An Announcement and a Fund-Raising Campaign to make my event a Sccess

On July 21, 2018 I am scheduled to appear at the Middle Georgia Indie Book Festival and I am excited for the opportunity to participate. For this to be a successful event I am respectfully requesting support by conducting a fund-raising campaign, and your support would be greatly appreciated. As a special thank you gift, I am giving copies of “Stories outside the Box” to anyone making donations toward the project. If you would like to support this campaign, you may do so in two ways. You can either visit http://www.ko-fi.com/annbarnes to “buy a coffee” for $3 or you can make a donation of any amount directly to my paypal account by visiting paypal.me/annHarrisonBarnes. Your support is much appreciated.

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NaNoWriMo Update Number Three: How to take a Nano prep day in the Middle of the Month

Hey everybody in the blogosphere, today I have a personal NaNoWriMo update and a bit of advice for all you WriMos out there. As of today, I am up to 18,964 words on my NaNoWriMo manuscript, 1208 of which were written this morning. I have written the end of my novel, now I have to go back and fill in the rest of the story. However, I have also written a part of the epilog that will give me the spark I need to Segway into another mystery with these characters.

 

My advice for you today is to take a preparation day for your story. I know you only have 30 days to reach the overall 50,000-word goal, in order to win NaNoWriMo. However, there are going to be some days when you can’t think of a word to write for your story. When this happens, it’s best just to use the writing session you had planned to do some brainstorming for your novel. By this I mean ask some questions and talk about plot ideas you have to help move your story forward. Once you do this, either later that night or even the next day, something will trigger your creative muse, and the spark will ignite into a flame once more.

 

Let me explain how this happened to me. Yesterday, I racked my brain to come up with something to write. I did all the usual stuff, listening to podcasts, finding sounds on my echo dot etc., but nothing seemed to work. However, I opened up my journal and began the process of brainstorming for my novel. I spoke to a friend who is like a sister to me and told her the ideas I had, then I wrote them down. I also wrote down some questions to stimulate my brain into a creative mode. Nothing happened.

 

What happened to get me writing today? Well, here’s what added fuel to my creative fire. I sat at the table, eating a bowl of cereal and drinking a cup of Starbuck’s Peppermint Mocha Latte coffee and “watching” an old episode of Perry Mason, when the idea for the ending chapter of my story just slapped me in the face. It seemed to say: “Write me! Write me now!”. After I cleaned up my breakfast dishes and the coffee pot, I came back in my space and went straight to work. This inspiration carried me through the ending chapter and the epilog.

 

If you have a day where you just can’t think of anything to write for your story, that’s okay, because you have to give your brain a break once in a while. I personally recommend a brainstorming day like I took yesterday. It works wonders for your story and your characters will thank you for it.

 

Now, for you WriMos out there, what do you do to combat writers block? Do you take a brainstorming day, simply plow through the toughest part of your story, or do you give your brain a break? Share your writer’s block tips in the comments below.

Until next time, happy writing and may the muse be with you.

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Your Stories Will Outlive You. Give Them All You’ve Got.

Novelty Revisions

I don’t know about you. But I think a lot about the fact that I will not be here forever.

Not that I plan on going anywhere anytime soon. I have stuff to do.

But (uh, probably thanks to John Green) I spend a little time each day thinking about human mortality. And I spend a lot more time than that wondering if the things I am doing with my moments really matter. Especially when it comes to my writing.

I think it’s safe to say at this point that I’ve spent the majority of my life wanting to be a writer. The exact logistics of what that has meant for me personally have changed many times. But I have always been drawn to storytelling. It has always ignited a very powerful fire inside me.

But I am not immune to the usual tribulations of the creative arts. I doubt…

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“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Lewis Stevenson and “The Banker” by Dan Seals: how a poem speaks to my writing process, and a song adds fuel to my creative fire

Hello everyone,

 

Today I want to talk to you about a discovery I made about the creative process. Remember the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost? If not, you can read it or listen to it for yourself at the following link:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44272/the-road-not-taken

 

The reason I bring this up to you my dear readers, is two-fold. First of all, it is one of my all-time favorite poems, and I’d like to encourage you to read it if you haven’t already. The second and most important reason I want to mention this poem is because it reminds me of the creative process. If you’re a writer, musician/song writer, artist etc., there is a distinct similarity to the traveler in this poem. Let me explain in the next paragraph.

 

So, let’s say you are inspired to write a story and the source of your inspiration is a song, story, painting, you name it, it ignites the creative spark in you. Your story has something very similar, yet the similarity is so miniscule that you don’t notice it at first. Once you find the one aspect of your inspirational source that bares the slightest resemblance to a scene in your story, the similarities end after that point. Let me speak creatively by using an example of how one of my favorite songs inspired part of a prequel to my self-published full-length novel, to make my point.

 

For me, the creative spark for a story I am writing entitled Jason’s Peril, was ignited by a song entitled “The Banker”, which was written and recorded by the late, great, Dan Seals, back in 1983. For those who aren’t familiar with his work, he was half of the duo England Dan and John Ford Coley, popular back in the 1970s. He became popular as a country artist back in the 1980s. Here’s a link to the song I mentioned above:

This song tells a story of its own. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but there is a banker in both the song and in my story. After this point, the similarities end and the stories go in completely different directions.

