Please welcome our guest, Michelle Roper.


Spring into Writing
It’s spring. Daffodils are blooming and awakening from their winter’s slumber. Each year, I look forward to my first sighting of the friendly yellow blossom because it means warm weather, flowers, and green trees are right around the corner. It feels great to inhale fresh air after a long winter stuck inside. It’s also a good time to take stock of my life and where I’m at this point in the year. A lot of times I find myself shaking my head and saying to anyone who will listen, “I can’t believe it’s March, already.”

I know at the beginning of the year I have a long list of New Year’s Resolutions. Usually, I have a ton of writing goals, and I’m sure most of you do, too. They usually come in many different varieties and intentions like seeds in a garden catalogue. Maybe some of these examples are on your list.

Finish the first draft of a new book.

Write every day.

Edit the book I wrote for Nanowrimo.

Finish the synopsis for the contest.

Send out a partial.

It doesn’t matter the goal, now is the time to take stock because when December rolls around, you want to look back and say I did it. I did reach my goal, and I am further along in my writing career. I stay focused.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Nice words you’re thinking, but I have other responsibilities. I know. I know.

Here’s a sample list of excuses for not writing. Recognize yours?

I don’t have time to write.

I’m busy with my kids.

It’s been a month since I’ve written because I’ve been working on a project for work.

The contest deadline has passed.

I have made all those excuses at one time or another. That’s why it’s important to have check points.

That’s why seeing the first daffodil is important to me. Time to take stock.

One thing I’ve learned along the way in my writing journey is that you have to check in with your writing every day. Here’s what I do to help me keep focused.

I write in my journal ever morning. A lot of times I start solving problems in my manuscript.

When I make my to-do list—I write what I want to accomplish on my writing. Vacuum. Write three pages. Dog needs walking. Etc.

Write deadlines and contest entry deadlines on your calendar right along with doctor and dental appointments. This way the family is aware of the writing schedule, too.

I keep a sticky note with my writing goals on my computer.

Sit butt in chair and write.

Basically, we have to take action and stay focused on our writing goals each and every day even in the whirlpool craziness of everyday life. A new season means new beginnings, and it’s time to take our New Year writing goals and resolutions and make them happen. Find a daffodil and let it be a visual reminder of your writing and what you want to accomplish.


Michelle Roper co-writes with Berta Platas under the pseudonym of Gillian Summers. As Gillian, they write about the adventures of Keelie Heartwood, starting with the Faire Folk Trilogy. Keelie’s story continues in the SHADOWS OF THE REDWOOD, the first book in the Scions of Shadow trilogy which will be released on June 1st, 2010.

When not writing about Keelie and her mischievous feline companion, Knot, Michelle is busy walking her two Siberian Huskies, Arwen and Raven and seeking their input on plotting, characterization, and world building.

21 comments

  1. Scarlet Pumpernickel // March 23, 2010 at 12:09 AM  

    Michelle welcome to the pink fuzzies, we are so pleased to have you visit with us today. I really enjoyed the first two Gillian Summers books and look forward to reading the next. What was the inspiration for this series? Where did the idea spring from and was this a new genre for you?

  2. Mary Marvella // March 23, 2010 at 12:14 AM  

    Good morning,Michelle! About that first kiss?

  3. Michelle // March 23, 2010 at 7:32 AM  

    Good Morning Pink Fuzzies!

    I'm delighted to be among such wonderful company. I hope
    everyone has a great day.


    Scarlet: Thanks for reading the Gillian books. I'm thrilled you enjoyed them. As for the inspiration behind the series, it was an idea my co-author, Berta Platas had one day.

    I had been to visit the Renaissance Festival, and after hearing me describe my family's adventures, she called me up and asked, "What to write a book together?"

    "Sure!" I answered.

    Berta and I have been critique partners for years, so we work well together, and when we write
    as Gillian we take two voices and
    blend it into a unique third one.

    When we began the project, YA wasn't as hot a market as it is today, and it was definitely a new genre for me. With teenagers in the house, it was an easy transition to create a teen character.

  4. Michelle // March 23, 2010 at 7:36 AM  

    First Kiss:

    Okay, Mary! I'll tell about the guy I first kissed.

    My first kiss was with my high school sweetheart. His name was Jack, and I thought he was the most awesome guy on the planet. Still do. We've been married twenty-nine years.

  5. Judy // March 23, 2010 at 8:35 AM  

    Hi, Michelle! Glad to have you here with the Fuzzies and I love the YA stories you've written with Berta! Such a great idea!! I drive myself crazy with goal setting because I set goals for the day each morning!!!

  6. Mary Marvella // March 23, 2010 at 10:03 AM  

    Awwww, Michelle! so sweet!

