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Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld – Part 1

Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 14: Relish Revision

Choose a scene or a chapter or a paragraph that is in the first-draft stage (or write a fresh one). You’re going to do three drafts (it’s okay if you break this up over several days). Follow these steps.

  1. Make sure all the elements of a scene are included: The character has an obvious, consistent point of view; your sensory descriptions and imagery show setting and emotion; the action creates a sense of real-time movement and/or dialogue, and a plot goal is present, some piece of which is apparent in this scene.
  2. Cut all flabby, extraneous language, such as adverbs, adjectives, “telling” language, and pleasantries between characters. Hone your sentences. Strive for clarity and beauty.
  3. Add a “push-pull” energyof tension to any dialogue or interaction between characters.

Today, I’m going to just share my paragraph that’s in its first-draft stage.

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to hold my eyes open, fighting abject exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it sounds kind of bad, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a long, sleepless night.

Our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced, bayed, and howled all night, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs finally got quiet some time between 3:45 and 4:15, and then we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop.

By the time we made it out there, whatever knocked our shelf of tools and racecar parts over was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan back window out of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places, and left dents in a couple more, and that was a damn bad way to start the day. The Camaro is my husband’s baby.

So, we got two hours of sleep, and he had to go to work, and I had to drag my exhausted ass to Mobile with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to properly do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through and stay awake, but my body at 26 just can’t bounce back from lack of sleep like it could when I was 16.

Then I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s ringtone. “Hello?”

“Babe…I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I just wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was away at a job site.”

“WHAT?! Oh my GOD! How the hell did that happen?!”

“Cops say it looks like a Malitov cocktail started the blaze. Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned completely up. My granddaddy’s truck, and some sorry excuse for a human being burned it to the ground. I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they better pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

He may not have known…but I sure did.


Work It #14 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld – Part 1

Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 14: Relish Revision

Choose a scene or a chapter or a paragraph that is in the first-draft stage (or write a fresh one). You’re going to do three drafts (it’s okay if you break this up over several days). Follow these steps.

  1. Make sure all the elements of a scene are included: The character has an obvious, consistent point of view; your sensory descriptions and imagery show setting and emotion; the action creates a sense of real-time movement and/or dialogue, and a plot goal is present, some piece of which is apparent in this scene.
  2. Cut all flabby, extraneous language, such as adverbs, adjectives, “telling” language, and pleasantries between characters. Hone your sentences. Strive for clarity and beauty.
  3. Add a “push-pull” energyof tension to any dialogue or interaction between characters.

Today, I’m going to just share my paragraph that’s in its first-draft stage.

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to hold my eyes open, fighting abject exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it sounds kind of bad, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a long, sleepless night.

Our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced, bayed, and howled all night, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs finally got quiet some time between 3:45 and 4:15, and then we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop.

By the time we made it out there, whatever knocked our shelf of tools and racecar parts over was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan back window out of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places, and left dents in a couple more, and that was a damn bad way to start the day. The Camaro is my husband’s baby.

So, we got two hours of sleep, and he had to go to work, and I had to drag my exhausted ass to Mobile with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to properly do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through and stay awake, but my body at 26 just can’t bounce back from lack of sleep like it could when I was 16.

Then I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s ringtone. “Hello?”

“Babe…I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I just wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was away at a job site.”

“WHAT?! Oh my GOD! How the hell did that happen?!”

“Cops say it looks like a Malitov cocktail started the blaze. Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned completely up. My granddaddy’s truck, and some sorry excuse for a human being burned it to the ground. I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they better pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

He may not have known…but I sure did.


Work It #8 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Work It #8 from Chapter 8 “Go Where You Are Welcome”

I highly recommend that you start a “synchronicity” notebook. You may call it whatever you wish: grand coincidences, goals that come to pass…it doesn’t matter how you frame it. Each day, record noteworthy events pertaining to your writing practice and goals. It could be something like “I picked up two books in a row today at the bookstore that shared the same name as my protagonist.” Or “As I was working on an essay about my mother’s death, I had this funny feeling to look through that box of old photos I’ve never opened; there I found a tiny diary she left behind that I never noticed or read before.”

The more you track these events and situations, the stronger your lens will become to look for signs that you’re moving in the right direction, and the more likely you will feel motivated rather than discouraged.

