Five Ways to lose your WIP on your PC

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Recently, I lost an entire chapter of my novel. A stupid mistake that caused me precious time and lots of angst rewriting. It was agony to redo, when I couldn’t remember those great phrases and dialog I’d labored over weeks before. I remember a few other times I lost documents.  So here is my list of how to lose your manuscript in ten seconds.

  1. Never save. This is the curse of older computers. Most PC save automatically. Even if they shut down, there is a temporary save option. If you’re not sure, go to settings to choose how often your word program saves.
  2. Don’t save on the Cloud. Fear of the unknown or new technology can keep you away from a great place to store data. I use One Drive, it’s Microsoft’s piece of the cloud. I can access that from any device. If my computer dies all my docs are secure in the Cloud.
  3. Don’t save on a flash drive. It takes a few extra minutes to save work on a flash drive. Again, if your computer dies, you have a back-up. If you’re worried someone will steal your manuscript, then plug in the drive and write to the flash drive only. You can carry your words around on a keychain hooked to your person.
  4. Write when your exhausted That is the prefect way to increase your chances of overwriting your latest draft. Exhaustion is an evil taskmaster. I saved chapter 20 as chapter 12 and when the warning message came up, do you want to replace chapter 12 I clicked yes. Then I shut my laptop lid and walked away. If I had left my work up and not shut the lid, my computer nerd peeps could have rescued it. Once you shut the lid on a laptop, the computer finalizes the replacement. Only some heavy-duty cyber skills can retrieve those words, you risk losing some important files while they deep dive for it.
  5. Don’t heed the battery low light.

It is so easy when the low battery message flashes to think I have enough time to finish this one line before I plug it in, then it’s the paragraph or the page. Then blackness fills the screen and if your computer has no autosave, you are doomed.

 

Can you add another tip for losing your manuscript permanently? I need someone to commiserate with.

 

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Ten Tips for Early Conference Preparation

conference word cloudOne area I feel writer’s fall short is preparing ahead for conferences.  I mean way ahead. We’re too busy writing and marketing. So, we wait until the last minute to get our act together leaving us anxious and worn out before the opening day. This is January, let’s see if we can’t change that. It’s possible I’ll be attending three this year when one is my average. So, I’m preaching to the choir here.

I’ve put together my ten-point checklist. If you can sprinkle the months leading up to your conference with time to get these things done. It leaves the weeks before for fun stuff, like shopping for a new outfit. Your conference experience will be so much more enjoyable.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

  1. Choose the conference you plan to attend.

You’ll base it on affordability and distance from home.  Perhaps there’s a dream conference you’ve had your eye on, and this is the year.

  1. Fund it ahead.

Set money aside each payday or paycheck from a writing assignments or royalties. Don’t be shy about applying for scholarships. Some conferences offer work scholarships.

Watch for flight deals. Sometimes the earlier you book the sweeter the deal. The same goes for hotels.

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Photo by maitree rimthong on Pexels.com

  1. Prepare your Manuscript.

Start now to clean it up and tweak it. Ask for others to go over it. Trade critiques with another writer. Run it through Grammarly or ProWritingAid or both.  Make sure it’s the best it can be.

  1.  New headshot

No one should use an old photo. We age, our hairstyle changes and we don’t want an editor to not remember us because the business card photo does not look like the person they met. Photographers often have a reasonable price for headshots. Having a copy on your computer allows you to put it on business cards, bookmarks and sell sheets. Paying for a bit of touchup is a good idea.

  1. Get your swag on

Buy new business cards if needed to reflect changes in your writing status. Some authors add the book titles to the back of their card or use a folded card for any additional information. Create new bookmarks, notecards and sell sheets early. It gives you time to have a reprint if you find an error. It also spreads the cost over months instead of weeks.

I carry my clips and samples in a three ring binder with plastic sleeves.

  1. Gather clippings throughout the year.

As you receive bylines put them in a clip file. Put your favorites together in a folder to show an editor. No one wants to see them all. Make sure whichever clips they choose to read are your best work.

  1. 7. Put out the word if you have a need

Well in advance of the event request roommates or a need to carpool. It gives you a better chance of finding the right match.

  1. Set aside spending cash

Decide what your spending cash goal is and try to save that ahead of time. Throw change in a jar. Cut your grocery spending by $10 and put that in an envelope for the conference. Use cash only or a prepaid debit card for on-site conference purchases. This keeps you from overspending.

