Rebecca Waters:Be Prepared Because God Has a Plan…and It Includes You

 

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Becky Waters

Rebecca Waters

Today I’m so pleases to have fellow-author Rebecca Waters sharing some wonderful insights with us.

The end of March marks the three-year anniversary of my first novel, Breathing on Her Own. A couple of life lessons have been reinforced for me since I made the decision to become a published author.

 

 

Lesson 1- God can see around the corners and has a plan for you.

As a child I enjoyed capturing my thoughts and ideas on paper. As an adult I used my writing skills to entertain my own children as well as students in my classroom. I followed God’s lead to pen both a master’s thesis and a doctoral dissertation at the University of Cincinnati. The door then opened for me to serve as the chair of the education department at a Christian university. The university needed someone with the background, credentials, and writing skills to put together a state approved and nationally accredited teacher education program.

I knew I was a writer. I didn’t think of myself as an author.

My husband and I made the decision to retire early following his quadruple bypass surgery. We gave ourselves one year to make plans to retire then we would pack up our belongings and head to Florida for the winter—Tom to golf and fish and me? I was clueless as to what I would do. I prayed about it.

In February, two months after we made that decision, I announced to my husband I would become a published author. Tom, the encourager, offered his full support. The notion was God’s, not mine. I got busy drafting a business plan for my writing and crafting a novel.

I signed up for two days at the Write-to-Publish conference in Illinois, where, by the way, I met Cindy Huff as we stood side-by-side signing up for appointments with agents and publishers. My last appointment of the conference was with Eddie Jones of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. We met, I pitched my book, and two months later I received a contract for Breathing on Her Own. I finished writing it a few days before my “retirement” party.51Zlo60t2cL._AC_US218_

Breathing on Her Own was released the last week of March 2014. My husband died in a bicycle accident the last week of October 2014.

I trust God because He can see around the corners. He knew I needed this new direction in my life. He also knew my words could inspire readers. He had more confidence in what I could accomplish than I did. I cling to Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

Designing a business plan for your writing EDD(1)

Lesson 2- Do all you can to prepare yourself for the work God has called you to do.

That February morning I was confident I was going to become a published author. I used spring break to research and draft the business plan for my new career in writing. I made a list of my strengths and weaknesses and set out to learn everything I could about the industry. I now work with writers to draft their own business and marketing plans.

Marketing you and your writing 101 Edd 2

Part of my business plan was to attend a writing conference. I could only afford two days of the four-day conference but I made the most of it. I picked the brains of the presenters, agents, editors, and publishers. I gleaned information from every attendee I met. I knew nothing about blogs, building a platform, or even how to write a query letter. I wasn’t sure what God intended for me to write. I only knew I needed to be prepared and to walk through any door He opened.

Convinced that blogging should be added to my business plan, I researched the topic, read several blogs (making note of what I liked and didn’t), and signed up for a free webinar on blogging. I drafted several posts, signed up with a blog host and launched A Novel Creation the first week of January 2013 from Florida.

 

Preparing for the work God has called me to do has been fruitful. In addition to that first novel, I’ve published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Home Health Aide Digest, and The Lookout Magazine. I’ve taken my blog posts a step further penning the Writing to Publish series which includes three titles: Designing a Business Plan for Your Writing, Marketing You and Your Writing 101, and Writing with E’s. Money received from these handbooks for writers goes to The Thomas R. Waters Memorial Scholarship for Ergonomics Research fund set up by the CDC Foundation.writing with e's Edd 3

You may already have these truths permeating every thought and activity in your life. But for me, the journey has been a good reminder that God can see around the corners so I need to prepare myself for what He has in store next. He has a plan.

In honor of the Third Anniversary of Breathing On Her Own Rebecca is offering a free Kindle version to one lucky Commenter.

About Breathing On Her Own

Molly Tipton looks forward to a peaceful retirement, but her life suddenly spirals out of control when her oldest daughter is involved in a terrible accident. An icy road and a sharp turn leave one woman dead, another clinging to life.

