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Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

Last year, in my monthly “A Life in the Day of…” posts, various writers provided their efforts to maintain the balance between life and work. With all that sits on a writer’s plate these days, it’s easy to become a workaholic. I hope you enjoyed reading them and took away something for your own life.

This year, I’m on to a different topic. Courage. Not the run-into-a-burning-building type of courage, but one that urges a writer to try something new, something that requires a push out of that oh-so-cozy comfort zone.

Over and over in the Bible, God calls us to “be strong and courageous.” If He has something for us to do, He’ll provide the way for it to be done, right?

My first guest this year is Jennifer Haynie, who recently slipped out of her comfort zone to try a different type of writing. Welcome, Jennifer!

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Last year, as husband and I discussed my next novel, Loose Ends, he suggested that I take a walk on the wild side. No, I wasn’t going to cut my hair into a mohawk. And I wasn’t going to set a goal to climb Mount Everest, at least, not literally. You see, he’s also my marketing manager, my business manager, and my encourager. Maybe he was on to something. Walking on the wild side, at least in terms of writing, might be fun. So I did. As part of my marketing for Loose Ends, I wrote a short story, something I hadn’t done since high school.

Go ahead. Laugh. Normally, it takes me close to 100,000 words to tell my story. But what about in less than 10,000? Better yet, beat that at less than 5,000 words? It was a scary adventure, but I learned so much. I learned the value of really thinking about each word. I learned the value of editing. Finally, I learned how to get across a point in fewer words than I ever anticipated. Orb Web serves as a prequel to both books of the Unit 28 series, Panama Deception and Loose Ends.

The big question is, what did I learn in trying something new? First off, yes, it can be scary, but attempting something new can feel good and yield a true sense of accomplishment. Whether or not Orb Web succeeds remains to be seen, but I enjoyed the process of drafting and completing a short story. It honed my editing skills, which I hope to take into my next novel.

I challenge you to take an idea, maybe something like back story related to your characters. Draft a short story. Hone your writing skills. You might be surprised that a short story fits that situation well. You’ll sharpen those writing and editing tools of yours, and you may discover a new way to market your novel.

Great idea of taking backstory and forming a short story.

Writers, are ideas percolating for you? Readers, would you be willing to read a new type of writing/genre from your favorite authors?

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After being an avid reader of suspense fiction for most of her life, Jennifer Haynie began writing and publishing suspense novels in 2012. She has now written over five indie suspense novels. In her spare time, she works for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, enjoys working out, anything outdoors, and loves traveling. She currently lives outside of Raleigh with her husband and their Basenji dog. Her website is www.jenniferhaynie.com.

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