Jun 27, 2015


Dear Friends,,

This will be my last blog post for ANWA. I have loved becoming friends with all of you. You are a light in my life. I will cherish memories of this time. You have touched my life in so many ways.

I wish all of you the best in your writing. I do love that we share the joy of writing. That alone makes us soul sisters. I send my fondest thoughts and hugs your way.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, 
they are charming gardeners 
who make our souls blossom. 
Marcel Proust.

 My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me. 
Henry Ford

Jun 23, 2015

Wrestling with Projects

by Marsha Ward

There's not much going on in my life today, except trying not to pull my hair out dealing with too many ideas and just 24 hours in the day.

I am keeping track of the ideas; I have a Designated Idea Journal, shown here both closed and opened:

I also have a page in my monthly planner with all my proposed projects listed. Yes, they're unreadable on purpose. In case I fail to write them all. This year. Or next year. So you won't judge me.

In a recent conversation with a writer friend, she decried the lack of time to get all the books for which she has ideas actually written. During our chat, she added two more ideas!

How many of you are like me with your brains buzzing with ideas for writing projects? What do you do about it? What can I do?

Jun 20, 2015

Writers Worries: Someone Else Has My Writing Idea

by Cindy R. Williams

I am posting a series called "Writers Worries".  I plan on making the posts into an ebook in the future when I have enough of them written. (So . . . no taking the name of the idea.)

Which brings us to a bit writers worry.

Have you ever worried that someone else has your writing idea?

I had a writing professor tell my class that there are no new stories, just new characters living out those stories. That is what makes them different.

Here is what BEGINNING WRITERS ANSWER BOOK, by Jane Fiedmann has to say about this.

Your unlikely to duplicate another writer's work simply by using the same idea. Even if you use the exact same idea, you're sure to execute it differently. Writers have different styles, attitudes, voices, and approaches, and it's nearly impossible for two writers to execute the same idea in the same way or with the same slant.

So in short, the answer to that question is, "Stop worrying and write your story!"

Jun 18, 2015

Live Everyday Moments

by Andilyn Jenkins

This is my final piece for ANWA Founder and Friends blog. I'll still write for Andilyn Thinks, so come check me out. Thank you for reading this last year. Happy summer.

Live Everyday Moments

Back in my day, we would AIM: AOL Instant Messaging—the dawn before texting, Facebook, and Skype. I would get home from school, flip on the computer, and sign in. For a while, my font choice was red Papyrus. All of my contacts were real friends, far from how Facebook defines it now—these were people I actually talked to at school. And when any one of them would sign on, I’d pop them a message. And soon, six or seven of us would be on in a chaos of words also known as a group chat. The girls would flaunt inside jokes that drove our guy friends crazy, and the guys would try and figure out if we were talking about them.

This conversation was my favorite I looked at because as it progresses, two of these guys are fighting over one girl, unbeknownst to her. And ten years down the road, she'd end up marrying one. But this pic only represents the section when we all got food because the next day was Fast Sunday.

Many things from my childhood and teenage years are beginning to fade. But in a fit of writer’s block, I started searching My Documents for inspiration, and I came across a folder filled with AIM conversations. See, when I (or anyone) had a particularly funny, serious, or heart-felt conversation with a friend, I copied and pasted the conversation and saved it in a file on my desktop. My best friend printed them out and filled up her nightstand drawer, another saved them to a thumb drive, but we all saved them. Some, I would share with my close girls, and we’d giggle as we read between the lines trying to decipher whether or not he was flirting or just being funny. And now, they’re textual photographs from my junior high/high school years.

It’s intriguing, the things I thought I’d never forget. That’s what these conversations were—moments with people I loved. Moments of which I never wanted to let go. And now, 7-11 years later, I’ve forgotten almost all of them. Spoiler alert! Life looks different ten years down the road. It’s a realization that in ten more years, when I have my own teenagers, I’ll look at 25 and struggle sorting between memories of Evelyn’s dance recitals or were they gymnastics meets? And how exactly did Evan pronounce “up”? (which is “bup,” by the way). And suddenly, the things that seem big to me at 25, I can’t even remember.

So I have a mission. Step one, is to keep a journal. Because, oh boy did I ever have a good laugh reading through these old AIM conversations. They make me fear ever having teenagers, but they also make me smile as I remember a past that shaped me.

But step two, is to live in the moment. I can’t guarantee that I’ll remember these moments in ten years. But I can guarantee that I really loved them as they happened. And then, it doesn’t matter if I remember. It matters that I was fully present. Or, as I engraved in Aaron’s wedding ring six years ago, that I live everyday moments.

