Top 10 Persistence Quotes

Dear Ones,

The pursuit of anything meaningful in our lives requires persistence, especially our creative endeavors. I have been writing for 22 years and have published several novels, three of them bestsellers on Amazon and Nook. A large part of my success as a writer can be summed up in one word:

I’m not sure why I am able to persist when others have not. Maybe being obstinate is a good thing. Maybe my belief in myself–that I have something to say–is just enough to keep me going. Maybe I know I will always have regrets if I don’t persist. Maybe it is fear that drives me, in addition to love for the craft of writing stories. Perhaps persistence is made up of several small things.

One thing that has stayed consistent over the last couple of decades while I’ve grown and lived into my writing career has been my collection of quotes that I look at whenever I feel discouraged. I guess it’s my way of standing on the shoulders of giants. With that in mind I offer you my

Top 10 quotes about persistence:

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

–Harriet Beecher Stowe

 

A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.     — Jim Watkins

Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.     –Maya Angelou

 

Vitality shows not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over.       –F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.      –Buddhist Saying

 

Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb but how well you bounce.  –Vivian Komori

 

Bear in mind, if you are going to amount to anything, that your success does not depend upon the brilliancy and the impetuosity with which you take told, but upon the everlasting and sanctified bull-doggedness with which you hang on after you have taken hold. –A.B. Meldrum

 

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying:  ‘I will try again tomorrow.’  –Mary Anne Radmacher

 

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. –Calvin Coolidge

 

First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.

–Octavia E. Butler

persistence

What do you think of these quotes about persistence? Do you have a favorite? Or are there others you might add? I love hearing from readers so feel free to comment. xo

P.S. Please consider joining me on my Facebook Author Page.

Susan Gabriel is an acclaimed southern author who lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Her novels, The Secret Sense of Wildflower (a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012), Temple Secrets (2015) and Trueluck Summer (2016) are Amazon and Nook #1 bestsellers.

 

72 Things to Do During Anxious Times

In our modern world, it is easy to feel anxious with the constant barrage of news and information that saturates our days. Many of us are discovering the need to calm ourselves and take a break from the seemingly unending things to worry about.

With this in mind, yesterday morning I sat at my favorite local coffee shop (having a cup of tea) and made a list of 72 things to do during anxious times. I wasn’t aiming for 72, or any number, I just kept writing until I had to leave. My goal was to create some suggestions for activities that might take our minds off our ever-changing and sometimes-scary world.

As a former shrink turned novelist, my hope is that you find at least one of these suggestions helpful and that it will somehow make your time on this planet a little less anxious and perhaps even a tad more enjoyable. xo

 

