Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Writing Strategies You Can Live With 24/7/365!

What do you do when a football move goes awry?

You punt the ball!

That's the football strategy, and there's a reason it works.

It buys time.

It offers another opportunity. Sure, you can look at is as a negative, you lost the ball... but you can get it back again!

It's you. All you. Well, and your team!

So when you sit down at the desktop/laptop/Scrivener page, whatever... and you lose the ball...

Go back.

Re-think where you were, what was the goal?

In football, the goal is to win.

Your goal as an author is DIFFERENT.

Your goal is to finish. Then finish again. And again.

When you look at the differences between sports and writing, they're huge, and yet some of the analogies fit.

But the keyboard is different. You can re-play a down. You can change the outcome of a kick. You can put it between the goalposts anytime you want to!

You have the power.

When a game is over, it's over. Done. Win/lose/tie... DONE.

Not so with writing! When it's finished... well then the revisions begin! And you polish and nip and tuck and polish some more!

We aren't a win/lose enterprise. We're a win/win enterprise, and it's all up to you!

So what are you going to do today to make your dream come true?

1. Examine your schedule
2. Treat writing time like a job 
3. Meet your schedule daily
4. Make short term goals
5. Make long-term goals
6. Be willing to adjust as needed. Flexibility is clutch, but not so flexible that you don't say "no".
7. Mini-rewards work for me. A treat (I'm like a Pavlovian dog, yes, I'm admitting it!), a fave show, a handful of M&Ms...
8. Plan essential duties AROUND writing time. Not instead of...

These simple tips are brought to you today, courtesy of the Ruthinator who is giving away two copies of "The First Gift", her latest release and an absolutely beautiful story of how a loving town and beloved teacher can make a difference in one child's life.

I'm not only in love with this cover... I'm in love with the book between the covers!

Stop in and chat about how to make our dreams realities... how to re-focus ourselves for this last 1/3 of the year.


And move forward!

Multi-published author Ruth Logan Herne loves hangin' with peeps in Seekerville, Yankee Belle Cafe and facebook... and she loves surrounding herself with young families to keep the beat alive! With over a million books sold, she's living the dream she imagined a long time ago... and touching hearts and souls along the way, total bonus! Friend her on facebook, or stop by her website She'd love to meet you!


  1. Coffee is here! And fresh donuts from Tops Friendly Markets, too! Let's talk meeting those goals with a smile... and a donut!

  2. The perfect post as we head into football season. Great advice, Ruthy! Oh, I love that cover too...absolutely beautiful. I can't wait to read THE FIRST GIFT.

  3. What a great post, Ruthy! I need to make a few daily goals right now instead of feeling overwhelmed by the long term goals. Thanks for the push I needed!

  4. Jill! Good morning, my friend! And you know me, I love sports analogies... I love great sports movies. "Remember The Titans".... "Rudy"... "For Love of the Game"... Oh be still my heart, Billy Chapel and Jane???? There was a romance ripe with conflict and grit!

    I hope you love "The First Gift". It's the kind of story I always wanted to write, and Franciscan gave me the opportunity to do it. Bless them!

  5. Great advice, as always, from Ruthie!!!!

  6. As always, a great post Ruthy! I love football and am a rabid GA DAWG fan! So the football comparisons work for me! I'm currently participating in Michael Hyatt's free "Free to Focus" webinars and have heard some great advice on how to get "free" from things that distract us so we can "focus" on the necessary things required to reach our goals. Here are a few statements that have really resonated with me:
    "Watch out for 'You should be able to...' comments. Learn to say 'No" and mean it." Gretchen Rubin
    "Make convenient bad habits inconvenient." Gretchen Rubin.
    "Don't say 'yes' to all good ideas." Chris McChesney
    "Block out a set time each day for social media. Put it on your calendar just like an appointment." Erik Fisher
    "Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone." Andy Stanley

  7. Jackie, I'm the same way. I think long-term... what I would like to do, what garden I'd like to finish, how would I like the yard to look... and then what can I do this particular season to built toward that goal?

    My writing is the same! I have those long-term goals of future contracts or indie series (because honestly, if one doesn't pan out, I have it in my hands to do the other now, right? How AMAZINGLY COOL is that???)

    So I look ahead, but I focus on the daily/weekly goals to get an individual job done. It's simple, right? And it works for me. No one wants to be overwhelmed, drowning-at-sea with cement footwear... I'm good at treading water, but wretched at swimming!

  8. I LOVE RUDY! One of my all-time favorite movies. :)

  9. I knew we thought alike!!! :) "Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!"

  10. I like the short pithy list of daily goals. I's so helpful to keep it simple. :)

  11. I just finished reading this wonderful book....absolutely loved it!! I would love to see a sequel!?!?!
    THANKS for writing such an awesome book!!