  1. Bath the event in prayer.

Pray for the conference and seek God’s direction months before the registration day arrives. God’s peace will rest on you before, during, and after the event.

  1. Request the days off now

Ask for the time off now. Add a day before to get things in order, and a day after to rest, and recover. Waiting until the last minute usually ends in fewer days off or too much going on at work to use your PTO. Request the time now before anyone else takes those dates.

This is my checklist. What other things would you add?

I know you’ve thought of something I’ve missed.

 

 

My thoughts on Endorsements

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I’ve got a bee in my bonnet I thought I’d shared today. I love getting endorsements for my books, and I love giving them. But the thing that bugs me; fake endorsement.  Readers may stop trusting the endorser. Not what I want as a writer and blogger.

The Bee

It is acceptable among authors and publishers for writers to ask for an endorsement by sending a line or two they have written themselves. The celebrity, authority or author whose name appears on their book cover adds clout. So, they call or send a note. “I know you’re busy. You mentioned endorsing my upcoming book. To save you time I’ve written one for you. If you’re comfortable with the wording, may I add your name?”  Or something along those lines. Many are happy to do it.

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Not me. I know people are busy, and it’s hard to set aside time to read a book. But for me, it is putting words in their mouths and I won’t do it. I ask for endorsements and send the person the pdf and the summary. Then let them write it in their own words. If they don’t finish the book and still write the endorsement then they’ve read enough to feel comfortable adding their name to the cover.

I always read the books I endorse. If I don’t have time, I decline the opportunity. Just as I give an honest review, I want to give an honest endorsement. I consider being asked an honor, and I don’t take that lightly.

The Sting

I was appalled to read the words “well-written” by an endorser for a book that wasn’t. It was amateurish and lacked professional editing.  Apparently, the individual endorser didn’t read the book. Some writers think readers don’t know what a well-written book looks like, so it doesn’t matter. Oh, but they do. Readers who trust the endorser for an honest assessment will be disappointed if their expectations aren’t met. I’m referring to terms like well-written or excellent wordsmith. Granted we all have our own opinions. If the endorser found it riveting, I may not. That’s different.

My Caution

In our effort to get a well-known person to endorse our work, we may find them more receptive if they don’t have to write the endorsement. Then you have a big name singing your praises on the cover. It may have little to no effect on your sales. Or your sales may skyrocket, but if your words are not well-written, the buyers will not return for your newest release. And if they trusted the endorser and were disappointed, the next book endorsed by the same person may be rejected out of hand by potential readers.

There now, the bee has escaped from my bonnet and I feel better.

What are your thoughts on getting and giving endorsements?

 

I’ve Gone and Done it for 2019

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I’ve finally went and done it. Done something I hadn’t planned on doing and avoided for years. Something to encourage me through 2019.  I dropped the new year’s resolution thing long ago. We all know we break those by February, a few hangers-on by summer.  I’m slow to comply and resistant to making promises I may not keep. The latest craze that has caught on over the last decade is a word for the year. I didn’t take that too seriously either. I lumped it in with writing down everything you eat before you start a diet. Not something I want to do. This year I can’t help it. I  believe I have my word for 2019. It’s BRAVE.

belief bible book business

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Not the kind of brave that requires swords or donating a kidney. Instead this next year I will be brave enough to be who I am. I will not compromise my faith. I will finish the two novels I need to by bravely stealing time each day to get my word count done.

It takes bravery to say no to stuff I shouldn’t be wasting as much time on -like TV. Saying No to things others should be doing for themselves.  Saying no to other’s ideas of how I should be spending my time.

I’ll need bravery to continue to market myself. I’d rather help others get noticed. But I must be willing to put myself out there more. Bravery will hold me up as I continue to learn new ways to market and arrange more venues to sell books.

 

As a mom and grandmother, I often give over my time to others. Bravery puts guilt aside. Without guilt plaguing me I’ll take time for myself and enjoy it.

I’m looking forward to seeing how brave plays out in my life in 2019.

What is your word for the year?

If you’ve not subscribe to jubilee Writer why not start out the year with me. I’ve got some wonderful authors guesting on my blog this year. And I’ll give you periodic updates on how brave I’m being. I always try to provide helpful writerly information and book reviews. 

 

Andrea Merrell Shares: Is There Room in the Writing World for You?