  7. Michelle // March 23, 2010 at 11:01 AM  

    Hey Judy,

    Goal setting can be a challenge, especially writing ones. Some days
    I can only manage a paragraph, but hey I wrote that paragraph.

    What are you writing, Judy?

  8. Michelle // March 23, 2010 at 11:03 AM  

    Hey Mary,

    Remembering you first kiss and the emotions that goes with it helps
    when you write YA.

    Are any of the Pink Fuzzies writing YA? What other genres are
    you guys writing? Let me know.

  9. Pamela Varnado // March 23, 2010 at 11:24 AM  

    Welcome to the fuzzies. I work best when I set daily goals. They help me to stay focus.
    After reading your novels co-wrote with Berta, I introduced my sister to the stories and now she's hooked. She's always asking when the next one will come out. I won't mention our age, but I'm amazed by how many adults enjoy reading YA.

  10. Michelle // March 23, 2010 at 1:14 PM  

    Hey Pam,

    Thanks for reading the books. I'll pass along your positive comments to the other half of Gillian.

    Like you, I've been amazed at how many people read YA. I've had a big brawny knight come up to me at a Renaissance Fesitval and tell me he loves the Faire Folk Saga.

    I think we have to have our writing goals to stay focused. If I don't, then my writing is lost in the minutia of everyday life.

  11. Judy // March 23, 2010 at 1:28 PM  

    Hi, Michelle, I write both women's fiction and middle-grade fantasy novels. Though I love both, I'm thinking of concentrating on the kids' stuff because that's when I have the most fun...writing, rewriting, rewriting, etc. LOL

  12. Joelle Charbonneau // March 23, 2010 at 4:04 PM  

    Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for visiting the fuzzies and for such a great post. Goals are really important since we as writers have no boss to check in with at the end of the day. (Unless your agent or editor is waiting for something! That's a different story.)

    I love hitting my goals and working toward new ones. However, I have learned that a toddler takes more time some days than others which means my goals need to adjust. I have had to learn to accept when I can't hit my goal that day and not feel like I failed. A feeling of failure can often lead to negative emotions that will impact the next day's work. Thankfully, I have learned to shrug off the days that goals don't get completed and work like the devil when I have a bit of extra time.

    I'm excited to add your books to my TBR pile:)

  13. Mary Ricksen // March 23, 2010 at 6:15 PM  

    Great blog Michelle, thanks for blogging with us. I love the cover, they alone make me want to read both books.

  14. Michelle // March 23, 2010 at 7:16 PM  

    Hey Joelle,

    Toddlers definitely throw a wrench in the writing works. I know, been there, done that. For many years, I homeschooled my three kids and tried to squeeze in the writing time.

    They're are going to be days when writing isn't going to happen. There's always tomorrow. Sounds like you've got it figured out.

  15. Michelle // March 23, 2010 at 7:18 PM  

    Hey Mary,

    I've enjoyed blogging with the Pink Fuzzies. Thanks for the nice comments on the book covers.

  16. Mary Marvella // March 23, 2010 at 7:39 PM  

    Hmmm, I write women's fiction with a southern flair, romantic suspense, and now demons and angels. Whoda thunk it?

  17. Joanne // March 23, 2010 at 8:13 PM  

    Welcome, Michelle, to the Pink Fuzzies. Yes, goals are so important. Without daily and weekly goals, I would not get nearly as much accomplished. However, sometimes life and family responsibilities curtail even the best-laid plans.

  18. Michelle // March 23, 2010 at 8:54 PM  

    Hey Mary,

    Demons, angels, and bears. Oh My!

  19. Michelle // March 23, 2010 at 8:58 PM  

    Hey Joanne,

    Thanks for having me on the blog.

    As we say at my house, life happens, and having my writing goals written down helps me get back on track. However, there are days. . .

    Good luck with your writing.

  20. Anonymous // March 24, 2010 at 11:38 AM  

    What an opportunity! I have a question for you. In my current wip I have a character who is able to read my heroine's thoughts. He is going to instruct her on how to shield her thoughts. Now my questions, how might he do this? Any ideas? All Fuzzies are welcome to comment as well.

    Melba Moon
    President-Elect KOD

  21. Tami Brothers // March 27, 2010 at 6:52 PM  

    Oh man! Late to the party as usual (that's me...grin...).

    I just wanted to chime in here and tell Michelle that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Tree Shephard's Daughter and the whole series. I can NOT wait for the next one. You guys have done an awesome, awesome job creating this series and every time I read them, I'm taken back to my visits to the Ren fair.

    Thanks for a wonderful post! I can't wait to see the beautiful flowers around my yard poking through...

    Have a great weekend.

    Tami