with guest Sherri Shackelford. Charles Portis' True Grit. “You must pay for everything in this world one way and another. There is nothing free except the Grace of God. You cannot earn that or deserve it.” Mattie Ross― Charles Portis, True ...

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"Seekerville" - 5 new articles

  1. Why Challenging Yourself as a Writer Matters
  2. What Writers Need to Know About Canada
  3. The Power of One Hour
  4. The Weekend Edition
  5. Best of the Archives: Never Miss a Chance to Speedbo
  6. More Recent Articles

Why Challenging Yourself as a Writer Matters

 with guest Sherri Shackelford.

Charles Portis' True Grit.

 “You must pay for everything in this world one way and another. There is nothing free except the Grace of God. You cannot earn that or deserve it.”
Mattie Ross― Charles Portis, True Grit

Growing up in the olden days, there was one television in the house, and that television played whatever my dad wanted to watch. His taste ran to westerns, which made me a de facto expert on all things Yakima Canutt, John Wayne, and John Ford. In one of my favorite westerns, Mattie Ross is looking for a man with ‘true grit.’

I’m sure a lot of us have looked back on a time in our lives and thought, “How did I manage?” I once wrote 30k words in 10 days to meet a deadline. If you had asked me previously if I could write that many words, I would have replied with a resounding ‘no’. I’m a notoriously slow writer. But that’s the thing about grit, you don’t have to be born with it, sometimes you can earn a little grit along the way.

I’m incredibly excited about kicking off this year’s Speedbo challenge at Seekerville!

 Thirty days is a wonderful amount of time to add something new to your life, or to subtract something negative from your life. Much like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), Speedbo is a chance to add words without the interference of that pesky internal editor. 

Which brings us to the question: Why Challenge Yourself as a Writer? Turns out, there’s only one way to earn that grit – you have to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. You don’t know what you’re capable of doing until you try. (Or until you’re forced. Whatever.)

I became a writer, in part, because of the opera. I was doing some secretarial work for the director of the local opera, and he asked if I’d participate in The Barber of Seville because they needed a non-singing performer at the last minute. It was the most traumatic experience of my life. I don’t read music and I don’t perform. The director yelled at everyone in a foreign language—especially the non-singing, non-performing people. There was a choreographed fight scene. The first night we had an audience and I SAW the crowd, I had an actual out-of-body experience. For the longest split second of my life, NONE OF MY MUSCLES WORKED. About that time, I realized the lead performer was frantically signaling that his wig had come loose. I had to *think on my feet*. A difficult task considering the thinking part of brain had ceased functioning. 

After that, I figured I could do just about anything.  If you can get yelled at in Chinese and still learn a strobe-lit fight scene, participate in an opera when you can’t sing or read music, and replace a wig on stage in front of several hundred people while having a mental collapse, nothing else seems that difficult. That’s why it’s good to challenge yourself. 

When you’re challenging yourself – here are some things to consider. 

Set Deadlines:
This is easy. Speedbo is the month of March. Deadline set!

Set Goals:
Make your goals specific and attainable, but not so difficult that you’re discouraged. Stretch, but don’t try and do the splits on day one. Maybe have three days of regular writing, and push yourself to write double the words on day four. 

Don’t forget to refill your words! Read outside your genre, challenge yourself to read a classic, re-read your favorite book from childhood and remember why you wanted to become a writer in the first place. 

Don’t Edit:
Your un-edited words are probably better than you think. Being a productive writer means accepting that you’re not perfect. Do you remember the last perfect book you read? Of course you don’t! Writers who strive for perfection never finish. Give yourself permission to be a good writer, not a perfect writer. 

"People often ask me what it takes to be a good writer. The short answer? I don’t know. The slightly longer answer? I don’t know, and I don’t care." Jeff Goins

Step Outside the Box:

If you normally write serious, Russian prose, challenge yourself to add some humor. If you normally write comedy, challenge yourself to add some gravitas. Shake it up! 

