All posts by Erin Unger

6 Rewards an Author Should Try

This has been a very productive writing week. I finally hankered down and got back to my latest manuscript. It’s so close to being finished. The exuberance of typing the last word is building already.
 
A celebration is just around the corner. How will I reward myself for finishing it after so many months of hard work? I’m tapping my chin in thought at this very moment.
 
You’re probably asking yourself why I need a reward? Shouldn’t the work be enough recompense?
 
The answer: Sometimes yes. But what about those tough days when it takes everything you’ve got to finish a project? Rewards help us push forward. Rewards sometimes even help us focus.
 
Writers should give themselves something when they accomplish a goal, and it can take little to no money to make it happen. Here are a few ideas:

  • Sleep in the next day.
  • Plan a day where you do nothing but read. This is hard when you have kids, but it is possible if you line things up right.
  • Go out to eat with a writing buddy at a place with a value menu. Cheap can be just as much fun as a ritzy place when you’re talking books while you eat.
  • Stash away your favorite sweet, and don’t touch it until your goal is accomplished.
  • Get your favorite author’s next book.
  • Stop at your favorite coffee house.

It can be something little or something big. But set it in advance so you have a tangible item or plan to look forward to. I rarely miss a goal when there’s something in it for me. Are you the same way? What are some things you do to reward yourself when you meet a goal? I’d love to know.

Writers Who Inspired Me This Month

Boy did I have a rough few weeks. One thing after another went wrong. I got to the point where I just wanted to shut the world out for a bit. How did I do that? I pulled out a book and sat down to read.

This is the part where you Christian writers have a huge impact on readers. I found encouragement and strength in several books that pointed me to Christ, and gave me the edification I needed to keep going. It’s amazing how much we can glean and take with us through the week from even a Christian fictional work.

Here’s a list of the authors that inspired me through some tough days:

  • Carrie Fancett Pagels: Return to Shirley Plantation- A Civil War Romance Novella
    1. Carrie does a great job showing life on a plantation during the Civil War. She also opened my eyes to a little known fact. Her story revolved around a slave who was 1/8 African yet looked white and her niece and nephew who also appeared to be white but were slaves.
  • Kate Hodges: The Other Side of Miracles: Looking at the Miracles of Jesus in a New Way
    1. Kate does an exquisite job relaying the miracles of Jesus from the perspective of the people who received them. I loved how she dug into their lives and personal history to show why they needed a touch from the Savior.
  • Diane E. Tatum: Gold Earrings
    1. Diane’s novel was a fun story about a woman who ventures out to find her own way in the Midwest. Although she didn’t stick to the traditional view of the nineteenth century, I was encouraged by her message of the importance of looking on the inner man and not the outer one.
  • Christa Allan: Walking on Broken Glass
    1. Christa’s novel really made me think. She wrote in deep point of view about addiction and breaking the cycle through her main character. I was inspired by her style of writing. Her voice is very unique and I can’t wait to find more books written by her. 

If you haven’t had a chance to read any of these, take the time to get your hands on them. You’ll be encouraged and uplifted by the message God gave these writers.

A.D.D.- A Writer’s Gift

It was a beautiful week and a half of vacation for my family and I. But, today was the day I had to get back to all my writing responsibilities. As a matter of fact, I had to chain myself to the computer seat tonight to make myself get back to work. And of course, I’m so misconbobulated from being away for those glorious days. If you saw me, you’d think I was the most ADD person you ever met at this moment. You can ask my buddies from the writers’ conference. They can tell you what I’m like when I’m hyped up on forgetfulness. I become a human ping pong ball.

Sometimes my writing gets that way too. I jump from one subject to the next. My characters forget they were sitting when I make them leap up to spar. Or they speak out of character for two pages until I’m forced to retract and put the words back in their mouths to start the conversation right.

I even give my character the wrong name when my ADD kicks in. One of my critique partners will be reading along and all the sudden someone from my previous book shows up on the page(embarrassing!). That puts my partners in quite a quandary, I’ll tell you.

So my answer to the craziness that only sometimes possesses me, oops sorry, a bit of an exaggeration there….

  1. The answer- stop.
  2. Take a deep breath…or two…maybe three.
  3. Start a list to keep on track.
  4. And fight the fidgets that do their best to capture me.
  5. No changing tasks until the previous one is completed.

If you struggle with this sometimes wonderful, sometimes infuriating condition you know that it can wreck your intentions to write. It can make your plans fall to pieces, and make you want to hit the wall with your forehead when you have to back track three times to remember what you were on your way to do.

But its flip side is the ability to hyper-focus. It may take me forever to get into the mode of writing, but once I do, I can crank out some serious work. The first two hours of moving, dancing, bouncing around turn into three times as many hours of productive work.

Thank you God for my attention disordered gift.