Archive for the ‘writers’ Category

As an author, I am anxiously awaiting the day I receive my first book review. I know this may not be a pleasant experience, but I’m anticipating it none-the-less. Book reviews are two-edged swords. Most authors want reviews, especially if they’re good. But, you must take the good with the bad and I know there will undoubtedly be a bad review or two. (more…)


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walking tightropeSuspension of Disbelief. It’s a common enough term for writers of fiction. It’s a fine line to walk when writing certain kinds of fiction. But, the average person may not quite understand what that term is. (more…)

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people cheeringCongratulations. You’ve ended up in my book. Some of you are thinking, cool. Authors, on the other hand, are staring at the computer screen right now with mouths agape. Why are authors gaping? Because they know that if someone ends up in one of their books, it cannot be good. Usually it’s offensive, rude, and mean people who end up in books. Most certainly, they die. So, you see, ending up in a book is definitely not a good thing. (more…)

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I live in Vicksburg, Mississippi, a river town with a colorful and violent history. For 47 days Vicksburg was under siege by the Federal Army, completely surrounded and cut off from the outside world. Many people lost their lives fighting for a cause they believed in. (more…)

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count blessings memeWe’ve probably all heard the expression, “Don’t count days, make the days count.” Well, I believe that’s a good motto. It reminds us to be thankful every single day for all of the blessings that happen around us, most of which, sadly, we don’t even pay attention to. (more…)

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Today dear readers, I’m going to share with you some interesting oddball information that you can pass along to amaze and dazzle your friends, co-workers and family. You’re welcome.

see nose meme


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Calling myself a writer these days is a stretch since it’s been a very long while since I’ve actually written anything besides a blog post. Of course I’ve had a very good reason, with my recent cancer diagnosis and subsequent poor mental and physical health as a result, but still, I need to get back in the saddle so to speak.

woman laying on couch

Because my energy has been at an almost imperceptible level, I’ve tried to spend my time reading short chapters and articles rather then getting engrossed in a novel. Yes, I haven’t even had the energy or desire to read, that’s how bad off I’ve been.

But, treatment is going well and I’ve to the worst behind me. So, I’m trying to get back into not only reading, but writing. It’s been hard.

Writers are our own worst critics, especially those of us who strive for perfection. I once read an “inspirational” quote that I tried to apply to my life: If you reach perfection, aim higher. Well folks, that can be paralyzing. In fact, it’s counter-intuitive if you want to publish a book. At some point, that book is going to have to be good enough. I understand that the quote is encouraging us to try to improve and be better every day, but when it comes to a manuscript, throw that advice out the window.

woman at computer

I’ve had a hard time wrapping my brain around that concept though. Good enough.  What is good enough? That means I’m settling right? I’m not trying hard enough? WRONG. I’ve been putting my best foot forward with my writing since the day I typed my first sentence. I attend workshops, read books on craft, watch videos from “experts,” all necessary things to improve my craft. By doing these things I’m trying harder, I’m aiming higher.

Recently I read an article written by Roseanne Bane entitled: “Good enough, may be the best thing for your writing.” Say what? That article started with this quote: “The best is oftentimes the enemy of the good; and many a good book has remained unwritten . . . because there floated before the mind’s eye the ideal of a better or a best.” – R.C. Trench, 1861. I read that sentence a dozen times before it dawned on me. That’s me. I’m preventing my own publishing journey because I’m holding out for something better.

roadblock sign

The article went on to say, “If you refuse to accept good enough, you can’t move on.” That’s right, I’m becoming paralyzed by my goal to reach perfection. I have to allow myself to be more vulnerable, to take more risks and just let my above-average writing speak for myself. After all, not everyone is going to like my book even if it is perfect. I need to remember that I’m not writing for everyone, I’m writing for those people who believe my work is perfection. For every person who doesn’t like what I write, there’ll be at least one person who does.

