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Pressure Monster – by Kitty Bucholtz

August 9, 2018 by in category It's Worth It by Kitty Bucholtz tagged as , , , ,

If you read my June post, you know I’ve been struggling with burnout, and now also struggling to understand what it is and how to overcome it. In July, I talked about one of my favorite topics – hitting the Restart button. That seemed a timely topic in the middle of the year and in the middle of the burnout problem.

Today I did some freewriting first thing in the morning to ask myself some questions. Mostly, and specifically, what do I like to write?

I was listening to Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck in one of their free classes, I think the Dream Killers episode, and Rachel said you have to know what you like to write. Or what you like to write about. If you like writing blogs and articles and short stories, but hate writing 50,000-word novels, don’t write novels! If you love writing 100,000-word epic fantasy books but hate writing blogs, don’t write blogs!

And it made me wonder if the reason I rarely post to my blog is because I don’t actually like blogging, or if it’s something else. Maybe I don’t like having to create a super interesting and helpful piece for others that doesn’t resonate for me when I write it. (That would be weird if it were true because I love helping people!) Maybe I need to write blog posts that are more for me, things I find more interesting despite whether I think others will also find it interesting.

That may be part of it, but I really think it’s more the pressure I put on myself – create an interesting post that readers will love, or don’t bother writing anything at all. No wonder I’ve gotten it into my head that I don’t like blogging.

Funny, this is a very similar problem to the bigger one over the last several months when I was trying to decide if I still liked to write books. Then I went to RWA in July and I seemed to come alive during the writing sprints at the start and end of each day! I started writing on a book idea, Abra Cadaver, just for the fun of it with no idea when I would work it into my production schedule. I had a blast! And I wrote a ton! I already have an outline for a trilogy. 😀

So how can I find a similar burst of enthusiasm for blogging? Or how can I find out if I do or don’t enjoy blogging under the right circumstances? (And what are those magic circumstances?)

Are you struggling with not knowing if you even like to write? Blogs or books? In my mind, most writers are not struggling with this. This is my own personal problem that is a result of my own personal burnout. So my mind said this is a waste of time and energy and blogging space to even put it into words.

But what if I’m wrong and I’m not being self-centered and someone out there needs me to write this? Maybe you?

When I first woke up this morning, I read my Bible, Matthew 17. I was thinking about how interesting it was that Peter said, of course my master pays the temple tax, and then he walked back to where they were staying and before he could speak, Jesus brought up the subject in a roundabout way. But it’s Peter’s walk back that I was focused on.

What was Peter thinking? Was he thinking that he’d spoken too quickly again? Was he wondering if he was right, or maybe he’d answered the priest incorrectly? Was he trying to convince himself of one way of thinking or another? Was he building an argument to convince Jesus of a particular way of thinking?

And then Jesus not only asks him a question that directly gives Peter the answer to the question before Peter can even tell Jesus what happened, but we find out God is already providing for the physical need as well. Go fish, Jesus says, and in the first fish will be money enough to pay for your tax and mine.


I usually read that part and think, gross, gutting a fish would be so gross to me. But today I read it and thought, hey, that’s like God telling me to go write something or create a new set of ads for my books and the money that would come in would be the exact amount for some need I have.

That I could do!

This blog post is already too long, too long-winded, too personal, and I’m still not sure if I should post it because someone might find it helpful, or if I should relegate it to the private journaling area, forever hidden. (Burnout apparently brings out all my insecurities!)

See? It’s the pressure to create the perfect post, the one that is helpful, the right length, with content doesn’t annoy anyone if they don’t fit in the target audience.

The Pressure Monster is telling me to stop, don’t post this, don’t even write blog posts anymore. (Even though I have three blogs! All neglected, but important to me.) Heck, the Pressure Monster says, it would be far safer for you and far better for everyone else if you just stopped writing altogether.

I’m posting this anyway. Without taking time to find the perfect pictures to post with it, or try to create SEO-worthy subheadings. It’s my way to defeat the monster.

What is the Pressure Monster attacking you about? What are you not writing or not doing because the pressure to do it “right” is too much? Maybe some of it doesn’t need to be done or written at all! Maybe you’ll decide some of it is important enough to do even if you don’t do it “perfectly” this time.

