Corkboards {Aka New Favorite Thing}

My new favorite thing might happen to be corkboards.

I’m not sure what it was that made me realize how cool corkboards are, but recently I’ve discovered just how special they are. I might have found one tucked away in my storage. And bought one online (not the brightest idea). And then stood in the aisle at the store debating how much of my paycheck I could happily justify spending on new corkboards.

Thankfully I went overboard instead of underboard (haha), and therefore I might still be able to splurge later on this year and buy some corkboard squares to hang on my wall. (Now those things are spot-on cool!)

For now though, I’m thrilled to simply be enjoying the corkboards I have… The one that sits on my desk where I keep my goals and book review information:

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The (bought online) Junior Church Corkboard where I’m outlining my goals and plans for the weeks ahead:

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My currently-empty-but-on-so-big-and-beautiful one that I hope to hang on my door and use for all writerly related things for my current book. (Oh! Happy day!)

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And of course my Scrivener corkboard, because that might possibly be what got me into this happy phase to begin with:

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As a child I never realized I would one day literally be dreaming of corkboards, but hey! Thus is the life of an author.

Have you ever dreamed of corkboards?

Scrivener – The Aesthetically Pleasing Writer’s Tool

Folks. When I got my new (used) computer several months ago it didn’t have Pages, which is what I generally use. From what I could figure out, I was going to have to pay for Pages, so therefore I decided to spend a little bit of time looking into what would be a better writing platform to work with.

A blogger who’s writing knowledge I applaud had mentioned that she uses Scrivener, and she kinda maybe gushed a little bit about various features. Therefore, I decided to do the 30 day trial period.

I might or might not have skipped the tutorial and bumbled my way around for 30 days, using Google and Youtube and having permanent heart-eyes at some of the great features. I might have also spent hours creating the perfect corkboards and working on character sketches and sending screenshots to Hosanna.

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And then my trial period ran out. Thankfully, by then I knew I wanted to buy the program. Only, life got busy and so it was a while before I actually was able to input my credit card info and download Scrivener.

By that time I’d kinda forgotten some of what I’d learned through Google and Youtube, and besides, I was working on a re-write, so I didn’t need all the fancy corkboards to get me going. (Although let’s be real: I still wanted them, I just couldn’t justify the long hours on Pinterest.)

The problem is, once I actually had Scrivener, something kinda overwhelming happened:

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People. To learn how the program works I’m supposed to read all of this. And although it’s probably not that much, my brain was like No, No, NO! This time at your computer is set aside to write, not to read a bunch of randomness. So I once again skipped the tutorial and, imagine a moose at a tea party, I just leaped in and started adding and erasing and making the whole thing look pretty messed up.

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Confusing, right? So, at the beginning of this month, I decided I would take the time to learn how Scrivener works. And guess what? It’s really not as confusing as I thought it would be. It’s actually fun to see what I’m supposed to be doing, and how I’m supposed to be doing it. It also makes the whole program seem that much cooler. Cause, ya know, there really is rhyme and reason for all the little things scattered around on the page.

And now to see how fast I can master being a Scrivener writer…

Do you use Scrivener? If so, what’s your favorite feature?

Confessions of a Quirky Writer 

Y’all, I really don’t know how this happened, but I really thought today was Tuesday. Yes, obviously I’m delusional when it comes to seeing how much I can fit into a week, but it’s the good kind of delusional where the cup seems totally full instead of just half full or half empty.

I feel like a good title for today’s post would be Confessions of a Quirky Writer, except for the fact that I haven’t been getting much writing done recently. Still, down at the core, I am a quirky little writerly human, so I thought I’d go ahead and write the post anyway.

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Confessions of a Quirky Writer

