Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Plotting Your Journey



I am unashamedly a pantser. Most of you know what that means. A pantser is a person who does not lay out big plans or modes or outlines or graphs or models of stories... we don't do creative boards about our characters and generally speaking we get a story idea and start fleshing it out mentally... and then we start writing. And in that initial writing process we get to know our characters, our setting and our plotline. We might go into the story knowing that Jennifer not only keeps her job, she gets a promotion and that Kyle realizes he isn't really meant to be alone... that he felt that way because of past wrongs.

BUT THAT'S ALL WE KNOW.

And so we write and get to know things and add things and bob and weave as we create the opening chapters, checking the sequence, tweaking this and deleting that.

Now this process is natural to pantsers. It doesn't worry us, bother us, fret us or take all that much time, really. It's an artistic process.

But this is not how to run a business.

The business side of writing is different. It's serious. It affects the paycheck. Which affects the mortgage. And the bank's pleasure at dealing with you.

These two distinct sides of your business need to be handled uniquely. You're fine being a pantser when writing books as long as you're creating saleable material. It's all good.

But running a business takes plotting to be successful, no matter which side of the publishing divide you fall on.

 
1. Plan your work and work your plan. 
    A. How much money do you need to make?
    B. Are you published already?
    C. If not, are you doing what it takes to get there?
    D. Are you working regularly?
    E. Are you sending things out?
    F. Entering contests?
    G. Working with a critique partner?
    H. What are your goals?
    I.  Are you working every day to achieve those goals?
    J. Have you put a lid on whining and/or being envious of others? (You would be amazed at how many writers are never satisfied with where they are because they're so busy looking around at others. This is not helpful. Keep production up at least until you're on the NYT list... and even then, if you're smart!)



2. Now that you're published, what are you doing to stay published?
   A. Are you writing daily?
   B. Are you editing your work regularly to polish it, make it shine?
   C. How many books can you write in one year?
   D. Do you crunch numbers regularly or act surprised when income rises or falls?
   E. Are you examining all sides and opportunities in the current publishing landscape?
   F. Do you set up a one year plan? A two year calendar?
   G. Most businesses run the "numbers". What are your numbers? How much can you write in a day? Then multiply that by days in the week and weeks in a year, etc.
   H. Do you have a back-up plan? When a line closes, do you have another outlet for your work?
   I. Are you utilizing the indie market as well as traditional markets to get your name out to more people?
   J. Do you watch market reports, Author Earnings, check Seekerville links and read with respect and skepticism?
   K. Do you know why you should be skeptical? :) Go to letter "L" and I'll tell you...
   L. Because you are the captain of your ship, and not everyone wants your success. You should! So don't pay too much attention to the whiners and naysayers that pepper the publishing landscape.


Now  you're asking yourself, is she serious?

Heck, yeah. And here's why: Most of our audience is women. Women are amazingly creative but tend to want to THANK EVERYONE for the chances they've been given instead of riding through the corral, boots on and heels down, showing everyone that they're in charge.

You need to be in charge.

You need to be the captain of your ship. You need to be the person in charge, the one with a plan because you are the only one who can make that plan work and make that dream come true.

You can dilly dally.

You can fuss over this and that. So many do...

But if you attack this new career like a job, even a simple part-time job, and give it that dedication of an hour or two/day, you will begin amassing an enormous stockpile of work in a year or two.

Why is that important?

Because no one buys a blank page.

NO ONE.

I love to see women take charge. I love seeing women square their shoulders, stick their chins in the air, and get the job done.


In the movie Willow, the little Nelwin "Willow Ufgood" is yearning to be the sorcerer's apprentice. The sorcerer holds out his gnarled, aged hands and asks the candidates to pick the finger with the power. Each one picks mistakenly. Afterward, the sorcerer asks Willow what his first instinct was, and Willow somewhat abashedly answers "I was going to pick my own finger."

"And that was the correct answer," said the aged sorcerer.

No matter where we are in this writing career, we shouldn't feel the need to look for power elsewhere.

Draw it from within.

Master your own destiny. Learn from other's mistakes, but that doesn't mean you have to follow their examples or timeline.