72 Things to Do During Anxious Times

  1. Read fiction–escape into a really good story
  2. Sit in the sun for 10 minutes
  3. Take a 10 minute walk
  4. Sit or walk by a body of water or a fountain
  5. Listen to live music
  6. Breathe deeply for 4 breaths every hour
  7. Read a poem
  8. Smile at a stranger
  9. Write and mail a postcard to an old friend
  10. Join a book club
  11. Sketch a really bad self-portrait from looking in the mirror
  12. Sing Zip-a-dee-do-dah in the car
  13. Write an old-fashioned fan letter to someone you admire
  14. Watch young children play
  15. Write a really bad poem
  16. Watch birds for 10 minutes
  17. Make a cup of tea
  18. Buy a small plant and talk to it
  19. Make a list of 10 things you are grateful for
  20. Write a positive word for every letter of the alphabet
  21. Listen to a song from when you were a teenager
  22. Make a list of 10 thoughtful things you can do for someone you care about. Do one a day for 10 days. Or do all 10 for 10 days
  23. Ask for help while doing something hard and then return the favor
  24. Make a donation to an organization you believe in
  25. Seek out good news stories
  26. Pet your dog or cat or visit a shelter
  27. Cancel subscriptions to things you don’t have time for or that make you feel anxious
  28. Make a list of things to do during anxious times 😉
  29. Write a note and tell someone what you appreciate about them. Do this once every day for one week, or a month, or a year
  30. Make a list of things you believe in
  31. Volunteer one afternoon a month
  32. Attend a support group
  33. Have one night a week where you play old fashioned games with your friends or family
  34. Study a tree, plant or flower. Imagine what is going on inside them
  35. Find photos of your ancestors and thank them for allowing you to exist
  36. Spend one hour straightening something you’ve been meaning to put order to
  37. Tell someone that you love them
  38. In silence, watch it rain or snow
  39. Eat an entire meal of unprocessed food
  40. Dance in front of a mirror to your favorite song
  41. Pretend you are the happiest you have ever been. What will you do next?
  42. Introduce yourself to a neighbor you’ve never met
  43. Learn to play didgeridoo
  44. Sit in a coffee shop and people watch instead of looking at your phone or tablet
  45. Explore what kind of art you like by visiting a museum or art gallery
  46. Go somewhere you’ve never been before
  47. Pick up trash in a natural area for 30 minutes
  48. Thank someone for their service
  49. Do one thing every Saturday that you’ve never done before
  50. Place something in your kitchen that inspires you or that you find beautiful
  51. Create a Haiku
  52. Call or visit someone that you usually only email or text
  53. Look out a window and make a list of everything you see
  54. Tell someone they are not alone
  55. Spend an hour with someone who is very old. Think about what kind of old person you want to be if you have that opportunity
  56. Remember a pleasant experience from your childhood and try to replicate it
  57. Make your favorite meal and share it with someone. Or if you are seldom alone, go have a favorite meal by yourself
  58. Say ‘thank you’ to everyone you interact with for an entire day
  59. Hand deliver or send someone flowers or buy flowers for yourself
  60. Detach from the internet and television for 24 hours and study your reactions
  61. Remove yourself from someone who is toxic to you
  62. Practice extreme self care
  63. Detach from all news sources for one day and see if you feel calmer
  64. Help someone in trouble (if they want help)
  65. Read a genre of fiction that you don’t usually read
  66. Go to the library and enjoy the quiet
  67. Taste a vegetable that you’ve never eaten before
  68. Read one book considered a “classic.” See if you agree
  69. Read a book you used to love as a child
  70. Open the door for someone
  71. Write a love letter with crayons
  72. Devote yourself to something creative

 

What would you add to this list of things to do during anxious times? Do you have any that you want to try?

72 Things to Do During Anxious Times

Susan Gabriel is the acclaimed southern author of Amazon #1 Bestselling novels  The Secret Sense of Wildflower (named a Best Book of 2012 by Kirkus Reviews) and Temple Secrets. Her other books include Grace, Grits and Ghosts: Southern Short Stories and her latest southern historical novel, Trueluck SummerShe lives in the mountains of North Carolina.

 

Sneak Peek into my Life as a Writer

Dear Reader,
Happy New Year! Many of my readers have told me they’re interested in sneak peek into my life as a writer, so I decided to share with you some highlights of 2016.
  • January 29 & 30 – Temple Secrets reached #1 bestseller on Amazon & Nook
  • January – Incorporated my writing business
  • Feb. 16 – Formed Gabriel’s Angels, my early review team. (Sending love and gratitude to all my Angels who are receiving this!)
  • Feb. 18 Harper Lee died 🙁
  • April through Sept. – Worked on final revision and proofing of Trueluck Summer
  • April 24 – Met with St. Timothy’s Book Group and discussed The Secret Sense of Wildflower.
  • Aug. 9 – Met with Lake Lure book club and discussed Temple Secrets
  • Fall 2016 – Wrote the beginning pages of the third book in the Wildflower trilogy and the sequel to Temple Secrets
  • Sept. – Hired Holly Adams to do the Temple Secrets audiobook. Available early this January!

After 22 years of writing, this is only the second year I have written full-time, without also doing freelance editing or teaching. This would not have been possible without you!

Whether you discovered my books recently, or you have been a fan for a while, I am very grateful that you are reading and enjoying my books.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peak into my life as a writer. I also hope 2017 brings you good books, good friends and a few delightful surprises.

