Category Archives: Writing

7 Ways to Show Your Writing a Mother’s Love

A mother’s love is a funny thing. It seems to me an unending, ever fruitful, and often times colossal, force to be reckoned with. Take for instance my mother:

  • Hard working owner of a B&B
  • Devoted Peony farmer
  • Grandmother/fill in mother of two full-time Grand-babies
  • Volunteer for multiple organizations
  • Doting wife
  • Loving Daughter

And that’s in a nut shell. The list of my mom’s to-dos goes on and on and on…and on. Yet, she still manages to come to my blog, and read every single one of my posts. If you go back right now and check in the comments section, she is often the first person (ok…Sometimes the only) to comment.

Those comments are always filled with affection, support, joy, and genuine happiness at having read something I wrote. Why? Because she’s operating with a mother’s love. When a mom loves her child, she will go above and beyond to make sure they feel that devotion.

After reading my mom’s last loving comment, I got to thinking…Why shouldn’t our writing get a mother’s love? After all, these words are our babies, are they not? They are the infants of our mind, and deserve that same sort of diligent affection that my mother finds time to shower me with.

So… I made a list.

7 Ways to Show your Writing a Mother’s Love

  1. Dedication: Let’s start here. I’m needy and forgetful. My mom knows this. If she didn’t constantly remind me that she loved and adored me…How, oh how, would I ever remember, or believe it? You’re writing is the same way. It’s needy. If you don’t dedicate yourself to writing daily, and express your devotion by getting words on the page, your skills will slowly start to rust. So, as I begin to wither without my mother’s constant reminders of devotion, our writing too will suffer without our attention. We must devote ourselves to writing, and improving our relationship with the written word.
  2. Confidence: I don’t know about your mom, but mine is a permanent resident of the ‘Brittney Fan club’. It is her faith that often times drives me to bigger and better things. So I say, give this confidence to your writing. An author once told me, “We are only as good as we believe we are.” Have faith in your ability to not only write, but to write well, and let that confidence bring your words to a greater level. It won’t come easily, but knowing that you are a Writer, that this is a tangible thing you can embrace, may give you a needed push to carry on.
  3. “You can do better”: When I was a child, my mother used this statement often. It’s not that what I had done was wrong, or unsatisfactory, but she knew that I was capable of so much more. Push your writing to be better. Don’t settle for mediocre or subpar verbiage. Explore, prod, and excel. Always. Give yourself goals, and push your own boundaries until your writing reaches the levels you want it to. Don’t give up on it.
  4. Nourishment: Mom’s feed us, so we must feed our writing. Attend seminars, read, go to writing conferences, and never stop learning. Feed your inner writer with knowledge!
  5. Freedom: My mom was rather rad, in that she let me have more freedom as a child than most parents. However, at any given age…in certain cases much later than others… we all must fly the coop.  Our moms have to let go — to give us our freedom. Give this to your writing! Allow the inner writer to just write. Don’t worry about grammar, or spelling or using the correct language… Just write. Give it creative freedom, and you may find something beautiful and outrageous. Something that would never have come to you in the confines of your own strict rules.
  6. Knowing when to walk away: Not going to lie… This drove me crazy!!! When we would argue, my mom was always the first to walk away. ‘Give me space’…’I’m done talking about this right now’…We’ve heard them all before! But, what I didn’t realize until I was out and about getting into crazy shenanigans… is that these moments of our relationship, were simply another type of love. I’m stubborn… and I didn’t get it entirely from my dad. When she walked away it was because she knew neither of us were going to give. She was giving us the space needed to breath, the space needed to soak in each other’s side. Know when to walk away from your writing. It needs space, and so do you! Give yourself time to let go of your stubborn streak, and come back to the pages with a new found openness. It could be that you really don’t need that scene with the rubber duck and polka-dot umbrella. Or, maybe, that scene is the Bee’s knees, and needs velociraptors with light sabers… Only you can decide… We walk away so that we can more clearly see if we need to kill our babies. She, as of now, has let me live.
  7. Love: Just pure and simple. My mother loves me. She tells me, in not only her words, but in her actions as well. I feel that love, and other people are able to see it. If you truly love your writing, and you express that love through devotion to your craft…Readers will see it and they will feel it through your words.

Give your mom a hug… She certainly deserves it!

Cheers

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Be a Chuck Norris for Your Writing

I’ve recently been chatting it up with a new Twitter friend John Davis, and something he said has really stuck with me. (Check him out @johndavisbooks …Why? Because he rocks!)

He said, “Brittney, you’ll find that I’m like the Chuck Norris of Self-Publishing.” It’s probably true…He’s quite impressive. But, more than that, the line stayed with me as a way of writing life. I want to be my own writing Chuck Norris. Don’t you? I sure hope so, because that might be the difference between a published novel that sells, and one that falls flat. I realize that Chuck Norris has a towering reputation of Badassery, but how did he obtain it?

