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Are You Willing to Fight For It? Writer Wednesday

I’m winding up six weeks of a heavy workload. Part of me is tired, part of me is thrilled, and part of me asks, is it worth it?¬†Yes, it is.


Walk in Woods


Last night I took a long walk to clear my head. I’d put a pot of spaghetti sauce on the stove to simmer, and my eyes were going buggy after six hours of writing. The first quarter mile I couldn’t put a coherent thought together. Birds flew back and forth overhead. The air felt damp. I pushed forward. About half a mile in I thought of all the prayers God’s answered for me. He’s answered prayers this week. He’s answered prayers from years ago.

As many of you know, it took me years and years to get published. All those years I worked really hard. Studied the writing craft, built a tiny platform, networked with other authors and slowly improved. When I signed my first contract, I knew it was a dream come true–but it wouldn’t make all my dreams come true.

My writing life now is similar to when I was pre-published. I still set personal deadlines for writing and revising. Still actively engage on social media sites to expand my platform. Sill LOVE networking (aka, coffee and online chatting) with other authors. But now I have new ways to push myself and new tasks to add to the day planner. And yes, I still struggle to get everything done.

So we come to the title of this post. When I get tired, a little voice in my head asks, “Why don’t you ease up on your marketing plans? Add a few weeks to your first draft goal? Set aside the nonfiction project you plan on self-publishing? Just for a little while.”

And the other voice in my head, the GOOD voice asks, “Are you willing to fight for it?”

Of course I am.

I’m finishing a first draft this week. Whatever it takes. I recently bought Rachel Aaron’s 2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love. If you’re looking for motivation to help you write more words each day, this is a great book! And the Kindle version is only $0.99!

And yesterday, Heather Sunseri wrote another motivating post about writing more. Check out “How Nora Roberts Taught Me to Be More Prolific.” It’s a goodie!

I doubled my word count yesterday. I plan on doing the same today. ūüôā

So if you’re feeling discouraged, ask yourself if you’re willing to fight for it? I’m guessing you are!

How do you fight for your dreams? What motivates you?

Have a great day!

*Don’t forget, I’m holding a month-long gift package giveaway to celebrate Her Small-Town Romance! Go to HOME, scroll down and you’ll find the easy entry options! Also, I’m giving away five copies of the book on Goodreads. You can enter from my sidebar!

The Value of Brainstorming

I spent most of the week at¬†our local junior high. The eighth grade social studies classes are writing children’s books based on the revolutionary war, and I was blessed to help. Most of Wednesday and Thursday were spent brainstorming with individual groups each period. Sometimes it’s hard to take a big concept¬†and narrow it down to a specific story, so I helped them focus their plots.¬†These teens are so smart! They all had clever ideas.




The exercise reminded me how valuable brainstorming is to writers. Bouncing ideas off other people helps you refine your premise. It might reveal holes in your plot you weren’t aware of. It forces you to see that¬†some factors of your story just aren’t believable. Then you find¬†ways to make it believable.

Brainstorming almost always produces a stronger story.

I always joke that it¬†took a village¬†to get me published, but it’s true. I’ve learned everything about publishing, plotting, writing, editing and marketing from other people. They generously shared their knowledge with me. My books also require help from others. I recently interviewed a local firefighter for an upcoming book (thanks, Steven!). I could not write a believable story about a firefighter without this kind of help. And, naturally, my agent and editor play huge roles for my books.

Brainstorming can work for any aspect of life. Every year I join a dozen or so other local writers for a brainstorming weekend. We rent a cabin on a lake and spend the entire weekend taking turns brainstorming story ideas, scenes, titles–anything! I was unable to attend this year, but I was able to spend a weekend with a different set of friends to career plan. We ran¬†ideas by¬†each other about the business side of writing. I came away from the weekend feeling so much better about my plans.

The value of brainstorming? Priceless!

Do you bounce ideas off other people? Do you like helping other people solve problems?

If you’d like to be entered to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, just sign up for my newsletter HERE. I’ll be drawing a winner ¬†from my subscription list using a random generator on December 18! Winner will be notified via email!

Have a fantastic weekend!

The Mental Relief of Getting Organized

As many of you know, I’m a pretty organized person. I’m not obsessive, and I often let things slide, but overall I feel good about how I run my business and household. That being said, it’s often difficult for me to schedule the icky tasks when I have a deadline or have a million other little things to attend to. Who wants to deal with outgrown clothes, expense reports and making appointments when they could be watching a Hallmark Christmas movie? Not me!



