Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Stolen Advice, From Me to You

with guest blogger Rachelle Dekker.

The number one question I get asked as a published author is, “What advice would you give to other writers?”

I’m going to be honest: most of the time when this is asked of me, I want to scream, Don’t ask me that! Don’t you know that I spend most of my time in a dark hole, talking to fictional characters in my head—and my cat—about my problems, which almost always circle around the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing?!

But then I force myself to take a deep breath, smile, and remember that other authors have shared some amazing insights with me throughout my journey, so I can just repeat what they have shared and sound like I know what I’m talking about (also, because screaming at people in public is frowned upon). Because the truth is, all advice comes from someone around us who has taken the journey already, discovered heartache and freedom along the way, and then been brave enough to pass it on.

So I will continue the trend. Here is some of the best advice on writing that I’ve received.

There Is No Secret Formula 

You can’t imagine the number of hours I have lain on the floor of my office, or bedroom, or random coffee shop (I’m not allowed to go there anymore) and wondered, What’s the secret to writing a great novel? The time it would save me, if someone could just type out the instructions, hand them over, and end my suffering.

But the problem is, there isn’t a grand secret that the greats are hiding in some locked cellar, being guarded by dwarf ninjas and a fire-breathing dragon. The only secret is there is no secret. Which is a big bummer. Everyone is just figuring it out as they go along. They are following their hearts, listening to their Muses, and trying their best to write something they believe in. They are all just doing the work.    

Of course there are some small tools that help—tricks of the trade, like different methods of dealing with writer’s block (which I will get to) or better ways to build strong characters. These are all fine, good, and even helpful notes, but at the core, the only way to write a great novel is to do the work. Every day . . . unless of course you are reading this and have, in fact, found a secret formula. Then please share in the comments below, thus making the world a better place.

Intention Is Everything    

 Intention has become a pillar in my career. When I first started writing, I was young and in love with everything about the process. I could write for hours that bled into days that had me losing track of weeks. But now I often struggle to pull myself out of bed, brew my coffee, walk the thirteen stairs that lead up to my office, and sit in my chair. Because I know once I get up there I’m going to have to write.

 Don’t get me wrong, I still love it. But it’s also work. And like I mentioned before, the only way to write a great novel is to do the work. So intention becomes extremely important. I’ve created little cues for myself that help set my intention for the day. Silly things like, I wear contacts most of the time but wear my glasses when I write. I intentionally wear glasses so my intention for the next couple of hours is clear. When I wear glasses, I write. It tricks my mind and gives me a structure to create within. 

 I often go away to write. I lock myself in a hotel for two or three days to get as much work done as possible. My body and mind know that once I cross the threshold of that hotel room, the intention is to work nonstop. Something about these practices really helps me focus and get the work done. Intention is key.
When in Doubt, Kill Someone

If you’ve ever heard my father, Ted Dekker, speak on writing, then you have probably heard him say this: “When in doubt, kill someone.” This is one of the methods I use to deal with writer’s block. Whenever I get stuck in a space where I’m not sure where to take the story next, I play a game with my own imagination.

I think: Okay, so I’m stuck. Well, what if I kill my main character? Of course I can’t do that; the reader would hate me. Okay, well, what if I give her cancer? Or what if she gets hit by a car and loses the ability to walk? Oh, or what if I kill the man she just fell in love with? The one she’s been searching her entire life for, the one that almost got away? Yes! Or maybe he’s the one who gets diagnosed with cancer? Or maybe he’s secretly a dwarf ninja? (Note: I realize all of this is extremely depressing and dramatic, but just go with me.)
My point here is that once you start throwing hurdles at your own imagination, that creative juice that seems to have dried up tends to stir. That little monster opens an eye, and then both, and before you know it, you’re back into the story and dreaming up scenarios faster than you can write them down. 

 It’s about pushing your limits and seeing where the creative side of you will venture. And it’s important to mention here not to be afraid of where that creative spirit leads you. Sometimes it can be hard to step out of the boat and onto the waves, but if you trust in yourself and the leading that is calling you, I think you’ll be surprised to find you can actually walk on water.
If You Are Writing, Then You’re a Writer

I heard someone say once, “The only path to being a writer is a simple one, and it just requires one step. To write.” (I really wish I could remember who said this, because it would be great to be able to give them a shout-out here). 