  12. I love this, Ruthy! My year has been such that writing has taken more of a backseat than I'd like. As I read your tips, the one about working in other things around writing resonated with me. I'm going to put on that mindset for this last part of the year.

    Love your tips, and your book cover is GORGEOUS!

  13. Follow the Leader - I love that part. We villagers have great leaders to follow. And I've got that copy of The First Gift that I absolutely cannot put down, but I had to come to work today. Reading an awesome book is apparently not a good enough reason to stay home - who made that rule?? As always, Ruthy has outdone herself. Again. And again. Didn't I just hear that somewhere?

  14. I just picked up a few doughnuts from Tops Friendly Markets. I got chicken breasts that were on sale too. I love your books. I've read them all.

  15. Dana, I'm in total agreement! When I was in sales a long, long time ago (Tupperware Lady!!!) the slogan was KISS... Keep it simple, sweetheart.

    Simple works for me! And while I love looking at pics on Pinterest now and again, my daily life is much less... how shall we say it?..... Picture-worthy, LOL!

  16. Jackie, I'm so glad you loved it! I was so pleased with it, and I love the early readers' reactions. And thank you so much for being an influencer! I am so grateful!

  17. Jeanne, we've go a WHOLE THIRD of the year left.

    That's about 120 days (rounded).

    500 words/day.

    60,000 words by December 31.

    It is so doable, and it's all about creating the habit away from our urgent responsibilities of family and jobs.

    I get that totally!

    Set the reachable goal and enjoy yourself with it.

    That's a beautiful Love Inspired novel before year's end!!! Merry Christmas to all of us!

  18. Cindy, I was so thrilled when I finally got the books and could send them out because I always want to know "WHAT DO YOUSE GUYS THINK???"

    And writing Cassie's story, and Kerry's love story was just a total blessing.

    I love that kid!

    And I loved being able to diversify the characters and have them just be themselves, regardless. In my crazy busy, fun, ethnically and racially mixed family, that's how we are: Just Us.

    And yes, gainful employment can get in the way, but I love a paycheck! :)

  19. Good morning, Ruthy!

    The football theme is perfect. The Broncos play their season opener tomorrow night...but without Peyton. I'll be watching, waiting to see if the new quarterback can pull the team together this year.

    But there I go again, down that rabbit trail, chasing the football dream of another Superbowl win. :)

    This was a great post! I love your simple steps.

    Mini-rewards are my go-to when I feel like my writing is a slow slog. One Ghiradelli chocolate chip for every hundred words. Gets me back on track every time.

    Oh, and #8! "Plan essential duties AROUND writing time. Not instead of..." I hadn't thought of it that way before, but YES!

    "The First Gift" is on the top of my new TBR bookcase in my new office. Can't wait to read it!

  20. Rose! Waving and holding up the box of doughnuts/donuts your way!

    My favorites are Chocolate frosted with white buttercream filling... And maple bars. I had my first maple bar in Cle Elum, Washington at the Cle Elum bakery... which I then put into the Double S books.


    I am now a fan of maple bars forever. Then I got one in Scottsdale, AZ (Tina's territory) at some lovely grocery store...Fry's, maybe? It was wonderful!

    Rose, don't leave without food, darling!

  21. Edwina, that is great advice. Absolutely wonderful! Thank you for sharing it!

    Go DAWGS!!!!

  22. Cathy Ann, thank you for that! I love Tops doughnuts, I could easily be labeled an addict. They're so good!!!

  23. Jan Drexler, I had so much fun rooming with you in Nashville! Wasn't it the best? Except over all too soon!!!

    I'm in love with the Peyton on Sunday morning commercials. THEY'RE SO FUNNY!!!! The grocery store, with the coupon... The living room, calling Eli...


    36 hours away!

    Bring the grid iron and the Buffalo wings!

  24. I loved rooming with you, too! After you left, I walked back to our room, walked in felt empty. :) I know, it was just a room, but I think it was missing your lovely presence.

    On that "essential duties" thing. I'm thinking eating breakfast is an essential duty right now. Donuts are perfect. :)

  25. Good Morning RUTHY!

    You KNOW how much I LOVED The First Gift, thank you for my copy and Home on the Range too. I treasure them and the beautiful words inside the covers.

    I'm blessed at this point in my life to have more time to do what I love, read books, books that take me to far away places where I meet people I wish I knew in real life.

    In fact, I'll be traveling to Grey's Glen, Washington today for a date with Nick Stafford, sigh! If that isn't the most handsome cover, a cowboy and a gorgeous little girl. Can't wait to visit with them this afternoon and get reacquainted with the Staffords. (That's my reward for getting housework and errands run, will work for books, lol)

    Your zeal for writing is a win/win for you and I both! Keep writing and I'll keep reading! (Sorry, but I'll pick reading over football any day!)