Warmly,
Susan

P.S. My goals for 2017 include finishing a first draft of the third and final book in the Wildflower trilogy, as well as the sequel to Temple Secrets. 

Susan Gabriel, Author
Author website
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Part 2: Interview in Southern Writers Magazine

interview in Southern Writers

In my last blog post I told you about my interview in Southern Writers, the July/August anniversary issue of the magazine, and shared with you the first question I was asked on the interview.

Below is the second question I was asked, followed by my answer. At this point, most of my stories take place in the southeastern United States (mountain settings, as well as coastal, since I’ve lived in both). I was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee and now live in the mountains of North Carolina, so I am considered a “southern” writer. Although I’ve run from that label in the past, in the last few years I have embraced it.

Interview in Southern Writers:

SW: What do you think makes stories about Southerners so interesting to read?

Me: In southern fiction, not only are the characters quirky and sometimes bigger than life, but they are also grounded in the landscape and a sense of place. Throw in a crackpot, an old wise woman and a preacher and readers love it even more. But we southerners love our countryside.

 

We have a different rhythm here in the South. It is the rhythm of cicadas, mountain streams and sea breezes. It is the rhythm of weary travelers seeking out a welcoming front porch to converse with the locals and the land, to ponder their purpose on earth, and their place.

 

We also have secrets here. Delicious ones. Destructive ones. Redeeming ones. It was Flannery O’Connor who said the South was “Christ-haunted.” After living here for over 50 years, I tend to agree, and would add “Civil War-haunted” as a possibility, too.

 

I lived in Charleston SC for many years, and the heart of town is The Market (as in, the old slave market). Sitting in the middle of all that history are these beautiful African-American women weaving sweetgrass baskets, as if they’ve been sitting there for the last hundred years. The past is still alive in Charleston, and perhaps it is still alive everywhere in the South.

 

[The novel I’m finishing up now takes place in Charleston in 1964 and one of those lovely basket-makers is a secondary character. I love exploring the past through the eyes of a character. The working title is The Trueluck Rebellion, and I hope to release it by the end of this year.]

 

Charleston has its fair share of ghosts, too. Confederate soldiers rattle around in the attics of old mansions. Churches and cemeteries have their spirits, as well. You can take more than one ghost tour when visiting.

 

My novel, Temple Secrets, sprang from something a friend told me 25 interview in Southern Writersyears ago. She moved to an old house South of Broad Street (the most historic section of town), and while living there she heard from her neighbors that many of the housekeepers who worked there were the descendants of slaves who had worked for the ancestors of these same white families. What must it be like to know that your ancestors were slaves owned by the same family that you currently work for?

 

This fascinated me. I wasn’t even writing then, but somehow I knew I would explore that idea later. That’s what Temple Secrets is all about: how the past is still alive in the present day, ghosts are a fact of life, and how secrets can be kept alive for generations.

 

Stay tuned for Part 3 of my interview in Southern Writers. Comments? Questions? As always, I thank you for reading. xo

P.S. Please consider joining me on my Facebook Author Page for shorter posts and more frequent interaction.

My Interview in Southern Writers Magazine

Dear Ones, I was invited to do an interview in Southern Writers magazine this month. It was great fun to be interviewed about my southern roots and the southern themes in my work, as well as my writing process.

Susan Reichert (Editor-in-Chief) and Annette Coleman Mastron (Communications Director) of the magazine did a great job with the interview, and I am grateful for the opportunity to appear in the magazine.

Here’s a promo on their website:

Here’s the magazine cover:

southern writers mag cover

For more information go here.

Unfortunately, the only way you can read the interview is to buy a copy. I understand if that isn’t an option, and I will share some of my answers to the interview questions here on this blog at a later date. Keep in mind it won’t be the actual interview, but the questions and answers their professional interview was based on.

Here’s my answer to the first interview question I was given. The finished product is based on my answers.

Southern Writers: I read on your website that you write with passion, humor and insight about Southerners, both wise and wounded; teens, both ordinary and odd; and the people who love them, both explicit and unconscious. Did you choose writing insights about Southerners or did it choose you?