Either choice can be a good one, so choose! I hope this post helps you defeat the Pressure Monster, too. 😀

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From Empty to Energized

May 20, 2018 by in category A Bit of Magic by Meriam Wilhelm tagged as ,

I knew that I needed to work on the next chapter of my book if there was any chance it would be completed by this July. But did I? Did I hit the keyboard, do a little more research on witchcraft in the 1600’s or even pick up my editing pencil to work on what I’d already written?


Instead, I sewed. I made my granddaughter bibs and blankets and stuffed bunnies. I made pot holders and hot mitts. I love to sew almost as much as I love to write and my two passions often collide with each other. Truthfully, I know I often turn to sewing when I’m stuck for an idea and I was good and stuck! I had a million directions that I wanted to take my story, but no clear path. It always seems that when I’m three quarters of the way through writing a new book, I lose speed, my focus waivers and I become fearful that my creativity is ebbing. A scary feeling indeed for any new writer like myself.

So what did I do?

I transferred all of my energy into my third passion – reading. But not just any reading. I was seeking something to jolt my spirits, inspire my creativity and get me motivated. So I want to share with you where I found it – in case you’re ever searching for something to inspire your own creativity.

Visiting Barnes and Noble with my sister, on a quest for a book about how to build a bird house, that’s creative right? – I stumbled upon WHERE WOMEN CREATE. It’s a great magazine, albeit a bit pricey, that shares the stories of truly creative modern day women. And what a great treat it turned out to be!

I savored the magazine like a fine wine. Okay, I savored it over a couple glasses of fine wine before deciding that I wouldn’t just speed read through the pages. I wanted to immerse myself in each woman’s story, take in her words of inspiration and enjoy the great photography that accompanied each story. I read an account or two each day over the next week. Of course, I soon realized that I had to replace the wine with cups of hot hazelnut coffee – my favorite – if I was going to get the full value out of this periodical.

The magazine focuses on women who express their creativity daily in a myriad of ways. It talks about what they do, where they do it and how many have been able to make a successful career using their innovative skills. They share their tricks of the trade, their frustrations and inspirations. Some seem to have realized success early on while others have worked for years to bring their dreams to fruition.

Anyway, I truly enjoyed the inspiration I found within the pages of WHERE WOMEN CREATE . These are artsy women who have created magic, many of them from their own kitchen table. The magazine is a relaxing trip through the lives of inventive, resourceful women. I can’t tell you for sure whether it was the wine, the words or the wonderful stories that inspired me to return to my writing. Whatever it was, it worked and I am back with a renewed spirit.

Oh, and guess what I else I found in the magazine? A sister series; a magazine (apron*ology). Now I can be inspired with both my writing and my sewing. Who knew?

Have a wonderful, inspired and magical day!

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September 5, 2015 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , , ,

Part Two: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My First Book..sort of

I’m about to launch the prequel to my first born, The Alex Chronicles…Girlfriends & Secrets. I talked about this little novelette last month in my post, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My First Book. You can sort of say this is part two to that post.

As I mentioned last month, this is the first book I wrote. When I wrote the book, I had aspirations of book tours, radio interviews and a fantasy of being on The View. Hey, if you don’t dream big, you’ll never get any where.

However, after I wrote the first three books in the series, it seemed the entire dynamic of the romance genre shifted. I credit or blame Fifty Shades of Grey. The protagonists or heroes were no longer just good looking men. They were now these incredible, super sexy males. Really, have you ever really seen a man with thighs that could bust a watermelon…that’s a line from one of my upcoming books. Or what about a man with hair like flaxen gold and a behind so tight a quarter could bounce off of it. I’ve been to the gym okay, I’ve been to a gym and around construction sites and I’ve yet to see a behind that tight. Take that back, I did see the season finale of “Ballers” and got a good look at The Rock’s behind. Not to mention John Cena in “Trainwreck”, I think that tight-quarter-bouncing behind title could legitimately be applied to both of them.

As I was saying, the dynamic had changed. When I wrote the first draft of The Alex Chronicles, my protagonist was my version of very handsome. Did you catch that phrase, my version. See one of the things that tripped me up about the new descriptions in romance fiction, was taste. Every one has their version of what’s hot, sexy, handsome, unattractive [I didn’t want to say ugly], cute, and the list goes on. This was a dilemma for me. What I liked physically, didn’t always match up with what some of my readers liked.