Go Public:

Tell people what you’re going to do, and then do that thing. Unashamedly post your amazing accomplishments on Facebook. 

Add by Subtracting:

Give yourself a day off. Have a day where you write ZERO words. Watch terrible television and eat ice cream. Pretend the zombie apocalypse is happening and there’s no internet, no telephone, no television and you can only eat what’s in the pantry. Pick the 10 people you’d want to survive the zombie apocalypse. Pick the 10 people you’d sacrifice. Sleep with your head at the foot of the bed. Do anything *BUT* write or even think about writing. 

Reward Yourself:

This is a tough business. Writing is difficult. If you achieve your goals, give yourself a treat! Take a walk, buy a book, or schedule some time with other writers. This business operates on criticism; give yourself a little love once in a while. 

We need to challenge ourselves because, as Mattie reminds us, nothing in this life is free, and folks don’t just fall up the mountain. You don’t know what you’re capable of until you try. 

What is one thing that you did, that you never thought you could do?  Leave a comment below for a chance to win one of three copies of A Temporary Family! And since this is day 1 of Speedbo, feel free to share your gritty goals for March!

“I only take one step at a time. That's why I was given two feet.”  Ranger LeBoeuf, True Grit, by Charles Portis

A Temporary Family

Make-Believe Marriage

When Tilly Hargreaves and her three nieces are stranded at his small stagecoach station in an abandoned town and threatened by outlaws, Nolan West must protect them. And the only way he can do that is by pretending he's married to Tilly. But can the former soldier, whose only wish is for solitude, stop himself from growing attached to his temporary family? 

Tilly knows the charade is necessary to keep her and the girls safe, but now her heart is in danger. The longer she pretends the stoic station agent is her husband, the more genuine their union feels. Nolan believes he's better off alone, but Tilly's certain that if he'd only open his heart to his make-believe family, he'd want to claim them as his for real. 

Sherri Shackelford is an award-winning author of inspirational, Christian romance novels for Harlequin/HarperCollins Publishers. 

A wife and mother of three, Sherri’s hobbies include collecting mismatched socks, discovering new ways to avoid cleaning, and standing in the middle of the room while thinking, “Why did I just come in here?” A reformed pessimist and recent hopeful romantic, Sherri has a passion for writing. She doesn't live on the prairie, but she can see the plains from her house. Her books are fun and fast-paced, with plenty of heart and soul.


What Writers Need to Know About Canada

This year marks Canada’s 150th year of Confederation and we’re celebrating it all year long, not just on July 1st. I’m delighted to be here in Seekerville to share a quick Writers Guide to “what’s what” and “who’s who” in Canada.  And, I’ll be here all day to answer any questions you may have about Canada that you’ve always wanted to know. So, let’s get to it!

General Facts:

  • We’re the second largest country in the world, next to Russia. Canada covers 3.85 million square miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and north to the Arctic Ocean. 
  •  We have a Canadian Forces Base at Alert, which is the true (and official) North Pole.
  • The border between our two countries is the world’s longest border, covering 5525 miles. 
  • We have 10 Provinces and 3 Territories (those are in the North). I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Winnipeg is the exact geographical centre of North America, so halfway between the south of Mexico and the Arctic. The province of Manitoba is 250,900 square miles, so we’re just a tad smaller than Texas. We have 110,000 lakes just in Manitoba alone. 
  • Don’t believe Wikipedia! We have four seasons here in Canada – we don’t live in frozen, snow-covered isolation all year round. We enjoy the spring, summer, and fall along with the rest of the world. 

