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Plotting Blues? Try Something Different

Plotting Blues? Try Something Different Jill Kemerer

Last month I took a few days to flesh out my next novel and promptly got a case of the plotting blues. Almost eighteen months ago, I’d figured out the basic plot (it will be the sixth and final book in my Wyoming Ranchers series), but I knew I needed to develop it further before I can begin writing it.

Here’s the thing: I’ve been anticipating writing this book for a long time! I know the hero. I’m excited to write his story. But when it came time to flesh the story out? Nothing.

I prayed about it and relaxed. The story would come to me at some point. They always do. But in the meantime, I decided to try something different.

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March 2022 Goals

March 2022 Goals. Jill Kemerer blog. Writer productivity

My writer productivity skyrockets when I set monthly goals. At the beginning of each week I break them down into daily tasks that will work within my current schedule. Do you know how great it is to finish projects? Of course you do! For me, setting monthly goals makes it all possible.

Every month I share how I did the previous month as well as my new goals. Let’s get to it!

How Did I Do? Jill’s February Goals

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Cover Reveal! Guarding His Secret

Cover Reveal! Guarding His Secret. K-9 Companions Love Inspired. Book 6 by Jill Kemerer

There’s something magical and lovely and fun about a cover reveal! And this one is delightful. Guarding His Secret is part of TWO different series. It’s the third book in my Wyoming Ranchers series, and it’s book 6 in the K-9 Companions series through Love Inspired. I’m beyond excited about it!

Before I get into the fun stuff, I wanted to let you know GUARDING HIS SECRET is available on Netgalley if you’re interested in reading an early review copy. Here is the NETGALLEY LINK!

Okay, drumroll…

Cover Reveal! Guarding His Secret

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Writing Slow: What Went Wrong?

Writing Slow: What Went Wrong? by Jill Kemerer

Last week I finished writing the first draft of a new book. It took a week longer than usual for me to finish the draft. Getting started each day was a struggle. It usually is. This time, though, it was also hard for me to stay writing once I’d gotten started.

Basically, I was writing slow.

Writing slow is not the same as being deliberate. Some writers naturally write slow–it’s their process. However, I write a hefty chunk every weekday when I’m drafting a novel, and when I’m writing slow, it typically means something is wrong.

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Basic Story Structure: 5 Plot Points

Basic Story Structure: 5 Plot Points by Jill Kemerer

If you’re like me, you probably have twenty-plus books on the writing craft hanging around. They’re on my office shelf. Stacked on my desk. Lingering under my nightstand in my bedroom. I can’t seem to get enough books on writing!

Not only do I keep buying books (which is part of my personal continuous education plan), I review old ones periodically to refresh my skills. One of the topics I return to again and again is key plot points.

Since I’m a novelist, creating a cohesive plot is very important to me. What’s more, I write commercial fiction. Readers of commercial fiction have clear expectations for story, specifically what makes it good and what makes it compelling.

Writers don’t always know how to translate the idea in our head to the page in a cohesive way. That’s why understanding basic plot points can be so helpful for plotters (writers who plan the story out before writing) and pantsers (writers who pour the story out as it comes to them).

What I’m sharing today is my personal bare-bones, essential 5 plot points. These were derived from various plotting methods (I’ve included links at the end of the post).

One nice perk of knowing this basic story structure is that the 5 plot points make a simple synopsis. Expand on them for a more detailed synopsis.

You might have a different take on key plot points. That’s fine. Whatever works for you! This works for me.

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February 2022 Goals

February 2022 Goals by Jill Kemerer

My writer productivity skyrockets when I set monthly goals. At the beginning of each week I break them down into daily tasks that will work within my current schedule. Do you know how great it is to finish projects? Of course you do! For me, setting monthly goals makes it all possible.

Every month I share how I did the previous month as well as my new goals. Let’s get to it!

How Did I Do? Jill’s January Goals

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Blog Posts I Recently Enjoyed Reading

Blog Posts I Recently Enjoyed about Staying Focused

To stay with January’s productivity/time management theme, I’m sharing links to a few blog posts I recently read.

The first one was a guest post by Tamera Alexander over at Seekerville–“10 Writing Tips for Staying Focused & Finishing Your Book.”

Here’s an excerpt:

1. Disconnect…and be disciplined about it—

So easy to say, so hard to do.

In my early years of writing there weren’t as many distractions as there are today—yes, we did already have cell phones and email (I wrote my first novel in 2002, not the dark ages!)—but phones and email and social media weren’t the “great commanders of time” as they seem to be now. The number of ways to communicate has increased exponentially since then. Which, in turn, has contributed to our lack of concentration and ability to focus.

Now there’s Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, blogs and the list goes on and on. An author could easily spend the majority of her time doing social media, staying connected with readers (which is an absolute blast!), and sorting the rest of “life stuff” that always crops up—and never write. Or at least never finish that novel.

The best—the only—way I’ve found that works for me is to turn it off. Literally.

There’s much more to it, and it’s worth the entire read. You can find the rest of the post HERE.

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The Secret to Getting Started

The Secret to Getting Started by Jill Kemerer author

As I write this, it’s Monday. I woke up in a crum-diddly mood, and that’s not a good thing. I can’t point to one specific reason. There were many reasons, and they all sound stupid. Regardless, I was not motivated to do anything–not one single thing–on my schedule.

Every weekday morning, after my Bible reading and coffee time, I exercise. But today? Wasn’t feeling it. In fact, my thoughts went to danger-zone territory.

  • I’m too tired.
  • It’s overcast and depressing outside.
  • Everyone else has a national holiday from work, why don’t I take one too?
  • The workout is forty-five minutes long. What kind of person ever wants to exercise for that long? Not this kind of person, that’s for sure.
  • I have other things to do. Better things. (I didn’t.)

At that point, I knew I’d be mad at myself if I chucked my entire schedule. However, I also knew today wasn’t going to light the world on fire as far as my productivity, so I decided to take a nap–with the firm agreement I would work out as soon as I woke up.

Then I’d get started on my day.

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Bite-Size Sessions for Lower Priority Projects

Bite-Size Sessions for Lower Priority Projects by Jill Kemerer

This month I’m sharing tips based on my experience with setting and meeting goals. I’ll be the first to admit I’m self-motivated and disciplined. However, I have blind spots about habits that don’t always work well for me.

Three years ago, I got serious about reworking my schedule to address those habits. You can read about it in “Get More Done with a Plan.” The schedule worked really well until the pandemic hit.

Then…things fell apart.

I slipped into my old habits. Yeah, I still met my deadlines, but I was no longer making time for the lower-priority projects. When I don’t make time for them, they NEVER get done. Because there’s always another high-priority project to jump the line.

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