Monday, February 12, 2018

5 Tips For Writing on a Tight Deadline…Plus Book Release Celebration!

Missy Tippens

Did you ever miss out on a writing opportunity for fear of not meeting the deadline? Did you ever back out of a project because of panic?

I nearly did the same. But I joined in anyway, and then stuck with it (even when panic hit)…and now I have a new release to celebrate! First, the celebration. Then I’ll share how I managed to push through on this project to get to see the birth of a new story.




This is the new book baby. (Blurbs below.) Welcome to the world, Back to You! I'm thrilled to be part of this set with three wonderful writers: Kristen EthridgeJessica Keller, and one of our founding Seekers Cheryl Wyatt!



Back in August when I was invited to take part in this collection, I was in the midst of caregiving for two family members. I didn’t know how involved I would be months down the road and was afraid to commit. But I had a burning desire to write again. And I think that desire, and this opportunity, were both God-given. So I took a leap and agreed to join in this collection as well as two more (coming later this year).

I sat down with my calendar, wrote in all the deadlines and planned time in for critiquing as well as professional editing. Then, guess what. Caregiving responsibilities ate into that carefully planned schedule. I finished the story way later than planned. Critiquing had to be done quickly (BLESS YOU, JANET DEAN!). Then editing had to be done quickly. (BLESS YOU, BETH JAMISON!)

When I got the wonderful feedback from both ladies, I found out my ending didn’t make sense. I needed to do some re-writing. Thankfully, during that time, I found out we had a little extension on the deadline, so I was able to take my time with the re-write. But of course, life intervened once again, and I had to hurriedly send off the manuscript from my phone while at the hospital. Only to find out I had missed a message about formatting.

Time to panic? No. I managed to make a bit of time (using hired caregivers) to come home and work on my computer. I took an afternoon to format correctly, write a reader letter, do all the backmatter, etc. And I made my deadline!

If unexpected life events have rerouted your writing journey, I hope you’ll be encouraged today. You, too, can push through. I thought I’d share what helped me.



1. Use your calendar! Plan well, and build in lots of cushion. If you’re afraid to commit to something, look at your calendar and make an honest assessment. You might be surprised to find you actually do have time. Break the work down to a weekly or daily word count goal. You probably know how much you can reasonably manage. Be realistic yet don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. You can do this!

2. Use secondary characters. Back in August when I started my story, I decided to use a secondary character from another story (Victor from one of our Seeker boxed sets). I knew that would help speed up the process. I already had a town and a few basic characters. I just needed to redeem that bad boy, Victor!



3. Shake up your regular writing methods! I know, we all cling to our plotter/pantser tendencies and don’t like to mess with it. I usually spend almost as much time planning a story as I do writing it. But once I got behind on my schedule for this novella, I knew I needed to make some progress…any progress. So I just jumped in and started writing chapter one. I had so much fun doing that! If you’re a plotter/planner, as soon as you have some basic character planning, try jumping in and writing. If you’re a seat-of-the-pants writer, you probably already get to work quickly, however, you may run into road blocks. If that happens, try shaking things up a bit and plot/plan a few scenes ahead. You may find it helps you move along quicker.



4. Don’t let fear or panic stop you from attaining your goals. Ask for prayer support. Talk to writer friends who’ve been in your situation. They can probably help you calm down and get back to work. Also, ask for help from your local friends and family, or even hire help if you can. With assistance, you may be able to create more time to write.

5. Don’t forget to dream! Stretch and challenge yourself. Sure, life may throw a wrench in your carefully-planned schedule. But you can probably find a little bit of time to write, even if that means scratching down notes on a scrap of paper or making a note in your phone by talking to Siri. And start small if you need to. Short stories or novellas are a great place to jump back into writing.

Our wonderful boxed set is only 99 cents, so I hope you’ll all go buy a copy of Back to You today! I’ll also be giving away two copies to commenters. Please let me know if you’d like to be entered!

Have you ever let fear or panic keep you from a writing opportunity? What’s your advice for writing on a tight deadline?



