Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Importance of Health as a Writer

While I've been blessed enough to have never been diagnosed with any serious health conditions, I still care about my health. And interestingly enough, I think it's being a writer that has made me more dedicated to and conscious about how I'm doing!

In November 2017 I  had a doctor tell me my left wrist was overused--burned out--and prescribed me dictation software since typing made it flare up. No surgery was necessary which I was thankful for!! But rest was not the solution I wanted.

I wore a brace for a while, tried new stretches, and generally just ... didn't use my wrist. It wasn't until I tried a natural, plant-based nerve supplement about six months later that I saw true improvement. Even though I'm still pretty sure nerves weren't my actual problem, it gave me enough relief to heal up!

I would argue that everyone can benefit from quality natural health products because no one has perfect health! And I really had no big health issues. But I had plenty of small, irritating problems.

Once I quit overdoing and making do and instead starting putting effort into healing my wrist ... what I was calling writer's block also cleared up. Apparently a physical block can also be a creative block!

In contrast, there were also the times when I had so much in my head and simply couldn't get all on paper without hurting.

I know I'm far from being the only writer who can't write. My inability to write whenever I wanted for however long (and in whatever position) taught me some vital lessons. But I don't want any other writer to have to learn about burnout, overuse, and timing the hard way.

Whether you're a writer or not, your health matters! And how well you prioritize your health will show down the road if not right now. 

As predominantly writers here, though, I think it's all the more important to pay attention to our bodies. We've been given a gift to use to God's glory. If we destroy our body in the process, was it worth it?? Learning boundaries through trial and error is all this really comes down to, as tricky as that can be.

And I know that I can't actually keep you all from learning these things in your own way. Your path will look different than mine. You will fall down. The question is, will you get up, try again, and do better?

Yet for those of you who are already consumed with a chronic illness, recurring burnout, a painful wrist, or just plain aren't making progress in your work ... don't lose hope! Even when there's not a clear-cut answer, you can have hope. Because these apparent roadblocks are steps in your journey.

The extra attention, time, and money I've dedicated to my health this year has freed me as a writer. It's one less thing for me--an already "healthy" person--to worry about. Poor health is now one less thing that can stop me from pursuing my dreams.


So ... how was that for a much more personal post than usual? ;P If you're willing to share, I'd love to hear some about what your different struggles have been as a writer, health-related or not. What measures do you take for your health?

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Bookish Summer Bucket List

We're one day into summer, and I love making a bucket list, goals, or reading lists to get me through my least favorite season! The problem is, I forget about goals and am too much of a mood reader to get through TBR lists. So I'm trying a bit of a combo and making a bookish bucket list.

Most of these things are things I've been wanting to do for a while. Might as well write them down and see if I can get them done between now and Sept 23 (the first day of fall).

  • Make a book trailer // working on that this week!
  • Reread a book // sooo many choices
  • Request a book from the library // I just figured out how to do this, and I'm thrilled!
  • Work on ML edits out of the house // because edits need to happen anyway
  • Do a book photo shoot // summer + MH = ❤
  • Write by dictation // out of curiosity
  • Plot in a coffee shop // in lieu of Camp NaNo
  • Meet up with a writer friend // literally one of my favorite things ever
  • Donate a book to a birdhouse // you know, those public swap things? my town finally has one!
  • Listen to an audiobook while driving // haven't really tried this and really want to
  • Bonus: Read on the beach // September *cough*
  • Bonus: Share a cover reveal // Martin Legacy coming up!

And there we are! Ten (plus two!) bookish things for my summer. Can't wait to see what I manage to get done. But first ... I have four manuscripts to finish editing. Have a terrific summer!


What book do you want to read this summer? Any summery recommendations?

I've got some extras for you today!

  • Bree Dawn's new website // it's beautiful and I can't wait to see what she does as a writer!
  • Adorable summery short story // sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar for the freebie!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Happy Father's Day // A Letter to Josiah

A while back I did a Mother's Day letter from Farris to Gemma set after Martin Hospitality. Since Father's Day is this weekend, I thought I would do the same thing ... except with a character named Kat (whom you'll meet in Martin Legacy) writing to her father, Josiah.

