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How My Life Changes Affect My Storytelling

September 12, 2023 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

I have made the realization this year that as my life changes through the years, the way I view my original story has changed. Change being the central word here. And my word for 2023. So what type of changes in my life am I talking about?

Blog header titled How My Life Changes affect my storytelling by denise M. Colby

Life is full of changes

I knew there would be several big life changes this year on a personal level. Two children graduating and one getting engaged being among the largest change. I also have been making strides in some health choices, adding in yoga daily and working with a doctor to heal specific areas of my body. And then the bonus life change was the addition of our puppy, Ace, in June.

But the other reason I chose the word change this year was for my writing. I wanted to change the way I edited my story. Change my phrasing. And not be afraid to change my characters. All for the better, of course. I felt focusing on the word change could help me mentally make significant changes in my story to make it stronger.

Age changes us

What I didn’t plan for was really thinking about my story from a different perspective. An age perspective. See, when I started writing my story over ten years, I was in a different time in my life. My kids were younger, I was younger and my relationships were younger.

Young love looked different to me. And I’m not as naive as I once was. Life changes over the years have exposed me to new perspectives.

But I’m not upset about all of this. I’m just more aware. And have to make decisions now based on this new awareness. Taking some time to figure out what I believe in, how I view the world, and what’s important to me will help me write better stories. My own life changes can help me develop stronger characters who go through their own life changes.

Change is important

I have enjoyed learning about the word change this year. Change allows us to move forward in life and experience new and exciting things. We all change and evolve daily, weekly, yearly.

I think our writing changes and evolves with us as well.

Do you think your writing changes as you grow older? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Denise Colby loves to write about her word of the year and share quotes that include that specific word in them. Each word builds a new layer in her writing journey (and her life). In 2022, her word was Work. This year, her word is change.

Change Quote by Eckhart Tolle for blog post about life changes
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How To ReStart Writing After A Prolonged Break

July 12, 2023 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

How do you restart writing after taking a prolonged break? Do you jump in to a daily quota right away or start slowly one time a week working on your manuscript? Do you spend time reading what you wrote, first? Or, do you start writing a new scene to work with something fresh? Do you start a completely new project, or go back to the one you were working on before?

Blog banner titled how to restart writing, after taking a break by Denise M. Colby

I don’t think there is a wrong way to restart writing, but there may be ideas we can use to help us get back into strong habits right away. I’d love to hear what you’ve done. Share them in the comments below.

As I am writing this blog post, I’m facing this very thing, restarting writing. I took a few months off to enjoy my sons’ graduations (college in May, hs in June) which I wrote about in last month’s blog post, and now I’m ready to write and edit again. As I started working on a few scenes over the weekend, the time flies. And I need to it to be quiet around me, which is hard to do with everyone home. All of these thoughts made me realize I need a game plan. And I couldn’t remember what I did before.

One thing I’m truly thankful for is my critique group. With a possibility of a weekly submission, I have a built-in deadline to help me complete a task. This is a huge motivator to restart writing.

Next I need to figure out when everyone will not be home, or I need to go somewhere to write. I love my large monitor, but maybe getting out the house will be exactly the best approach.

Denise is writing a western historical series set in 1869 California. She’s in the middle of editing the first book in the series, a full-length novel as well as a fun rom-com novella, with a few side characters.

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More Variety

April 16, 2023 by in category Writing tagged as , , , , ,

I am happy to report that our Girl Scout cookie hustle has wrapped up for season. Hopefully now I can stop giving mental space to Thin Mints and Lemonades.

Unfortunately, Sprinter continues in Minnesota. Actually, we’ve experienced all four seasons this weekend. On Friday, we had 83 degrees and sunny. Today we have 30 degrees and snowing.

Sometimes variety isn’t such a great thing.

I had a bout of sneaky creativity recently. I sat down to work on Mac and Cheese, Please, Please, Please the Sequel (working title) and I ended up finishing a completely different children’s book that I started years ago. Like, M&CPPP it’s a rhyming story about food.

As a children’s book author, I wish that rhyming came a lot easier to me. The truth is that I struggle when I’m trying to rhyme. My best rhymes come to me usually when I’m not trying or even writing for that matter. It’s typically when I’m crawling into bed after staying up waaaaay too late binging Love is Blind on Netflix, or when I’m mid-shampoo in the shower. So frustrating!

Anyways, I finished a book! Yay! Now I get to start the wonderful journey of editing and self-doubt. So fun! I also need to find an illustrator – Hoping to collaborate with a fellow Minnesotan on this. The topic is very niche to Minnesota (hint, hint). Good vibes are welcomed!

Here’s a text that my husband received this week from a close friend of ours:

He’ll be happy to know that more variety is on the way. 🙂

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Writing Batteries

September 15, 2022 by in category Writing tagged as ,

I published my very first book, Mac and Cheese, Please, Please, Please, in July of 2020. While there are obvious downsides to accomplishing this milestone in the middle of a pandemic, in some ways I think the pandemic made it possible for me to focus on making this dream a reality.

I should preface this blog post by saying that I know my experience certainly wasn’t the same experience that everyone had in 2020. My day job was by no means considered “essential work”, and I will always have a deep appreciation for all of the people who were essential throughout the pandemic.

My job on the other hand, slowed down. Like way down. While other parts of my life got more complicated, like distanced learning for my kiddos, writing somehow became less complicated. I found myself with more time to focus on it, and my proverbial writing batteries were still fully charged at the end of the workday.

The pandemic also served as a grim and constant reminder that this life is short. I found myself no longer caring about the reception others might have to my writing and I just bleeping did it

Fast-forward two years and thankfully my attitude hasn’t wavered much, but I find those writing batteries have a very small charge by the end of the day.

I appreciate this community and I enjoy hearing all your stories on perseverance in writing, rewriting, finding consistency, and keeping those batteries charged. Thank you!

Photo by Daniel Korpai on Unsplash
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A Book About Macaroni and Cheese

August 15, 2022 by in category Writing tagged as , , , ,

So, I wrote a book about macaroni and cheese. It wasn’t something I ever planned to do, but like all happy accidents in life, I sure am glad it happened the way it did.  

While writing has always been a passion of mine, and a muscle that I frequently flex during my day job, it wasn’t until a daycare pick-up one fateful afternoon in 2019 that propelled me on the path of writing a children’s book.

One sunny afternoon, I picked the kiddos up from school and asked them what sounded good for dinner. They immediately responded with what I already knew they would say, “Mac and cheese, please, please, please”.  I turned the words over in my head the whole seven-minutes it took for us to get home.

I decided to give into their demands that day and make a box of macaroni and cheese, because it had been AT LEAST three days since they’d last had it [Insert parenting eye-roll].

I kid you not… In the time it took me to make a box of macaroni and cheese, I had scribbled out a children’s book.

I can still picture it in all its felt-tip marker and wide ruled notebook glory. I read it to my kids while they shoveled the orange noodles into their mouths; giving me nods of approval.

It didn’t come as a total surprise that a random lightening bolt of inspiration had struck me. After all, I’d been creative writing and plotting storylines on paper and in my head for years. I just had never guessed that it would come in the form of a children’s book, much less a children’s book about macaroni and cheese. Yet, here we are!

That’s the origin story of my book, which just celebrated its two-year birthday last month.

The absolute best part of having a book about macaroni and cheese is when I get a picture or Snapchat from my little Mac and Cheese Army out there. I had a friend reach out and tell me that her three-year-old accurately explained that they were having “elbow noodles” for dinner. These moments always serve as a good reminder to listen to those random lightening bolts of inspiration, especially since my little Mac and Cheese Army demands more. 

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