Seekerville: The Journey Continues | category: Writing habits


Seekerville: The Journey Continues

Rejuvenating Your Writing Chops

Rejuvenating Your Writing Chops

Hi Everyone, Audra here.

I heard an interesting analogy on the radio as I was driving to my monthly writers' meeting. The piece started with, “Would you serve prime rib to an infant?” it continued with “if you’re learning to swim, would you compare yourself to Michael Phelps?” There were other comparisons along the way, but you get the picture. Most logical people would smile and shake their heads with an enthusiastic, "Of Course Not!"

Children must grow and nourish their bodies through development phases until the brain and taste buds can appreciate the food placed before them. The novice swimmer must “pay their dues” in the water swimming laps, developing muscle control, perfecting strokes, and a multitude of other fitness exercises.  

Rejuvenating Your Writing Chops
Photo by Benjamin Wong on Unsplash

But such is not always the case where writers are concerned.

As writers, we’re intelligent people, right? So why do we compare our accomplishments as writers to others? Is it because we all know how to speak English? Is it because we've taken composition all through school? Is it because of our love of creative writing? Because we're avid readers?

We, authors, are very delicate creations. Our psyches are fragile, all in tune with the passionate stories that play in the fertile fields of our minds. When I say passionate, I’m not talking romantic, even though romantic fiction is my thing. I’m alluding to the creative gift God has placed in our hearts. Those stories that are so real to us that we have to write them.

Rejuvenating Your Writing Chops
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

I could go down the path of emotional attachment to our storylines, characters and words, but that’s not what this post is about. 

I want to focus on the muscle development of our brains. The skills honed through repeated practice and revision. The unfolding of our talents as we work hard at our craft. 

As the only child of immigrant parents, I was often left to my own devices as my parents worked long days to get ahead in their new country. My dad read Bible stories to me every Sunday afternoon and my love of reading was born. Stories equaled adventure! All through school I gravitated toward creative writing, pouring my emotions onto the page and into my characters’ lives.

My high school creative writing teacher labeled me "sappy." Though probably meant as an insult, I embraced it. I loved romance even back then! 

Rejuvenating Your Writing Chops
Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

After I married and our children arrived, I became a stay-at-home mom. I tried my hand at writing a romance novel. 

18 years later, my first novel was published.

Before a second book could be published, I returned to the world of day job.

16 years later, I’m returning to my first love - writing.

That’s 34 years of story scribbles, yucky writing, writing workshops, writing organizations, multiple typewriters and computers, rejections, rewrites …

All that angst spent becoming an author remained in brain, but with disuse, the term sagging middle applied to everything about me, including the body of my stories! I’m rebuilding my writing muscles by writing something everyday.

My lyrical story-telling skills are slowly returning after years of writing administrative narrative.

My confidence in writing active scenes is building with every to-be verb I identify and replace.

Writing fiction is hard work. It requires mental stamina and digging deep into your well for that personal/emotional touch only you can give your story. 


As an author, you never stop learning about your craft. At the ACFW conference this year, I continued to gain insight into what makes an author.

The authors I talked to all said they have a set a schedule for writing. They treat it as a business. There is a goal they reach every day ranging from 500-1000 new words a day, or completing a scene, or revisions, etc. At least 5 days a week. Every week.

That dedication builds those creative muscles, lubricates the skill joints, keeps the inspiration and creative juices flowing.

Rejuvenating Your Writing Chops
Adobe stock licensed 

Hmmm, seems we've circled back to Prime Rib, LOL!

We’ve got to work for our success. We’ve got to be dedicated writing-gym members who set aside time to keep our writing brains alert and in shape just as much as our bodies.

I’ve always been opposed to the theory of “butt-in-chair-every-day” even if you don’t feel the love. I’ve discovered, it’s not so much about the feeling the love in the story I’m working on, but rather, keeping the rhythm and practice in place each day.

In my writing group this month, we talked about morning pages. You’ve heard of them, right? Sit down every day and scribble away in a notebook for however many minutes or pages you subscribe to. The thought of writing for just dumping words out of your brain never appealed to me. I avoided it like the plague.

BUT, as one clever friend in our group offered, how about revamping the morning pages routine to help you with an area of your book where you are stuck? 

