Monday, December 27, 2010


The Morning Nudge I received recently from Suzanne Lieurance is one I wanted to share, in part, with you. If you are not part of her Morning Nudge program, I strongly suggest you consider doing so. Her daily "nudges" are extremely helpful in focusing one's day in the right direction.

As we look to the start of the new year, we always consider our progress or lack thereof on goals from this past year, make resolutions and set new goals for the upcoming year. I found Suzanne's suggestions particulary helpful as I consider where I've been and where I am heading in this new year.

Per Suzanne, ask yourself:

1. What worked? In 2010, what did I do that allowed me to accomplish my professional goals or at least took me closer to accomplishing those goals?

2. What didn't work? In 2010, what did I do that really didn't take me closer to accomplishing my professional goals?

3. What's next? Based on what worked and what didn't work in 2010, what do I need to do in 2011 to accomplish my career goals?

Please consider visiting Suzanne's website and signing up for The Morning Nudge Club. You won't regret it! For more information, go to

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you all a blessed holiday season and very Merry Christmas. Here's to toasting that the New Year brings all the time and balance you need to begin the 2011 writing year with a bang!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Children's Writing Trends

I recently happened upon this information and thought it may be helpful and interesting to many of you. I know, for myself anyway, it is difficult to keep a pulse on all the different books and themes out there, what is most or least popular, etc. I found this list helpful in that regard and hope you do too.

Scholastic Experts Issue List of ‘Ten Trends in Children’s Books from 2010’
Posted December 8th, 2010 by rthomasScholastic Press ReleasesCorporate NewsJudy NewmanScholasticScholastic Book ClubsScholastic Book FairsScholastic experts pick top 10 trends in children's books in 2010
New York, NY — December 8, 2010 — Scholastic, the largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, today released a list of 10 Trends in Children's Books from 2010. The list was compiled by editors from Scholastic, including children’s literature experts from Scholastic Book Clubs and Scholastic Book Fairs, divisions of Scholastic that distribute books from all publishers through schools nationwide.

"We've seen some exciting innovation in children’s publishing in 2010, including new formats and platforms for storytelling that are helping more and more kids become book lovers," said Judy Newman, President of Scholastic Book Clubs. "At the same time, we’re seeing a rejuvenation of some classic genres, which I think is evidence of the timeless power that stories and characters have on the lives of children."

1.The expanding Young Adult (YA) audience: More and more adults are reading YA books, as the audience for these stories expands.
2.The year of dystopian fiction: With best-selling series like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, readers can’t seem to get enough of fiction that suggests the future may be worse than the present.
3.Mythology-based fantasy: Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series set the trend – and now series like The Kane Chronicles, Lost Heroes of Olympus and Goddess Girls are capitalizing.
4.Multimedia series: The 39 Clues, Skeleton Creek and The Search for WondLa are hooking readers with stories that go beyond the printed page and meet kids where they are online or via video.
5.A focus on popular characters – from all media: Kids love to read books about characters they know and recognize from books, movies and television shows. Titles centered around those popular characters (like Fancy Nancy, David Shannon's “David,” or Toy Story characters) are top sellers.
6.The shift in picture books: Publishers are publishing about 25 to 30 percent fewer picture book titles than they used to as some parents want their kids to read more challenging books at younger ages. The new trend is leading to popular picture book characters such as Pinkalicious, Splat Cat and Brown Bear, Brown Bear showing up in Beginning Reader books.
7.The return to humor: Given the effects of the recession on families, it is nice to see a rise in the humor category, fueled by the success of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Dav Pilkey's The Adventures of Ook & Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future, and popular media characters like Spongebob, and Phineas & Ferb.
8.The rise of the diary and journal format: The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is the most well-know example of this trend, but the success of Wimpy Kid is leading to popular titles such as Dear Dumb Diary, Dork Diaries, The Popularity Papers, and Big Nate.
9.Special-needs protagonists: There is a growing body of literary fiction with main characters who have special needs, particularly Aspergers Syndrome and Autism. Examples: My Brother Charlie, Marcelo in the Real World, Mockingbird, and Rules.
10.Paranormal romance beyond vampires: The success of titles like Shiver and Linger, Beautiful Creatures, Immortal, and Prophesy of the Sisters shows this genre is still uber-popular and continues to expand.
For more information about Scholastic, visit our Media Room at


Tyler Reed

Sara Sinek

Monday, December 13, 2010

Children's Writer Contest

In case you do not subscribe to Children's Writer and have not seen this, here is a wonderful contest with great pay out and exposure in the much acclaimed Children's Writer. For further information, see


The rewards are publication in Children’s Writer,
cash prizes, winners’ certificates, and valuable
training in disciplined writing.

If you like writing for children and contests, read on . . .

We constantly hear from editors that the vast majority of the manuscripts they receive are rejected because they were not written to the editor’s specifications. Few editors will consider a story or article that does not meet their specs—precisely.

Writing contests also have exact specifications. That’s why we encourage writers—all writers, new ones and old pros too—to enter contests. They’re excellent professional training experiences and, if you win, they can get you published and pay healthy prize money.

The winners in this contest will be published in Children’s Writer, the monthly newsletter that goes to almost 1,300 children’s book and magazine editors in North America. Along with the winning piece, we’ll publish an article about it and the other top-ranked entries and their authors. There are also cash prizes. The cash prizes alone are a lot of good reasons to write a piece and enter.

Current Contest:
Kindergarten Story

A fictional story or nonfiction about family life or school for ages 5-6, up to 150 words. The story should be appropriate to five- and six-year-olds learning to read on their own. It should be fun, use vocabulary and syntax well, and have high interest for a kindergartener. Take great care not to write too high for this age. Know what a five- or six-year-old can and cannot read. Originality and the overall quality of writing will also be considered. Publishability is the ultimate criterion.

Entries must be received by February 28, 2011. Current subscribers to Children’s Writer enter free. All others pay an entry fee of $15, which includes an 8-month subscription. Winners will be announced in the July 2011 issue. Prizes: $500 for first place plus publication in Children’s Writer, $250 for second place, and $100 for third, fourth, and fifth places.