The first thing I’d like to take note of in relation to what Jordan Rosenfeld refers to as synchronicity is that she actually commented on my first post in this blog project series and encouraged me! How cool is that?

Working my way through this book, picking back up and pushing forward, has helped me immensely. Chapter 8, in particular, has helped me make a very difficult decision in my life. I was pursuing a MA in English/Creative Writing, and the program just wasn’t right for me or my writing life. Since I find myself between jobs again, it was also putting undue stress on my personal life, and reading Chapter 8 helped me to center myself long enough to prayerfully consider what I should do, and I have made a decision. I have decided to withdraw from that grad school program. I would rather focus on my marriage, being truly active in my writing life instead of stagnating in a school setting that was making me miserable, and completing my Medical Transcription Editing school by my July 9, 2016 deadline.

I’ve got that tingle. This decision feels like the right decision. I can’t wait to see where this feeling of rightness, this “synchronicity,” which I personally think of as God letting me know that I am on the right path, takes me.


Work It #8 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Work It #8 from Chapter 8 “Go Where You Are Welcome”

I highly recommend that you start a “synchronicity” notebook. You may call it whatever you wish: grand coincidences, goals that come to pass…it doesn’t matter how you frame it. Each day, record noteworthy events pertaining to your writing practice and goals. It could be something like “I picked up two books in a row today at the bookstore that shared the same name as my protagonist.” Or “As I was working on an essay about my mother’s death, I had this funny feeling to look through that box of old photos I’ve never opened; there I found a tiny diary she left behind that I never noticed or read before.”

The more you track these events and situations, the stronger your lens will become to look for signs that you’re moving in the right direction, and the more likely you will feel motivated rather than discouraged.

The first thing I’d like to take note of in relation to what Jordan Rosenfeld refers to as synchronicity is that she actually commented on my first post in this blog project series and encouraged me! How cool is that?

Working my way through this book, picking back up and pushing forward, has helped me immensely. Chapter 8, in particular, has helped me make a very difficult decision in my life. I was pursuing a MA in English/Creative Writing, and the program just wasn’t right for me or my writing life. Since I find myself between jobs again, it was also putting undue stress on my personal life, and reading Chapter 8 helped me to center myself long enough to prayerfully consider what I should do, and I have made a decision. I have decided to withdraw from that grad school program. I would rather focus on my marriage, being truly active in my writing life instead of stagnating in a school setting that was making me miserable, and completing my Medical Transcription Editing school by my July 9, 2016 deadline.

I’ve got that tingle. This decision feels like the right decision. I can’t wait to see where this feeling of rightness, this “synchronicity,” which I personally think of as God letting me know that I am on the right path, takes me.


False Start – The Daily Writer

You may have noticed that I didn’t get started with my responses to the exercises in The Daily Writer by Fred White yet. Why? My husband’s grandmother fell and broke her femur on Thursday, and I dropped the ball on my writing to take care of family business. Family is more important, and always comes first for me. I will start the exercises when we reach a state of equilibrium again.

I feel like a lot of the events that have taken place in my life this year have been opportunities for me to drop the ball on one thing or another. One of my problems is that I’m very much the “all-or-nothing” type of ADD individual. I haven’t just dropped the ball on one thing, I’ve dropped the ball on EVERYTHING for the past few months. I am terrible at finding and/or maintaining balance in my life. I know I need it, but I’m just not sure how to get there. I could use a little help trying to balance things.

In the past, I’ve been known to go through cycles of dropping everything in my life to focus on my writing and periods of completely sacrificing my writing to focus on the rest of my life. There has to be a middle ground, and I could use some help getting there.

I’m happily married to the love of my life now and dropping everything to focus on my writing is no longer feasible or possible. I could really use some advice on how to balance my personal life, my scholarly life, and my writing life. I’m sure it’s obvious that time management is not my strong suit.

Can someone please help me figure out how to juggle everything without being a hermit, and still find time to get sleep in the process? Any and all advice is welcome.


Work It #2 From A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

“After you’ve completed each of the exercises in this chapter [Chapter 2], you’ll have a rough draft of your Writer’s Code. Now you can create a visual sheet of your Code that you’ll put somewhere handy (perhaps inside a notebook, over your desk, or in a closet you open daily) so you can return to it again and again. Think of it as a contract with yourself that you will renew every six months. As you commit or recommit to your writing journey, any of these details may change.