 

After listening to the song by following the YouTube link above, take this into consideration. There is a scene in Jason’s Peril, where Jim is told by the banker that he has 60 days to pay the property taxes on his family’s farm or he will lose it. Dianna, his daughter goes out to try to find a way for her family to keep the land, and ends up taking on a much bigger project. Here’s the question I’d like to pose as food for thought: What are the similarities between the song and my story, and where do the stories venture away from each other? Before you read further, take a moment to guess which rode I took, the one laid out before me or the one not taken? If you’re still not sure, read on to see the answer to this question.

Once I figure out where the resemblance between the song and part of my work in progress lies, I then have to figure out where my story meanders away from the lyrics of the song. Here’s the question I must ask myself: Do I stay on the path that the song takes me down, or do I take the path less traveled by in order to follow where my own story leads?

 

My answer and the aha moment I came to are as follows:

 

I venture down the creative path not taken, for two reasons. One, the first path has heretofore been laid out long before I decided to become a writer. I can enjoy the story the song has to tell, but it has already been written and recorded, whereas my story has yet to be written. Number two, I love the art of self-discovery as part of my writing process, therefore I will let my characters take me away from the song which inspired me in the beginning. As a storyteller, standing at the fork in the creative path, I choose to follow the road not taken so I can let my characters lead me where they want me to go, thus telling my own story in the way I feel is important to me as an author and to you, my dear readers.

 

Which path will you choose, dear writers, the path of least resistance or the road not taken? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Also feel free to share the aha moments you’ve had as part of your creative lifestyle.

 

Before I go, I wanted to mention one more thing. If you’re interested to find out how and where the same banker from Jason’s peril has appeared in A Journey of Faith, check it out by visiting the following amazon links:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H7SCQNM

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1720213240

 

 

If you want to know what inspired me to write a scene where the banker appears in this novel, please let me know and I’ll write a post about it.

 

Until Next time, when I will give you a NaNoWriMo update, Happy writing and God bless.

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Have a New Idea? Don’t Start Writing (Yet)

Oh yes, I love this one! My NaNoWriMo novel called Hidden Gems was like that. it all started with a dream and then the spark turned into a flame over time. I wrote down plot ideas for it a little along, until I started writing it on October 31.
Sometimes blog posts are like that for me. Stay tuned for today’s blog post where I reveal an aha moment I had a few weeks ago. I let the post grow cold, because I didn’t have time to work on it. I also wanted to see if the idea came to me again, or should I just let it go. However, the idea came to me twice. I love it when my brain is on fire and an idea won’t let me go! Thanks for sharing this tip.

Novelty Revisions

This is going to sound bad. But a few weeks ago, I spent an entire church service thinking about an idea I had for a new writing project.

The idea had found me the night before, and I had somehow miraculously managed to fall asleep despite the sudden rush of inspiration (I like to call it Brain Rush, also the name of my writing podcast that hasn’t published a new episode in two years YAY!).

When I woke up that morning, it was all I could think about. But I didn’t have time to sit down and work on it before rushing off to do all the Sunday morning things. Yet as I walked my dog, showered, and did my best to pay attention in church (I promise, I really tried), the idea just kept unfolding and expanding in my head.

I was so … excited to go home and…

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Why You Feel Guilty About Not Writing (and What to Do About It)

Novelty Revisions

Do you feel guilty when you don’t write? You’ve come to the right post. And the right blog.

The thing about guilt is that it sends a sickening fog through our minds and makes it difficult to do the tasks we feel are important. So in feeling guilty about not writing, you end up pushing yourself even further away from making it possible to write.

A vicious cycle. Maybe one that has an end.

My theory: writers feel guilty for not writing because they’ve been told that the only thing writers are allowed to do is write.

When you read about writers living the “starving artist” life, all you hear about are the late nights, the carpal tunnel syndrome, the isolation. The pain.

And for many “active” aspiring writers, there are plenty of late nights and physical/mental ailments and lonely stretches of very slow time.

But even though writing is…

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Please check out all our Electric Eclectic books, you just might find your next favorite author

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Why You Need a ‘Nope Day’

Thanks Meg for such a great post today.
For all the NaNoWriMo participants out there, this is especially for you. When I started NaNoWriMo in 2014, I thought I had to plan to write every day, but guess what, I have learned over the years that when you don’t stress yourself over not reaching the 50K word goal for the month of November, you just might reach it and your story won’t be all over the place, like mine was.

Novelty Revisions

At least once during the week and once over every weekend, I allow myself one “Nope Day.”

A Nope Day is a day purposely dedicated to — you guessed it — saying “nope” to any writing that is not immediately required of me to complete.

Why do I do this? Because I needed a reason to stop feeling guilty about not doing work. But I also knew that doing work all the time in an attempt to stop feeling guilty was only going to wear me down and knock me out.

So I decided to try giving myself at least one or two days a week to do the absolute minimum.

On a weekday this might mean getting up, going to work, clocking out, and lounging on the couch (read: entertaining the puppy) until bedtime. On a Saturday it might mean waking up whenever I want (read: when the dog…

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