Join some of today's best-selling Christian Romance authors as they introduce you to four new couples who reunite for a second-chance at romance. This inspirational romance collection from Love Inspired authors Cheryl Wyatt, Missy Tippens, Jessica Keller, and Kristen Ethridge will warm your heart and each quick, satisfying read will keep you in the spirit of Valentine's Day and holiday romance all year long with stories of true love and happily-ever-after.

Love Knots by Cheryl Wyatt

A bread-twisting bride and her runaway groom are reunited unexpectedly in an inadvertent business move that may not be accidental after all. Charming charter boat captain Carl Anders returns to his childhood home to devote his life to leading beachside adventures for families year round as well as tourists during Cupid Cove’s upcoming Valentine season. He runs into rough waters when he discovers he moved his business into the same nautically themed strip mall containing the bakery of the former best friend-turned-first-love that he jilted at the altar. 

Newly-famous pretzel maker Brindle Case tangles with a repeat rejection upon discovering her almost-husband doesn’t regret walking away from their wedding before the ring and vow exchange ten years ago. Can he convince her that silver shores sometimes require souls to sail through hard seasons and trust that God’s will is best lived in God’s time? She must become willing to abandon her bitterness at a different altar in order to walk away with a bigger blessing the second time around. Will she hold on to the hurt of their past, or embrace the second chance to retie their hearts together, this time forever?

Her Valentine Reunion by Missy Tippens

What happens on the very day Abbie Rogers makes a preemptive strike against Valentine’s Day funk by declaring herself content to be single? Why, Victor Wallis, the man who broke her heart, comes crashing back into her life, of course. Not only that, he declares himself a changed man, and he truly seems to be. She even finds herself falling for him again. But when he makes a move to take over her family’s business, Abbie’s not certain she’ll ever be able to trust the only man she’s ever loved.

Their Sweet Reunion by Jessica Keller

Wedding planner Lesley Marks is only three weeks away from the biggest event of her career. If Bridal Features Magazine decides to cover the wedding she’s put together for the senator’s daughter it could translate into years of success for her little company. But the bride-to-be is difficult to please. When vendors begin to back out at the last minute Brom Gilbert—Lesley’s ex-fiancé—comes to the rescue. But working alongside the man Lesley once loved proves harder than she anticipated, especially because the wedding falls on the four year anniversary of when she and Brom were supposed to be married. 

Dance with Me, Valentine by Kristen Ethridge

Clair Bell has struggled to put the past behind her since her boyfriend left without a trace years ago. She's built a life around helping others as the director of the Port Provident Retirement Community. As the annual retirement prom approaches on Valentine's Day, Clair is shocked to find that one of her residents has invited a date that she met while playing an online game. But when that date happens to be Rob Landers, Clair's ex-boyfriend who has returned to Port Provident to make amends for his past, Clair knows she can either use this moment to clear all the what-ifs and move forward in her life or be dragged down by the clinical depression which has held her for years. Can two people who have faced life's storms in their own way come back together to dance in the rain once again? Is there hope for forgiveness and a chance at true love once again?

Click here to purchase your copy!


*******

After more than 10 years of pursuing her dream of publication, Missy Tippens, a pastor’s wife and mom of three from near Atlanta, Georgia, made her first sale to Harlequin Love Inspired in 2007. Her books have since been nominated for the Booksellers Best, Holt Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Maggie Award, Beacon Contest, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, and the Romance Writers of America RITA® Award. Visit Missy at www.missytippens.com, https://twitter.com/MissyTippens and http://www.facebook.com/missy.tippens.readers.

99 comments:

  1. Happy Monday, everyone! Here's come decaff coffee for those visiting late tonight. :)

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    1. Thanks Missy! I think I loaded up on caffeine today, so the decaf will work!

      Annie @JUSTCOMMONLY (Testing out the comment form)

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    2. Annie, I hope the anonymous works for more people!

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  2. Hi Missy! Your 5 points hit home even for this non-writer as new adventures awaits.