Although this blog was posted on The Write Editing before Christmas I feel Andrea Merrell’s insights are spot on as we enter the New Year. A career in Writing is a difficult journey and as 2018 closes it’s easy to get discouraged and doubtful. I hope you find Andrea’s words as inspiring as I did.

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Is There Room in the Writing World for You?

By Andrea Merrell

It’s hard to know for sure how Mary must have felt the night she was about to give birth to the Savior of the world. Weary, cold, most likely hungry, and going into labor she was surely ready to climb off that donkey and crawl into a soft, warm bed.

But the only words she heard over and over were “no room.”

I can only imagine the other words she heard that night. “Sorry. Filled up. You should have gotten here earlier. Come back another time.” She might have even been told “our rooms are reserved for frequent, high-profile guests.” An earful of discouragement.

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At times we might face that same discouragement as writers—especially after a long journey of conferences, critique groups, appointments, classes, devouring books on the craft … and rejections.

 

No room. Sorry, that category is filled up. You should have submitted your proposal earlier. Come back another time after you rewrite your novel or come up with a new story. Your genre is not quite what we’re looking for at the moment. Yes, we have spots open, but they’re reserved for our high-profile, well-known authors.

That’s when the Enemy fills our mind with thoughts like: I might as well give up. What’s the point? I’m tired of trying. God must not have called me to do this after all. Maybe He’s even forgotten about me.

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That’s when the fight-or-flight instinct kicks in. We either go into hiding or fight for what we want. We might shut down our computers and quit or try to break down the door that has been closed to us. Either way, it’s a waiting game.

 

So, what should we do while we’re waiting? Just keep on, as they say, keepin’ on. Do what God has called us to do. We should never be tempted to try and promote ourselves. That’s God’s job, and He takes it seriously. He’s also very good at it. We need to look to Him for acceptance and approval, find our significance and self-worth in our relationship with Him. One pastor says, “In God’s kingdom you don’t achieve success on your own, you receive it from God. Let others compete and compare. Just stay faithful in what God’s given you to do—and when the time is right … He’ll come and get you.”

I love that statement “He’ll come and get you.” Just like He came after David as the young shepherd was tending sheep, doing the job he was given to do, while his brothers were striving to be Israel’s next king. God had a plan. He knew exactly where David was and how to find him. When the time was right, God sent for him.

The truth is in God’s kingdom there’s always enough room—for all of us. When we belong to and work for the Creator of the universe, the Master of Creativity, there is never a shortage of opportunities. The venue you have in mind may not be the one He has reserved for you, but it’s there with your name on it—not someone with more notoriety.

As a child of God, He has a plan and purpose for you and for your writing. He knows exactly where you are and how to find you. Trust Him for His perfect timing. He will open doors of opportunity that no one else can. There is more than enough room in the writing world—for you!

 

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(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I loved the encouragement Andrea brings to my writer’s heart. It is hard to soldier on in our calling as Writers when doors are closing all around. And even when publishers doors open wide and we feel at last we’ve arrive our own lack of confidence can sabatoga our career goals. I’m starting 2019  with a commitment to renew my trust in the Savior to guide me through the next twelve months as I continue to write, allowing him to be in charge.

 

 

Cozy up with a Christmas Novella

The Holiday season can be a busy time of year. For me it’s not Christmas without reading a few Christmas novels. It’s a tradition as beloved as watching the cheesy Hallmark movies. If you can’t read a whole novel why not a novella?

Let me share a few I’ve read this year.

A Door County Christmas

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All four novellas are set in Door County, all have a Christmas cactus in the mix and each has healing framed in humor.

Backcover copy

.In this new and updated release of a popular Christmas novella collection, peer behind the closed doors of a Wisconsin tourist town gone dormant for the winter season. Watch as the drama and romance start to heat up—just as Lola the innkeeper promised her four single friends a year ago when she gifted them with her prayers and a Christmas cactus. Will each woman find love—along with cactus blooms—as promised?

 

If you only have time to read one Christmas novella I strongly recommend The ornament Keeper.

The Ornament Keeper.

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Eva Marie Everson is a fav author of mine. She writes southern fiction that keeps the reader engaged and in the scene until the last word on the last page. The main characters in this novella are married with a family and a messed-up relationship. As a reader we get to see the problems. It takes the couple a bit longer to figure it out. Ornaments play a key role in revealing things to the reader. I loved it. Read it in a few hours.

