Tag Archives: balance

Home again, home again. Jiggity-jig.

Okay, so it wasn’t quite that fast.  Forty eight hours on a bus in less than a week is more snailish than anything.  Certainly not worthy of jigging.  But home, sweet home.  Nothing in the world is like it.

After six nights of sleeping in various beds, I finally got to sleep in my own last night.  I woke up to my alarm clock–a soothing melody–and not the annoying buzz of the hotel version.  I drank my coffee, not a six-dollar Starbucks’.  At home, I get free refills and don’t have to wait in line.

Don’t get me wrong.  The Youth Gathering was amazing.  The food delicious.  The atmosphere out of this world.  I recharged my spirit and soaked up the energy of thousands of kids.  I even participated in the Guinness worthy “largest boomwhacker choir”.  It was a blast.

Writing conferences are like that.  They energize the soul and spark the creative muse.  They feed us with delicious tidbits and foster lasting friendships.  They are the lifeblood and the pulse of the writing community.

But at the end of it all, the experience is nothing more than a jumping off point.  At a National Youth Gathering with 30,000 people or a conference with 120 people, the experience is ours to take from and use when we get home.

 I guarantee you that returning to the comfort of your bed, your morning coffee and the melodious buzz of your real life will suck the energy away if you do not foster it. 

You can lead a horse to water…

You can equip a writer or a Christian with all the tools they need to succeed in their newfound lifestyle, but you cannot make them use the tools you have given them.  Nor should they use every one immediately.

Vomiting children will take time and patience.  Demanding jobs will suck up valuable time.  Significant others will require the return of our affection and rejections will weigh us down. 

My recommendation for those who attend conferences, conventions or gatherings of any sort is this:

Incorporate only one or two things into your real life.

Seriously.  Just one or two.  We hear so many great ideas and become passionate about applying each and every one to our lives–writing or otherwise.  But it is too much.  We simply cannot maintain a healthy relationship with our pre-conference/gathering/convention lives and our post ones if we try to do it all.

How do you stay energized after attending mass events?  What tips can you provide that will help us balance our pre and post lives and still come out better for the experience?

Have you ever returned home from a mass event only to find yourself more dejected or unsure than when you left?  If so, why and how did you overcome it?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Seven Writing Sins: Gluttony

My nephews were here for a day.  In anticipation of their healthy appetites (and the fact that I miss them like crazy), I bought a few more snackies than I typically purchase for my kids.  Needless to say, soda cans, pudding cups and ice cream wrappers filled the trash can.  To the point of overflowing.

Sometimes our manuscripts overflow as well.

We have so many good dialogue snippets, so many colorful characters and so many unique and heartfelt scenes that we try to pack them all into one novel.  Like my garbage can, however, a manuscript can only take so much and things soon spill out and make a mess on the floor.


  • Just because it looks yummy doesn’t mean we have to eat write it.  Case in point: DH and I saw Grown Ups this weekend.  While the first fifteen minutes were funny, minutes twenty through the end of the movie were hard to swallow.  Oh sure, there were some great one liners, but in the end, it was too much.  When everything is funny, nothing is funny.


And by that, I don’t mean pile the trash in the can like a Jenga game.  I mean balance in the true sense.  Moderation, if you will.

  1. Save some good stuff for later.  Open a file for dialogue and another for setting.  Keep one for characters and scenes so you can easily cut and paste those great ideas to save for a future manuscript.  If necessary, save them for a planned sequel.
  2. Combine characters, making one strong and unique character from more than one bit player.  This is particularly helpful in cutting down on character confusion.  The fewer people involved in a novel, the less readers have to remember and the more they can focus on the MC and the story.
  3. Dialogue is tricky at best.  What tickles our funny bones when we hear it in the bar, may not elicit the same reaction on paper.  Dialogue should reveal character, not act as a medium for writers to state their views or tell funny jokes.  Make every word count.
  4. Description Overload is as deadly to a manuscript as not providing any details for writers to envision.  Everyday things that do not move the story along do not require time and attention.  The following sentence requires none either.  “She walked down Main Street amongst brick buildings and bustling businesses to the mailbox standing proudly on the corner.  Its white lettering had faded and the bolts anchoring it to the cement had rusted.  She opened the blue, metal door, dropped in her love letter and hoped that Jeremiah felt the same about her as she felt about him.” 

In a nutshell, do not over-indulge on the treats or your manuscript will never have room for the important things.

How do you combat gluttony in your manuscript?