    So is the word "deadline" an author's biggest fear and earthly motivator? *wink wink

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    1. Annie, I can remember how terrified I was to sign that first contract. :) Putting my name on the dotted line was such a serious thing for me. It does cause fear! And it's definitely a motivator, especially as it gets closer and closer. Funny thing how that happens as time passes. :)

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    2. I have a tip for new writers... make your own deadlines and stick to them before you're published. It's practice for the real deal. If you push yourself to fulfill those self-promises (book done by June 1, novella done by August 1) kind of thing... then when you have real deadlines they're not so daunting.

      Imagine going to the Olympics with no practice... doesn't happen. So practicing the moves for being published is smart stuff!!!

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    3. Ruthy, that's such a good idea!! I used to do that for myself. Often, it involved contest deadlines. "Get 3 chapters done in time to enter such and such contest." It's a good way to practice!

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    4. Ruthy is right. I'm pre-published but am training myself to meet MY OWN deadlines in preparation for SOMEONE ELSE'S. Plus, if you make a deadline and keep it, you can point to work done at the end of it. What's not to love?

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  3. Ah geeze, I hit this same road back in December when my world went topsy-turvy with my grown daughter and caused us to have the grand-girl living with us for a while. I'm talking about review books since I'm not a writer. At the time I had 12...yes, that's a dozen...all due in a months time. Now, normal times I have no issue at all doing them, but I panicked because there was NO WAY I was going to get to them in a timely manner. So, I emailed my authors and told them a little about what was going on. They in turn assured me that they understood and not to worry about getting a review in on time and take care of family needs first. That felt like a pressure-cooker when you let all the steam out because it took all the weight off me. I just read when I had time or energy and eventually got my reviews done. I've since then had to re-evaluate my schedule and decided to cut down on my reviews....something I've needed to do for a while anyway. I guess God nudged me towards that direction.

    Great advice here, I think any of us can take something from this and use it where necessary. I know I have to look at things differently now and make more realistic goals and plans :-)

    Please put my name in the candy jar since it's almost Valentines day for a copy of Back to You, thanks so much!

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    1. Trixi, yes, review deadlines are similar! I'm so glad you contacted the authors and took the pressure off yourself. Family needs to come first. I've come down to the wire while judging books for a contest. If you get too behind, you get to a point where there's just not enough time in the day to finish.

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  4. This is so exciting!!! I'm just over-the-moon happy for you, and what a delightful group of gals to work with... WELL DONE, LADIES!!!!

    Missy, I agree... sometimes we have to just bite the bullet and try... if we fall short, the world doesn't end. And we dust ourselves off and start again...

    YOU DONE GOOD!!!! :) It's on my Kindle and I haven't read it yet, it's my reward when February work is complete...

    Hooray for you and all of you!!!!

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    1. Thanks for celebrating with us, Ruthy! And thanks for allowing us to be your reading reward this month! :)

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    2. I managed to read "Neighbors" a rough but very well done dissertation on a Jewish slaughter by Polish Catholics and Christians in a little town.... 1600 Jews were killed by their neighbors in one day. That was research for family backgrounds that I might or might not use, but it gives me insight into "sins of the past"... And then I read one of the Martha's Vineyard mysteries so that I can keep up with what other authors are doing... So those were both job-related reads... but this.... this is truly my REWARD READ for job well done! Beth's taking my Kindle to MN for a week, but I should be close to done when she returns... and what a lovely reward waiting for me, Missy!!!

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    3. Ruthy, what a horrific piece of history. Tough reading, I'm sure.

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    4. Ruthy, I guess that means that I should return your Kindle to you!

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  5. Missy, congratulations on your new release! Your timing or I should say God's timing is perfect. I'm starting a new novella project and trust me I feel the pressure of my looming deadline. Thanks for the tips. Your boxed set looks wonderful!