  • We have a “Prime Minister” not a President. Canada is a Parliamentary Democracy, which means we have two “Houses” of lawmaking authority: the House of Commons in which elected representatives from “ridings” across the country pass law, and the Senate, which is an unelected body of people appointed by various Prime Ministers over the years. 
  •  Our Prime Minister doesn’t live in the Parliament buildings, in the way your President lives in the White House. The Prime Minister has his personal official residence at 24 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario.
  • Our Provinces are led by “Premiers” which is the French word for “first” – so the Premier is the “First Minister” of the Province. We don’t have Governors.
  • Our political parties are: the Conservatives (similar to your Republicans), the Liberals (similar to your Democrats) and The New Democrat Party or NDP for short. This party is also further to the political left than the Liberals.
  • The Prime Minister is our Head of Government, whereas our Head of State is our Governor-General who represents the Queen. He/she (we’ve had several female Governor-Generals) performs State functions on her behalf.
  • While Canada is part of the Commonwealth – or sixteen independent and sovereign countries that call Queen Elizabeth our Constitutional Monarch – she is purely symbolic and has no executive power over Canada or other member countries. So, why do we have her as our Head of State? The short answer: Canada decided back in 1867 when we became a “Dominion” under the British Empire we would reflect the British model of parliament, and the monarchy is part of it. 
  • How do Canadians feel about the Royal Family and the Queen? I couldn’t find any specific statistics but overall, judging by the huge crowds that surround any Royal visit to Canada, we love them. 

  • We are an officially bilingual country: we speak English and French, although the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick are where you’ll hear the most French spoken. This means you should be able to receive any government services in the language you prefer.
  • 22.1 million people call themselves Christians, or two-thirds of our population. 1 million people identify as Muslims, or about 3.2% of our population.
  • We don’t have “free” healthcare. We pay for our healthcare through our federal and provincial taxes. But any level of medical service is “free” at the time you need it. Brain surgery? Free. Cancer treatment? Free. Stitches on that skinned knee? Free. 

Canadian Holidays and Traditions:
  • We celebrate Thanksgiving on the second weekend in October. The first recorded Thanksgiving was in October 1578 when English explorer Martin Frobisher landed in what is now Newfoundland province. In 1879, Parliament declared November 6th  our Thanksgiving Day. Parliament changed the date in 1957 because after the two World Wars, Thanksgiving was falling in the same week as our Remembrance Day on November 11th. So, they changed it to the second Monday in October to separate the two events.

  • We call November 11th “Remembrance Day” because the ceasefire for the First World War was signed at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month. This is a huge tradition in Canada and we mark it as a holiday across the country with military parades and a service at what we call “Cenotaphs” to remember our fallen war dead.

  • Winter carnivals and festivals are all celebrated across the country in February. We have snow sculpture competitions, snowshoeing, skating, cross-country skiing, sled dog races, food, dancing, and rides and Ferris wheels. Here in Winnipeg, our “Festival du Voyageur” celebrates the French explorers and fur traders who opened up northern Manitoba in the 1700’s, their culture, and history.

  • We love “Folk Festivals” and have them across the country in the summer time. In Winnipeg, our “Folklorama” is the world’s largest and longest-running multicultural festival and takes place every August. You can find forty countries represented in Pavilions around the city, sharing their food, dancing, and music.

Specific Canadian Foods:
  • Our best known is “Poutine”: French fries covered in cheese curds and gravy. This delicacy has roots in Quebec and is a French invention. We enjoy it across Canada. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!
  • “Beaver Tails”:  broad, flat, sweet dough deep-fried and smothered in icing sugar, syrup, or fruit toppings and eaten off a cardboard plate. Eaten at Winter Festivals.

Some of our Similarities and Differences:

  • Our history of “How the West was Won” differs from yours. We sent the Northwest Mounted Police out west to deal with pioneer safety and settlements. This was the precursor to our current Federal police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). We didn’t use our army, and we’ve never had Sheriffs or Marshalls because law enforcement was done broadly by the NWMP.  However, because of that, we have no well-known folk heroes like Jesse James, Billy the Kid, or Wyatt Earp either. 
  • You have the FBI, the Secret Service, and Homeland Security – we have the RCMP which deals with all those same duties. The RCMP is also the provincial police force everywhere except in Ontario and Quebec, which have their own. 
  • You have the CIA – we have the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency (CSIS) which answers only to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.
  • You have SEALS, Army Rangers, Delta Force – we have “Joint Task Force 2” or JTF2 which is our integrated Special Operations forces that combine the Air Force, Navy, and Army. It is illegal to report on their whereabouts.
  • You have the NSA – we have the Canadian Security Establishment (CSE) which is our ”super-secret” security agency.

