Monday, April 6, 2020

Writing Through the Storm by Angela Ruth Strong

Angela Ruth Strong
Find it challenging to write right now? You're not alone. Fellow MBI author Angela Ruth Strong is here to share her advice for writing (or not) during tough times. Read on. ~ Annette


How has the pandemic affected your writing? We all wanted more time to write, but quarantine can be a little extreme. It’s especially hard to focus your creative energy on imaginary problems when you’re facing real-life challenges.

On the other hand, writing can be a great way to express emotions or escape from the constant, depressing news updates.

So what should you do? Here are some options:

1.) Use your extra time to write that novel you’ve been putting off. Apparently, this is what Shakespeare did during the Plague, and there is currently a Quarantine Writing Challenge going around. I offer these tips to help leave your worries behind and get words on the page.

Set goals. This can be a chapter a day, a word count goal, or even just setting a timer for yourself. Do the math to figure out how soon you want to finish the book, then divide the work up so you know what you have to do each day. My writing friends and I have sprints where we race each other for half an hour to see who can get the most words in. This keeps us focused on moving forward when it would be so easy to get distracted by changes at home or in the world.

Find a schedule that works. If you have kids home from school or your spouse working from home, your writing time is going to look a little different. You might need to plan to get up early before everyone else or write after they go to bed. If you don’t make these kinds of adjustments, you could end up frustrated by unmet expectations and quit. You can’t control the things that happen outside your home, but you do get to control your time. Use it wisely.

Turn off social media. This will be easier for some more than others, but it’s a must for me. If I get distracted by every little Facebook ding, I never get deep enough into the story that the words start to magically appear on their own. I sabotage myself. However, when I let myself be completely immersed into the joy of writing, I come out fulfilled and encouraged, able to face my own challenges with a newfound strength.

Write out of order. This is my secret for meeting deadlines. Though I can force myself to write a scene I’m not feeling, it’s slow and painful. If I can jump to the scenes already fully formed in my imagination, it’s a better use of time and more fun. Then those scenes that lacked direction earlier now have a target for which to aim.

Don’t let yourself edit yet. There will be time for this, but you don’t want to lose momentum. You’re also still too close to the story to know whether that scene that needs reworking is going to get cut or for you to see your mistakes and moments of brilliance for what they really are. Plus, your ending might surprise you, in which case you’d have to go back and change all those things again anyway. Get to the end so you have a whole story to work with. And also, get to the end because it’s one of the best feelings in the world, and all our emotions could use a little boost about now.

2.) Write something different. This is what I’ve been doing through my chemotherapy treatments. As much as I would like to finish all the novels on hold in my head, I lack the creative energy needed to make up stuff from nothing. Instead, my brain is contemplating the meaning of life, and I’ve had this well spring up of inspiration I’m compelled to share. I’ve done so through my newsletter, blog, and the devotionals I’ve been asked to write. This isn’t the career I planned for myself, but it’s been good for my own spiritual and mental health as well as connecting with readers on a different level. God doesn’t waste a thing.

3.) Take a season off. This isn’t for everyone, and it isn’t quitting. When I went through my divorce, there was no way I wanted to keep writing romance, so I didn’t. I know another writer who had to back out of a book set because she was in the middle of a move. Transition is hard, and your health is more important than your characters. Maybe your family needs you right now. Maybe you’re healing from a loss. Give yourself time to breathe. Be still, and let God fight for you. He’s always working behind the scenes in ways not even you can imagine.

Be still, and let God fight for you. He’s always working behind the scenes in ways not even you can imagine. #amwriting #writingcommunity #quarantine #Christfic @AngelaRStrong

Once you’ve found the writing choice that is right for you, don’t feel bad about it. Every author faces conflict that affects their work.

I remember Linda Windsor saying that when she turned in her manuscript after her husband died, the editor remarked that it looked like a rough draft, and she hadn’t even realized it. Robin Lee Hatcher shared that when going through her divorce, her editor had to make her add conflict because she subconsciously refused to let her characters face any of the pain she was dealing with.

I wish you the best with wherever you are at, and I look forward to reading all the deeper messages that will come from what you learn through your trials.

~~~~~

A Latte Difficulty
Can two baristas track down a gunman after the espresso shot heard ‘round the world?

When Marissa witnesses an attempted murder during the 4th of July parade, it starts a battle for her independence. She is forced to hide out in a safehouse, leaving her co-owner, Tandy, to run their coffee shop, track down the criminal, and, worse, plan Marissa’s wedding. Thankfully Tandy has help, but can she really trust the P.I. in a bow tie, her new deaf barista who acts more like a bartender, or a wedding planner who’s keeping secrets?

The threat on Marissa’s future goes from bad to worse when her bridal gown is covered in blood. Though her fiancĂ©, Connor, agrees to give up his identity to join her in the Witness Protection Program, Marissa refuses to wave the white flag. Instead, she enlists Tandy to help her fight for truth, justice, and the Americano way.



~~~~~

Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there's nothing else she'd rather write about. Her books have since earned TOP PICK in Romantic Times, been optioned for film, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon best-sellers. She also writes non-fiction for SpiritLed Woman. To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho, and she teaches as an expert online at WRITE THAT BOOK. She’d loved it if you stopped by her website for a visit at www.angelaruthstrong.com.

6 comments:

  1. Good morning, Angela, it's great seeing you on Seriously Write. Excellent advice. There's nothing worse than trying to write a subject you're totally not feeling.

    I'm happy you're able to write romance again - you're quite the talented author.

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  2. Continuing to pray for you Angela. Thank you for these reminders of how to take special care during this time of stress.

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  3. You've been such an encouragement to me, Angela, as I've watched you go through this time of trial. Be assured that you're teaching others what it means to be strong in the Lord! You are a blessing!

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  4. Thank you for this insightful post, Angela. You are a strong (sorry :)) authority on writing during a storm, and I applaud you for your example. You seem to have found a balance of rest and writing. Sometimes we just have to give ourselves permission to do either. Sending hugs and saying prayers.

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  5. Thanks, Angela! This is a challenging time for so many. And you're right ... even though we writers want time to write, all that's going on in the world right now can be so distracting. All the unknowns weigh on us more than we realize.

    You have been an inspiration to so many people, including me!

    Hugs and prayers for you!

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  6. Thanx for sharing, You are an inspiration. Praying for you.

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