Wednesday, January 5, 2022

IWSG January 2022: Regret, Winners, Personal Note, Journaling

Contents of this post:

On a personal note


It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

The awesome co-hosts for the January 5 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, Olga Godim, Sandra Cox, Sarah Foster, and Chemist Ken!

OPTIONAL QUESTION: January 5 question - What's the one thing about your writing career you regret the most? Were you able to overcome it?

My short answer: My tendency to leap out of the gate with my books has caused me the most regret with self-publishing. 

I've overcome this by getting some professional editing. This does not mean that my books are mistake free, but they are closer than they were without professional editing. 

Ironically and conversely, with short story and poetry writing, my biggest regret is not sending things out quickly. I have had stories with errors in them get accepted for publication after I work with the editors to fix them, so while I am not advocating sending short stories and poems out without any kind of edit, I know from personal experience that my own private editing is usually good enough for short stories and poems to find their way into the world. What matters most in the short story and poetry world of publication through magazines is reading the specifics of a publication's submission guidelines and then following those guidelines as best as possible. 

IWSG Anthology

And with that, I offer my great congratulations to the winners of the 2021 IWSG Anthology Contest: The Art of Making Donuts!

The Art of Making Doughnuts - Linda Budzinski
Paper Faces - Sylvia Ney
The Real Thing - Sammi Spizziri
My Heart Approves - Melissa Maygrove
Oliver’s Girl - Michael Di Gesu
Clyde and Coalesce - Kim Chan
My First Love(s) - Templeton Moss
How to Save a Princess - Katie Klein
The Castle of Ohno - SE White
Marmalade Sunset - Denise Covey


#IWSGPit is this month!

If you’ve never participated in a Twitter pitch party, this is your chance.

Dozens have signed book contracts as a result – you could be next.

Visit the #IWSGPit page for the rules and hashtags. And then join us on January 26!

On a personal note:

On a personal note, if you have seen my recent Facebook posts, then you know 2022 started out with a whollop for me. My mom went to the ER twice and the second time stayed the night. My dad had major dental surgery while she was in the hospital. Appointments followed. I cleaned their house and found some hard evidence of memory loss and confusion. My mom admitted to not knowing which side of the road she needs to drive on and my dad's hands are getting harder for him to use. Major conversations and decisions are at work about long-term care. So, this is to say, I may or may not be quick to reply here or to visit your blogs. I will do my best and will probably come visit late.


When life overwhelms, I journal. When life is good, I journal. I use my journal to vent, create, list out what needs to be done for the day/week/month/year, write poetry, write short story starts, write out plot points, and brainstorm more general ideas. I take notes on Bible studies, sermons, and devotionals. I write down my current favorite quotes. I write reflections and stories from real life.

According to numerous studies, journaling can help people process emotions, increase/retain memory, and increase/retain creativity. I have found all of this to be true in my own journaling life.

And so, whatever type of writing you do, essay, story, poetry, novel, scriptwriting, I recommend journaling for life, for creativity, for your mindset. It has helped me find the silver lining in the stormy days, and it has helped me retain my creative spark in the mud of life. 

This is my writing tip/encouragement for the month: try journaling. 

And, if you don't feel comfortable with it, try list-journaling, talk-to-text journaling, or art journaling. There are many methods for journaling out there.

Also, I will be posting some slightly different content via my newsletter. When I finish it for this month, it will include some info about vision boards, motivational playlists, news about what I've been writing, and a small repeat about journaling. If you are interested in any of that, please subscribe HERE.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

IWSG December 2021 with news on NaNoWriMo, What's Next, and Advent

Before I begin, please note this is a multi-subject post. 
Please feel free to read what you want and skip other parts.

Insecure Writer's Support Group

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is an excellent place to find encouragement for your writing practice, writing profession, and writing moments. Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for founding the group with this hop! 

Many thanks also to the co-hosts this month: 

OPTIONAL QUESTION: In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?

