Tag Archives: blogging

Writing Process Blog Hop: My Writing Process

Today I’m part of ‘The Writing Process’ Blog Hop.

Author Linda Austin graciously invited me to join. Linda is the author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight and Poems That Come To Mind. She also helps others tell their life stories and focuses on the WWII generation. Please visit her over at Moonbridge Books where you can discover her writing process and more of her writings. Thanks Linda!

The blog hop asks 4 questions to each author about their writing process. Here are the questions and my answers:

1) What are you working on?

I am currently revising my first novel, which I finished at the end of December 2013. It’s a contemporary suspense novel about a female Iraq war veteran’s fight to keep herself and her daughter alive during a weekend in Oklahoma’s Wichita Mountains. She must face an enemy she never expected, as well as the ghosts haunting her since those days in the Iraqi desert.

I’ve also been doing some basic outlining on a generational historical fiction set in St. Louis and Denver in the 1890’s. And to be real, because I’ve been busy moving from Oklahoma to Kentucky, I’ve only been working sporadically on these projects for the last six weeks or so. I’m looking forward to settling into a writing routine again.

2) How does your work differ from others of this genre?

My focus is on writing stories of strong, courageous women. The genres may be different, but what connects them are vital, determined women hoping to make a difference in their worlds.

3) Why do you want to write what you write?

I think all the stories I want to tell are in some way exploring myself, peeling back the layers in a ’safe’ way. But I also discover these characters, these women, who want to tell their story, and they demand a voice. I guess that’s what keeps me from giving up and flushing it all down the toilet. :)

4) How does your writing process work?

When I’m ready to get to work, hot tea and listening to christian monks sing gregorian chant (yes, it’s on iTunes) sort of ‘clears the pipes’ and I sit down at my desk. Some days I’m on the keyboard. When I want to hash something out, I write it longhand. Sometimes I use a timer to work in 20 or 30 minutes chunks. Other times I sort of multi-task (which means play on social media) and I get some writing done, but not as much as if I force myself to focus. Imagine all the books that would have been written if we writers weren’t so busy liking and tweeting! Truth.

Now that I’ve answered the questions about my writing process, join my three author friends next Monday, April 14th, when they join the blog hop and give you the scoop on their writing process.

What is your writing process like? What are your answers to the four questions? Please share in the comments. Happy Writing!

Moving Forward When Life Goes Sideways

Smash, courtesy Jef Poskanzer, Creative Commons

Smash, courtesy Jef Poskanzer, Creative Commons

I had a plan. I really did.

It was a great plan.

A calendar filled with my writing plans, blog posts, and craft book study for 2014. It was going to be a great year. I was going to be productive, prolific, and positive.

That lasted about one month.

Then life happened.

Unemployment, urgent money issues, health and pain issues, surgeries.

In the midst of all that, Artist Daughter and Saint Nick, along with Poet Son moved to the mountains of Montana. Although I am happy for their adventure, my home and my mother’s heart is a little emptier.

I feel the specters of anxiety and depression tapping at the window, hoping I’ll throw up the sash and let them stay a while.

And just when things seemed like they couldn’t get any worse, they got better.

(You thought I was going to go on whining, didn’t you?)

As it seems to happen, grace flows in the midst of struggle, and a job opportunity presented itself. Now Keeper Hubby and I will also be traveling a new path, discovering a new adventure.

We’ll be leaving behind the purple sunsets of Oklahoma that we’ve grown to love for seventeen years for the bluegrass of Lexington, Kentucky.

So as surgeries heal and health improves, we are busy with packing, selling our house, and trying to figure out how to move four cats 725 miles (!)

And why tell you all this?

Because maybe you had a plan, too.

And life got all stuck and smeared in the teeth of your plans, like a piece of black licorice that reveals itself every time you smile.

Learn to ebb and flow with the things we can’t control by corralling the things we can control.

Be gentle with yourself.

Find your peace on the inside.

Flow around obstacles like water.

When the chaos slows down, you can easily readjust to being productive, prolific, and positive.

That’s my plan, anyway. ;)

I apologize for the huge silence on this blog for the last month, and I may be posting less often until the dust settles, but I hope you’ll stick it out with me.

I’m still going to work that writing and blog post plan going forward, and now some opportunities for new Write Anywhere venues seem likely.

Have you had any chaotic life situations that have thwarted your writing plans? How did you handle it?

1920s Corona Typewriter Keys, photo by kristin nador, kristin nador writes anywhere blog

Taking NaNoWriMo Into The Rest Of Your Writing Year

I did it.

I lost. I lost NaNoWriMo.

I’ve had a few weeks since the challenge of writing 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month ended on November 30th to think about it, and for my first NaNo experience I’m very happy to be a loser.

Yes, you read that right. Why would you be happy about not reaching your goal, you say?