I have always admired production. Mary Connealy, Margaret Daley, Linda Goodnight, Karen White, Lisa Wingate, Nora Roberts, Shirlee Mccoy, Debbie Macomber, Lenora Worth, just to name a few. What these talented women share is the self-discipline to work daily... and to get the job done. They have shown all of us what can be accomplished if we just keep working.

A few weeks ago my buddy Vince mentioned writing a renowned classic.

You know, I have never worried about such things. If I can touch hearts and help troubled souls with sweet stories of longing and forgiveness, I'm happy. I have no need for stardom or awards or huge money...

I just like to write the kind of stories folks like to read. And I like to write them quickly.

BUT THAT'S ME.

And you don't have to be a Ruthy or a Mary or a Nora....

But if you're going to be running your own small business, you do better if you make a plan, then let the plan guide you.

It's all mathematical, darlings.

If you want to write three 60K books in a year, that's 180,000 words.

180,000/365 is just under 500 words/day. TWO PAGES, my loves.

Two.

I might not be big on planning and plotting my stories.... except in my head. But I do plan my work, my job, my business because planning that not only affects my pocketbook. It affects my life.

And while there are lots of things in life I cannot control... and as Shirlee Mccoy pointed out on facebook so succinctly this week, every writer deals with the stresses of life. No one is immune... the trick is to keep on working because while life throws you curves, the one thing you have full control over is your work. Your effort. Your production.

So tell me? Are you a pantser or a plotter in your writing? And how can you make yourself be a better planner when it comes to working?

Ruthy has a copy of her newest Love Inspired, a beautiful opening story to her new Western series "Shepherd's Crossing"... Wait, make that TWO COPIES!!!! Win it before you can buy it!

This beautiful reunion story will make you smile and sigh... and then smile again.
Leave a comment and let her know you want it... and tell us what you're doing to make your dream come true. If you dare... otherwise, just grab some cookies and lemonade and we can talk about any old thing.


Multi-published, bestselling, award-winning author Ruth Logan Herne writes the kind of stories she loves to read. Stories ripe with romance, faith, fun and fiction and enough poignancy that when they're done... when you turn that last page... you wish you hadn't finished. And that's the best compliment in the world... Friend her on facebook, follow her on Twitter, swing by her website ruthloganherne.com and feel free to e-mail her at loganherne@gmail.com. She loves to hear from you! 



116 comments:

  1. I feel like my life has been put on hold. I had no clue how hard becoming a caregiver would be. Its not physical labor but yet at the end of the day. I am so exhausted. Yet writing seems to be what keeps me going. I am doing Camp Nano this month and so far between the various writing projects that are in various stages I've accomplished 46k so far this month. I really can't plan for the future right now because I have no clue how long this difficult stage in my life will be, but I can keep writing and reaching for the goal of one day being published.

    I am so grateful for the prayers as I travel this difficult journey of up and down days as I watch my daddy's body fail him. Watching him hurt and suffer, watching him lie there with a diaper and some days having to feed him is so incredibly difficult. I do feel the everlasting arms of the Lord holding me up. thank you all for your prayer support.

    I'd love a copy of your book Ruthy.

    I hope everyone has a great day!

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    1. Wilani, you are doing a great job caring for your Dad. I agree, this is probably not the time for a lot of goal-setting, but the writing will still be there when you're done. You are a brave soul.

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    2. Prayers for you, Wilani. One day at a time is what you need to do right now. Your dad is grateful to you, I am sure.

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    3. God bless you, Wilani. What you're going through is in all our futures.
      Sometimes I wonder if medicine is doing the elderly a favor by finding so many ways to sustain life.

      It makes the end stages so hard for everyone.
      Do you read on Kindle, Wilani? I'd send you a copy of my new indie release if you'd like it.

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    4. Being a caregiver is HARD, HARD work...done in love, but still hard. God bless you for what you're doing, and may He give you peace about your writing life in the meantime.

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    5. Wilani, you'll never regret what your doing for your dad. God is smiling down on both of you. Bless you, dear one!

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    6. Bless you, Wilani. I know how exhausting it is. I know your sweet father feels the love and care. You're such a blessing!

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    7. Thank you for the prayers. Please keep them coming.

      Mary, I'd love a kindle copy of your newest book.