While two families grieve, details emerge that reveal Molly’s daughter was driving under the influence. As she prepares her daughter for the prospect of a vehicular homicide lawsuit, Molly discovers her oldest child is not the only one injured and forced to deal with past mistakes. If it’s true that time heals all wounds, what are we to do with our scars?

Click here to order Breathing On Your Own.

click here to order Kindle version of Designing a Business Plan for Writers

Click here to order  an Kindle copy of Marketing You and Your Writing 101

Click here to order a Kindle copy of Writing to Publish Writing with E’s

Learn more! Visit Rebecca’s site & Read  her blog
Let’s connect! Follow her on Twitter & Like  her on Facebook
 Ask any questions you may have about marketing and the business of writing. Becky will be happy to answer them.

 

 

 

Guest Blogger Author Rebecca Waters : Aerobics For Your Pen

Today my friend and fellow-writer Rebecca Waters is my  guest blogger.    Enjoy her words of wisdom. 

Author Rebecca Waters

Author Rebecca Waters

Remember the writing exercises you had to do in your English class? You may have moaned and groaned in high school, but as you grow older you come to realize exercise is important in every area of your life.

I have said this before: Good writers become better writers when they write, just as good tennis players get better by playing tennis. Talking about writing isn’t enough. Do it. Get started every week with an exercise that would make your high school teacher proud.

I keep a list of exercises by me. Sometimes if I am struggling with a writing project, I will turn to one of those exercises to get the creative juices flowing.

Stretch and Flexibility

Like any good exercise program, start with a few stretches. Get out of your comfort zone to add flexibility to your writing muscles. For example, I agreed to write an article for a home health journal. Trust me, this was totally out of my comfort zone.

The article was to inform home health aides about medicines their clients may be taking while in Hospice care. I had to research both the medicines and the audience. I used the freelance writing assignment as an exercise in researching and writing.

The article was accepted for publication, but more importantly, learning about the role of the home health aide answered a problem I had while writing Breathing on Her Own. Writing in a home health aide character to engage in conversation with my main character when she came home from the hospital provided a wonderful solution to my dilemma. I’ve now written several articles for Home Health Aide Digest.

You would never write a children’s book? Then stretch yourself by drafting a children’s picture book. Learning how to communicate to a different audience will strengthen your writing skills. Why did I choose “children?” To write for children you must convey your ideas in precise and understandable words. Not a bad idea for writers.

I’m sure you will be able to come up with exercises of your own. If not, look for prompts elsewhere. I took the list of proposed topics for Chicken Soup for the Soul and decided on a few for which I had personal experiences to share. I used the prompts as exercises to practice my writing. Two of those stories were subsequently accepted and published.

Aerobics for Your Pen

I hear authors talk a lot about word count. Some argue that setting a word count goal for each day or week doesn’t improve your writing. I disagree. I try to write at least 500 words a day. Having an attainable word count goal helps me write daily. I usually exceed that goal, but if I don’t, I feel good about writing at least 500 words. Again, the more you write, the better you will get at crafting your story.

Want to engage in a bit of aerobics for your pen? Try completing a free writing exercise. This is when you write for five or ten minutes without stopping to read, revise, or edit what you are putting down on paper. You will be surprised at the bold, courageous words you craft in a free write. Somehow, being released to write without fear of editing also releases you to pour out your innermost thoughts.

Strength Training

Do writing exercises really require strength training? You bet. The strength for a writer is in the power of the words you use. There are many ways to achieve maximum strength for your words. Here are a couple of suggestions.

  1. Build your vocabulary. Some authors use crossword puzzles or play word games to build vocabulary. Some advocate reading more. Those are great ideas, but I’m thinking in terms of using a thesaurus. How many different words could you use to convey your message? And try this one for real word power: Use fewer words to convey your message.
  1. Hone your self-editing skills. You may want to subscribe to a blog about writing and editing. For example, I have found the short posts on A Little Red Inc. provide great reminders of common editing issues I should watch. (http://alittleredinc.blogspot.com)

 

Cool Down

  • Read something inspiring. (Dare I suggest a sweet little novel called Breathing on Her Own?)
  • Post inspiring pictures on your computer or by your desk.
  • Get up and take a short walk.