Now warm up your computer and write a $500-winning kindergarten story!

The contest rules are important. Please read them carefully.

Obtain Official Entry Form or make online submission
You may submit your entry either online, using our safe and secure entry page, or by regular mail. If you choose to submit online, you'll need to complete your manuscript and save it to a file on your computer.

If you need to pay a reading fee you will be directed to the payment section first.

Children's Writer Subscribers (online submission):
To submit a free entry online, you will need your Children's Writer account number, which is located in our email to you or on your Children's Writer mailing label in the name/address block. For subscribers who are students, it is the same as your student number. Please Click Here to continue.

You will be directed to the Free Entry section.

Non-subscribers (online submission):
If you do not subscribe to Children's Writer, your online entry is welcome. Please click here to continue.

You will be directed to the section requiring the payment of a $15 reading fee.

For Mail-in Entries:
To submit manuscript entries through the mail, please click here to obtain an entry form.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Be A Writer

Do you find yourself caught in the midst of holiday chaos? Torn between shopping, wrapping, baking and preparing for meals? As a writer mom, it is always easy to feel the pull of what needs to be done around the house or for the family. The dishes piled in the sink, the laundry load that has fluffed four times before you decide to take the time to pull it out and fold it, meals to cook, the house to clean...the list goes on and on. The holidays,however, add a whole new level of items to the things-to-do list.

As I sat here this morning thinking about my day and how to balance writing with some of the household and Christmas items I need to accomplish as well today, I read Susan Shaughnessy's words in WALKING ON ALLIGATORS, and they put, very simply, into perspective how to start my day.

"Today, I am going to act like the writer I want to be. I will fend off all distractions. I will write."

So, for the morning, at least, I will write. The afternoon may be spent on all the other stuff that needs to get finished while the kids are at school, but, all too frequently, I let all that stuff eat up the whole day in an effort to get it done. One thing leads to the next which leads to the next and soon there is not a stitch of time left for writing. Not, I will write.

How about you? Are you finding it difficult to fit it all in this holiday season? If so, I'd love to hear what is working for you in terms of time management.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Facing Rejection

Debra B. Darvick provided the author interview for this week in my Bylines 2010 Writer's Desk Calendar. She talked of facing and overcoming rejection and not letting it stop her from writing and moving forward.

As writers, we all (or the great majority anyway) face rejection and must find the strength to continue on and not let it reign as the voice of negativity. I found Ms. Darvick's words quite inspiring this morning and wanted to share them with you as you start a new writing week.

"Whatever our stage as writers--taking those first tentative steps at submission or staking out territory in a new genre--we incur rejection. By facing it and moving on, we give those who follow the courage to join us on the road."

Happy writing!

Monday, November 22, 2010


This is a total digression, and I am not typically one for forwarding on emails received. However, this came to me this morning and really hit home. The final words struck me particularly, both in terms of what it means as a parent, wife and friend but also in terms of the words we writers "scatter" on a day to day basis in our articles, blogs and books. Happy reading...

I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas.

I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes.

Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.

'Hello Barry, how are you today?'

'H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas. They sure look good.'

'They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?'

'Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time..'

'Good... Anything I can help you with?'

'No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas..'

'Would you like to take some home?' asked Mr. Miller.

'No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with.'

'Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?'

'All I got's my prize marble here.'

'Is that right? Let me see it' said Miller.

'Here 'tis. She's a dandy.'

'I can see that. Hmm mmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?' the store owner asked.

'Not zackley but almost.'

'Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble'. Mr. Miller told the boy.

'Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.'

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me.

With a smile she said, 'There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever.

When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.'

I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado , but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.

Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts...all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket.

Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband's bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

'Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about.

They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim 'traded' them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size.....they came to pay their debt.'

'We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,' she confided, 'but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho .'

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.

The Moral :

We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.

Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles

~ A fresh pot of coffee you didn't make yourself.....

An unexpected phone call from an old friend ....

Green stoplights on your way to work...

The fastest line at the grocery store...

A good sing-along song on the radio...

Your keys found right where you left them.

Send this to the people you'll never forget. I just Did....

If you don't send it to anyone, it means you are in way too much of a hurry to even notice the ordinary miracles when they occur..


Today, I wish you many blessings and a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dive In

"Today, I'll take a deep breath and plunge into the calm lake of creative material within me."

What a promise to oneself and terrific way to begin a new writing week! These are the words I read this morning in WALKING ON ALLIGATORS. Susan Shaughnessy continues to inspire me on a daily basis with this book. In today's exerpt, she discusses the fact that "the only way to write is to dive in." The rest will come later, but we must not linger on the edge of inspiration, we must dive in--use the stories and ideas to plunge ahead and create.

Let me leave you with the words of Beverly Lowry who speaks to the heart of this:

"The material's out there, a calm lake waiting for us to dive in."

Let's take the plunge, shall we?

Monday, November 8, 2010


For your reading pleasure...a list of quotes I've been keeping for some time and turn to in times of needed inspiration and motivation. I hope you find something here today that will enlighten and help your writing week!

*The way to gain a good reputation, is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear. - Socrates

*The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can.
Robert Cushing

*When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.
Helen Keller

*Happiness does not consist in pastimes and amusements but in virtuous activities.

*Happiness resides not in posessions and not in gold; the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul.

*People with many interests live, not only longest, but happiest.
George Matthew Allen

*In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.
Albert Schweitzer

*Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.
Aldous Huxley

*If you do not hope, you will not find what is beyond your hopes.
St. Clement of Alexandra

*We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

*I have spread my dreams beneath your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

*Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
Henry David Thoreau

*Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman

*Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.
Pamela Vaull Starr

Monday, November 1, 2010

Changing Gears

I wanted to share something with you today that I read this morning in WALKING ON ALLIGATORS. I seem to keep finding such inspiration in this book! In today's exerpt, Anne Tyler was discussing the partitions around her writing persona and ordinary life. It made me realize how important it is to recognize the separate, yet intertwined, lives we lead as writers. Focus and concentration are necessary in our writing but also necessary in our day-to-day lives in many ways.