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  2. Wilani, I'm going to send you a copy just because I know first-hand how tough this is. You don't have to win a thing... life has some real rough bends at times, and if you can relax and read this first Shepherd's Crossing story, I'll be happier for it!

    God bless you and all caregivers...

    I think of Mother Teresa when I picture caregivers... working among the poor and huddled every single day, for long, long hours. Housing the poor, treating their wounds.

    Seeing Christ in every face.

    That's the caregiver in us.

    We see Christ in every face.

    God bless you, my friend. Write away and let God put plans in motion. He's the very best at it.

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  3. Thank you, Ruthy. This is what I want for two reasons: 1. Who knows what publishing will do next? We need to get The Word out there while we can. Nothing is certain in this life. 2. I'm older, I didn't even SIGN a contract till I was 67, and the time I have left needs to be well-executed. I can write as long as I'm in my right mind and have a laptop, but it will work a lot better with a goal.
    I have three series, each with two books completed. My goal is to have all three series accepted, by royalty publishers, by the time I'm 70, and to have the third book in each series completed.
    Please enter me in the drawing. I can pick up your book at Walmart, but I LOVE getting stuff in the mail.
    KB

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    1. I'm entering you, dear one, and I take great joy in Laura Ingalls Wilder's late-in-life writing career, and how long James Michener lasted and how Herman Wouk has kept writing and is facing 102 now....

      If our bodies say yes and we keep our wits about us, it's the kind of job you can retire from as desired... or do for as long as you want!

      And for some of us who just love, love, love this, it's kind of that way.

      Keep it going, there, Kathy!!!

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    2. Kathy, you are certainly an inspiration to me as I am 61 and still hoping for someday signing a contract. I know I should not give up!

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    3. Sandy, do as I say, don't do as I do. Or did. I made every possible mistake, which is one reason it's taken so long. The other is, it's God's timing, and that's okay by me. Don't give up!

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    4. Kathy, you are an encouragement. I am 63. I am not ready to submit but I am working towards that goal.

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    5. Kathy I love these goals. And I love that you've got a lot of work ready and ideas for what comes next.

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    6. Mary, remember, I got that from you. Remember "be ready"? See, someone listens.

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    7. I love that so many of you are pursuing this in your 60's! I started in my 30's but didn't sell until I was 45.

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  4. Great post, Ruthy. I am a little bit of both a plotter and a pantser in my writing. In my writing career I am setting goals but not following through. I need to listen to Ruthy and make these goals happen! Please enter me in the drawing for the book.

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    1. Sandy I honestly think Plotters write by the seat-of-their-pants more than you'd think and pantsers do more plotting than you'd think.
      You do what works for you.

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    2. I:m okay with whatever works for writing...but a business should be planned. And when we mess up, we change our plans!

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  5. Ruthy, are you talkin' to me? Excellent post, even if you did step on my toes a time or two.

    At heart, I'm a pantser, though I long to be a plotter. And that applies to both sides of my writing career. This is a learning year for me in terms of the business side. God is growing and stretching me, which I usually whine about. Just like I do when I go the gym. It's uncomfortable for a little while, but boy do I feel good afterward. I'm still adjusting to some of the life changes of the past year, but God is at work in both me and my work.

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    1. Mindy, I can relate. Until March of this year, when I signed with Pelican, I didn't have a business TO plan. So it's a learning curve for me, but what isn't?
      I'd love to be more of a pantser, I'm way too rigid, but that's just me again. Every method/style is good as long as it gets words on paper.

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    2. Mindy........you go to the gym?
      Yes, out of all your wrote, that's what I got.
      I'm so proud of you.
      I know where a gym is!

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    3. I've actually thought of going to the gym. IN my small town it is NOT expensive.

      But knowing myself and my sedentary approach to life, if I decide to join a gym, I think I'll just save a lot of time and climb onto my roof and throw my money off.
      End result the same.

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    4. That's all I saw, too! THE BRAT. Ay yi you. The mum's are my gym right now. 900 of them and they need me! I have to move for at least an hour a day. Whoa!

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    5. Since we're talking about the gym, I just joined one! I'm going to exercise class for old people (well it's called Ageless Warriors) and the people aren't that old. But I feel really old as the newcomer who is very out of shape and can't do anything yet. But I am hanging in there!

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    6. LOLOL!!!! Mary, that just made me cackle out loud!