    Have a blessed Thursday everyone!

  26. Jan, I felt the same way walking away from you and Mary at the hotel entrance. It was so hard to go!!!!

    I am so blessed by all the friends this business has brought me. Isn't it amazing? And yes, have a doughnut!!! Help yourself!

  27. Tracey, I'm so glad you loved The First Gift!!! Happy dancing in upstate!

    And I've gotten great feedback from early readers on Nick's story, and I love that series of books.

    I am so blessed to be working with Waterbrook, with Shannon Marchese and the whole crew. And I'm having so much fun writing Westerns!!!

    Yee haw!

  28. Tracey, get a maple bar at the Cle Elum bakery for me, okay????

  29. Punt!!!!!!! Incoming.

    Way to go Pretzel Girl.

    Life is good. We are blessed to be able to be pretzels, aren't we.

    May the pretzel force be with you today.

  30. The Ruthinator....Baahahahahaaa, Love it!!! I know nothing of sports but I might've just learned something. My favorite tip is planning essential things around writing time...I haven't been doing that and then I'm surprised when I lose writing time. :-(
    I'm going to work on that. Thanks, Ruthy!

  31. I'm like a Pavlovian dog too! Scrivener has a feature that lets you set your "target" word count goal for the day and/or scene. It puts a progress bar on the bottom of the screen that starts red and progresses through yellow to green when you hit the word goal. It might as well ding, because seeing that bar turn green makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

    I struggle with #8... because my "essentials" are taking care of my kids! I can't exactly ignore them and treat writing as more important... haha. But I did have a talk with my 2-year-old this morning and she agreed to do all the housework today, so that bought me some time ;)

    Your new book looks just wonderful! I'm in the middle of More Than A Promise right now and it is charming and delightful. You have such a talent for writing beautiful characters and realistic children. I can't wait to read about the child in The First Gift!

  32. Sweet, concise summary, Ruthy--definitely suitable for framing!! And I love the cover! Autumn is my favorite season. :) (Young maples & locust trees already starting to turn color here in the mountains--lows of 39 at night!)

  33. A great post, Ruthy. Maybe I can take that list and apply it to reading? Or? Maybe not so much! Thanks Ruth. And for the coffee

  34. RUTH, it is always nice to hear from you. Thought you were on tomorrow. This is a good motivator for me, I have been letting Other Things get in the way.
    Kathy Bailey

  35. Homemade pretzels, Tina!!! THE SOFT ONES!!! Or Annie's pretzels at the mall or airports, only I never have enough time to stand in the long lines and BUY ONE!!! GRRR.......

    I'm always thinking there won't be enough time between flights, and sometimes there isn't... but the smell of Annie's Pretzels. Oh be still my heart, the almond/cinnamon ones????


  36. Jessica, it's hard because you have so many essentials going on daily... I think that's when God kept nudging me awake at 4:00 AM because then I could jump in and not feel like I was neglecting family. I get so guilt-ridden, so easily! Not about housework... Bah, humbug on that!

    But about family time, about disappointing others... That's my weak spot!!!

  37. Ruthie-your book cover is gorgeous! I'd love to read it. Autumn is fast approaching in New England - it's my favorite!

    I'm such a day-dreamer so when it comes to goals, I have to make a simple, stick-to-it plan. I break down how many words/day I need to write, and I set aside 15-30 minutes to read up on the craft of writing and/or the business of publishing. My current plan is to enter specific writing contests and polish my know, just in case!

    You've got to have a plan! As Antoine de St Exupéry said, "A goal without a plan is just a wish."

    And, speaking of donuts, my husband and I spent took the family to Stowe this weekend where we had Cold Hollow Cider donuts. Legendary.

  38. BRUMMER!!!! I feel like we're besties after hearing all the fun stuff about how marvelous you are from Drexler AND those cool facebook pics!!! Go you!

    I know, we can't ignore kids, it's just wrong... but if we can manufacture an hour during nap time, or in the wee smalls.... man that helps!!!

  39. As always, the Ruthinator gives us a solid kick in the pants!

    Which we could make a lot harder for her if we kept the strategic areas of our pants firmly planted in our writing chairs!

  40. Yay!!! I get to be one of Ruthy's besties!!!!! That just made my day :) :) :)

  41. Kaybee, you have to put up with me tomorrow, too!!! It's a Ruthy Festival on Seekerville, we had a bit of a mix-up and we're punting!

    I know how to punt!

  42. MYRA!!!

    That is such a good point!

    Laughing and grabbing a doughnut!!!