The discussion in today's reading spoke about "the ability to change gears from ordinary life to writing" being "priceless to writers." How true this is so much easier to focus on the daily chores and requirements demanding our attention after fulfilling our duties as a writer. The following words really brought this home for me...

"Today, I'll tune out my regular life and write for the period of time I have available. Then I'll tune in again."

I'm going to find a "switch" that allows me to move back and forth between these worlds to allow the greatest degree of concentration possible in any given arena. How do you make this work for you? I'd love to hear your strategies if you care to share.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Writing Time

Today's passage in WALKING ON ALLIGATORS includes words from Margaret Atwood. She discusses the terror of a blank page inspiring her to write and how she had times of procrastinating and worrying until such time as the anxiety to write kicked in.

Reading the passage that followed Ms. Atwood's words, I was struck by the truth that one needs to write when he/she has time to write and to make that time to write if needed. The author of the book, Susan Shaughnessy, talked about how we shouldn't be so quick to envy full-time writers as it is often too easy to procrastinate and do other things rather than write. Whereas if one has only one specific hour a day to write, he/she is going to write during that time and not be hindered by the anxiety of not writing the rest of the day, therefore, increasing productivity. She suggests those few hours "may save you days of dithering." I chuckled heartily reading the word "dithering" as it so aptly describes me and how I approach many of my writing days. It is too easy to be pulled in the many other directions that call rather than to sit, butt in chair, and write. So...I will follow Ms. Shaughnessy's words and...

"Today, I'll accept the fact that there's no easy way to buckle down. I will write anyway."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

MUSE Online Writers Conference

Thank you, Lea Schizas!!! What an incredible opportunity you provide to all writers with this wonderful conference. I am very appreciative of having been able to take part in some of the conference this year and will be posting about different aspects in the days to come once I've had time to sort through all of my piles.

For those of you unfamiliar with the MUSE conference, I highly recommend learning more about it. While it is too late for this year's conference, there is always next year. The information gained, experiences shared, networking and "meetings" made possible by Lea were well worth the time invested. Check it out!

Monday, October 11, 2010


In reading the author interview accompanying this week in my Bylines Writer's Desk Calendar, I was reminded again of very important advice: butt in chair! This is particularly important this week as I embark on my first ever MUSE Online Writers Conference.

In the interview, Diane Stark discusses how she uses her daily life events--field trips with kids, weight loss, marriage, divorce, etc.--as the basis of her writing. Ultimately, that is what we writers do--turn daily events into something others want to read. What helped me this morning was Diane's advice to...

"Live your life, paying attention to the story ideas around you. And then apply the seat of your pants to the seat of the chair and write." Great advice and reminder to start out a Monday and new writing week. Thank you, Diane!

Monday, October 4, 2010


Perfectionism is the bane of many a writer. Read Kelly L. Stone's wise words in LIVING WRITE: THE SECRET TO INVITING YOUR CRAFT INTO YOUR DAILY LIFE.

"If perfectionism is inhibiting your ability to write every day, list all the reasons why your writing has to be perfect. Then tear up the list, throw it away, and move to your work-in-progress."

Very sound advice, wouldn't you say? I think the physical act of tearing up the list will be very invigorating indeed. I'm going to give it a try. Care to join me?

Monday, September 27, 2010


Thought for the week...

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away." (Anonymous)

I just read this on a greeting card in a store recently. It struck me that, as authors, this is what we are all about--finding that right mix of words and emotion to create this feeling in our readers. There are a great many things in life which can take our breath away. I know, as a reader, I love this feeling with a really good book; one I just can't bear to put down. It is this feeling that created and nourished my desire to be a writer, to be able to give someone else the great pleasure I get from a really good book. It is what I strive for each and every day, and the goal I hope to one day achieve.

May you experience something today that takes your breath away! Have a wonderful writing week.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Daily Direction

This morning, as I finally returned to reading LIVING WRITE by Kelly L. Stone, I came across some very sage advice. As a "daily direction," she says:

"When you wake up in the morning, say out loud, 'I feel like writing.' Keep saying it until you actually begin to feel like writing, and then go write!"

Aren't those wise words? For me, the trouble is not the lack of feeling like writing but, rather, in the carving out the time to do so. I believe I will post this mantra on my computer, however, to provide added motivation to do so, to just "go write!"

I hope these words can provide some benefit to all of you whether you experience an issue with the desire to write, finding the time to do so or any other daily obstacle that crosses your path.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Stories For Children Magazine

Wonderful news! VS Grenier is re-opening Stories for Children Magazine! For those of you unfamiliar with it, SFC is a wonderful, online magazine for children which provided a terrific opportunity for writers, both new and experienced. According to a recent newsletter,they will be open for submissions at the end of September or first week of October 2010. They are currently updating the website; however, you can get updates at

Friday, September 10, 2010


A friend passed along a link for an interview with Jane Yolen, who needs no introduction! In answer to what it takes to write 300 books, Jane said, "BIC. Butt in chair. Every day."

How simple yet profound. How simple yet elusive. Jane has obviously mastered it well. I am still working toward it.

I encourage you to go read her interview. It is quite inspiring. Thank you, Jane, for sharing!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Being a Writer

I just purchased and started reading Kelly L. Stone's LIVING WRITE: THE SECRET TO INVITING YOUR CRAFT INTO YOUR DAILY LIFE. I was on the first page when I found myself inspired and reaching for my highlighter! I went back this morning to re-read what I've highlighted thus far and felt it pertinent to share. As I sit here thinking about a few things that need to get finished around the house and my much needed exercise which I haven't gotten around to yet, her words had particular impact.

"To be a writer, you simply have to write. Just as you don't agonize over when you will have time to shower in the morning because taking a daily shower is a habit, a writer doesn't agonize over how the one page will get written because it's a habit. It's a given. It's part of the daily schedule."