Rejuvenating Your Writing Chops
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

That next day, I opened a notebook and wrote down a problem area which happened to be historical nouns describing a character with a love of plants. My goal was to fill up a page with descriptive words and actions and phrases that I could turn to when I might be stuck in a scene with this character.

“Morning pages” suddenly took on a whole new meaning and offered a challenge with a tangible reward.

This is all part of your work out. Your muscle building. Your skill-building, talent-digging, prose-loving conditioning you need to succeed.

And when you’ve completed your task, reward yourself with prime rib...or a swim.

How about you? What keeps your internal writing machine honed? Leave a comment for a random drawing of a sweet little Thanksgiving gift.

How to Increase Your Daily Word Count with Guest Jill Kemerer


How to Increase Your Daily Word Count with Guest Jill Kemerer

by Jill Kemerer

You’re sitting at your desk in front of your laptop, and every word you write takes a lifetime. We’re talking two, maybe three, words per minute. You hate those words. Delete them. And you’re right back where you started. This might last an hour, a day, a week, a month. Who knows? But when you’re in a struggle session to figure out the next sentence, your daily word count suffers.

Whenever this happens to me, I procrastinate. Then panic.

And all I can think is that I hate writing.

The longer I stay away from the manuscript, the more I loathe the thought of returning to it.

Call it writer’s block or just another day as a writer, but it’s not fun. How can we meet our goals if we’re staring at a laptop screen, scarfing down M&Ms, and the only thing coming to mind is duhhhh…

The book will not be written. Goals will not be met.

This happened to me regularly until about three years ago. I managed to finish all my projects on time, but I wasn’t looking forward to writing the way I used to. In fact, I dreaded actually writing the first draft.

I decided to come up with a strategy to eliminate as many of those struggle sessions as possible. How? By reading how other writers overcame them and by experimenting to see what would work for me.

I needed to be able to consistently stay in the groove when writing a draft. So I read productivity books written by authors. The two below really stuck with me.

First of all, I highly recommend the book 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron. The Kindle version is only $2.99. It’s a short, informational book full of personal insights and tips. It helped motivate me to increase my daily word count.

I also recommend Allie Pleiter’s The Chunky Method Handbook: Your Step-by-Step Plan to WRITE THAT BOOK Even When Life Gets in the Way. For $4.99, the Kindle version is full of great advice.

After studying the above books, I realized my momentum in a draft stopped when I didn’t know what would happen next. Now, I’m a plotter, so I know where the story is headed. But I don’t know every scene in advance. It was those in-between scenes that were stalling me out.

Pantsers, I imagine, have the same problem. They’re discovering the story as it’s being written, and when you aren’t certain what direction to take, it’s hard to move forward.

This was an easy fix for me. After each writing session, I simply brainstorm the next scene. I decide whose point of view it needs to be in, where it is taking place, the basic idea of what is happening and how the scene will further the story. Then I think ahead to the following scene and sketch out its details.

Brainstorming the next 1-2 scenes at the end of a writing session takes me less than ten minutes. I’m no longer floundering around trying to figure out what happens next. Now I quickly jump into my draft every day because I know what I’ll be writing.

This step alone helped me increase my daily word count because I wasn’t wasting time.
I didn’t stop there. I was intrigued by the premise of Rachel Aaron’s 2K to 10K book (see above). I’m a math girl. Before I read her book, I typically wrote between 2000-2500 words a day. I know this because I keep a log of every writing session.

I keep three logs for every book.One is for plotting, one is for writing, and one is for revising. For the writing log, I note the date, number of pages added, number of words added and the total word count to that point. This gives me an overview of how long it reallytakes for me to write a book.

It wasn’t hard to see that if I could write more each day, the book would be finished in less time.

Since I’d figured out how to ACTUALLY WRITE and not stare off into space wondering what comes next, I began to experiment with word count. And I realized something that wasn’t flattering.

Every day I started too late, and I quit too early.

Now, I’m blessed to write full time. I know many of you are fitting your writing in around full-time jobs, children, spouses, hobbies, and other important things. We all have demands on our time. But I had to take a hard look at how I was spending my work days, and when I did, I made some changes.

I organized carpools for my kids’ practices. I exercised earlier. Planned my chores around my writing times. I cut back—way back—on interacting on social media sites. I still check in a few times a week, still blog, still send out a monthly newsletter, still promote my books. For me, social media is a low-energy task, an easy distraction, and it was hindering me from meeting my true goals.