 

SG: In the interest of honesty and perhaps bravery—considering this is a magazine for southern writers—I will tell you a secret. For many years I was ashamed of being a born-and-raised southerner. In fact, until a few years ago I was running from it. In college, I dropped (most of) my southern accent and cringed every time I saw Confederate flags on the back of beat up pick-up trucks, a common sight in my neck of the woods, as well as the abundant church signs telling me to Repent!

 

For a decade of my life, I became a marriage and family therapist. In part, to understand the crazy characters in my southern gene pool. Then when I finally got around to writing (at age 38), I swore I would never, ever write southern fiction. Never. Sure, I had famous southern writers on my bookshelf. I even dreamed about them. One night in a dream, William Faulkner came and sat on the end of my bed. Another night, Eudora Welty delivered a box full of letters to my bedside table. Yet I was convinced I was not that kind of writer.

 

A few years ago, I finally divorced myself from the South and moved to the West. Of course, in the first week I was living in Colorado, a pickup truck from Texas passed me with the biggest Confederate flag I’ve ever seen in my life waving out the back. Point being, even when you move across the country, you can’t get away from your roots.

 

It was in Colorado that I learned how truly southern I am. I missed shade. I missed people who moseyed. I missed people who asked about my day and had a minute to chat at the mailbox. I missed the softness of the ancient Blue Ridge mountains, as opposed to the jagged, upstart Rockies. I missed the lushness of the southeast: the moisture, the rivers, the gentle rains. I think I may have even missed kudzu!

 

Eventually, I realized I was trying to be something I wasn’t. I was an oak tree trying to survive in a semi-desert. The West was starkly beautiful. It was stimulating. It was wild. But it wasn’t me.

 

In the end, it was the land that called me home. And once I returned to the southeast, I reclaimed my roots with renewed humility. Or perhaps I claimed my roots for the first time. With this choice, I began to see beyond all the issues that had bugged me and still bug me sometimes, (think bathroom law!) and started noticing the things I really love. Then I began to put these things in my fiction.

 

While my non-southern (agented) writing never took off, my southern writing has flourished. It turns out that I am good at telling southern stories. Who knew? Certainly not me for many years. But sometimes the thing we run from the most is the very thing that will save us.

 

Then in 2012, Kirkus Reviews gave my novel, The Secret Sense of Wildflower, a starred review and named it a Best Book of 2012. Offering further proof that I’d found my way home. I imagine I’ll stay here the rest of my writing life. What I can’t believe is that of the over twenty years I’ve been writing, I resisted being a southern writer for over a decade. We humans can be a tad dense sometimes.

 

Did I choose writing insights of southerners or did it choose me? Good question. I think both things are true.

—-

Other questions were:

What do you think makes stories about Southerners so interesting to read?

Tell us how the story for The Secret Sense of Wildflower came about and what drove you to write the sequel in Lily’s Song.

What was the most difficult scene concerning techniques to write in either or both?

Tell our readers about Susan Gabriel. What is it like, writing, for you?

 

Don’t these sound like fun questions to answer? Stay tuned. I’ll post the answers to the rest of the questions at a later date.

 

Meanwhile, thanks so much for reading! And thanks again to the wonderful Susan Reichert and Annette Coleman Mastron for my interview in Southern Writers magazine. xo

 

Dear Ones: Join the Party on my Facebook Author Page

Facebook Author Page

Most of my interaction with readers these days takes place on my Facebook Author Page. I post several times a week on that page, both funny and serious things, as well as updates on my writing. It is easier than setting up a blog post and leaves more time for my prolonged habit of writing novels! I’ll still be sending out blog posts, too, as well as my newsletter from time to time whenever big things are going on. But I also wanted you to be able to find me if you’re ever curious about what’s going on here in Writer World.

Below, I’ve included a sampling of what I post on my Facebook Author Page:

…Here is the latest email to make my day. I love book clubs! And I especially love books clubs full of “wise, old Southern ladies.” I will be emailing to express my gratitude to the Book Angels. I only wish I could have been there to tell them in person. 🙂 xo

Hi Susan,

I don’t often write authors of books I have read; however, I just must tell you how very much my book club and I enjoyed reading TEMPLE SECRETS. Most of us are “wise, old Southern ladies,” and we thoroughly enjoyed both reading and discussing your book.

