THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Covering All The Bases

 

baseball

 

I wouldn’t consider myself the world’s best athlete growing up. I was incredibly shy and self-conscious about my appearance, so when I was forced to pick a sport to “master” during high school as part of my PE grade, I decided on soft ball.

I didn’t have the jump to play basketball, my sister cornered the gymnastics arena, and my brother was the boss of the football field. Surprisingly enough, I found that I was fairly adept at my chosen sport and ended up playing both short-stop or second base. I wasn’t superstar material by any means, but I always managed to cover the bases any time I stepped out on the playing field. Whether catching fly balls, stopping grounders, or even taking my turn at bat, I focused on multi tasking to get the job done.

Juggling an active writing career is very similar to covering second base. There are even times when juggling things like revisions, queries, contests, research, and other writing commitments cut into actual writing time and we find ourselves wondering how we are going to be able to cover all our writerly bases.

I don’t have all the answers, but as I go into this busy, busy summer season, I plan on keeping a few things in mind:

1. MAKE A WRITING PLAN & FOLLOW IT DAILY

 

I might only get to write for 15 minutes some days but I will focus all my energy during those 15 minutes on my latest project.

 

2. DO MY RESEARCH & NARROW MY AGENT LIST

 

Some of my queries need to be followed up on while other submissions need to be sent out.

3. TAKE A MENTAL HEALTH DAY OCCASIONALLY

 

It’s hard for me sometimes to take time just for me but past experience has shown me I need ME time in order to be able to put my best effort into my writing.

Before you know it, summer will be gone and the kids will be back in school. The sounds of the crowd and the smell of popcorn will fade from the baseball field, but at least I will have something to show for covering all my writerly bases.

What about you? How do you plan to manage your busy summer and still get your writing in?

 

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LUNADAR: Homeward Bound

Ruler by day, a reluctant pirate by night, 18-year-old Princess Ariana fights for her subjects in the waterfall city of LUNADAR. In a kingdom surrounded by fairies and mermaids, and ravaged by deadly Drundles, only a chosen few are trusted to guard her daughter, Candra, as the secret heir to the throne. But it only takes one ill-fated meeting for Ariana to suddenly be plunged into an escalating web of secrets found in her father’s journal, a deadly kidnapping, and an ever-weakening resolve to turn her back on the call of the merman’s song. With Ariana’s world falling apart and the future of LUNADAR at stake, how will she bring her father’s murderer to justice and fulfill a deathbed promise to protect Lunadar’s legacy?

$16.99

 

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donna

 

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Dreaming My Life Away…

 

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When I was growing up, I had a very vivid imagination. I still do. But sometimes my imagination would get the best of me and I would step beyond my DREAMS to blend fantasy with reality by sleep walking or sleep talking.

I wouldn’t do it often, but my siblings enjoyed seeing just how far they could take a conversation with me until I woke up and realized I was somewhere different than the place my imagination had led me.

I’ve walked into my clothes closet thinking I was walking into another room.

I’ve gone into the kitchen on a Saturday afternoon during a nap and tried to cook breakfast because I thought it was time to get ready for school.

I’ve even had DREAMS of frightening events that continued to play out in front of me long after I finally woke up.

DREAMING…good or bad…has always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

Now, as a writer, my DREAMS take on a very different meaning.

I DREAM out the plots of my latest picture book stories like the one I woke up to yesterday about the magic to be found on a teeny tiny corner of one teeny tiny town.

I DREAM to work out a tricky part of my fantasy novel revision that I’ve struggled with during the day time. Now, the answer to my problem seems so clear.

I DREAM of the day my name will appear on another published manuscript. That one might not be too far into the future as I currently study the details of my latest offer of publication.

DREAMING is what we writers do and if we are really lucky, some of those DREAMS might even come true!

 

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donna

 

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Being Accountable For Your Accountability

 

 
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The saying goes that kids will be kids, especially teenagers, no matter which generation of youngsters we might be talking about.

With my shy, unassuming nature, I was by no means a rebel back in my own teenager years, but there was one time I stepped outside the boundaries of convention, leaving me with a question still unanswered even today…

One of the first things I did, once I moved out of my parent’s house and into a boarding house room 50 miles away, was to find the nearest movie theater. I had just turned 18 and up to that point in my life I’d only been to one picture show.

I was lucky enough to find one on the bus line not far from where I lived and the 50 cent ticket price for a Saturday matinee was within this poor girl’s budget.

But the concessions were not.