      Sandy, good for you!! We should follow your example (as well as Ruthy's for working so hard at the farm).

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    7. Sorry, I got so wrapped up in finishing my proposal yesterday that I didn't get back over here. Mary, I didn't say I enjoy going to the gym, but I do go. And I'm very rigid about my routine. Doctors suggest 30 minutes of exercise, so that's all I do. I HATE cardio with a passion, so I only do 10-15 minutes of that to get my heartrate up, then it's on the weight-training, which I don't mind as much. Upper body one day, lower body the next. My favorite part of the workout is when it's over. The hardest part of the whole thing, though, is going to the gym. And if I don't do that as soon as I haul out of bed, I'll never make it. What I'm trying to say is, don't be too impressed.

      Sandy, YAY for you. Trust me, the first few weeks are the toughest. A) You're getting into a new habit. B) You're working muscles that haven't been worked in a while. Soon you will notice a difference though and you'll feel better.

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    8. Kathy, I'll give you some of my pantser genes if you give me some of your planner genes. ;D

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  6. Yes! Women taking charge! LOVE your points, Ruthy. So, so wise.

    I wish I were a pantser. It "looks" and sounds so eassssy, but...I know it's probably not. I'm a planner and plotter. Now, sometimes, things do change and I go with it when that happens (because it's usually a God-thing), but I'm not gonna lie. I like to make the plan and execute it. (*a-hem* Control it, ya know?)

    How am I making my dream come true? Hmmm... I let go of specific ways I wanted things to happen. I embraced new opportunities and didn't close the door (or my mindset) to those things I entered contests. I put myself out there. I made friends. Networked. (Notice the order I put those in.) I wrote my bee-hind off and said, "No, thank you. I'll have to pass." to time-sucks, mind-drains, phone calls, doorbells, users, and abusers. Sad, but some folks take advantage ... because they can. When we place value on our time, we begin to make better decisions. We're not being cruel or unfeeling when we tactfully, truthfully, and lovingly disengage or say "No thanks." We're using good judgment and ... making our dream come true!

    Excellent post!

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    1. Cythia, your response is a post in itself. We really do need to let go of "specific ways we want things to happen." I'm a freelance nonfiction journalist in my other life, the one that pays the bills, and nothing happens there if I don't hustle. But it doesn't work to apply the same mentality to inspirational work. I still hustle, but the results are His.

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    2. I'm valuing my time better and setting parameters now that I'm contracted. Before that, I let everyone interrupt me or make demands. We need to take ourselves seriously before others will do so.

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    3. Kaybee, the results ARE his. So true!

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    4. And you, my dear, just made a HUGE point: "We need to take ourselves seriously before others will do so." *ding* *ding* GREAT comment.

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    5. Cynthia, you are doing what works for you.
      The longer I'm in this writing game the more DIFFERENT ways I hear that people write.
      Do NOT wish to be something that doesn't work for you. Find your own way. Be at peace with it.
      And btw, I wish I was more of a plotter because........ plotter is a word and pantser just isn't!!!

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    6. LOL Mary! And thanks so much for the encouragement!

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    7. That's my girl! Saying no to time drains, and focusing on the work at hand is clutch. And us, taking the reins. Big yes!

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    8. Cynthia, you're right about having to protect our time.

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  7. Well, I'm not a writer, so I'm not a pantser OR plotter in that regard.

    BUT, as a freelance editor starting & running my own business, I have to be a planner to get that work done because other peoples' schedules are affected by my timeline. This can be stressful when trying to care for 4 kids, and life throws curve balls that mess with the daily/weekly/monthly schedule.

    I love being in charge of my work, though. There's absolutely no job in the world that I sit here & think, "If I wasn't doing this, I'd like to go work for so & so, or do such & such job". I enjoy being my own boss. Wonder where I get that from, Ruthy! ;)

    The job of editing (along with my other jobs), and now cover designing, requires planning & scheduling, but the life of a work-at-home-mom also requires plenty of flexibility. Sometimes easier said than done, right? :)

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    1. Beth I did NOTHING when I had little kids at home. I'm amazed at what you accomplish.
      I don't think I even read a book for ten years.

      I wrote my first book when my baby went to kindergarten and I had half days five days a week. That's when I started.