  43. Glynna, fall comes early up high... and spring comes late... We've got gorgeous, long autumns here along the Great Lakes shoreline... the warm water tempers the cold north air just enough to extend out fall... but it nips our spring into nothingness, LOL! Hence my March whining every year about ENOUGH SNOW!!!

  44. Josee, now I want a trip to Stowe!!! You brat!

    And yes, a goal without a plan is just a wish... But a goal with a plan is an amazing thing, i isn't it?

    Remember that old adage? I first read it in a Julie Garwood/Sara Donati book "How do you eat a bear? One bite at a time."

    Same with these dreams and plans... we tackle 'em, one day, one goal at a time.


  45. Rudy, Pistol Pete (birth of a legend) and McFarland USA.
    All great movies.

    I think consistently hearing how all authors must work hard, published or not, makes me realize you've just got to sit down and write. No excuses. Everybody's busy. Everyone faces roadblocks and must write through them, no matter if we must delete a few words when where through. Keep writing. Keep working.

    Love, "put your big girl panties on" motto!

  46. Love this post! 8. Plan essential duties AROUND writing time. Not instead of... so true. Love the cover on your new book! Would love to win a copy!

  47. Good reminders Ruthy Love the cover. Nice.

    Have a great day. I'm off to do that writing you are talking about. smile

  48. Mmmphft...mouth full of doughnut. Thanks😄. Great post especially today as I was getting SUPER frustrated with my first draft, and wondering if book seven was ever going to happen? Please enter me in the drawing, sounds like a perfect book to cozy up with.
    Hugs, Leslie Ann aka L.A. Sartor

  49. I love your analogy! And I love the cover of your new book. Your points are so on target and I love comparing writing to sports. I once compared writing to hunting and it was amazing how many similarities I found. So glad I was able to emerge from the writing contest cave (I'm wrapping up the PFTH contest) to stop by and visit. :)

  50. Punt....I think I'll do that. Great post, Ruthy. God bless you.

  51. RUTHY, great post! Love the no-nonsense list for making our dreams come true. I'm tempted by the donuts but instead I'll tackle that bear. One bite at a time! Until I finish. Love it!


  52. Marianne, I think we can apply this to most anything, right? :) I do it when I'm planning weddings or big parties... and for anything else requiring Brain Power!!!

    Bit by bit, reachable goals!

  53. Connie Queen, that's pretty much it in a nutshell! You settle in and work along and it adds up.

    Mary and I both mentioned this in Nashville. We're not fast writers. We're steady. That 1K/day. Sometimes I get a second 1K in, but if I can get that 1K/day, I'm thrilled. I do it early so it's not hanging over my head... I don't want to fret about writing. I want to L-O-V-E it!!!

    And I do love it, so it is apparently working. YAYAYAYAYAY!

  54. Sally, thank you!

    I know babies need to be fed, and doctor's appts. for parents need to be taken care of, and the old day job gets in the way!!!

    So if we can take an hour away from something non-essential... and make that hour or 90 minutes OURS.... oh, the benefits will win out! I promise!

  55. Leslie Ann, always good to see you here!

    And I know, when we get backed against a wall (not Julie-style, mind you, but the old NOTHING TO WRITE style...) :) or into a corner... it's head-banging! It's annoying!

    But there is such joy in that we can fix it! We get do-overs!

    There are no do-overs on the playing field.

    We are blessed!

  56. LeAnne, hey!!! So good to see you, and thank you for popping up, out of the mole-hole of contest running!

    That's a job and a half, isn't it?

    I did the Barclay for a few years, and OH MY STARS. God bless the Seekers because they jumped on board to help me, but gosh, that was the busiest, craziest three months EVER except for kids getting married!

  57. I'm inspired by your post, Ruthy!! Our family LOVES football!!

    Our son took a scrappy little ( I mean small town and not so big boys) team and taught them dedication and hard work and last year they were the STATE Champions in their division...honored by their State Assemblyman and their Congressional Senator! An amazing story...and an inspiration even to a large corporation outside our district who also honored them!!! As my son explained to a new coach this year who didn't want to have practice Labor Day morning..."We don't take holidays during football season!" LOL Needless to say, the coach showed up for the 7AM practice!

    Flexibility is key I think! All the hard work, goal setting and etc. won't come together unless you are able to adapt to an unforeseen here's to stretching!!

    Would love to be entered in drawing for the book! Thank you!!

  58. Mary, it's the BEST MANEUVER, use as needed!

  59. Janet, how about bear... roasted... then doughnuts??? :)

    Keepin' it simple down on the farm!

  60. Hey, COMMERCIAL BREAK!!!! I just got a note from Chicken Soup for the Soul that "Power of Forgiveness" is on sale at Amazon... Here's the link, they've got it marked down to $6.50 and it's got my story "Mary's Girl" featured in the "Mothers" section...
    Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power of Forgiveness

  61. RUTHY!!! LOVE that cover and LOVE that book, my friend!!

    And NOBODY knows how to teach this critical lesson better than you, girlfriend, so ...


