ICFTS in 2018: What’s New?

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Hello fellow Creatives, and happy 2018!

As I stood on the precipice of 2017 fading into the past, while the glow of 2018 brightened into the future, one constant remained the same: the need for growth and the necessity of change.

For several months now, and dare I say for the last couple of years, I have been prayerfully considering what I can do to not only make ICFTS more relevant for you but also increasingly beneficial for me.

When I started this journey, the sole purpose was to afford myself the opportunity to tap into my creativity whilst sharing my progress with others. But over the years, although my creative mining ventures continue, how I present and would like to present content to you has evolved.

What was once “I came for the soup: nourishing the Faith, Art, & Fiction in my soul,” has transformed into “I came for the soup: nourishing the Faith, Arts, & Vision in the creative soul.”

WHAT’S NEW

My focus for this platform has grown from sole to mutual. Although many of the creative themes that I will continue to touch on will touch upon fiction and art, weekly motivations will be broadened to better reach the heart of any and all creatives striving to flourish in their creative dream.

The Menu options have also evolved with new categories that are more user-friendly.

  • Create: Here you will find writing prompts and exercises, writing tips, and soon, creative options for the visual arts. And, perhaps, artists, writers, and other creatives who I believe are gems worth knowing about.
  • Faith & Motivations: Faith in Christ and His Word is the foundation upon which ICFTS is built. I believe that since we are created in His image and Have His divine DNA, like Him, the Creator of all existence, we all have the ability to create. But to do so with confidence and purposeful direction, we must have faith. Here, we will focus on scripture and ways to better strengthen our spirit and souls as we strive to grow into the fruitful beings we are called to be.
    • Creative Motivations will continue to give encouragements as we step out in faith toward our creative visions.
  • My Journal: My journal will be the base for my writings, art, and other projects, as well as musings that I feel led to share with you.
  • I’m Candice: Is a quick way to get to know me…and icebreaker of sorts.
  • Shop-icftsENC: One of the exciting projects working on is the ICFTS shop, icfts ENC. Icfts ENC will have apparel, mugs, tote bags, and wall art with clever quotes, inspirations, and motivational reminders to help you along your creative journey. Stay tuned for its reopening this year.
  • Creative Enc.: Creative Enc. is short for ‘Creative Encouragement.’ This is the base for future creative courses that will be made available in the future.
  • Guestbook: If ICFTS has blessed and encouraged you in any way, share that with this community. Leave a message in the comments section for others to see and be encouraged. Or send me a personal message by filling out the contact form.

CONTENT SCHEDULE:

  • Monday’s Muse: Weekly or bi-weekly writing prompt
  • Monday Motivation: A Creative Motivation to get you going for the week ahead
  • Faith Friday: Words of Faith to meditate on over the weekend

In addition to these, I will drop postings in My Journal, so that you can see my creative process.

FOR THE FUTURE:

Along with creative courses, my goal is to be able to present other in-depth content in book form to help you on your way. There is also a creative planner/journal that is currently under wraps, so stay tuned!

Also, this site format will be changing in the future to further aid in easing the navigation process through content.

WAYS TO STAY CONNECTED:

Of course, you can always simply click the ‘follow’ button and get notifications emailed to you each time content is posted. But coming soon, the option to get a weekly update by subscribing to the ICFTS NEWSLETTER will be made available.

For those you subscribe to the newsletter, advanced notice on products as well as creative course will be sent to you ahead of everyone else. It’s like being a VIP.

I NOW HAVE INSTAGRAM:

If following the blog or subscribing to the newsletter isn’t your jam, no worries! You can always follow me on Instagram and click the links in the profile section to see new content.

My Instagram page will give you another peek into my creative world so be sure to link up!

Big things are ahead this year! I hope that we will be blessed to experience them together.

NEW POSTINGS WILL BEGIN MONDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2018

As always remember to Dream bigger than you ever have before, Imagine beyond all limitations, Believe the impossible, Do the incredible, & CONQUER your goals!

In Him always,

~Candice

 

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A William Adolphe Bouguereau Study of “The Bather”

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A 40 min sketch of William Adolph Bouguereau’s “The Bather”

The first month of 2018 is nearly done, but blessedly new habits are just beginning. As I sat and listened to a teaching from FreshLife Church, speaking on how the habits we make today create the life we will have tomorrow, I took the time to sketch.