Thank you so much.

Marilyn Palumbo
Book Angels, Gainesville, Florida

 

And of course, I love to post a good cartoon!

 

facebook author page

Or a favorite quote:

Here is my favorite quote of the day: light

“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.” –Vera Nazarian.

Isn’t that great? May we all read books that allow in more light! xo

Or a photo of my dog, Emma:

…I have a St. Francis statue on my back deck and my sweet dog Emma (14 years old) loves to drink out of the little bowl! xo

 

Did I tell you I love to post cartoons?

…as a former “shrink” turned novelist, and lover of cats, I really love this cartoon. I hope it gives you a chuckle. 🙂 xo

Or sometimes I post something about writing:

…One of the writing prompts I used in my Fearless Writing for Women classes was: write about a time when everything changed. I used it as a teaching prompt because that’s what most good stories are about: a time when everything changed for the characters. Everyday life is boring. Especially in fiction. It’s when things change that there is tension and conflict. Tension and conflict grabs the reader. All of my novels are about a time when everything changed. xo

So that is a small sampling of what I do in any given week.

Please consider joining the party over on my facebook author page, and if you “like” it, I will do my best to entertain you and keep the party going. Not to mention, there are some absolutely GREAT people over there that you might want to get to know.

If you’ve sworn off facebook, I understand. Some days I contemplate doing that myself. But I am also grateful for being able to connect with readers in a more immediate and informal way.

As I said before, I’ll still be posting periodically here on my blog, as well as sending out my newsletter whenever I have big news. But I’d love it if you joined me over there, too.

Thanks so much for reading! xo

P.S. If you like helping out hard-working writers, please consider sharing this post with your friends or on your own facebook page. Thank you!

Facebook Author Page


Susan Gabriel is an acclaimed southern author who lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Her novels, The Secret Sense of Wildflower (a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012) and Temple Secrets (2015) are Amazon and Nook #1 bestsellers.

Francine Christophe: The Power of Kindness and Chocolate

Francine Christophe is an 82-year-old Holocaust survivor and the story she tells in the documentary film, HUMAN, is one that proves without a doubt the powerful nature of stories. And perhaps most especially the stories that come from our own personal experience. This interview (under five minutes) made me stop everything else I was doing today and create a blog post so that you could perhaps listen to her story, too.

Francine Christophe

I had never heard of Francine Christophe until today. But I find it heartening that this YouTube video has been viewed nearly 18 million times so far. If you haven’t seen it yet, I hope you’ll take the time to experience a story that explores the far-reaching results of kindness.

Francine Christophe was deported with her mother to a concentration camp in northern Germany in 1944. She gives frequent lectures to tell her story.

If you decide to watch it, please let me know what you think. xo

From the Front Porch: Interview with Joy Resor

Hi everyone. I like to support local authors, artists and creative types and invited Joy Resor to be interviewed here on the Front Porch. I don’t know Joy personally, but from what I can tell she is dedicated to putting positive vibes out into the world and being true to herself. I admire anybody who has the courage to pursue what they believe is their calling.

Please give Joy Resor a warm welcome here on the Front Porch.

Tell us a little about yourself. Perhaps what do you do for a living and where you live?

 

Joy3

I live in the mountains of Brevard, North Carolina, where my soul’s work has evolved after my marriage ended.  Through Joy on Your Shoulders, I offer wares of Batik cotton with positive messages, serve clients as their spiritual mentor, facilitate journaling to joy classes, create a free newsletter and last year published Go In Joy!  An Alphabetical Adventure, a book of essays and poems inspiring joy.

Joy Resor
Tell us about your creative process…

When I awaken from sleep, in the shower, on a walk in the forest, talking with like-hearted friends – during relaxed, contemplative states, creative ideas arrive for me to live into.

