Update V

Hey, guys!

Remember when I said that I would have time to blog? Well, I actually made a website! It started from a lifestyle blog I had just started up, and I knew that I had something that I was 100% committed to. So, I invested into making it it’s own entity. Alternatively, it’s also become my personal website.

If you’re interested, it is Lindi’s Lookbook, and it can be found here. It is a work in progress, but I am more than willing to tackle it! So, I’ll be posting there much more often than here. (Now that I’m no longer in writing classes and am unable to write as constantly as I would like, I don’t feel that I could give you guys very much quality content for now.)

I hope you check out Lindi’s Lookbook! Feel free to subscribe, but you’re not obligated to, by any means. I just figured some of you would be interested in my endeavors.

As always,

Love Lindi

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Update IV

I hope you all can forgive me for my year-long absence, but so much has happened and changed that I honestly could not keep up with the blog…until now. As you know, the last you heard from we was a few months before my wedding. Here’s what’s happened since then (and why I disappeared for a while…)

  • I got married!!! Finally, after YEARS of dating/engagement, we finally tied the knot!
  • I moved! With a new ring came a new house and a new area and a whole lot of boxes! You never really know how much stuff you have until you unpack it and try to find places for it all…and fail doing so. That being said, even now, my office/study is mainly used as a storage room. Sad, I know. 
  • My little sister had a double lung transplant! Some of you know that she has Cystic Fibrosis, a degenerative lung disease. She was put on the transplant list the week after my wedding and within two months, her doctors found the perfect match! She is doing well and has since recovered, but for those first couple months post op, she was my priority. 
  • You won’t believe this, but two months after my sister’s surgery, I had my own! It wasn’t anything bad or life-threatening. It was a run-of-the-mill cystectomy on my left ovary. Compared to my sister’s, it pales in comparison, but I was out of commission for a few weeks.
  • During all of this, I finished my first year getting my Masters in Liberal Arts at Houston Baptist University! Nearly halfway done, and then I will get my Ph. D!
  • Also during all of this, I landed a 40 hour job that doesn’t leave me much time to write during the day, but now that things are settling down, I can! 

Again, sorry for being incognito for a long time! But now I’m back and will try my best to stay on top of the blog! (So long as no other things pop up!) 

In this time, what have you been up to?

Until next time!

Lindi

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The Daily Duty of a Writer

If you want to be a successful writer, you need to make sure you are doing two things that are so detrimental to your career, you should consider them your duty. Without these two things, you will never be able to progress your skill, and you will be hard-pressed to expand your ideas. What are these two things, you ask? They are writing and reading. Every day.

Writing Every Day

In order to improve your skills as a writer, you should write every day. The old saying “Practice makes perfect” is a mantra that is applicable to every aspect of life, including writing. There are several ways that writing every day helps you build your skill level, and I can testify to them:

  1. Writing every day helps you figure out how you can improve. If you write every day, you’ll quickly learn the strengths and weaknesses of your abilities. You might be a pro at writing dialogue, but you can see that your imagery usage is sub-par. You can work on being more descriptive if your writing. Do you find yourself drawn to only one type of character so that your story seems flat? Now that you’ve identified a weakness, you can strive to make it stronger. Learn how to make diverse characters, and use them. Have you noticed that you have a common theme in everything that you write? Good! Central themes in writing can help give you the drive to write by giving you ideas of what should happen in your stories, so why not trying to expand that theme? Did you realize that your word usage is very mediocre? Amp up your internal thesaurus and use powerful verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc. Don’t settle! There is a very big difference between “Susie caught the ball” and “Susie plucked the ball out of the air” or “Susie snatched the ball just before it hit the ground.” If you write every day, you’ll be able to see what you are doing that is awesome and what you are doing that needs work. Now that you’re able to identify what needs help, you can improve!
  2. Writing every day helps you overcome writer’s block. Yes! It’s true. The most annoying and life-sapping phenomenon in which aspiring writers are unable to express their ideas can be beaten by a simple task. By giving yourself 20 minutes a day to freely write, your brain will become less inclined to ‘freeze’ when you really need it to run smoothly. There are a few ways you can do this; you can journal, you can blog, you can freewrite, etc. Just as long as you give yourself time to write, you can train your mind away form writer’s block.
  3. Writing every day helps you focus on your goals. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I plan on letting writing be my main source of income one day. By writing every day, I am reminded of my ultimate goal. I know that every time I pick up a pen (or open a blank page in a program) to get my writing in for the day, I am helping myself towards who and what I want to be.
  4. Writing every day confirms who you are. We all know of those ‘writers’ who claim that they have hundreds of story ideas and thousands of character designs and aspirations of making it big, yet…they have nothing to show for it. The ones who are willing to tell the world of their current story’s plot, goals, themes, etc. but don’t have hardly anything written down. I’ll admit it. I used to be that person. I used to jot down story ideas, map out the plot, design amazing characters and then blather about it to anyone who was willing to listen. The only problem was that I never wrote anything downSure, I wrote the idea and detail stuff down, but I didn’t actually have a manuscript saved to my computer with the story neatly typed up inside it. Most of the time, I didn’t even have anything other than a few scribbled notes inside my binder. I found myself telling people, “I want to be a writer.” By not actually writing, I felt that even though I had all these ideas, I wasn’t a writer yet. And that’s the truth. I wasn’t a writer! I was a talker, a dreamer. To be a writer is to be a person who writes! If you want to be a writer, you have to write! Now that I make sure I write every day, I can honestly tell people, “I am a writer!”