Jun 13, 2015

Creating a Memorable Story

I'm just beginning a new book, and seem to have to reinvent the process every time I do this. Sometimes I think it's because I'm a very slow learner, and other times I wonder if it doesn't keep the process of writing fresh for me.

I've been thinking a lot about LDStorymakers. It is always a wonderful conference. But this year Martine Leavitt make it especially memorable. Since I'm starting a new book, I really felt like I assimilated her information. I'll pass some of it on. Hopefully it will be of benefit to you also.

She said in her workshop that every story must have suspense. 

Suspense  comes when the author gives the main character desire  and then adds obstacles  and stakes.

Your main character's desire is the heart of the story.
Ask yourself the questions:
1.      Who wants what?
2.      What if they don't get it?
3.      Why now?

1.      Man vs. Man
2.      Man vs. Nature
3.      Man vs. Himself

The bigger the obstacle, the greater the character appears in our eyes.

The author creates the stakes when she asks herself:
What does the character stand to lose if he doesn't get what he wants.

These are simple concepts—ones that we already are aware of.  But for me they are good questions to make sure I have my story focused in the direction I want it to go so that I can illustrate the premise in the best possible way.

My goal is to read this information often so that it becomes part of my soul because writing is part of my soul.

Jun 11, 2015

Be of Good Cheer

by Kari Diane Pike

When did it become politically incorrect to be happy? Or is it just a social media thing? Maybe it's just me. I feel like the issue has been simmering on a back burner for some time, but the barrage of "studies" over the past couple of years looking into the effects of Facebook usage on depression seem to have turned up the heat. I'm not a big fan of studies trying to prove something that is pretty much impossible to measure scientifically.  Experience has taught me that studies can be found to prove or disprove just about anything. Just pick your side. You're probably right. How do you measure something as subjective as happiness anyway?

Almost daily, I see people being slammed for posting too many "happy" statements on their status. Several friends have found themselves removed from groups because their optimism made the rest of the group feel unhappy and dissatisfied. After all, no one can be happy all the time. That's not real. And if you really are that happy all the time, then what's wrong with me? Of course, the opposite is also true. Posting too many Negative Nellie comments can result in social media solitary confinement.

During scripture study this morning I noticed this little nugget of wisdom: 2 Nephi 10:20. "...let us remember him and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land."

What a great reminder for me to choose to be grateful despite my circumstances. When things are hard, I can remember the Lord and His promises. I can choose to lay aside negative thinking and look forward, knowing that the Lord is preparing me for a better place - ultimately eternal life. Even in the present moment I can be aware that enduring things well takes me closer to where I want to be a minute or an hour from now, tomorrow, or ten years in the future.

Footnotes from that scripture led me on a delightful scripture chain all about cheerfulness.

Matt. 9:2 - "Be of good cheer
, thy sins are forgiven thee."

Matt. 14:27 - "Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid."

Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) 61:36 - "And now verily I say unto you, and what I say unto one I say unto all, be of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you."

D&C 78:17-18 - "...ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you; And you cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof  are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours."

This passage reminded me of Laman and Lemuel and Nephi's description of how they murmured because "they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them" (1Nephi 2:12). Pondering on this scripture teaches me that when I find myself complaining and feeling negative about stuff, I have lost the bigger picture. I have forgotten the Lord and the great plan of salvation - the great plan of happiness. When I remember to turn my will over to the Lord and follow His counsel as given through the scriptures and His holy prophets, I can catch sight of light and joy again. Verse 19 of that same section makes this principle even more clear for me:

And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious.

Who doesn't want to be glorious?! When I complain, I am not being grateful. Perhaps I should switch things up a bit and when someone asks, "How are you?" I can say, "I am grateful. Thank you!" Plus, there's this promise in John 16:33 -

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

I know that my little part of the world could always use a little more peace.

Another epiphany for me during this study on cheerfulness showed me the importance of actively expressing my gratitude and joy.

Psalm 100 (A Psalm of Praise) - verse 2 specifically, but take a minute to read the whole passage. You'll be glad you did.

Serve the Lord with gladness; come before his presence with singing.

And last but not least there's this:

D&C 68:6 - Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.

My choice to be cheerful, even when I may not be feeling happy, plays a huge part in the way I keep my covenant to be a witness of Jesus Christ. Wait. Maybe that's a better way to discuss it - the difference between being happy and being cheerful. Because, you know, it isn't possible to feel happy every minute of every day. Life is messy. It's full of "pebbles in my shoe" moments. We were created to feel emotion. Loss, pain, and heartache are all a part of the package. But, oh, what a glorious package it is. I can acknowledge hard things without complaining about them. I can be of good cheer, even when I'm not feeling happy. And I can share my joy through my writing, whether it be on Facebook or Twitter or right here on this blog. Because I do know Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God. The Savior lived, suffered, and died for me.  He conquered death and lives today. He made all things possible - including the ability to be of good cheer.