Hard work? Determination, dedication, and desire? Sure. He put his blood, sweat, and tears into becoming the towering icon that he is today. It wasn’t easy, and he probably didn’t always follow the rules. .

I mean, isn’t Chuck Norris, by definition, the man who breaks the mold? I’m not saying that you should throw well-studied, and popular writing rules out the window so that you can be a maverick. I’m saying, try something new, be bold and don’t give up. Forge new paths and let your voice be heard.

My writing deserves a voice, and I’m sure your writing does as well. Let’s go forth and Chuck Norris the shit out of the writing world – Travel to the writing Virgin Islands, and leave them simply called “the Islands”.

Thank you John (and Chuck), for keeping me happily on the writing path. 🙂

Cheers to writing euphoria!

Brittney

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7 steps to a Successful Literary Pitch

I recently returned from the #WDCE (Writer’s Digest Conference East) in New York City. What an experience! The atmosphere alone was worth the money and time spent going. I was able to meet a lot of young writers as wide-eyed and bushy-tailed as I was (am), which has, even in just the few days since I’ve returned home, been invaluable.

I attended the conference with no intention of making a pitch to an agent — Being more concerned with getting my creative juices flowing again, and checking out the self-publishing world. My how plans change!

I wrote a pitch for my book on Friday and delivered it with no…ok, very few….mistakes to 12 agents the following day! It was both a terrifying and liberating experience. As a writer, I do love to talk about my work…my Precious, if you will. Taking into consideration the things I was able to glean from the conference, I have been making, and continue to make, adjustments to the novel. My hope is to have it ready, or as ready as it can be, to send out very soon. I will only get that one chance to impress…so here’s hoping I do!

I’ll try to keep you better updated as time goes on!

Now, Without further ado: 7 Steps to writing a solid pitch, as given by Chuck Sambuchino. (Well, from the notes I jotted down while he was speaking.)

First: Introduce yourself and be polite.

Second: The agent wants to hear four things.

  • Genre
  • Title
  • Word Count (if you know it)
  • Is it complete?

Third: Log line: Character, their vocation along with something that makes them different, and why they are in the story.

Ex: Tammie Johnson is a no-holds-barred New York City Cop, who struggles with a drug addiction and the need for speed. ( I don’t know.. something like that)

Fourth: The Pitch

  1. Introduce the main Character. Ex: 35-year-old Tammie Johnson was born and raised on the streets of New York City.
  2. Introduce something unique or different about your character. Ex: She used to believe in the system, but now with 15 years on the force, she struggles with a very real drug addiction and spends her nights illegally racing cars on the street for cash.
  3. Inciting incident. Why is this a story? Ex: When she witnesses the brutal murder of a close racing friend, Tammie decides to clean up her act and find the evidence needed to put the guilty party behind bars.
  4. Conflict. What’s stopping your character from doing what they want? Ex: But, the culprit knows she witnessed the murder, and is now out for her blood as well. Tammie must find a way to put the man behind bars without exposing her own hand in the illegal car racing world, or worse, ending up a corpse herself.
  5. Complications. What are some SPECIFIC examples of things that get in her way. Ex: While fleeing for her life and looking for clues, she’s forced to dress like a clown, gets attacked by a seemingly rapid Chihuahua, and on one occasion is forced to defend herself using only a crimson, 6 inch stiletto heel, and her wits.
  6. Vague wrap up. You want to give them an idea of the possible outcome, but not tell them the end of the book.. You want them to WANT to read it! Ex: When Tammie is given an anonymous tip, she must decide to pursue the lead, or give up. For this white rabbit might lead her to the answers she’s been looking for, or down a dark hole — one that’s 6 feet under.
  7. Stakes. What happens if the character fails. This doesn’t have to come at the end…Just make sure you put it in there. My examples show that if Tammie doesn’t catch the killer, she could end up dead herself.

Ok! Well, that’s all I got. I’m sorry for the pitch given in the examples, I came up with that seat-of-the-pants style while writing this..:P If you would like more, or better, examples of a successful Pitch — check out Chuck Sambuchino’s Blog, Guide to Literary Agents. He also plays a mean Piano, and sings a sweet rendition of Hallelujah. I was lucky enough to meet Chuck at the Conference and he is a must read for anyone looking to pitch their book to a Literary Agent.

Do you have any pitch-agent related horror stories? Please share in the comment section below!

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Row80 Check In!

OOOK, This week..

New Week’s Resolutions:

Write out my work outs daily..I rocked this goal. I’m talking CHAMP status! I wrote my workouts every day on little papers and taped them to the wall with fancy duck tape. Then I ordered a workout journal and transferred all my papers into it! … Rocked it, right?!

Creepy notes left around for others to find…  I Don’t know how creepy they were, but I wrote a couple “Kick me” signs and put them on people… and I put one in the bathroom…

IMG_0137

Yeah, Human flesh. Gross. lol

New, New Week’s Resolutions:

Work out 5 days this week.