Before you can sell copies of your book, you have to write it. It’s just the way it is.
I created blocks of time for writing. I also set aside a block each weekday (for me, late afternoon is ideal) for all the other stuff writers do, like writing this post! And I pushed myself to get more words on the page every day.

I realized writing 10,000 words a day isn’t something I aspire to, but 5000 words a day is doable. I also realized I needed to schedule a day to review what I’d written so far about midway through a draft. This helps me keep all the threads straight in my mind.

Writing is my job. I treat it like one.And because I treat it like one, I stay ahead of my deadlines. This allows me to meet friends for coffee once in a while or play hooky to visit a museum or the library. I love having the freedom to make my own schedule, but I never allow it to become a free-for-all.

If you want to increase your daily word count, start by jotting down what has to happen in the next 1-2 scenes at the end of each writing session. Log your word count and the time you spend writing EVERY SESSION. Then push yourself to meet bigger goals until you find the number that seems to fit your life best.

You CAN increase your daily word count. And when you do, don’t be surprised when you experience a renewed love of writing. I’ve fallen in love with the process all over again. And you can to!
Mindy here. Jill is giving away a copy of her brand new release, The Cowboy's Christmas Blessings. (Paperback for US, ebook for International) Simply leave a comment to be entered.

How to Increase Your Daily Word Count with Guest Jill Kemerer

The Cowboy’s Christmas Blessings


Will welcoming them for Christmas have him wishing for more?


Judd Wilson lives a solitary life…until he learns Nicole Taylor and her infant triplets need somewhere to stay. The cabin on his ranch is the perfect solution, but now his quiet Christmas alone feels a lot more crowded. Recently widowed, Nicole questions her swiftly developing feelings for Judd, even if the older man is wonderful with her babies. Is she ready to take that leap again?


Purchase The Cowboy’s Christmas Blessings

How to Increase Your Daily Word Count with Guest Jill Kemerer

Jill Kemerer is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of inspirational romance novels for Harlequin Love Inspired. Her essentials include coffee, M&Ms, a stack of books, her mini-dachshund, and long walks outdoors. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two almost-grown children. Please visit her website,


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Keep the Momentum Going

Keep the Momentum Going

by Mindy Obenhaus

When writing a book or tackling any big project, there’s always that initial excitement. We’re champing at the bit, eager to get started. The gate opens and we’re gone. We plow through chapters one, two and three before heading into the turning points of chapters five and six. Then, we find ourselves a little winded. We lose focus and wonder which direction we were heading. What’s going to happen next? What am I doing?

Doubt soon sets in. It just isn’t working. This was a horrible idea. I can’t do it. Before we know it, the whole process feels more like a chore and we're ready to give up.

We’ve all been there. We whine, we cry, we want to start over with another story. Because let’s face it, there’s no better feeling than new-story love. It’s bright and shiny, perfect in every way. Until you get to that sagging middle.

So today I thought I'd share some tips to help you stay on track with your story.

Plan ahead – Both long-term and short-term. Long-term involves plotting (the pansters just cringed) or at least having a list of things that you want/need to happen during the course of the story. A roadmap that will keep you heading in the right direction.

Short-term are those breaks between writing sessions. Ponder the next scene. Setting, dialog, conflict. I get some of my best ideas when I’m doing mundane things like loading the dishwasher, doing laundry or getting ready for bed. Make notes on your phone or a notepad that will rekindle that same enthusiasm the next time you sit down to write.
Keep the Momentum Going
Optimum performance times – When are you most productive in your writing? After breakfast or after lunch? Late at night after everyone else has gone to bed? Or early in the morning when you’re the only one awake? Do you write well when there’s a lot of activity going on around you? Or do you prefer quiet?

It took me a while to realize that I always write better after lunch than I do in the morning. As a full-time author, though, that doesn’t mean I get to take mornings off. Instead, I use mornings for all of those other things the writer’s life entails. Email, social media, blogging, post office runs… By getting all of those other things off of my plate, I’m free to write all afternoon without anything hanging over my head. If I try to write, knowing there’s a list of things I still need to tackle, guess where my mind is? It’s on that list, not my characters.

Figure out your optimum performance time and you’ll be more productive.

Brainstorm – Talking through your story with someone else can reignite that flame of excitement, make you eager to get back to work and head right on into that final stretch.