It has been several months and maybe even a year since I have done a sketch. It has been at least five since I have done one in plain, old, graphite. Over the past few years, I have either focused on the colored pencil sketches or those done in vibrant and messy strokes of ballpoint pen.

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WilliamBouguereau-TheBather-(1879) {PD-1923}

Today, I felt the Lord challenging me to sketch in pencil.

As bizarre as it sounds I felt a bit of trepidation and even found myself erasing and starting again as the work that I had done was sorry to say the least.

Why? I was working from a place of fear, that ugly fear of failure that still tries to make its home where it has been forevermore evicted.

It took several long minutes for me to finally loosen up enough to just…draw. But I am grateful that the Holy Spirit placed Himself at the exit of my creativity and refused to let me leave without facing this challenge head-on.

I wouldn’t call this my best work by any stretch but I give it high marks for effort.

I have a burning thirst to sling some oil paint. I am comfortable there. I can do so without much thought, but I need to gain my confidence back with the pencil.

Here is to a year of growth and conquering!

~Candice

Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

 

Debut Novel Coming Winter 2018

Hello Friends and fellow Creatives!

It brings me great joy to finally be able to share with you the teaser chapters for my debut novel, coming out Winter 2018, Nexus Gate 4037: The Animal!

NG is the very first book in the Ministry of Time Series!

Being that this is my very first go at indie-publication, I have found wisdom in taking my time with the process. My desire is to bring you a rich story that keeps you on the edge of your seat while igniting the depths of your imagination.

This book is my first ‘hello’ in the publishing world and I want to be heard with clarity.

Please enjoy the preview of the novel by reading the teaser chapters, and if you haven’t already, follow my author page, www.candicecoates.wordpress.com.

Nexus GateThe rules of Time Surveillance have been broken.
The past has stepped into the future. 

The threads of time are now tangled and retribution will be dealt…

Will the past devour the future or will they unite in order to survive the threat of the present?

BOOK FLAP AND TEASER CHAPTERS FOUND HERE!!!

 

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

So You’ve Finished NaNoWriMo…Now What?: Words of Advice & Flash Fiction #Writing #WritingAdvice #MondayMotivation

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Slow Cooked

*Original story posted for Week 54 of Battle of the Blogs in 2016.

Her fingertips feathered the keys of her keyboard, driven by the ache to write something, anything. Words, for that still, silent moment, apart for the whistling of the wind outside her window, seemed to elude her.

She drummed her too-long fingernails against her writing desk and let out a frustrated sigh. She knew what she wanted to say, knew how to fix the mistake that was before her, she just had to muster her patience and allow the words to flow forth in their own time.

Writing from scratch and revisions never came in a microwavable package. The finished product always promised to be good, better than good, but it required the stamina of a crock pot, slow-cooked until the words fell from the pages into the reader’s imagination like succulent meat dripping from their bones.

As if savoring the aroma that wafted from her imagination, she closed her eyes and smiled as the scene played out upon her eyelids. Yes, she had it now. Her fingers, set at the ready, danced across the keyboard with the familiar music that delighted and sped up the beating of her heart into a glorious tattoo.

Like feathers upon the wind, the story floated around her, until the scene was finished, the revisions were done, and the belly of her muse was full as if from a savory meal cooked to perfection.

THE END…BUT NOW WHAT?

Many of you fantastic creatives set out over the month of November to create a literary tome of excellence. You set up your outlines, isolated plot points, and then when the first of the month hit, so too did your fingers hit the keys on your keyboards.

The adventure was fruitful, some days were more exhilarating than others, but still, you managed to reach novel status or at least get pretty close to it.

But now what? Now that NaNoWriMo has come and gone, what are you to do now?