I'm very much looking forward to reading this book and gaining the help I need in making writing a daily habit. How do you do it? If you feel inspired, please leave a comment about what works for you.

Happy writing and habit forming!

Monday, August 23, 2010


Today, my kids went back to school leaving me with more time to dedicate to my writing. I am not starting work again until tomorrow and left today to get organized here at home and write. As I was reading my daily morning meditation in WALKING ON ALLIGATORS, I realized I need to always be open to what is happening around me and stop looking at my writing time as only a definitive period of time. I get so caught up in saying I will dedicate 8-2 to writing today and then attempt to flip that writer switch off and Mommy switch back on.

Today's meditation provided a quote from Norman Mailer:

"There's no clear boundary between experience and imagination. Who knows what glimpses of reality we pick up unconsciously, telepathically."

It finishes with a terrific thought...

"Today, I'll stir my imagination and experience together, and await the extra flash of insight that this mixture attracts."

Today, and always, I am going to stay open to those ideas, thoughts and memories floating around out there in my brain and environment regardless of whether they present during my "writer time" or my "mommy time" and see what comes of it.

Here's to a new school year and a newfound dedication to time well spent in the writing realm!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Historical Fiction Writing Contest

I was just reading Jan Field's ICL Writers eNews. She mentioned a contest I wanted to pass along to all of you who write historical fiction. See below...

7. Historical Fiction Writing Contest
Historical Fiction for Young Adults can win you cash!
First Place: $500
Second Place: $250
Third Place: $100
Create a story that is historical but relevant to contemporary readers, show your research with a bibliography.
Word Count: Up to $1500
Fee: Free for Children's Writer Newsletter (the print newsletter) subscribers. For everyone else, the fee is $15 which entitles you to an 8-month subscription to the Children's Writer at no extra cost.
Entry must be received by October 30, 2010

For those of you that do not subscribe to Children's Writer Newsletter, I highly recommend it. It is always full of great information. Thanks for the info, Jan!

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Happiness is a journey, not a destination"

I seem to be in the mode of quoting things I read lately. Here is another I found particularly inspiring.

"For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin-real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one." Souza

Isn't this great? There are always obstacles in the way of writing; life gets in the way of writing. But the journey through these obstacles that are life is what gives us the life experiences from which to create our writing. So, be happy; be productive; live life to the fullest and embrace those obstacles. Use them to your advantage!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Irish Blessing

While this particular blessing is not specific to writing, I thought as I read it this morning that what it wishes for each of us sets the stage for serenity and peace which, in turn, allow us to create the writing we strive to produce. So, today and always, I wish for you...

May you always be blessed
with walls for the wind,
a roof for the rain,
a warm cup of tea by the fire,
laughter to cheer you,
those you love near you,
and all that your
heart might desire.

(Irish Blessing)

Happy life and writing to all of you!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Nurture Your Writing

For those of you that have followed my summer posts about little time and a lot of activities, you know I've made a goal of spending at least 15 minutes a day writing. Well, lately, though I've spent my alloted 15 minutes on something, it has been rather unproductive. I seem to be shuffling my to-do piles around, organizing my work area, spending time at the library, trying to catch up on some reading and A LITTLE writing here and there--all in fits and spurts. One thing I try to start each day with is a meditation from Walking on Alligators. Today, I read a passage about pruning the things in life that "create a logjam in your time." I wanted to share the final meditation with you as it helped put in perspective for me how I am thinking about all of these things that must be done but which prevent me from doing what I need and want to do--write.

"Today, I'll discard my assumptions of what I 'have to keep up with.' I'll start taking careful note of which activities are compatible with productive writing for me."

The key word here, for me, is productive. It all goes back to that elusive balance we all try to find in life. Join me in pruning the weeds and creating the beautiful flowers of our writing gardens!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Using Your Strengths in Your Daily Life

I have been reading a book I won in a give-away when BUMPLES first started. It is called PARENTING BY STRENGTHS: A PARENT'S GUIDE FOR CHALLENGING SITUATIONS. It interviews several people who speak about different aspects of parenting.

In one chapter, Cathy A. Rodrigues talks about communication being a foundation of better parenting. She discusses different prinicples to effective communication, one of which is "use your strengths in your daily life." She asks the question, "What would you say if your spouse asked you, 'What do you think you're really good at?'" She goes on to discuss "signature strengths" as those things one does, and is good at, without thinking (Seligman 2002).

As I was reading, I was thinking that it would be nice to think about and know what my own signature strenths are and how I could use them to my advantage in writing. She suggested completing a survey, the VALUES IN ACTION SIGNATURE STRENGTH SURVEY (VIA) online. It is a free assessment that "helps you identify your top five signature strenghts." She further suggests that knowing these strengths can give you insight into why certain tasks or parts of your life are easier to accomplish and more rewarding. I have not done so yet but plan to check out the survey and see what it says about me. If any of you out there have heard of the survey or have an opinion, good or bad, please weigh in and let me know what you think. Thank you, BUMPLES MAGAZINE, for the great book!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Path of Least Resistance

In the Bylines calendar author's interview for the week, Laura Lee Carter spoke to me in a very profound way. Her words fit right in with all of my spouting of procrastination and lack of time. Perhaps, just perhaps, this is why I am so good at procrastinating?!! She says...

"It is far easier to keep to the path of least resistance, than to take a risk, stand up for yourself and make a difference. You don't need to analyze it to death. Just figure out what gives your life meaning and follow that path. Be courageous and live your dream."

Thank you, Ms. Carter, for the very wise words! I do analyze everything to death and frequently hesitate to take that risk and stand up for myself. Hence, the procrastination. It's hard to fail without an attempt--especially when half the people around just don't get it! But, writing is my dream and is what gives great meaning to my life. I will follow that path and be courageous. I hope you all do as well.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wise Words

I am not intending to be the voice of negativity this summer with all my posts about what I have not been accomplishing, but I recently saw this quote by Aesop and thought it very fitting--for my summer, at least.