This idea revolutionized the writing journey for me. I started to have a conversation with my inner Muse that was something like this:

ME: “So, wait, you’re saying I’m already a writer?”
MUSE: “Yes.”
ME: “But I’m not published yet.”
MUSE: “Are you writing?”
ME: “Yes.”
MUSE: “Then you are a writer.”
ME: “But what if I never get published?”
MUSE: “Getting published doesn’t make you a writer; writing makes you a writer.”

This meant that I could let go of the expectations that I placed on myself to “succeed” and just write. There was so much creative freedom in that, and I gained confidence in my writing by simply acknowledging that I was already a writer. 

Maybe you’re wondering, Well, if I don’t ever get published, then what is the point? And honestly, that isn’t a question anyone can answer for you. That is all part of the journey, my friends. It comes back to the basics of why you write. 

Personally, I write to discover truth. To learn with my characters, to dream bigger than I can on my own, and to stretch my mind to see the world and people differently. I write to face my fears, to overcome my demons, to walk on water. Maybe that’s too esoteric for you, and that’s okay, because why I write is specific only to me. The real question is why do you write?

So there you have it. Some words of wisdom passed from others to me, and maybe to you. Now let’s keep the sharing going. What advice would you give to other writers around you?


Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through the avenue of storytelling. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full-time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair. Rachelle’s latest novel, The Calling, is available today.

The Calling  

 Remko Brant had never been so sure of anything as escaping the Authority City with Carrington Hale. But bravado comes easy when you have nothing to lose. Now a husband, father, and the tactical leader of the Seers, Remko has never had so much at risk.

As he and his team execute increasingly dangerous rescue missions inside the city, they face growing peril from a new enemy. Recently appointed Authority President Damien Gold claims to be guiding a city shaken by rebellion into a peaceful, harmonious future. But appearances can be deceiving. In order to achieve his dangerous ambitions, Gold knows he must do more than catch the rebels―he must destroy the hope their message represents . . . from the inside out.

With dissension in his own camp―and the CityWatch soldiers closing in―Remko feels control slipping through his fingers. To protect those he loves, he must conquer his fears and defeat Gold . . . before one of them becomes his undoing.

Rachel is generously offering a copy of The Calling to one commenter. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

Details on this week's incentives here.


Just Commonly said...

Great post. When I have trouble writing my blog, I step away. Sometimes stepping away and not thinking about it allows me to come back with a whole new perspective. Worked every time.

Thanks for stopping in and for the giveaway. Please add me to the hat!

Melissa Jagears said...

I'm writing! I have written 4 chapters this month, starting on #5. And I got my line edits like I thought I would, so gotta do that too.

My advice is to shower when you have writer's block. I'd be in my shower all day if I had the hot water budget. :) Seriously, I might stare at the computer for hours, get fed up and go shower and then kick myself for wasting time staring at the computer. (or mow, or wash dishes, or drive, or whatever mindless activity that occupies your hands and the rote memory function of your brain, giving the creative part freedom to think without you holding a gun to it and telling it to provide answers now!)

Terri said...

I'm S-L-O-W-L-Y writing and editing. Does that count?

You heeded your dad's advice on the killing people off in The Choosing. One in particular really surprised me.

Did I mention that I loved The Choosing? Now I'm excited to read The Calling and would love to win the giveaway.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Happy Speedbo Villagers and welcome back to Rachelle Dekker.

So many wonderful Speedbo guests.

The delivery guy is coming back and bringing bagels and schmear!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

I'm with Melissa. If it isn't working and you cannot work on something that isn't working (you linear people apparently cannot work on chapters out of order you tell me)..then do something that frees the mind.

I scaled calcium from porcelain today. Not only does the toilet bowel sparkle but I finally, finally figured out the end of a chapter hook on revisions.

Melissa Jagears said...

Ah, Tina, the glamorous life of a writer portrayed so wonderfully right there. :) I have "normals" ask me where my ideas come from a lot. I wonder what they'd say if I responded with "I get them mostly by shaving my legs or scrubbing toilets and floors." :)

Mary Preston said...

If you write, you are a writer. Makes sense to me.

The Artist Librarian said...

Congrats on the release of The Calling, Rachelle! I've been looking forward to this one --I have to wait until after my *very important exam* on Friday, but afterwards, reading it is the first thing on my weekend to do list! =)

Cindy W. said...