I’ve read a lot of books the past couple of years. compared to the past, I’m breaking my own reading records. Apart from being very tall, most of the protagonists had large…body parts and mesmerizing eyes, but it was their character that stood out. No matter how roguish, devious, freaking, sadistic, crazy or stupid, they are, deep down, they all have big hearts. And very, very, very, big wallets.

I had dinner with a friend and told her, I had to re-write The Alex Chronicles, because the protagonist wasn’t rich enough. Let me clarify. When I wrote him, it was with the intention that he was rich. Well in the new romance world, it wasn’t good enough for him to just be rich or a millionaire, he needed to be a billionaire. And he has to have a private plane, luxury yacht, mansion and penthouse apartment on top of his own building…is the new normal. When did this happen? And to make it worse, I saw a book that was touting the word Trillionaire. Come on people, let me catch up.

Which brings me to my series. When it was first written, the heroine’s ex-husband was a decent level millionaire, but her new love interest was richer than the ex. When I did the rewrite, I made it a point not to mention how much he’s worth. Instead, I elude to it by the gifts and things he does for her. Welcome to the new contemporary romance protagonist. Is it even possible that such a man exists? I choose to believe that somewhere there’s a woman living out one of my books. I’m open to living out my own romance novel. If anyone knows a tall dark chocolate billionaire in search of a petite curvy mocha wife, send him my way. Really, who better to live out one of my books then me.

So what’s The Alex Chronicles about? It’s the story of five best friends and a pact they made in college. It seems kind of childish that five grown women would still be beholden to something so silly. That’s what one of their boyfriends said later in the series. But it’s something that worked for them…when they were in college. Now that they’re adults and dealing with the day to day things of life, it’s not so easy.

The Alex Chronicles: Girlfriends & Secrets will be out in October. It’s also my first perma free book. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, “I’m glad have a free book.” I’ve been waiting for this opportunity. Offering this book free, is my major marketing step for this series. I’ll keep you posted on how my first born does. In the meantime, here’s the first chapter in the prequel:

who are we…

MY NAME IS ALEXANDRA SIMONE Miller and I am a fashion addict. Isn’t that how they make you introduce yourself at those addiction anonymous support group meetings? At least that’s what I’ve heard. I tried kicking the fashion habit, but it’s a little difficult when there are so many talented dealers, I mean designers tempting me. I know somewhere there has to be a support group for people like me. I think it meets at Neiman’s or Barneys. I heard a rumor that if you’re really bad they sentence you to aversion therapy at Bergdorf’s…I wish. 

