Writing

How to Finish Your Book Faster

When I wrote Dirty Little Secrets in 2009, it took me about a month to finish the rough draft. That’s it. One month. 4-5 weeks. I took a little break, then started working on Part 2, which wasn’t published until 2012. Next, came Double Down and Dirty which was published in 2016.

It wasn’t until this week when I sat and finished a short story that I realized why it takes me longer to write some novels than others, and it’s not just because of research or other obligations.

I love reading novels that are written in first person. It makes it feel more personable to me. I wrote Dirty Little Secrets in first person. All the rest were written in third person. I’ve attempted to write short stories over the years, and this is the first one I’ve actually finished. It’s written in first person. It didn’t take me long to write Dirty Little Secrets or the short story I just finished because I was writing in the point of view I enjoyed. It felt effortless. The ideas and words flowed easily.

I learned it’s important to write what you love.

This not only applies to the point of view but also tense (present or past), and genres. If you love romance, then write romance. If you love mystery, then write mystery.

I do think it’s good to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone from time to time too.  Don’t limit yourself. Try new things, but if you’re feeling stuck and unmotivated with your writing, then work on something that feels natural to help get you back in the zone.

Writing

You May Be Working on Your Manuscript Without Realizing It

Yesterday, I had an idea for a short story. All day long the ideas played in my head. While I watched television, I saw something that I could use to add to my plot (don’t fret I’m not stealing ideas… simply revising and reusing). As I washed the dishes, I thought of more ideas. I downloaded a new book and as I was listening, guess what happened? Yep! Another idea.

All these ideas were downloading in my mind, and I hadn’t even sat at my computer yet. I didn’t type not one word, yet I was still working on my manuscript.

I bet it never occurred to you that working on your manuscript doesn’t always mean sitting in front of your computer or writing in your notebook (though you will need to do that eventually). Thinking about your manuscript, reading and studying great writing, watching television and observing characters and plot development, are other ways you can work on your manuscript.

Do not… I repeat… Do not use those things as an excuse not to sit and write because as I said, you will need to do that too, but give yourself credit for the work you are doing and don’t beat yourself up over what you’re not doing. When the time is right, you’ll sit at the computer, and everything you’ve been working on in your mind will surge through your fingers and onto the computer screen…. Trust me 🙂

Writing

Confessions of a Full-Time Writer

You know those women who work from home and seem to have it all together? Their days are planned, their houses are clean, their meals are prepped. Guess what? I’m not that woman. I’ve been a full-time writer for 8 months now, and I’m still trying to get myself organized. Wanna know a secret? Organizing isn’t exactly my strong suit.

Honestly, I feel like I would do better if I could somehow shut my brain off. Well, maybe not the brain since I need that to function, but my neverending thoughts that won’t allow me to feel satisfied no matter how productive I may be. I have a list of tasks, all very important, and whenever I’m working on one of them, the guilt sets in.

For example, If I’m critiquing my client’s work, I feel guilty because I’m not working on my own manuscript. If I’m working on my manuscript, I feel guilty because I’m not working on my script. No matter what I do, I somehow find a way to make myself feel as though it’s not enough.

Why is that? Why is it so easy for me to give a great big kudos to my clients on their progress, but still find fault with my own?

When I walked away from my full-time job, I imagined a day of writing, filming, coaching, and the gift on an endless amount of time on my hands. I was wrong! Boy was I wrong. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent working on a schedule. How many Youtube videos I’ve watched to help me with planning and productivity. Nothing seems to work. And I won’t bother mentioning those days where the inspiration to be productive feels like it’s on vacation. So what now?

Now, I continue working towards fulfilling my goals. I try to train my brain to feel satisfaction instead of frustration. I keep reminding myself that consistency will help me reach my goal. My manuscript may not be finished by the summer as I planned, but I will finish it. I will constantly remind myself that I’m doing enough. That I am enough.

By now you may be wondering why I’m telling you all of this? Quite frankly I’m wondering the same thing. I don’t know, maybe you’ll see yourself in this blog and maybe you, like me, will come to the conclusion that you can’t do it all in a day. That being consistent towards your goals is really all you can do and maybe… just maybe… you’ll start to feel satisfaction instead of frustration as well.

Did this blog speak to you in any way? I’d love to hear your thoughts or even strategies that you’ve found to help increase productivity. I’m always open to learning.

Writing

I Don’t Hate My Job!

This blog was originally written on May 16, 2018. I never published it for some reason but found it in my drafts. Wow! To read it and to know I’m now living the life I  dreamed of back then. AMAZING!

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I thought it was important to state that fact in the title. I really don’t hate my job, in fact, I’d say I have the ideal job. I get to work with teachers and students all day. I really don’t hate my job. I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “why does she keep saying that, we get it you don’t hate your job.”