      PS she's a married woman living in Washington DC now. So that's been a while ago I started!

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    2. Mary, you accomplished raising 4 kids, so there's that!

      I haven't done that - yet. ;)

      And you accomplished actually WRITING books, which amazes me. I do not have the brain that creates stories, but I am glad that you do because I LOVE your stories! :)

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    3. I love her stories too... And Beth is fun to work with when she's not making fun of me! Another BRAT. But seriously yes, there is a lwvel of self-discipline that's a given. That comes along with the dream.

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    4. Beth, this definitely applies to any self-employed person. And I do appreciate how good you are about getting edits done when promised!

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  8. What a great pep talk, Ruthy.
    First thanks for using me as a GOOD EXAMPLE (for a change)
    Second for this:
    And you don't have to be a Ruthy or a Mary or a Nora....

    Sweet company, girl

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    1. I GOT BOTH OF OUR NAMES ON THE SAME LINE WITH THE NORA!!!!!

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  9. And now I'll tell you MY little secret. I don't work nearly as hard as I should.

    AND I WANT TO!

    It doesn't take that long to write my 1000 words a day.
    I am constantly annoyed (and I mean constantly, like 24/7) that I don't write MORE words a day.

    I'm a WIMP! A DORK! I could be writing so much faster and I have ideas. Since I started this indie pubbed thing I've got SO MANY IDEAS!

    Why don't I write my 1000 and then later do it again.
    It's not like I'm doing SURGERY the rest of the day.
    Mostly I'm loafing.

    This is a nice kick in the pant....if such a thing exists.
    Bless you Ruthy.

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    1. I, for one, would love even more Connealy books! Go for it, Mary!

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    2. I'm working toward 2k day...it was easy until farm season and now life interrupts me. 2k is nothing for you to do, Connealy. Shame on you!!!

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    3. Mary, you have crushed my dreams. I pictured you doing surgery the rest of the day!

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  10. I can relate to your experience, Kathy, as an older first time soon to be published novelist. I'm inspired by others too who published later in life, such as those already mentioned. Ruthy, your words are motivational. Whether a plotter or a panster, I have to be in control of how I use my time and the opportunities that may come to me. It's reassuring to know my writing journey is in God's hands and according to His timing. Please include me in the draw for your book.

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    1. Exactly. Our methods don't matter, but how we conduct business matters a lot! Go get 'em Pat!

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  11. Pat, we have hope. Martha Rogers was 73!

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    1. Lots of older writers. We are in great company!

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  12. Great post, Ruthy! I really needed this today. I used to be a pantser, now I'm a plotster - not sure I'll ever be a plotter. I mostly just need to work harder, faster and smarter - at everything. Thank you for the encouragement!

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    1. Laura, you have so much talent. Work steady and avoid the u-turns. They are pesky!

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  13. I love your math, Ruthy! That's inspiring right there. And clearly works for you since you've multiplied those daily word counts into so many books. And woot -- guess what I just finished reading this morning? Her Cowboy Reunion! And it's your fault that my garden is only half weeded and somewhat watered because I stayed in bed to finish the book instead of getting out early before the worst of the heat hit. Gah! Now I have to go out and lethargically weed in the full sun. But I couldn't wait to get through the gnarly stuff and bask in that happily ever after! So I'll think sweet Lizzie/Heath/Zeke/Corrie/Betsy thoughts as I eradicate thistles from my garden beds. And I love the setting -- breathing new life into a dying town. Can't wait to see what's in store for Shepherd's Crossing in future books

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    1. I am so glad you loved it! Yippee! Isn't it such a great line to expand? I love the town and the people and the ranch... #cowboys!!!0

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  14. Love, love, love this! There is so much in the publishing industry (and LIFE) that is outside our control, but our attitude and our work ethic are totally ours to command.

    Thanks for the encouragement and reminder!

    Back to work for me!

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    1. So true. Get to it, woman! And I love that we can run our own business, no matter how we're publishing and plan our futures. We are blessed.

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  15. Great post, Ruthy, and right along the same lines that I've been thinking lately.

    One thing I've done to take control was to stop doing a couple things that were weighing me down. Two very unrelated commitments that were both taking the joy out of my writing and making me second-guess my calling. So when I got to the end of the current projects, I didn't take on more.