 Canadian Authors & Writing Organizations:

  • For our interests, our most famous Canadian is Janette Oke, who just celebrated her birthday on February 18th. She is considered the pioneer of inspirational fiction, and the “Prairie romance”. She was born on the Prairies to a farm family and later married a boy she met at Bible College. 
  • Some other famous Canadians authors are Margaret Atwood (The Handmaids Tale), Yann Martel (Life of Pi), L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables), Emma Donoghue (The Room), Robert Munsch (just about every popular children’s book), and Malcolm Gladwell (The Outlier).
  • ACFW has a Chapter called Beyond the Borders which includes Canada and any country outside the US. The current President is from New Zealand.

What About Our Canadian Accent?
  • The correct way to use the expression “Eh” is as the up-tick at the end of a question, e.g. “That was a fantastic hockey game, eh?” Saying “Wow, that was a great game, eh? Did you see him score, eh?” and repeating it at the end of every sentence is the *wrong* way to use it.
  • No, we don’t say “a-boot” for “about”…the only place you *might* hear that would be Cape Breton off the coast of Nova Scotia in the Maritimes, because both the Cape and Nova Scotia were settled by the Scottish. The rest of Canada pronounces it “a-b-out” with an emphasis on the syllable of “out”.

 So, what other questions do you have about Canada? Has anyone in Seekerville been to Canada? Where did you visit and what were your thoughts?

I’ve brought Beaver Tails swimming in maple syrup and whipped cream, so dig in and ask me anything!

In honor of Laurie's visit today, we're giving away a Seeker ebook of choice. Simply comment to be entered. Winner announced in the next Weekend Edition.

Laurie Wood is a military wife and the mother of two special needs adults. Her family has lived all across Canada. She writes inspirational romantic suspense and historicals, and placed Second in the TARA for 2016. She enjoys spinning, knitting, and walking her dogs when not chained to her laptop working on her latest WIP. Connect with Laurie on Facebook and Twitter.


The Power of One Hour

with guest Heather K. Duff.

As authors, we wear a lot of hats. Writer, marketer, speaker, small business owner, and the list goes on without even mentioning family responsibilities and everything else human beings do. And that’s why most authors would love to hire a virtual assistant. If you aren’t familiar with what these professionals do, check out these two articles packed with helpful information:

Can a Virtual Assistant Help Your Writing Career?  By Laurie Tomlinson
Last Night I Dreamed…  By Tina Radcliffe

If the idea of an assistant to help with time-consuming, mundane, or technologically challenging tasks is so appealing, why don’t more authors embrace this solution?

In my work as a virtual assistant and website professional, these are the top three reasons I encounter.

1) I don’t have the budget for that right now.
2) I’m uncomfortable entrusting my livelihood to a “virtual” someone. (People get scammed!)
3) I’m so swamped I wouldn’t know where to begin!

All of these reasons are valid, and not everyone needs a virtual assistant. But I believe some of you reading this might find the relief you’re silently (or not so silently) crying out for by taking a step of faith in this direction. So with your wellness and overall productivity in mind, I’d like to take a walk with you through each of the above and see if we might find an easier entry to this professional relationship. 

Top Three Reasons Authors Don’t Hire Virtual Assistants

I don’t have the budget right now. 

I get that. You can’t invest what you don’t have, and it would be unwise to commit yourself to something beyond your means. If you’re certain that’s you, skip down to the next bullet (though sheer curiosity about the point I’m going to make here may just keep you reading). 

You can begin with an investment of under $20/month. A virtual assistant doesn’t have to be huge expense and YOU can set a budget you’re comfortable with. What can you get for $20? About an hour’s work, depending on your VA’s rates and the type of work they’re doing. An hour a month may not seem like a huge help, but in the remainder of this article I’ll prove the value of this hour to you. Keep reading.