My goal was to write 50,000 words and be a NaNoWriMo winner. I didn’t make it. But here’s what I did do:

  1. I’ve proven that I can write many more words on a daily basis than I thought I could. Before NaNo, 500 words at a sitting was a lot for me, at least psychologically. I’ve stretched my writing muscles and found that they are getting more limber and strong by the day. 1500 words at a sitting is easy for me now, and I will challenge myself to stretch farther. Word count is just a number, and can only stop me if I let it.
  2. I realized having an outline made all the difference for me to stay on task and finish. Yes, I finished! I didn’t make 50,000, but my 33,000 words plus what I had already written before NaNo, and two chapters written after let me finish the first draft of my novella. But I wouldn’t have known where the story was going and when I reached the end without a good outline. I’ve faced the fact I’m just not one of those creative pantsers, I get too easily distracted. But that’s okay. Outlines work for me, help me stay on task as well as discover new ideas along the way. I will continue to work with them in future stories.
  3. I linked arms with friends with the same goals and that went a long way in keeping me accountable and motivated. I made several new writing friends during NaNoWriMo through the NaNo hashtags on Twitter and the NaNo website. It was fun to encourage one another, share frustrations, and challenge each other to word sprints. I realize I can’t always have my writing peeps there to pull me through every rough writing patch, but it affirmed the importance of having friends who can relate to the ups and downs of the writing journey.

How can I take my new-found revelations into 2014 and make NaNoWriMo work for me beyond November? Here’s my plan:

  • Treat my writing like an exercise program. Write daily and write with a word count goal in mind. If I can’t write for a day, get back to it the next day. Can’t stay ‘in shape’ if you don’t work out.
  • Take the time to outline my story ideas. I don’t always have to follow the outline step by step, but it will keep me on track during those times when I’m feeling less than creative.
  • Make a concerted effort to connect with like-minded writers on a regular basis, both in person and in social media. It’s too easy for me (and my natural preference) to hide away in my introvert cocoon, keeping to myself. I won’t be sharing all the gory details of my latest projects (I think that can be dangerous to your project’s integrity, just my personal opinion) but I can connect with others to encourage and be encouraged. I always find inspiration to buckle down and keep going after commiserating with fellow writers.
  • Plan several writing mini-marathons throughout the year. Planning an entire day for nothing but writing, with a word count goal in mind, will help keep the marathon writing aspects of NaNo going.
  • Break it down into mini-mini marathons with word sprints at least once a week. There’s nothing like having a timer in front of you to make you fill that white screen or piece of paper with words.
  • Track my progress. I need to get back to basics and start tracking when I write and how much each day, so I can truly progress. I’ll be doing it ‘old school’ with a pocket calendar, which I was doing before, but had slacked off. Again, just like an exercise program, if you don’t keep track of your stats, you don’t know whether you’re improving, and when you need to ‘add weight’ to push past a plateau.

Need some more inspiration to take NaNoWriMo with you throughout the year? Check out these blog posts:

Three Writing Tips I Learned from NaNoWriMo from Janice Hardy at The Other Side of the Story

I Won NaNo with 20k by Ermiliablog

NaNoWhatNow: Three Tactics For Getting Un-Stuck from Author Kristen Lamb

How did you do with NaNoWriMo this year? What are your plans for 2014 to help you reach your writing goals?

Parenting Guest Blog Post at Oklahoma Women Bloggers

If you’re a parent, do you ever feel like there are times you’ve had a complete fail? A ‘duh’ moment? That you’ve made a mistake that may cost you the admiration and respect of your children?

I’m sure we’ve all been there, sometimes on a daily basis. Stop by Oklahoma Women Bloggers today, where the ladies allow me to share about a humorous fail I had with my kids. Let the ladies know you stopped by with a comment. I’d appreciate it.

Losing My Mom Street Cred, or That Lizard Thing

Stay tuned to kristin nador writes anywhere in the coming weeks for new posts on writing, creativity, and a new series on ‘Simple Steps to Blogging Excellence’. Plus we’ll check in and see how I did with my first NaNoWriMo challenge. Don’t miss a post: subscribe by email or RSS, or stick us in your Feedly today! :)

Veterans Day Guest Blog Post at Oklahoma Women Bloggers

American flags, photo by kristin nador

They give freely, so we live free

Today is Veterans Day, and we recognize the men and women who serve to protect our country. If you are a veteran, we appreciate you!

As November’s Blogger of the Month for Oklahoma Women Bloggers, the ladies are running my blog post featuring two veterans I know, and how they helped me focus on the good things in life. I hope you’ll stop by and read it:

Bologna Sandwiches and A Lesson in Gratitude

If you get a chance, be sure to thank a veteran today!

Want to recognize someone for their military service? Feel free to post in the comments.