Note: Do not use your social media as a cool down. Your cool down needs to inspire you and allow you to think. Social media will distract you. There is a time for Facebook or Twitter or whatever you use when you are not writing.

Above all, if you want to be a writer, exercise your craft consistently. If you want to lose weight…well that’s a different blog.

About the author:

Rebecca Waters left her position as a professor of teacher education in December 2012 to actively pursue her writing career. She shares her writing journey in her weekly blog, A Novel Creation. Rebecca’s debut novel, Breathing on Her Own, was released on March 24, 2014 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. It is available on Amazon.com in both print and Kindle versions and is also available through Barnes & Noble.

BOHO front cover

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1941103154/ print

Barnes and Noble Link:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/breathing-on-her-own-rebecca-waters/1118968997

A Novel Creation:

http://rebeccaawaters.blogspot.com/

Thanks for sharing these great tips and words of wisdom.

If you have any questions for Becky she’d love to hear from you.

Debut Novelist Rebecca Waters Shares Her Writing Journey

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Debut Writer Rebecca Waters

I meet Rebecca Waters at last years at the Write to Publish Conference. We are kindred spirits in our writing journey as we move toward our goals, surrounded by grandbabies. I was delighted to hear her debut novel will come out in January 2014. She was willing to take time from working on her second novel to answer a few questions for my readers.

What’s your secret identity when you are not writing?

Daughter, Wife, Mother, Mother-in-law, Grandmother, and actually, for nineteen years I was a teacher in a public school. I considered it a ministry. Then, after completing my doctoral work at the University of Cincinnati, I taught teacher education at Cincinnati Christian University for fourteen years.  My husband and I decided to retire in December of 2012. It gives me time to launch my writing career.

One of the most asked question for budding authors is how do you find the time to write.  Tell us how you managed to write a novel while you worked full-time?

Good question. I think the key is to just write. When I was in graduate school, one of my advisors told me to write five pages on my thesis every day. She said I may wake up the next day and trash it all, but at least I would be writing. It worked. I think it has been important for me to carve out a time each day to write.  Just as every morning, I make sure I read my Bible, every evening I write. I guess what I am going for here is consistency.  Even if you only have two hours every Sunday afternoon, be dedicated to it.

Being a teacher what new skills did you need to add to your knowledge tool box to become a writer?

I have actually been able to draw on my teaching years for characters and dialogue in my writing. I think every profession contributes to a writer. What I needed to learn, though, was that my writing is not one of my children. I have to be objective and not believe that every sentence I write is some gift to the literary world. Treating my writing as a profession allows me to be sometimes, cold, calculating, and critical with the narrative. That was a hard lesson to learn. I tend to become very attached to, and emotional about my writing.

While honing your craft what were the most helpful components? Conferences? Mentors? Writing partners? Or craft books?

Knowing I was going to retire in December of 2012, I spent my Spring Break in March drafting my business plan to become a published writer. It included an education component. I was determined to learn everything I could about writing, editing, and publishing. In addition to an internet search I decided I needed to attend a writing conference. I researched several and chose the Write-to-Publish Conference in Wheaton, IL. I couldn’t afford the whole conference but really wanted to go. My husband gave me one day and a stay at a hotel for my birthday and my mother gave me a second day at the conference. What a shot in the arm! I met other writers, editors, publishers, and agents. I accepted a freelance assignment from a magazine editor and thought that was pretty cool. Then on the second day, my last appointment of the day, I pitched my book to Eddie Jones, the acquisitions editor for Lighthouse of the Carolinas. He asked for a synopsis and the first few chapters.  I sent what he needed that night after the conference. A few months later he sent me a contract for the book.