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    1. Terri, I wish you the best on your project! It's always a little surprising to me how long it takes to write a novella. I don't know why. I guess I forget, and then start thinking of it as something short. But once I get into it, I realize 20-25k words isn't something to sneeze at. LOL

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  6. Good tips, Missy, and good to hear your "voice" again. I'm pre-published so the only deadlines I have to worry about are my own. After working in journalism all my life, deadlines in theory don't scare me. But, again, I've never had a book deadline. We'll see...
    Good tip to start a novella with a minor character from another book. And a good reminder to pay heed to our minor and secondary people, you never know who's going to kick and scream their way into their own story.
    A week of mind-blowing interruptions and crises on this end, hope to get back to my writing schedule this week. Also reviewing, blogging, contest entries and cleaning up the Web site. A place for everything and everything in its place. Also taking down the Christmas tree, even the artificial one is starting to shed needles.
    Kathy Bailey
    Behind the curve in New Hampshire

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    1. Kathy, I don't feel so bad now. We finally took the tree down just this past weekend! I've been in crisis mode for a few weeks now, so that was low priority.

      We got such a big laugh out of an episode of The Middle recently. Frankie was taking down the Christmas tree, and Sue came in and got upset, saying something like, "Why are you taking the tree down early? That's how I know it's Valentine's Day!" :)

      Today is "attack the bills and paperwork" day! I have a huge stack that I'm determined to go through.

      Also, my website is severely out of date, so I'm with you on that item on my to-do list! I hope you have a better week this week!

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    2. I LOVE "The Middle"! I identify with Frankie in so many ways. She never gives up. Sometimes she should...

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    3. Pleased that my comment didn't go into spam. It must not have, since Missy responded to it. I am on a roll here...

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    4. Kathy, I had to release your second comment about The Middle from spam. But the other posted! That's progress. :)

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  7. This wasn't one of your numbered tips, but was embedded inside a couple of them--ask for help! I think having a support system is crucial to everything in life, not just writing. And it's tough when you are the support for someone else, i.e. caregiving. Find ways to get the help when you need it and be sure to pay it forward for someone else. We're all in this together, right? Great post and it's great to see you writing again!

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    1. Glynis, that's such a good piece of advice--especially about paying it forward. We all go through rough periods, and we should ask for help when needed. Once life settles down, I often forget, though, to offer support to others. I'm glad you shared this advice today!

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    2. We have to be clear about what we want and what other people are able to do. I don't ask for help enough regarding my fiction, I try to fit it around what everyone else is doing, probably because I'm not published yet. Note to self: be nicer to self.

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  8. Kathy mentioned redeeming secondary characters who were antagonists in previous stories. I meant to ask if any of you have tips for doing that. It can be difficult!

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    1. I'm planning to tackle this subject in next Monday's post!

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    2. Oooh, good! I look forward to it, Jan!

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    3. Cathleen Armstrong's "Last Chance" series did that with Steven. Boy he was a jerk...until he had his own book.

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  9. Missy, what a great post! And the novellas sound like fun reads. :) Your tips are great. As I work on my newest WIP, I'm doing it a little more "pantser-style" than I usually do. It's fun and scary all at the same time.

    And honestly? Fear has been my number one deterrent over the years. Your suggestions for working through some of that are wonderful.

    I'd love to be entered for the drawing.

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    1. Jeanne, there's just something wonderful about jumping in and having fun with the story. I did some basic GMC work, then got caught up in caregiving (getting behind on my daily word count). So when I realized I needed to just get started, I reviewed the GMC chart and then started writing. It was terrifying! LOL But so worth it. And simply making a little progress went a long way toward building my confidence.

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  10. Great post, Missy. Your new collection looks good. Please put me in the drawing.

    You gave some great suggestions. I also liked Ruthy's suggestion if giving yourself deadlines. I do that all the time but don't adhere to them because they aren't "real." I must work better on that or I will never achieve my goals.

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    1. Sandy, maybe if you have an accountability partner that will help. I used to write my self-imposed deadlines on the family wall calendar. My husband would check up on my occasionally to see how it was coming. Somehow, having another person asking about it made me work harder to make the deadline. I wanted to be able to tell him, YES, I'm on target! :)

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  11. Great timing, Missy.

