Posts Tagged ‘Deb Buckingham’

It’s a New Year…Let’s Set Some Goals

It’s true! 2019 is here! Goal setting is in motion, well, hopefully anyway.

Have you thought about it?

Let’s break it down together. Because, like many of us, I put it off, then before I know it, I’m making my way through January with no direction. It’s a thing! And, you know it.

We’ve all heard of SMART goals:
Specific—clear and concise.
Measurable—tracking your progress.
Achievable—challenging, yet achievable.
Relevant—consistent with all other life goals.
Timely—target deadline.

The things I’ve outlined below are what has worked for me. You will find your jam and what works for you. But, if you don’t have a jam yet, why not give mine a try.

Think of things you want to accomplish and write them down.

This is a list. There are so many schools of thought when it comes to ways to think of things you want to accomplish. Maybe you’re a spreadsheet kind of person. Maybe you have to go out and buy that shiny new notebook just for your goals. That’s me.

We’re talking about writing goals specifically, but other areas of your life come into play when you’re setting these goals, so why not include family, personal, and any other categories that are important to you. That makes you more motivated to complete your writing goals when you know everything else is in alignment.

This seems to be the hardest, for me anyway. I have a million things that I want to accomplish. I have a million and one things that need to be accomplished. YOU? Thought so!

Put these in order of importance, create timelines, and break them down.

Each category has a list, I assume. It’s important to identify what is important to do first. I’m not asking you to create a list that’s over-the-top out of control. It should include two or three things in each list. But you will have ONE main goal for each list.

Figure out your WHY for doing what you’re doing.

That’s one goal.
Your why, you ask? Your why is the reason you want to accomplish your goals. This goes back to step one. Let’s define your why when it comes to establishing your goals; thinking of the things you want to accomplish.

Your WHY is your deep-down personal motivation for what you do. Until you identify this, you won’t be able to figure out the what and how. This is the hardest for me.
This is also what can fuel you to complete your goals.

Find a friend. An accountability partner. Tell them your goals and your whys.

We all have the one person in our life that we tell everything to, whether they want to hear it or not. Find that person. Take them to coffee.

When you tell someone your goals, you feel a sense of commitment. You know it. It’s embarrassing to not finish or complete what you said you’d do.

Schedule regular reviews of your goals.

Good—this would be every six months. Put it in your calendar.
Better—once a quarter. This plays out every three months. Put it in your calendar.
Best—every month. Put it in your calendar.

When you see you are making progress with your goals, you’ll keep going.

Examples of writer goals:
In the next 12 months, I will read 12 books specific to my genre.
(Your Why) Because I want to become more proficient in writing in my genre and reading can help me see how others do it.

In the next 30 days, I will have a concrete plan for writing my novel.
(Your Why) Because writing my novel is my end goal and I must get writing it.

Examples for personal goals:
I will workout every day in the month of January.
(Your Why) Because it makes me a happier person, easier to live with, and I have a more positive attitude toward my writing goals.

Every payday for six months, I will set aside $50 for home projects.
(Your Why) Because I can’t use credit and paying for cash is how I roll.

Let’s wrap this up…

When you take the time to plan out your goals, write them down, figure out your why(s), phone a friend, the schedule reviews, you will have a very productive year.

Guaranteed!

 


Deb Buckingham headshotDeb Buckingham is a long time member and Vice President of Pikes Peak Writers. She is a published author of two successful knitting books, Dishcloth Diva and Dishcloth Diva Knits On. She writes for her own blog, and her artistic side is part of her every day. Deb is a creative photographer whose passion is “shooting” creatives in their own studios. She enjoys reading a well written novel.

What to Write When You Don’t Know What to Write About

I’m sitting in a coffee shop with a cute pink notebook, my computer, a yummy scone, and a warm cup of coffee next to me. You know the scene, blank page, soft hum of voices and the espresso machine in the background. Seven thoughts on How to Generate Writing Ideas

Thoughts of what to write when you don’t know what to write dancing through my head. Hmm…

After a few scribbles and head scratches, I have jotted down seven thoughts on how to generate writing ideas for you all. You can use these ideas to kick start some creative juices, or find the subject for your next blog post.

My first thought is to use your Google search bar. An old, yet familiar internet search tool, right?

Type in writing ideas. The first thing that popped up for me was, write about a person who grows a new finger every time he/she acts cruelly to someone. Ok, maybe not that.

You’ll come across a wide range of creative writing ideas, writing prompts, and short story ideas.

