Confession: Book Grudge

As a book lover, I am ashamed to admit it, but I am guilty of having some pretty intense grudges against certain books. I am talking about long term grudges that result in a boycott of other books by that author.

First, let me be clear. Neither the books or the authors are bad. In both cases, these authors write best sellers and have huge fan bases. I loved prior books by these authors. I am not going to point out the authors or books in this post but you can watch the video  to get the low down.

I have a 7 year book grudge that has kept me from reading books from an author I loved

I have a book grudge.

So why the grudge?

I took the time to examine that question before making the video and writing about this.  It boils down to one thing. Not plot, character, or even writing style but expectations.  My expectations of the books and their respective authors were extremely high. This led to an intense emotional downfall when the books did not live up to my expectations. The end result is that I have no desire to read any more books by these authors because I don’t want to risk having another emotional disappointment.

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My expectations of these books and their respective authors were extremely high. This led to an intense emotional downfall when the books did not live up to my expectations. The end result is that I have no desire to read any more books by these authors because I don’t want to risk having another emotional disappointment.

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On an intellectual level, I know this is ridiculous. Disliking one book so much that I don’t read another one by that author for over 7 years is extreme. As an author, I know that I should not judge an entire collection of works based one or two books that let me down. I have a passion for books. I read over 100 books a year. In most cases, I can dislike a book without having a book grudge.

 

So, why are the stakes so high for certain books and not others? Again, it is all about my personal expectations and my emotional response to the book not furfilling my needs.  All three of these book grudges were birthed because the plot didn’t sustain me and the ending failed to connect with my expecations. I kept reading and waiting for something to happen but I did not get the emotional impact I desired.

So, tell me. Do you have book grudges? Do you take it to the extreem like me and stop reading books by that author? I would like to know!

 

 

 

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Need writing motivation? Love kittens?

I found a fun website that combines writing motivation and kittens. I couldn’t resist filming a quick video to share it with you.  I came across the website, written kitten while searching for tangible writing rewards to help writers stay motivated.

Watch the video here

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I admit this isn’t exactly what I was looking for but it served its purpose. It motivated me to write. The moment I stumbled onto it  I jumped in and started writing and earned myself a couple of cute kittens.

Of course, they weren’t real kittens but the next best thing, adorable kitten photos! The website is simple to use.  Just set a word writing goal for yourself, type into the provided text box, and get rewarded with kitten photos when you hit your goal. You can select 100, 200, 500, or 1000 word goals.  The kitten photos are pulled from flicker.

Write words and get kittens!

Need writing motivation? Love Kittens?

Not a kitten fan? No worries, you can select puppies or bunnies for your reward.  Yes, this is a simple concept but if it helps you write it is certainly worth its weight in kittens. The best part? This is completely free. You write words, get kittens, and make progress on your writing.

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My Experience:

When I was finished earning kittens, I simply cut, copied, and pasted my writing into my Scrivener file. Unfortunately, you can’t take the kittens with you but you can come back anytime and write for more kittens.  I recommend this website if you enjoy baby animal photos and enjoy setting small goals with instant rewards.  I doubt I will be using this daily but it is a fun way to mix up your writing routine and rewards.

So, how about you? Do you love kittens, bunnies, or puppies? Have you tried written kitten? Did it work for you? Do you have any writing motivation tips to share? Let me know!

Motivation Monday: 5 Tips to help you get and stay motivated.

Are you struggling to stay motivated? Procrastinating? You are in good company. I have been having those issues that last two weeks. It was beyond frustrating. It seemed that the more I focused on the problem the bigger it got.

I am the sort of person who likes to get to the root of the problem and fix it. I did some research, soul searching, and then came up with a plan to put into action. I wanted to share some of what I learned with you.

Watch my 5 Tips for Motivation Video

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What was causing my lag in motivation?

Summer. That’s my excuse and I am sticking to it. I adore summer. Hot weather, swimming, and not having to take the kids to school are all things that make me smile. I made the mistake of trying to do too many work related things. I felt like I was missing the summer fun and suddenly writing became a chore.

The next issue was that I did not have dedicated end time for my work day. I  was spending a lot of my evening time writing and working. All of that caught up with me and I found myself procrastinating about writing and then feeling guilty. On my research quest about I discovered a profound truth.

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Are you getting a bigger reward from NOT DOING the task than you are from finishing it?

Think about it. While procrastinating about writing I was doing things I enjoy. Reading, taking photos, playing around online, and swimming. I was rewarding myself for not doing the task. Even though I felt guilty about not writing I was still getting enjoyment from the things I was doing instead of writing.  The trick is to flip this. Reward yourself for finishing the task not putting it off.

