Here you will find my personal blog where I will talk about my artistic projects, things I'm diggin', and whatever other random shenanigans I feel like posting about.

If you are looking for a more informative blog about writing including writing tips, writing exercises, and some of my own personal writing experience, please have a look at my writing blog: 

http://crawfordwritingblog.com




The 30-Day Writing Challenge Re-launch 

The second edition of my book, The 30-Day Writing Challenge: Begin or Enhance Your Daily Writing Habit is now available in both print and e-book versions on multiple retailers as well as my website.

In the second edition introduction, I write:

I originally wrote The 30-Day Writing Challenge in 2014. Since that time, I have become an adjunct professor for the online creative writing graduate program at Southern New Hampshire University, I have published two novels, and I have continued for four years of full-time work as a freelance writer. 

I’ve also been through a lot of ups and down with my own publishing journey. I have been discouraged and broken down at many points. Whether you’re a traditionally published author or an indie author, publishing is hard. And there’s a lot of disappointment. 

So much is out of your control: what the literary agents think about your writing, what the publishers think, your sales ranking on Amazon, how many reviews you have, etc. And sure, there are a ton of things you can do to increase your chances of having the agents read your manuscript or increasing your e-book sales. But as writers, the most important thing—the thing we always have control over no matter what—is the actual writing. The act of creation. 

Writing is a practice and a discipline. The purpose of this book is to help you to begin a daily writing habit or enhance the daily writing habit you already have. 

Whether you want to write the great American novel or write business e-books, if you are serious about being a writer, you need to practice writing every day. It’s just like being in good physical shape. You have to exercise your muscles a little bit every day to build strength.   

It’s important to note that for some people, literally writing every day is not going to be possible. Many people have health issues that will prevent them from being able to write every day. I, myself, suffer from anxiety and depression, and there are definitely times when I’m not able to write creatively every day. (I don’t think a single day has gone by in the past 15 years when I haven’t written something, though—a journal entry, an e-mail, a blog post, web content, etc. I bring that up because if you do have mental health issues, keeping a journal is often a great way to get in some form of writing every day.) 

There will also be times when life gets in the way, and writing every day isn’t possible. Don’t beat yourself up in these moments. The important thing is that writing becomes a regular and consistent part of your life if you want to be a writer.

 

Download the e-book now for just $0.99 or order a copy of the paperback for $6.99.

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Scribd

Playster

Kobo

Holonis

Coming soon on Apple Books!

Or you can order directly from my website.

 

I'm so excited to be able to help more people on their writing journey!

 

My Content Detox 

My view currently

 

One of the best ways to promote anything--your books, your business, your brand--is through content marketing. And I genuinely love to create and share content. Especially content that's going to help or inspire other artists and creative people. I've created a lot of content ever since I pretty much started using the internet, but for the past year or so, I've gotten especially ridiculous with the amount of content I create.

I've participated in Instagram challenges. I started a new creativity blog and creativity tips mailing list--which I updated Monday through Friday most weeks. I've had a YouTube channel--posting two to five videos a month typically. I started a holospace on Holonis. I joined the mobile reading app, Radish, and started a vampire novel there. I've tried to keep up my Twitter and Facebook--personal page and author page. I've written guest posts for blogs like The Creative Penn and The Digital Reader. I made quote pictures and book trailers and promotional photos for my books

And let's not forget this was on top of the freelance writing and marketing work I actually got paid to do. And teaching a creative writing graduate class for Southern New Hampshire University online. And trying to finish You and the Night--book 3 of The Muse Chronicles--which I've literally been working on all year. So needless to say, I've been putting way too much pressure on myself and working way too much.

I'm lucky in that my husband, Peter, and I both work from home. He does some of the same freelance marketing work I do, and he's also super ambitious with his social media and content creation. And he's always working hard and hustling like me. So a lot of this year has been the two of us working in our offices from 9 to 5 and then sitting next to each other on the couch with our laptops from 5 to 10. And sometimes, it has been a lot of fun. And I am blessed to have him in this with me. But I have also burnt myself out completely with all the work. I can't tell you how many work-induced breakdowns I've had this year.

A little over a week ago (10/19), I was forced to put all of this work on pause as Peter and I drove to Lake Oconee for my brother's wedding. With the rehearsal and dinner on Friday night, the professional hair and makeup appointment my mother was nice enough to gift me on Saturday morning, practicing my ceremony a few times (I got to officiate the wedding), and then the actual wedding on Saturday, I didn't have much time to work. 

It was a beautiful wedding. I had a blast with my family. And watching my father do the prayer before we ate, watching my mother dance with my brother, watching my younger brother give a hilarious toast, dancing with my husband who looked so cute in his groomsman suit, and having the opportunity to join my older brother and the love of his life in marriage, I had never been happier for my family. 

