Monday, June 16, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

I first “met” Barb Szyszkiewicz when she commented on one of my Tech Talk blogs on We bonded over a mutual, instantaneous addiction to the app I was reviewing (Puzzlejuice) and we’ve been chatting ever since. Along the way, we discovered that not only are we both Jersey girls, but that she lives less than fifteen minutes away from my parents! One of these days we are going to meet in person. 

I’m grateful to Barb for her invitation to participate in this blog tour, along with her book reviews, fun conversations and timely prayers. It still strikes me funny that we’re both from Jersey, but we met through an online connection facilitated by a great gal from Ohio.

So, without further ado, here's some insight into my writing process, such as it is.

What am I working on? Despite my best efforts to focus on just one thing, I usually have several projects going at once. I’m working on two non-fiction projects: a book on organization and a collection of blogs. In addition, I’m writing a sequel to my first novel, Casting the First Stone and working at (also known as procrastinating on) revisions to a standalone novel about a professional organizer who suffers a personal crisis and discovers that organizing things is a lot simpler than organizing life. And I try to submit articles to the magazine market whenever I can. 

I’m also the author of two books in the educational market (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and one novel Casting the First Stone.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? I describe my fiction as edgy Christian women’s fiction, a label that I think fits Casting the First Stone, but which may not fit the novel I’m revising. My characters tend to be more flawed and worldly than some others I’ve read in the Christian market. I like creating female characters who feel real -- they may or may not be Christian women, but they’re definitely prone to making mistakes and poor choices on occasion.

Why do I write what I do? Like many authors, I write what I like to read, and by extension, watch on television and in the movies. I like real characters -- women I’d like to live next door to, or sit down across the table from at Starbucks for a caffeine-fueled chat. My characters are flawed because like me, most of the people I know are imperfect, which means that perfect characters are no fun to read about. And they’re even less fun to write. 

I joke that I write Christian fiction because that means I don’t have to write sex scenes, but if that were the only reason, there’d be lots of other things I could write. I also enjoy exploring the ways in which God is at work in people’s lives, even when those people (my characters) try shutting Him out and pushing Him away.
How does your writing process work? I love idea generation -- that’s one of the reasons I end up with so many works in progress at once -- and I hate revising. (New ideas are a great way to avoid revising old projects :-) But if I want to continue to publish, I eventually have to complete all the steps in the process.

That said, I’m more mood-driven than schedule-driven and my schedule shifts from month to month, depending on my teaching responsibilities. I try to write whenever I can, but often only manage to write on the weekends when I’m in the thick of the semester. 

Thanks to a workshop I attended at a writing conference in May, I’ve been experimenting with Sprint Writing, where you turn everything off and write for an hour, with a goal of 1000 words in the hour. I love this process for new word creation and find it works great for blogs (I did the first draft of this blog in a sprint), but I don’t like it as much for editing and revising, so I’m working on adapting it on the days when my focus needs to be on revising. So far, I’m either sticking to the hour, but not worrying about word count or I’m throwing the sprint out the window and chipping away at projects without keeping an eye on the clock. I’m hoping that if I spend the summer developing the habit of sprinting, I’ll be in a good position to squeeze in a bit more writing during the semester. 

Part of the fun of this blog tour (and what makes it a “tour”) is reading about other writers’ processes. Next week, you can read posts from Norma Gail and Carole Brown -- just click on their names to go to the post on Monday. Read on for a little more information on Norma and Carole, along with a writing process blog by my friend Laurie J. Edwards and some fun takes on famous writers’ processes on Cate Masters’ blog. 

Next week:

Norma Gail Norma Gail has had a love-affair with words since she first learned to read. A former RN and homeschool/soccer mom who loves family research, history, and Scotland, Norma’s passion is sharing Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living. Her website includes a weekly devotional blog; Wandering Wednesdays, about her debut contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreamsand an assortment of topicsas well as Fabulous Fridays Book Reviews. You can also find Norma Gail on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

Carole Brown is a busy author and blogger who enjoys mentoring beginning writers. Carole is the author of Hog Insane and The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, which was a semi-finalist in the Genesis contest as well as a Selah Award finalist. Carole loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas.

If you missed it: 

Barb Szyszkiewicz's writing process blog   

Laurie J. Edwards A former teacher and librarian, Laurie J. Edwards is a freelance author and illustrator. In addition to more than 2200 magazine and educational articles in print, her most recent books include the 5-vol. UXL Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes, Pirates through the Ages, and Rihanna (People in the News), as well as stories in two anthologies, Summer Lovin’ and A Community of Writers. Her 2014 releases include a 4-book YA series set in the Wild West, WANTED, and the Cyber Self-Defense Manual with co-author Alexis Moore. She also juggles a freelance editing career and writes adult novels under a pseudonym.

Authors Share Their Writing Processes on Cate Masters’ blog.


  1. Thanks for participating! I look forward to reading your novel-in-progress when it gets published. I relate to your main character already--just based on the one sentence you supplied. And I agree that your characters "feel real." That's what I liked about CTFS. I do hope to see you soon!

  2. Thanks for inviting me! This was fun! I dug out the early chapters of the novel I need to revise -- after (literally) physically resisting doing so! Guess I have to do the grunt work and the fun stuff!