I’m uncomfortable entrusting my livelihood to a “virtual” someone.

Laurie Tomlinson says, “The top trait you should seek in a virtual assistant is trust.” I agree, and you can read the remainder of what she says on that in her article on Seekerville. 

As authors, we’re not new to the trust game. We deal with publishers, editors, graphic designers, website designers, publicists and more. Before we enter into a relationship with these people we do our research. A virtual assistant relationship is no different, except that in this instance YOU always have the power. Your VA works for you and you set the standards, the deadlines, and the scope of work.

Looking at this “trust” dynamic from the flipside, every day our books are on a shelf—either in a brick and mortar store or a virtual one—we are asking readers to take a chance on us, to trust us. Our promise to them is that if they spend their precious dollars on our work, we’ll deliver a story (either fictional or true) that will add some value to their lives. We don’t know most of these readers and they don’t know us; in a sense, this is a “virtual” relationship. And yet we plunge in fearlessly to share our work with those beloved readers, praying they will look us over and find us a worthy investment.

So while it is a risk to trust someone you don’t know, it really isn’t uncharted territory for us. We only need to do our homework. Research, reviews, and references should lead us to a solid professional of good character. And to continue with the above analogy, readers don’t buy a whole series without reading Book One first. Only when they are fully satisfied do they invest in the next step with us. We can (and should) take this same approach with a VA. Start small. That’s wisdom.

I’m so swamped I wouldn’t know where to begin!

I’d like to approach this in two directions. First, if the problem truly is that you don’t know where to begin, I can’t address this any better than Tina did here. “Put first things first. Know what you're looking for by evaluating yourself!” I encourage you to read that entire post if you’re thinking of hiring a VA. While the most important thing you’re looking for in a VA is trust, the thing your VA needs most from you is CLARITY. Work through those questions in Tina’s post and you’ll be well on your way to clearly defining your needs. This information will lead you to the next step of finding a VA to fit those needs. 

Second, I have a feeling there’s something else going on under this sentiment. So many writers I know feel overwhelmed, and rightly so. As I stated at the top, we wear a lot of hats. But I’ve noticed something about this pressure we work under. Sure, deadlines can be stressful. And keeping ourselves in the chair actually doing the writing can be a downright war sometimes. But it isn’t the work we are doing that creates the greatest stress or feeling of being overwhelmed. It’s all those things we aren’t doing that bear down on our psyche with relentless angst. And this, my friends, is where a virtual assistant can bring relief like a healing balm. Even with just one hour a month

The Power Hour

A friend of mine was building a house many years ago and had a workday one Saturday. She invited friends and family to come help the project along. I had zero skills to offer, but I showed up and was assigned the easy task of driving screws into a wall. I had to climb a ladder and hold the drill over my head. Both of these variables were a challenge for me. After an hour of work and only a few screws in the wall, my friend came to check on me. I was sure there was something wrong with the drill, the screws, or the wall. But she climbed the ladder and drove three screws into the wall in thirty seconds. Zzzzzzip. Zzzzzzip. Zzzzzzip. I was humiliated and awestruck at the same time. I served drinks and snacks the rest of the day and felt very adequate handing out bags of chips. 

The point I’m making here is that it took someone else 30 seconds to do what took me an hour. 

All hours are not equal. 

Although the time ratio probably won’t be as remarkable as above (you’re probably more skilled at the tasks in question than I am with a drill), your virtual assistant can achieve more in that hour than you can. 

It is a Power Hour.

Why? Here are a few possibilities to consider.

Because it is a highly focused hour
Because they are motivated to produce well (and earn/keep your business)
Because they have experience and skills that you don’t possess
Because they actually enjoy doing the things you’ve been dreading and putting off 

Take the Step

Let’s face it. Dread sucks the energy out of our work. And the angst of all we aren’t getting done produces stress that drives us to the refrigerator, the laundry, changing the oil in the car, or maybe even a delicious afternoon nap. It’s crazy, but you’re probably nodding your head in agreement. We’ve all done it. So instead of continuing in the cycle, might it be time to take that step and see how hiring a virtual assistant could take you to the next level in your career as a writer? Or at the very least, power through those time-sucks and energy killers? 