    Freedom. :-)

    Another thing I've done is to focus on my writing - it's hard to keep from being distracted by other opportunities, but God's nudges seem to be telling me to forget about those and increase my writing production. I have tons of story ideas, but they won't get written if I don't write them!

    Thanks for the inspiration (as always!!!)

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    1. I am much the same way. Sometimes folks try to make us feel guilty about choosing work over other things, but they're not waiting at the mailbox for my bills, Jan! And I love writing. I had to learn not to feel guilty about that.

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  16. Thank you! I've been experimenting with all kinds of ways to organize my writing life and felt so frustrated that much on my list got done, but not any new writing. Your post has helped me form an idea to write those 500 words FIRST, then spend the rest of the day on other items from my list. Which I'll do...as soon as I finish this comment!

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    1. Linda, that's a great life lesson! First things first. I realized that if I waited for the right moment to write, time got away from me. This way, writing takes precedence. Then the other stuff. Go you!!!

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    2. Linda, I thought the same thing as I read.

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  17. The Parable of the Talent

    The master give a child a talent. This was of great value in those times. The child went out and over the years used that talent to sooth the troubled souls of the many within her world.

    The master was pleased but as the years went by and the child did not use all the talent given, the master was saddened. When the aged child finally arrived back home the master asked:

    "Why didn't you use all the talent I gave you?"

    "I am just a humble servant. I had no need for even greater wealth or fame in order to be happy."


    The master responded:

    "And to whom did I give the most talent ever?"

    "That would be Jesus."

    "And did I give this talent to Jesus to make him happy?"

    "No."

    "Did I give it to Jesus to make him rich?"

    "No."

    "And did Jesus not use his talent, as a fisher of men, to insure my word was spread to the four corners of the earth?"

    "Well, actually, the world is round. It's doesn't have corners."


    The master smiled at this and said:

    "Ah, I knew I shouldn't have given you that red hair."

    "You gave it but then you took it away."


    The master became serious and said:

    "I wished for your renown to serve as a signal light, a shining beacon, that would draw the eyes of the world, even those in the darkness, to the welcoming comforts your works."

    "Yes, master, but I like to work quickly."

    "Is not the history of art replete with masterpieces that were spontaneously created quickly between major works because the artist was so inspired?"

    "Yes…but."

    "Where do you think that spontaneity came from?"

    "From you, master, but it's a little late now. I wish you had told me this at the time."

    "I did. I even sent a philosopher to tell you."

    "Oy vey! That's like sending Cassandra, no one believes those guys anyway."


    And so it was.

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    1. Hahahahahah! This is PERFECT!!! I'm laughing out loud and people are giving me looks, Vince!! Okay, if God gives me a world changing story I will write it...but I think Running on Empty and my three newest releases come close. Such beautiful stories, my friend.

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    2. I'm typing on phone so forgive the mistakes!

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    3. Hi Ruth: I would have responded yesterday but I've just managed to stop laughing! I read this:

      "Okay, if God gives me a world changing story I will write it..."

      And I thought, "How nice of you. And if God buys a lottery ticket for you and you win, I guess you'd be willing to endorse the prize check."

      I think God wants you to buy a lottery ticket at least and be aware when the spirit moves you. Remember luck favors the prepared.

      Think: What would be the romance equivalent of "The Old Man and the Sea"?

      Hemingway's son didn't like Papa's 'fish story' and told him so. When Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize for that story, he sent his son the $500 prize money.

      Be on the lookout because when God sends you 'the story', you're not going to have to sign for it. :)



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  18. You're inspiring, Ruthy!!! And all those mums you're growing...amazing. Plus writing and caring for children and baking and selling produce and eggs and who knows what else.

    I'm a plotter with my writing and I used to be a plotter with my business. Not sure what I am now. :)

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    1. Deb, your writing is so beautifully executed... and the business aspects sure seem to be on target! No critic in WNY!!!!

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  19. I've been wanting to read this! My plan is self-publishing my 3rd novel and blogging every week.

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    1. Go for it, Lila! You'll have to let us know how it goes!

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    2. Lila, go you! You've got two novels DONE??? Which puts you in the top percentage of authors because most folks never finish the book... and you're on number three... Go you. I have found that the best advertising for my books is more books. I think that's the world we live in now... It's a great form of self-advertising!

