Friday, August 29, 2014

Guarding Your Growing Work with Guest Blogger Tina Radcliffe



First, I’d like to thank the gang at Stitches Thru Time for inviting me to participate in their birthday celebration. Happy Birthday.
 
Guarding the work is a topic that I learned about many years ago. Your budding story doesn’t come with growing instructions, but I’ve learned a few from my manuscript garden to share with you.

1. Protect Your Seedlings
Today, most of us have lives lived in the spotlight of social media. Every nuance of our day is shared with hundreds, if not thousands, of virtual strangers. Don’t share your developing story on social media. Period.
There’s also a burning desire to share your pages with people in your life. After all, they love you, so they’ll love your story, right?
Not necessarily. Remember that the story God planted in your heart is your special seed. Those around you may not understand your story. They may in fact dislike your story, or worse, attempt to change your story to become their story.
My advice to you is to wait until the story is completed before you share it with those who are not writers. (If you must share at all.)
Equally dangerous is exposure to emotions that can drain you before you complete the story. The story should be your primary focus. Say no to drama. Filter out anything that will induce emotions that keep you from being able to channel your characters and your plot while you are writing. This can include toxic people, television, movies and books-anything that diverts your emotional and spiritual energy from the growing seedling of a story.

2. Guard those Story Plants
 -Contests: It’s no secret that I love writing contests. I love them because I’m an introvert and contesting is an introvert’s way of pretending to be an extrovert. But when you are a new writer contest results can be devastating. I know several writers who gave it all up over contest results. Remember that contests (no matter how prestigious) do not guarantee that the judges know what they are talking about. On a very good day, they are still simply a subjective crap shoot.
Don’t enter your manuscript in contests until your story and you are strong enough to weather the confusion of conflicting and sometimes painful feedback. It takes a mature writer to know how to put contest results aside for another day and to know how to mine for gems of instruction among contest results.

 -Reviews: Reviews are contests for published stories. There is no good reason to read your own reviews. Occasionally, while shopping at online retailers I stumble across my own reviews, but I never, ever go looking for them.
Reviews like contests, are a subjective crap shoot. Don’t believe the good ones and don’t believe that horrible ones.  Bad reviews can steal your writing mojo for days or weeks. That little budding plant of a manuscript will shrivel up and die from neglect if you allow yourself to be sucked into the morass of a negative review. Don’t allow that to happen. Don’t read reviews.

-Critique Groups: The perfect critique group or partner gives you the right amount of encouragement and direction. If all you’re getting is manure, it might be time to rethink your arrangement. Conversely, if you aren’t getting any help then why are you wasting your valuable writing time?

3. The Growth Cycle of a Story
The tender shoots begin to appear and the writer is excited and full of hope for the story. Each word, sentence and paragraph is carefully selected and fretted over.
Weeks later and the daily drudgery of watering and fertilizing begins to take its toll. Is this really worth it? Will this uninspiring plant really become a beautiful story bloom?
More time passes and the plant seems to be at a standstill. It is becoming more and more obvious that you are wasting your time. Why did you even think you could write or cultivate anything? (You secretly consider letting the plant die a natural death.)

Pushing through you finally write ‘the end.’ After pruning and pruning (and more pruning), you have a beautiful story plant.

Now go plant another seed.

So, how do you protect the work in your writing garden? Have you come across any of the issues I’ve mentioned?

In honor of the Stitches Thru Time blog birthday, I’m giving away a copy of Stranded with the Rancher. The gang here will let you know if your name was picked. Print copy for U.S. or Canada. Kindle version if you are an international winner.

The Doctor and the Cowboy

Stranded at single father Dan Gallagher's ranch during a Colorado blizzard, Dr. Beth Rogers is counting the days till the roads are clear. She can't wait to leave for her exciting new life in New York. But suddenly the big-city doctor is delivering babies in log cabins, helping to feed newborn calves and teaching Dan's little girl to play hymns on the piano. No-nonsense Beth even throws a snowball or two at the handsome, love-shy cowboy. She thought she had her heart set on leaving, so why does she dream of Dan asking her to stay forever?
 

Tina Radcliffe writes fun, inspirational romance for Love Inspired. She is a 2014 ACFW Mentor of the Year finalist and a 2014 ACFW Carol Award finalist in the short novel category, with her first Paradise book, Mending the Doctor’s Heart. Her latest Paradise book, Stranded with the Rancher is a September release. She’s also teaching Self-Editing for Beginners in October in Seekerville’s Night Classes.

33 comments:

  1. I would think guarding your work would be very important. Thank you for sharing. Stranded with the Rancher sounds like a wonderful book.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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  2. Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday do you! Happy Birthday, dear Stitches in Time. Happy Birthday to you.

    I've brought red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting to share. Point me to the coffee, ladies.