So, I guess I should start at the beginning and explain where this is coming from. When I published my first book in 2009, I felt proud of that accomplishment. I’d actually written and published a book… even I couldn’t believe it. After I fulfilled that goal, something happened on the inside of me. I started desiring that feeling more and more. The feeling of setting a goal and actually achieving it.

Now, many years later, my goals have expanded dramatically. I once looked at $250,000 houses and wanted one for me and my family, but now those seem too small. I find myself looking at million dollar houses. I want that just as bad as I wanted to publish that book in 2009.

I want to travel and more than any of those things, I want freedom. Freedom to make my own schedule and attend awards day programs at my children schools without needing permission to take off. I want the freedom to be creative in all aspects of my life.

No, I don’t hate my job, but I am at the point where I desire more. So, if you ever hear me talk about the possibility of leaving education one day, just know that it’s not because I hate… well you get it. 🙂

How about you? Are you where you want to be in life? If not, what’s your plan of action? I’m working on mine. I don’t plan to stop until I wake up one day and my visions from yesterday are my realities of today. Then, and only then, will I pause and create a new vision, but I’ll never stop dreaming and never ever stop wanting more… ever.

Writing

No More Excuses: Write the Doggone Book!

There’s no excuse you can give that I hadn’t already used myself.
 

  • Who’s going to read my book, why even start?
  • It’s hard to be creative after working all day.
  • I don’t know the first thing about writing a book.
  • And most importantly…Will my story change lives and become more than the vision I hope it would be?
  • I have small children; there’s no time to write.
  • How can I concentrate on writing when there’s so much housework to do?
  • Who’s going to read my book?
  • After I knock this to-do off my list, I’ll sit down and write – promise.
  • There are already so many authors in the world.

I could go on and on, but what’s the point. There’s no excuse you can think of that haven’t already been used by thousands of other people. The truth is, you do have the time. People will read your story. Your story will change lives. 

You know all this, you’re just afraid. Don’t let fear stop you from doing what you know you need to do. Write the book. Change the lives. Enjoy the success. Everyone else is. Why not you?

Writing

My Day as a Full-time Writer

So, you know how people tell you if you aren’t disciplined on your job then you won’t be disciplined working for yourself? I’m here to tell you that you should believe those people. My biggest struggle has been creating a schedule that would allow me to do everything I need and want to do within a day’s time. What exactly am I trying to accomplish in a day? Well, let’s see… writing episodes for Secrets From the Bayou, creating fresh, new content for my writing clients, writing my blog posts, writing my short story… which is turning out to be much longer than a short story, and I’m sure there’s more I just can’t think of it at the moment.

Today, I had a coaching session with a client, revised the script, wrote this blog post, and that’s about it. Why do I feel guilty if I don’t get it all done? Why can’t I be happy with what I’ve accomplished? Besides, the day isn’t even over yet. I may still get a chapter in there somewhere. 

Oh, wait! School’s out. That means children and nonstop chatter, so maybe I won’t get any more done today :). Balancing my to-do list is going to take time and work. I need to learn to do what I tell my clients and that’s to celebrate the small things. I didn’t go back to bed (which I really could’ve because I was tired), I didn’t sit around watching television (even though there are some really good shows on during the day. Why didn’t y’all tell me? :), and I didn’t stay on Facebook (that itself is worth celebrating for me LOL!)

This is a process and instead of nagging myself and stressing about what I didn’t do, I’m going to enjoy the journey and give myself a pat on the back for what I did do.

If any of my friends have figured out a system that works, please feel free to share it. I’m open to suggestions LOL!

Writing

How to Start Writing Your Book

I talk to people every day, all day long and this is what I hear more than anything else. So many people want to write but have no idea where or how to start. The two things I love are teaching and writing and combining those has brought me so much joy.

More than anything, I want to help more people write their books and the only way to write a bestselling book is by writing. I’m ready to help aspiring authors jump-start their writing by working with them through Chapter 1.

I have no doubt it’s going to light their creative fire and motivate them to keep writing the book they were always meant to write.

If this person is you, then I’d love for you to schedule a call so we can get to work :). If it’s not you then please tell others who may be interested.

Click the link to schedule your FREE JUMP START WRITING Call: https://lornalewiscoaching.as.me/

Uncategorized

My New Life: Chapter 1

God has blessed me to work at some of the best schools in East Baton Rouge Parish. I’ve met wonderful people, taught awesome children, and bonded with life-long friends. I loved every minute (well almost every minute) of my time there, but my time has come to an end. On June 11th I went to Westminster Elementary and cleaned out my office. I left there and drove to the school board office where I submitted my official resignation. 