What do you think?


Heather Duff is a freelance web/graphics designer and virtual assistant living in Louisiana. Author of The Wrong, she is busy writing the second book in her Kirby Mayhew Mystery Series. She is the director of discipleship at her church and also enjoys serving on the church media team. Heather has a great affection for coffee and good friends, especially when combined. Her BFF (best furry friend) is Murphy, a cairn terrier with a happy disposition and a penchant for snacks any time of the day.

Virtual Assistant Website: http://creativecoachingandmarketing.com/virtual-assistant-for-authors/
Author Website: http://heatherkduff.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherKDuff
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherKDuff

 Leave a comment today for an opportunity to win an e-copy of The Wrong. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.

A grieving pastor’s new beginning lies buried beneath the secrets and sins of Caney Cove’s most horrific crime.

Two years after his wife’s murder, Kirby Mayhew submits his resignation letter as pastor of Harvest Church. He’s ready to pack up his life and move away from Caney Cove and away from the shadow of grief he’s been living under. But a deathbed confession from the ailing Trudy Andrus reveals new information about his wife’s killer.

Did the man convicted of Julie’s murder act alone?

Was someone else to blame for her death?

As Kirby pursues the truth, an unseen enemy fights to keep it hidden. 

Kirby enlists the help of Carson Todd, a local attorney who worked on the prosecution’s case until she was sidelined for asking too many questions.

Only together can they unravel the truth. But at what cost?


The Weekend Edition

Welcome to the Weekend Edition!

If you are not familiar with our giveaway rules, take a minute to read them here. It keeps us all happy! All winners should send their name, address, and phone number to claim prizes. Send to Seekers@Seekerville.net

JBaugh, Loraine Nunley, and Dana R Lynn are winners of  2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron. (for Kindle)

Monday's "Strong Inciting Incidents Generate Strong Stories" winner of Janet Dean's The Substitute Bride eBook is Dana McNeely.

Tuesday's "Romance Matters: To the Reader and the Writer" winner of Janet Dean's $15 Amazon gift card is Holly Ison. 

Wednesday's "Training vs Trying" winners of Glynna Kaye's May Love Inspired release, "The Nanny Bargain" are: Preslaysa Williams, Jackie, and Kelly Blackwell!

Thursday:  Karen Witemeyer was our guest with her post, "Using Readers for Inspiration!"  Tanya Agler is the winner of an autographed copy of, No Other Will Do.

Monday: Seekerville is delighted to welcome author and virtual assistant, Heather Duff to our Village. Heather shares,"The Power of One Hour."  Stop by and chat and find out which Villager utilizes Heather's services. Oh, and you could win an ecopy of The Wrong: Kirby Mayhew Mystery Series. 

Tuesday: Laurie Wood is our special guest today with her post, "What Writers Need to Know About Canada." She'll dispel some myths and share a few tidbits you may not know. Stop by. We're giving away a Seeker ebook of choice in honor of her visit. 

Leave a comment any day March 1-31 for a chance to win a reader surprise book pack. If you are a writer do sign up for Speedbo to get your chance at these great giveaways.

Wednesday: This is it! Speedbo begins and Sherri Shackelford is back to launch us with her post, "Why Challenging Yourself as a Writer Matters."  Leave a comment for a chance to win one of three copies of her March, Love Inspired Historical release, A Temporary Family.

Thursday: Keli Gwyn is our day-2 Speedbo hostess with her post, "The Slow Writer's Guide to Speedbo: 10 Tips for Those Who Write With the Speed of a Turtle Slogging Through Molasses." Stop by and you could win one of five giveaway copies of her latest Love Inspired Historical release, Her Motherhood Wish.

Friday: Best of the Archives: Seekerville brings you another Speedbo motivational post from the archives! Comments are closed on Fridays so we can read and write and meet our Speedbo goals.