Great post Rachelle! When it comes to writing, I too like to walk away and let whatever I am working on sit for awhile. Maybe work on something else or take time out to watch something mindless on TV.

I would love to win a copy of your book. Thank you for he chance.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Edwina said...

When I "hit the wall" (writer's block) I get up and walk out of my office. I take my mind completely off the WIP and do something totally different. I may be away from my office 30 minutes or several hours. When I sit back down at my desk, I'm refreshed and my thoughts are clear.

Please put my name in the hat for the drawing!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Rachelle, good morning!

I use two wonderful methods to clear my brain:

1. I have two projects going at all times, if one needs thought, I can jump to #2.

2. Like Melissa said, mindless tasks that need to get done. I scrub, feed chickens, remove wallpaper (SIGH.....), paint, bake... And those breaks from writing help me clear my brain and come back to the laptop refreshed and knowing what I want to happen. I can think while cleaning... as long as no one is chatting with me, this is the alone cleaning I'm talkin' 'bout.

In honor of Nashville I have brought pecan (pronounced pee-cahn as I was taught in Nashville a great many years ago!) waffles with praline syrup and whipped cream. AND COFFEE!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Terri, darling, it all counts. :)

Jill Weatherholt said...

Welcome, Rachelle! Congratulations on your release. Writing has always been a way for me to relax and clear the thoughts that swirl in my head. When I get stuck, music typically gets me back on track.

Connie Queen said...

Good morning Rachelle.

It all depends on my mood. Sometimes I go clean the toilet and all I get is a clean toilet. (What's the use then?) Or I bake, and then I need to go run. But I'm with everyone else, sometimes it does unlock something in that brain of mine so I'm willing to give it a try.

Ruthy, I'm trying that working on two projects thing. It's still new to me, but I think it's easier for me to keep going.

Jackie said...

Hi Rachel,

Welcome to Seekerville and thanks for sharing with us today. Congratulations on your new release. What a great cover, and it sounds like a great story.

Pee-cahn (can't imagine how else to say it) waffles? Yum!

Lara (Storm) Hitchcock said...

I agree with the advice to do something mindless. Going for a walk often helps. Sometimes just starting by writing junk without worrying if it's any good or taking me where I need to go helps. Sometimes when I'm struggling to move forward I will go back and read through my ideas file. This is where I keep all my brainstorming questions/ideas, good or bad.

Writing a story is like making a snowball by rolling a single flake down a hill. You always start with some seed idea ... which leads to a few more ideas. In the beginning, the ideas may come slowly, but as more and more ideas fall into place, the thing starts to snowball.

Leslie McKee said...

Thanks for being here today. Great post! I find that stepping away and coming back to things helps a bit. However, I have never gotten so desperate that I have gone and cleaned the toilet bowl, lol :-)

Please put my name in the drawing for your book. I loved the first one, & I can't wait to read this one.

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, RACHELLE -- WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE!! And THANK YOU for the excellent advice. My #1 go-to writer's block-buster is the treadmill, so like Lara mentioned, walking tends to loosen the concrete and get me moving again. So much so, in fact, that once when I was on a treadmill, all strapped up for a stress test, ideas started coming so fast, I laughed!! No way to write them down, however ... :\

MELISSA SAID: "My advice is to shower when you have writer's block. I'd be in my shower all day if I had the hot water budget. :)"

LOL, Melissa, you can tell you write Christian fiction that is squeaky clean! ;)

TINA SAID: "I scaled calcium from porcelain today. Not only does the toilet bowel sparkle but I finally, finally figured out the end of a chapter hook on revisions."

LOL ... now THAT'S progress!! ;)


Caryl Kane said...

SQUEEEEEEE!!!!! Hello RACHELLE! Thank you for the awesome advice. As a reader I struggle with writing reviews. I ask the Lord to give me the right words and then get still for a bit. I also try not to stress to much over it.


Please put me in the drawing for your book.

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, RACHELLE, and welcome back to Seekerville!

While it doesn't sound "exciting," having a daily writing routine can work wonders -- the "intentional" you spoke of. I don't often ask myself "do I FEEL like writing today?" because I know what the answer would be. LOL

I get up extra early in the morning so I can write before the day job -- and when I sit down at my computer in the predawn hours and open up the Word document of my latest WIP, that tells my brain it's time to write. Of course, some days are more productive than others and I may occasionally have to take a detour to clear out the cobwebs as some have already mentioned.