Back Cover copy:

Award-winning author Eva Marie Everson wraps up a Christmas story of hope, love, and forgiveness just in time for the holidays. The Ornament Keeper, a contemporary Christmas novella, features Felicia and Jackson Morgan who are spending their first Christmas apart after twenty years of marriage. But a lifetime of gifted ornaments helps Felicia piece together the story of their marriage and the one mistake of unforgiveness she made before they said, “I do.” Can these memory-filled ornaments reunite this family before Christmas? Only time will tell.

For all my historical romance readers you’ll love Mary Conneally’s collection.

Three Christmas Novellas: Longhorn Christmas, The Sweetest Gift, and The Christmas Candle.

Three aweet stories that take you back to a different time and remind you of the true meaning of Christmas. I was particularly interested in The Sweet Gift as it is based on her great grandparents love story.

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Back cover copy:

Three previously released Christmas novellas.
Longhorn Christmas
Netty Lewis, a lonely young widow is saved from a raging mama longhorn by a passing cowboy who’s been wandering since the end of the Civil War.
She needs help surviving her rugged life and caring for Jeremiah, her young son. And that means rounding up a nice-sized herd of wild-as-wolves longhorns.
Netty and Roy, along with Jeremiah begin a journey toward Christmas, family, home and love.
And a herd of longhorns are making the way hard.

A sweet re-telling of The Gift of the Magi–with a happy ending
The Sweetest Gift
She longs for music. He needs a valuable horse to improve his herd.
When Christmas comes the gift they truly give is the gift of love.

The Christmas Candle
A lonely widower with a pair of out-of-control sons he never got to know while their mother was alive.
A woman with a love of nature and beauty and scent…and the little boys seem determined to destroy her way of life.
A feisty Ozark mountain granny who doesn’t put up with much nonsense.
The gift of a candle for Christmas and a Christ child who is a perfect match for this scent of heaven.

Grab a blanket, your favorite beverage and snuggle up with a Christmas story. Share in the comments your favorite Christmas novel, novella or collection. Maybe it will inspire someone for a last minute Christmas gift.

 

 

 

Co-Authors Chris and Patty tell how they make it work

My special guests today are a co-author team. I met Patricia Shinn Wojtowicz and Christine Petersen Streed at a Library Author Faire this past October.

Co-authorship is rare. I’m impressed they’ve remained friends and continue to co-author novels. I asked them to come and share how they do it.

 First off, tell us how you met?

The answer to this question spans distance and time because before we knew each other, we were both members of the same writing organization—SCBWI (the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), but Chris lived in Illinois and Patty in New Jersey. When Patty moved to Illinois in 2006, she joined the SCBWI critique group that Chris had been attending.

So what made you decide to co-author?

In 2009 we branched off on our own and began sharing and critiquing our individual writing projects. Realizing that our writing styles dovetailed nicely, we began writing together, eventually shifting from children’s literature to literary fiction. Writing vignettes is one of Patty’s strengths while Chris has a gift for big picture ideas that tie the story together. Crafting stories as a team keeps us motivated and allows us to play off of each other’s strengths.

We find inspiration in life’s milestones, drawing from those experiences to develop our stories. Our first novel, Relative Disenchantment, took seven years to complete as we worked around life events—children’s weddings, the births of grandchildren, the care of, and then, loss of parents. However, all the while our need to meet regularly and create characters on paper remained strong.

Wojtowicz_Streed Relative Disenchantment

What kind of personality do you feel is needed to team write?

For us, as introspective observers who like to play with the written word, our similar personalities and interests mesh together nicely. We strive to be open minded and respectful of each other’s contributions. We often use a “Yes and…” approach—a technique often used in improvisation—in that our storylines build on each other’s ideas. Neither of us feels individual ownership of our writing but see it as a collaborative and combined effort. Additionally, we are faithfully committed to our weekly writing time.

While not necessarily a personality trait, we made a conscience decision to flip our names on every other book, thus giving neither of us continual top billing. Relative Disenchantment is by Patricia Shinn Wojtowicz and Christine Petersen Streed; while the authors of Things I Don’t Talk About are Christine Petersen Streed and Patricia Shinn Wojtowicz.

Streed_Wojtowicz Things I Don't Talk About

Talk us through the day to day of co-authoring long distance.

