Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How I Keep My Motor Running ~ Robin Helm

Please welcome my guest blogger today, Robin Helm...

I started writing in earnest only about a year ago. Before last March, I dabbled a bit, but I was too busy teaching high school, working in music at my church, and traveling with my daughters’ sports teams and ensemble groups to have the necessary time to reflect and think enough to write a book. Empty nest syndrome combined with leaving my full-time teaching position provided me with the needed free hours, and encouragement from friends and family boosted my courage.

Writing my first book was fairly easy, though it morphed into a trilogy before I could tell the complete story. Guardian, my first book, had so many of my own life experiences woven into the narrative that it was mainly a matter of putting the words on paper and polishing the writing. My second book, SoulFire, was more difficult, because nearly all of it came from my imagination. I am now more than half finished with the third and final book in the series, Legacy, and I am learning how to keep myself motivated.

It is fortunate that I did not depend on making money to keep me writing in the early stages, because, though I published Guardian in August, I did not see any royalties until October, and those were very small amounts. When I published SoulFire in December, sales of Guardian shot up, and the royalties are now fairly significant for both books. Knowing that Legacy will further boost sales helps me to stay focused on writing, and I already have two more books planned in my mind to begin as soon as I finish.
However, money has never been a main motivator for anything I have done in my life. The approbation of friends, relatives, and other readers means more to me – particularly e-mails and messages from people whom I have never met. Particularly inspiring are the people who write me and say that my books have encouraged them and helped them in their everyday lives.

The actual act of writing itself requires a different type of motivation and inspiration. Oddly enough, typing the chapter heading on a blank document gives me a sense of accomplishment. I feel that I have begun when I see the name of the chapter and save it into my book file. After that, I usually look at my outline, decide what must be in the chapter to move my story toward the desired end, and begin to visualize the scene in my mind.

I write the scene as it unfolds in my head, not worrying too much about details or dialogue as I rapidly put the words on the screen. After an hour or two, I go take a shower or do a simple household task that does not require much of my attention, and I think about what is happening in that chapter. Within an hour, I am back at my computer, and I write for another three or four hours. Though I know where the chapter will go ultimately, the way that I get to that destination unfolds in my head as I write.

Mornings are the most productive times for me, so I usually begin to write as soon as I get out of bed three or four days a week. I am a disciplined person, and I write a chapter per week. Making myself stay on target keeps me from feeling anxious or pressured about accomplishing my goals: to publish Legacy by the end of April and to write and publish at least one more book this year.

I also reward myself. After I finish a chapter and send it to my editors, I allow myself a day or two before I begin to write again, and I do other things that I enjoy, such as reading or watching a movie. Thinking of that down time as within reach keeps me racing toward it. I know that if I allow writing to become a drudgery, I will eventually stop, and I have too many stories to tell to allow that to happen.

About the Author:

Robin Helm has published the first two volumes of a trilogy (The Guardian Trilogy), Guardian and SoulFire, and is presently writing Legacy, the third and final volume, posting as a work in progress on four different forums. She has also published three Regency short stories.

She and her husband have two daughters, the elder a Navy nurse stationed in Guam, and the younger a university senior. They live in South Carolina with their Yorkie-Poo, Tobey.

Ms. Helm graduated with a BA from Piedmont International University. She is a member of the Delta Epsilon Chi honor society, the American Legion Auxiliary, and the scholarship faculty of the United States Achievement Academy.

To find Robin's books click here:

Thank you for stopping by, Robin!



Robin Helm said...

Thanks, Dawn, for the opportunity to blog with you. I really appreciate it.

GranJan said...

Hi Robin! You are popping up everywhere! Good for you.

Since I am already deeply embroiled in your Guardian stories and dreading their end, I am very pleased you already have more ideas and are prepared to start a new book ... series I hope.

And to anyone reading this that has not read Guardian - you have misssed something very unique and very special. I highly recommend this series for an unusual but very very satisfying, uplifting read.