"After all is said and done, more is said than done."

Very true, very true! I spend lots of time talking about what I need or want to do but just never seem to get very much accomplished. Granted, my summer is hectic with softball, baseball, tennis, etc., but so is everyone's. I've posted before about committing 15 minutes a day. Some days I've done well; others, not so much. So when I saw the above quote, it really put things in perspective for me. I'm going to TRY to stop saying what I need/want to do and JUST DO IT! Just as soon as we finish with a softball game, a dental appointment and packing for an upcoming vacation...See what I mean--I am the queen of procrastination:-)

If you have any wise words about this delicate balance, I'd love to hear how you make it work for you.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Train Hard

In my post last Monday, I spoke about training like athletes to improve our stamina as writers. As I was reading a Shape magazine this morning, while working out coincidentally, I saw this quote and thought it relevant to pass on. It also speaks to the importance of training in the exercise sense; however, I believe it also relates to writing.

"How you train is how you tackle life. Don't avoid discomfort; deal with it head-on to get stronger. Learn how to work out with passion and that fire will carry over into everything you do."

It is true that the discomfort we face as writers as we probe our inner thoughts and ideas to spin a story can cause discomfort, but we are all the better for it after meeting it head-on. I do also believe the passion and fire one puts into working out can fuel his/her writing as well--clears the head and improves everything--body, mind and spirit.

So, I guess I am advocating training like an athlete both in terms of stamina as a writer as well as in exercise to support and improve our writing life. Care to join me in this quest?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

Happy 4th of July! Wishing you all a wonderful day as we celebrate our great nation's independence.

Monday, June 28, 2010


In the daily meditation passage I read today in WALING ON ALLIGATORS: A BOOK OF MEDITATIONS FOR WRITERS, Susan Shaughnessy suggests that "stamina is the difference between writers and dabblers." She discusses how athletes and musicians have innate gifts but require stamina to be successful. She makes such a valid point in suggesting that "the need for work and stamina is accepted in almost every pursuit except writing." We, as writers, must take our innate talents, couple them with good, old fashioned effort and stamina to be a "real writer" if that is the path that we chose--or for many of us (I know for myself), the path that chooses us. Shaughnessy closes with these words..."I will accept the need to write steadily, even through difficult stretches. I am in training for the work I want to do."

Let's train like athletes, practice like musicians and produce the words the world wants to read.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bylines Inspiration

Do you own the Bylines 2010 Writer's Desk Calendar? I do and really love reading the messages from authors as I turn a new page each week. This week, I found particular inspiration from Jane Wenham-Jones. If you've not seen this calendar, it is a weekly planner for writers. As one turns each page, the left page is an author interview; the right, the weekly calendar. This week, the featured author was Jane Wenham-Jones. She spoke about writing when there seems to be no time. The words that really hit me were the following:

"I say if you wait until you've got the time to write, you never will have. However busy you are with kids, jobs and families, if you really want to do it, you just have to write anyway."

So true, so true. An author at a recent writer's conference I attended spoke of the same. Don't wait for the big blocks of time. They just don't happen. Writers write. We just need to do it. Now!

So, now, today, tomorrow and each day forward, let us all commit to want to do it and to do it. Each and every day. Even if it is only 15 minutes at a crack!

If you want to learn more about Jane Wenham-Jones, go to To learn more about or purchase a Bylines Writer's Desk Calendar, go to

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Muse Online Conference

For the first time this year, I've registered for the Muse Online Writers Conference this October. I'm told it is highly beneficial and enlightening and am very much looking forward to participating. I just received an email stating the registration deadline is August 15th and thought I'd pass that information along to you in case you are interested and have not yet registered. After August 16 until September, there will be a $5 late registration fee. Here is the registration link if you are interested:

Join me in this year's conference. I don't think you'll regret it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I read a great quote a day or so ago in Trent Steele's Smart Writers Newsletter (go to for more information).

The quote read..."Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it." Irving Berlin

As many of you who read my blog know, I have been frustrated with the direction I've been taking my writing life, or lack thereof as it is, in recent weeks. Reading this quote spurred an a-ha moment for me. I get so caught up in the whole of my to-do list that I have difficulty chipping away as I have time. It is kind of that all-or-nothing mentality I get when there is a large bag of M&Ms staring me in the face! If I can't have/do it all, I don't want to have/do any. Not such a good way to go about things--writing or chocolate, for that matter:-) So, as I've just committed to my dear friend and critique partner, Donna, I've resolved to commit 15 minutes a day to writing. In the chaos that reigns supreme in the summer, I feel that is very doable and will, hopefully, lead to more a day. But, if I can achieve that first 15, I'll feel I've at least accomplished something and be in a better frame of mind for the remainder of the day.

So, for me, the what (10%) I make of my writing life and the how (90%) I take it will combine to form a whopping 100+% productive and positive writing life. After all, persistence pays! How about you...any thoughts on the above quote and how it applies to you? I'd love to hear your feedback.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I am finishing the book WALKING ON ALLIGATORS: A BOOK OF MEDITATIONS FOR WRITERS and saw this quote this morning...

"One of the marks of a gift is to have the courage of it." Katherine Anne Porter

The accompanying meditation talks of making "excuses for deferring the exercise of our talents" and how life, education and family duties can multiply and pull us away from our work. We cannot let it. "There is no other way to write...start now...each day...your gift will grow in proportion as you exercise it...your courage will grow in proportion as you feed it."

Here are the final words to the meditation. I am repeating them to myself over and over today and encourage you to do the same.

"Today, I will write. I will put writing first. I will begin a habit, and watch my courage grow."

Off you go...good luck and happy writing!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I've spoken before of Suzanne Lieurance and The Morning Nudge. Her daily words to inspire and motivate are a constant source of wisdom and guidance, and I strongly encourage you all to subscribe.