Our collaboration recently took on an interesting dimension—writing together, but apart. Our first novel, Relative Disenchantment, was written while drinking tea in person at one or the other’s kitchen table. Early in the process of writing our second novel, Things I Don’t Talk About, Patty and her husband relocated to the Boston area. However, even with the new distance between us, we didn’t miss a beat. We jumped online and now hold our writing sessions via video conference calls.

As we write our novels, our process starts with discussing ideas and scenarios together online. Next, each of us writes short pieces based on our brainstorming. Sometimes these little essays make their way into our final manuscript but only after we spend time together reading through and reworking them.

Share the pros and cons of the working as a team

Pros:

  • We have a built-in support system since we share an interest in our combined work.
  • Our weekly time together motivates us to keep our writing on track.
  • Technology makes it really easy to interact across long distances.

 

Cons:

  • On the other hand, with technology, connectivity isn’t always reliable.
  • We have to remember our time difference (Eastern time vs. Central time).
  • We miss sharing a pot of tea.

 

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

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Chris: I would tell my young self to be patient and remember that writing is about the long game. It takes time to develop good ideas, time to write, time to edit and rewrite, and time to get the word out about your writing through marketing. Pick good company for the journey of being a writer, and enjoy the ride!

Patricia_Shinn_Wojtowicz

Patty: Take more writing classes. Don’t be afraid to share what you write. Writing is a process, and as good as you think your first draft is, it can always be better, so share, edit, take critique as guidance, and keep writing, always.

Do you have any individual WIP that you hope to get published or are you two only working as a team?

Our collaborative work takes precedence right now. While we each have individual work, it is “in the drawer” because our combined approach to writing is so fulfilling to both of us.

Tell us about your books and your upcoming projects.

Joanna—the main character in Relative Disenchantment, our first novel (2017)—finds herself amid family turmoil and feels on edge. When her mother suddenly decides that beloved Grandma Ruth must move into a nursing home, Joanna leaves college under the guise of caring for her injured grandmother. Barely able to manage her own life, Joanna tries to intervene on Grandma Ruth’s behalf. Relative Disenchantment is a tale about growing up and seeing life and family in a new, and not always expected, light.

 

In September 2018, we self-published our second novel, Things I Don’t Talk About. It is the story of, Fern who’s not much of a talker, and Anita who can’t stop talking. The two friends have an unlikely bond that has sustained them through many life events. But when Fern begins to have medical concerns, and Anita considers moving far away, their relationship faces new challenges. In a quest for one last grab at independence, they set out on a road trip that will test their patience, their morals, and their friendship. Things I Don’t Talk About is a story about making difficult decisions amidst life changes.

Currently, we are collaborating on our third book. We can’t wait to see where our writing adventures take us this time.

Both of our books Relative Disenchantment and Things I Don’t Talk About are available on Amazon. Click on the links below to order.

Novels by Wojtowicz and Streed:

Relative Disenchantment

Things I Don’t Talk About

About these co-authors:

Patricia Shinn Wojtowicz is a retired college professor currently working as a stained glass artist in the Boston area. Patricia’s past experiences with her remarkable grandmothers and her current relationships with her amazing grandsons influence her as a writer.

Christine Petersen Streed is twice retired—first as a physical therapist and then as a communications director. She started writing while working in her professions and has been published in national trade journals and in local magazines.

Wojtowicz and Streed have been writing together since 2009. While both living in Illinois, they coauthored their first novel, Relative Disenchantment. Their collaboration took on an interesting dimension in 2017—writing together, but apart. Christine still lives in the Chicago area, but Patricia now resides in Boston. Despite the distance, they co-wrote their second novel, Things I Don’t Talk About, via video conference calls. Both authors find inspiration in the milestones of life, drawing from those experiences to develop their novels.

Visit them on social media:

Patricia Shinn Wojtowicz

Facebook: Relative Disenchantment

Website: patriciawojtowicz.com

Amazon author page: Patricia Shinn Wojtowicz

Goodreads author pages: Patricia Shinn Wojtowicz

Christine Petersen Streed

Facebook: Relative Disenchantment

Website: christinestreed.com

Amazon author page: Christine Petersen Streed

Goodreads author page: Christine Petersen Streed

If you have a question for these two lovely ladies about co-authoring that I didn’t ask post it in the comments. They’ll get back with an answer.

 

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