5 Tips To Get & Stay Motivated:

  1. Make a list of Instant Gratification Rewards: Make a list of small but enjoyable things that you can reward yourself with immediately after finishing the task. Example: Write 30 minutes and then reward yourself by watching a funny video, reading a few pages, or having a treat.
  2. Use your rewards: Remember the key is that instant gratification. You want the rewards to keep you motivated. If you cheat yourself out of the reward you may find yourself lagging in motivation and rewarding yourself by procrastinating.
  3. Make a detailed schedule: Have a clear start and end time for the task. Don’t just plan to write 30 minutes today. Plan to write 30 minutes between blank time and blank time. Give yourself a deadline.
  4. Flexibility: Allow yourself some flexibility when things you can not control derail your plan. Don’t beat yourself up or feel guilty. This will only set you up for procrastination.
  5. Remove Distractions: When you have specific deadline and time set for the task set yourself up to succeed by removing all distractions.

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This week is already off to a great start. I took 3 days off from writing to research and enjoy life.  On Saturday morning I wrote 3000 words for Camp NaNoWriMo and it was amazing because my motivation was back.

What helps you stay motivated? What rewards to you rely on to stay motivated?

 

 

Writer Tool Kit: Is Skillshare worth it?

Is Skillshare worth the cost? Let’s take a look the pro’s, con’s, and my personal experience.

Writers Took Kit: Skillshare Video

Skillshare is an online learning community where anyone can discover, take, or even teach a class. They have over 15000 classes, 2 million students and payout over 5 million to teachers. The classes are presented in video format. In most cases,  the instructor provides optional assignments. You can post your work and communicate with the teacher. They have  free classes and premium classes that you pay a monthly (auto debit) fee for and are able take as many classes as you can cram into your schedule

 

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My experience:

  I was instantly intrigued by Skilshare. I love suck up knowledge. On my first search  I didn’t find any free classes that appealed to me. So,  I decided to activate the free trial for access to a wider variety of classes. I wasn’t in the mood to enter my credit/debit card information at the time. I intended to do it later.

And I forgot about it.

When a fellow writer recommended it, I decided to give it another try.  I am glad that I did. I have been a premium (paid) member for two months. One month was a free trial. I have taken at least 15 classes and for me it is worth the cost. The knowledge gained has been immediately helpful to me. The classes I selected were focused on marketing, promotion, and building an audience. I have not taken any of the writing classes that they offer.

The Pros:

  • Wide variety of classes and instructors to choose from.
  • You can take as many classes as you like.
  • Work at your own pace.
  • Skip head in a lesson or go back.
  • You can retake the same class if you wish.
  • Community learning environment
  • New classes are constantly being added.

The Cons:

  • Sifting through the many classes to find the best one can be time consuming.
  • The quality of the videos and instruction varies from class to class. Most are well done but I have found a few that were not worth my time.
  • The monthly billing.  They will not forget but you might! Not only the impending charge but that you have a multitude of classes at your disposal.

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Skill Share might be worth it for you if

  • You enjoy video based classes.
  • You like the flexibility of working at your own pace.
  • You love learning enough to fully utilize the classes that are available. In other words, are you just going to sign up, take a class or two and then forget about it? If so, the free trial might be perfect for you, as long as you don’t forget to cancel it.
  • If you can remember to cancel your subscription if you are not using it enough to justify the cost.

 

Free 60 day trial

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Tips for using Skillshare

  • Watch the intro video to each class. It can be tempting to skip but this will give you a good idea if the instructor and content is worth your time.
  • Do the assignments. Yes, they are optional, but you will get more out of it if you put more into it.
  • Decide what you want to learn before browsing the classes. This will help you stay focused on taking classes that fit your personal goals instead of being tempted by other classes.

What are your thoughts on Skillshare? Have you used it? Do you have a favorite class or instructor?

Motivation Monday: Struggle = Progress Plus Vlog with Writing update.

Difficulties. Roadblocks. Setbacks. The list of obstacles that seem to keep us from making progress and achieving out dreams can seem endless. If we focus on these things in a negative manner it is easy to find out selves in a pit of discouragement.We begin to doubt ourselves and our dreams. We have reached a point in our journey where giving up seems easier than trudging though the troubles.This is a good time to remind ourselves of an important truth.

Video: Struggle = Progress Motivation & Novel Update

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  • Struggle ultimately leads to progress. It is in seasons of difficulty that we learn important lessons. As in nature, intense conditions often birth the most beautiful and sought after things – like diamonds.

Let’s dig deeper into that for a moment.

The formation of natural diamonds requires very high temperatures and pressures. The organic process of diamond formation requires four key ingredients: carbon, pressure, heat and time.

Like diamonds, when we persevere we become stronger. We come out on on the other side of our roadblocks with things that we did not have before. Knowledge is gained. Compassion is born. We are strong and sturdy. We have the ability to shine because of the difficult times we endure.

Imitation diamonds are easy to find and so are people who appear to be something they are not. These may be the same  people who achieve things by taking shortcuts and avoiding roadblocks but in the end they are only shortchanging themselves. True diamonds have a  strength, hardness and beauty that can not be imitated. Strength is built from time, heat, and pressure. Imitations may have sparkle and appeal but they are not true diamonds.