On sale March 7th all across the nation! Waterbrook Press and Random House are re-releasing Ruth Logan Herne's "Double S Ranch" trilogy in mass market paperback size, affordably priced and at retailers across the country! 

"Back in the Saddle" goes on sale March 7th, followed by "Home on the Range" April 4th and the long awaited "Peace in the Valley" on May 2nd!!! Leave a comment to have your name tucked into the newest cat dish on the farm for a copy of "Back in the Saddle" but you have to let Ruthy know you want it... And it's okay to wait until after Speedbo to read it!

You can pre-order any of the books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Christian Book dot com! Link to Back in the Saddle on Amazon!

Thanks for the link love!

For more about Seekerville's TBL Entry reimbursement click here. http://bit.ly/1J0OKHX

You could be ‘writer in residence’ for the Mall of America (The Passive Voice)

Realm Makers Christian Speculative Fiction Conference is now open for registration.

4 Reasons Romance Novels Are an Important & Valid Type of Literature (Inspired by Life...and Fiction) 

Ask The Agent: Do I Need an Agent if I Already Have a Book Offer? (MacGregor Literary)

Does Your Character Description Create a Powerful Image? (Writers Helping Writers)

Get More Writing Time By Learning How to Say No (The Write Conversation)

What's Next For Books? (Tech Crunch)

Scognamiglio Gets Imprint at Kensington (PW)

Writing Tips: 7 Steps to Deal with Overwriting (The Creative Penn)

Introducing KDP for Print Books (AME)

Post-Project Depression and Recovery (Writer Unboxed)


Best of the Archives: Never Miss a Chance to Speedbo

2017 is our SIXTH year to Speedbo.

We've heard every excuse imaginable for why not to Speedbo, but here's something to remember. Contracts, revisions, galleys, and other editorial requests will arrive at your inbox at the most inconvenient and difficult times of your life once your sell. You'll still meet those deadlines, because you are are a professional writer. 

Speedbo teaches you how to carve out time in your crazy world despite what's going on. Because there will never, ever be a normal day for a writer. 

Here's what some of our Speedbo participants from past years have to say about the month-long challenge:

 I'd encourage anyone who's interested to give Speedbo a try. I'm a fan for several reasons:
First, there's the timing. I find March a great month to focus on drafting. It's still winter here and it's bleak outside. There are not a whole lot of other things going on in March so it's easier to make writing a prime focus. 

Then there's the flexibility. Speedbo works really well with this year's theme of No Limits because your Speedbo goals are entirely up to you. You decide what works for you and you evaluate your success. There's no failing at Speedbo because whatever you accomplish is more than you had to begin with.

Finally, if you need motivation, look no further than this. The book I wrote during last year's Speedbo will be out from Love Inspired Suspense in October. Yes, you can write a book and sell it. I'm living proof! 
 -Cate Nolan
 I’m pretty sure the Seekers should apply for a patent for their Speedbo invention. It is genius. In my little corner of the writing world it gives me accountability without expectation and motivation without threat of failure. Speedbo has birthed new novels in me, transferred ideas to my computer screen and even given me new hope and courage when those two commodities were sadly lacking. Speedbo 2014 was a landmark year. I dusted off the novel I had begun summer of 2013, finished it, edited it and entered it in contests. I won the attention of an agent and now that Speedbo novel is sitting on the desk of editors. Maybe no one buys it, but the point is – I did it! Thanks Seekers and Speedbo. The certificate thing is really cool too!-Cindy Regnier
 I'll be honest with you guys, I don't always make my Speedbo goal. I know, you're thinking where's the encouragement in that. Here it comes, even when I don't make my goal I write more than normal. There's just something about reading everyone's progress that encourages me - motivates me to do better. So take the plunge, make a Speedbo goal and strive to reach it, but if you don't quite make your word count, don't beat yourself up. Instead, look at all  those glorious words you've written and bask in how much you've accomplished.Terri Weldon
 Last year was my first time participating in Speedbo. The timing was perfect because I had entered the Love Inspired Killer Voices pitch contest, and I needed to get words on paper–fast.  Speedbo offered me the challenge of completing my novel in one month by giving me a deadline while providing me with an encouraging community of supporters. When it was all said and done, I didn't meet my goal of writing a complete novel in one month, but I don't count it as a failure. Why? Well first, I wrote daily (something I had never done). Second, I wrote more words in one month than I ever had before (roughly 20,000). Finally, I became a participant in Seekerville (instead of lurking in the background, I started commenting on posts and being involved).