So the last thing a person like me should do is own a boutique. Fashion is a drug and not only am I a junkie, I’m also a dealer and the base of my operation is my boutique, “Alex Simone”.
Alex Simone is my baby. It’s a place where women come to escape and fantasize. We encourage women to try things on, because that usually leads to buying. Shopping at one of my boutiques is like playing “dress up” in the ultimate fantasy closet, complete with designer ready-to-wear and vintage couture. 
Not only am I a fashion addict, I’m also a borderline workaholic. I say borderline, because I do manage to eek out time to spend with my friends. 
My girlfriends are like family. People always ask how we met. I think that’s the one thing we haven’t been able to agree on. 
Let’s see. Taylor is my cousin on my dad’s side. She and I have always been close. She’s really more like an older sister. I think we have shared secrets none of the other girls know about. But there’s that one thing that happened in Paris. I think I didn’t tell her because I knew she would have been disappointed in me. 
Anyway…she was going to school in Atlanta and she said I’d like it. Not only because it was crawling with good looking guys, but because it had a great liberal arts program. To be honest, I needed to get out of the city. A dose of Southern living was a welcome change. So I applied and got in. That’s where I met Chloe. 
Chloe was a typical rich girl on the verge of being cut off. School in the south was the last straw. She and Taylor were roommates. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to put them together. Then again, it was probably for the best.
When I went for my college tour, the two of them had me running around town. I don’t think I got more than twenty hours of sleep the entire week, but I had a good time. These two had the hook up for everything. 
When I got there in the fall, a new dorm was open courtesy of Chloe’s parents. The rooms were all suites. A few strings were pulled and I was assigned to Taylor and Chloe’s suite. I was immediately accepted into their social circle. Heck, they practically ran the social scene on campus. To this day, I never knew how they managed to get hooked up with every club in town, without getting busted.
The year after I got there, I met this girl named Dionne in Humanities class. We started talking and it turned out, she was from California. She kept saying I reminded her of her roommate, Kendell. When I finally met Kendell, I was shocked at how much we looked alike. We played a little game of Twenty Questions and discovered the reason we looked so much alike was because we were related.
Kendell is my cousin on my mother’s side. Her father and my mother are half siblings. We share our grandfather’s eyes, smile, skin color and height. When I first saw her, I thought I was looking at myself minus the upstairs endowment from my grandmother. My mother and Kendell’s father have the same father. My Grandfather Cyrus had a roaming eye along with some other things. He was married to my Grandmother while he played house with Kendell’s grandmother. He fathered a total of nine children, my mother and her three sisters, and Uncle Chester and his four brothers.
I think we’ve managed to stay friends as long as we have because we’re so different. It’s like we balance each other out. 
Oh, yeah, I was talking about secrets and being impulsive. Of my group, I’m considered the rational one. I don’t see how I got that label. My friends say it’s because I’m a planner and would never do anything impulsive. That’s just not true. I do a lot of impulsive things, they just don’t know about them. 
There was one impulsive thing I was going to do, but circumstances prevented it from happening. I’m not using my planning habit as an excuse, but as a legitimate reason why that impulsive event didn’t take place. The impulsive incident involved my fiancé, Jonathan. 
Jonathan and I had been together off and on for ten years. If you ask my friends, they’d say more off than on. And as much as I don’t want to agree with them, they’re right. 
I met Jonathan in college when I returned from my Paris internship to complete the second half of my senior year. I was hesitant to get involved with him, because his best friend and I had history. However, he won me over with his charm and we started dating. 
By the time we graduated, he had proposed…the first time. Much too soon. We barely knew each other. I moved back to Los Angeles. He followed me to California and took a job in Los Angeles so we could work on our relationship. We agreed to table the marriage question until later.
The magazine I interned for in Paris offered me a Junior Fashion Editor position in their Los Angeles office, but I turned it down. I know it sounds foolish, but there were things going on in my personal life that made me re-think what I wanted to do with my life.
I had come into a large sum of money, and decided to open a boutique. I love what I do. It’s taken me a while to gain the respect of the local fashion community, but it was well worth the hard work, and a huge step of faith.
Alex Simone is a place for women with curves, or real women. We stock most sizes, but we are known as the go to store for curvy women who love designer clothes. We’re not a plus size store per se, but in Southern California, a store that stocks anything over a size twelve is considered plus size. We just make it a point to offer designer clothing for women in a larger range of sizes. Curves, sensuality, and confidence are our business, and we know how to handle all three. 
Back to me and Jonathan. Things were going great with us. We had just gotten back together again. I say again, because, we broke up a lot. I know I sound like a fool, but I’m not. I had put a lot of time into that relationship and I wasn’t about to just walk away just because he had a little slip while we were apart. If only it had been a slip. 

