Friday, July 06, 2007

Muse Review: How to Become a Famous Author Before You’re Dead

How to Become a Famous Author Before You’re Dead; Ariel Gore; Three Rivers Press; 2007; 265 pages; Trade Paper

I borrowed this book from the library for two reasons: 1) I heard Ariel Gore on the Writers on Writing podcast and she was a fun, engaging speaker. 2) How could you not like the title of this book?

The title sets the tone for the book which is casual with an anarchist streak. Her advice, presented in short, packed sections (most of which are no longer than 3 pages long), crackles with energy. She also supports her beliefs with quotes, details from the lives of other writers, and interviews with writers that she admires.

Ms. Gore shoots out of the gate with a roar, advising all writers to write at all costs, because as her inspiration for writing the book, her friend Alison Crews (who died of a seizure at age 23), never got the chance to do so. Here is some of her advice for the student who complains that she cannot find the time to write:

“If you don’t have time to write, stop answering the phone. Change your e-mail
address. Kill your television. If you don’t have a baby, have one. If you have a
baby, get a sitter. If you work too much, work more. If you don’t work enough,
work less. If there’s a problem, exaggerate it… The shock of the new—shake
yourself awake. There is only this moment, this night, this remembrance rolling
toward you from the distant past, this blank page, this inspiration yielding
itself to you. Will you meet it? You don’t need money and a room of your own, you need pen and paper…”

Within the Q&A style interviews with other authors, each of which ends with a writing assignment for the reader, Ms. Gore doles out a plethora of good advice. (Sorry, Ariel, the word might be stupid, but it is a fun way to say “a whole buncha.” Pleh-thuh-raa! Plethora. Don’tcha just love how it rolls off the tongue?) Many of the authors she interviewed encountered a lot of resistance from the traditional publishing industry and fought through it to become literary stars.

I think the best part about this book is that it radiates energy like you’d expect of a lit star. Every page crackles with impatience and raw willpower. Do it now. Don’t wait for tomorrow or someday. Do it now! The book jumps from chapters with practical writing advice (i.e. Write; Fight for Your Time; Get Your Heart Smashed, but Just Once or Twice), to the do’s and don’ts of publishing (i.e. Be Nice to Interns; How to Piss Off an Editor; Be an Anthology Slut) and to, of course, brazen guidelines for self promotion (i.e. Demolish Arrogance; Grab the Mic; Stand Out on the Corner in a Gorilla Mask and a Pink Tutu).

How to Be a Famous Writer... is as much about the business of writing as it is about the writing process. Without promotion, you can write works of utter brilliance that will be read by no one, so Ms. Gore encourages us (typically extremely introverted) writers to get out there and learn how to tap into our inner diva/lit star, or as she so cleverly puts it our “superhero alter ego,” and use it to help us produce work and share it with our audience in however we can.
This book is entertaining, offbeat and filled with inspirational advice. Check it out!

Rating: **** (Buy on Sale/Discounted)About Ratings: ***** -- Well Worth it at Full Retail Price; **** — Buy on Sale/Discounted; *** — Buy Used; ** — Borrow It from the Library; * — Waste of a Good Tree

Thursday, July 05, 2007

New Flash Writing column posted on

My latest Flash Writing column has been posted on It discusses the insideous ways of the inner critic or "monkey mind." Check it out.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Son Teaches the Father

The first week of June, we went on vacation and spent a couple of days in the Boston area. We saw some of the sights that the city has to offer. We took a Duck Tour, visited the Science Museum, the Boston Aquarium, and took a Swan Boat ride. But the most memorable and touching event of the vacation took place just inside the door of a subway stop near the Boston Commons.

A man sat in the entry to the subway station with ragged clothes matted wiry hair, and hands and face crusted with dirt. He croaked out to us as I hurried my children through the atrium, looking away from him. As we descended the steps to the turnstiles, Ben was pulling on my jacket… “Dad… DAD… that man needs help. We have to help him. I think he was missing an eye! Leah and Isaac jumped in, “Yeah, he looked kinda scary. What are we going to do?”

I slipped my hand into my pocket filled with a lot of loose change from the days travels and collected it all in my hand, maybe $2.00 worth of change, and asked Ben, “Do you really want to help him?”