The problem with letting the organization slide? It clogs my brain. My income-expense system consists of a manila folder to shove all my receipts and check stubs into–and the thick file stresses me out. Overgrown clothes spill out of our hall closet until I make time to drop them at Goodwill. And don’t get me started on my digital photos! Out of control! Besides that, birthdays loom with no gifts purchased, a dying remote needs to be replaced, eye and hair appointments need to be made, and I have a stack of unread magazines that would make a grown woman cry.

How do modern women do it? I mean, we aren’t even talking about the general stuff–the parent/teacher conferences, sports, keeping the family clothed, paying bills, random (and constant) meetings, meals, homework, and such. I just got a shiver.

Anyway…this week has been lovely because I spent the weekend organizing my business life. I created a business plan to keep me on track next year. I’ve also taken care of the outgrown clothes and the digital photos. The dying remote? Finally ordered a replacement. The income-expense issue? Pulled up my big girl pants, grabbed some chocolate, and created an actual *gasp* report. I tossed a few unread magazines in the recycling bin and plan on enjoying the rest this weekend. I also did some online shopping for the gifts still needed (and no, we aren’t talking Christmas yet).

You know what? My brain feels clear. I still have cluttered areas of life, but I’m making progress, and I feel so much relief getting these tasks off my mind.

Colossians 3:23 (NIV) Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

I realize not everyone gets mentally cluttered with shoddy organization, but clutter–mental or physical–really stresses me out.

Do you get stressed when everything piles up? What brings you mental relief?

Have a fantastic weekend!!

Thirty Days of Thankfulness – Writers

One of my friends, the lovely and talented, Kristina Knight, always participates in #30DaysofThanks on Facebook and Twitter, and I decided to do the same this November. Kristina has a new release, too. First Love Again is her second Harlequin Superromance and it’s out now! Click on the picture below for links to purchase!


First Love Again


Back to the being thankful portion of this post…

Today I’m thankful for dear writer friends.

Friends like Kristina. We met several years ago, and we clicked right away! Sure, I suggested some dubious scenes during our brainstorming session, but she looked past my craziness. She’s my brainstorming roommate and an inspiration to me!

I’m blessed to be part of a local writer’s group. These ladies (and a few gentlemen) keep me motivated, have held my hand through hard times, have celebrated the good times, and continue to hold me accountable to moving forward with my dreams. Thank you, MVRAI!

I’m also thankful for all my close writer friends who don’t live near me, but we support each other through modern technology. What a blessing!

Then there are the writers who keep me in their hearts, and I keep them in mine. Maybe we only talk or email once or twice a year, but no matter. You bless me! I hope I bless you!

And I’m thankful for all the writers I have yet to meet. The ones who are living their dreams of being published authors and the ones who are persevering, patiently (and not so patiently) holding on until their break comes.

For all you writers out there, Michelle Lim has a new book out! Idea Sparking: 30 Idea Sparks to Write a Novel in a Month (linked) is only $0.99! I hope it sparks an idea for you!

Idea Sparking


What are you thankful for today?

Have a terrific day!!


A Peek into My Non-Writing Life

I’m vocal about my love of chocolate, obsession with coffee, my fun family and, yes, my dumb-dumb dog. It’s no secret I love University of Michigan football and the television show, Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team. One thing I don’t talk about much? My parents.


My husband and my dad
Dad, my husband and I three or four years ago. Love Dad’s smile here!

I visited them¬†Thursday. I’m really close to Mom. She’s a true role model for me. She’s full of energy, never lets anyone push her around, and has a heart bigger than Lake Michigan. I love that woman! I also adore my dad, but his health has declined over the last few years. Due to Parkinson’s disease and late stages of Alzheimer’s, he is too sick to live at home, so he lives in a nursing home.

Dad’s a sweetheart. The nursing staff and CENA’s love him, and so do we. I’m really thankful he has such patient, goodhearted people caring for him. Yesterday, Mom and I sat with him during lunch, and some memories hit me of us eating around our dining room table when I was young. Those moments barb my heart, and I’ll admit, I got a little teary.

See, Dad usually doesn’t recognize me anymore, although he does recognize some people. It really depends on the day. If you told me two years ago this would be how it is, I would have fallen apart. But we’ve (including my sister) been with Dad throughout this journey, and I’m at peace with it.

I’m blessed. I still get to spend time with him. I look forward to it!

Whether he knows me or not, he likes me and enjoys it when I’m there. And every time I look at him, I see his beautiful blue eyes–the ones he gave to me–and I know we’re going to have great conversations someday in Heaven. Do I wish he could enjoy his senior years without these diseases? Of course. In many ways I feel he and Mom were robbed of their golden years. But, hey, we know people who have it worse. We all lose loved ones–some violently, some to disease, some tragically, some slowly, some unexpectedly. Talk to anyone, and you’ll hear a story of loss.