Keep the Momentum Going
Reward yourself – Is there something you really want to do, but you know you have to get a scene written? Use that as your motivation. Maybe you’re reading a book you can’t wait to get back to. Same thing. Push through that scene or word count, then treat yourself to a reward. Go wander through your favorite store or dive back into that book you’ve been reading with no guilt hanging over your head. 

Step away – There are times when the words simply get stuck. Or we can’t wrap our brain around a particular scene. Give yourself permission to walk away. Step outside for some fresh air, read or do some research for your story. Sometimes just taking that little break and redirecting your mind will cause the floodgates to open. And before you know it, you’re off and running again.

Writing for publication, particularly if you're on deadline, takes determination and sticktoitiveness. But if you can keep the momentum going, you'll soon find yourself racing across the finish line.

What motivates you to push through a difficult project? Leave a comment to be entered to win an advanced copy of my July release, A Father’s Promise. (US mailing addresses only, please)
Keep the Momentum Going

Is he ready for fatherhood?
He doesn’t think he deserves a family… But now he has a daughter.
Stunned to discover he has a child, Wes Bishop isn’t sure he’s father material. But his adorable daughter needs him, and he can’t help feeling drawn to her mother, Laurel Donovan—a woman he’s finally getting to know. But can this sudden dad overcome a past tragedy that has him convinced he’s not meant to be a husband or a father…and make a promise of forever?

Keep the Momentum Going
Three-time Carol Award finalist, Mindy Obenhaus, is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She’s a multi-published author of contemporary Christian romance, and lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at

Five Things I Learned from Writing a Book in Six Weeks by guest Carla Laureano

Five Things I Learned from Writing a Book in Six Weeks by Carla Laureano for Seekerville

If there’s one thing that I pride myself on, it’s being organized. Which is why I’m embarrassed to admit that I came up short on time during the writing of The Solid Grounds Coffee Company. Typically, I start writing immediately after I get my contract, and I complete a rough draft of my book in eight to sixteen weeks. That gives me time to let it rest so I can return with fresh eyes when I do the first round of edits.

But in the case of Solid Grounds, an avalanche of events rearranged my schedule. I was working on the rerelease of my MacDonald Family books at the same time, which required some minor revisions and manuscript reviews. I released a stand-alone novella. Then my editor went out on maternity leave shortly after I turned in my book, pushing the edits out further, immediately followed by a month of marketing for the release of Brunch at Bittersweet Café.

Before I knew it, I was staring down the beginning of March, with a personal completion deadline of May. Not a big deal since I didn’t have to turn it in until October, except for the fact that when I started publishing, I promised my kids I wouldn’t work more than necessary during their summer breaks. In order to keep that promise, I needed to be finished by the time they got out of school the last week of May, then jump right into edits when they returned at the beginning of August.
Are you dizzy yet? I certainly was.

I sat down at my computer and attempted to write. But health problems crept in. Kid struggles. Family issues. Before I knew it, I was only 20,000 words into my book with only five weeks left on the clock.

I’d like to say that I calmly sat down and prayed for strength and guidance. But I didn’t. I panicked. I worried to friends. I started wondering if I was going to be able to write the book. Finally, after a few days of unprofitable whining, I made a schedule and forced myself to stick to it. And I discovered five pretty amazing things in the process.

1. I’m capable of far more than I think I am.

If you had told me that I would bang out the bulk of a 115,000-word book in five weeks, I would have replied that you were crazy. I write fast, but I rarely log more than 3,000 words a day. When you consider that I got a slow start for the first two weeks, I actually wrote the bulk of the book in three weeks: 5,000 words a day, 25,000 words a week. I wouldn’t rely on my ability to do that again, but it’s encouraging to know that I could if I had to.

Five Things I Learned from Writing a Book in Six Weeks by guest Carla Laureano
It reminded me that so often we think we can’t just because we haven’t. In truth, we are capable of far more than we know; we simply haven’t tried.

2. Resolve is far more important than inspiration.

By the time I got through that first 25,000-word week, inspiration was in somewhat short supply. Yes, I was enjoying what I was writing, but half the time, I didn’t know if it was making any sense. I would check my outline to see which chapters I needed to write each day, and then I wrote them. I didn’t look forward. I didn’t look back. It helped that I parked myself at Starbucks each morning and didn’t allow myself to leave until I finished my word count for the day. After several hours of sitting in a hard, slightly uncomfortable chair, I would do anything to get out of there . . . even finish my chapter. It certainly wasn’t inspiration driving the story at that point. It was resolve (and maybe a little bit of desperation).

