve found two terrific resources about it.

  1. Read Tim Stout’s “The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet (aka BS2)” here.
  2. Find Jami Gold’s take on Blake Snyder’s beat sheet (with scene and page breakdowns) in her Worksheets for Writers section here.

 

 

Finally, it’s easy to burn out as a writer. I loved this practical article by Beth Wangler (via Hannah Heath’s blog) with nine ways to avoid it.

Read “Don’t Write Every Day: 9 Ways to Rest and Rejuvenate” by Beth Wangler via Hannah Heath’s blog here.

 

How is your June going? What advice have you gotten lately that resonated with you?

Have a great weekend!

Discussing Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction

Discussing Wonderbook, Jillkemerer.com/blog

I was at the library last week–shocking, I know–and came across a delightful book in the new nonfiction section. Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff Vandermeer has an engaging, whimsical cover, and I had to pick it up. With stunning graphics, author essays, and entertaining chapter subheadings, Wonderbook was sure to be right up my alley.

I haven’t had a chance to dive into it in depth, but I’ll be taking it chapter-by-chapter until I finish. I have a feeling this will be one I buy for my writing-craft shelf. One of my goals this year is to consistently study and apply writing craft techniques. This spring I brushed up on several chapters of Donald Maass’s The Fire in Fictiona book I’ve read more than once. It’s really good. And I’m excited to find other craft books to return to again and again.

One thing I’ve noticed over the past few years is that more nonfiction books are being printed on thicker, glossier paper with ample photographs and illustrations. I’m drawn to these books. Visual aids always help me! Anything that breaks up the text keeps me engaged–bullet points, subheadings, graphics, charts, you name it. Wonderbook is full of them.

Here’s the cover of Wonderbook.

Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer, jillkemerer.com/blog

This all-new definitive guide to writing imaginative fiction takes a completely novel approach and fully exploits the visual nature of fantasy through original drawings, maps, renderings, and exercises to create a spectacularly beautiful and inspiring object. Employing an accessible, example-rich approach, Wonderbook energizes and motivates while also providing practical, nuts-and-bolts information needed to improve as a writer. Aimed at aspiring and intermediate-level writers, Wonderbook includes helpful sidebars and essays from some of the biggest names in fantasy today, such as George R. R. Martin, Lev Grossman, Neil Gaiman, Michael Moorcock, Catherynne M. Valente, and Karen Joy Fowler, to name a few.

Purchase a paperback copy of Wonderbook: Amazon

 

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Since my laziness factor can get REALLY high, especially in the summer when beach reads are calling my name, I schedule study time. If a craft book has long chapters, I will tackle a portion of a chapter per session (I aim for three sessions a week). If the chapters are short, I study a chapter at a time. I write out notes on paper then type them into a digital notebook (I use OneNote) for easy access. Sometimes a book doesn’t grab me, and I give up on it, but most of the time, I get a lot out of the craft books I read.

One nice thing about Wonderbook is that it has a dedicated website with gobs of extras. You can find out more at www.wonderbooknow.com.

How do you study the writing craft? What are your favorite resources? Please share!

Have a terrific day!

Jill Kemerer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

 

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