    I'm sitting down this morning to make out a new writing calendar. I've been a caregiver the last few years and sometimes there's just no way to plan for it so your tips makes perfect sense.

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    1. Connie, I hope you can get the perfect schedule worked out, and that you can continually make progress on it!

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  12. Missy, thanks so much for all the fabulous tips! (I mentioned to someone else recently that once you are on deadline, the landscape changes. I'm loving the editing/revision process, but I've had to really maintain strict boundaries regarding my time.)

    I understand about the care-giving process. I'll just leave that there for now, but you have my deepest respect and tons of prayers and cyber {{{HUGS}}}.

    Hooray for a job well done!

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    1. Thank you so much, Cynthia! You have my prayers as well.

      Your tip about maintaining strict boundaries is excellent! That's one thing we don't often think of. We tend to answer every call and request. But we have to protect the work time when possible.

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  13. Wow, Missy. I can't imagine how stressful it must have been to write and be caretaker at the same time. If my children didn't nap fairly regularly, I wouldn't get much writing done, for sure. Probably what held me back from trying to get published for so long was just the uncertainty of everything. Now that I have experienced having one book out there, though, I am working on my next one now. It's way too fun to be published to not try to do it again, no matter the hurdles.:-)
    I would love to be entered in your drawing.

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    1. Amy, my kids almost never napped! I was lucky if they'd get 45 minutes of sleep. And they gave up naps around age 2 (except for falling asleep in the car or swing). Enjoy those wonderful nap times! I wish you well on your second book!

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    2. I don't think I could survive without naptime! Whew!
      Thanks!

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  14. Congrats, Missy, on your new release! And on getting everything done in time with all your other commitments. I find God provides the time when I'm on a short deadline and the work gets done in the time provided. God gets the glory. I'm just his scribe trying not to block his inspiration.

    Hugs!

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    1. Debby, I should have mentioned how God provided! I sometimes look back at the story and barely remember writing it. I love when God does that.

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  15. Yay, Missy! Congrats on the novella! I'm so excited for you. And yes, when it comes to book deadlines, things never go as planned. In my experience, it's more like expect the unexpected. But sometimes we/I work better under pressure, which is probably why God allows those things to happen. It forces us to give Him the control He should have had all along. Yeah, I think I need to print those words out right now as a hefty reminder for myself.

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    1. Yeah, I should write that down, too, Mindy!

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  16. Good morning, Missy!

    You gave some great tips about tight deadlines - - I had a November 1st deadline last year that got derailed by some family issues, but I did some of the same things you mentioned (I probably learned them from you!), along with requesting an extension on the deadline.

    The biggest things I learned?

    1) Don't procrastinate! (I'm a big procrastinator...in fact, I'm doing it right now for my May deadline! *insert eye roll here*

    2) Be super dedicated to meeting - or beating - your deadlines when you can. Build up a reputation, and your editor will be more likely to see that asking for an extension is a one-time deal. (And make sure it's a one-time deal!)

    3) And to echo one of your tips - be realistic about your time and abilities. Make a plan and stick to it.

    I have Back to You on my Kindle! It's waiting patiently on my TBR list. :-)

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    1. Jan, asking for an extension (in plenty of time) is definitely an option! I was thankful when they gave us an extension on this one so I was able to do the needed revisions.

      I've asked for an extra day or two in the past (or maybe an additional weekend). Those are usually no problem for editors.

      Thanks for getting the collection!

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  17. Hi Missy, congratulations on your novella! I'm so excited for you!

    Thanks also for the tips! One of my best friends is a dreamer. She always encourages me, and others, to dream. And then work toward those dreams.

    Thanks for sharing today!

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    1. Jackie, it's great to have friends that encourage us! I'm glad you have that type of support. This is a tough career to try to do alone. It can be very lonely.