The Sunday after the wedding, Peter and I drove up to Oak Island in North Carolina. My parents have been renting a house on the quiet Caswell Beach in the off-season every year since 2014. Sometimes it's just been the two of them, and sometimes it's been the whole family. This is the third year I've gotten to tag along and the second year Peter has joined me. (The first time he came, though, he was sick for most of it and didn't really get to enjoy it.) I was excited to get to see my "new" aunt, uncle, and cousin--my mother's half-brother, half-sister, and her daughter who I've only just gotten to know over the past four or five years. I was looking forward to hanging out with my parents, my husband, and my other uncle (who I've known all my life -- we even share the same birthday). I am blessed to have such a great family. Even though we're all different, we all love each other and accept each other for who we are. 

The first day I was here sitting out on the beach watching the waves, I felt called to take what I'm calling a "content detox." This is similar to social media detoxes I've done before except I did still read Twitter and Facebook occasionally. But with the exception of a couple of re-tweets and a post I shared about Frankenstein on Facebook and this picture I shared of my view, I didn't post anything. I didn't post on my blog. I didn't post on Holonis. I didn't post any videos or make quote pics. I didn't post any vampire chapters to Radish. I did have to work a few hours; there were some deadlines I couldn't escape. But for the most part, I sat on the beach, I watched TV with Peter, I took naps, I played with my parents' dog, I played card games and board games, I hung out with my family, and I ate a lot of delicious food. I've had a total reset, and it has been glorious.

I'm still here at the beach for most of this week. Peter and I drive home on Thursday. And I might have to do a little more work this week. And as I'm starting out the week with a blog post, I'd say my content detox is over. But from now on, things are going to be different.

I'm sure I will still work more than 40 hours a week. I'm sure I will still put out a lot of content. But after my husband, my family, and my work that pays the bills, my main priority will be my actual books. (Or plays or screenplays if I get back to writing those.) Any other content will be a bonus. I'll still do blog posts and videos and social media posts, but only because I want to, not because I feel like I have to. It won't be "every Friday, I have to post this, and every Tuesday, I have to post that."

And speaking of writing and books, I have some exciting things planned for 2018 and 2019. I've actually finished up my vampire story, but I'll be pulling it off of Radish, having it edited, and putting it up on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited in 2019. I'm using National Novel Writing Month next month to achieve my goal of finally finishing You and the Night with plans to publish that in early 2019. Because I'm scaling back the creativity mailing list, I'm going to put together 52 tips--most of which I've already written--and publish another non-fiction book in 2019 (on all retailers--Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, etc.) I also will probably re-launch The 30-Day Writing Challenge with a new cover and make it available on all retailers. I'm planning to pull all three of The Muse Chronicles books out of Kindle Unlimited and make them available on all retailers in the second half of 2019. And I have an 80s time travel YA book called Time After Time which will be published in either 2019 or 2020 (whether that will be an indie release or a traditionally published release is still to be determined.) 

That might all sound like a lot of work, and maybe it is. I've always been someone who's not afraid to work hard. And Peter still has a lot of things going on, too. I'm sure there will be a lot of evenings of sitting on the couch together with our laptops. But this reset has taught me that while it's good to have goals and ambitions, if I don't achieve them, it's not the end of the world. And I need to be a lot better about self-care and put a lot less pressure on myself. Working evenings is okay as long as I take one night a week to have a date night with my husband or I take Sundays off or I remember to eat healthy and take little ten-minute walks throughout the day. And I have to find time to sing, play guitar, read, crochet, watch TV, hang out with my family, etc.

So my content detox is mostly over. But I still have a few days left here. So if you need me, I'll be sitting in my chair on the sand, drinking peach tea and eating chocolate, watching the waves crash against the shore.

New Blog! Unleash Your Creativity 

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to let you all know that I have a new blog called Unleash Your Creativity. I'll still be updating this blog, but it's going to be strictly about new releases and things that are going on with my writing/art. I'll be moving all of my writing and creativity tips over to this new blog. I also have a mailing list where I will be sending out weekly creative writing tips starting Monday 5/14. Click here to sign up.

I am also posting inspirational quotes about creativity, and starting this Friday, I will be doing weekly interviews with my favorite creatives about their process. Coming up this Friday, I have an interview with NYT bestselling author, Carrie Jones, to start us off so be sure to check back!

Thanks for your support!

Sara

Download WE OWN THE SKY for free! 

WE OWN THE SKY - book 1 in THE MUSE CHRONICLES is FREE from 1/20 to 1/22.

In my last post, I gave you some tips on how to be more creative in 2018. WE OWN THE SKY is a fictional novel, but it's a love letter to Art in many ways. It personifies the way I think most artists feel about their art through the actual love story of young musician, Sylvia, and her Muse, Vincent. 