But the NEXT day I sit down at my computer again. And the day after that. And the day after that. As you mentioned, THAT is "The Secret."

Sherri Shackelford said...

I guess I'm a little harsher than Rachelle because I would say: If you want to be a writer, write. If you want to be a professional writer, write, finish what you write, edit what you write, seek the advice of professionals even when that advice hurts your ego and edit again, meet deadlines, learn how to run a small business. Remember that tax season for the self-employed is not for the weak of heart.

DebH said...

hi Rachelle
You have offered up great "stolen" advice. Personally, I like the when in doubt, kill someone. Sort of like Mary Connealy's" when you feel like its dragging - let bullets fly"
The stepping away from the computer and doing mindless tasks for breaking mental blocks looks like a tried and true method for multiple people. I'm going to try having more than one story going at a time.
But first, I must get that INTENTIONALITY going. The everyday Pavlov's response to let my brain know "it's writing time!"

Thanks for sharing with us today. Please put my name in the draw for your generous offering of your book. Love the blurb.

Elizabeth Van Tassel said...

Thanks for your advice Rachelle! And your book looks enticing. I agree with Glynna that getting up early with time set aside works well. So does having specific goals. It's so easy to veer away and be drawn into other things, but then the dreams stagnate. Rachelle, I love your urging to keep the plot moving along by threatening their lives. I also listen to climactic music since I write adventure books and there's a point where I ask myself if every page is filled with enough tension (with Raiders of the Lost Ark or Star Wars music my son loves in the background). It's a great litmus test in the final stages of writing too.

I'd love to read your book if chosen!

Wilani Wahl said...

I have been told by many to keep writing and reading. By doing both I will develop my skills. I do think that has been great advice.

I want to thank the Seekers for the card of encouragement that came in the mail yesterday. It was so special. Thank you for the prayers. I am improving.

Renee McBride said...

Good morning, Rachelle. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us. For some reason, it's nice to hear I'm not the only one dragging myself upstairs to a dark hole in the morning. And judging by the dust in my living room, I may need to do more brainstorming today and less button chair.

Although, Tina's idea of scaling toilets doesn't seem to give me the same mental stimulation. That's my excuse, anyway.

Renee McBride said...

Good morning, Rachelle. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us. For some reason, it's nice to hear I'm not the only one dragging myself upstairs to a dark hole in the morning. And judging by the dust in my living room, I may need to do more brainstorming today and less button chair.

Although, Tina's idea of scaling toilets doesn't seem to give me the same mental stimulation. That's my excuse, anyway.

Mary Connealy said...

Oh My Gosh!

This is so much like my advice to pick up the pace in slow paces by shooting someone.

I like to think SHOOTING someone is better than necessarily KILLING someone. LOL
I mean, I can WOUND my characters so I CAN shoot my hero.

Great post, Rachelle, thanks for being here today!!!!!!!!!!!

Mary Connealy said...

DebH! I see you noticed too.

Well, when two people agree it cannot be wrong can it?


Myra Johnson said...

I could read this post several times! It's just packed encouragement, advice, and motivation to write. Thank you, Rachelle!

Yes, I definitely picked up on the line, "When in doubt kill someone." I loved the way you showed your mental process playing out--killing the main character as a stepping-off point for the what-if game.

And intentionality. Crucial. My weekday routine is almost set in stone. I do certain things at certain times in certain ways, and so when writing times rolls around, the mind is (sort of) ready.

Myra Johnson said...

WILANI, glad you're feeling better!

kaybee said...

I agree with RUTHY. It's a good practice to keep at least two projects going, then if you burn out on one you can spend time on the other. I have two now: my SPEEDBO project (FOUR chapters! Not nec. good, but at least they're chapters). I also have the book I'm working on with my crit partner. But really, all these methods have worked for me at one time or another.
The other thing to do is to follow Robert Benchley's advice in "How I Get Things Done" (available online). Benchley really understood human nature.
Please put my name in the drawing!
Kathy Bailey

kaybee said...

I also "think" writing all the time, especially when I'm driving. Then when I get a chance to write, I am ready to go.