Kat is a unique character. While this letter is not actually in book 2, consider it a preview! Or a bonus. ;)

Dear Dad,
You know I don't like writing letters, but Mom said I had to do my own. 
I know I'm supposed to say you're the best dad ever, but I don't know whether you're the best dad in the world or not, because you're the only one I've ever had. We didn't even get to pick each other. Sounds like a recipe for disaster. 
I don't think I'm a disaster, though, and neither are you. That means things worked out just fine, I guess. God must have known what He was doing. 
Thanks for being my dad. And especially for making me do piano lessons when I was little and Mom was tired of making me. I love them now. I'll play your favorite song after supper for you.
Love you!
xo Kat


Any thoughts about Kat's personality? How do you celebrate Father's Day?

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Strengths and Weaknesses in Characters

As the majority of the creative work has been done for Martin Legacy, my brain keeps generating new ideas for me to work on. Not that I have time for that! But it's got me thinking about character development again.

While I'm not on Pinterest that much anymore, sometimes I come across gold. Like this pin that I'm springboarding off of today. Whether you're into profiling characters or filling out charts for them or not, it's good to know what a little about them in order to have your characters be unique.

The best things to know are your characters' strengths and weaknesses. Some people prefer to look at internal and external motivations, but these go hand in hand. Actually ... a strength and a weakness have the same root character trait.

Someone's greatest strength tends to lend a hand to their greatest flaw as well. While I'm not sure real people are always that clean-cut, it makes a nice process for creating a character.

Say you have a character who has the strength of handling money well. On the flipside, that probably makes them stingy or controlling when it comes to purchases.

Maybe you have someone who seems to brag a lot, but they have good self-confidence and powers of execution. (Again, you can find more examples in this pin.)

Your characters can have more than one of these, especially if they're a main character. And it should be obvious that this is for every character. Not just good ones or bad one or side ones. Because every real person has strengths and weaknesses, too. And I'm actually really curious to try and figure out what my own are now!


How do you like to create characters? Have you ever heard of this approach? (Can you tell they're my favorite part of pre-writing? :P)

Want to read my latest flash fiction? Check out mine and many more over at Rosalie Valentine's Flash Fic Dash.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Fun Things Every Book Needs

This week blog posting is one more thing I'm behind on, so I needed to make this post short and fun! I don't think anyone's going to complain about a list of fun things to do for their books.


This one's a no-brainer. Even if you don't always listen to music while writing (that would be me), I love collecting songs that go with my story. My favorite place to do this is Spotify. I use it for free on my desktop as it's much easier to use there than on my phone. They have a ton of songs, and it's easy to create a playlist! 

You can find Martin Hospitality's playlist here and Andora's Folly playlist here.


Whether this is a Pinterest board, a collage you've pieced together on Canva, or a few little items you've collected ... it's fun to collect visual inspiration! I like to do Pinterest boards and then I'll narrow that down into a collage or "aesthetic."

You can find the Martin Hospitality board here and the Andora's Folly board here.

Some people like to do "mood boards" on Pinterest which are much more abstract, giving the overall mood of the story. Mine tend to be a tad more specific than that with faces, scenes, quotes that fit, and things like that as well. It's all about your personal taste and what fits your books! (And seeing other people's amazing book boards is a great reason to follow writer friends on Pinterest!)

My favorite things ever are these collages for my WIPs. I assembled Pinterest images in a Word doc and framed them on my wall.

There's no limit to how you can create these sort of things (just remember that copyrights are a thing and you probably can't use these images officially).

Mock Covers

Along the same lines, who doesn't like an awesome mock cover? It helps make a difficult draft seem more like an actual entity. I like to use Canva for this. They have some good templates, fonts, and images that you can plug in for free.

I also like to make desktop wallpapers on there that go with the book and say something along the lines of "Martin Legacy is waiting to be written" or "Andora's Folly coming soon." It's a pretty kick in the pants every time I open my computer.


  • desktop wallpaper (mentioned above)
  • personality profiles/charts
  • mock-up of the blurb or logline
  • standalone dramatic quote or line
  • quote graphic
  • item collection that goes with your book
  • movie or read a book that's similar to what you're writing
  • coordinating little painting
  • bookmarks
  • character sketches
  • cosplay

Why Does it Matter?

So what's the point of all of these? They're fun!! And yes, they do help inspire me. That's a crucial part of my writing process. When I get stuck or discouraged, being able to open something I've already made (or go make something new) is a great way for me to rediscover why I'm committed to not giving up on my stories.

This is also why I have an entire blog page dedicated to this sort of thing right here. These things are wonderful for catching attention and creating hype, so they don't always have to be kept to yourself!


What fun things do you do to re-inspire you with your stories? Any fresh ideas to share?