The prize doesn’t go to the person who is the most inspired; it goes to the person with the resolve and the diligence to get something done to the best of their ability.

3. Writing is like a sport: put in the practice so you can reap the performance.

You would think that the words that I wrote quickly under pressure were pretty terrible, but this was among the cleanest first drafts that I’ve ever turned out. I partly attribute that to the fact that I didn’t have time to tinker as I went or second-guess myself. And because I wrote it in such a short period of time, I was able to hold the full story and the character arcs in my head as I wrote. But most importantly, I’ve written almost a million words for publication. If you count all the rewrites and the numerous unpublished manuscripts that came before, I’m in the range of 2.5 million words of fiction written.

That’s when I realized that I’d been unconsciously training for this writing marathon like an athlete, with dedicated practice over the course of the last twenty-three years. I’ve spent so much focused time on the elements of plot, style, and pacing that I’ve internalized them. Or, to use a terrible sports metaphor, thousands of practice free throws allowed me to nail the half-court shot at the buzzer.

This clearly illustrated to me that time spent writing is never wasted, whether the books are published or not. You’re strengthening your writing muscles and your endurance for when you need them. Every time you employ a technique of fiction writing, it becomes your own, and over time, you can pull it out whenever you need it.

4. I can’t do this alone.

It sounds like I wrote this book through sheer determination, but the truth is, I would not have completed it but for a single faithful friend. Each morning before I started writing, I would check in with my BFF, Lori, and she would pray for me. Had it not been for her faithfulness in praying for my strength and productivity, I know I never could have pulled it off. I could feel her prayers as I worked, and I’ll always be grateful that she stepped in when I needed it so desperately.

Five Things I Learned from Writing a Book in Six Weeks by guest Carla Laureano5. When God provides an opportunity, He also provides the means.

There are always moments along the writing journey when we question our path or our purpose. I’ve always wanted to write for a living, and yet I’ve struggled and resisted the process every step of the way, mostly because it’s so much harder than I expected it would be. (If I would just learn to rest in God’s provision, things would go so much more smoothly, but that’s a topic for another blog post.) My friend may have prayed for me, but it was God who showed up when I needed Him. Above all else, The Solid Grounds Coffee Company is a story of redemption, of what happens after the Prodigal Son returns, so I can only believe that someone out there, somewhere, needs to read it . . . and God wasn’t going to let that be thwarted by a stressed-out, behind-schedule writer. I wish every book involved the same level of co-creation with God, but even if it never happens again in quite the same way, I’m grateful to have experienced it once.

About the Book & Author

The Solid Grounds Coffee Company by Carla Laureano

Five Things I Learned from Writing a Book in Six Weeks by guest Carla Laureano
Analyn Sanchez can handle the long hours and arrogant clients that come with her job as a crisis management associate at Denver’s largest publicity firm. The high-powered job, expensive condo, and designer wardrobe are all part of her plan to prove to her family that her life choices haven’t been in vain. But when she’s asked to cover up a client’s misdeeds with serious moral and legal ramifications, she can no longer sacrifice her conscience for her career . . . and the cost is no less than her job.

Ever since a devastating climbing accident in South America eight months ago, and a bad decision that dried up his sponsorships, professional rock climber Bryan Shaw has found himself at similar loose ends. When the opportunity to buy a coffee farm in Colombia arises, he jumps on it—only to discover his wandering ways have left him utterly unprepared to run a business.

When Bryan returns home and offers Ana a role in his company as a solution to both their problems, she’s desperate enough to consider working with the far-too-flippant and far-too-handsome climber, even though he’s the polar opposite of her type A nature. As they delve deeper into the business, however, she begins to suspect there’s much more to Bryan than she’s given him credit for . . . and that sometimes the best plans are the ones you never see coming.

Five Things I Learned from Writing a Book in Six Weeks by guest Carla Laureano
Carla Laureano is the two-time RITA Award–winning author of Five Days in Skye, London Tides, and the Saturday Night Supper Club series. She is also the author of the Celtic fantasy series The Song of Seare (as C. E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons.