Turns out, all those times he was proposing to me, he had a side piece in Long Beach. He’d tapped that piece so much he slipped up one night and forgot to suit up. So when he wanted to get back together he confessed. Like the idiot head I was, I took him back. He even introduced me to his side piece and their son. 
Here I was saving myself, and he was out tapping anything with a pulse. I didn’t tell my girlfriends that Jonathan and I were engaged. I just told them we were back together. They all said they were shocked that I took him back. They didn’t understand that I saw something in him they didn’t.
This time was different. We went engagement ring shopping and were making wedding plans. Jonathan agreed to counseling, and I was even warming up to the idea of marriage and being a step mother. I still wasn’t happy about having his side piece, I mean ex-side piece, in our lives, but she came with the kid. 
The last time he proposed, we didn’t tell anyone. Instead, he gave me an ultimatum, “Marry me when I return from my conference in two weeks. If you back out, it’s over for good.” I still hear those words replaying in my head, followed by a sharp chill in my bones. 
I knew my friends didn’t approve of my marrying Jonathan, so I decided to do something impulsive. I packed a bag and bought a first class ticket to Milan to surprise my fiancé. Oh man, it’s been over ten years, and it’s still difficult to tell this story. I knew he’d be in Milan another week for the conference. My plan was to surprise him and elope after his conference, and then do something small with our family and friends when we returned. 
The day before I was to leave to surprise Jonathan, I got a phone call from one of his friends who was attending the conference. Jonathan had had a massive heart attack and died. I was devastated. My girlfriends rallied and helped me, despite their feelings about Jonathan.
Instead of planning a wedding, I planned his funeral. 
I never told anyone, not even my mother, that I was planning to surprise him and elope. I still have the plane ticket. I don’t know why, but I keep it in my bag. If I had married him when he first asked, he wouldn’t have been alone. It hurts me to know he died alone. I should have been there. 
I have been trying to heal, and my girlfriends keep telling me it’s time to move on. I have in a way. It’s been over ten years and there have been a few men, but nothing serious. 
Bless my friend, Dionne. She’s made it her mission to find someone for me. I really wish she’d stop trying, because she’s not good at it. I was dating this very handsome media consultant named Quentin Burke. On paper we were perfect for each other, but I think it was poor timing and no chemistry. Those two things and that meddling mother of his, were the reason we broke up. I think we lasted about six months. We’re still friends. In fact, he’s my publicist. 
I introduced him to Dionne. The sparks flew and a few months later, they were married. Ever since I planted a good man into her life, she feels the need to do the same for me. I really wish she’d stop, but she won’t. After her last little matchmaking effort, I threatened to cancel our friendship.
She invited me to dinner with her and Quentin and left out one very important detail. When I arrived, Quentin met me at the door with a glass of wine. 
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know.” 
I didn’t understand what he meant. I took the glass, stepped inside and sitting on the sofa talking to Dionne was a shiny yellow brother with a pony tail hanging down his back. Dionne looked up and noticed I was heading out the door. She jumped up, walked over and pulled me over to the sofa and introduced me to my “date”. 
When he stood up, it was even worse. He was wearing a powder blue suit, navy blue shirt with the buttons undone to reveal his Mr. T gold chain collection sitting on a bed of tight black curls. I don’t like hairy men. I turned the glass up finishing the fine red wine in one gulp. This definitely would have been a good time to start drinking hard liquor. Saying I was a little pissed with Dionne would have been like calling a broken leg a sprain. 