Share a favorite quote:

I cannot believe that the inscrutable universe turns on an axis of suffering; surely the strange beauty of the world must somewhere rest on pure joy.  – Louise Bogan

What creative project are you working on now…

I’m reading a book on tools for better speaking, fuel for the journey I feel inside to become an inspirational speaker and I received inspiration today (!) in a class I facilitate to create a journaling companion to my recently published book.

Share a photo of something you find beautiful:
Joy4

 

Name one or more of your favorite books…

I love the book Callings by Gregg Levoy for its beautiful writing and inspiring energy, and I suspect this rare and wonderful book worked within me, encouraging me onward into the joy I offer today.

I love the raw truth, vulnerability and humor in Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton.

I love everything I’ve read by Martha Beck, Elizabeth Gilbert and Jan Phillips, too.

Books and I commune daily and often…how I LOVE reading!

Name one or more music…

All versions of Hallelujah and Morning Has Broken cause me to become still, close my eyes and deeply breathe, touching my soul with power and awe.

Name one or more art…

Lily, Lily Rose by John Singer Sargent crazily wowed me when we saw the enormous original in a Boston exhibit.  I treasure a poster rendering in my home office.

joy6

 

The David in Florence…so magnificent, exacting and ethereal at once….love.

Each Monet I breathed into at the Musee d-Orsay when we visited Paris.

What were you like as a child?

Sensitive, lanky and a tomboy playing outside until dark mixed in with climbing the flowering crabapple trees in our side yard where I communed with God and the birds on lazy summer afternoons.  How I loved playing jacks, freeze tag, jump rope, hop scotch and riding bikes in warm breezes and coloring and board games on rainy days…monopoly, Careers, Operation, The Dating Game, Twister…

Favorite place to be in nature…

 

On our sun-splashed porch any afternoon, near an abundantly streaming waterfall, walking through a cool, fragrant forest…

What are you grateful for…

 

I’m grateful to daily write in a gratitude journal and to be as awake as I am to the gifts of this life…to feel breezes, gaze upon Lilies, marvel at drifting cloud shapes.  I’m grateful for friends, laughter and serving others in all the ways I’m called.

From James Lipton…
favorite word — inspiration
least favorite word — terrible
sound I love   —   harp
sound I hate  —  loud televisions with violent programming
Currently reading…
Diana, Herself by Martha Beck, TED Talks by Chris Anderson, The Master Speaks by Joel S. Goldsmith and The Surrender Experiment by Michael A. Singer.
Biography:
Joy Resor lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina, inspiring joy through her being and offerings, loving life in ways she didn’t when she lived inside her head. She’s in awe of her grown sons, one in the Peace Corps in Namibia and the other enjoying life and work in Germany.
facebook (business)
A big thank you to Joy Resor for being on the Front Porch today. Don’t you feel just a little more joyful having read that interview? Please feel free to leave comments and ask Joy questions or tell her what you thought of her interview! xo

——————

Susan Gabriel is an acclaimed southern author who lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Her novels, The Secret Sense of Wildflower (a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012) and Temple Secrets (2015) are Amazon and Nook #1 bestsellers.

The Secret to Writing a Novel

the secret to writing a novel

Would you like to know the secret to writing a novel? I’ve written over a dozen of them so far, so this is a secret I know well. Except it’s not really a secret. Actually, it’s something pretty simple when you think about it.

For Lily’s Song. my latest novel, I kept a progress sheet. I don’t always do this, but sometimes it helps me see how much I’m getting done so I can hold myself accountable. For those of you who might be interested, I reproduced it below. But that’s not the secret either, although it can definitely help.

I typically write 5 mornings a week, from 9 or 9:30 until lunchtime (12:30 or 1). At this point, I write full time. After twenty years, writing has finally become my day job. Yay! I write Monday – Friday, and not just when the muse calls. I’ve been known to say that I don’t get writer’s block, I have a mortgage.

the secret to writing a novel

So here’s my Progress Sheet, which reveals the secret. See if you can find it:

The Sequel to Wildflower. Working title: Lily’s Song

Fall of 2014: reread The Secret Sense of Wildflower and took notes; researched 1956, when the sequel takes place. Wrote 5,000 words.