“Yeah, Dad, we gotta help him,” so I handed Ben the change and said “Here, let’s give him this, it isn’t much, but maybe it can get him something to eat or something.”

Ben dashed back up the subway steps. Stood in front of the man, and said: “Here. I hope that this helps you,” and handed him a fistful of change.

“Thanks a lot, little guy, my name is Steven.”

“I’m Ben,” he replied, reaching out to shake his hand, just as I had taught him in Cub Scouts a couple of weeks earlier. The man’s dirty hand engulfed Ben’s tiny one and he shook it briefly.

“Thank you very much,” he said, “That is very nice of you.”

I stood a few steps away at the top of the subway steps looking at the man’s bright blue eyes (he wasn’t missing an eye after all) and feeling a mixture of shame of myself and extreme pride in my son for creating one of those moments that makes a lifetime memory out of an ordinary event. Feeling tears almost come to my eyes, but not quite getting there. And knowing a couple of facts for sure at that moment:

I think Ben would have given the man all of his birthday money at that moment if the thought would have occurred to him. I felt like I had almost failed as a parent and a role model by simply turning away, and hoping to shield my kids from a desperately poor person, maybe out of instinct or not wanting to answer any questions about the reasons why, which I may never know.

Maybe it was a deep seated greed that wanted to keep all of that spare change for myself, or the assumption that the money would be used for alcohol or drugs, and feeling justified at keeping the money myself, and not wanting to tell the kids that. But who knows for sure? It is not my place to question why a man asks for help, but that I should give it freely. And it took the son to be the role-model for the father to remember that lesson.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Muse Review: _Dead Until Dark_

OK. I read the description for this series in a Science Fiction Book Club magazine -- Dead in Dixie a compilation of the first three books in the Sookie Stackhouse (a great character name)/Southern Vampire Mysteries, and what's not to love? A cocktail waitress that can read minds, who also happens to be the girlfriend of a vampire. Not a vampire with some Gothic Eastern European name, or something snooty and suggestive of French aristocracy, but the name of Bill. Not William, but plain ol’ ordinary Bill.

This mystery series has developed an entire culture surrounding the “outing” of vampires. They exist in our world and the world has developed ways to help accommodate them by developing synthetic blood, and protecting vampires from being staked or drained of their blood, which has healing properties, and is quite valuable on the black market. Vampires are generally considered to be suffering from a disease, not merely that they are supernaturally undead, and some of them even try to integrate themselves into the culture of the living and trying to live the life of a “normal” human.

Sookie is unique because she can read minds, and most of the locals consider her to be crazy for this reason. The way Harris handles this special ability is a textbook example of how to establish rules and limits to a character’s special ability, in this case mind reading. Sookie has to actively try to block out the thoughts of others because they are disturbing to her, and even when she does open herself up to read another’s mind, the thoughts are often jumbled and self-absorbed, rarely providing any useful information to her, and this requires considerable energy concentrate to do this. So Harris can successfully maintain the suspense of the mystery that she has established by using these limitations to a special ability which you would think would spoil any mystery or secret that any character might have.

The story is told though the first person point-of-view, Sookie’s, and she uses it successfully to provide a lot of background info about the vampire culture without overdoing it. There is even an appearance by the “King of Rock-n-Roll.” Ever wonder why there are so many Elvis sightings? Well, Dead Until Dark has a creative explanation for it. This is a fun summer beach read if you’d like to enjoy an offbeat, different type of mystery.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Accepting Loss

Over vacation I did something that I have never done before. Well I did several things that I have never done before, I visited the top of the CN Tower "the tallest building in the world" (a fact that I need to look up to know for sure), took a “Duck Boat” tour on the Charles River in Boston (during a downpour, I might add), and nearly fried my laptop in a cooler leak that soaked the floor of our van when the ice melted (my laptop bag was nearest to the cooler). Fortunately, the inner pocket of the bag seemed to avoid getting too damp and the laptop was fine. Close call.

But the leather zipper binder that I’ve been using to hold my latest journal notebook that I’ve been keeping for the last 18 months or so (one of those cardboard-bound marble composition books) that I bought at the Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge a couple of years ago on a business trip is gone. I have no idea where it is or where I left it.