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  20. I just enjoy coming on here and reading how all you author interact with each other. EVERYONE keep up the good work on your books.

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    1. Kim, we do have a lot of fun around here! And with our writing as well. :)

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    2. Hey, Kim! Good to see you over here... and this group rocks. Such a nice bunch of authors and villagers and advice from all directions.

      And we know it doesn't all work for all people... but that's the fun of a blog like Seekerville, we can show the various ways forward... SWEET!!!

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    3. Kim, you don't have to be a writer to hang out in Seekerville. Visit often, okay?

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  21. Goodness, I was thinking today was a no-post day!! I'm heading to read this now.

    I think I need someone to keep me straight about what day of the week it is in the summer! LOL

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    1. Missy, you make me feel good about myself, LOL! Since I managed to mess up a day on Yankee Belle a few weeks back... WHERE IS MY SCHEDULE???

      Ah... summer! :)

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  22. What a great post, Ruthy!! I'm feeling a bit convicted. :) But THANK YOU. I needed the kick in the rear.

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    1. So happy to oblige, darling!

      :)

      In simple terms everything comes down to numbers on the business side.

      The writing side is different. I want emotional draw and poignancy.

      But on the business side, I want to learn from my mistakes (sooooo numerous!) and keep growing my business.

      It is so much fun to be a small business owner!

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  23. Ruthy, I wanted to tell you that I tried your Crockpot Chicken Barbecue recipe from the Seeker recipe collection I won in book bingo. It was very good. My husband said it was a meal fit for a king.

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    1. Sandy, I haven't tried that yet. I'll have to do so soon!

      Which makes me think... did I get a copy of the cookbook??? Must check!

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    2. Missy, I don't think I sent them out to SEEKERS!!!!! EEEK!

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  24. Oh, my! I do admire you, Ruthy! You are such a fireball! You have such good advice and are so willing to share it with everybody. Sending you a virtual hug, my ambitious wonderful friend! I'd love to be entered in the contest to win your new book!

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    1. Winnie, thank you so much... and if you saw me right now that fireball status might be WEAKENED!!! :)

      Hugging you right back. And throwing your name in!

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  25. Ruthy, your posts always inspire and motivate me---and this post is no exception. Wow!! I love this, and I love your "no nonsense, get to the point" delivery - - Thank you! :)

    I am definitely a pantser, and for me personally, being that way adds joy in the writing process. I LOVE getting to know my characters better as I'm writing, and so often they surprise me, which keeps things interesting, LOL.

    Please add my name to the drawing (Love that cover--so sweet).

    Hugs, Patti Jo

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    1. I am happily adding your name, sweet Patti Jo! And clearly I was in a no nonsense mode, right??? ;)

      From one pantser to another... as long as we get to "the end", right? With a BOOK!!!!

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  26. Just a reader, but still enjoyed your post. Would love a copy of your new book!

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    1. Mindy! No such thing as Just A Reader around here. You are the reason we do this, sweet thing! Tossing your name into the cat dish... or is it a cowboy hat today??? :)

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    2. We love readers, MJSH! Visit often, please!

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  27. I'd love a copy of your book. I too am a pantster and not business minded. I'm learning a long the way. Lately I've been doing more book signings and one thing I rarely do is give a deep discount on my paperbacks. I know what I pay for them and if I sell all my books and barely make a profit that is of little value. Instead I smile at customers, talk about my book and gladly autograph it. Those who love to read paperbacks will pay full price especially if it's autographed. I need to make a profit to be a real business. Thank you so much for your tips I see how much more I need to get better at the business side.

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    1. Oh, this is so true... we all need to make a profit (which for us is our hourly wage because there is no hourly wage!)

      Every now and again someone will pose the question "well, you're a Christian author. How come you charge this for your books?"

      Well, because I have an electric bill. And a grocery budget and a mortgage and a car, etc. Etc. Etc.

      :)

      So how can we make you more business minded, darling? Because that's the basis for us staying in business...

      And yes, deep discounting pricey paperbacks is tough!!!

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  28. Ruthy,
    I always LOVE your no-nonsense writing advice.

    Good old,Willow Ufgood. Makes me smile.