This year, March is going to be an exceptionally busy month for me with relatives visiting and a baby shower for my daughter who is expecting her first child. But I'm already gearing up for my participation in Speedbo. I will once again attempt to write a novel in 31 days. Will I be successful? Only time will tell, but I know one thing for sure. I can't succeed if I don't try. -Rhonda Starnes
 Speedbo offers the ideal format for doing projects that I need to do but which I have been putting off forever because it always seems that taking that much time to do one big project would prevent me   from completing my more pressing short term projects. Of course, the right time to begin never comes. Speedbo makes the ‘right time’ arrive. I have found that with each Speedbo success, I am more motivated to tackle the next  writing project. Nothing breeds success like success.  In my three years of doing Speedbo, I’ve  completed a second draft of a long novel, wrote a novella, and added 25,000 words to a NaNo book that was far from finished at NaNo’s 50,000 word goal. If NaNo is the infantry,  Speedbo is the Special Forces. -Vince Mooney.
  Speedbo is normally my rite of Spring. I plant my Speedbo seeds: new words and goals for my new WIP. It’s a great jump start and keeps me focused. But I didn’t realize how much I need Speedbo until last year when I couldn’t participate.  I’m so glad to be back this year, knowing those seeds I plant are going to bloom!  And newbies, don’t be afraid. Set your own goals and pace. But whatever you do, join up! -Julie Hilton Steele
I have entered contests, and entered two of my short stories due to Speedbo.-Sally Shupe

 New Villagers: The tips, advice, support, and encouragement during Speedbo make the month of March a great writing month. It makes you sit down and seriously think about writing and what goals you want to set. Go ahead and dream! What do you really want to do? Whether you write 10 or 10,000 or more, one word at a time is how you complete a story. 

You can sign up starting Saturday, February 18th, through March 31st by sending an email to seekers@seekerville.net with your personal goal listed. Sharing your goal is only for accountability. Seekerville will not be sharing your goal with anyone.

We'll add your name to the Seekerville Speedbo Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame will be updated by midnight EST of each Speedbo Day, and y
our name will appear at  Seekerville.net.

Additionally, we'll send you a confirmation email with a Speedbo participant badge to add to your blog or website and a certificate.  

All participants who sign up by March 1st (March 1st at 11:59 pm) will be entered into a drawing for a little extra incentive -one $25 Amazon gift card to be given away for every 50 writers who sign up.  Remember you can still enter Speedbo after it begins.

Plus, we'll be giving away an $15 Amazon gift card (AND MORE) weekly during March (that's five times). All you have to do is check in (on the Blog) and let us know how you're doing. We have surprise book packages for our readers as well. All the fun can be found here. 

All prizes will be shipped out AFTER Speedbo. April 1st. During Speedbo all we are doing is writing.

So sign up and whatever you do, stretch yourself. 

Get out of your comfort zone.

We leave you with some Speedbo tips to help you prepare for March!

Print your own Don't Break the Chain & use it for March 2017.

Try the Pomodoro Technique.

Join author Carol Moncado's 1K1HR  Group on Facebook.

Check out Write or Die by Dr. Wicked.

Do you need Cold Turkey to keep you focused??

This post first appeared in Seekerville 2/13/2015. Comments are closed on Fridays so you can read and write. But you can still enter Speedbo today!

This post was brought to you by Tina Radcliffe. Though she writes slower than slow, she still does Speedbo every year. 

What's your excuse?

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