[NAME’S WRITER’S CODE]

On this day, [date], I state to myself that I write because [list values–as many as you like.]

My best writing rhythms are [at your appointed times of day/night and in your optimal conditions.]

I will take the following risks [your goals/risks here], but will never extend beyond my comfort zone.

When I struggle, I will turn to my Creative Support Team: [names].

When you’re done, print it out, put it up where you can see it, and take it seriously.”

Chelsea Clemmons Moye’s Writer’s Code

On this day, 9/25/2015, I state to myself that I write because I must, it keeps me happy, and it helps keep me sane, among other reasons.

My best writing rhythms are in the afternoon, evening, at night, and occasionally in the wee hours of the morning. My optimal conditions are at my desk or in bed, preferably with Lake (my husband) nearby. I work best with quiet or soft music as background noise.

I will take the following risks:

  1. Try to update Frost once a week.
  2. Blog once a week.
  3. Finish updating Frost’s outline.
  4. Add to BB custom romance framework and send to the client.
  5. Produce at least 500 words a day, five days a week–no matter which project.
  6. Reach out to Custom Romances clients.

Although I plan to take risks, I will never extend beyond my comfort zone.

When I struggle, I will turn to my Creative Support Team: Lake, Mandy, Deb Herbert, Jenn, Shelby, Kylee, Dad, Amberli, and Jess White.

Chelsea C. Moye

This exercise is excerpted from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld. The answers are my own.


Work It #2 From A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

“After you’ve completed each of the exercises in this chapter [Chapter 2], you’ll have a rough draft of your Writer’s Code. Now you can create a visual sheet of your Code that you’ll put somewhere handy (perhaps inside a notebook, over your desk, or in a closet you open daily) so you can return to it again and again. Think of it as a contract with yourself that you will renew every six months. As you commit or recommit to your writing journey, any of these details may change.

[NAME’S WRITER’S CODE]

On this day, [date], I state to myself that I write because [list values–as many as you like.]

My best writing rhythms are [at your appointed times of day/night and in your optimal conditions.]

I will take the following risks [your goals/risks here], but will never extend beyond my comfort zone.

When I struggle, I will turn to my Creative Support Team: [names].

When you’re done, print it out, put it up where you can see it, and take it seriously.”

Chelsea Clemmons Moye’s Writer’s Code

On this day, 9/25/2015, I state to myself that I write because I must, it keeps me happy, and it helps keep me sane, among other reasons.

My best writing rhythms are in the afternoon, evening, at night, and occasionally in the wee hours of the morning. My optimal conditions are at my desk or in bed, preferably with Lake (my husband) nearby. I work best with quiet or soft music as background noise.

I will take the following risks:

  1. Try to update Frost once a week.
  2. Blog once a week.
  3. Finish updating Frost’s outline.
  4. Add to BB custom romance framework and send to the client.
  5. Produce at least 500 words a day, five days a week–no matter which project.
  6. Reach out to Custom Romances clients.

Although I plan to take risks, I will never extend beyond my comfort zone.

When I struggle, I will turn to my Creative Support Team: Lake, Mandy, Deb Herbert, Jenn, Shelby, Kylee, Dad, Amberli, and Jess White.

Chelsea C. Moye

This exercise is excerpted from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld. The answers are my own.


Work It #1 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

  1. “Why do you write? Have you ever sat down and asked yourself this question?Make a free-form list—that is, don’t stop and think too much about what you’re writing—and write from the gut. No reason is better than another. Write as many reasons as you can until you feel done.”

    Helps me think.
    Keeps me sane.
    It’s calming.
    Creativity is necessary to my existence.
    I love it.
    It’s who I am.
    I don’t know how not to tell stories.
    It’s just what I do.
    I’m miserable when I don’t get time to write.
    It makes me happy.

    “Now ask yourself: What are the top 5 reasons?”
    -It makes me happy.
    -I’m miserable when I don’t get time to write.
    -It keeps me sane.
    -I love it.
    -It is necessary to my existence.

  2. “Compose a second ‘negative’ list. What stands in the way of your writing? What fears, habits, beliefs, or critical voices are trying to drown your desire to write?”I’m afraid I’m not good enough.
    My brain gets exhausted and I get writer’s block.
    I suck at time management.
    My writing inconveniences the people around me.
    I have issues focusing on one project at a time.
    I’m hellishly disorganized.
    I’m not good at standing up for myself and my writing time.
    If somebody asks me to do something else, I set aside my writing to make others happy because I don’t want to be rude.
    I don’t know how to balance my social/personal life with my writing life. So, my writing falls by the wayside because making others happy is deeply important to me. My writing is always the first thing that gets sacrificed.