I won’t lie and tell you I came to this decision with ease. I was so torn. There was so much to consider, money being the main thing. I felt an uneasiness in my spirit until my husband, my rock, asked me what I wanted to do. I told him, without a doubt, I want to write and coach writers. He then looked at me and gave me very simple instructions. He told me, “leave and don’t look back.” Apparently, those were the words I needed. I needed to know that he and I were on the same page. I moved forward and continued moving.

Some of you may know that this isn’t my first time leaving the system. I resigned in 2010, thinking it was my time to be a full-time writer. A few weeks after resigning I found I was pregnant with Kourtney. When I made my way back to the school system I used to say that I jumped too soon, but after Kourtney passed away, I realized it wasn’t that I jumped too soon, I’d just jump for a different reason than I thought. You see God knew I’d only have a short time with Kourtney and he also knew if I was still working she’d be going to daycare at 6-weeks just like AJ and Kirsten did. Leaving when I did gave me 7 months to bond and love on my baby girl. 

This time though there’s no baby (please Lord Jesus keep it that way because although I’m still youthful, my husband isn’t LOL!). This time I’m surer than ever I jumped to take full advantage of my purpose. I jumped because I’m a writer. I’m a creator of wonderful stories. In addition to that, I’m an educator. I help people write the stories that have been buried inside of them for far too long. It wasn’t until I left my job that I really realized the magnitude of what I do for those people and what they do for me in return. I’m way more than a writing coach, I make dreams come true. I motivate. I inspire. I help people bring purpose to their pain by sharing their stories and touching the lives of others. 

When I asked God to use me, I didn’t realize how hard that road would be. I didn’t realize I’d lose my mother at 13-years-old. I didn’t realize I’d sit on the front row grieving the loss of two children. I didn’t realize I’d have to say goodbye to my dad so soon. I didn’t know what God would use to prepare me for the life he has for me, but I can tell you this, even during all of that I never stopped trusting Him. I can’t say I was always happy with Him, but I trusted Him, just as I do right now.

I really didn’t mean to write all of this but sometimes my words have a way of taking over :). I wrote this to share my big news AND to warn you that you may eventually get tired of seeing me posting about my writing program and workshops on social media, but hey… a sistah gotta eat and pay bills LOL! So please bear with me as I continue to build and grow my coaching business and as I continue writing and filming my new series. 

I can tell you that ever since I made my decision to leave. To step out on faith and fully trust that God is carrying me in the direction that He wants me to go, things have been changing. Opportunities have been presenting themselves like never before. Ideas are flowing freely. I’m able to stand before more people and speak and this time I’m not just talking about the faith that I heard about, I’m talking about the faith that I’m living, right now today. 

So, I thank you for your support. I thank you for your prayers and I’m excited for you to see where this journey is about to take me and the people God is sending for me to help, and to help me :). Stay tuned… the best is truly yet to come.

Inspirational

Open the Box and Release the Gift

Fifteen years ago, I sat across from a principal who was interviewing me. He asked, “Where do you see yourself 15 years from now?” I didn’t hesitate at all when I answered that question. I knew the answer because it was the only one I had. I proudly stated, “I see myself right where I am today, in the classroom teaching.” That’s what I saw and that’s what I meant. I couldn’t see anything else for me other than what I saw growing up, so it made sense that that’s the life I would have too, right? WRONG!

Years later, something happened. I wish I could tell you exactly when it happened and what caused it to happen, but all I know is it happened and my life hasn’t been the same since. One day, the walls were removed and I was able to visualize a life for myself outside of the classroom. Maybe it was when I was promoted to Reading Coach. Maybe it was that move that showed me there’s more to my life than being in the classroom. It took me a while, but I soon discovered that the classroom was actually my clutch. It was my comfort zone. I wanted to stay there forever because that’s where I felt safe. The children didn’t judge or critique me. In their eyes, I knew everything. Whatever I gave that day was good enough for them, but once I stepped out I realized there was so much more I needed to learn, to do, to see, and experience, and I was ready for it all.

In 2009, I wrote my first novel, “Dirty Little Secrets.” It’s amazing how you start out doing one thing, and just when you think you finally know what God’s calling you to do, BAM something happens that takes you on a whole new turn. When I was in the classroom I thought, This is it. This is what I’m supposed to do for the rest of my life. Then I published Dirty Little Secrets and I thought, No the classroom wasn’t it. This is it. Writing novels is what I’m supposed to do for the rest of my life. So, at that moment I decided this is what I want to do. I want to spend my time writing and selling novels.