This is one of the questions that I almost want to skip because I don't have a definitive single answer. The reality is, I am stressed and delighted by many parts of the writing process, depending on the project. I am delighted by some first draft writing and yet completely stressed by other bits of first draft writing. The same goes for revision, editing, and the last bits before publication.

Generally, though the most delightful and stressful time for me is the day my books go live and published. I'm excited, but also terrified there are terrible typos in there. In fact, there are always a few terribly tenacious typos that make it through to the final publication - even in all the traditionally published books out there. I just don't want them in my books. :)

Stepping Down as the Instagram Volunteer Admin

 This was tough for me. I enjoy Instagram and I appreciate all the encouragement and wonderfulness that is IWSG. However, my health has been an issue for a while now. Between three part-time jobs (I count writing as one of them), volunteering nearly eight hours a week, and my health stuff, something had to give. So, I stepped down and thankfully, Juneta Key stepped up. 

Thank you, Juneta!

And, a big thank you to the entire IWSG Volunteer Admin Team! 

Despite Recovery, I Won NaNo and it surprised me

If you follow me on IG or Facebook, feel free to skip. This is essentially what I shared there.

I wrote more than 50,000 words in 29 days. I honestly wasn't sure I could, given the sinus surgery I had in late October and the sinus headaches I've had since, as well as a whopping bit of Menieres Disease vertigo on Sunday (I had too much salt and caffeine on Saturday). But I did it. And this is how I did it. +I wrote every day for one to two minutes somehow, somewhere.

+I had some Nano Buddies.

+I went to a NaNo Sprint via Youtube, but left when I felt tired.

+I went to a live IG writing sprint with Marissa Meyer, but left when I felt tired. (Marissa Meyer is a local author in my area, and she is the author of the Lunar Chronicles, and many other novels. I don't "know" her but I follow her on IG.)
+If I could, I wrote between 2-5 sessions a day. Again, 1-20 minutes per session, depending on the day and session. +I wrote in my journal and counted that. +I wrote on my laptop and counted it. +I used dictation/talk to text and counted it. +I counted my podcast for my church. +I counted my bits on IG, Twitter, and Facebook toward my word count for the month.
+I rewarded myself for every word written. I congratulated myself. Told myself I was awesome for attempting. (I know this may sound silly, but it made me happy.)
Is it all on the novellas I had hoped originally to write? Nope. Do I feel bad about straying from my original purpose? Nope. Once I realized how hard surgery recovery would be, I threw out that plan and just counted any writing. Somehow, I wrote more than I have at this point in any National Novel Writing Month. Usually, the last day is a scramble, but not this year. I finished early. I am glad I wrote. And it is messy. And I am happy with all of it.


I am continuing to write. The Rayatana 3 book is underway. I am also working on a few other projects and rediscovering my "delight" in writing. 

I am continuing my part-time jobs but with reduced hours.

I am mainly focused on healing up and getting stronger. 

A Note on Volunteering and Why it Matters to Me

I was a Girl Scout who took my oath pretty seriously as a kid and volunteering is something I have often seen as a "duty" of honor and sacrifice.  As a Christian, I have felt incredibly blessed by the love of Jesus in my life, and I have wanted to share that love with others.

Because of this background, I have been volunteering a minimum of twenty hours a year to a maximum of twenty hours a week since I was in early elementary school in a variety of ways throughout the years.

I think volunteers make the world a better place to live in for everyone, and I used to feel I needed to volunteer at church, in my community, and in the world.

My church does go out and do acts of service in the community and in the world - but I am trying to limit myself even with that. The week before my surgery I made chili for a Habitat Build group and that was fun to create, but I was glad someone else collected it and served it because I knew that would tire me out. I have to measure out my energy while I'm healing.

I need to get stronger, which means I need to focus on self-care, which is something I struggle with. I recently discovered The Spoon Theory, which is helping me understand how many spoons I might have to work with each day. 

Slowing Down for Strength

So, I guess that's all to say, I'm slowing down, doing a lot of prayer and soul-searching, and figuring out how to love myself like Christ loves me, to heal and to rest in God's love, and not see it as necessary to go out and immediately do something with that love for others. I have to let it build up a bit, help me gain muscle mass in my body, mind, and soul. I need to rejoice in the love of God in the moment and live with strength, not busy-ness. 