Wear my hair in 7 different unattractive ways. I shall post pictures…:D

 

Row80 goals

Writing 500 words- Ok.. So I didn’t do spectacularly here… I wrote 3 days of this week… Yeah, I know. But, I got three straight nights of 8 hours of sleep, turned off my phone for almost two days straight, and had a couple great conversations with the guy that I’m dating. So over all it was a productive week!

Reading- Fail.. that is all that needs to be said… lol

Editing- My editor sent me over 4 or so chapters and I got through those pretty well. I also managed to write up a blog post or two, and I’m checking in today..

Working out- I’ve walked between 40-120(one day) minutes a day, and have also been running stairs in the Engine room and lifting weights… Combine that with eating healthy and I’m down 3.3 lbs. Not bad!

Overall, a good week for me…But, I could definitely invest in my writing more!!

Cheers

Brittney

 

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ROW80 Update and A Snippet

Ok… So Goal updates..

New Week’s Resolutions: Go.

-Tracking: I’d say that I tracked better, but if we’re being honest, not as well as my goal specified. I’d give myself a C on this one. I’ve also had the munchies, and not even in a “Washington state’s new law” sort of way. Just eating too much.

-Question evasion: This actually went quite poorly. I thought it would be super fun to avoid questions all week, but it wasn’t.  I completely forgot most of the time, and couldn’t tell you from day to day if I was even asked direct questions, let alone answered them or not. I, in one moment of clarity, had a fun little questions debate with a coworker, but it ended after only a few short evasions. In that brief interlude I decided (with a sly little chuckle, I should add) not to tell my coworkers about the goal because then they’d hound me all week with direct questions. Out of sight out of mind apparently, because I was nothing but forthright and accommodating all week. How disappointing.

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New Week’s Resolutions and Row80 Goals!

I had originally thought to make these two separate posts, but seeing as how I have about 4-5 possible blog posts that need to be written up, I’ll stick to one!

Every year I make a New Year’s Resolution and proceed to vehemently pursue self-fulfilling satisfaction by sticking with it. This lasts approximately two-three months on a good year. 2013 saw  me not even making NY resolutions. Fail. I don’t know what my problem is. Is it the longevity of the situation? Is committing myself to a year’s worth of diligence simply too much?  Who knows, your guess is as good as mine. Today, while cleaning a particularly sticky pan of bacon grease…(no, I don’t know why sticky was the chosen descriptor there…) I decided to start something new. A New Week’s Resolution. Each week I’m going to give myself goals to complete, and I’m going to give it all I got for that single week. I will have to Change my goal/goals weekly, or It’s just another NY resolution… those dastardly sneaks, trying to slide into my plans! I THINK NOT! My theory is that I can do ANYTHING for a week, and perhaps the continual satisfaction of making and sticking with small useful (or not) goals will better prepare me for the NYR of 2014. We can only hope.

This Week’s NWR (New Week’s Resolution(s)) is going to be:

-Track my food accurately. Not half-arsed as I have been. I’m doing Weight watchers and have been slacking considerably on the accuracy of my points intake. I count sure, but in an “I think it should be this many points” sort of way.

-Avoid answering direct verbal questions with anything other than nonsense. This might seem weird, and to be honest it is. I’m just at work on the boat, and the thought of responding to everyone’s questions with more questions, or perhaps some strange space alien sonnet, seems like a load of fun. It’s all about the little things!

On a goal oriented note I have decided to get back into Row80 because my writing has fell by the wayside, and Row80 is a WONDERFUL way to keep on track!

ROW80 Goals:

-Write 500 words a day.

-Finish reading through the rough draft of my novel. (thank you Nanowrimo!!)

-Keep up with my editor. He has been sending me pages FAR faster than I have been editing, and I’m about 5 chapters behind! Commence catching up, and keeping up!

Workout goal- Walk at least 30 minutes a day.

 

OK! Well, that’s all I got for now!

Brittney

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#FridayFictioneers

OK! So this is my first attempt at this, so cut me some slack!:)

Here is the photo for this week’s Friday Fictioneers. I guess the purpose is to write 100 words after looking at a photo that the lovely Madison Woods posts! So here goes! Sorry it might be 20-30 words over.. I cut about 50 of them.. lol

~

Identity theft

“Going to miss her Son?” The man asks, his much larger hand swooping down and grasping my shoulder with affection. I hate being touched.
I feel my lips curl back in a snarl and the anger building in my gut like a serpent, but before it lashes out I manage to twist it into a weak smile.
He glances down when I don’t respond, his eyes pulling together in confusion before he shakes himself like one of those hairy mutts they call dogs and looks back at the ship that carries his wife. This child’s mother.
The smile lays like sludge across my face, twitching only slightly when my nails begin to peel off. The skin below is black and dead as it always is after this long.  I glance at the man who will serve as my next vessel and the boy’s soul begins to scream. Again. Will he never shut up?
~

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