Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Guest Blogger: Missy Tippens

I first met Missy at the 2008 Heart of Dixie Romance Readers' Luncheon when I sat at her table. Her first book had just come out a few months before and it was exciting to share the joy of that event with her. We've started a campfire in the middle of the sandbox to keep us warm, but rain may drive us into the playhouse today. Warm or cold, indoors or out, please welcome Missy Tippens to the Playground.

Hello to all my Alabama buds! Thanks for inviting me to play today. I’d love to give away a copy of my new release, A Forever Christmas, in a drawing from among those who comment today. Just let me know you’d like to enter!

November and December can be so hectic. We go from stressing about what type pies to bake or how we’re going to cook the turkey on Thanksgiving, straight into worrying about shopping for Great Aunt Myrtle for Christmas. We have community activities, church events, family gatherings and lots of parties. And we usually have to take a wrapped ornament and/or food to each event! It takes a juggling act to keep up with it all.

Oh, yeah. And then there’s the writing, too. Sometimes it becomes an afterthought…

…unless you have a deadline. And a deadline is a great thing to have! :) I had a February deadline this year and have a January deadline this coming year. So I’m learning how to plan my holidays to include my writing schedule. And even if you haven’t sold yet, you can set deadlines for yourself. Don’t let the whole holiday season slip by without investing in your writing career. Consider it a gift to yourself!

First, I’ve found the best way to handle a deadline is to figure out how many work days I have (leaving a few days open for the holiday), then divide it into the total number of words I need to have written. 30,000 words left to write, and 30 work days to do it? Write 1000 words a day. And don’t get up from the computer until you’ve done that. Oh, and in case you’re thinking about it… Don’t pop over to the Internet and start shopping online, either. :) Don’t answer the phone. Don’t worry about the pile of dirty laundry. Write those thousand words. Then you’ll have the whole rest of your day/evening to fill with holiday prep.

Right now, I’m spending the days while my kids are in school working on my writing project. Then I use the afternoons to work on blogs posts, phone calls, email, etc. Of course, soon the kids will be out of school, so I’ll have to make adjustments. Luckily, they like to sleep late. :)

I took a few days off at Thanksgiving, and plan to do the same for Christmas. What about you? Do you have a plan for writing through the holidays?

Don’t forget to comment to be entered in a drawing for my new Steeple Hill Love Inspired release, A Forever Christmas!

About the book:

Sarah Radcliffe’s quiet Christmas back in her hometown will be lost if she agrees to direct the church’s Christmas pageant. But when she meets two little boys determined to gain their father’s attention, Sarah agrees to help. Then she discovers that the dad in question is Gregory Jones, the man she loved and lost.

The single dad is working himself to the bone to give his boys the Christmas of their dreams, when all they want is some family time. Time that includes a new mommy. If Sarah can learn to open her heart, she may receive the most wonderful present of all—a family of her own.

Missy Tippens is a pastor’s wife and mom of three. She has a story included in Blessings of Mossy Creek, published by BelleBooks. After ten years of pursuing her dream, she made her first sale of a full-length novel to Steeple Hill Love Inspired. She still pinches herself to see if it really happened! Her debut novel, Her Unlikely Family, was a 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year contest finalist and is now available in large print from Thorndike. His Forever Love was a June 2009 release from Love Inspired, and A Forever Christmas is available now!

You can find Missy at And she blogs all over the place:,,, and She’s also on Facebook, MySpace and Shoutlife, so be sure to give her a holler!

P.S. Be sure to check back here on Saturday for a list of the entire week's winners!


Anonymous said...

what a wonderful post to begin the day...


Pat L. said...

I agree with anonymous.

Please count me in. Love the cover.

Angel said...

Goodness, Missy! I admire the amount of writing you get done in what has to be a busy life. I, myself, am trying to put writing first thing in my day, even if its only a little bit, before I start in on the business of the holiday season. Thanks for the encouragement!

Are you a fast writer? I'm finding myself to be slowing down at the moment, but hopefully its just a phase. :) Also, do you write in final draft or do you have to schedule in revision time?


Liza said...

Missy, your new book sound wonderful. Please count me in.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me ladies, and a nice-to-meet-you, Missy. I'm dropping in to let you guys know I've posted about today's blog over at Win a Book. Hope it brings in some new fans!

Playground Monitor said...