January 2015 resolution: keep a progress sheet on my novels.

Wednesday, 1/7/2015              9-12:30; have 5077 words total
Thursday,  1/8/2015                 7170 words (wrote approx. 2000 words)
Friday,    1/9/2015                    9154 words
Tuesday    1/13                        created genogram from WF notes
Wed        1/14                          9943 words
Thursday   1/15/15                  9985; tweaked some
Friday     1/19/2015                 10,923
Thursday   2/18/2015              13,438
Monday     2/23                       16,060
Tuesday    2/24                       18,000
Wednesday  2/25                    19,899
Thursday   2/26                       23,184
Friday     2/27                          24,500
Monday     3/2                         25,862
Tuesday    3/3                         27,673
Wednesday  3/4                      30,247
Friday     3/6                            31,114
Monday/Tuesday                    32,401  (restructuring)
Wednesday  3/11                   34,311
Friday     3/13                         36,463
Monday     3/16                      37,143
Tuesday    3/17                      38,800
Wed.          3/18                     39,400
Thursday    3/19                    42,505
Friday         3/20                    43,319
Tuesday      3/24                   44,445
Wednesday 2/25                   46,000 (wrote chapter 20, one scene)

(switched to Trueluck novel to let the sequel breathe for a while)

Monday        4/6                    47,695 (clarifying conflict)
Tuesday       4/7                    48,600
Wednesday  4/8                    49,296
Thursday      4/9                    50,310
Friday           4/10                  50,559
Monday        4/13                  51,166
Tuesday        4/14                 51,295 (didn’t write, but revised)
Wednesday   4/15                 51,346
Thursday       4/16                 52,594
Friday            4/17                 53,527
Saturday        4/18 (Sat.)       55,300
Monday          4/20                 57,158
Tuesday         4/21                 57,486
Thursday        4/23                 57,566 (revision)
Wednesday    4/29                 58,157
Thursday        4/30                 59,512
Friday              5/1                  60,888
Monday           5/4                  62,385
Tuesday          5/5                  63,074 (added a chapter and then deleted a chapter that didn’t work)
Wednesday     5/6                  66,107
Thursday         5/7                  68,077
Friday              5/8                  70,039 (finished first draft!!!)
Tuesday          5/26                71,163 (going back over last chapters)
Wednesday     5/27                72,351
Thursday         5/28                72,539 (finishing touches on first draft—will now print out to edit)

etc

I revised this novel 3 more times, and read it aloud to myself the final time to catch any rhythm issues. I finished the final draft in early February of 2016. Final word count was 72,300 words. So it took well over a year to complete Lily’s Song.

If you still want to know the secret to writing a novel, here it is: write a little bit every day, or one afternoon a week, or any amount of time, consistently, until it’s finished. Even if you’re writing in stolen moments, 20 minutes a day, it all adds up. If you keep doing this, eventually you will have the first draft of a book or a novel. That’s the secret. It’s the secret of everyone who has written a book. Writing. Consistently. Setting aside the time. Keeping going.

I wish the secret to writing a novel was more glamorous. But that’s the simple truth of it. And like most truths, it’s simple, but not the least bit easy.

xo

Excerpt of Lily’s Song in Red Truck Review

An excerpt of my newest novel, Lily’s Song (sequel to The Secret Sense of Wildflower) shows up in the latest issue of Red Truck Review: A Journal of American Southern Literature and Culture. If you don’t know about this new southern literary journal, you may want to check it out. A writer friend and subscriber of my blog, Amy Susan Wilson, is the founder and editor. She is also an accomplished southern writer herself. Thanks, Amy!

Red Truck Review

Red Truck Review, Issue 4, The Travel Issue, may also be purchased at the below link: http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/1089387

This issue will also be for sale at select brick and mortar indie bookstores.

For more information about Lily’s Song go here. Thank you so much for reading! xo


Susan Gabriel is an acclaimed southern author who lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Her novels, The Secret Sense of Wildflower (a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012) and Temple Secrets (2015) are Amazon and Nook #1 bestsellers.

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