I looked at Dionne wondering what she could have been thinking. I looked down at my “date’s” feet, and staring back at me were light blue patent leather brogues and matching socks. I didn’t know what to think, but I knew what to say. I just didn’t want to say it out loud. 
“Excuse me.” I put my empty glass on the table and hurried down to the powder room. “Okay God, I know Dionne meant well, but…really…what was she thinking?” I let out a sigh, touched up my lipstick and took that long walk out to the worst blind date of my life. 
“Are you all right Alex?” Dionne asked. 
I couldn’t believe she stood there with a smile on her face asking me if I was all right? Of course I wasn’t all right! I stood staring at one of my best friends, wondering at what point did she think setting me up with a black Smurf was a good idea. 
“I’m…” Quentin handed me another glass of wine. “Thank you.” 
“Sorry, it’s not something stronger,” Quentin whispered. 
“So am I.” I turned up the glass and gulped half in one swallow. “I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name.” 
During dinner, Eddie the black Smurf sat sneering at me like I was a piece of cornbread he wanted to slop up with some greens. I looked across the table at this person my friend set me up with, and wondered how much longer I would have to endure this fiasco. Watching him eat was almost as disturbing as looking at him in that light blue suit. I closed my eyes and pretended I was someplace else. 
In my mind, I was on a remote island with a hot, sexy, dark chocolate man. He was feeding me strawberries, the juice running down the side of my mouth He gently caught the sweet juice with his soft, full lips. If Dionne was going to fix me up, why couldn’t it have been with the man in my fantasy, instead of Eddie the black Smurf? When I opened my eyes, Eddie the Smurf, was still talking incessantly about his ex-wife and his massive alimony payments. 
My phone rang, breaking the spell of my fantasy. I jumped up and ran into the kitchen to answer the call. Once in the kitchen, I turned the ringer off. It wasn’t a real call, but my “911 dating emergency call”. 
When I was in the powder room earlier, I had set a “911 dating alert.” That’s when you set the alarm on your phone to ring at a certain time. Once you pick up “the call” you become an Academy Award winning actress, and recite your escape monologue. My cousin Taylor hipped me to that little trick, and over the years I got very good at using it. So tonight, when I saw the black Smurf, I knew what I had to do. 
“Okay…no, I understand…uh huh…I’ll be right there.” I went back into the dining room, made my apologies and left. 
Before Dionne got with Quentin, she dated… let’s just say… she always managed to…she’s a sweet heart, but…it seemed she was always dating someone else’s Boaz. Like the guy who only wore Los Angeles Lakers attire. He didn’t care if it was basketball season or not. And when the occasion called for something a little “more dressy”, he broke out his favorite purple suit and accessorized it with a white and yellow striped shirt and Lakers tie. I caught a glimpse of the jacket lining once. Inside he had the entire Lakers starting line-up hand painted on the lining. I had one word for him and it wasn’t “Fantastic”. It was “Fanatical”. Dionne thought he was the one…her Boaz. That’s if Boaz was a basketball fanatic and a tacky dresser. His idea of a romantic night out was to take her to his favorite sports bar, “Nothin’ But Net” for happy hour. They got along great until she disagreed with him over the Lakers draft choice. He dropped her like a long distance three pointer… “swish”. 
She’s my girl, but I couldn’t take another day listening to her blame herself for her relationship falling apart. So, I arranged a little impromptu meeting between her and Quentin at the store. They hit it off ,and now three years later she’s trying to do the same thing for me.