In today's Morning Nudge, she talks of distractions and working through them. Given the extent of all the distractions around me currently as we wrap up the school year and move into the chaos of summer, I found it particularly helpful. But the other thing she talked of this morning is something I believe many of us battle at times. It is the notion that family and friends "often just don't get it when it comes to your writing." Very well said, Suzanne! She goes on to say...

"They just don't understand how serious you are--or want to be--about your work." She talks about not letting them "pull you away from your writing" and being "nice, but firm, when it comes to family and friends" so as not to be pulled away from your writing. I think it is probably difficult to "get it" if you are not a writer and trying to make it as a writer; however, I know, for me, it can be frustrating and defeating to deal with that kind of attitude from others. How do you deal with it in your writing life?

Monday, May 10, 2010


As I sat here contemplating the state of my day and where to begin, I saw something I printed out last week and highlighted. I was feeling sorry for myself as there is so much I need to do around the house that is going to eat into my writing time today, but I can't seem to get focused enough to tackle any writing projects without first tackling the chaos around me. The dust bunnies are out of control and multiplying like guppies; sheets need to be washed; piles of laundry have accumulated from a weekend softball tournament; bags need to be unpacked from the same--you get the idea! I pulled out my pile of writing projects to work on and saw one of the motivational pieces from last week that I received as part of Suzanne Lieurance's The Morning Nudge Club titled "It's All About Focus." What I have highlighted is this..."There will ALWAYS be something that eats up your writing time if you let it." So true, so true! Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a way today to get focused on my writing without first attempting to get some organization in the chaos around me. I am going to succumb to that need in hopes of having more time to get focused on my writing the rest of the week. This is a delicate balance for writers when "work" is in the home. Some days I seem better able to put my blinders on so to speak and ignore the things that need to be done around me. Some days, I can't. I guess this is one of those. How do you manage the balance?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Writing for Children

I am currently reading Barbara Seuling's HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S BOOK AND GET IT PUBLISHED which has been a great help in the writing process of my most recent WIP (a PB for young children).

It seems I am confronted every day, in one way or another, by someone who does not understand nor take the time to try to understand the process or desire to write for children. As I was flipping through the book this morning to see how much I've read and where I need to pick up now, I saw a quote from the beginning of the book I had highlighted. It reads as follows:

"You have to write whatever it is that wants to be written. And then, if it's going to be too difficult for grown-ups, you write it for children." Madeleine L' Engle

These wise words are very inspiring to me and give me hope that what we all, as children's authors, work so hard to do each and every day is not for naught. So, for any of you out there facing frustration from those not understanding your burning desire to write for children or thinking it is a piece of cake to do, take heart--we are not alone in our desire to do so and know full well the struggle, time and effort it takes to get each word just right! I, for one, celebrate you for your efforts. Keep it up!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring SCBWI Conference Continued

As promised, I'm back to discuss the remaining presenters at the recent Spring SCBWI Dakotas Conference.

First up, Chris Richman, an agent with Upstart Crow Literary. Chris is actively building his list and is interested in MG and YA fiction with strong commercial hooks, standout voices and plots that grab him and refuse to let go. Chris enjoys working with debut writers and, per his report, loves "dark fantasy" so go for it if any of you out there have something for him. You can find submission guidelines on the Upstart Crow Literary website at Chris' presentation discussed pitching your novel, and he really promoted making your query work for your project and targeting the right people. He said that although a pitch is important, strong writing is a must..."You have to stand out--that's the bottom line."

Lindsay Schlegel, an editor with Simon and Schuster who works with the Atheneum Books for Young Readers and Margaret K. McElderry Books Imprints, spoke about PBs: From Submission to Storytime. She stressed that "story trumps everything." Her presentation was very helpful, especially in terms of what to think about in the picture book process, namely rhyme and repetition, page turn and thinking visually. Unfortunately, Simon and Schuster Imprints are closed to unagented submissions with the exception of conference attendees (we get one unagented submission in the next six months--yippee!).

Chris Browne, illustrator and cartoonist of the syndicated comic strip Hagar the Horrible, and Chris Rylander, author of the MG novel THE FOURTH STALL scheduled for early 2011 release from HarperCollins, completed the panel.

While Chris Browne did not give a specific presentation, he was on the panel for the Question and Answer session as well as conducting informal critiques of art portfolios. I had the privilege of sitting at a table with Chris and thoroughly enjoyed his company and tales of his life and ancestors. He grew up in CT and lived for 28 years in FL. For the last three years, he and his wife have lived in SD about an hour from where I live. He is extremely funny and wonderfully talented, and I encourage you all to read Hagar the Horrible if you don't already.

Chris Rylander is the new Regional Advisor for the SCBWI Dakotas and organized a wonderful conference as you have read. Thank you, Chris; my hat is off to you for a job well done!

Monday, April 19, 2010

SCBWI Dakotas Spring Conference

As I said in a recent post, I just attended the fourth annual Spring SCBWI Dakotas Writers and Illustrators Conference. The presenters/faculty were as follows: Chris Richman, Agent with Upstart Crow Literary; Lindsay Schlegel, Editor with Simon and Schuster; Chris Browne, Illustrator and cartoonist of Hagar the Horrible; Rebecca Johnson, Author; and Chris Rylander, Author and Regional Advisor for the SCBWI Dakotas. All of the presenters shared great insight and useful information, and I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of the tidbits I gleaned from these awesome presentations.

First off was Rebecca Johnson. She amazed me! Rebecca is an award-winning author of more than 75 books for young children, young adults and adults on diverse scientific subjects, most recently about the new organisms discovered during the Census of Marine Life, a 10-year global survey of ocean life.

Rebecca's research has taken her to far-flung parts of the world--into the heart of Antarctica, for example, and to New Zealand to study one of the world's most rare birds, the Kakapu.