    Ruthy said: "And I know, when we get backed against a wall (not Julie-style, mind you, but the old NOTHING TO WRITE style...) :) or into a corner... it's head-banging! It's annoying!"

    LOL ... yes, because my getting backed to a wall is NEVER annoying, I promise. ;)


  62. hi Ruthy
    I got your books in the mail and they have been torturing me ever since because chaos in the world of Gupster has kept me from picking either up. *I want to read my Ruthy books, wahhhhhhhhhhhhh...* The chaos is good, but chaos all the same. I know the minute I pick up the book, I won't want to put it down until I'm done (which may mean a neglected child so... delayed gratification, blast it).


    I love the list. Now to implement it.

  63. RUTHY! Congrats on your latest release! I LOVE the cover! I'm looking forward to reading it....

    Please enter me in the drawing for a copy "The First Gift".

    Have a WONDER-filled Wednesday!

  64. Oh, I love this analogy, Ruthy! Buying time; finding another opportunity; rethinking one's direction. Anything that will get me looking at my goals from a fresh perspective. I currently have three creative projects on the go, only one of which is my novel writing. Without a contract in sight there are no deadlines, so it gets way too easy to drag my butt when it comes to the writing part.

    Coffee in one hand, donuts in the other, and the Ruthinator's encouragement bolstering my determination. Thanks for this boost. :)

  65. Kathryn Barker, I love you and I LOVE YOUR SON!!!! That's my kind of man, LOL!

    "Crying? ARE YOU CRYING? THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!!!" (Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own)

    Laughing at this, and yes, as a coach (soccer) and a hard-nosed Mom (everything) our theory was: If you take one day off, no one knows. If you take two days off, your competitors know. If you take three days off... Everyone knows.

    Our boys were runners and they knew the truth of this!

    When Matt took the gold medal at the Empire State Games, his toughest competition came up to him after the race (they were both 17 at the time) and said, "My mother told me to get out and run. She said, "Do you think Matt Blodgett's sitting in front of a game system right now?"

    And then he shook Matt's hand.

  66. Julie, I love you! Laughing in upstate!

  67. Deb H, no apologies in Ruthy-world! Ruthy-world understands families, kids, work, et al....

    And Ruthy-world embraces it!

    Read them when you can, they weren't all supposed to come the way they did, but sometimes that happens in publishing... so I kind of smacked you all with a pile of books. But come October, those sweet novellas will be SO FUN TO READ!!!

    Oh, be still my heart! I love them both! Cowboy Christmas Homecoming AND Silent Night, Star-lit Night!!!!

  68. RUTHY, by the time I handle that roasted bear, one bite at a time, the donuts will likely be stale or spoiled. Do donuts spoil? Never had them around long enough to know. I keep telling myself that sugar is a poison. If only I'd listen. But I digress. The point of your post is to finish, using whatever works.

    Love what you said to Kathryn B: When Matt took the gold medal at the Empire State Games, his toughest competition came up to him after the race (they were both 17 at the time) and said, "My mother told me to get out and run. She said, "Do you think Matt Blodgett's sitting in front of a game system right now?"

    And then he shook Matt's hand.

    Ruthy, you and your family have achieved success through hard work. As much as some of my non-writing friends believe great stories just tumble out of us writers, we know writing requires hours at the computer getting words on the page, polishing and revising. Though writing is way better than other jobs we could name. :-)


  69. I suppose the best thing you can do is to focus on writing at least a little bit each day. That way even if you do only get a little bit of writing done do to other distractions (school, family, chores. etc.) at least you got a little bit of your story done. Slow and steady wins the race, or so I've heard...

    What I really need to do is focus on making my writing time a more of a job instead of a hobby I do when I want to. It's a little difficult since the things I do fall into three categories school, chores, and pleasure time/hobbies. Writing books falls into the pleasure time/hobbies category, but I suppose if I want to get anything written I need to start thinking about it more seriously.

    Confession time: I haven't actually done much writing lately. I'm between books and am finding it hard to pick up where I left off when I finished my last one. I need to re-find my writing groove.

    Please enter me in the drawing for your book.

  70. Ruthy, I always love a good kick in the rear from you to get me back on track! :) Thanks for sharing today.

    Thanks for sharing about the Chicken Soup sale!

  71. Janet, isn't that a great story? It was good for both boys, especially with college running looming for them... because that was a big step up! Thank you for your kind words!

    And yes, I have firmly adopted Lenora's wisdom... "Even on the worst possible days, I have the best possible job!"

    I stole those words and took them to heart the first time I heard them because they're so true!