Even though this might seem a little hard to add to your schedule if you’re working a 9-5 job or if you’re in school, or if you have children, just remember that with a minimum of 20 minutes a day, you can reap these benefits. It also helps if you look forward to your own personal writing time. If sitting still with some paper and a pen or a computer seems a little boring to you, make it interesting. For example, since I get distracted easily, I use a leather bound notebook and a dip pen—you know, the old fashioned ones that you actually have to dip into ink. Give yourself some unique, intriguing pizzaz. If you like the outdoors, set up a little writing area on a patio. Not enough? Get a lap desk and lounge under a tree. Pen and paper too old school? Grab a computer or an iPad. Make your writing time fun for you so that you look forward to it every day.

Reading Every Day

Before you jump the gun and declare that reading is a waste of time for a writer or that daily reading negatively impacts your own writing style (yes, some people use these arguments), here is a really important and interesting fact: When you read something that does not have pictures, your mind instantly uses your imagination to envision what is going on. The more you read, the more you utilize your imagination. This is something I learned while reading How to be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play by Barbara Baig. (This book was so influential to me, I added it to my Recommended Readings and Doings page.) When you exercise your imagination daily, it becomes easier to envision and create your own world through detail and description—even if the setting is an area that you made up 100%! So, it is crucial to all writers to read everyday in order to exercise your imagination and enable you to imagine your own stories. I know that this has helped me in several ways:

  1. I find myself more able to accurately describe action scenes cohesively. There was a time when I read back over some stories I had written in junior high when the flow of the scene went something like this: Samuel glared at Scarlet, his knife gripped in his hand. He made the first move and suddenly, she was on him. He pushed her to the floor and climbed off the table… Yeah. It was that bad. I wasn’t able to envision what was happening, so I tried to throw things together in the hopes that the reader would figure it out. Now, however, I would be more inclined to write something like this: Samuel glared at Scarlet, his knife gripped in his hand. He sprinted forward in the hopes of killing her quickly, but she pushed his weapon aside and flipped him onto a nearby table using his momentum against him. As he struggled to catch his breath, she threw herself on top of him, grabbing at his throat. He pushed her to the floor and climbed off the table… Much better. Now that I am able to imagine the event, I can describe the sequence of it without confusing the reader.
  2. I am able to describe things that do not exist. What does a city that is underground and made completely out of crystal look like? I can tell you (using a city from an old story of mine) that the city is fashioned like a giant stalagmite. It reaches up to the cavern ceiling as the people who live there continue to build up and out. Firelight flickers everywhere as it is reflected off of the crystal walls and doors. You can tell the wealthy from the poor, because the wealthy have cut and shaped crystal supports that fracture the light into thousands of gleaming rainbows, but the poor are left with the dirty, uncut raw crystal used to initially build their city. See? I can envision this place even though it does not and probably never will exist.
  3. I am able to incorporate clothing details that I’ve never been able to incorporate before. This one might seem like an odd one, but bear with me. When a person runs in my mind now, I can see not only their form running, but I can see their hair blowing out behind them and their clothing flapping in the wind. I used to only write my characters as running through forests without so much as a scratch. However, now I’m able to see them running and their hair getting caught in bushes and branches. Their clothing catches on the underbrush and tears. Depending on how fast they are going, they will have green wispy lines across their bodies and their faces due the  the leaves smashing against them, releasing their chlorophyl.