Rebecca's involvement in the Census of Marine Life led to her newest book to be released in May 2010, Journey Into the Deep. Make yourself a note to get your copy at Amazon or Lerner if you are a science lover, or even if you're not. The marine life discovered for the first time ever are incredible. Rebecca shared a sneak peak of the photos used in the book at the conference. They are truly incredible! Words cannot even describe how cool are the Barrel-Eyed Fish with it's transparent head and huge, green eyes that rotate; the Ping Pong Ball Sponge and the Swimming Sea Cucumber. This is truly a book not to miss. Rebecca had just learned the day prior to the conference that Journey Into the Deep is a Junior Library Guild Selection. Much congrats to you, Rebecca. This honor is greatly deserved!

From a technical/professional writer standpoint, Rebecca shared so many words of wisdom, most notable to me was, "write what you love...write what you know." This is so true. If we aren't excited about our writing, how are we to encite excitement in the reader and a desire to pick up and read our work?

In a separate breakout session, Rebecca discussed finding time to write and using it. She suggested we figure out what we are spending our time on and cut back on, or eliminate, time zappers. I found this profound--"Perfection is the enemy of good." Perfection is my nemesis!

Rebecca also suggested we find our "zone," or time we are most able to write, and do nothing but write when in the zone. One other tidbit I found inspiring was, "Stop waiting for the BIG CHUNKS of time--they're not going to come." I am so guilty of this and need to learn to set small goals that are accomplishable and stop throwing in the towel on the days when the "big chunk" of time doesn't appear.

Per Rebecca, if you choose the writing life, "write daily...commit....choose it whole-heartedly...decide now to be one of those writers." What profound yet simple words!

I think that is enough for today. I thank you for letting me ramble on but know there are many of you out there that can benefit from Rebecca's sage advice. I know I am better for it!

I'll blog about the remaining presenters in my next post. I hope you enjoyed reading about Rebecca's presentation. She is truly inspiring both as a person and an author.

Monday, April 12, 2010

SCBWI Dakotas

This past weekend, I attended the regional SCBWI Dakotas Writers and Illustrators Conference in Sioux Falls, SD. The presenters were amazing with much information gained by all. The networking opportunities with publishing professionals were wonderful as well. Members of the faculty included Chris Richman, Agent with Upstart Crow Literary; Lindsay Schlegel, Editor with Simon and Schuster; Chris Browne, Illustrator and cartoonist of the syndicated comic strip Hagar the Horrible; Rebecca Johnson, Author; Chris Rylander, Author and Regional Advisor for the SCBWI Dakotas. Stay tuned for more to come about these wonderful presenters and the insightful information and tips shared by them.

Monday, April 5, 2010


"Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right." Henry Rod

I read this today in Walking on Alligators: A Book of Meditations for Writers by Susan Shaughnessy. It reminded me of something my aunt used to tell me--think you can, think you can't; either way, you're right. It is so true. The power of belief is a strong and daunting force in what one will or will not accomplish on any given day. I know it is for me. If I believe I am going to have a productive day, I am much more likely to accomplish what I set out to accomplish. If I believe I am going to have a fairly unproductive day, that belief typically holds true as well.

How about you? What do you believe you can acomplish today?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Thinking Traps

Do you receive The Morning Nudge from Suzanne Lieurance? If not, you really ought to give careful consideration to doing so. I've been receiving my "daily nudge" for a few weeks now and have found it of great benefit. In a recent message, Suzanne talked about "thinking new thoughts." She said,

"Replace old, worn-out thoughts that are keeping you in the same spot each day with new, more productive thoughts--thoughts that will help you move ahead to get what you WANT to have in life, instead of staying right where you are."

These words were such a lightbulb for me. Sometimes what we know is not always so clear until someone puts it into words so prolifically. Suzanne offers guidance, support and help to writers of all caliber. Check out her website and get your "morning nudge!"

You can find her at:

You will be glad you did--I know I am!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Best Laid Plans

Today, I woke and started the day with such enthusiasm. I had my to-do list very well in order and knew exactly what I was going to tackle first, next, and so on. Then...kaboom! The day went to hell in a hand basket.

My humidifer had a problem and had caused water in the basement on the weekend, so I had to suck up water, call the repairman and deal with him this morning. In the midst of this process, I got the first call from the school about a sick kid needing to be picked up. I got her home and organized for a nap and then had to tackle the nasty sewer smell in our house--which I started to strongly feel was contributing to the sick kids as, by this time, I had gotten a second call to pick up another of my kids in the office not feeling well. Between sick kids, the repairman, the plumber and being on the phone for hours attempting to set up a new satellite receiver (our old one crashed to the floor last week when we were preparing our house to be painted), my writing day was shot--over and over and over again!

It took a while but, per the advice of a dear friend (thank you, Donna!), I tried to stop feeling sorry for myself and just go with the interruptions. I'm hoping for much better things to come tomorrow. What do you do when life gets in your way? I'd love to hear how you re-coup.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Creating Characters

Jan Field's is always filled with an abundance of great information. I found the following today as I was reading:


Storytellers: Character Creation
By Jan Fields

Most stories for young people have one main character, the protagonist. Longer forms, such as novels, can handle two main characters and sometime when an author is attempting to capture an old-fashioned voice (in a novel), you’ll even find the story jumps from head to head of many characters. However, it takes room to make those things work and magazines stories are short and tight – which is why you see single main characters in almost all magazine stories.

Jan's article is filled with great suggestions on creating characters depending on age level. To read the rest of this article or explore, go to

Monday, March 8, 2010

Get Acquainted With Your Subconscious

A few weeks ago, I spoke of the odd moments of feelings or thoughts that would pop into my mind every now and again. These subconscious flashes of something have gone on for years with me. It took a very long time to consider them as something positive to cultivate into a story.

In the February 2010 issue of Writer's Digest, Kelly L. Stone, author and mental health counselor, talks of "waking up that subconscious." In an interview in this issue, she discusses the power of the subconscious when it comes to writing and says, "Learning to access your subconscious greatly enhances your creativity because whereas the conscious mind is limited and can attend to only one thing at a time, the subconcious mind operates independently from your conscious mind's field of attention."

I'm going to do my best to allow my subconscious free reign and see where it takes me--hopefully to a major case of writer's cramp because the words are flowing freely! I believe a good start will be to read Kelly L. Stone's book, Thinking Write: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind.

