Thursday, December 10, 2009

Notes on Writing


Jennifer AlLee

Getting Ready for a New Year

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. They’re too easy to make in a rush of zealous good intentions, and too easy to break when the realities of life intrude. What I am a fan of is reflection and planning.

As the year draws to a close, I’ve taken some time to look back at my writing life. What did I do that worked? What was a big waste of time? What do I want to do better in the year ahead? Here are my three hot spots and how I plan to deal with them:

Set a Word Count Goal

I’ve known this about myself for a while, but it’s time I admitted it to the world: I’m a big-time procrastinator. Don’t get me wrong, if I have a deadline, I will absolutely meet it. In fact, I work best under pressure. But if there’s no deadline, no person expecting my pages, I can find all kinds of reasons not to write. For the new year, I plan to set a weekly word count goal. And to keep myself accountable, I’m going to involve my circle of friends. This brings me to the next item…

Keep in Touch

When I first started my blog almost three years ago (where did that time go?) my main intent was to promote Christian fiction by reviewing novels. I’ve done a lot of that, and still do. But about a year ago, I realized I was missing an opportunity to connect with the people reading my blog. I made a conscious effort to write more interactive posts. I shared things that made me laugh, or my views on life, and asked for comments. It was going quite well and made the blog more varied and interesting. But lately, I’ve fallen back into mostly-review mode. Going forward, I hope to be more transparent and write about things that are more personal. Sharing my word count goal with readers and reporting on my progress will not only make me accountable, but involve them in the book writing process.

Stop Comparing Myself

This is a big trouble spot for me. I belong to several writers’ email loops and often see announcements about personal triumphs: agents acquired, three book deals, etc. It’s wonderful and exciting… most of the time. But there are days when I’m feeling down, when I haven’t gotten the news I was hoping for about a project, that those emails rub against my ego like steel wool. The Lord has really been dealing with me in this area. He’s shown me that my writing journey won’t be like anyone else’s. Even if I don’t always recognize the plan God has for me, it’s still there. He knows exactly what books I need to write and who needs to publish them. My head knows all that. In the new year, my heart needs to get a grip on it, too.

So now you know my issues of concern. Do any of them sound familiar to you? Are these areas you need to address? If not, hurray for you! But I guarantee there’s something in your writing life that’s not quite right. Is there something you can do more efficiently? Something that needs to be cut out altogether?

As the clock ticks down on 2009, spend some time in prayer and contemplation. If you can pinpoint your trouble spots and make a plan of attack, you can start off 2010 with a real bang!

About Jennifer:

As a child, Jennifer AlLee lived above a mortuary in the heart of Hollywood, California, which may explain her unique outlook on life. Her publishing credits include The Love of His Brother, a contemporary romance from Five Star Publishing (November 2007) as well as skits, activity pages, and over one hundred contributions to Concordia Publishing House’s popular My Devotions series. Her latest novel, The Pastor’s Wife, releases February 1, 2010 from Abingdon Press. She’s an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and serves as the Nevada Area Coordinator. Jennifer resides in the grace-filled city of Las Vegas with her husband and teenage son. Visit her webstie at

1 comment:

Renee said...

I think your time is just around the corner. I've read your new book, The Pastor's Wife, and loved it!