Now it’s your turn: Have you ever had an experience where you had to rely on God to complete an impossible task? How did it turn out? Tell me in the comments below, and you’ll be entered to win a paperback copy of The Solid Grounds Coffee Company.

Balancing Act: How to Keep Those Plates Spinning

By Seekerville blogger Ruth Logan Herne

Okay, I did a switch up for today.

I blame the farm.

Balancing Act: How to Keep Those Plates Spinning

It's just so busy right now, and that's a good thing, but I wanted to do an #ownvoices post for September, but I didn't have time to follow up on my contacts with authors of color, so I'm doing that now, and we'll talk about that in October. Which means I'm switching October's post about how to balance those plates we're given in life and keep them spinning with as little breakage as possible.

It's not easy.

You can quote me on that.

First, if you're a woman, you probably don't have a wife. Most likely no one is going around picking up laundry and delivering it to your drawer, freshly washed, folded and put away. There may be someone making meals, but it's probably an 80% chance that they are not. :) You are probably doing dishes, most likely working a job, and depending on age, taking care of aging parents, running kids and grandkids to school, games, meets, dance class, study sessions, church, youth group, volunteer places, doctors, dentists, etc.

It is quite possible that you do most of the shopping, gift buying, gift organizing, party and holiday planning, set up and clean up.

Balancing Act: How to Keep Those Plates Spinning

Are you tired yet?

The good Lord gave us 24 hours in a day. Plus a smidge that we tuck into place every four years.

How do we make 24 hours work for us, not against us?


Habits can be our blessing or our downfall. The ability to create a habit is inherent. We train ourselves to do a lot of things habitually. If the waste company is coming on Tuesday, you put out the trash on Monday night. If the post office closes at 5:30 PM, you get your mail there by 5:25 so you don't miss it. If your child is slow to get going in the morning, you wake that one up fifteen minutes earlier than necessary to build a window of time.

Habits can make us or break us. You've heard us talk about 1K/1HR. That's a writing habit that encourages one thousand words a day in a one-hour time period. There's a Facebook group you can join and there was a Twitter group developed by author Donna Alward. A bunch of us in Seekerville are part of the Facebook group. For aspiring authors, that's a great habit, because it prioritizes your writing. When you're still uncontracted, it's easy to view your writing as a hobby instead of a job.

That's a Real Bad Habit because when that "call" comes, you want to be in the habit of getting things done. Meeting expectations. Delivering. Because if you're not in that mode, there are literally hundreds of folks in line, waiting to take your place.

Four authors recently received The Call from Love Inspired as a result of a contest... I cannot stress enough how important it is to be ready when that phone rings.

Developing daily habits helps me. My early rising time is devoted to writing and marketing. I adopted that mode because I'm a total jerk at night. When I'm  tired, I'm snarky!!!! Snarky is not how I want my stories to come out, so my biologically-driven writing time is morning.

Then the work day begins and if I can get back to writing (winter!) I do it, but during farm season I have to put on other hats.

Monkeys can be trained to do all kinds of things.

So can we! :)

If you're visually inclined, plot out a daily schedule and keep to it.

If you're self-disciplined, plan your day but leave a margin for error.

One thing I do that is a HUGE HELP is to work ahead of the calendar. To get work done early, pre-deadline, because I don't do panic mode.

If there's a family emergency, I don't want to be deadlocked or nervous about getting my work done. It it's already done, I've built myself a time cushion and can attend to the emergency with full attention. Driving yourself crazy isn't the result of unforeseen circumstances. It's often the result of not preparing for the fact that unforeseen circumstances happen to everyone ALL THE TIME... and if we don't prep for them, that's on us.

Altius, Citius, Fortius.

Higher. Faster. Stronger. It's part of an athlete's creed passed down from the earliest Greek and Roman Olympians. It's simply about holding ourselves to a higher standard.

Balancing Act: How to Keep Those Plates Spinning

There's an old running adage that goes something like this: "If you take a day off, no one notices. If you take two days off, you'll notice. If you take three days off, everyone notices."

Habits are like that.

K-Love radio does a 30-day challenge. It's a great ploy, because research shows that anyone who does something repeatedly for thirty days has created a habit. And when we're in the groove of habits, we get the job done.

What are your bad habits? What are your strengths? What can you deep-six or downsize or give up to make your day/week/month more productive?

Balancing Act: How to Keep Those Plates Spinning

Leave a comment below to get the conversation rolling. I've got a copy of my newest mystery "Just Over the Horizon" to go out to one delightful person today... all commenters will be entered.