Pam Hillman said...


There is no secret?

I am doomed. :(

Welcome to Seekerville, Rachelle! :)

Brenda said...

Great thoughts about writing! I would love to try your book! Thanks so much for the opportunity!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Jennifer F, don't you just hate it when you have to schedule your reading time? Good luck with the exam. And the upside is that it's like a sweet desert! REWARD!!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Or actually dessert would be better. I live in a desert. This place is no reward. HA!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Lara, you are so lyrical! I have your quote from last week waiting on my desk for the right meme opportunity.

Rachelle Dekker said...

Hello all! Oh my gosh, I didn't expect to get such great advice from all of you to now add to my "advice I steal from others" category. There were a couple tidbits mentioned this morning I really connect with:
1. Taking a step back, this can be extremely helpful for perspective
2. MUSIC, I think finding something that totally inspires you can be massively helpful
3. Watch CSI... oh wait that wasn't mentioned, that's just what I usually want to be doing instead of writing

Tina Radcliffe said...

"Remember that tax season for the self-employed is not for the weak of heart."

You got it, Sherri. It's pretty much a lose-lose.

I make money and eat NUTELLA!! all year and I lose with the tax man.

I don't make money and eat peanut butter and jelly all year and I still lose.

It's never good.

Pam Hillman said...

Seems the go-to when writers are stuck is to clean toilets.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Okay, now this is a good way to translate KILLING SOMEONE for a contemporary, non fantasy world writer.


Yes, I can wound them, emotionally, physically.

Wound them. BRILLIANT IDEA!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Writers have the cleanest toilets on the planet.

Pam Hillman said...

Writers have the cleanest toilets on the planet.


Myra Johnson said...

Cleaning toilets is most definitely NOT my go-to activity for inspiration. I'll just sit in my comfy little chair, put my feet up, and stare out the window until an idea takes shape.

Rachelle Dekker said...

Myra I am with you. I avoid cleaning toilets more often then I avoid writing... lol

Angela K Couch said...

LOL. I love, "When in doubt, kill someone." I have to admit that usually I just shoot them or hang them, but let them live. :) Emotional wounds, as mentioned above, is great as well. I think the important thing is letting yourself consider being meaner to your characters, then you maybe wanted to be.

(Personally, I like doing dishes, not toilets, for finding my muse.)

Janet Dean said...

Rachel, welcome back to Seekerville! I've experienced the doubts, the messiness of the process, that wish for simple, easy, and a guarantee that what I put on the page will live up to my vision. Silly me.

When I'm stuck, I reread what I wrote, which usually gets the creative juices flowing. If not, I talk, preferably to someone besides myself. :-0 Occasionally out of the blue I get a flash of insight that proves my mind can work quite well without me.


Rachelle Dekker said...

Oh Angela, I have never hanged anyone before! Now you have the creative wheels turning... dangerous!

Mary Connealy said...

Tina, I'm glad you're excited about WOUND THEM. (Mary quietly worries about her friend)

Mary Connealy said...

See there, Angela. Shoot them, hang them.

You know Rachelle, you're right about the creative wheels. I've never hanged anyone either.

So many unplumbed deaths of tormenting our characters.

Mary Connealy said...

Lyrical Lara always remember that:

One small harmless flake, rolling along, can join with others until they unleash an avalanche of death and destruction.

Jeanne T said...

Great post, Rachelle. I loved what you said about letting go of our own expectations of what "success" looks like and just write. When I can keep this perspective, I feel so much more free! :)

And I completely agree with the inspiration found in the shower!! I've had that happen more times than I can count. I also talk things out with friends when I'm stuck. One time, a friend suggested something I definitely didn't want to see happen in my story, though it was the most logical outcome. Her words made me think around that outcome and find something more along the lines of how I felt the story should go.

I'd love to be in the drawing for your book; it sounds intriguing!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Is there a third book to this series coming, Rachelle?

Many of us here is Seekerville are doing Speedbo. Book-in-a-month. In fact 134 of us are. So we are talking process and office doors.

Do you write in an office. Any particular schedule, routine or process?

Meghan M. Gorecki said...

Love all these tips, Rachelle! :) Thanks for sharing.

Rachelle Dekker said...

Tina, yes there will be a third novel in the series! Coming early next year.

It's awesome you have so many participating in Speedbo! Good luck to all of you.