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Watch my youtube Video – novel update and inspiration on this topic

I have experienced this in my own life. From childhood the odds were stacked against me. A family history of alcoholism, mental health issues, abuse, neglect shaped my childhood. I was crushed to see my dreams fall apart after being raped and becoming pregnant at 14. The years that followed were not easy. I struggled to finish school, be a parent, find a safe environment and deal with depression and anxiety. I was not able to graduate high school but I did get my GED and job at the age of 17. Although college did became a reality for me at 20, it was not the path I had dreamed of. I wanted to finish high school, go to college, write books, have a nice house and then adopt children. In that order.

 

That is not what happened. My path was different and very bumpy but it got me where I am today and I am thankful for every painful and joyful moment along the way.

 

So, I encourage you to take heart if you are under pressure and feeling discouraged. You are in the process of becoming a strong, beautiful, rare, and deeply valuable person.  Don’t forget to watch my vlog on youtube. It tackles this same subject & idea from another angle. Plus, you will get my novel & life update sprinkled in it as well.

As, always thanks for joining me.

Have a blessed & bookish day!

 

 

Writer Tool Kit: Writing Reference Book Review

Are you looking for a writing reference book to help you write a novel in 3O days? Today I am reviewing a book that claims to be a fool proof system for doing just that.  I will share the pro’s and con’s and my personal experience with BOOK IN A MONTH by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D.

Read on or click the link to watch the video.

Writers Tool Kit: A book in a month review on You Tube

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The Idea:

This book is designed to take help you set realistic goals, track your progress and manage your time. It takes you from developing your idea to outlining your story and creating your characters and plot.

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It follows the 3 Act Structure and helps you create a draft based on specific turning points and helps build in foreshadowing.

What I love:

  • Detailed trackers and worksheets
  • Lot of tips for staying motivated and staying on task
  • Weekly breakdown of writing focus and goals.
  • Daily breakdown of writing focus and goals.
  • Easy to read and follow
  • Workbook style

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What I did not love:

  • I expected a more detailed guideline. I would have liked specific daily word, scene, or chapter goals instead of work on Act 1, 2, or 3 this week.
  • The size of the the book makes actually writing in it difficult. The boxes are too small for my handwriting.

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Overall this is a good book with a wealth of information and a system that is easy to follow and motivational. I recommend reading or at least skimming through the entire book before you start you 30 day writing. Then create a more detailed writing plan that breaks your daily writing into specific word count or scene goals based on the time line provided in the book.

Bonus:

This book has stickers that you can use to track your progress. This book is designed to be written in and used as a paper reference as you write. If used as intended you should have all of your plot, character, and outlines detailed inside the book to refer to as needed while you write.

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Keep in mind that this is creation of your first draft. At the end of the 30 days you will have a finished manuscript that is ready to start revising and editing.

Do you have a writing reference book, app, or tool that you use to enhance your writing lifestyle? Is there a book, tool, or app you would like to see featured? If so please share in the comments.

Have a blessed & delightfully bookish day!

 

Writers Tool Box: Brainstormer App

Stuck in a writing rut? Need a fresh idea for a plot? You may want to consider the Brainstormer App. Read on to find out more. You can also watch the video on my vlog.

Vlog: Brainstorming App

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Brainstormer

  •  This fun app is available for android or iPhone.
  • Use it if you need some plot inspiration.
  • Give the three wheels a spin to get a conflict, a setting, and a subject for your work.
  • Simple brainstorming
  •  Available for $0.99 on Android and $1.99 the iPhone.


Why I like it:

  •  Endless plot options.
  • Yes, sometimes they are silly combinations that make me laugh but other times it provides a spark that leads to a great story idea.
  • Simple to use
  • Fun layout and graphics
  • You can edit the wordlist to personalize this tool
  • You can lock  one or more sections of the wheel when you find a word (or words) you like and spin the remaining wheel(s).

Is it worth the price?

  • If you are short on cash and you don’t need any inspiration you might want to skip it.
  • If you have a dollar or two to spare this is a fun app with potential to spur great ideas.
  • You can upgrade (for a price) to the character, world, creature, and Sci-Fi creator if you decide this App works for you.
  • The ability to edit and create your  own wordlists makes this app have huge potential for the price.

My Personal Experience

This is a handy app with the potential to provide inspiration. Have I used it in my writing? No. I have had a blast playing around with it. A few examples: A crime boss finds unconditional love in a small town. How about an abduction that takes place in an underwater rollercoaster? Or a dystopian themed revolt that takes place in a shipyard? I do plan to use this app in my free-writing journal.

Have you used this App? Do you have a suggestion for an app or writers tool that you have found to be helpful or even life changing? Please leave the details in the comments.

Have A Blessed & Bookish day!