Tag Archives: Books

When Writing Strikes

Writers are compelled to write. We are constantly having ideas. We are constantly thinking about twist or problems in our storylines and we see inspiration just about everywhere. Generally speaking, the challenge is not creative flow. Writers are bursting through the seams with creativity. Things like organization, structure, and TIME are our biggest enemy.

I submitted my final draft of my new book (Book 1 of 3) to my editor just as summer break began. The second half of my novel was completed just as my final undergrad semester was beginning. By way of a rough critique, I have summarized that, critical thinking and strategic writing for school has a negative effect on my creative writing flow. One would think that I took that new learning and adapted it. One would think that I have spent the entire summer writing. Well fans… I did not.


My break from all things thought provoking has been well over do. I am a mother, wife, student, dedicated member of church, and full-time career woman. My mind is always spinning and at the end of the publishing process I was stressed and overstretched. Aside from journaling and brainstorming the cover specifications for my new book. I did not commit any new creative ideas to paper (or screen) all summer. This does not mean I didn’t have them, only that I took time to clear my focus and relax.
Upside: I feel rested and clear.
Downside: School starts in less than a week, and suddenly I have been hit with an overwhelming urge to do corrections, plan out new ideas, and inspiration for book 2 in my new series.


During the rewrite process of Dreams of the Heart, I struggled with the working and writing. Writing and books are my passion. As many of my followers know, I do not work in that industry. My time to do creative writing was limited and sometimes nonexistence. The emotional toll of “not writing” was at times so heavy that it would manifest itself through tears or intense journaling. Oddly enough I learned that if I had time to cry and journal about NOT WRITING, then I had time to rewrite and improve Dreams of the Heart. Eventually, I came to some solid resolves about the time needed to write and invest in my career as an author. I applied those lessons to my writing schedule while working on my second novel and finished in half the time. It is still a struggle, but I no longer fret over the common problem. We make time for what is important in life. Pushing my creativity, my stories into the world is one of the most important things to me. How long it takes it not nearly as important as the act of getting it done.


As I start the Master’s in Library Science program at Kent State and I looking forward to all the new things that I will learn. I have been preparing myself for the 3 classes and the overload of papers that I undoubtedly will have to write. I understand that my time will be locked up with reading and writing research papers and that the time to work on my book series will be limited. I have somewhat purposeful put myself on “downtime” behavior in preparation for taking 3 classes in the fall. I have a strong feeling that my life for the next 3 months will be writing; one way or another.

However, as God allowed me to do with my debut novel Dreams of the Heart, I will push through it. God gave me this gift for a reason and I will use it. The work needed to be become a successful author is hard with or without school. I plan to rise to the challenge. My ideas are solid and despite only having a few days to outline them into a writing plan for next month, I will do it.

Writing Room Inspirations

So, working on my second novel post-school has really made me take notice of my writing spaces. I have an awesome desk purchased some years back. It is cherry wood with a leather map of the world imprinted on it. I love my desk and anybody that knows me well would even say I am a little particular about it. Okay, I will be honest, if you are not Tanela Hicks I prefer you not touch it. The general rule of thumb is only writing specific or book related things touch the surface. A long time ago I read somewhere that owning and designated a writing space was an important routine when building your craft. The article kinda of stuck with me and thus far the technique has work, but as I move into the next phase of my writing career I am dreaming of more.

Now technically I do not have the space for what I dream of, but that has not stopped me from sketching and imagining.

Ideally, I would love an open office space that functions as a mini library and creative space. Obviously, books move and inspire me and the more I read the more I want to write. This library/office is beautiful.

However, I also love scenery. Water views or rustic scenes draw my focus when I can’t not solve an existing plot line. While bustling cityscapes help me develop characters and background detail. These views below are perfect creative thinking spaces as well.

Style, decor, and furniture all make up a big piece of my multi faceted dream. I honestly believe I would need two spaces just to accommodate my two different writing personalities. When I am creating the bones of my story or a character. I sketch and scribble a lot while typing out what I want to say. I tend to listen to loud neo soul or jazz and I need complete concentration. Aside from music, or the movies Twilight, Shawshank Redemption, or Lake House playing on the television; there can be no other activity around me. Since I have a family and small home generally I have headphones on and drinking coffee or tea while eating dry cereal (trade secrets).

