MBM: Creativity: A Process, Not a Product by @TeresaHirst

Welcome to the sixth day of MARCH BOOK MADNESS! (Full explanation and schedule here.)

Today my friend Teresa Hirst is here. She is a total sweetheart and I loved her latest novel, Flowers of Graceinspired by a true story of a group of women trying to save a clothing store–and a hibiscus. (Link below her bio.)

Today Teresa’s here to talk about the ‘yoga’ aspect of writing, the ‘breathing’ moments to create something beautiful.

Continue reading “MBM: Creativity: A Process, Not a Product by @TeresaHirst”


MBM Intro and 3 Tips To Balance Your Writing Time by @rlbelliston


Welcome! This is my fourth year hosting March Book Madness. (What is March Book Madness? Explanation here.)


2015 March Book Madness Presenters: Rebecca Belliston, A.L. Sowards, Chris Rosche, Danyelle Ferguson, Charity Bradford, Charissa Stastny, Sarah Belliston, Tricia Pease, JoLynne Lyon

I love these authors! Their topics include writing with humor, honing in genres, MFA programs, editing strategies and more. Don’t miss a post. Subscribe to get posts delivered in your inbox here.

This year, I thought I’d post my own thoughts. It would be strange to introduce myself, so I’ll just jump right in. :)


3 Tips How to Balance Your Writing Time by Rebecca Belliston

Continue reading “MBM Intro and 3 Tips To Balance Your Writing Time by @rlbelliston”

MBM: Priorities and Choices for Writers, by Braden Bell


Welcome to the eleventh day of


If you’re new to March Book Madness, it’s an excuse for me to discuss everything about writing, editing, and reading books with some amazing authors and readers. Fun, fun, fun!

Here’s the schedule:

The collective talent listed above . . . Wow! If you’ve missed any days, make sure to catch up. It’s been awesome.


Today, Braden Bell is here discussing priorities for writers

Braden Bell is the author of Kindling, a middle-grade novel that’s fast-paced and a lot of fun. I loved it!

You may remember me mentioning Kindling before. It’s book 1 in the Middle School Magic series. Last summer, I was part of Braden’s book tour. As part of the tour, he answered some of my questions about his book. Read that interview here.


This blurb describes the book perfectly:

  • Homework? Of course. Crushes? Sure. But who knew seventh grade included superpowers?


Book 2 in the series, Penumbras, will be released this July, and I can’t wait.

Braden and I both share a love of books and music. We both have five children. We also serve on the LDStorymakers BOD together, so that’s cool. Super nice, talented guy. I’m excited he agreed to share his thoughts for March Book Madness.

So here he is.


Priorities and Choices for Writers, by Braden Bell

When I published my first book, I heard a particular comment that irritated me.  A number of people said some variant of, “How did you find the time to do that?” or “How fun! Boy, I wish I had that much time!” Continue reading “MBM: Priorities and Choices for Writers, by Braden Bell”

Friday Funnies and Writing Tip #3: Know Your Priorities


If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been blogging as much as I used to. 

I also haven’t been writing as much as I used to, which is why I just BARELY finished Augustina this weekwhen I hoped to finish it months/years ago. 

Here’s why:

  1. I have five kids.
  2. I love my five kids.
  3. I’m a stay at home mom to my five kids, so technically it’s my job to take care of them. 


My oldest is 16 and the youngest, Jacob, is almost 5. Jacob does not attend preschool, so we’re together ALL THE TIME.

This sometimes causes issues. :)

Jacob is a pretty smart kid.

His entire motivation in life is to be seen as an equal to his older siblings and their million friends. He hates being the littlest in everything, and often he forgets that he’s not, in fact, a teenager.

Because of this desire to be ‘old’, he’s been learning to read for awhile. He has most of the smaller words down. He loves to type new words he’s learned on the computer. He’ll even ask me to open Microsoft Word for him so he can type what he knows. (Future author in the making.) If he gets stuck on a word, he’ll ask me to help him spell it so he can type it “All by myself.” 

This is what I found him typing this week:

  • Now…I need to preface this with: I was extremely sick this weeklike flat in bed with the stomach flu. It was awful. I haven’t been that sick in a long time. Because I was sick, he may have spent a little extra time on the Wii. Don’t judge me too harshly.
  • (However, if I’m being truly honest here, he was obsessed before the week started.)

As I’m helping the other kids get ready for school, he says to me,

“Mom, how do you spell FRIEND?”

I help him spell it, and then I steal a peek at his project. This is what I see on my computer:Capture

With an inward sigh—I love that kid—I smile and let him keep typing. From across the kitchen, I help with a few more words, hard ones like WORLD and THOSE.