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  18. Great tips Missy! So glad to have you in the collection. Prayers for those in your care and that God would grant you the time back and multiply your strength and rest. Much love to all!!!

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    1. Cheryl, much love to you!! Looking forward to reading your story!

      Janet

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    2. Thank you, Cheryl! I really appreciate the prayers.

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    3. Hi, Cheryl!!!! Waving from Arizona--and looking forward to reading the novellas!!

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  19. Missy, excellent tips for meeting a tight deadline! I'm impressed how much you manage to do with the responsibilities you carry!

    Congratulations on the release of your novella! All the stories in the collection sound great! I'm heading off to Amazon.

    Janet

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    1. Janet, thank you. I'm excited and can't wait to read the other stories. I've read other stories by these ladies and have been very impressed. It made me nervous to join them!

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    2. I think that is just another of those fears that need to be overcome. LOL

      Janet

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  20. Missy, CONGRATULATIONS on your novella release!

    Blessings!

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  21. Missy, all your points are on target. I ALMOST caved during a writing opportunity. I'm so thankful I persevered, with Seekerville prayer and support!

    As a plotting writer...and one REQURING exercise, I learned to plot the next chapter in my story while on the treadmill. A bit messy, but it can be done! Plus I believe physical focus helps the creative ideas.

    I purchased your novella collection! It’s ready to read for Valentine’s Day. Congratulations on writing through the difficult times. Thank you!

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    1. And thanks for the tech support! I can comment again! 🙂

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    2. Yay, Sherida!! I'm so glad to see you're able to comment from your phone! If any of you is having trouble while on phones or iPads, be sure to got to the top right of the blog and log in again to Google/Blogger. That fixed my problem and apparently worked for Sherida as well. :)

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    3. I also meant to say I love your idea about exercising and plotting! That inspires me to be healthier!

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  22. Missy, congratulations on your new release! And thank for for such an upbeat, inspiring reassurance that "Yes I Can!" :-)

    Nancy C

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    1. Nancy, I love cheering y'all on! :) Thanks for stopping by.

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  23. Congratulations, Missy! You're inspiring :)

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    1. Thanks, Phyllis! I appreciate you celebrating with me.

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  24. Hey Seekerville! Missy, Back To You is now on my Kindle! I'm not allowed to read it yet though. Have to wait till "stuff" gets done ha. Thanks for the great deadline tips. I give myself deadlines all the time but unfortunately I'm a procrastinator like Jan. So, that is why this year my one word is Intentional. I'm working on being intentional on keeping all my ducks in a row. I'm working on being extra uber intentional on my time spent quietly with God. THIS IS THE THING that holds me together. I've found if I spent my time with him, I'm able to meet deadlines and life's responsibilities better. And I"m a mess without Him. This is something we all know but that ole devil is soooo sneaky, and I seem to let him get away with it to much ha. Hope everyone has a great day!

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    1. Pat, thank you so much for sharing that! It truly is important to spend that time with God and to let Him direct our day! Thank you for that reminder today. I needed it!

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  25. Missy, I'll be honest. Your post gave me a little anxiety. :) I've been on deadline, and I've been a caretaker, but those worlds didn't collide. I don't think I could have handled it as well as you did. You're my hero today. :) Congrats to you and all the ladies on your new release!

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    1. Karen, I'm sure you would have handled it had the world collided. I'm so glad you didn't have that happen, though. I'll pray for you in your caregiving!

      Thanks for the congrats! We're excited. :)

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  26. Wonderful tips, Missy! My calendar is a must have...I write down everything I need to accomplish.
    Congratulations on the release of your collection! All of the stories sound great. I'll be grabbing my copy today.

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    1. Jill, thanks for celebrating with me! I'm really excited, as you can tell. :)

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  27. Does anyone else have advice about how you meet deadlines? Or about how you redeem secondary characters who may have been a bit jerkish in previous stories? :)

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    1. I have just decided that I'm going to redeem a secondary character from the book I'm working on now. He'll be the hero in the next book. I've never really done that before. Should be interesting. :-)

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    2. Have fun with it, Melanie! My guy was somewhat a jerk, but I sort of redeemed him (a least a little) in the original story. I think that helped. :)

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  28. Hi Missy! I love that you were able to add your sweet story to this collection. I know it was a crazy stressful time for you, but you persevered and it paid off!

