June 29, 2009

Guest Blogger - Katie Hines, YA author

Children's Author Katie Hines joins me today....talking about how to help your muse along. Don't forget to leave a comment....you'll be eligible to win the monthly prize (see to the right). Thanks for stopping by, Katie!

Coming soon in 2009
"Guardian" a middle grade urban fantasy

Imagine you have made a secret promise that can lead you to an incredible treasure and an ancient power. But in order to fulfill that promise, you must defeat an age-old sect determined to claim the treasure and power themselves.

Fireworks, Sparklers & Writing

Do you get to the point where you don't have a clue what to write? Your Muse isn't shut down, it's just not working overtime. Perhaps you're the one who worked overtime, and are having a hard time reconnecting.

I find myself in that position this morning. As I contemplated various witty repartees, started several drafts of a blog entry, I realized they were "blah." Who, I wondered, would be interested in these drafts? Why would anyone on God's green earth want to listen to my rants and raves?

How do we make our writing sizzle and spark? To be relevant? To wax eloquent with lovely visual word paints? I've got so many things on my mind this Monday morning that are not writing related. If I'm going to light my writing up like a fireworks sparkler, I'm going to have to stop, regroup, rein my thinking in, and focus on the task at hand.

Am I organized enough to trust that what I'm thinking about can be added to a mental list of things to do later? Nope! My papers are organized, but if I have an idea that is butting against my thinking, I need to write it down, and focus on the task at hand. Create a to-do list. Again. I cannot depend on my thinking to keep track of it for me. If I do, I find the same thoughts running through my head over and over again without landing somewhere and finding a home until I can get to them.

Lists are great and awesome things. They keep me on track with my projects, they keep me from going on mental overload, and they keep remembering things I want to do without me having to run them through my mind over and over. Even the most organized person uses lists. Perhaps I should rephrase that and say, "The most organized people use lists to stay organized."

I could have all kinds of ideas about what I want to accomplish during the day, but not make it to more than one or two because I haven't committed those ideas to a list. I find when I make a list, it frees my brain up to think, whether it is about my current novel, or about writing a book review, etc.

Today, my list is 16 items long. Not all of them are to be completed today (thank God!), but I'm keeping track, and it's keeping me on track. How about you? Do you have a written list? Are you making organization work for you?

Katie Hines
Children's Author
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Katie-Hines/1442953493
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/katiehines


unwriter said...

Organized? I had to find my dictionary for that one. 'Organized' - Having a plan of action. Ah, I see. I usually play to have some action but the joints are so rusty all I get are squeaks.

I must admit I don't use 'lists' per se, but I do keep myself pretty well organized, in spite of what I said in the first paragraph. I get this from too many years in the corporate world

Susan Macatee said...

Katie, you are so right. Years ago when my boys were in school, scouts and played on various Little League teams, I found lists and calendars invaluable in keeping all their activies under control. Now I use that same technique for my various writing projects and it works like a charm.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading the comments.
What little organzation I have is attributed to lists. I put things on a list or yellow stick it notes an try to complete them. A good feeling when I do.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Oh, yes. I make lists. And when I complete a task, I check it off. That gives me a feeling of accomplishment. I have a tendency to add too many things to my list, and I don't accomplish all of them. That's okay. I just add them to the next day, or the next. Eventually they get done. Without my lists, I'd forget what I'm supposed to do. :-)



robynl said...

I am the queen of lists for sure; I love crossing off an item that I have completed and sometimes I have done something that wasn't on the list and I wrote it down and crossed it off so I could see how much I accomplished.

Cheryl said...

Great article, Katie. I better be somewhat organized or my day goes to hell quickly. I'm a huge fan of weekly to-do lists, which keep me focused and serve as a motivator when I can check something off as complete.

I've also tracked my time to identify time wasters like Internet surfing, checking emails, etc. so that I can recapture that lost time.

Sounds like you're a very productive writer. Keep up the great work!


Latesha said...

Enjoyed your article, Katie. I wish I could keep track of the lists that I make. Might make life a little easier to deal with.

Lea Schizas - Author/Editor said...

First off I want to congratulate Katie for her upcoming release. I can't wait to purchase it. The cover alone has ignited an interest, but knowing Katie I am sure the book will be fascinating and one young adults will truly enjoy.

As for lists, I have been known to use lists...when I remember them. I find being 'disorganized' and in a crunch for a deadline helps me perform better. What can I say? I'm odd.

Enjoyed this post. Congratulations to you both.

Elizabeth Pina said...

Katie I love your cover!

Does stickies and notes all over my desk count as a list?

I try to be organized by carefully flagging my emails for further attention - then forgetting to check them. Oh well.

I'm good with lists for traveling and "big" stuff but desperately need to use them more for the little things. However, I frequently hit the grocery store only to realize I've left my list in the car/kitchen. Oh well.

Congratulations on your release!

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Hi, Katie. We've had a rough start on this blog, but we're finally here.

I do lists once in a while. I should probably do more, but I have found them handy when I do use them.

Speaking of which, I really need to start the 'going to national' list so I don't forget something important, like my underwear.


Katie Hines said...

One of my biggest problems is keeping my lists organized! I have Outlook on my computer, which has a great "tasks" section - perfect for keeping track of all those little things, but I find I prefer to have a hard copy list to work from.

Diane Knaus said...

Thank you Katie, now I know it isn't just me who needs lists. They really help me get accomplished what needs to be done.

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