A big or little thing called perspective: it’s all in how you look at it

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perspective

Welcome to my inaugural blog post! Although it actually marks my 959th entry (you can access previous posts at Always The Write Time Blog), I’m excited to hang out with you at my new home—where today’s topic focuses on perspective, brought to you by a recent hike in the mountains. While my surroundings changed from [click here to continue reading]…

More growing pains = reasons to celebrate!

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Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

I’ve finally reconciled the pruning process—aka growing pains—is not going away anytime soon. In fact, I recently mentioned to a girlfriend that every time I understand a concept I need to address in my life, another layer (like the skin on an onion) peels away to reveal even greater (and oftentimes more painful) insights. One thing could not be clearer to me: these growing pains represent forward momentum, the latter of which deserves to be celebrated. Speaking of growing pains: as I continue “growing” my email list, I invite followers of Always The Write Time blog to visit my new home: chrismadayschmidt.com. And please note that on June 1, fresh posts will be hosted on my website only. If you enjoy what you read, I encourage you to sign up to receive my free monthly emails to keep current on exclusive content—like previews of my upcoming real-life “fairytales”—free giveaways, special promotions for subscribers and more.

What growing pain do you need to work through?

Oh, what a knight: a sweet romance with a touch of sass

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Oh, what a knight! in stores now

On the heels of my recent blog in which I shared news about my Valentine’s short story published in Woman’s World magazine, I’m excited to promote my latest 5-minute sweet romance, “Oh, what a knight,” on sale now in stores and online. The story opens with the heroine trapped between floors in an elevator alongside an Armani-clad stranger who holds the key to Sutton’s immediate predicament—and her financial future—both of which depend on an advertising campaign pitch that she cannot afford to miss. If you love a modern-day damsel in distress fairytale (swap out the horse with a limousine) paired with a touch of sass that is guaranteed to make you smile, then pick up your April 12 copy of Woman’s World today. If you cannot find the issue for purchase, I heard from one of my readers and dear friend that her library carries an online version. Which brings me to my weekly question:

Do you prefer to buy books or visit your local library?

Love is in the air: a sweet romance

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Honest truth? I’m still learning I have a lot more to learn about author brand and identity, content marketing, web development and self-promotion; in other words: #allthethings. Consequently, when—not if—I miss the mark [just last week I pulled “Starting out strong…” and revised after posting], means I get to practice what I preach here: that it’s #alwaysthewritetime to learn something new. With that said, happy inaugural self-promo day. While my novel remains in all its rough-draft glory, I’d like to share news that my first published fiction piece—a 5-minute sweet romance—will run in the Valentine’s Day issue of Woman’s World magazine. To read this story, you can order the digital issue here, or pick up your copy on sale at grocery and retail stores and booksellers Feb. 4-10. I hope readers enjoy “A special sign on Valentine’s Day” and how a botched order from the florist delivers a promising invitation to the lonely widow’s heart.

Let me know your thoughts about this “budding” romance.

Today’s pick: What are you reading?

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In honor of a dear friend who shared my passion for reading—and who left this earth too soon—I’m offering a review of Greg Olsen’s “Lying Next to Me” for fans of suspense. Although not a genre I commonly seek out, on a whim I downloaded Olsen’s novel to my Kindle app. In my opinion, the multi-published author delivers a topnotch, and disturbing, psychological crime thriller that kept me turning the pages. To summarize: a couple on shaky marital grounds, along with their three-year-old daughter, escape to a lakefront cabin getaway, where the wife—abducted in broad daylight in front of her husband—winds up assaulted and murdered. Olsen introduces the officers in charge, as well as other major and minor players, as he deftly manipulates and weaves a master thread of suspicion. He strings readers along on a not-always reliable journey through multiple character viewpoints, leading up to the climax and a finish that ties up loose ends. Or does it?

What book do you recommend?

Image courtesy of zole4 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Trusting the process (Or, you wrote a book: now what?)