My second thought is to teach your reader how to do something.

You all know that person who always asks you how to do something. I know for me, it’s always knitting or something creative. Why not write it out for them? How to articles rank really well in SEO. You all know what that is, but if you don’t, hit up your Google search bar. Your life long writing partner.

My third thought is to visit the various forums in the industry of which you’d like to write in.

Look for the popular topics that people are getting a ton of post likes. Those posts are what people are curious about.
I’ve often wondered what writing bloggers are talking about. See what the industry is writing about, then come up with your own take on the same topic.

My fourth thought is to write a sequel to a popular post that you’ve written or someone else has.

It will be new and fresh and Google has already recognized its existence. Again, we don’t want to copy or take away (steal) the information the author has written. However, if it’s your work, well, it’s yours, baby. Write On!

My fifth thought is to write about your experiences.

We’ve all had hard times, fun time, tragedies, or accomplishments in our lives. There’s a lesson in any experience. You will find that one person that needed to read it that day. Your life is worth reading about. So, write about it.

My sixth thought is to interview someone successful.

Whether it be industry related or someone who inspires you in whatever way, you can do it through an email, guest on your blog with a Q & A, or in person. Readers are always interested in reading about those successes and finding what relates to their own life or situation.

My seventh and final thought is to read or review a great book.

We all have them. Those books that we are finally able to finish. That final sentence leaves us feeling fulfilled. An amazing book, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, is worthy of a review.

That’s what your readers want to read about. That one book that may change their life, motivate them, encourage them, empower them to go to the next level in whatever capacity. The kind of book that they need to unplug from life with.

There you have it.

My coffee cup is almost empty, my scone has a few bites left, and my notebook is filled with writing ideas. What is it about writing in a coffee shop that inspires a writer to write? You all should try it.

Hey, that should be a blog post.

Friends, I wish you the best in finding that one thing to write about. Because, anything that comes to your mind is worth writing about. Your readers will appreciate you for being authentic.

Write On!


Deb Buckingham headshotDeb Buckingham is a long time member of Pikes Peak Writers and a published author of two successful knitting books, Dishcloth Diva and Dishcloth Diva Knits On. She writes for her own blog, and her artistic side is part of her every day. Deb is a creative photographer whose passion is “shooting” creatives in their own studios. She enjoys reading a well written novel. 

Keeping your Health for a Marathon Month of Writing

Whether work has you swamped, daycare cancelled, or your day is filled with stuff, making time for NaNoWriMo can be challenging.

And stressful.

The stress can get a hold of you and knock you down. Your head starts to hurt, your cold kicks in, or the flu bug knocks on your door. It also happens to be cold and flu season, so the importance of keeping yourself healthy and in tip top shape is very important.

I completed NaNo back in 2013. 50,013 words in 30 days. I won’t lie, it was a challenge, but the best challenge ever. And, I kept healthy through the entire month, so I was able to finish. Winning!

Healthy tips to keep writing

I have a few tips to keep you healthy through the month of November. Not in any order. The things that are important, in my opinion.

~~ Fitness
I know, though it’s not a four-letter word, It IS a four-letter word. Fitness of any kind keeps the mind active, the blood flowing, and the creative juices moving. You are less prone to sickness and medical conditions. It puts you in a positive frame of mind, allowing your body to relax and your writing to flow.

For me, Yoga is my go-to. It’s only 20-30 minutes a day. Who doesn’t have that amount of time to give to your own well-being. I’ve become more focused, less prone to eating all the “bad” things and my moods are more positive.

That can be you too, if it’s not already.

~~ Hydration
We’ve all heard this.

First thing each morning, sip a tall glass of water until it’s empty. Your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue and organs counts on it to keep it in working condition. Your body uses water to flush out waste, maintain its temperature, and keep joints lubricated.

I know what you’re thinking, “Deb, stop! I know this.” But, it’s important to hear it again.

It’s all common for us as writers, to grab that cup of coffee, when in fact, caffeine can hinder our ability to focus long term and cause dehydration.

I drink coffee. All the time. I won’t stop, and I’m sure you won’t either, but just grab that tall glass of water and drink it alongside your coffee. I mean really, who can live without coffee? Not me!

~~ Have some fun
When was the last time you just went outside, took a walk, read a book at a coffee shop, hung out with your kids at the park, or watched your favorite TV show?

For me, my fun is knitting, cross-stitching, and reading. I make it a point to do one (or all) of these things each and every day. I call it my mental health time. Time away from my keyboard, from my work as a designer, from writing.