  1. Keep Writing: Just like with the character in the short story above, you have to keep writing your story. If you didn’t reach 50k words in the allotted time that is okay. Every story, every piece of art grows at its own pace. Honor that, but do keep writing.
  2. Acknowledge your first draft for what it is: Novel status achieved or not, there is still worthy work ahead of you. Microwaves are good in the kitchen on an emergency basis, but microwave works of fiction aren’t good anywhere. What I mean is that you still need to ‘work’ your story into perfection even after you write the final words ‘THE END’. That moment is actually the beginning of really turning your WIP into a masterpiece
  3. Give yourself a deadline to finish the first draft: My first go at NaNoWriMo took me a little less than 30 days to hit novel status and 96 days to complete the story as a whole. For me (with many of the stories I’ve written…and like you, need to polish for publication) 90 days is the sweet-spot. There is less pressure to continue with manic writing, but enough of a push to keep you focused.
  4. Give yourself breathing room and time to mentally regroup: I recommend writing until your story is actually finished BUT sometimes, some narratives are so complex that your mind and muse simply need a break. Take a few weeks off if you need to. Either remove yourself from the story completely for a spell, or give yourself distance but allow your mind to gently work through the conflicts that are still ahead.
  5. BONUS ENJOY THE ROAD AHEAD: After completing 30 days of writing, you’ve earned it! Give yourself a pat on the back for coming this far. It was no small thing, but you did it!

“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” ~ Helen Keller

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

The Wonder of Writing Every Word: Writing Encouragment #NaNoWriMo #MondayMotivation #AmWriting

If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” ~Margaret Atwood

Writing is a journey…most days it is an exhilarating adventure that never disappoints, always lending its cathartic powers to the creative soul who has taken up the mantle to bring life through the power of word, paper and pen…or computer.

But there are moments (for many those moments show themselves during NaNoWriMo) where our fountain of words and musing seem to run dry, our focus is lost, or the plot line has gone from thick with delectable tension to just being nothing short of sludgy mud.

If you are like me, you find that in these moments you are questioning your ability as a word weaving wordsmith. You wonder if you can truly hack it. If you have been writing for any length of time, especially during NaNo, the answer is yes!

What we as creatives must never cease to remember is that even though we have something good, it doesn’t mean that every moment is going to be great. That is what editing is for.

So in this final week of NaNoWriMo 2017, I would like to give you your last bottle of refreshment for this writing marathon.

  • As already stated, you will have plenty of room to edit, to build your plot, rework it, or slim it down. Keep your focus on the words ahead and be grateful for what you’ve learned from the work behind you.
  • Ignore the pull of perfection. Perfection comes with practice but in the case of writing editing and revisions.
  • Remember that sometimes your dry spell for words is really the result of an exhausted muse and mind. Allow yourself the chance to refuel. None of us are machines no matter how much we tend to believe the converse.
  • Give yourself a pat on the back for the job well done thus far.

Whether you make novel status by the end of this month or not you’ve still done a fantastic job.

Keep writing. Keep creating. Keep soaring and enjoy the wonder of writing!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

 

Making Peace With Your Piece: 5 ‘Vows’ Writers Should Keep For a Happy Writing Adventure

As we roll into Week 3 of NaNoWriMo, I want to share some words of encouragement whilst you continue to write. I have struggled with this recently and am glad for these reminders. Here is “Making Peace with Your Piece.”

I came for the soup...

Writer's Table

Deciding to write a novel, or to become a full-time writer, is much like making the decision to get married.  (Disclaimer: I’m not yet married or dating, but I’d like to be. I am however in a committed writing relationship and have been for years. I digress.) 

Once a person decides that marriage err, or writing is the avenue they would like to take in life, all the warm fuzzy feelings of marital bliss begin to float around in their hearts in heads.

Things are going to be perfect, we tell ourselves. There are never going to be any arguments with our fictional characters because like in our imagined marital relationship, we’ll always agree.

Our writing will never stink just as our partner will never have any body odor. Our future wife (I hear men say this often about us ladies) will always know what she wants for dinner without any…

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NaNoWriMo: Encouragement for the Weeks Ahead #NaNoWriMo #Author #Writer

The first five days of NaNoWriMo are behind us with many more blessedly ahead. Some of you have achieved your daily writing and creative goals while others may have missed your designated marks shy of a few words.

No worries. You will achieve your goal if you stick with it. Consider the first five days of NaNo as your glorious warm up.

The fact still remains that when we set out with a great goal and miss our intended marks at the very start, we tend to lose momentum or even the courage to continue. Our plans seem not to be as ‘plausible’ as they were before…and then we drift…staring at our computer screens too afraid to make music by clicking the keys of our keyboards.