With all the turmoil going on in my life now I've pretty much given up on anything except writing my blog posts. I did write 50K words for NaNo but what I did was more like journaling because I was regugitating the last ten months of my life onto paper. Yuck. That sounds disgusting, doesn't it? But I knew I had to write 1667 words every day to achieve that goal and I'd deny myself really important things like watching "Castle" until I'd done it. ::grin::

Anyway, the True Romance editor put out a call for spring stories and over a hot dog at the Target snack bar yesterday I jotted down an idea. Keep your fingers crossed I can develop it and get it on paper by the deadline.

jennifer said...

oh i'd love to enter the cover looks awesome

Missy Tippens said...

Karen K and Pat, thanks for stopping by this morning!

Kathy said...

Hi Missy! ~waving~ So glad you've come to play. ;)

I've never been good about scheduling writing time for myself during the holidays, but you've proven it can be done with time to spare. Thanks for the encouragement!

Special thanks to you for your prayers at conference in San Fran right before I pitched the next day. You and Debby calmed my spirit and with the help of honorary playfriends I got that request which even now brings blessings into my life. And it all began with a prayer and the comforting hands of two special people. Much love! :D

Where do you get your ideas?

Are you a plotter or a panster?

And are you coming to the luncheon next year? LOL!

Missy Tippens said...

Angel, getting your writing in first thing is great! I used to write only at night when my kids were little, but I was always so drained! Now I like to write first thing when I'm fresh.

No, I'm not really a fast writer. On an good work day while the kids are at school, I can write 2000 words. But I know people who can do way more than that. I seem to think and write and agonize over every word, so it slows me down. :)

And I do NOT write a final draft. My first draft is usually heavy on dialogue--talking heads. I have to go back and add in the layers. Ideally, I'd leave myself a month before a deadline just to go back and polish and layer. I'm thinking of making myself a check list of everything I need to look for in the polishing stage.

Don't worry if you feel like you're slowing down. I seem to have times like that, too. Times when my brain doesn't seem to click or when I don't have a creative bone in my body. But it always seems to pass. I'm sure yours will, too.

Smarty Pants said...

Hey Missy! Thanks for joining us today.

I have no deadlines, so I have the tendency to allow my heroine to lock herself in the bathroom and I'll leave her there for a month (or three) while I avoid figuring a way for the hero to lure her out. I just wait for the urge to strike, which can be a problem.

I do recall writing a very steamy scene on Christmas Eve once with in laws in the other room. For whatever reason, holiday or no, the urge struck and I had to go with it. I normally don't count on getting much done this time of year. I send off my GH entries and just let it go.

Missy Tippens said...

Thanks, Liza. I appreciate you stopping by.

Nice to meet you, too, Susan! Thanks for posting the giveaway at Win a Book.

Instigator said...

It's great to see you here, Missy!

Great post! I've decided that I need a few pages each day in Dec from myself. Not a very demanding goal but at least it'll keep me in the story while I let the holiday season take front and center.


Missy Tippens said...

Oh, Marilyn, how did you ever deny yourself Castle??!! :)

Congrats on getting so many words done on NaNoMo!! You know, even writing/working out the junk can help clear the way for creativity. Keep at it, and good luck on the new idea. It's funny what we can think of over a hotdog. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Thanks for entering, Jennifer. I just love the cover of this book! They captured exactly what I was thinking of when I did the art fact sheet. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Kathy, it's great to see you! I felt honored in SF to pray for your appointment. I'm so glad you got the request!

As for plotter or pantster...I used to just take off and write. But I found I have a whole lot less revising if I do some plotting first. So I guess I'm a combo now. I like to work through parts of Carolyn Greene's plotting notebook and Alicia Rasley's The Story Within Guidebook before I start writing. I do it mainly to know my characters and to have an idea of the conflicts. And now that I sell on proposal, I have to have that synopsis written ahead of time. So I have to know something of what's going to happen in the story. :)

And the luncheon... I hope so!! I'm still contemplating it and looking at my calendar. :)

Problem Child said...

Hi Missy! So glad you came today!

I just turned in a book a couple of weeks ago, so my brain is still fried. The thought of writing anything makes it hurt. :-)

But I'm slowly creeping back into the writing zone.

Missy Tippens said...

LOL, Miss Smarty Pants! :) I can just see your poor heroine stuck in the bathroom months at a time! :)

Congrats on getting your GH entry out!! That's a big accomplishment. Good luck with it.

Missy Tippens said...

Instigator, a few pages a day during a holiday season is quite an accomplishment in my book! It's good to keep the story fresh in your mind. I know I hate going back to a story after a break because I have to start over, re-reading to refresh my aging memory. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Congrats on finishing the book, Problem child! That's such a great feeling. I always have to take a little break, too. Enjoy!!

Anonymous said...