That’s why my faith means so much to me. I know there is better. I know this life is a blip–an imperfect blip–and there is so much more ahead. God gets us through.

Anyhow, I live a few hours away from my parents, so I visit about once a month. The drive gives me time to think, and I am so thankful I get to spend a few hours with Mom and Dad. I just wish I lived closer so I could help more.

So that’s a peek into my non-writing life. What’s going on with you this week?

Release week of Unexpected Family has been fun! Thank you to everyone who has purchased the book and helped spread the word about it!

Have a terrific weekend!

Get Back on Track!

Last night I took a walk with my husband, and it hit me that I’d been off track with my health plan for a good week. It’s crazy that it took me a week to even realize this!


I also set insanely high writing goals, ones I realistically knew wouldn’t work based on my writing style. This will come as a shocker, but I haven’t met those either. I don’t feel bad about it. I’ll explain why in a little bit.¬†But all this getting-off-track stuff brought out my analytical side. Why, after months of steady progress with my healthy habits, had I slid out of them?

I had to identify what I was doing differently.

1. I stopped tracking my calories, my exercise and my water intake.

I use an app called MyFitnessPal on my phone to count calories (type in the food you ate and you can pick from a list) and track my exercise. Yet, I hadn’t logged anything since last Tuesday. To be fair, we were out of town for a good portion of that time, but still.

2. I stopped making exercise a priority.

Due to summer scheduling problems, my friend and I had to drop our twice weekly yoga sessions to one. I’d also been doing a mini cross-fit workout once or twice a day, and I really was noticing results with that. However, I wasn’t doing cross-fit¬†either, and they literally take less than five minutes to do! Oh, and jogging twice a week? Had morphed into a long walk now and then. Ain’t nobody getting in shape with a weekly exercise tally of one yoga session and a random long walk.

3. More and more “junk food” snacks were edging out fruits and vegetables.

All the small choices I make add up over time. They were adding up, all right. Right onto my hips. The result? An overall feeling of fluffiness. Plus, my mood went from powerful to meh.

I’ve been here before, friends. And I’ve gotten back on track. I will this time, too.

How I’m getting back on track.

Stop doing what doesn’t work, and start doing what does.

It’s as simple as that.

Starting today, I’m:

1. Tracking calories, exercise and water intake.

I truly don’t mind doing this. It’s not difficult, and it keeps me focused.

2. Making exercise a priority.

Yes, this means deciding how many workouts and which ones I’ll do, but shouldn’t I be doing that anyway? Yes.

3. Eating fruit and vegetables before junk food.

I will never give up junk food. I love candy, chips, and soda. But I enjoy them in moderation. It’s time to get back to that.

As far as my writing goals, I don’t need to get back on track, because I AM on track. I set way too high of goals, and I know it. It takes me a lot longer to write the first three chapters of a novel than the rest of the book. I could rush, but¬†I would just end up spending the same amount of time or more fixing them later. Since I track how many hours I write and how many words I write, I know I’ve put in my best effort.

How do you get back on track when you slide away from your goals?

Have a fun weekend!


What Sin Is Too Big For God?

What Sin Is Too Big For God?

I co-teach our church’s preschool Sunday school class. The other teacher and I take turns, so we each lead the class about twice a month. I love it. Little children bring so much joy to the world!

Last week, we talked about Peter’s denial and how sad he was after denying Jesus. Then we discussed how Jesus still loved him and forgave him. I asked the sweet children a series of questions.

Would God forgive you if you murder someone?

They all shook their heads no.

I assured them that if they were sorry and trusted in God, He would forgive them.

What if you stole something, would He forgive you?

Again, a lot of serious head-shaking!

I assured them that this too would be forgiven.

What if you hit your friend? Lied about something?

A few started to catch on, but the concept of forgiveness is tough to understand.

We, as adults, can be so like these precious young ones. Too often, we hear the message that God hates sin and will judge the world. Yes, He does hate sin and judgment will come, but God is love! He’s mercy! He forgives!!

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Yes, we all have sinned. God hates sin, but He loves us. There is no need to be separated from God’s great love–if sin is eating at you, repent. Give your guilt to Him who overcame sin and death, and rejoice in the peace of forgiveness!

John 3:16 (NIV) “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

No sin is too big for God to forgive! Give it to Him!


In lighter news, I’m chatting about my love of coffee over at Coffee Cups and Camisoles¬†(linked) today. Stop by! I’m giving away a copy of¬†Small-Town Bachelor!

And Heart-Shaped Glasses¬†(linked) interviewed me today! They had some terrific questions. I hope you’ll stop by!

What is your favorite Easter hymn?

Mine is “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.”

Have a wonderful Easter weekend!!

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