Part of me is convinced that there is no way that I’d ever leave it behind anywhere. Bury it in a pile of papers that need to be filed, yes. Stuff it under the pillows on top of the couch so Sarge won’t gnaw on it, sure. Accidentally kick it under the bed after tripping over a cat desperate for human contact after 9 days with only one 10-minute visit from a friend, absolutely… But leave it in a downtown Toronto hotel room? Not likely. Leave it on top of the Uplander while stuffing suitcases in the back of it along with all of the new gift shop treasures, Happy Meal toys, and debris from all of our stops along our journey from Ohio to Boston, then Boston to Western Massachusetts and Vermont, on up through New York to Niagara Falls on to Toronto and back to Ohio… well, maybe… I have left things on the roof of vehicles before, but mainly those have been limited to Super-sized orange drink and the occasional occupied children’s car seat (just kidding, DCFS).

But it hasn’t appeared in the chaos created by the unpacking and putting away of stuff, or after we cleaned out the van. I offered the kids 2 shiny quarters to whoever finds it (this is surprisingly still a big motivator for them at these ages), and upped the ante with a paddle ball that Microsoft mailed me this week for some reason (apparently they think that I’m some big internet freelance writing mogul or something), and still no dice. I called the last two hotels that we stayed at to see if anyone found it and turned it in. Nope.

I have never lost a journal or writing notebook before, mainly due to a deep-seated paranoia about just such a thing happening. Not because I fill them with all my dark secrets and local scandals that would warp the space-time continuum, but because I’m always going to wonder if I wrote something brilliant in there that would lead to a best-selling novel or life-changing insight.

I've had a hard time getting writing again on the hope that it will appear… I hate to leave a notebook unfilled, but I think I have to get over it and start a new notebook

I still have this nagging feeling that it is around here somewhere… even though we cleaned out the entire van, emptied all the suitcases and shopping bags of treasures, and begun scouring the less likely places: Under couches, in toilet tanks, and behind . I’ve even considered getting Sarge’s belly x-rayed to make sure that he didn’t devour it in retaliation for leaving him at a kennel for duration of the trip, but I think he is just too happy to see us to hold a grudge… and ecstatic about getting to bark at the mailman, the gas meter reader lady, the garbage truck guys, and of course terrorizing the UPS guy and any bicyclist or jogger who happens to offend him by running on HIS road in front of HIS house… go figure.

I think I need to up the ante again for the kids to 3, no 4 shiny quarters as the reward for finding it… that should do it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Topic Tuesday III: At World's End

Arrrrrr! Me hearties... time for a themed Topic Tuesday... now get back to work or I'll have ye swabbin' the poop deck...
  • Scallywag
  • Blow the man down
  • Broadside
  • Booty
  • Rope's end
  • skull-and-crossbones
Check out the definitions of these terms and more or I'll send ye to the hempen halter. Arrrrr!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Provocative Phrase Friday Strikes Back

With a thirst for vengeance, we present these phrases to you...

  • And yet only in the...
  • And just like that...
  • He kicked through the wall...
  • It's fatal...
  • But it's not as big...
  • All through your life...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Topic Tuesday 2: Electric Boogaloo

Maybe this has been voted one of the worst sequels ever... or maybe not... but isn't the word "Boogaloo" just fun to say?
  • The value of
  • Pop-cultural sensation
  • Triggers
  • The whole forest
  • No longer talk about
  • Spellbinding

Friday, May 11, 2007

Provocative Phrase Friday: A New Hope

A new hope that I'll actually keep up with posting new phrases every Friday... wish me luck...

  • You've never seen it...
  • I was just hoping...
  • We'll work with you...
  • So, the sooner you start...
  • It was hard leaving...
  • The thief also ignored...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Return of the Topic Tuesday

We're back... Try these on for size:
  • Riveting
  • Assassin
  • Teenagers
  • Shed some light
  • Planning for "if"
  • Hollywood

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Dan Simmons on Writing Well

Last week I listened to Kasey Kovar’s interview with Dan Simmons, one of my favorite authors. Simply put: He is brilliant. He writes across all genres. Science fiction: the Hyperion Cantos, the series of Nebula and Hugo award winning books. His first book, The Song of Kali won the World Fantasy Award. Let’s not forget his horror fiction. Carrion Comfort and Summer of Night are books that Stephen King wished he wrote. He also put the “hard” into hard-boiled detective fiction with his Joe Kurtz novels: Hardcase, Hard Freeze and Hard as Nails.