Can we really do this? Can we conquer our vision for NaNoWriMo? Everyone else around us seems to be doing just fine.

I would like to take this time to give you a bit of creative advice especially in moments when our creativity seems to get the best of us and cause knots to form in our bellies as well as our creative thoughts.

My advice for you is to simply breathe. Take pauses when you need to. Take a few steps back if you are feeling overwhelmed. 

Sometimes when we are racing toward a finish line we tend to turn our eyes and focus toward those who are around us. Let’s make it a point to no longer see other creatives as competition but community.

Be encouraged by what your neighbor has done and take hope in knowing that you can do it too but in your own unique way.

Don’t give up! There are several full weeks left ahead. Keep your focus, keep your peace, and keep writing!

“We work in the dark — we do what we can — we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.” ~HENRY JAMES

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 5 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

There are now less than 24 hours left before the worldwide writing frenzy of NaNoWriMo begins! Before you begin, I would like to give you my last token of creative advice.

Create a Soundtrack for your novel.

Now, I imagine that this may have you thinking of soundtrack in the same way one thinks of a movie soundtrack. Well, that is not exactly what I am referring to here.

Movie soundtracks are designed to emotionally lead the audience in a specific emotional direction while watching the movie unfold. If a romantic scene is on the horizon, cue the sexy music. If suspense, then in comes the music that gets your pulse racing.

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With the soundtrack for your novel,  collect tracks that get you into the head of your characters and reminds you of the spirit of your story as a whole.

Now there are songs that you can gather that help you to build certain scenes, similar to the way movies do, and those are helpful as well.

For me, I generally have specific songs for each of my characters. This helps me to keep every one authentic. Writing a novel in 30 days can cause a bit of character confusion if you are not careful. Soundtracks per person can help eliminate that.

HOW TO USE THE SOUNDTRACK:

Remember music is a muse. When I need to let my mind rest and my fingers stretch from a long stint of typing, I use this time to sit back, close my eyes, and listen to the songs that I’ve gathered that reminded me of my characters and my plot line.

This way, even while resting, I am still allowing my imagination to keep working on the story.

Think of it as an imaginative interlude and meditation. And trust me, it helps a lot.

A COUPLE OF BONUSES!

If you have time, check out my blog posting on this very subject, created while I was doing a form of NaNoWriMo while writing my blog novel, Ascension Graveyard (REVISIONS AND CHAPTERS COMING SOON!)

For The Muse in the Music, posting follow this LINK.

Should music not be the muse and medicine that you need to keep in tune with your characters (pun not intended) then try this writing prompt that I created, Coffee With Character…or Tea. The exercise is all about getting to know each individual character in your story on a more personal level.

For instance knowing your character likes to wear red socks on Monday may not be something you add to the story itself but it is something that helps you, the writer, build the world of their personality. It’s an intimate nuance that sheds greater light on their behaviors.

As laughable as it may seem, a person that specific with something as trivial as sock color will be less prone to certain behaviors, while more apt in yielding to others.

FINAL 5-DAY CREATIVE ADVICE RECAP

TIP 1. Write anything. Let your imagination take control. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 2. Have a reader who will look over your daily progress with an honest reader’s eye, and give you feedback. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 3. Set a daily word count goal that you can manage. (Click HERE for full article

TIP 4. Keep a “SPICE RACK”  of ideas  and scenes in a separate word document (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 5. Create a playlist that reminds you of your characters and plot, that you can meditate on during downtime.

BONUS: Need a creative Springboard? Try this Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt to help get your NaNoWriMo Story going. Click HERE for the opening line! *REMEMBER TO OMIT THE OPENING LINE WORD COUNT FROM YOUR TOTAL WORDCOUNT*

Most importantly, just have fun. Write because you can. Write because you want to, and write because your imagination is worth the time to share!

Cheers! and Happy NaNoWriMo!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

 

How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 4 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

Token 4: KEEP A “SPICE RACK”  OF IDEAS  AND SCENES IN A SEPARATE WORD DOCUMENT

A while ago, when I first started this blog, I made mention of separate documents that I keep alongside each novel that I work on. Now to be clear, this document is NOT an Outline. It is what I call a “Spice Rack.”

pexels-photo-256318Assuming (again) that you are already a seasoned writer, I am pretty sure you are familiar with the process of your creativity “jumping ahead” of your story as you write it. For example, you may be working on chapter five when suddenly some thrilling scene pops in your head that has nothing to do with the current flow of the story BUT it somehow fits, like a glimpse into the future. You just don’t know where.