As far as process, I treat writing like a 9-5, so I write Monday through Friday usually in the mornings, until lunch or a little later, and then save the afternoon for marketing, website, social platforms, etc. And yes, I have an office I usually write in, but then I also go away to write a couple times a year. This helps me be completely focused on whatever I'm working on and gives me the opportunity to get a LOT of writing done all at once.

Tina Radcliffe said...

You are the second writer of late who mentioned going away to write.

This sounds like an excellent, excellent plan!

Barbara Scott said...

Rachelle, the best advice I ever received was written in my yearbook by my English teacher my junior year: Keep writing! Who knew I had to plant my fanny in a chair and write even when I had nothing to say.

Melissa, you are so right about the shower! I get so wrapped up in daydreaming, I can't remember whether I've shampooed and conditioned my hair...so I do it again. I'm Pantene's best customer.

I'm with Mary C. When my story drags, I usually shoot somebody. I try to just kill off the bad guy and imagine my readers cheering his demise.

Go Speedbo!

Tina Radcliffe said...

LOL. Barbara Scott, cleanest hair on the planet. Learning a lot today.

CatMom said...

Welcome Rachelle! Love what you said about being a writer. Although I'm not published (yet) it took me a while to actually tell people that I'm a writer. Being a teacher for many years was "my identity", but then when my severe back problems ended that career, I was able to pursue full-time writing. Yet it was still a while before I could "admit" to others that I AM A WRITER. Now I say it joyfully, LOL. :)

So happy you have a diva cat! Being a cat person, I'm always glad to learn of others who appreciate our feline friends. ;)

Thanks for sharing with us today, and CONGRATULATIONS on your writing success!
Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

Tina Radcliffe said...

Rachelle has some pretty cute cat countdown Tweets on Twitter.

Must train my Princess Cat Charlie to do PR for me.

Christina said...

Great post Rachelle! When I'm blocked and the words won't come, I find the mindless task of folding laundry often will spark ideas or solutions, depending where I am or what I'm working on. You offer some great advice, some I've heard and some new to me. And I love that you have a diva cat named Blair. I have a diva girl myself, Stache (short for mustache, a perfectly symmetrical one that we swear she knows is absolutely adorable). Thanks for sharing today!

And please enter me in the drawing for your book. Sounds very intriguing.

Jodie Wolfe said...

I really enjoyed your post, Rachelle.

I write because it's something God called me to do. I loved your quote that writing makes you a writer, not getting published. Thank you for the reminder.

Jan Drexler said...

Hi Rachelle!

You are so right about new authors wanting the secret formula! I did. I hunted for it until I landed in Seekerville five (FIVE!) years ago. Then I found out that the secret formula is to clean the toilet.

Yes, my toilet is very, very clean. ;)

But I loved this part of your post: But now I often struggle to pull myself out of bed, brew my coffee, walk the thirteen stairs that lead up to my office, and sit in my chair. Because I know once I get up there I’m going to have to write.

I have that same struggle. I love to edit, I love to revise, I love to plot. But getting that first draft done? That's just plain work. Good work, but hard work. It's good to hear I'm not alone.

Thanks for the great post!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Love your cat name, Christina.

Ironing works too. Shh. Don't tell anyone I actually iron.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Barbara Scott, I love your teacher. There is no secret in this biz.

The secret is to write. And then write some more.

Edison's quote, right? 5% inspiration, 95% perspiration.

It's not the most talented that grab the most contracts or publish the most books.

It's the ones who persevere and don't quit.

Go get 'em, tigers!

Missy Tippens said...

What a great post, Rachel! I'm so glad you joined us today.

My best advice: Don't give up.

Missy Tippens said...

Melissa Jagears, you must be the cleanest writer we know! ;)

Missy Tippens said...

Oops!! I'm sorry, Rachelle. I typed your name wrong. I had just been reading an email from a friend named Rachel. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Barbara, I've been known to plot in the shower, and then to get out of the shower without rinsing out the conditioner! Of course, I don't realize it until later when my hair feels grimy. LOL

I also do a LOT of my brainstorming and planning while driving. I guess I should warn you all to stay away from Georgia highways. :)

Myra Johnson said...