vulnerable quote

Shortly after I read the above article I read this passage in a book called “The Irresistible Novel,” by Jeff Gerke, which I highly recommend by the way: “It is inevitable that you will encounter people who will say you’ll never get published if you do (or don’t do) X, Y, and Z . . . I hope you understand that these people are merely giving their preferences, their opinions, and their own person brand of paralysis. ” That really resonated with me because I do hear so many differing opinions on what you should and shouldn’t do as a writer. Also, I hear all the things you absolutely should not do and then I read book after book where those “taboo” things occur repeatedly. Say what? It’s confusing. How did they get published if you absolutely should not do those things? Why can they do it, but I can’t?

don't do it sign

Mr. Gerke went on to say: “If you keep letting the “experts” cause you to doubt yourself, you’ll end up in misery.” Exactly! He wrote that “. . . at some point you have to stop being so flexible and just decide how you want to write the thing.” It is my book after all. I like that Mr. Gerke.

I know my manuscripts are better than a lot of books out there on the market, and there are millions. I’ve read several books lately that really should not have been published without another good proofreading or round of edits. I’ve read books with weak plots, boring characters, confusing dialogue. I know my books are better than that.

So, bottom line. I’m going to take a look at my manuscripts with a different perspective. Sure, I have to edit out the bad grammar and typos, but as far as the story goes . . . I’m going to believe it’s “good enough.” I’ve read them umpteen times. Beta readers have read them. Critique groups have read them. I’ve even had editors read them. It’s time to let actual readers read them.

the irresistible novel

It’s time to take Mr. Gerke’s advice – I have to stop being so flexible and just decide how I want to write the thing. Bam. Done.

Look for something from me later this year. There, I’ve said it. Now, I have to do it. Right? You’ll all hold me accountable?

leap of faith

So, tell me readers, are you perfectionists? How do you know when your craft is “good enough?” What advice resonated with you for anything that created a change for the better?

Word of the day: uglification

Fun fact about me: I didn’t read a single Christmas novel this past year. (I barely read anything for the past 3 months of the year.)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, January 2018. Photos courtesy Google Images.


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book and quill penI’m generally not a fan of poetry, but I appreciate the art and how so many people can express themselves poetically. Me, not so much. I’m one of those people who, if it doesn’t rhyme, I don’t get it. (more…)

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Usually I like to “work ahead.” I do things today that will make my life easier tomorrow. Like chopping onions or veggies for dinner or putting together a casserole for breakfast.

food prep


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woman on benchA week or so ago I was watching one of those crime shows on TV, you know the ones where they have an agent/detective go “undercover” and spy on someone? In this show, the gal was sitting on a park bench with ear buds, bopping along to some unheard tune when this jogger stops and plants himself on the bench next to her and starts up a conversation. Now, this gal didn’t want to converse, yet neither did she want to appear as though she were spying on someone. So, she provided the occasional nod or “um hm” while continuing to watch her target from the corner of her eye.

That scene got me to thinking – which can be a scary thing I’ll admit. I wondered if this had ever happened to me. I mean, I’ve been known to strike up a conversation with a totally random stranger if the mood hits me. Yet I wondered, have I ever intruded in a clandestine spying operation? Have I ever encountered a completely random person, who appeared to be sitting/standing idly, yet was really annoyed because I was distracting them from their bad guy’s activities with mindless chit chat?

men at convenience store

Seriously, how many of those mornings at Starbucks or the gas station or the grocery store have I talked to an undercover law enforcement person doing their surveillance job?

That in turn got me to wondering other oddball things. Like, have I ever had in my possession counterfeit money? Have I ever spent counterfeit money passed on to me from some other source?

exchanging money

Have I ever happened upon a drug deal without even being aware it was happening in my presence?

Has a late night sting operation ever had to be aborted because I happened along for a snack at a convenience store? Gosh, I hope not. And yet . . . hmmmm?

How many people do I talk to every single day are hiding concealed weapons? Being from Mississippi I’m sure that number is quite high.

There are just so many things that could be happening right in front of my nose. I know that from now on everyone is going to look suspicious to me. How about you?


Have you ever been in the wrong place at the wrong – or maybe right – time? What sorts of clandestine things have you interrupted? Come on – please share. Have you ever wondered if you’ve thwarted a crime just by showing up some place? Surely this isn’t just me.

Word of the day: Ididem

Fun fact about me: I’m tap dancing again.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, October 2017. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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