Being the resourceful gal that I was, I decided to pack some fried chicken and a drink to take with me before heading out. It was Halloween and I wanted to watch a scary movie, but coming from a very secluded childhood, let’s just say it was a HUGE culture shock once the movie began…

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW

It was an enlightening education both to my naïve young mind as well as some lessons learned on social interaction and audience participation.

I sat there in stunned silence by the exit door, mindlessly nibbling on the food I’d brought with me, as I watched the chaos between screen and movie goers unfold in front of me.

It wasn’t until I’d left the theater and was safely back on the bus for the trip home when I realized something.

I’d left my trash on the seat next to me.

My mother had always taught me to be ACCOUNTABLE for myself and I had rudely forgotten to clean up. But instead of castrating myself for bad manners, all I could was laugh.

Imagine the poor employee who uncovered what would appear to be some kind of ANIMAL SACRIFICE in the back row of a darkened movie theater.

I bet that was one Halloween they would never forget!

Remember, guys, we are ACCOUNTABLE for every decision we make in our writing careers. The characters we create, the worlds we build, even the submissions we send out. If we are at the beginning of our publishing paths, we’ll probably make more mistakes than we’d care to admit. If we’re established writers, we have an obligation to our readers, agents, publishers, etc. to provide the most polished work we can give them. So whenever you feel like there is no rhyme or reason to your writing day, just remember one thing…

Be ACCOUNTABLE.

PLAN your next move.

TRACK your journey.

SUCCEED by remembering all the victories, big and small, along the way.
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We can do this! YOU can do this!

I hope you have an AWESOME day today cuz you deserve it!

 

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Life’s A Balancing Act

 

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Ever since I was a baby, I struggled with balance.

Taking my first steps.

Learning to ride a bike.

Now I try to balance three full time careers… Center Manager of my Taekwondo school, published author, and small press publisher of Story Catcher Publishing.

Some days it’s a piece of cake and other times I just want to crawl under my bed and hide. But no matter how challenging my life can get, it’ll never be as rough as the day I lost my balance in fifth grade…

I was an extreme introvert and always lived just outside any social circle existing in my small town elementary school. I was too smart for the dumb kids, too awkward for cool kids, and too straight for the druggies. But I desperately wanted to fit in, so I finally decided my best chance to fit in somewhere would be to dress like the cool kids. The only problem is, my family was dirt poor. The only item I owned that could possibly capture their attention was a super cool pair of white wedge sandals.

The shoes had a three inch wedge under the toes and a five inch wedge under the heel. When I put them on, I stood well over six feet tall…in the fifth grade…and imagined I looked like a graceful swan strutting around in those high heels.

In reality I looked more like a drunken flamingo and balanced like one as well.

I remember walking past some cute boys one day. I thought I would sashay gracefully past them and go around the corner of the school building. I don’t know if maybe it was the higher altitude, being on those stilts, but just as I got in front of them and tried to turn the corner, it happened.

I lost my balance and fell off my shoes.

Yep, you read right.

Fell. Off. My. Shoes.

In front of those cute boys.

Who immediately split a gut laughing as I struggled to get back on my stilts and slink away in mortification.

I still struggle with balance these days as a writer. Deadlines, Revisions. Even the simple act of finding enough time to work on new projects. But I’ve learned a thing or two since losing my balance back in fifth grade:

1. It’s not the falling down that gets you. It’s the staying down… so get up, dust yourself off, and keep going.

2. Losing your balance won’t kill you. Might bruise your ego but you’ll live. All you need to do is take a moment to catch your breath and refocus your efforts on reaching your particular goals.

3. Learning to balance the different parts of your life or career takes time. Time that is important for you to make time for or all the various things in your life will never balance themselves out.

The days are long gone where I challenge my poor feet to walking on wedges. Now I look forward to the day when I can learn to balance my checkbook…;~)

 

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donna

 

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

 

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Growing My Own Reality

 

 

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Spring is in the air and it reminds me of all the times my mother waited for planting season to arrive. Seed catalog in hand, she would walk the perimeter of the latest house we were renting and plot all the ways she would turn one little yard into a massive veggie producing garden.

Every available inch would be cultivated and every vegetable imaginable would be planted. My mother never once seem to have self-doubt concerning her ability to provide for her children through the efforts of her own making. I often wished I could glide my way through my own life the way my mother managed to sail so confidently through hers.

I have dreamed of being an author most of my life. When I was 6 years old I started writing poetry. By age 11, I was winning local writing contests, and by the time I graduated high school I was working on my second volume of poems as well as writing essays and editorials for my high school paper as its editor. I was well on my way to fulfilling my dream of seeing my name on the cover of my own book one day.