When I am editing, rewriting, reviewing, or fixing something in my work; my writing personalities is different. I can, while at a minimum, carry on another conversation with someone (other than talking to myself). HGTV or similarly formatted television can be on but not loud. I do not have to be at my writing desk (bed, couch, elsewhere) and best of all I CAN DRINK. A glass of wine always makes my mistakes more noticeable.

So, my dream writing space would be doubled. I would love to have an open-air space featuring some variation of all the styles mentioned. 

But then I would love to have a private space with installation, views, and no distractions. I believe it would love something like this!



Want to learn more about the characters in Dreams of the Heart? Want to know why Sasha is still so scared of her past? Want to know more about Kathy and her birth mother? Come out and spend time with me.

When: February 12, 2018 between 1-3 PM

Where: Washington Centerville Library-    111 W Spring Valley Pike Centerville, Ohio 45458

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Dreams of the Heart is Available

I am pleased to announce my debut novel

Dreams of the Heart

is NOW AVAILABLE for sale!

My writing journey has been long and at times tough, but God has blessed me and my family so much through my creativity. I am beyond thankful to EVERYONE who has played a part in this publication. 

Please get your copy at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and other major book retailers. If you do not see it, ASK! Enjoy



National Novel Writing Month

Learning Myself Through My Writing Goals

By Tanela Hicks

                My history with National Novel Writing Month is a little give and take; love and hate. Just like getting use to a new car, or understanding a new computer system, it took a while, but we finally understand our role in each other’s life. NaNo (as it is affectionately called) is there to be a motivator and a tool to help drive my writing career and I am here to use it. Simple.

Just as an overview, NaNo to me is the celebration and awareness of the craft of writing. There is an entire culture that pushes you to meet your writing goals throughout the year. There are camps for young writers, weekly encouragement from published authors, and tons of advice. During the month of November specifically it is “Campaign Time”. To keep it simple, if you are participating in the organization sponsored activities, you can enter a contest to complete 50,000 words in 30 days. At the end of the month you can submit what you have written for critiques, publishing help, and more. This contest not only serves as incentive, but drives project productivity. It’s a wonderful opportunity and totally free…or not use.

My first year being a part of the NaNo community I was very excited. Being the over organized person I am, I made a word count spread sheet to compare against their suggested rate of process. Yes, there are formulas, and programming in this spreadsheet that automatically told me the messages like “Great Job” when I meet my daily goal or things like “Words Waiting” when I slacked off.


When I started in November 2013 with the NaNo, I actually had already completed the bulk of what “Dreams of the Heart” would come to be putting me well past the 50,000 benchmark the website set. So my big goal was to write every day. As you can see I did not succeeded at that, but overall I was thoroughly invigorated with the creativity process. I ended the month with approximately 18,000 thousand words and completed my first rough draft. Then came 2014 and I hit a huge drought. “Dreams of the Heart” draft one was complete and I was deep into rewrites. There were many complications, but my biggest headache was deciding on the level of adult content. The main character and I “fell out” multiple times the first half of the year over elements of the story that needed to be PG edited. As a true woman of faith and a new deacon’s wife it was very hard to determine what was right and what was wrong. I ultimately learned through experience and prayer to let the story direct your path no matter what. Once I settle on that school of thought, me and “Jamice”; main character of “Dreams of the Heart” become best buds again and my massive rewrite moved forward.

Writing novels, short stories, articles, or anything creative is not an easy task and those that can or even try to do it are special people. Reflecting back on my beginnings with NANO and “Dreams of the Heart” makes me smile and thank God for this talent that he has given me. I have learned so many lessons. I have applied advice received from that community and others to my two projects still in progress. Surrounding myself in a community of like-minded writers; all pushing towards similar goals, truly helped propel me to complete my first novel. If you are looking for a guide or catalyst this year for your writing try it. I will not guarantee you will hit the mark of 50,000 words, but you will learn something about your writing and a lot about yourself.

For more information on National Novel Writing Month Click Here

Happy Writing!