Book 2 - HURRY UP, WE'RE DREAMING - is also out, and it's only $0.99. 

To read more about the book or download the e-book for free, click here.

 

5 Ways to Be More Creative in 2018 

Happy New Year everyone!

As we begin a new year, I'm sure a lot of you are working on your new year's resolutions. Maybe you want to be more healthy. Maybe you want to read more and watch less TV. Maybe you want to surround yourself with more positive people. Many people resolve to be more creative in the new year. This could mean you want to write more, paint more, sing more, dance more. It could mean you want to learn how to sew or start cooking more. It could mean you want to sing karaoke more often or take a poetry writing class. There are a million ways to be creative, but here are five tips on how you can be more creative in 2018. 

1. Give yourself the space and tools to create. 

Maybe you'll be able to be more productive with your writing if you go to the coffee shop or the library. Maybe you work best on the kitchen table in the midst of chaos. Find out where you are the most creative, and go there. If possible, make a space in your home dedicated to your creativity--whether it's a little corner of the garage you use to paint or a desk in your bedroom you use to write on or an entire room you use to write songs and play instruments. And make sure you have the tools you need. You'll be a lot more likely to paint if you buy yourself some paints and canvases. You'll be a lot more likely to play guitar if you download some tutorial videos about how to play guitar. Find out what you need to be creative, and make it happen.

2. Surround yourself with other creative people. 

You will be a lot more likely to create if you are hanging out with other people who create. Going to the bar every weekend might be fun, but you're much more likely to be creative if you go to an open mic night or join a writing group. If your friends are also creating, you will be much more inspired to be creative yourself. Don't live in an area with a lot of people? There are many online groups you can join to discuss writing, music, theatre, film, etc. You just have to look for them.

3. Experience art that inspires you.  

Don't you just want to paint more when you go to an art gallery or museum? Aren't you inspired to sing when you go to a concert? Aren't you inspired to write poetry when you read a great book of poems? Make time to experience art. Maybe that's watching a film on Netflix. Maybe that's going to a staged reading of a new play. Maybe that's just listening to one of your favorite albums. You know what inspires you the most.

4. Don't listen to anyone who isn't supportive. 

If you're trying to improve your craft, of course listen to your teachers and people giving you feedback. But don't listen to haters. Don't listen to people who tell you you can't sing. If you love to sing, do it! Who cares what anyone else thinks? Don't listen to people who say coloring books aren't real art if you enjoy coloring and it makes you feel creative. This is easier to do if you surround yourself with other creative people and/or people who are going to be supportive.

5. Make time to be creative and do it!

You have to make being creative a priority in your life. The only way you're going to add more creativity to your life is just to do it! And I promise that you won't regret it. 

 

So let's all get out there, make some art, and have a very creative 2018!

HURRY UP, WE'RE DREAMING Cover Reveal! 

Hey everyone!

So here is my cover for Book Two in THE MUSE CHRONICLES - HURRY UP, WE'RE DREAMING. This is the sequel to WE OWN THE SKY. Isn't it beautiful?

The cover was designed by Caroline Teagle Johnson who also designed the cover for WE OWN THE SKY. 

I don't want to spoil WE OWN THE SKY for those of you who haven't read it yet but I will tell you that I am super proud of HURRY UP, WE'RE DREAMING. 

The e-book will be released on 11.30.17!

The paperback and signed paperback will be available shortly after. I will keep you posted. (Both of these are available for pre-order as well as the two-book bundle. For more information, see the books page.)

The WE OWN THE SKY e-book is also on sale right now for $0.99! So get a copy so you can read up before book two comes out!

Check out the cover reveal video I posted on my YouTube channel this morning.

https://youtu.be/jUFpYJ71b6w

So what do you think?

Letting Your Novel Rest 

So you've finally finished your draft of your novel, play, screenplay, etc. Congrats! Maybe you've even gotten some feedback from a critique partner, professor, or editor. As soon as you get feedback, the wheels in your brain will most likely start turning with solutions to the problems your critique partner or editor pointed out. I know you want to open that file up on your computer and start working on it, but resist the urge!

You have to take some time and let a project rest. 

This could be a year, a month, a week, a few days even. However long it takes for you to let the feedback stew and generally forget about the project. You can start on another novel if you want. You can work on some poetry or write some songs or be artistic in creative in another way. But your novel will greatly benefit from you putting it up and not thinking about it for a while.

When you return to the novel, you will do so with fresh eyes, a new perspective. I guarantee you this is something your novel definitely needs.

Now I know those of you racing to make your 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo don't want to think about resting. You have momentum. You're going! You're doing it! And that's completely fine. But when December 1st comes, you've finished that novel, and you so desperately want to go to Amazon and hit publish or start querying literary agents, instead, take a moment to breathe. 

