This being my 100th blog post, I thought it was a good time to make a “Writing Plan of Action.” I made such a plan a couple of years ago for making items to sell in my craft shop on Etsy.com — Hickory Ridge Crafts. I tend to procrastinate if I don’t have a written list to keep me on task.
My “Plan of Action” for Hickory Ridge Crafts started as a weekly list. I soon found I needed a daily list; otherwise, the end of the week would arrive and half the things on my list had not been finished. What I present today in this post is seven goals and objectives, most of which have no end date or deadline. As I plan each week, I will assign tasks to each day in order to accomplish these goals and objectives:
(1) Schedule book signings/author events (on-going);
(2) Continue to blog every day (on-going);
(3) Continue to research and write captions for a Piedmont NC vintage postcard book so I can propose the book to Arcadia Publishing (on-going);
(4) Spend two hours each week building a list of places that might sell a Piedmont NC vintage postcard book (which must be included in my author proposal – beginning next week;
(5) Continue to search for writing contests to enter or magazine articles to write (on-going);
(6) Set aside one day each week to edit my historical novel manuscript, tentatively titled, The Spanish Coin, (until I get it polished as much as I can); and
(7) If Arcadia Publishing rejects my author proposal for a Piedmont NC vintage postcard book, start in earnest to find a literary agent to represent me and my novel.
Sounds like a plan! I’ll give a progress report occasionally.
I’m scheduled to talk about The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to the Presbyterians who are residents of Aldersgate in Charlotte on October 20 and have a book signing. I look forward to seeing some friends and making new ones that day.
Another door prize has arrived for my Book Launch Party! I received two complimentary adult tickets for Chimney Rock State Park, valued at $30. I have six door prizes for the event. Perhaps more will come before September 21.
I placed copies of my book on consignment yesterday at White Owl Antique Mall and Design Center in Concord, North Carolina. When in Concord, drop by and support this local business.
In my “spare time,” I have put Christmas items on my online craft shop on Etsy.com. Look for Hickory Ridge Crafts on that site to see the things that my sister and I have made.
We are also continuing to organize the history room/church library in the new building at Rocky River Presbyterian Church. The official opening is next weekend.
There’s never a dull moment around here!
I must stop letting life interfere with my writing! I’ve been so busy this summer making things to try to sell on Etsy in my online shop, Hickory Ridge Crafts, that I have neglected my writing. Dr. Kyle Hite’s sermon this morning at Rocky River Presbyterian prompted me to return to my Spanish Coin manuscript this afternoon. It was fun getting back to it and getting the synopsis polished.
I started writing The Spanish Coin in 2004. The manuscript has evolved from historical fiction into Christian historical fiction. This was a slow process as I tried to discern God’s will.
What’s next? Writing the dreaded query letter and seeking a literary agent.
After letting quilting and crocheting items to sell at Hickory Ridge Crafts on Etsy.com dominate my time lately, today I enjoyed getting back to editing my manuscript, The Spanish Coin. It’s been fun re-reading the fourth and fifth chapters, eliminating excess words, and searching for repetitive words. Since the book is primarily driven by dialog, I find it helpful to read it aloud. It has been several months since I last read those chapters, so I’m coming to it with fresh eyes.
Making changes in the dialog can be a little tricky when one is writing historical fiction. A character cannot say a word that was not in use at the time of the story or novel. The Spanish Coin takes place in 1771 in North and South Carolina, so I have to be careful not to use modern phrases. It goes beyond that, though, and I have relied upon a book by William Brohaugh titled English Through the Ages to keep me on the straight and narrow. Once in a while I’ve been surprised to learn that a word I thought was perfect for my character to say in conversation was not yet in common usage in the 18th century.
Using appropriate vernacular in writing historical fiction, trying to give just enough description, not using any word too often, and trying to get all the punctuation right…. Whew! I will forever be learning more about the craft of writing.
If writing were easy, it wouldn’ t be so rewarding!
When I wrote on Christmas Day that I was ending a chapter in my writing life, I didn’t realize that I would completely drift away from my writing blog. I must be the worst blogger in history. I have good intentions of doing better in the future, but I think I’ve said that before.
Author A.J. Mayhew (The Dry Grass of August) gave me some excellent constructive criticism in January. As a result, I am reviewing my Spanish Coin manuscript with a more critical and educated eye. I’m slowly tightening up the dialog and look for word repetition. At the same time, I’m looking at the landscape and physical space in the manuscript and striving to describe the setting so that my future readers can better visualize Nancy Richardson’s home and the lay of the land in the Waxhaws. It’s tedious work, but I do enjoy it when I can set aside a block of uninterrupted time.
I’m also working on a magazine article proposal about the effect the Civil War had on the Rocky River Presbyterian Church congregation. It’s hard to break in as a freelance writer, so wish me luck!
In February, the Rocky River Readers Book Club read Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton. I’d read the book in 2010 but enjoyed reading it again. It’s a compelling story that makes the reader have serious thoughts about our justice system.
Other books I’ve read this year are The Midwife of Venice, by Roberta Rich; Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin; The Shunning, by Beverly Lewis; The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, by Wendy Welch; Fireflies in December, by Jennifer Erin Valent; and My Name is Mary Sutter, by Robin Oliveira. I recommend all of them to you. If you like historical fiction, My Name is Mary Sutter definitely needs to be on your reading list.
I just finished reading Fireflies in December on my Kindle and look forward to reading the sequels.
There are so many things I want to write about and read about, while sewing, quilting, and crocheting to put new items on Etsy to sell. HickoryRidgeCrafts is taking more of my time than writing lately. I’m struggling to strike a balance.