Life is magnificent.


Jun 9, 2015

New Team Members Coming

by Marsha Ward

In July, two of our Blog Team Members are moving on. Andilyn Jenkins and Christy Monson will go on to new endeavors, and Susan Allred and Cassie Shiels will step into their spots. As we bid farewell to Andi and Christy, we welcome Susan and Cassie.

Susan will be filling the Thursday opening, while Cassie will blog on Saturdays.

Thank you for coming forward, Susan and Cassie. We look forward to your posts.

Jun 6, 2015

ANWA is a Great Place to Live!

by Cindy R. Williams

If you love ANWA,
If you love writing,
If you love helping your fellow ANWA writers,
If you love serving with incredible women writers,


There are many places you can get involved. Volunteer to serve in your chapter presidency. Volunteer to serve on the Conference Committee. Volunteer to serve on the ANWA Board of Directors. Run for ANWA Executive President or to be one of the officers of ANWA.

You are needed.

ANWA is a great place to live!

Jun 4, 2015

Victorious Virtue

by Andilyn Jenkins

Proverbs 31
10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

Almost stopped reading after that verse? Me too. I've heard it so many times, it's almost a cliché. But when I had to continue reading for a Personal Progress assignment last Wednesday, I considered the timeless picture of motherhood reflected in Biblical times. And for a moment, I felt solidarity with this woman far out of my time and place as I imagined her with Pinterest boards on DIY spindling and motivational blogs reminding her to be kind and patient with her husband and children while darning socks and baking extra unleavened bread for her neighbor who just had a baby.

Now (here's hoping this goes without saying), we don’t need to make lasagnas for the neighbors to be virtuous women. But this place that we're at is timeless. We are fighting a battle that has been raging for thousands of years. A battle within ourselves. And a battle of perception when facing others. Working hard, praying hard, serving hard, and loving hard is not easy. But it is required of a virtuous woman. So how can virtue be victorious?

11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

I couldn’t help but devour these verses as I saw reflected in scripture the resilient daughter of God I so want to be. And it’s no small list.

Luckily for me, I know this list is not in my power alone to procure. Because for all that I cannot do, my Savior will make up the difference. Ultimately, being truly strong, independent, virtuous, kind, modest, and courageous means knowing I can never do it alone.

Jun 2, 2015

Is the Descriptive Narrative Gone?

by Terri Wagner

I went to see San Andreas this past weekend. Cannot pass up a disaster flick. The plots are always the same, have been since Hurricane from the 1950s. Estranged family, child in peril, parents respond, generally child is saved, parents are reunited, the geek who saw it coming and tried to warn people, and the always epic panning scene of the destruction and the promise that we will survive and thrive yet again. San Andreas is no different. Follows the plot line perfectly. That alone could be a whole discussion. So many people feel they need to stretch out a genre and change the fundamentals. That works sometimes, most times not. For example arguably the two most current famous people Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter followed the correct time honored epic hero genre to a tea, and look how wildly successful they were (are).

I could also parlay San Andreas into writing because I have become more and more impressed with Dwayne Johnson's acting skills. He is terrific. Proving that you can become better with practice. The special effect are stunning. The earthquake, the tsunami, the harrowing rescues, and the mindless selflessness and selfishness of regular people.

However, what I am really wondering is has descriptive narrative finally died? Has video outflanked the seemingly timelessness of a descriptive scene. It seems to me that cinema has trumped the written word. And the written word (novels) have responded by becoming less descriptive and more action packed. Do you find that so?

Once upon a time, in public schools, the classics were taught with great fanfare and fandom. I have sat under the feet so to speak of teachers that clearly relished Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer, and too many to name. I still remember the agony of reading "The Bridge of San Luis Rey" making it an epic disaster movie in my head, but hating the reading of it.

I used to think it was just being "that" kind of reader. All the classic readers looked upon the comic (graphic) readers as beneath them. A sign of true academic intelligence was to quote from the classics. And I have a few of those quotes I find stand the test of time. However, seeing is not quite the same as reading. And in a disaster flick, it broadens and terrifies in a way the written word never can.

I have enjoyed and preferred the action novel for years. If seduced into reading a book with descriptive narrative, I will merely glance over the page(s) until we get back to the action. Novels like Clive Custer's Oregon Files and the Dirk Pitt series have me catching my breath when I finish. I never stop to wonder about painting the scene, I'm too busy wondering how the erstwhile hero is going to get out of the trap the bad guy has set for him.

So what say you? Has descriptive narrative now joined the junk heap of out of date literature? Schools think so I can assure you.

BTW go see the movie, it really is that good.