  72. Nicky, you're in and YES... I know you're young, but oh my stars... it's a different world out here and you don't have to wait. Go for the gold, my young and beautiful friend!



    Nicky, darling, forget what I said, I'm an old meany pants! You just wander through life, enjoying it day by day....

    (evil snicker inserted!!!)

  73. Missy...

    A little bit each day, my darling.

    There is no secret handshake. :)

  74. LOVE the cover of your new book! It's gorgeous! And the story looks fabulous, too!

    Great advice today, Ruth, thanks! Now it's back to my chair to finish my word count for the day. I didn't quite get it done before work this morning, so must finish now, before my folks arrive for dinner. Must juggle, but that's how it gets done. :)

  75. Just getting to the blog. Great advice, Ruthy! Love to bask in your if it might rub off on me! :) So proud of you. You went after your dream and all your hard work paid off.

    Guess I did as well. That's a pinch me, I might be dreaming thought. :)

    Must read all the comments.

    You reward yourself with M&Ms! I call them fuel for the journey. :) Actually, I keep small chocolate candies in my office. When my mind needs a boost, I reach for chocolate. :)

  76. Ruthy, can't wait to read The First Gift!

    I've published two stories in CHICKEN SOUP. An interesting process to have work accepted. How long was your story in the editing/yes/no circuit before you got the nod?

  77. Connie Mann, I'm hugging you!

    Yup. That's us. Shoot, that's WOMEN.

    We juggle.

    It's what we do!

  78. Deb, that one wasn't long at all... But the one I sent this year I never heard back on, so I don't know if it was rejected or overlooked....

    And it's been so busy I haven't checked back, but they'd let me know if they rejected it, wouldn't they?

    Or maybe not.


    Another one for the REJECT RUTHY pile!!!

  79. Debby, I do the same thing with little bits of this or that, usually chocolate or caramel. I love both.

    Which reminds me, there's nothing better than CARAMEL with apples, is there?

    LOVE IT!!!

    And I look at the 13 of us and I see what a true sisterhood can do. We started together, we worked together, we cheer each other on, we cry for one another's losses, and we move forward.

    I think that/this friendship and kinship has made this ride so much sweeter!!!

  80. Ruthy, thanks for the reminder to put WRITING first. I've let other priorities push it out of first place, and we all know the consequences. Soon it's the last priority. Tomorrow, I plan to change my ways.

    Love ya, gal! For an afternoon treat, I brought a pumpkin cheesecake with cream cheese frosting. Oh, and fresh coffee. Enjoy!

  81. To me it comes down to ... write the best book in the world.

    YES YOU!

    Dig deep, use every skill you possess, remember everything you know.
    Explode your beginning, put emotion on the page, make every scene matter. Hook your reader ... all of this is possible with the CRAFT in your possession. Learn and never quit learning.,

    HOW did they drag me into that book?
    HOW did they make me care?
    How did they make me cry?

    That's CLINICAL reading. So find a book that makes you CARE then study it.
    I learn how to improve my writing almost exclusively by reading books that work and trying to figure out WHY it worked.

  82. I have a confession: I do not make goals, short term, long term, or otherwise. I'm a bit obsessive compulsive, so I'm motivated enough without them, and with them it's just so much stress. I wonder if I'm the only author who actually works better without fixed goals.

    Please enter my name in the drawing for the book.

  83. And referring to my post of a few minutes ago.....THAT is how to make your dreams come true.

  84. Boo the ONE thing I know after years of writing is...FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. And don't let anyone tell you (including me) THIS is the right way. THIS is what works best.


    It's what works for YOU. I can't remember...oh yes I can...a woman who was speaking at CFRR saying she leaves home and stays in a cabin a friend of hers owns as long as she can, two weeks usually, and just hammers out a first draft as fast as she can.

    She actually said the words, "I have to go home when the porta potties fill up."

    Uh, no indoor plumbing? WHAT?

    But it works for her. It's her system and she writes beautiful books.
    So don't set goals if they stress you out.
    That's one of the reasons I do very little plotting. It just irritates me then when I wander off on my merry way. Makes me feel like I'm failing.

    I also avoid The Moral Premise. The first book I wrote with a deliberate Moral Premise in mind, I tried to bring that premise a bit more into the foreground and then, I found out very near the end that WASN'T the moral premise. When I could see the book as a whole, it had a different moral premise.

    Which I'd been referring to subconsciously through out the books.
    THEN I had to be BACK through the book and make sure my deliberate moral premise didn't take away from my REAL moral premise and re-write multiple scenes, hoping against hope I could find all the little places that were now off the tracks.

    It just didn't work for me at the same time I think I do moral premise pretty well, but it's all just sort of ...... I'm groping for the right word. Subconscious maybe, or maybe organic. I don't know. I just know it's in there, probably.