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    1. Beth, thanks for everything you did to make that happen! :)

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  29. Great tips, Missy!
    More often than not, I am panicking, afraid I'm not going to make my deadline. I have learned to get out of the house and go to a coffee shop, which "forces" me to write instead of checking email and getting distracted by facebook, etc.
    I also take my computer with me EVERYWHERE. Including the doctor's office (got over 100 words in the waiting room today!) and the car rider line where I wait for my daughter (got almost 400 words today!) So all 500 words I got today were while I was waiting. I take my computer to the hairdresser, which can be really profitable!
    Thanks, Missy! And congrats on the new novella! It looks like a fun collection! Glad you pushed through and finished it, in spite of life's complications. I can appreciate that. :-)

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    1. Melanie, that's a great idea to take your computer everywhere! I used to do that with my Alphasmart but haven't been as faithful in recent years. I should do that again!

      Thanks for celebrating with me!

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  30. Missy--I know what all was going on behind the scenes this past year and you AMAZE me. Congratulations on meeting that deadline! Can't wait to settle down and cozy in with the Valentine Day novellas! And thanks for the tips on meeting deadlines. :)

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    1. Glynna, I hope you enjoy a little time for reading. I know what a crazy schedule you keep! You always amaze me!

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  31. Ahhh those deadlines! There's nothing quite as exhilarating or exhausting as a tight deadline where you're writing like your hair is on fire!

    I love your tips, especially the one about changing up your normal routines.

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    1. I liked that one, too. I forgot to mention it in my comment, but sometimes changing the way I approach the story makes all the difference in the world!

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    2. LOL, Erica! I will now picture you with your hair on fire as you approach your future deadlines. :) Thanks for that image! haha

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    3. Jan, I was surprised with what a difference it made. I may change my writing style a bit after this. :)

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  32. Ugh, started typing, then poof! Comment disappeared. I must have hit the delete button somehow. So...

    I started to say that this is awesome, Missy! I seem to run up to a tight deadline with contracts and then with edits. Fear (which leads to procrastination) and over plotting are probably my two worse enemies.

    And... if something's going to go wrong, it will. It's amazing how 50 things will crop up during the weeks leading to a deadline.

    Let's see... your tips are spot on, esp. planning how much time it's going to take. I'll add these...

    1) Foolishly, when I got behind on one ms and re-calculated what it was going to take to polish, I figured I could do it in a week. It takes me almost as long to polish a fairly clean scene as it does to write it!!! So, I know to build in 2 weeks for polishing. If the contract allows, I build in 4 weeks, because of those unexpected things (family or MY illness, promoting a new release, edits on the last book, etc. etc.) For a novella, it's a bit different. I can write and polish a novella in 8 weeks. But the novels take a lot more brain power for me to pull all the threads together.

    2) Make notes of how much you wrote and/or edited so that you know your pace for the next book. I work in Scrivener and there's not a good way to chart daily progress (ie. that looks like an Excel doc), but I imported a blank Excel sheet in to my Scrivener and it's at the very top of my file.

    I log daily word counts and total weekly word counts as well as checking to see if I'm on track with how many SCENES I want to churn out a week. WC is important to me, but pushing through to the end is critical as well as I'm way too tempted to just started editing when I hit a brick wall. Also, in this area, I highlight met/exceeded goal in green, below goal in yellow, and BIG FAT ZEROS in red. Sadly, there are way too may days of red.

    And... I add a few notes of encouragement... Here's one: "Encouragement: When Writing Magnolia Glen, I wrote 2500 words several (7) days; 3000 words on 3 days and 4500 words on one day. I CAN exceed my goals if I will BICHOK!!!!"