Woohoo! Celebrating turning in revisions to my editor just now--a week early! A couple more odds and ends to wrap up (no, NOT cleaning toilets!!!) and then I can resume work on my wip and hopefully make the rest of my Speedbo goals!

The Artist Librarian said...

@Tina - I'm trying to think about it that way! I'm not usually good with doing self-incentives ... I have no willpower. Like, I'll tell myself I'll study for an hour then check social media for 15 minutes as a reward ... guess how long I end up scrolling through instagram or facebook feeds? =P

@Ruthy - I just got your interview responses back from Sydney! Can't wait for my post to go live on Monday!!! Thanks so much for answering my questions. ^_^

Missy Tippens said...

Myra, congrats!! I love that feeling!

Missy Tippens said...

Jen, I'm the same way with getting online! Before I know it, an hour has passed. And usually, I've forgotten to do what I originally signed on to do! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Rachelle, thanks for being with us today!

Loved your post. Writing is work...but then, it's joy, as well. Right now, at this present moment, it's work! :)

Like you, I kill characters. Of course, it fits nicely into my suspense stories! :) Perhaps a murder would help me move forward today. Note to self: Kill someone. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Tina, would you like to clean my toilettes?

Debby Giusti said...

Waving to Melissa...is she still in the shower?

I once heard an author talk about how the running water in the shower washes over us and changes the electrons on the surface of our body. Somehow that makes us more open to ideas. Really?

Not sure about the electrons, but I get inspired in the shower too.

Debby Giusti said...

Did Tina say she irons? Oh my! That's scary!

Sharee Stover said...

Rachelle, your post was fabulous and had me seriously giggling at my computer. Thank you for that! I love that there is no secret formula...it's hard enough to be creative without trying to be a scientist trying to discover something spectacular.

My piece of advice is writer friends are great to have. They don't roll their eyes when you talk about the new characters your introducing or have their eyes glaze over from boredom when you're divulging how your struggling with showing not telling. In essence, they make me feel "normal".

Ruth Logan Herne, I loved the Edison quote. Note to self: add deodorant to grocery list.

Tina Radcliffe said...

I've showered twice today, Debby.

Toiletts? French?

Cara Lynn James said...

Every time my writing comes to a standstill, I do laundry, pay bills etc. I just need to get away from the problem for awhile. My favorite distraction is reading a book. That works unless I get too involved in the story. It's always worth a try.

Rachelle Dekker said...

The more you guys share about cleaning, the more I think maybe you should all come to my house to find more "inspiration"... it could use your magic touches!

Barbara Scott said...

Missy, I've done the same thing...shut off the shower, dried myself off, and then realized I didn't rinse out my hair. But the worst is not remembering whether I've washed. That's when I know I've plotted my whole book! And don't get me started on writing in my head while driving. lol

Marianne Barkman said...

Me, I just sit down and read a good book. Likely from a Seekerville author. No sparkling clean toilets in my bathrooms!

Mildred Bastidas said...

Great post, I'm very visual so going to pinterest to search for photos related to my research or time period etc. really gets me going, it just brings images to my mind.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Mildred, excellent idea.

Pinterest can help you totally get lost in period clothing.

Tina Radcliffe said...


While The Choosing seemed to be more YA, The Calling is more adult. What can we expect in the next book.

I've always been curious where the name Remko came from.

Remko Brant had never been so sure of anything as escaping the Authority City with Carrington Hale. But bravado comes easy when you have nothing to lose. Now a husband, father, and the tactical leader of the Seers, Remko has never had so much at risk.

As he and his team execute increasingly dangerous rescue missions inside the city, they face growing peril from a new enemy. Recently appointed Authority President Damien Gold claims to be guiding a city shaken by rebellion into a peaceful, harmonious future. But appearances can be deceiving. In order to achieve his dangerous ambitions, Gold knows he must do more than catch the rebels―he must destroy the hope their message represents . . . from the inside out.

With dissension in his own camp―and the CityWatch soldiers closing in―Remko feels control slipping through his fingers. To protect those he loves, he must conquer his fears and defeat Gold . . . before one of them becomes his undoing.

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

Enjoyed the post, Rachelle. When I get stuck, I leave the house. I can usually start writing again if I can hear noise that's not "home-related" like hubby's long, loud sighs, and his walking back and forth from kitchen to his easy chair. :) Library noise or Starbucks noise fill me with energy; my mind and fingers fly. :)

Tina Radcliffe said...