Well, that was all good for a while, but then something happened. God gave me the idea and the name to start this blog. Initially, if you ever feel like scrolling back to the beginning, you’ll see that it started off with general, motivational posts that then turned into a blog series. Secrets From the Bayou was supposed to be a weekly blog series. I thought I was supposed to write and publish these weekly posts and something amazing would happen from them. When I thought something amazing, I was really thinking more like, I’d gain more readers AMAZING, not I’m filming based on my blog AMAZING!

Some days it still doesn’t feel real. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling I get seeing others acting out the words I’d once held in my head. Very few people get to see their words come to life and I don’t take that for granted at all. 

I thought this is it! I want to write and produce films for the rest of my life. This is what I’m supposed to do, but then…. something happened again. I found myself coaching more and more people through writing their novels. I LOVED it! I love everything about teaching, motivating, and writing so I guess it made sense for me to love teaching writing. I invested in myself and signed up for a coaching program that would help start my own program. I had the teaching part down pat, Southern University and EBR Parish School System, prepared me for that part, but the business side was different. I needed help. I finally understood that if I wanted it, I had to be willing to sacrifice and pay the price. 

Today, I’m still filming, still writing, and now about to launch my coaching program. Throughout this journey I found myself doing the same thing I did all those years ago as I sat across from that principal. I was placing myself in a box. I thought novels was it, I thought filming was it, but then coaching came along and I realized I deserve to use all my skills. I’m not saying what’s it. I’m opening myself to whatever new adventure God brings my way. 

Where do I see myself in 15 years? Exactly where God needs me to be!

Inspirational

A Life Worth Living

There’s so much I could say about this lady… my friend… my writing partner… my Sissy! One week ago today, God held out his hand and she took hold and allowed Him to lead her back home. A place where she no longer has to suffer. She no longer has to worry about doctor visits or bad reports. She is free to live with her Master. The God who created her and the God she spent her life serving. If you know nothing else about Tanishia Pearson-Jones, you know that she was a faithful believer and there was nothing anyone could say that would cause her to doubt God’s love for her. When the pain increased, so did her faith.

I spoke to her the day after she’d taken the picture above. She said, “Sissy, I got my report and it doesn’t look good.” Before I could respond she continued. “The tumors are back and it’s inoperable. I was having a rough day, but I decided to go ahead with my photo shoot. My body was full of cancer, but I didn’t want to show it. I wanted people to see the God in me and the God in me don’t look like cancer.”

We hear people say all the time, “I’m so glad I don’t look like what I’ve BEEN through,” but it’s a lot different to say “I’m so glad I don’t look like what I’m GOING through.” The picture above is a true example of a child of God, who was deteremined not to look like the diagnosis she’d just received. She looked beautiful, flawless, peaceful, joyful… everything a child a God should look like. Tanishia was handed a death sentence. We all know that inoperable means there’s nothing more we can do to help you. How can someone who knows that death is a great possibility sooner than later, still get up, get dressed, pose in front of a camera and smile like nothing’s wrong? I know the answer to that million dollar question…GOD. 

You’d have to know God the way Tanishia knew God to be able to do that. The walk she walked, the trials she endured, the pain she suffered, wasn’t for the weak or the mild, it was only for the strong and I can tell you with great assurance that Tanishia Pearson-Jones was one of the strongest women I’d ever met. She was young, just turned 36 on October 19th, but she had an old soul. She reminded me so much of my grandmother who’d take in anyone in need. Tanishia gave birth to two children, but she was a mother to many. Someone posted that she made everyone feel as though they were her best friend and that’s so true. We’d only had a few conversations before she started calling me “sissy.” She knew that term would make me feel special like I played a major role in her life, I know she played a big role in mine. 

 

I believe there are two big lessons we can learn from Tanishia, way more than two actually, but for the sake of your time and the length of this blog, I’ll keep it at two:)

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1. Always trust God. No matter what. Trust His decisions and His timing. Trust that even when the answer is no, it’s still for your good.  As you can see from our inbox message, Tanishia made it clear she knew how to fight. She fought with prayer and the word of God. 

2.  Stop talking and start working. Tanishia worked hard at her house, in her church, in her community, and in the literary world. She was always doing something, but the one thing she really wanted was to write her own book. So many days we laughed about doing everything except what we should be doing…writing! She thought she had time. She was going to finish her book and start speaking about her journey. Those were her plans, but God’s plans were different. Thankfully, Tanishia did finish writing, and as she requested, Joyce and I will carry the torch to the finish line. You’ll get to read about her journey in her words. 

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Tanishia sent this to me. We had plans. But so did God. 

James 4:14-15 

14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.    
15 For that ye ought to sayIf the Lord will*, we shall liveand do this, or that. 

 

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We thought we had time. I’m sure you’re thinking the same thing too. The truth is,  as the scripture clearly points out, none of us know.

Do what you can do while you can do it.