If my girlfriends knew about my plans to elope with Jonathan they wouldn’t be too surprised.

However, if they knew my other secret, they’d be pissed and would stop speaking to me. It’s my secret, and I’d be pissed if one of my best friends had kept something like that hidden from me for over twenty years. 
What’s my secret? All I’ll say is, I have the power to destroy one of the wealthiest families on the West Coast. That power could also cost me my life. But if pushed, that’s a risk I might be willing to take.

The Alex Chronicles Series will be starting in October

Tracy Reed


Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys

Available at
Barnes and Noble
All Romance eBooks

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How Choreographing a Musical Led Me to Writing a Novel

February 16, 2015 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , ,

Right now I am in the middle of choreographing a musical for my son’s middle school. We are doing Aladdin, Jr., and I am working with 60 5th-8th graders. As I draw out diagrams of who goes where and count beats, I realize that all this orchestrating I’m doing is another form of storytelling, just like writing a book. As Co-Director I’m making decisions on how we tell the story, just like writers decide what scenes they write for their book.

There are several directions a plot can take, secondary characters to introduce and specific settings to create. Just like there are several types of steps to select and put in a specific order. Where does the cast enter and exit? Do I line them up in a straight line or group them together? What are their hands doing? Their facial expressions? What are the movements communicating? There needs to be emotion, conflict, responses to other’s actions, and it all has to connect in order to get the story across properly. The choices can be overwhelming. I find I have to just go for it and pick one. If it doesn’t work I can change it if I need to. That’s what we do when writing a novel.
As I pondered this, I found more similarities between staging a musical and writing a novel. In a musical, there are sets and costumes that make the setting. In a book we write descriptions of clothes, buildings and surroundings to help communicate the setting. In a musical, the ensemble cast adds to the storytelling, helping communicate setting and interaction. In both, main characters have lots of dialogue. 
When I listen to the music and read the lyrics, I try to come up with movements that communicate the emotions and feelings in the story. I do the same when working on my novel. As I write different scenes, sometimes I find something not working. And just like watching the kids move around on stage, I seem to be able to tell if something doesn’t fit right and I’m open to changing it.
So how did choreographing lead me to writing a novel? When I was asked to do this three shows ago, I taught dance and choreographed children’s choirs in the past, but nothing of this magnitude. I had no idea if I could do something on such a large scale. Honestly, I was scared.
That musical was Little Mermaid, which consisted of 75 kids. I constructed something I was quite proud of. And the confidence that grew out of the entire experience was amazing. I stepped out beyond myself. It was so empowering. And that is what helped me cross over into the next challenge of my life – writing a novel. 
Up to that point I would read, and read, and read and when I finished a novel, I’d say to myself “I would love to write one like that.” Then I’d look at my life and think, how in the world would I fit that into my schedule? I had thought the same thing about choreographing. But after the show, I realized I had made the schedule work. Whatever obstacle my mind would make up, I pushed through. I had to. I didn’t have a choice because I had made a commitment. I somehow figured it out. And because I did, it helped me see that I can do anything I put my mind to.
The next year, I choreographed Beauty and the Beast. It was easier, even though I was still nervous. I trusted myself a little more. I’m sure that is what it feels like when you start working on a second novel. I’m not quite there yet.
So now I am working on my third show, believing in myself more than before. Sure there’s a part of me that is still scared, which keeps me on my toes (no dance pun intended!). But I’m making decisions faster and not doubting myself as much. Which I find has transferred over to my writing.
I love doing this even though it is more challenging to fit in writing time while I’m choreographing. But, instead of picking one over the other, I find that they complement each other. I can see my choreography become something tangible and it encourages me to keep writing. All the writing and edits are like rehearsals, fine-tuning the details. It keeps me motivated. 
So what’s the lesson in all this? Don’t let anything keep you from doing what you want to do. That first show ended in April 2013. By September that year I had joined OCCRWA. And I am so glad that I did. I have learned so much from all of you. It has been a wonderful journey so far, just like fun rehearsals before the main performance. Thank you for being such a great cast to work with.

If you are interested Friends Christian Middle School will be performing Aladdin, Jr. March 13 (7pm) and 14 (1 & 4pm) at Rose Drive Friends Church in Yorba Linda. Tickets are $7. Call 714-202-8410 for more information.

Denise Colby  writes uplifting, encouraging stories that cherish and warm the heart.  Her first historical novel features a young lady who has lost all hope, travels west to teach and finds love along the way.  Passionate about all types of stories – whether they are from songs, theatre, movies or novels – she loves sharing those passions with her husband and their three boys.

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10 Things NEVER TO DO When Writing

September 15, 2014 by in category Archives tagged as ,
10. Stop Reading:  After a long day of reading your own work it the last thing you want to do is pick up someone else’s but do it! You will stay motivated. I learn something new with each book I read.
9. Rely on Inspiration: Don’t waste a day waiting for inspiration. Sit down, get to work, and inspiration will come calling.
8. Neglect Genre: It’s tempting to want to walk in between genres. What would be better than a science fiction, erotic, mystery right? But remember, if you want to find passionate and engaged readers, you have to find the genre that you most want to write and stick with it.
7. Get Bored: If you’re bored, chances are your readers will be to.  If you find yourself becoming bored, or your main character is skating through the plot with ease, throw some roadblocks in the way. Conflict moves stories.
6. Rely on Pretty People: Men don’t always have to be fearless and women don’t always have to be sexy. Your readers will spend a lot of time with your characters so make sure there is something going on in their heads and their hearts. Readers love characters for their imperfections and shortcomings just as much as their looks.
5. Lose the Through Line:Remember who’s story you’re writing and what the point is.  Veer off the path and you lose your readers.
4. Be Afraid to Cut, Cut, Cut: Cut close to the bone. Make the tough choices and take out the things you really love. They may be great but only if they move the story forward.
3. Throw in the Towel: Too many people have half finished books, or books without an ending floating around on their hard drives. The easiest thing in the world is starting a book. The hardest thing is finishing one.
2. Let your Characters Off Easy: Just because you love your characters doesn’t mean you have to go easy on them. Let them struggle and sometimes fail. Anything that you put in your characters’ gives the readers greater insight into their lives. Give them a goal to work towards, make it hard to get and you can’t go wrong.
1. Beat Yourself Up: The book isn’t shaping up the way you want it to? Someone read a chapter and didn’t care for it? Feel like jumping off a cliff? No worries. Those days happen, but remember that every day that you’re thinking, “woe is me,” is another day that you could be finishing a chapter or polishing a plot point. You can spend your time beating yourself up or beating your characters up. I do a lot of the former but am trying to stop.

Happy writing.
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