Nashville's too far for toilets. Are you going to the ACFW conference in Nashville perchance, since the keynote speaker may be familiar to you.

Loraine Nunley said...

I really like the "stolen advice" Rachelle. I also had to chuckle at Melissa's shower comment. I thought I was the only one who got story ideas while in the shower. It's good to know I am not alone in that.

Oh, and thanks for the giveaway!

Sharon Timmer said...

Rachelle's book has been on my TBR list for awhile now! I would love to win a copy - thanks!

Missy Tippens said...

Jess, white noise really helps me too! I have the app on my computer that plays coffee shop noise. :) Coffivity.com

Missy Tippens said...

Debby, that's an interesting theory about the electrons! I'll have to ask my son about that.

Lyndee H said...

Hi Rachelle,
I liked your comments about intention and using your glasses as a sign. I do something very similar with a shawl. When I sit to write, I wear my shawl, even draping it over my shoulders in summer! That signals I'm working to others around me and they know to stay way. It also symbolically shuts me off from the world around, wrapping me like a cocoon - a writing cocoon. Thanks for the post

Today is a writing day Down Under - well after a swim. My dh is scuba diving and white water rafting and I'm in the Great Snow of 1844 in the Appalachian Mountain range.

Yahoo! Speedbo!

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Rachelle, thank you for sharing some of the best advice you've received. Appreciate all the other comments here. I can relate to cleaning the toilet. When I'm stuck with a scene I leave the writing for a while and usually attend to a neglected house. Most often that means cleaning 3 toilets at once. But sometimes going for a very long walk is helpful. Congratulations on the release of your novel, Rachelle.

Debby Giusti said...

Toilettes? Mais oui, Tina!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Lots of interesting comments today. Thanks Rachelle for getting everyone started and for posting with us today in Seekerville.

You Seeker friends rock. Thanks for all the contributions to the "advice column" Very informative and comforting. chuckle

Terrill R. said...

When I read all of the helpful hints author's give for the writing process, I thank the Lord that my gifting is elsewhere. It sounds like so much focused work. Not for the ADD procrastinator. Thankfully, I can form complete sentences with some grammatical competency and write a review that an author deserves.

Thank you, Rachelle, for inciting some fun anecdotes. No wonder I love these authors. Please enter my name into the giveaway.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Terrill, welcome to Seekerville! You are entered. And I agree.

Megan Brummer said...

Such a timely and encouraging post! I often trip over introducing myself as a "writer" because of the unpublished thing, but you're right! If I'm writing, I'm a writer!

Thank you for the advice!

Tara Johnson said...

I love this post! Excellent thoughts. 😊

Lisa said...

I love that when you wear your glasses you write. I created an online radio station for writing that I listen to but I never thought of it that way, I just use it to drown out distractions, but now I think I need to make it part of my routine.

Una said...

I'm looking forward to reading The Calling. Please enter me in the drawing.

Mary Lawson said...

I like the advice that's been given. I have written a training manual for a savings and loan association I worked for and they published it for their training of new tellers. I have written curriculum, eguides, and have a historical fiction picture book which I am looking for a publisher. Also had a picture book get as far as a committee at a publisher. So I just continue writing in these different venues, but now zeroing in on Speedbo.

Suzanne Baginskie said...

Rachelle, what a great column full of the same thoughts most of us face daily. I loved your internal monologue with your muse. Your inspiring words are what we need to read and Go forth. I call it the depression stage. Then there's the put on your big girl pants and write. Self talks help. Don't wallow in your sorrow when a rejection arrives. Swallow hard, and stick it in your folder. It's like buying a lottery ticket, if you don't play there is no chance to win. Have a great writing day.

Sierra Faith said...

Love this post! One tip I would give is write daily! Even if you don't feel like it look at your story and plan the next scene, build the characters anything! If you take a break you're less likely to come back the next day and the next and so on!

I love that saying! If you're writing, you're a writer.

Janet Kerr said...

This post is great encouragement. And I need to remember that writing every day will get me ahead.

Mikal said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! And I laughed when I read to kill someone when in doubt. :D This is something I do, like Rachelle. If not my main character (which I've actually done in a separate file unconnected with the manuscript), then I write a random kill scene.

Wow, I sound awful. Mwahahahaha!