    “For each item on the negative list, use your top 5 reasons for writing to “cancel out” the negative.”

    I’m afraid I’m not good enough. –> I love it.
    My brain gets exhausted and I get writer’s block. –> It keeps me sane.
    I suck at time management. –> I’m miserable when I don’t get time to write.
    My writing inconveniences the people around me. –> It is necessary to my existence.
    I have issues focusing on one project at a time. –> It makes me happy.
    I’m hellishly disorganized. –> I love it.
    I’m not good at standing up for myself and my writing time. –> It keeps me sane.
    If somebody asks me to do something else, I set aside my writing to make others happy because I don’t want to be rude. –> I’m miserable when I don’t get time to write.
    I don’t know how to balance my social/personal life with my writing life. So, my writing falls by the wayside because making others happy is deeply important to me. My writing is always the first thing that gets sacrificed. –> It is necessary to my existence.

  3. “If you don’t feel like writing at this moment, meditate. Sit quietly with your eyes closed, focus on your breathing, and let the words in this chapter enter you. The goal of this meditation is to make you feel centered, inspired, and ready to write.”

This exercise is excerpted from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld. The answers are my own. I hope you find my answers helpful and inspiring in some way. Once again, I cannot recommend this book enough! I’ll be sharing the second exercise next week, guys!


Work It #1 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

  1. “Why do you write? Have you ever sat down and asked yourself this question?Make a free-form list—that is, don’t stop and think too much about what you’re writing—and write from the gut. No reason is better than another. Write as many reasons as you can until you feel done.”

    Helps me think.
    Keeps me sane.
    It’s calming.
    Creativity is necessary to my existence.
    I love it.
    It’s who I am.
    I don’t know how not to tell stories.
    It’s just what I do.
    I’m miserable when I don’t get time to write.
    It makes me happy.

    “Now ask yourself: What are the top 5 reasons?”
    -It makes me happy.
    -I’m miserable when I don’t get time to write.
    -It keeps me sane.
    -I love it.
    -It is necessary to my existence.

  2. “Compose a second ‘negative’ list. What stands in the way of your writing? What fears, habits, beliefs, or critical voices are trying to drown your desire to write?”I’m afraid I’m not good enough.
    My brain gets exhausted and I get writer’s block.
    I suck at time management.
    My writing inconveniences the people around me.
    I have issues focusing on one project at a time.
    I’m hellishly disorganized.
    I’m not good at standing up for myself and my writing time.
    If somebody asks me to do something else, I set aside my writing to make others happy because I don’t want to be rude.
    I don’t know how to balance my social/personal life with my writing life. So, my writing falls by the wayside because making others happy is deeply important to me. My writing is always the first thing that gets sacrificed.

    “For each item on the negative list, use your top 5 reasons for writing to “cancel out” the negative.”

    I’m afraid I’m not good enough. –> I love it.
    My brain gets exhausted and I get writer’s block. –> It keeps me sane.
    I suck at time management. –> I’m miserable when I don’t get time to write.
    My writing inconveniences the people around me. –> It is necessary to my existence.
    I have issues focusing on one project at a time. –> It makes me happy.
    I’m hellishly disorganized. –> I love it.
    I’m not good at standing up for myself and my writing time. –> It keeps me sane.
    If somebody asks me to do something else, I set aside my writing to make others happy because I don’t want to be rude. –> I’m miserable when I don’t get time to write.
    I don’t know how to balance my social/personal life with my writing life. So, my writing falls by the wayside because making others happy is deeply important to me. My writing is always the first thing that gets sacrificed. –> It is necessary to my existence.

  3. “If you don’t feel like writing at this moment, meditate. Sit quietly with your eyes closed, focus on your breathing, and let the words in this chapter enter you. The goal of this meditation is to make you feel centered, inspired, and ready to write.”

This exercise is excerpted from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld. The answers are my own. I hope you find my answers helpful and inspiring in some way. Once again, I cannot recommend this book enough! I’ll be sharing the second exercise next week, guys!


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