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    1. Thanks so much, Tina. Be sure to cut those slices thick. =D

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  3. Happy Birthday to you Stitches in Time! Love your blog!
    Enjoyed Tina's post and can't wait to read her book!
    jacsmi75 at gmail dot com

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    1. Jackie gets a big piece of cake and a party hat for being such a great pal!

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    2. Thanks for the birthday wishes and for dropping by, Jackie. :)

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  4. Thanks for joining us for our birthday celebration, Tina. Great post.

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  5. Hey, Jodie! Lovely party! I especially like the decorations!

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  6. Happy Birthday, Stitches In Time!! You have a cheerful, happy place to visit. :-)
    Good post, Tina. I can relate to the plants and growing theme. :-)

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    1. Thanks, Mary. Glad you could visit today. :) Come again and enjoy the to-go cake. ;)

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  7. I'm new to Stitches in Time, but would like to offer my birthday wishes to the group/blog!

    Favorite TINA quote of the day, "Say no to drama...This can include toxic people, television, movies and books-anything that diverts your emotional and spiritual engery..." Such good advice for writers and readers alike!

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    1. oops, typo, that's energy!

      p.s. I've read Stranded with the Rancher and it's terrific! (I don't know how Tina is able to not read reviews, I'd be drawn to them like a moth to the flame!)

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    2. LOL. Tracey! You really have to guard yourself or you won't be able to write. And thank you, Tracey for the kind words.

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    3. Thanks for the birthday wishes, Tracey. So glad you could stop by and tell how you enjoyed the story. :) Tina does give some good advice.

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  8. Great reminder about guarding yourself, Tina. Not that I have the book reviews yet. :)

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  9. Mmm...Cake! I'll take some of that, along with some coffee to get me going this morning. Feels like fall here in beautiful CO.

    Oh,yeah! It's our BIRTHDAY, it's our BIRTHDAY! We get to do a happy dance because the AMAZING Tina Radcliffe has honored us with a visit! Wahoo!

    Tina, I like the analogy of plants for our stories. It really is like that. Stories start out as seeds, and they take a lot of nurturing, at least at first.

    Confession time: I do read my reviews. The good reviews encourage me, because I'm not one of those people who thinks all my stories are brilliant, so to see people are being blessed by them makes it all worth it. The bad ones, well, I understand that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and you're not going to please everyone. But I have had a couple of reviews that pointed out weaknesses in my writing that I was able to correct. Eventually, I'll probably need to stop. Is there a Review Readers Anonymous class somewhere?

    Thanks for hanging out with us today!

    Amber Schamel
    Bringing HIStory to Life
    www.AmberSchamel.com

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    1. LOL, Amber. Love your enthusiasm. I MISS COLORADO!!!!! Okay, the thing with reviews is you get just one bad review and if your are really lucky it's someone who is just plain mean, it freezes you for quite some time. So I went cold turkey. Though I do appreciate reviews. Very much.

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  10. Tina

    You've been a living encyclopedia of writing information for me since I started following Seekerville. Thank you. I always take your advice to heart.

    I can't believe Stitches is now a year old. I was attracted to this blog because of the crafts and I'm crafty myself. Of course writing is my most important craft now. Thanks, Stitches for all the great posts over the past year. Happy Birthday.

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  11. In the summer of 2004 I think it was...I remember emailing Missy Tippens and whining that if something didn't pop with my writing soon, I would stop and quilt full time. Well I finaled in the Golden Heart with Myra, Janet and Julie...Seekerville began in 2005 and the quilting was never meant to be. Anyone want some fabric?

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    1. So there's hope around the corner? :)

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    2. Or quilts. As the case may be. You just got an agent. You're a short timer on Unpublished Island.

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  12. And thank you, Elaine for your kind words. I speak from the School of Hard Knocks. Nothing is learned the easy way with me.

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    1. Hmm...I think we've all visited that school from time to time. ;)

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    2. LOL. Crystal. It's where Rocky and Bullwinkle went to school.

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  13. Tina, this post was so helpful. And by the way my favorite cake is Red Velvet!

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Wilani. :) Hope you enjoy the cake. ;)

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  14. My favorite too, Wilani! Then carrot cake.

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  15. All very interesting thank you.

    Did someone say cake?

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    1. I hide a piece, just for you, Mary Preston!

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  16. EXCELLENT advice, Teenster ... especially the part about not reading your own reviews, something I have struggled with A LOT especially since APMP has be available for free download for almost a year now and the reviews have tripled. They are deadly in this approval-driven business, and I stay away from them for the most part.

    And, ooooooo, red velvet is one of my faves!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  17. They are deadly, Jules!~ Good job!

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  18. Amber, thanks for having this interest. very nice an I do love cowboys. Please put my name in the drawing. Maxie

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