    Mary (rolling her eyes at herself)

  85. That's so strange- I have to have a structure, both story and 'moral' (though more 'theme') saying what I intend to do in every chapter... roughly. But I let myself go my own way without any remorse because I know that's where the organic comes in. Also, my best ideas are surprises that come when I realize something or other might work there that I hadn't seen before. I know it's progress and love it much better than completely sticking to my structure, which becomes robotic.

  86. Ruth, I love these tips! And chocolate is always a fave for mini reward. Unfortunately, I fear I've been rewarding too often. :) But today I sent my book proposals out to the agents who requested them at the ACFW conference so that totally deserves chocolate. Yes? (Nodding emphatically)

    I especially appreciate the advice to treat writing as a job. It's too easy to squeeze out my writing time for the 101 other things I have to get done in a day.

    And I must say, the First Gift looks AH-MAZE-ING. :)

  87. Barbara Scott, right back at ya'!!! And I'll take a slice of that pumpkin cheesecake... I love it!!!!

    And yes, jump back into the saddle first thing tomorrow. It's so easy to let things slide... but there are hungry folks lookin' to take our place, woman! :)

    So glad you stopped by today!

  88. Mary and I both use that technique. We've used it before we even realized we were using it, because copying/delving/studying other authors who evoke emotion is so much more useful to me than craft books.

    I won't take the time to sit through classes, or read a whole book on something I can emulate myself... so I study other writers.

    I never knew it was a thing, I never knew there were craft books when I started... I just knew there were authors I loved and books I remembered, and I wanted to see how they did it...

    And then copy those maneuvers.

    But whatever way you work, the crux is to write... and love it!

  89. Boo, I admire that. I love what I do, and now I'm so busy that I have to plan out the work to make deadlines... these are awesome things!!!

    But I can identify with what you're saying. I don't need to push myself to write... but I do love mini-rewards for a job well done!

    Of course any excuse for chocolate is wonderful. :)

    I'm so glad you're here, I love the input from younger writers. Two of my kids are writing, and it's always refreshing to sit and chat with them about the industry, the ins and outs.

    We all find our own ways of getting the job done. That's one thing I love about how we all differ, and yet can still find success. SWEET!

  90. Ruthy, great post. I am working now on planning my last third of the year to make my goals happen. I like the phrase of kicking my fears to the curb. I need to do that.

    I want to read your book. It is a beautiful cover. Please enter me.

  91. I'm laughing at the Moral Premise thing from Mary... I really believe in the Moral Premise... but that didn't make me read the whole book. Stan's been here a couple of times, and he's BRILLIANT... and when he's here I love it!

    But I think the organics (like seed sprouting tiny vines) of the story come from the characters as I've set them, and then... their goals.

    But whatever way it works, I'm glad it's working!

    And I'm tucking your name in for the book!

  92. Sharee! I loved meeting you in Nashville, you gorgeous B-R-A-T!!!! What a fun time!

    And super huge congrats for sending things out. That's exactly what you need to do, follow up on things, test the waters, jump in!


  93. Sandy you're in! And yes, kick the fears aside, they're not of God... Well, unless a rattlesnake or very hungry gator are involved. And then they're INSTINCTIVE!!!

    But fear of success, fear of failing, fear of not being good enough... Yowza, those are not anything we should pay attention to.

    Phooey on them!

    So good to see you here!

  94. Hi Ruthy! I had to come back and read through the comments I missed. :)

    You said, "Mary and I both mentioned this in Nashville. We're not fast writers. We're steady. That 1K/day. Sometimes I get a second 1K in, but if I can get that 1K/day, I'm thrilled. I do it early so it's not hanging over my head... I don't want to fret about writing. I want to L-O-V-E it!!!"

    I learned that 1K early in the day from the two of you here at Seekerville, and it works for me, too. If I can get that first 1K in before the world comes knocking at my door, I feel like I've accomplished at least one great thing. And if things work out, I can get a few hundred more words in after lunch. Sweet!

    And that loving writing stuff...that's so stinkin' fun!

  95. And Mary, you are so right. Spot on.

    The Moral Premise works for me. Does wonders for my story-thinking ahead of writing.

    But I'm a plotter. It's the way I roll. I do what works for me. That's the key!

  96. RUTHY, this is just what I needed - thank you! Not a productive day so far -- but this has me ready to tear into my story and give it all I've got. And as always, the comments are so helpful. Love this place! And I love that cover!! I saw another of your's yesterday, maybe on Facebook, that had the prettiest cover I've seen in awhile. Going to go hunt that one down. Thanks again!

  97. Hi Ruthie. It was great to meet you in Nashville. I'm putting on my big girl panties and giving my self a kick right now. I haven't read your book yet so please throw my name in the hat for it.

