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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Measuring Progress

Photo credit: Jeremy PetersonI’ve been organizing my house (feel free to gasp in amazement), and I found an old writing journal of mine. I think I was about 11 when I started it. There’s a table of contents, several poems I’d written, and some story ideas. In it I recorded the founding of “The Young Writers Club.” A club that I started with a friend that contained exactly two members. We had big dreams!

I cringed as I flipped through the journal and read silly prepubescent poems. They had none of the angst that would fill my poetry as a teen—and none of the depth either. I tossed the journal into a pile of papers to be burned, fearful that someone might discover it and read my early attempts at writing.scan0001

But something held me back as I held the little exercise book over the flickering flames. I realized that this book represents the spark of my dream to become an author. I saved the journal.

I don’t recommend keeping everything. I’m trying to get over that habit now, but sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of a marker to look back on and see the progress we’ve made—whether it’s running, knitting, drawing, or patience with our children.

What skill or craft have you put a lot of effort into? Have you kept any early samples of your work?

Have a wonderful weekend!

❤ Rachel

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When the Pieces Come Together

Photo credit: Vjeran

Photo credit: Vjeran

Crazy. November was crazy. Many of you know that on November 1st, I set out to write an entire novel in one month. There were days that I felt like giving up, days that I was sure I couldn’t go on. But I kept on writing until the ache in my shoulders was a constant reminder of the task ahead of me.

I reached my goal and crossed the figurative finish line.

I was exhilarated and exhausted. I can’t describe how weary I was at the end of that month. I’d deprived myself of too much sleep, fresh air, and exercise. I’d tried to juggle running my home and homeschooling my six kids with writing for hours every day. It was just one month, though. I survived, and I’m grateful for what I was able to accomplish.

In the mist of it all, I discovered who my audience is–who I’m writing for. It’s women who love birth.

And this is where the pieces of my life fit together. I’d been working towards becoming a certified birth doula. I had taken courses, attended a birth, and read everything on birth I could get my hands on. But I thought I might have to give it all up, because I was also working really hard at becoming an author. I didn’t know if it made sense to try and do both. These two pieces of my life go together beautifully, though, now that I know my novels will center around doulas and midwives and women giving birth.

Yay!

I just added a new page on my website that gives some specifics on the doula work I’ll be doing. You can check out Cherishing the Moment Doula Services here.

I’ll be starting the long process of editing and rewriting my novel in January. My goal is to have it ready to submit to an agent at the end of 2015. And maybe one day–not too far in the future–you’ll see my labour of love in print.

Blessings! ❤ Rachel

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Something to Aim At

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Photo credit: thesaint

Perhaps November should be called national blog neglecting month. Has it really been three weeks since my last post?

At the end of last month, I told you that I was taking part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where hundreds of thousands of writers set out to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.

I’ve been writing like a maniac, often waking up at 5:00 in the morning in order to write for three hours straight before my kids get up. I take my computer with me to the church where my children take band lessons, cloister myself in the church nursery, and type away. Any chance I get, I’m writing.

I am eyeball deep in my manuscript with 45,000 words locked in the hard drive of my computer. (Yes, I did back it up!) My characters delight and horrify me by their decisions, and sometimes I can’t sleep while the story plays out in my mind. I’ve kept the goal before me: I will win NaNoWriMo this year!

But then some doubt entered my mind this week. What if I can’t reach 50,000 words before the 30th? What if I don’t finish my novel before the end of the month? There are so many responsibilities with homeschooling and raising a family. There are baby showers to attend and friends and family to connect with by email, phone, or in person. There are important things to do that don’t just go away because I have a goal.

I realized that it’s okay if I don’t win NaNoWriMo this year. I’m going to keep working on it. It’s still my goal, but even if I don’t “win” I still wrote almost a whole novel in one month.

Goals are important. Without a goal, I couldn’t have made it this far in my book. And like a friend reminded me this week: if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. But a goal is just that—something to aim at. It shouldn’t cause anxiety, guilt or disappointment.

The lesson God wanted to teach me this week is that time spent with the people I love is never wasted. Never.

 

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I have a writing friend who is an amazing example to me. She makes writing goals and then makes them happen. She keeps me accountable.

Tonight I sent her a message that I was going to work on my Biblical Counselling exam. And then I went and checked my email…read a writing magazine…responded to some posts on a writing forum…posted a story to a critique circle…wrote a review on Amazon. In short, I got everything done on my to do list for the next few days (aside from cleaning my house) except work on my counselling exam.

Are you a procrastinator too? I’m glad I’m not alone here, people. 🙂 It’s not that I don’t want to have my exam completed. This is an amazing course, and I love it that they make the digital copies of most of the course free. I believe this is important…but it’s hard. And I often resist doing the hard things in life.

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Photo credit: Shho

What helped me get back on track is the knowledge that this dear friend is going to ask me, “Did you do it?” And I really want to be able to say yes. Sometimes setting clear goals and being accountable to a friend is the very thing to help us overcome procrastination.

P.S. – The idea for this post popped into my mind as I was working on my exam, and believe it or not, I almost stopped working on it and started writing this post, before I realized how ridiculous that was. Short attention span here! I did actually complete the work I planned on doing, and I’m only a few days away from being done. Yay!

P.P.S- You can check out the IBCD counselling course here.

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A Passion For Words

I learned to read when I was six and at the point a whole new world opened up before me. I remember driving through town and there were words everywhere! Signs that never had my attention before drew my eyes like magnets. I couldn’t help but read the words all around me. I was dizzy with excitement.

I was given The Secret Garden and Little Pilgrim’s Progress and I experienced adventures that I never could have dreamed of. Words were at times relaxing and calming and at other times had the power to invigorate and energize. Characters in books became friends. I rejoiced in their successes, mourned in their losses and learned from their mistakes.

I love it when a new word is brought into my life, a word that I have never heard, or at least never noticed before. And as a rose is more beautiful for the combination of name, aroma and aesthetics, so a word can be enjoyed visually, audibly and in meaning combined.

Sometimes a word will bump around in my mind for weeks and even months. I picture it in my mind, I say it my mind, I think about the meaning and I find it almost as satisfying as savouring chocolate! I want to share with you two words that have been on my mind lately: quintessence and succinctly.

Quintessence

This word is very new to me and I am really fascinated by it. Any word that starts with a Q is already unique. It is both exotic and smooth. Quintessence means the purest essence of something or the most typical example. Isn’t it lovely? I first read it in a magazine a couple of months ago and then I’ve been seeing and hearing it ever since.

Succinctly

Succinctly means to be characterized by clear, precise expression in few words. It even sounds to the point! This isn’t a new word to me, but it is one that I have been pondering lately.

As I write this I realize that the reason that these words have taken on new significance for me is that I desire my writing to be exemplified by these words. I desire that what I write here would be pure in essence and true to my life and that I not waste words, but use them wisely. I desire to encourage, uplift and bless others and to glorify God. That’s why I’m here.

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