    And another one: "Note: Finished MG edits on time, but had to keep Ella (grandbaby) the entire 2 weeks, Mams (my MIL) broke both arms and had to have surgery, AND I ended up with severe sinus/allergies.

    Which leads me to tip #3…. (and a new comment because blogger said I was over my limit! ...

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  33. 3) Yes, I knew I had edits coming, and it was going to be great. I put in some serious writing on Book #3, and cleared the decks for when the edits would land on my desk. The best laid plans of Pam... never seem to work out. Grandbaby had HFMD (a mild case), but couldn't go to daycare and in addition the daycare was closed the entire week of Thanksgiving. The Saturday before Thanksgiving, my MIL fell and broke both her arms.

    I really don't know how I did all I did in those two weeks, because it's all a haze... but the first thing I did was hit the ground running as soon as the edits came in. I set my alarm at 6 am, worked until the g'baby got there, and some days my son was able to go in a bit later, and I had more time. Then hubby might take her to check the cows with him. I'd edit while they were gone. I prepared supper while she was there, and then started editing the minute she left. Without fail, I shut the computer down and went to bed promptly at 10 (I normally stay up later), knowing I needed to be fresh for my 6 am wakeup call.

    Then when my MIL broke her arms, and was very loopy on pain meds, my sister-in-law and I took turns staying at my in-laws to assist her. My FIL, hubby, and other family members helped, but there are some things us girls have to do. One night, I spent the night and spent 3-4 hours editing after they went to bed. Another day, after all the folks with day-jobs were working, she and I spent the day together. She read while I worked. We took breaks together.

    So, what I'm saying is figure out what needs to be done when things go wrong and do it. I did what needed to get done, and then some.

    4) Something I mentioned up there reminded me... REST. Unless you are a hardcore night owl, STOP working and go to bed or take a nap or a walk if that energizes you. Several times lately, I've been trying to get a scene to come together and it's just not working. I finally just quit, go to bed, and get up fresh the next morning, and it practically writes itself. I should know this... I've had the same thing happen when crunching numbers.

    5) Be prepared to just DO IT. I've pulled some 10-12 hour shifts for several days in a row.

    6) While not always feasible for everyone, I take a nap with the grand baby. If she naps extra long, I can write or catch up on email. But then when her parents pick her up, I'm fresh enough to write.

    Or in this case, read Missy's post!!

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    1. Pam, those are some amazing tips!! I remember those two weeks and how stressed you were! I was astounded at how well you handled it.

      #2 I should have know you'd create a spreadsheet! :) But it's a fantastic idea. I love how you leave the positive feedback as well. Very smart and inspirational!

      #4 I'm feeling convicted about the rest. I'm really bad about that. :( Hubby would definitely agree with you because he worries.

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    2. Typo alert. I know have KNOWN you'd create a spreadsheet.

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  34. I'm a natural born procrastinator, so my problem is whenever I write for something that has a deadline (which is very rarely) I end up putting it off until almost last second until the deadline is looming before me. Then I write like mad, but I don't know if a deadline has kept me from doing anything. Yet.

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    1. Nicki, I sometimes do better under pressure. But other times, it just gives me an ulcer. LOL

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  35. It's after midnight so it's really Feb. 13, LOL - - but I still wanted to say thank you for this wonderful post, Missy! Excellent tips and this is going into my Keeper File. :)
    Congratulations on the novella collection! Am ordering and look forward to reading your story (and the others too!).
    Hugs, Patti Jo (who really really needs sleep!) ;)

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    1. Patti Jo, I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by.

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  36. Thanks for the awesome tips, Missy! And Congratulations on your novella collection!

    I have an author friend that has a June 11 deadline for her next book, so I made that my deadline for my first!! It's helping, but I'm such a procrastinator, so I'm going to be a very busy person on June 1!!! I know myself!

    Blessings,
    Marcia

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    1. Marcia, that's a great idea! I'll be thinking of you as you work toward your deadline!

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  37. Thanks for some great advice for all of us! I would love for my nane to be included in your giveaway.
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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