Then self-doubt entered my life. In my early 20’s I allowed someone else to erode my belief that I was any good at this writing thing. And when those tentacles of self-doubt started to wrap itself around my spirit, it affected all aspects of my life. My relationships. My weight. My writing.

I put away my pen and stopped writing for over 25 years. I never realized how crippled I had become by self-doubt until one morning almost ten years ago when a shocking miracle happened and the passion for writing finally returned to me. Now I continue to write, having managed to get published a few times and I’ve learned the secret to stopping self-doubt in its tracks!

As long as you keep moving…keep reaching for the stars…and never give up on YOU, then those moments of self-doubt no longer have the power to destroy your spirit!

Now go out and conquer your own self-doubt while having an awesome day because you deserve it!

 

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donna

 

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Thanking My Lucky Stars

 

stars

 

When I was about four years old, my mother owned and ran a local ice cream stand across from the high school’s football field. My grandfather built it for her soon after she married my father and it was THE place to hang out after school and on the weekends.

All the kids called us LUCKY because they thought we could eat ice cream any time we wanted.

The reality was that if we were LUCKY, the store brought in just enough money to help pay the bills, and by the time I was in school, my mother was forced to sell the business.

There were two things she took with her when she locked up for the last time. One was the famous framed mirror of my ghost story and a five foot wide plate of glass that had fit in a window separating the kitchen area from the small jukebox dance and game room.

A couple of days after leaving the ice cream stand, my sister and I were jumping up and down on some mattresses that were stored in an extra room at our house. I can remember how LUCKY I felt to have this homemade trampoline at my disposal.

That is, until we heard the horrendous cracking sound…

Apparently my mother thought storing that plate glass between two thick mattresses would ensure nothing would happen to it.

She didn’t factor in my notorious bad LUCK.

I guess you could say I was actually LUCKY that day though.

No one got hurt and I actually got to walk away from that “adventure” with my backside still intact!

LUCK is a tricky thing. Some people like my son seem to have the good kind in abundance. And then there are others, like myself, that have nothing but the frustratingly annoying kind that seems to test one’s patience every day.

But being the eternal optimist, I’d like to think we have a hand in determining our own LUCK, so why not wake up each morning with the idea that Lady LUCK is on YOUR side? I can think of many ways I can count my LUCKY stars…

1. I have a skill for storytelling and continue to strengthen that skill every day.

2. I have people I count as dear friends who support my writing dreams.

3. I have seen my stories published in the past and God willing, will do so again in the future.

4. I have many stories running around in my head…though not always enough time in the day to write them down.

5. I feel the love and support of this wonderful writing community and I’m truly blessed to be able to count myself a part of it!

I hope you have an AWESOME day today, my DCSPeeps, because you deserve it

 

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donna

 

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Trusting Your Gut

 

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The summer after I graduated high school I decided to visit my brother in San Diego. He was in the Navy, stationed on the USS Enterprise and 6 years older than me. Remember, I am an extreme introvert, so when one of his Navy buddies invited me to go out with him one Saturday, I trusted my instincts and said yes.

At almost eighteen, this was my first date ever and I kinda expected a meal and a movie.

I was mistaken.

What I got was an all day hike up the side of a mountain to a place called the Devil’s Punch Bowl.

Did I mention I was terrified of open heights?

Or that I later found out a group of climbers fell to their deaths a few weeks before off the very trail I was on?

Ignorance is bliss and the young blindly trusting as I was that day. I climbed like a mountain goat to the peak so I could gaze at the beautiful, if not dangerous, bowl shaped vista below me.

A once in a lifetime moment and it comes to my mind as vividly as if it happened yesterday. Trust is a powerful thing and can lead you to great moments waiting for you in the not too distant future:

Trust the rightness of beginning your writing journey if you have been hesitant before now to take the leap of faith.

Trust and follow blogs of writers who have been where you are right now and have writerly wisdom to share. Like these great blogs:

https://janefriedman.com

http://www.thecreativepenn.com

http://writersinthestormblog.com/

http://writerunboxed.com

http://www.kidlit411.com

http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/

https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/

http://www.taralazar.com/

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents

 
Trust that you have people in this writing community who will offer loving support to help lift you up when you are struggling with self-doubt.

And finally, trust there is a happy writer version of you just waiting on some mountain peak to greet you with open arms.

All you have to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and start climbing!

Have an awesome day today because you deserve it!

 

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donna

 

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.