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    1. I love Willow Ufgood! And Maia? Such a good mother to those Nelwins! :)

      I am glad you love the advice.... And that you never run screaming, Connie!!!

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  29. Ruthy, you are so wise and encouraging. I'm a pantser without a business plan. I really appreciate how you address the business plan. It helped me reflect on my lack of one and why I need one. Since I still work full-time, I know I have financial fallback for my writing and haven't been serious about the business end of it. But it's time for me to focus on making my business stand alone. Thanks for the guidance.

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    1. Yes, yes, yes... Karen, this is the time to do it. Before you need to do it! And just to create the habit. I used to do exactly what I do now for a few years before I was published because I wanted to be ready... and if I stay on schedule with goals and work, then I'm not looking over my shoulder. Or self-scolding!

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  30. LOVE this!! Yes, love it! I'm a few weeks away from finishing my previous 18-month production plan. I'll be putting a new one together soon. Thanks for motivating me to keep working hard and to take chances! I admire you so much, Ruthy.

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    1. An 18-month plan. Good for you, Jill. Will you be at RWA? If so, I'll see you there!

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    2. Oh, what a sweet thing to say! Thank you, Jill!

      An 18 month plan sounds marvelous. And if that scares some of you, it shouldn't! Changing it is as easy as find-and-replace!

      I use a two year spread sheet so I can see what's due (in one color) what's being released (in another color) and what I'm working on (in another color)... when a line folded 18 months ago... I simply erased those dates and slipped in a couple of indie books instead!

      But if I'd gone into the year thinking I only needed two books, I'd have worked much more slowly.

      And with sales down, working slowly doesn't help pay off my family room.

      So seeing that two-year calendar keeps me in gear... and then I change it when the first year ends.... then the second year becomes the current year and I add on...

      Production plans + Women in Business = Success!

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  31. Of course I would love a copy of Ruthy's book! :-)
    In working on achieving dreams, I am making myself edit some ms that have been sitting on my computer for several years. And I submitted one the other day. Fingers crossed and prayers in the air!

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    1. Amy, go you!!!!! Editing has become my best friend. MY BEST FRIEND.

      That tells you what a sick puppy I am, that I can't find like HUMAN FRIENDS!!!!! (sad... sad... sad...)

      But be that as it may, I have learned to love editing because that's when the story breaks through. That's when my disjointed ideas begin to gel from start to finish and I can see the beauty of the layers.

      Editing totally and unequivocally rocks.

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    2. Ruth, can you just sit beside me and remind me how great it is? Ha! But seriously, I stayed up thinking of things I needed to add to the scenes I edited yesterday afternoon. That's a good sign, right?

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  32. Hi Ruthy, I'm very late seeing this post but there's no question that I would love to win a copy of your book. I enjoyed your duggsuggest and tips and I love your quote. God surely can make all of us worthy! I am now striving to support authors and their books through my reviews.

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    1. Connie, thank you. Thank you so much. I'm tucking your name in... and the worthiness is such a blessing and never an abstract. It's already there, bright and bold!

      But sometimes we don't see it.

      Sometimes we miss it completely.

      Maybe we're looking in the other direction.

      Maybe we're focused on what's gone on before...

      But that worthiness is born in us by the grace of God and he wants us to spread those wings and use every bit of talent and toil he gave us.

      He knows us. Every hair. Every breath.

      Thank you for the support, we love and need it!!!

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  33. Hi Ruthie,

    Great article, thank you!

    I think I'm a panster for short pieces and a plotter for longer ones. But mostly I write short so I don't have to plot haha!

    God probably doesn't want me to be so lazy though so once I get over the deep grief of suddenly losing my mom this May, maybe I'll stretch into some longer pieces.

    Please enter me in your drawing.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. Oh, Phyllis, grief and worry and life can be a creative drain, can't they? Praying for you, sweet gal, and tucking your name right in!

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  34. I am struggling with making a plan and may need help. I have only been published in a children's devotional and it was only one piece. I need to set hours and write daily. I don't know how much money I need to make; I live with my mom still. I am blind and 25 years old. I have written a book with help from a mentor and am waiting for a response from the editor.
    I guess I have gotten lazy or something.
    Very happy to see this post, though. I have wanted to read it ever since last Sunday.
    I just need advice.

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