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In less than 10 weeks, I wrote 60,092 words to complete the first draft of my novel (see “My future self…”). So here I sit with #allthefeels. When I first began this journey, I imagined what it would feel like to hold my finished manuscript. And, although it’s still in electronic form, I can’t say it’s what I expected. Since the day I typed “the end” (or in my case ###), my emotions vacillate from elated to underwhelm, with several limiting beliefs tossed in to create mental drama. But now that I’ve completed the first draft, it seems logical to undertake the second draft, possibly a third, followed by critique groups and/or beta readers, revisions and editing; then soliciting agents and editors and creating a platform to further engage with readers. At first, it appears daunting. Yet I’ve done the hard part: I wrote a book. Now I get to continue trusting the process and focus on one step at a time.

Where can you trust the process?

Image source: seedgrowth.wordpress.com.

Shaking things up: writing prompt #4 (Or: your life as a musical)

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Image courtesy of Applezoomzoom at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

I’m having a blast with my latest dabble in posting writing prompts (see writing prompt #3). And whether you consider yourself family, friend, fellow creative or simply support my rambling and rhetoric—thank you, by the way—I encourage any and all to play along. What better way to take a break from the competing news media, weather updates and cat videos? I’m kidding, of course, because there’s no such thing as too many cat videos. But I digress. This month, I’m focusing on the topic of Broadway musicals. As a refresher, musical theater is a form of theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting and dance. Popular musicals include Grease, The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Aladdin, Cats and Hamilton—among countless others. A favorite of mine, Little Shop of Horrors, happened to be presented by an outstanding all-youth cast.

A new Broadway musical is about your life. Come up with a title for the big show, and write a mini-review in 25 words or less.

My future self: here’s the skinny

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

In a couple recent posts, I mention a new writing venture. As many readers know, I’m an aspiring published novelist. Although I’ve authored numerous online and print articles, I’ve always dreamed and talked about writing and publishing books. Since graduating with my B.A. in literature, writing and film from ASU in 2010, I’ve invested time and finances toward countless writing conferences, workshops, writing and critique groups, as well as books and courses focusing on all things craft-related. Yet, I’ve used every excuse—and, quite honestly, played the blame game—as to why I “still” haven’t written my book. But 2020 is different (on myriad levels!). During a self-improvement program I’m taking, participants were challenged to officially share our “future selves” with three people—so I figured why not hundreds more? Here’s the skinny: I hired a writing coach. I’m learning about limiting beliefs and taking a big leap. And I’ve written 45,000+ words toward a 60K manuscript and my future published novelist self.

Who is your future self?

 

Shaking things up: writing prompt #3

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Image courtesy of Applezoomzoom at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

In my post “ …writing prompt #1” I introduced my first writing prompt challenge as a way to stretch my creative muscles. In writing prompt #2, I shared ways to get started for readers playing along. And also hinted at a new writing venture (stay tuned). In today’s post, I want to focus on the topic of story and “theme.” In the literary world, theme is the underlying message or “big idea” or—in other words—the heartbeat or soul of a story. Theme is expressed through the plot (the chain of connected events that make up a narrative—what actually occurs in a story) and through the characters’ journeys. For example, in The Lord of the Rings, the story is about a hobbit tasked with destroying an all-powerful ring sought after by all who encounter it. The theme is about the addictive and debasing nature of power.

If your life were a book, in 25 words or less, share your “story” and “theme” in the comments section.

Shaking things up: writing prompt #2

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In my post “ …writing prompt #1” I introduced my first writing prompt challenge as a way to stretch my creative muscles. For those who journal or begin your days with quiet times of reflection, meditation or prayer, this “challenge” might lend insight into a problem gnawing on your psyche. Or it may simply prove an enjoyable way to tap into your right brain. For me, it’s that time when I need an extra dose of inspired muse as I embark on another new writing venture. (More about that in an upcoming post.) Here are a few tips to help get you started: 1) remove distractions; 2) decide on and/or adhere to a word count, 3) set a timer for 10-15 minutes; 4) write without judgment and 5) have fun. I encourage readers to play along and share responses in the comments section; I will too.

In 25 words or less, break up your life—up to this point—into 3-6 chapters, and give each chapter a title.

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