Some authors take years even decades before they find a home for their first book. They submit to multiple publishers and agents before they hit pay dirt. Tell us about your journey.

I used to write novellas for my daughters when they were teens. I wanted them to have wholesome reading. I submitted one to an agent one time and met with rejection. I didn’t try again. I read that book recently and laughed out loud. My characters were so perfect and never made blunders. I think I had to learn to put real people in my books. Real people are flawed.

 Also, when I spoke with Eddie Jones at the Write-to-Publish conference, he suggested I change an element of my story. I seriously considered his suggestion and drafted a possible storyline to incorporate that piece. I prayed about it, mulled it over, then sent him an email saying I had played with the idea, but in the end decided to not make that change.  I don’t know this to be fact, but I believe he recognized me as a person who was not so caught up in herself that she wouldn’t listen to other possibilities. It was shortly after that email exchange that I received a contract from him.

Now that you’ve retired from your full-time job as a teacher how do you balance writing time with the rest of life?

I love having more time to write. Being retired gives me more free time even though in many ways, I treat my writing as a job. I write at least one exercise every day. I try to write between 1500 and 2000 words a day on my novel, and I blog once a week. I still manage to golf and bike with my husband. I am entering a challenging place in May as I have two grandchildren due to be born within a day of each other. One of my daughters lives in Wisconsin and the other lives in Ohio. My writing may take a different direction for a month or two!

What are you doing to promote your upcoming debut novel?

I have often been asked to speak for churches and women’s groups. I also used to be a speaker for the Ohio Writing Project. I am now working on my 2014 speaking schedule. I hope to share God’s love through that avenue and build an audience for my book at the same time. So if you need a speaker for your next women’s event or writer’s workshop, I’m your girl!

Tell us a little bit about it and why you felt compelled to write it.

At first glance, Breathing On Her Own is the story of a young wife and mother of two who is in an automobile accident while driving under the influence of alcohol. In truth, book is about her mother, Molly, who discovers through this nightmare that while her daughter is seriously injured, she is the one who is spiritually paralyzed.

I know a number of people who are busy raising their grandchildren because their own son or daughter made a bad decision along the way. The story began with a series of questions: What would I do if that were me? How would I feel? How much would I tell my friends? How would my church family respond to me?

I think an auto accident is every mother’s nightmare and I think we worry over our children no matter how old they grow, After exploring the idea, I decided this would be a great story to demonstrate doubts Christians of any age sometimes encounter.

Share with us any words of encouragement for aspiring novelist?

Write every day. Don’t talk about it, do it. Write what you know. Write about places you know and use personalities you understand. My oldest daughter claims I patterned one of my main characters totally after her.  Although none of the events in the story have ever happened to my daughter, I am sure my character does have some of the same traits as my daughter. I know my daughter. I use what I know.

I have a young friend who is an excellent writer. She was committed to writing a story about a young blonde female detective in the Hamptons. Nothing wrong with that except my author friend is a nineteen-year-old African-American girl in Cincinnati who has never even visited the Hamptons. I encouraged her to write what she knows. Sure, you can research anything, but nothing replaces the expertise you bring as to what it means to be you and to relate your own experiences.

Finally, join a writer’s group (or start one) and save your pennies for a solid writing conference. I have learned so much from fellow writers through these experiences. Writing is a process. Tough? Sometimes. Fun? Most of the time. Rewarding? Always.

Thank you so much for visiting us today. Are there any final thoughts you’d like to add before you leave?

Only this. I praise God each and every day for the opportunity to share His message of love, forgiveness, hope, and restoration through storytelling. Jesus taught with parables. I am writing novels….and loving every minute of it!

Have any Questions for Rebecca?

Visit Rebecca at her blog “A Novel Creation” located at http://rebeccaawaters.blogspot.com . To learn more about Rebecca’s workshops and speaking engagements for your group, you may contact her at rwaters.author@gmail.com.  Watch for her novel, Breathing On Her Own, in 2014 published by Lighthouse of the Carolinas and available through Amazon.com.

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