How about you? As the article states, "...Can the unknown corridors of your mind be hidden pathways to creativity?"

Monday, March 1, 2010

Just Do It

I was catching up on some blog reading today and read the following on Alice Pope's, Alice's CWIM Blog:

"Not to get all Nike on you, but if you want a career as a writer, it's not going to happen unless you just do it."

It was another aha moment for me. I've been spending so much time preparing to write, catching up on market research magazines, getting organized, etc. that my actual butt-in-chair writing time has been slim. So, I've been trying to use every opportunity and few spare minutes wisely. I spent time yesterday trying to get organized, so I could hit the road running Monday morning. If I have a block of 15 or 20 minutes, I'm trying to use it to write rather than read or plan something to write. I am seeing the benefits already--a PB idea and wording hit me in the shower this morning and my daughter brought me a piece of paper and pencil to jot it down before I lost it!

I hope you all have a very inspiring week and are able to "just do it." I know I'm going to give it my best.

You can find Alice Pope's wise words at:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rules for Writing Fiction

Here is a wonderful list of "rules" for writing fiction--or non-fiction, for that matter. It was sent to me by a writer in my regional SCBWI group, Jane Heitman Healy, and is well worth a read. I was LOL at some as I have been known to use my arm or hand if needed in a given moment of inspiration with no paper handy!

Here is the link:

You may also check out Jane's blog at:

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Inner Demons

For years, I thought I was an insensitive freak, not caring for anyone or anything. I'd get these flashes--some horrible trouble or catastrophe for myself or someone I love. I'd look hard within myself, wondering how I could be such a cold-blooded monster to even be thinking something like that. Now, I've started I battling inner demons or, as I choose to see it, is it my writer's imagination or intuition giving me ideas from which to form stories to tell the world? Perhaps, I've missed my calling and should be pursuing the mystery/suspense genre rather than writing for children! Or, most likely, I've lots of stories across many genres perculating around my brain just begging to be told. I look forward to the process of seeing where these flashes take me.

As Sarah Gilbert says in Walking on Alligators,

"You've got to be smart enough to write, and stupid enough not to think about all the things that might go wrong."

If any of you out there have ever experienced the same, I'd love to hear how you've channeled those flashes into something productive.

Monday, February 8, 2010


I read something beautiful today. It was in Walking on Alligators: A Book of Meditations for Writers but could apply to many areas of life.

"In today already walks tomorrow." Samuel Taylor Coleridge

What an amazing concept. In the chaos of life and all the daily chores and activities, it is easy to lose sight of what is important and the process by which everything happens. Focus on today and thereby "let tomorrow into your life." In your writing, open your eyes and heart to what you are creating today as it will "shape tomorrow." I know I have to sort through the to-do piles, turn off the inner thoughts that hound me about what is yet to be accomplished and just focus on today and what I am writing now as "in today already walks tomorrow." What a motivation to write and create today!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Just Write

Continuing on with my post from last week and my attempt to just write before addressing any other items to do, the next hurdle becomes how to "just write."

Do you write and write and write and then go back to edit later as is the common belief in what one should do? Or, do you get easily caught up in the process of fixing as you go?

I continue to find inspiration in the daily meditations found in Walking on Alligators to which I refer very frequently. Here is what I read today..."To fret about what you are writing is not writing. It is editing, and editing can come later...For now, just write."

I try to write my first draft longhand on a yellow legal pad and just free write. It makes it easier to not go back and get caught up in the scrutinizing of each word as I go. It does seem to be helping me to "just write." How about you? Please share if you are so inclined.

Happy Groundhog Day!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What Is Writing?

"Writing can feel like writing and still not be writing."

I read this today in Walking on Alligators. I, very often, feel I am spending all this time on my writing when, in essence, I am spending so much time on all the writing related activities and very little on actual writing. Market research, blog writing and reading, email communication, etc., is all well and good (and necessary in its place), but I have nothing to submit to my researched markets and no platform to foster on my blog if I've not spent any time devoted solely to the physical writing process. This is an ongoing issue for me as I seem to tackle the easy to check off items on my list of things to do before I address the more lengthy ones. I'm thinking perhaps I need to just write each morning before I even look at my list. I'll be one step ahead of the game before I even get to work! If you have any words of wisdom to share on what works for you, I'd love to listen.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Optimistic Denial

As I was catching up on my reading this morning of some of the blogs I follow, I had a major aha moment. I've said it before, and I'll say it again...if you don't follow Kristi Holl's blog, Writers First Aid, you should. Kristi is very adept at blogging and providing good, solid advice and information. Here is what I read this morning:

“There’s no difference between a pessimist who says, ‘Oh, it’s hopeless, so don’t bother doing anything,’ and an optimist who says, ‘Don’t bother doing anything, it’s going to turn out fine anyway.’ Either way, nothing happens.” ~~Yvon Chouinard, climber

Kristi talked about optimism being realistic or a cover for denying a problem. I had never considered optimism in this light before and knew immediately that I have a lot of soul searching to do in terms of my own optimistic denial.

Thank you, Kristi, for opening my eyes yet again!

You can read more of Kristi's post as well as all of her others at:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Goal Setting

First and foremost, let me say Happy New Year! I am a bit slow this year in the goal setting realm which was reiterated quite clearly to me today as I was exploring the website. Here is what jumped out at me...

Get Going with Goals
By Jan Fields

January is a great time to look over what you accomplished in 2009 and work out ways to go a bit further in 2010. Did you get as much done in 2009 as you'd hoped? Probably not since most of us have higher hopes than we have time. But sometimes the problem occurs when you set your goals based on the actions of someone else other than yourself. We can hope or wish for things that involve other people, but goals need to be completely under our control.

Jan offers wonderful words of wisdom in her article. I encourage you all to go take a look at for great steps to goal setting, especially if you are a bit delayed as I am this year! I hope you find Jan's article as helpful as I did today.