My writing often gets put on the back burner as I get caught up in all the things I need to do in everyday life. Even during the summers when I have vacation I often find myself doing other things that I "need" to do instead of writing. I just need to sit down and write each day whether I feel like it or not.

Please enter me in the book drawing.

Virginia said...

What a great post Missy! I would love to win your book. I love to read Christmas books any time of the year. I really admire authors and I wonder how they get everything done because they are so busy. Thanks for sharing your books with us today.

Sherry Werth said...

Hi Missy! Glad you're blogging on the Playground today!
Great post. I am so guilty of letting everything else take precedence over my writing. But then again it just could be a really bad case of avoidance. I'm not good at plotting so when a scene stalls out, I go do something else. The workbooks by Carolyn Greene and Alicia Rasley sound like something I should look into. Thanks! :D

Stephanie said...

Hi Missy,
It is good to see you hear. I haven't had a chance to visit the playground in a few weeks so you were a most excellent surprise. :-)

I appreciate your words of encouragement and your willingness to share your holiday process with us.

The new book looks great. I love a Christmas book! I can't wait to read it.

Hope you and your family have happy holidays.

Missy Tippens said...

Cynthia, I've been in the same situation. I've found that it helps to make myself sit and do it. And then I'm always surprised at how much I enjoy it! :)

Missy Tippens said...


There is something sweet about a Christmas story--even if I read it in the summer. It just makes me long for Christmas. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Hey, Sherry! It's great to see you again. :)

If you have any questions about the workbooks, just email me. I'll be glad to tell you more about them. (And no, I don't get any kickback from them!) ;)

Missy Tippens said...

Thanks, Stephanie! It's good to see you, too! :)

Audra Harders said...

Hi Missy!!!!

I love how organized you are! Ha, in my dreams : ) I have a self imposed deadline and my kids are FINALLY learning that when mom's door is shut, don't come in!!

Great job, kiddo!! I love each and every book you've written. I'm almost done with A Forever Christmas and true to your charming style, I love it just as much as the others!!

Don't place me in the drawing, I'm almost done with my own copy : )

Missy Tippens said...

Hey, Audra! Thanks for stopping by. And thanks on the book, too. I'm glad you're liking it!


As for organized, well, I'm glad I have you fooled! LOL My house is a wreck, but at least I get my word count in on writing. :)

tetewa said...

Sounds like a good read!

gigi said...

There is nothing better than a heartfelt Christmas story to bring the season into perspective.
Sometimes you get so busy trying to create the perfect Christmas that you forget the real reason and just wind up stressing yourself out.

Please include me in the drawing.

Merri said...

Great blog, Missy. I felt like you were talking to me when you mentioned the online shopping...hangs head in shame ;) Well Christmas IS looming. But your advice was certainly sound :)

Count me in for a chance of winning what sounds like a sweet and romantic Christmas tale.

Sue A. said...

I've always been astonished at how writers balance work, family and life in general! Kuddos to you!

Angela Breidenbach said...

I am totally writing through the holidays. I have a book due to my agent by Christmas, though I set that deadline, so that I can be ready to go with the new year on a new book. I did this last year and it turned out to be super successful. I pushed hard and loved it. Deadlines matter. They work. Even if you have to reset one, there's a purpose and a method to what you are doing.


Margie said...

Looks like a great book!
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Missy Tippens said...

Thanks, Tetewa!

Gigi, you're so right. That's what my hero in the story had to learn. :)

Merri, I was talking to myself, too! I've ordered stuff online twice just this week! :)

Missy Tippens said...

Sue, it's like anyone else balancing work (or retirement), family, school, volunteering, etc. We all have to find our own way to do it. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Hey, Angie! thanks for stopping by.

Good luck with your new deadline! You can do it. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Thanks, Margie!

Playground Monitor said...

Wow! I go out to finish my Christmas shopping and look at all the comments!

Cold weather's blowing in so bundle up everyone. There's nothing like freezing temps to keep me indoors though whether I write or hunker down with a good book is the question.

Caroline Storer said...

Great post Missy. Sorry I'm late in posting but my pc crashed for a few days. Hope you have a great Christmas and it's full of blessings. Take care. Caroline x

Missy Tippens said...

Caroline, I'm sorry about the computer crash! That's my worst nightmare.

Glad you were able to stop by!

Sheila Deeth said...

Thanks. I enjoyed reading this - just perfect as the thought of things to be done begins to stress me. But my Mum will be here soon - flying over from England - and I know she'd love to read your book as well as me, so please enter me/us.

sdeeth at msn dot com

baileythebookworm said...

Great post -I'd love a copy of the book!

baileythebookworm at gmail dot com