  • I have a spoon-type tea infuser at my desk so I can fiddle with it when brainstorming
  • My desk nearly constantly has unopened containers of glitter on it – simply so I can stare and be inspired
  • I talk to my computer. A lot
  • I also make faces at my computer. A lot
  • I also make weird noises at my computer. Kinda maybe more than a lot
  • I dance in my chair
  • Chewing on things – random things – when I write is perfectly normal
  • Having the perfect atmosphere – aka candles, music, and a clean office – is essential to productivity when writing if I’m not feeling hugely inspired
  • My spelling and grammar are something I’m always working on, but am pretty lacking in
  • I speak in hashtags, which is probably really bad for a writer to admit
  • When writing I’d rather be dressed nicely than clothed in pajamas
  • Thinking about how weird words are is a normal occurrence for me – for instance, look at the word pajamas, now say it aloud a few times. Totally weird, right?
  • Having blank moments where the correct word won’t surface is also a rather common occurrence for me. That’s when my brain switches on a black background and begins flipping through words like a slideshow. Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s brain behaves like that?
  • It’s easy to be distracted – not only by things like other writerly projects (emails, jotting down ideas, updating my author social media pages, “research”, etc…), but also by things like cleaning my office and making delicious chili to simmer until lunch time
  • When something exciting happens with my writing, I’ll literally walk around the house yelling or singing about it loudly and off-key. My family’s no longer even phased by this type of behavior
  • My default “getting to know you” topic is books
  • When someone doesn’t like to read I experience a small moment of near-panic as I wonder how I’m supposed to relate to the individual
  • I drink huge amounts of water while writing
  • Stuffed animals sit on my desk to keep me company – I sometimes chew on them, too
  • I keep pencils on my desk…. Not to write with, but rather to chew on
  • Calling on my friends to help me brainstorm is a normal activity, but sometimes it might simply be an excuse to text them (#oops)
  • Getting so caught up in writing that I’m late for my nonwriting job has never happened, but we’ve had several near disasters, including right now 😉

The Color of Encouragement

Encouragement. It flows freely around me, pools up in my soul, and colors my world with vibrant hues.

This morning it hit me again how much writingish encouragement means to me. All week long I’ve donned an apron each morning and spent hours in the kitchen, preparing food at my non-writng job. As I work, I get to have dozens of short, fun conversations with the people who I’m cooking for. Some of the people I’ve never met before, but some of them I’ve had a working relationship with for several years.

I’ve been amazed over and over again at how many of them have asked me about my writing. (In fact, I just took a break from this blog post to check on how things are going in the kitchen and yet another person asked me about writing.) It means an incredible amount to me that these friends who I only get to see a couple times a year remember our conversations from years past and right away bring up the subject of writing.

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The people who I’m around this week know me mainly as the girl who runs the kitchen and helps keep stuff clean. In fact, I often joke when I meet a new person at work that they won’t ever see me without an apron on, and for the most part that’s true. It’s not uncommon for people to thank me for my work in the kitchen, and even to compliment me on the food, and I really do appreciate that a lot.

Yet, so many of these lovely people have delved deeper, and instead of just asking me about what’s on the menu, they’ve taken the time to ask about me as a person. (Just in case you haven’t caught on to it, anyone who asks more than about two questions about my life automatically hear about my writing.) And, in a way that means even more than hearing about how delicious the food is, because it means they actually care about me, not just the food I help prepare.

I want to be that type of person. I want to encourage others, remember their interests, and engage them in an uplifting conversation, even if it only lasts two minutes. Because do you know what? We all have the ability to inspire and encourage each other. And when we remember what it is that means a lot to someone, then we have the chance to throw sparkling, beautiful encouragement into their lives. And that’s lovely.

The Swiss Alps, Spies, and Brainstorming Thoughts

Brainstorming is one of those writerly activities that I generally use as a treat for myself. It’s fun, rewarding, and full of possibilities, but it’s also work that seriously needs done in my writerly life.

Often times I’ll brainstorm for a few minutes here or there when I need a break from another writing activity – such as researching agents, editing, writing, proof-reading, or looking stuff up.

There are multiple different ways to brainstorm, but some of my favorites include:

  • Finding a brainstorming buddy and throwing out random ideas
  • Looking up writing prompts on Pinterest
  • Thinking through aspects of a story and trying to come up with a completely different twist than expected
  • Writing down all the crazy story-ish thoughts that pop into my head

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I’m currently not planning on actually beginning to write another story until I have at least several dozen more queries sent out, but all the advice I read/heard on the querying process said you should work on writing another book while awaiting feedback. That’s because it will help the waiting seem to go faster, which does make sense.

The thought of beginning a new book is exciting and spurs me on to hurry up with querying. It’s so exhilarating to think of creating a whole new world. I haven’t started a new book since November 2015, so it feels like it’s been quite a while.

As things stand, I have four ideas I’ve been tossing around to work on next, and I’m not even sure if I’ll end up going with one of them this time. For now, I’m not pressuring myself to decide. Instead, I’m enjoying the freedom of knowing that I have endless possibilities stretching in front of me, and the brainstorming I do now will probably be used sometime.

What kind of story would you choose to work on next? Spies, Princesses? Musicians?  A mystery with the setting of Hawaii-meets-the Swiss Alps? A contemporary where a very non-Native American girl lives in a tipi? A camping adventure gone wrong? See, the possibilities are really endless….