The point is there are different seasons with projects. There is a time to be drafting--when your creativity is limitless, when it's just about getting words on the page so you have something to work with. There is a time to be revising--this can be either on a big picture level (plot, characters, big chunks of the story) or a smaller scale (language, sentence structure, word choice, voice). And in between these two, there is a time to rest. This doesn't mean you can't draft another novel while resting with the novel you just finished, although even that doesn't work for some people. But it does mean that you should allow enough time for each season. 

Boil down your novel to one question 

It's that time of year again! National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is upon us! I am not participating this year as my main priority right now is revision and I'm not in a place to really work on something new, but good luck to everyone who is!

I was thinking about the years I did participate in NaNoWriMo. I always approached it as a "plantser"--a hybrid between a plotter and a pantser. I had some vague idea of the plot at the beginning--or sometimes I might even have a reasonably detailed outline--but it almost always changed as I was writing it.

One of the most challenging things about NaNoWriMo for me is figuring out plot. If you're anything like me, your plots can get a little complicated. Sometimes when you're in the middle of writing, you can get so bogged down that you don't even really know what the story is about anymore. If your a pantser, you figure it out after you write your first draft (or while you're writing it). If you're a plotter, you figure it out before. But at some point, you're going to need some plot structure. 

There are tons of ways to think about structure. The three-act structure, the hero's journey, etc. Today I'm going to give you a really simple way to think about plot structure. If you could boil down your novel to one question, what would it be?

Every narrative arc in a novel, movie, TV show, etc. can be summed up in one main question. Will Dorothy make it back home to Kansas? (The Wizard of Oz). Will Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy end up together? (Pride and Prejudice). If you have a series of books, there may be one question driving the whole series (Will Harry defeat Voldemort?) But each book needs to ask it's own question.

I think this is a good way to think about plot when you're in the middle of drafting because it doesn't mean stopping to make a detailed outline. It just means taking a few minutes before you sit down to write to think about what is driving the plot of your book.

So this week, I encourage all of you--especially those of you who are in the middle of your NaNoWriMo projects--to take some time and see if you can boil the plot of your novel down to one question. If not, you may need to think about the plot structure and figure out which question should be driving the plot. Is it a question of characterization? Will your character learn or grow? Is it a question related to some journey or quest? Will your character achieve his or her goal? These are all some good things to think about as you power through. 

 

Write About the Things You're Obsessed With 

I was talking to a friend the other day about one of the most important pieces of creative writing advice I’ve ever heard: 

Follow your obsessions. 

I’m definitely a person who gets obsessed with things. If you’ve ever binged Game of Thrones for hours at a time or stayed up until 3:00 AM reading Harry Potter or had dreams about the characters on Lost, you know what I’m talking about. 

There’s a lot of talk about fan fiction and whether or not it has any validity. I think fan fiction is great because it gives people a chance to follow their obsessions. If you loved a book, movie, or TV show but hated the ending, you can write your own alternative ending. If you're obsessed with a character, you can put them in a different universe just to write more about them. (Want to see Jack Skellington in modern day New York? Want to make Mr. Darcy go to college in Alabama?Want to see what would happen if Dracula started going to your gym? Write some fan fiction!) Often, fan fiction authors go on to write other original stories (50 Shades of Grey anyone? The Mortal Instruments series? Both of these came from fan fiction authors.) 

Find what it is you are obsessed with and allow yourself to daydream. Allow yourself to fantasize. Start writing stories just for yourself. Because you’ve always loved your history teacher and sometimes you imagine what he was like as a teenager. Because you are obsessed with Dark Side of the Moon and you want to write a story that makes you feel what you feel when you listen to it. Whatever it is, figure it out, and go with it. 

Do not judge or psychoanalyze your obsessions. Who knows why we are into the things we are into? In the world of creativity, there are no limits. Let yourself like what you like and give yourself the chance to write about it. 

Do not worry about what other people will think. Let yourself write and tell yourself it’s just for you. If something really great comes out of it, then awesome! You can show people if you want to. But following your obsessions is just about finding what makes you excited, what makes you tick, what makes you want to create. 

When I wrote the play, Painted, in undergrad, I became so obsessed with the Muse characters, Vincent and Izabella, that I found myself wanting to spend more time with them. I toyed around with other projects that I thought might be more “accessible” for a while but it wasn’t until I returned to Vincent and Izabella that I was able to complete a novel. Because I was obsessed. I couldn’t stop writing. I couldn’t let those characters and that story die inside of me. Ten years later, Vincent and Izabella still live in We Own the Sky.

Find your obsessions and then just let yourself go. Let yourself dream. Let yourself fall down the rabbit hole. You might just find that it will lead you to the story you’ve always wanted to write.

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