It’s a time to be with YOU. To get away from the everyday tasks and your writing.

Why eating healthy matters

You’ll be less stressed, more productive, happier, and healthier. Your brain will have the nutrients it needs to keep you focused. Certain foods have the ability to moderate the body’s cortisol levels, which is, if you didn’t already know, your stress hormone. Managing stress through the month of November should be your key ingredient to being successful in completing your novel. It’s the number one cause of writers pulling the plug, saying it’s too much.

Some of my favorite go-to snack foods (because, who doesn’t like to snack?) are:
~Banana with honey
~Granola bites
~Apple with peanut butter (anything with peanut butter, really) It’s a great source of protein.

I’m sure you have your own favorite snack foods. Keep in mind, the more processed foods you eat, the worse you could possibly feel. The more natural, organic foods you eat, the better you’ll feel.

In conclusion, writers, you have the ability to make choices that will keep your body in tip top shape during this all-important month of writing your 50,000 words. Why wouldn’t you want to commit to YOU for the month of November? And, if you so choose, why not start now, and give yourself a head start to being healthy so you can finish. Winning at NaNoWriMo.

Write On!


Deb Buckingham headshotDeb Buckingham is a long time member of Pikes Peak Writers and a published author of two successful knitting books, Dishcloth Diva and Dishcloth Diva Knits On. She writes for her own blog, and her artistic side is part of her every day. Deb is a creative photographer whose passion is “shooting” creatives in their own studios. She enjoys reading a well written novel.

Out of Focus

By: Deb Buckingham, Contributing Editor


As someone who shoots people (I know where your mind went), I often think of ways to marry terms from various fields. Photography, for example.

Seems a little odd but, keep reading.

As a photographer, my job is keep the image in focus; a sharp, clear, and well-defined, “tack sharp” photo makes for a happy client, and for an image that’s clear and well-defined. In photography, the term “tack sharp” describes an image that shows the subject in sharp focus, with clean lines, and no blurring.

Photography is much like writing in that your “client” is your “audience”. You want them to feel all the feels and know that you, the author, can create a story that’s balanced and “in focus”. Not blurry.

When you think of your current writing project, whether that be an article, short story or novel, do you feel it’s tack sharp? Are there some blurry areas? My piece of work may be sharp (in focus), but the details are blurry, unfocused, and indistinct, until I flesh it out.

Let’s play with this a minute.

Writing has key components we all know…focusing on a clear, manageable central idea, organizing your writing with a well-defined arrangement of material, your word choice is sharp and accurate, your spelling and grammar has been cleaned up, your use of technical terms and proper names is used intentionally, and you’ve left your reader with a sense of completion.

You, the writer, have the hard job of putting all these components together to create an in focus piece of work. Am I right?

Do you see where I’m coming from? Why I thought marrying the terms of photography with the writer in mind was a good thing? So, what is your job as a writer?

Let’s define writer: a person who has written a particular text, according to the dictionary. A writer is someone who writes. Obvious answer, I know, but it could mean a novel, an article, a short story, a blog post. All of which I mentioned above. It doesn’t matter, really, just that a writer writes. Right?

I have found in all my years of writing, whether that be any of the ways above, that to be in focus, I need to begin out of focus. We all begin out of focus. It’s something that creates a path for us and gives us direction. It’s something that allows us the freedom to start in one way (out of focus) and create a piece of work that ends (in focus). A way to write with intention.

And, that’s ok. Everyone does it.

Beginning with your work out of focus; your job is to put it in focus. Are you still with me?

Finding your voice in writing is one way to make for a more in focus piece of work. It reminds me of The Voice where contestants are asked to make a song their own by not just doing a karaoke version. That’s boring and not original. Voice is something that will allow you to focus on your material and allow you to be YOU. It’s a time to shine and create that piece of work that’s your own.

You might think I’ve veered off the rail road track with the voice comment, but honestly, it’s the way in which you write that gives your voice a comprehensive, well-defined, and clear piece of work.

In Focus. That’s where you want to be!


Deb Buckingham headshotContributing Editor Deb Buckingham is a long time member of Pikes Peak Writers and a published author of two successful knitting books, Dishcloth Diva and Dishcloth Diva Knits On. She writes for her own blog, and her artistic side is part of her every day. Deb is a creative photographer whose passion is “shooting” creatives in their own studios. She enjoys reading a well written novel.