Hands down, reading every day helps my imagination be more active, which helps me when I write my stories. If this seems tedious to you as well, read things that you enjoy. I find that when I read books the same genre of what I am writing at the time, I get a better understanding of how that particular genre operates. You don’t like that? Read what interests you. Bring out the YA novels or the steamy romance. Crack open an adventure novel or slink into the shadows of a mystery. Make sure you’re reading things you want to read because you enjoy them, and not because it’s just for work or just for writing. I don’t call my reading time my “I-need-to-read-so-I’ll-read-something Time.” I call it “Relaxation with a Book Time.” Read what interests you, and make sure it’s enjoyable. Just be sure that there are no pictures. Don’t cheat your natural ability to imagine what people and places look like by looking at someone else’s representation of it.

That being said, it’s important that a writer both writes and reads every day in order to hone your skills to be the best you can be.

Thanks for reading!

Do you get these two things in a day? How do you write every day? What do you read?

Categories: Fiction/Non-Fiction Writing, For Your Journey, Freelancing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Update III

Hello, everybody!

First of all, I would like to apologize for not being able to post for a long time. My senior year of college swallowed up my life, chewed it up, and then spat it back out. Though, as tedious as it was and how painstakingly long it took, here are the updates on my life for the past few months:

  • I GRADUATED COLLEGE WITH MY DEGREE IN ENGLISH WRITING!!!! Not only did I manage to survive my final year at Oklahoma Christian University, but I managed to snag a 3.64 GPA, which put me graduating as Magna Cum Laude! So, I hope you’ll forgive my absence, but take this information knowing that my time away was being put to good use.
  • I HAVE 8 MONTHS UNTIL MY WEDDING! After having been engaged since December 2010, it feels so nice to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. So, even though I graduated and have plenty of free time (until I get a job, but even then I’ll still have evenings), I will be working on planning the wedding of my dreams.

But don’t worry; I’ll try my hardest to keep up with the blog! However, that being said, I need to go through and make some renovations. I have a few series’ that I started but never finished–these will be removed from the blog until I can continue them properly and not in the haphazard fashion that I had been adding to them. I’ve removed the CCNF series from my site because it needs some serious work, but once I work out the kinks, I’ll repost it as a new series (even the name needs work).

I also want to make the blog more interactive with you guys! So, I’ll be putting up a new page called Freebies located under the “For Your Own Journey” tab that will have links to all content that is free for you guys to download that I’ve posted to the blog. This is in part because I realized that even though I gave you guys a free copy of my character bio sheet, you have to dig for the link by sorting through older posts. So, I’ll put it in the page for you guys. To make it even more interactive, I’ll probably end each post with either some questions that you all can answer in the comments, or I’ll stick up a poll and start up a conversation in the comments.

Also, I’ve been thinking about hosting some writing contests and such.

Tell me what you think! Do these changes sound good to you? Do you have any suggestions that I can consider about changing the blog or adding to it? How have you spent the past few months?

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An Awesome Mini-Conference You Should Attend

Hi, all!

I know that this is not a part of my series that I’m working on, but I feel that you should all be aware of a wonderful opportunity in the writing world.

On Oct. 19, Karen Ball will be the featured speaker at Memorial Road Church of Christ in Edmond, OK at an all-day mini-conference. For those of you who don’t know, Karen Ball is a literary agent for the Steve Laube Literary Agency–a very prestigious agency! She also worked as an executive editor for various publishing houses over the past 30 years, and she’s also an author.

She is going to speak on four different subject: Write Your Passion & the Spiritual Side of Writing, How NOT to Get Rejected, Taming Fiction Dragons, and Everything You Want to Know About Editors, Agents, and Publishing (Q&A).

The mini-conference will start bright and early at 8:30 am and will continue until 4:30 pm. It is open to the public, but you must register to attend. Online registration is $50 and at-the-door registration is $60. The mini-conference will also allow you to submit a 20 page segment of your first chapter for local authors to take a look at and give you hints and tips for an additional $15 fee. Here is the event schedule:

SCHEDULE
 8:30am – Registration opens
8:30am – 9:30am Meet & Greet with Karen
9:30 – Welcome address
9:45-10:45am – Session One
10:45am – Break
11:00am-12:00pm – Session Two
12:00-1:00pm – Lunch on your own
1:15-2:00pm – Genre-Specific Discussion Groups
2:00-3:00pm – Session Three
3:00 – Break
3:15-4:15pm – Session Four

For those of you who are interested, here is the site with all of the information and the page with the registration link.

I hope you can all attend! (And, yes, I will be there!)

Thanks for reading!

Categories: Fiction/Non-Fiction Writing, For Your Journey, The Journey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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