  98. I love this post! Such great tips on how to set goals and set aside/make time to write. Thanks for these tips. I will put these to good use sometime in the near future. :)

  99. Bettie, I loved meeting you, too! Wonderful job with the big girl panties... Let's "Write On!!!" :)

    Your name is in the cat dish!

  100. SYDNEY!!!! I was so happy to meet you in Nashville! And I'm so excited for you!!!

    And yes, these are great tips to use when time is scarce... and everything is a bargaining tool!

    So glad you're here today!

  101. Laura, I'm glad this helped! That just made my day!!!

    And I wonder which cover... Carrie Schmidt featured two of my fall releases on her Reading is My Superpower blog contemporaries for fall... Home on the Range (cowboy and daughter, one of my favorite covers of all time!) and The First Gift...

    And then on the historical day she featured the novella collection that Mary, Julie, Anna Schmidt and I did for Gilead's launch "Cowboy Christmas Homecoming".


    I'm tossing your name in her, sweet cheeks, and glad for the motivation!

  102. Ruthy, thank you for the reminders. I have your top ten list that you published on Seekerville a while back on my desk. I love number 1-no whining. Yes, I'm learning all too well this month that writing is more than a first draft, but let's see-I saved my heroine from having a right chin today (instead of right cheek), I've found now twice in the same sentence, and those are the tip of the iceberg. Care now has an a in it. Okay, enough about me.

    But wait. I just ate dinner, but all the comments made me hungry! Soft pretzels, donuts! Delicious.

    And whoever started the Go Dawgs (UGA style), that's my alma mater! Great post and great comments today.

  103. SHAREE, pulling for your agent submissions!!


  104. BARBARA, thanks for the pumpkin cheesecake! Yummy!!

    Tomorrow is a new day. A new beginning. Isn't that great?


  105. Tanya!!! I was so glad to meet you in Nashville! What a wonderfully marvelous and adorable person you are. Wasn't that so much fun? I loved hearing ideas, thoughts, observations from the younger writers on board, it fed my imagination... but also my hope for the longevity of this wonderful genre!

    Aren't you amazed by the mistakes you find the first time through? I'll be like: WHAT????

    But by the third time through, the story has taken shape and some polish... and that feels so good!

  106. I am late stopping in today, but still wanted to say THANK YOU, RUTHY for another excellent post that I needed! You are such an inspiration, and set an awesome example for what a writer can accomplish (even with a ton of other things going on in your busy life!).
    Adding this to my Keeper File (along with numerous other Ruthy posts that have helped me). :) Now, back to my editing!
    Hugs, Patti Jo

  107. Thanks for another Ruthinator post to kick our backsides into gear. I would love to win one of your books to read through and glean from for my own writing, when I actually place my BICHOK. ;-)
    It's that FB time waster that catches me--why oh why do I do that? Of course Seekertime is good, but it's all the 'other stuff!

  108. Really needed these tips today. Hit a brick wall-need to punt! Still in the game though!

  109. Jeanette, that's the spirit! Go for the goal post... and if we need to revise/resubmit/do-over... well, we can!!!

  110. Vicki, I get to live vicariously through your adventures, though, and on my end: THAT'S SO MUCH FUN!!! :)

    When I was on the cruise gift from our kids last year, I crept into the dining room every morning at 4:00 AM.... and I'd sit there in the sweet silence of first Alaskan light and write.

    And you know that I'm a lobby lurker in hotels. I can't write in our room, the light would wake Dave, so I slip into the lobby in pajama pants and a sweatshirt and I find a corner and I curl up and write.

    In the Omni they brought us waters.

    Some hotel staff will make me coffee from their secret stash.


    We bond!

    Sometimes it's just figuring out how to turn the situation to our advantage. And then to crawl out of those oh-so-comfy beds and do it, LOL!

  111. Fabulous post! Ruthy and football analogies!

    1. Oops..hit post too soon. No need to enter me.

      I need to give this some more thoughts. How to keep fear at bay? How to make things work? Prayers for sure. Yiu just go at it. Sometimes taking a break and let it settle and then go back with a fresh pair of eyes and heart...i must be a day late on Seekerville articles.

  112. Hi, Ruth! I loved your football analogy. Yes, when in doubt--punt! haha! We always need a "Plan B". Sometimes we need it; sometimes we don't. When it doubt, drop another bombshell on the heroine and see what happens! haha! Blessings and thanks to you.

  113. Well done, Ruthy!

    Awesome question "What are you going to do today to make your dream come true?" for both readers and writers :)

    Please enter me in the drawing for your beautifully covered latest book :)

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

  114. I love this, Ruthie!!! We all need that reminder to put our big girl panties on sometimes!