When I check back, this is what I see:

Capture2Picture my smile fading here.

If you don’t know who Bowser is, thank your lucky stars. He has taken over our household lately. He is one of the characters on Super Mario Brothers, a stupidly addicting Wii game. I personally HATE Bowser right now. This didn’t help the relationship.

Me to Jacob: “Um, who else is your friend, buddy?”

Here’s what he added:


Me really starting to panic: “What about your friends in the neighborhood? At church? You have lots of other friends!” Doesn’t he?

Jacob: “Oh yeah. I forgot.”


He named quite a few others. (If your kid is his friend and wasn’t on the list, please don’t disown us; he honestly said their names!) But by then he was sick of typing and wanted to go play the Wii


Guess what he’s not playing today.

So here’s writing tip #3.



I love to write. It’s my escape. It’s my joy. But it’s my hobby, and I love my kids MORE.

I guess this was a little reminder that perhaps I need to spend even less time in my imagination and more time in Jacob’s.

This is our last year together before he starts school full time. I’ve had a kid at home with me for sixteen straight years and it’s going to end in nine months. Instead of wishing it away, cringing that my book STILL isn’t done, I should be enjoying these last few months with my youngest.


I thought I was doing that, but obviously I could use a little improvement. My mom reminds me that someday I will miss these days. 

Maybe your writing schedule could use some tweaking as well.

What are your priorities? If writing isn’t your job, then it probably isn’t your first priority. So how do you fit writing into your life? Or even if writing is your job, it still probably shouldn’t be FIRST on your list. So…

  1. Know your priorities.
  2. Set your priorities.
  3. Live your priorities.
  4. And don’t let anything come in your way. Not even a great story.



No. It won’t.

At best, your story will entertain someone for a depressingly short amount of time. I think one of the most powerful lessons for authors comes at the end of the Truman Show, when the whole world seems to be on the edge of their seats waiting to see if Truman will choose freedom. But the second he makes his choice, the whole world sits for two seconds contemplating his decision, and then they flip the channel to see what else is on TV. 


Our stories are great, but really, they’re not that great. They’re just entertainment, so don’t lose your priorities over it.

I have to remind myself of this often.

So if you don’t see me as much as you used to–or maybe as much as I sometimes want–it’s because I’m trying to keep my youngest from having a Wii addiction.

Right now I’m off to play dinosaurs in a different kind of pretend world. As of right now, all his dinosaurs are namedcare to guess?Bowser. My goal is to change that. :)

Have a great weekend.

How do you set priorities when it comes to writing? Do you schedule time or squeeze it in? How has your writing time changed with your life? Comment here.

Other writing tips:

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Prioritizing: It’s As Simple As Rocks and Sand



I’ve been hit and miss on the internet recently. I’ve been hit and miss with writing, too.

Here’s why…

I love those kiddos. Every last one of them. BOY, GIRL, BOY, GIRL, BOY. Ranging from 16 to 4. That’s my five kids. 


They are my life. (Oh, and my hubby is my life, too. I can’t forget him. ;)  )


Recently, I gave a lesson to some teens that was as much for me as for them. 

It goes like this:

We have a thousand things vying for our time each day; things that can be categorized into three groups:


  1. Important things.
  2. Semi-important things.
  3. Not-so-important-but-kinda-fun things...


The important things in our life are like rocks.


The semi-important things are like pebbles.


The not-so-important-but-kinda-fun things are like sand.


But our day only has so much room.

Like a bottle.

Once it’s filled, it’s filled.

Though we know what’s important to us,

we often throw things into our jar in the wrong order.

The not-so-important-but-kinda-fun things consume half our day,

and suddenly we can’t make it all fit.


“I don’t have time!”


But if we put the most important things in first,

schedule family, spirituality, or whatever matters most to us first,

we find time for things we used to “not have the time for.”


The guilt dies.

The happiness grows.


(ie: Writing books and interacting with great people on facebook, twitter, and my blog are what I do when my kids, my family, and my priorities don’t need me. NOT VICE VERSA.)

And the best part is,

when we put first things first,

suddenly we realize we can make the other stuff fit, too. 

At worst, we might lose a few grains of sand, but really,

who misses those lost seconds on facebook watching other people live their lives?

If you’re living yours, you won’t.


So sit down.

Make a list.

Prioritize your life.

Then schedule your days and weeks accordingly.



Coming from someone who spent a summer putting the rocks in first…(literally)…

…I promise you’ll be happier for it.


What do you do to put first things first? Any tricks you’ve learned through the years?

Share your thoughts and comments here.