And, so that brings me to Advent, of which today is the first day.


The theme of the first week of Advent is Hope.

Scriptures for Day 1:

A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” – Isaiah 40:3-5


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. - John 1:1-5


Lord, Thank you for this day. Thank you for your light which shines in the darkness. Thank you for preparing a way for us to see your glory in Christ. We hope and pray for your glory to be revealed and for all people to know you and rejoice in your steadfast love. We place our hope and trust in you. Amen.

I have an advent side project going on, so I will be working on these throughout the month of December this year, in the hopes it will be ready for December 2022.

Hope all is well with you!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, November 22, 2021

An Interview with Author Lynda Young


An Interview with Lynda Young

What's your writing advice/top tip for writers?

Normally my top tip would be, “Just write!” I say it often because it’s so important to 
spend the time actually writing rather than dreaming of one day writing, or 
spending all your time and effort on courses, seminars, and help books. 
But today, I have a new top tip that is equally important:

Read! And not only read, but read the genre you want to write. I’m truly astounded 
how many times I come across writers who don’t read. They think it takes time 
away from their writing, or they simply aren’t interested. There are so many 
benefits to reading, I couldn’t possibly list them all here. One of the major 
benefits is learning what works for your market. While “How to Write” books 
and courses are helpful, there is no substitute to reading the real deal.

For my 365-day devotional, Cling to God, I read so many devotionals and inspirational 
books. I worked out what I liked best, what I didn’t like as much, what left me 
feeling encouraged and stronger in my faith, and I applied everything I learned 
to my own book. In other words, I wrote the book I wanted to read, one that also 
fit within reader expectations.

Where do you find inspiration?

Each morning I read a few verses of the Bible, contemplate on the words, and 
occasionally jot down inspired thoughts in a journal. This is how Cling to God started. 
I hadn’t decided one day to write a book of devotionals. The idea evolved after filling 
the journal. There was enough there to share with others. I began reading them 
out during Bible study and as devotionals before church meetings. That’s when 
the idea grew into a book. 
But of course, ultimately, my inspiration came from God.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what music inspires you?

Silence is preferable but not always possible. When I need an escape from noise, 
I’ll listen to instrumental music. I can’t write if there are lyrics. The words distract 
too much. The kind of beat varies depending on mood. I love anything that tugs 
on the emotions. Epic sounds with swelling crescendos are great, or deep drums. 
Usually something modern. If I’m after something softer, then flutes work a 
treat or something tribal. As I said, mood has a lot to do with it.

Coffee, tea, or hot cocoa?

While I love the smell of coffee, I don’t drink it. When I’m trying to steer clear of sugar, 
I’ll have a herbal tea, a green tea, or a genmaicha (a Japanese rice tea). 
Otherwise, it’s hot cocoa all the way. The richer the better. No cream or 
marshmallows. Just a mug of dark chocolate yum.

What is the current book you are promoting?

Cling to God: 365-Day Devotional. This special book is a year-long journey with 
inspirational messages and uplifting scripture to help you spend time with God 
each day. It includes short Bible-based teachings that will encourage and refresh. 
It is faith building and thought-provoking with reassuring reminders of God’s love.

A great companion for individual worship or for group Bible study.

The perfect gift book or personal keepsake that will be cherished for years to come.

365 days of inspiration and Bible wisdom to lighten your heart.
365 devotions to bring you peace in uncertain times.
365 ways to Cling to God.

Start each morning with Cling to God to brighten your day and draw closer to God.

Thank you for stopping by, Lynda. I agree, we all need to read and write. :)

Have you picked up your copy of Cling to God yet? 
I recommend it.
I purchased extra copies to give to family for Christmas. 

In addition to this interview, I have a fall sale going on. Details are here:
A young woman, a spaceship in disguise on Earth, and a galaxy at war. What more do you need for 99 cents? The sale is limited but can be found here:
B & N