And I brought coffee and donuts to tempt you in. Coffee. Donuts/doughnuts and great books.

What could be better than that?

Balancing Act: How to Keep Those Plates Spinning
USA Today Bestselling Author Ruth Logan Herne writes the kind of books she likes to read, so that's a total bonus, right? And she's been known to make herself (and others!) cry, but she makes them smile, too, so she figures it balances out. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, visit her website or email her directly at She loves to chat with writers, readers, and pretty much anyone who comes along because she talks a lot, but has managed to have over 50 books published, so she must stop talking occasionally! We think...

What Writers Do... and Don't Do

By Seekerville Blogger Ruth Logan Herne 

 Last week I asked some very successful authors what they do... and what they don't do. How do they balance their careers and their lives, their families, their homes, their commitments? How often do we hear aspiring authors or newly published authors fret/worry over having so much to do? Fairly regularly, and these established and money-making authors have taken time to advise us. Their common denominator?


Now if you cannot handle that, we understand. We get it. No one said it's easy! It is not. But if you're still reading and not faintly or heartily disgusted with me as I tell you that one doesn't become an author: One makes themselves an author by repeated effort, day by day..

Read on, then tell me in the comments where you think  you could improve and what you think you're doing right. With over fifty published books to my credit, and more to come, I can tell you I absolutely copy-catted Margaret Daley, Lenora Worth and Linda Goodnight when I was pre-published because they were:

     By that I mean these women are relatable, they talk like normal people, they never talk down or act pretentious and they really long for others' success. I wanted to be like them in proficiency and attitude. They kept it simple and set a great example!

     I respect hard work. I am the Mike Rowe of the publishing industry in my mental attitude, I like to see people succeed, but I'm not a big fan of hand-outs because we do better when we have to expend effort and work toward something. Hard work isn't a bane. It's a blessing and we could use more of it.

     It's hard to emulate, copy or be affected in a good way by work you don't like or admire. I like being able to talk to the race that knows Joseph, the simple people, the everyday Joes of this world. The ones pulling a grocery tote down the streets of Brooklyn or tying up a baby swing in a tree in central Iowa. The ones stopping to pick up their mail at the miniscule post office in a Midwestern town and the ones getting 17 boxes from Amazon a day. I like people and I like to uplift them, and these ladies were accessible with work I liked. #HUGE  I'm going to pick two names from the comments and those two people will be able to pick any book from these authors (kindle edition) and I'll send it right out to you.

From Award-winning, bestselling romantic suspense author Lynette Eason:

I found that I simply had to make a choice. When I wasn't spending time with my family, I had to choose between writing or scrapbooking, writing or television, writing or......fill in the blank. Most of the time I  chose writing. Unless there was something on television that I was just dying to watch, I spent the time writing. Often, I got up earlier than everyone else and wrote. Or, I stayed up an hour or two later than everyone else and wrote. If I was going thru a drive thru line, I never minded if it was long. I'd write on the notes app on my phone or a scrap of paper in my car. I found the word, "no" really was in my vocabulary. I said no to a lot of things. They weren't bad things (like teaching Sunday school! LOL--after all, think of the prep work that goes into teaching!), but they weren't things that would move me forward in my pursuit of publication. I think people just have to find what works for them and do it. :) NOW, after seeing the reward of my perseverance, I could say yes to teaching a Sunday school class. If I felt God leading me to do so. :)

Lynette's newest release is available from AMAZON:

What Writers Do... and Don't Do

From Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Linda Goodnight

During my day job years especially, I gave up a lot of things, though I prioritized for two things-God and family. Everything else could go by the wayside. I do mean everything--social events, committees, whatever. I quickly learned to say no in a nice way.

For years, I was clueless when people discussed TV, movies, or "stars". I simply didn't see them. That was writing time.  I kept to a strict schedule of writing from 7-9 every night and all day Saturday and most holidays. I didn't even answer the phone. And I squeezed in other writing time
 where I could.(Early on, I promised the Lord that I would not work on Sunday unless it was truly a deadline emergency.)  Now that the day job is a memory, I have more flexibility, but building a career takes discipline, determination, and sacrifice.  Ugh. Not fun, but necessary.