SO WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THIS SCENE?

If you are smart, YOU WRITE IT DOWN IMMEDIATELY! and you store what you have written in the, you guessed it, spice rack document. (And when I say write it down, I don’t mean write ABOUT it, I mean actually WRITE it as if that is where you are in the novel. This will save you time later and give you the full feeling of your characters’ future selves.)

These scenes may not fit immediately into the storyline, but they do count toward your daily word count and overall word count goal. As you continue writing you will surely find out that this ‘homeless’ scene you took a pause to build early on around ‘chapter five’ was actually the climax of Chapter twenty-seven! (Glad you wrote it down when it came to you, aren’t you? )

WHEN DO YOU USE YOUR SPICE RACK?

Keep in mind that writing a novel is kind of like making soup from scratch. You have all the basic ingredients, but as the stock is cooking there are times that you taste test it and find that it just needs something to give it that little extra kick. What do you do? You go to your spice rack.

As you grow deeper into your novel during NaNoWriMo, you will draw toward moments where you just feel like something is missing. This is where you open up your spice rack document and grab one of those seemingly out of place bits of writing that you cranked out of nowhere.

For me, there were conversations, heated ones, that my characters who hadn’t even met yet, were having somewhere in the future, and as I kept writing I subconsciously built my way into each one of those Spice Rack scenes.

I have actually been doing the “Spice Rack” since I was fourteen years old…I am now old enough to have a fourteen-year-old.

So here is another brief recap of NaNo Tokens:

TIP 1. Write anything. Let your imagination take control. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 2. Have a reader who will look over your daily progress with an honest reader’s eye, and give you feedback. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 3. Set a daily word count goal that you can manage. (Click HERE for full article

TIP 4. Keep a “SPICE RACK”  of ideas  and scenes in a separate word document

BONUS: Need a creative Springboard? Try this Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt to help get your NaNoWriMo Story going. Click HERE for the opening line! *REMEMBER TO OMIT THE OPENING LINE WORD COUNT FROM YOUR TOTAL WORDCOUNT*

Cheers! and Happy Writing!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 3 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

Tip 3. SET A DAILY WORD COUNT GOAL!

Setting a daily word count goal is such a helpful thing because it gives you a window or a destination for creative breaks.  If you start NaNoWriMo with the goal of 50,000 words, you run the risk of seeing a never-ending tunnel that just keeps getting longer no matter how fast, hard or far you run. tunnel

Do the math and add on from there. It requires a minimum of 1,666 words typed each day in order to reach 50,000 words by close of November 30th.

I suggest aiming for a higher word count goal for each day but with a cushion for a minimum. If you are already a writer you know that even with set goals, life happens and you may not get to write a single word at all.

WHAT DID I DO?

I scheduled my writing into two sessions a day. In the morning I would write for about 2 to 3 hours with a goal of 2,000 to 3,000 words in that session. And then in the evening, I would write again with a word count goal of 1,500 to 2,000 words.

With roughly 5,000 words written each day, this left me wiggle room for the days where “life” interrupted my flow and meant that I had managed enough words to be closer to 50,000.

Perfect example. The first year I attempted to write a novel in 30 days, I used this model of word count. Things went very well for most of the month but then my neighborhood lost power (as did most of the city due to bad storms. The electricity was out FOR A WEEK!

I had to literally write by candlelight and by hand.

Glad to say that I did make well over novel statues by the end of 30 days and even finished the entire manuscript by close of day 96. But because I had managed to work in 5,000 words a day I had afforded myself that cushion for when life took over.

So if you are keeping up, here are the refreshers with my advice:

TIP 1. Write anything. Let your imagination take control. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 2. Have a reader who will look over your daily progress with an honest readers eye, and give you feedback. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 3. Set a daily word count goal that you can manage.

BONUS: Need a creative Springboard? Try this Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt to help get your NaNoWriMo Story going. Click HERE for the opening line! *REMEMBER TO OMIT THE OPENING LINE WORD COUNT FROM YOUR TOTAL WORDCOUNT*