One more thing I put aside at first was reading, and I do NOT recommend this insanity. Writers must read. Reading stretches us, makes us strive to be better.  Iron really does sharpen iron.  And besides reading is wonderful!

Here's one of Linda's wonderful novels linked to our friends at Amazon: 

What Writers Do... and Don't Do
And here you're going to find a similar track from NYT bestselling author Lenora Worth:
 I have given up lunching with friends, committee work (after years of being on church and organizational and writing committees I suddenly realized that's not my thing.) So I gave it up. Whew! More time to write, less time worrying and fretting about committee work.

I sometimes give up evening tv to go back into my office to edit or work and I've sometimes had to say NO a lot. A really LOT! No, I can't make phone calls for you. No, I can't baby sit since I work at home. No, I can't drop everything to help you today (unless it's an emergency and someone is in real need.)

This might sound selfish but as I told my husband once when he didn't get it-Would you walk off the paint line at GM and come home to help me? No, he would not!

I learned early on before I was published to pretend I was published and to set deadlines. I set aside time to write. A couple of hours here and there, even when I worked full time, trained me to be disciplined every day. Ten pages or at least a thousand words per day. Some days, I'm at six pages and want to stop. I tell myself just four hundred more words and before I know it, I've written fifteen-hundred words!

If you want to write, you will find a way to write. That's what I tell myself every day. I want to write. My house doesn't have to be perfect, my hair doesn't have to be perfect, the dinner doesn't have to be gourmet. But the writing has to come as close to perfect as it can.

Oh, and my one rule--Never ever give up holiday time or weekend time with your family. Work for a while and then live life!! Love to all of you!!! (Thanks, Ruthy!)

Lenora's July Love Inspired Suspense is available here! 

What Writers Do... and Don't Do

And here are tips from Award-winning author Pepper Basham. Pepper's still raising a family, working and writing, so her words are a real uplift to all of you who are in constant balance mode:

When my kids were young, the only time I had to really write was after the kids went to bed at night because I worked a day job. Even if I only wrote 15 minutes and then passed out for the night from exhaustion, I still chose those 15 minutes. Also, something that I've found INCREDIBLY helpful with a busy schedule (both as a mom of young-ones and now), is to daydream about the story when you can't write about it. For me, that primed my brain for writing when I did have a few minutes here and there.

Now, with kids who are older, I have more writing time, consistently, in the evening. I also, now, have occasional time to write during my lunch break. Daydreaming about the story is still a mainstay, but I'm also extremely thankful to work 4 days a week instead of 5 now, so I have a WHOLE DAY to...,do all the mom-kid appointment stuff, but also spend more time learning about the whole author-marketing stuff, actually READ books, and keep writing. 

I also RARELY watch t.v. Occasionally, I'll need brain-break from writing, so I'll watch a fav movie or join hubs watching the Hallmark channel (yeah, I got him stuck on it), but t.v. is not something I do a lot.  (Learning to say "no" is a good thing too ;-) and knowing WHEN you need to say yes.

A link to one of Pepper's wildly popular novels!

What Writers Do... and Don't Do

 You know how to find whales in the ocean?

Follow the food.

Same with writing. Follow the successful authors. They may not be the most talkative, or the most hands-on, or the most flamboyant. I've watched a lot of flamboyant authors crash and burn and/or die a slow, drop-in-sales death.

Don't do as some say: Do what others do. Write the books and keep on doing it.

Hey, leave the comments below and we'll chat. I'm farm-crazy right now, but coming inside and chattin' with all y'all is the best break ever!

What Writers Do... and Don't Do
Multi-published, bestselling and award-winning (Whew!!!) author Ruth Logan Herne is living her dream of writing great books and growing pumpkins.

What more could anyone ask???? :)

You can find Ruthy on her pumpkin farm in Western New York and on the web at or friend her on facebook or follow her on Twitter (where a lot of folks do not behave nicely. I'm just sayin'....)

And Ruthy's latest mystery is out from Guideposts!!!!!

What Writers Do... and Don't Do

One person will be drawn to get a hardcover copy of this mystery, but ya gotta tell me you want it....

Rejuvenating Your Writing ChopsHow to Increase Your Daily Word Count with Guest Jill KemererKeep the Momentum GoingFive Things I Learned from Writing a Book in Six Weeks by guest Carla LaureanoBalancing Act: How to Keep Those Plates SpinningWhat Writers Do... and Don't Do

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