As a former gifted English teacher, he is well-read and is not afraid to use the entire range of world literature and history as both inspiration for and as part of the story itself. His latest effort is The Terror, a blend of historical and horror fiction based on the ill-fated Arctic expedition of Sir John Franklin in 1845. If you haven’t read any of his work before, do it now. Simmons work will be read alongside of classic literature in the decades and centuries in the future.

On his website, he has a series of articles on writing that are must-reads: Writing Well. They are long, dense and packed with great insights on his writing process and good advice about the back-breaking mental work of writing. Check them out at:

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Walter Mosley's Address

Saw Walter Mosley’s keynote address at the Columbus State Community College Writers Conference this evening. I sat next to Gail, one of my all time favorite students, who I haven’t seen in a while and we listened to Mr. Mosley speak. He said that you simply must write every day, 7 days a week, 90 minutes a day. If you don’t feel like writing or nothing comes, sit there until it does. He writes three hours a day when he first gets up in the morning. This seems to be the most consistent habit of all successful writers: to write every single day of the week, preferably on a regular schedule, at the same time every day (usually first thing in the morning) at a time when you are at your best.

Gail told me afterwards that I should be proud that I am teaching the techniques that successful, best-selling authors use every day. That too much education can get in the way of telling a good story. (Fact: Homer was blind and illiterate.) That writing is done largely in the unconscious mind and all a writer has to do is transcribe what it tells you, but you need to be sitting there at the appointed time to hear what it has to say. That showing is almost always better than telling. That too many people get hung up on the things that they don’t know or don’t think that they know, such as grammar or spelling, or how to do some sort of technical thing correctly. It is almost always total bunk. Excuses for not getting your ass in the chair and getting back to work.

I forget to practice what I preach sometimes. Time for me to remember.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Making Writing Space Sacred

Friday was a work-at-home day, where I come out to the office in my unattached garage (one of the biggest selling points when we bought the place over a decade ago) and had a great day. I had one of those days at work where you are working fast, slashing things off your to do list in a fugue state, and the next thing I knew it was 5pm and the day was over. One of the things on my list: Writing practice. And I just didn’t get around to it. I decided, well, I can take a break after my productive day, and do this after dinner, then it was right before bedtime, and then I was too tired. A typical scenario for me.

In fact, I even gave myself a break from the 2-a-day practice regimen that I had been doing fairly well with when I’m in my office in Columbus (one session in the morning about 10am and another either during lunch or around 3pm) knowing that I don’t do as well with the writing sessions at home. But I never asked myself why I couldn’t find the time to write here on the days when I have additional time gained by saving 90 minutes each day from not driving to work.

I opened the office door yesterday morning the urge to start anew, , sat down, and blanked out. There was too much stuff in the way. No room to pull out the notebook and write. Lots of notes, business cards, word tickets, and receipts scattered everywhere. Elvira had knocked over my pencil cups, and there wasn’t any clear space available on the large surface of my desk to work. Books had migrated to the desk surface when they ran out of space on my writing bookshelf. My paper tray, which was supposed to only be devoted to projects I am currently working on, was piled high with papers that I knew I needed to do something with, but didn’t know what, so I threw them in there to make a decision later.

So instead of picking up a pen or turning on the laptop, what did I do? I cleared off the desk. I threw everything off it. Then I got a little Fantastik and wiped off all the dust, crumbs and cat hair. I reorganized the books on my writing bookcase, removing those that could be on another bookshelf, and moved the books that had landed on my desk back up onto the shelf where they belonged. About 2 hours later, the desk had been cleaned, the shelves reorganized, papers sorted, and the area works better for me now. The resistance I feel toward sitting down and getting started is almost gone (it never truly goes away completely). So the time investment for reorganizing my work area was worth it.

Atmosphere is very important when writing. Disorganization is distracting. Not having the tools you need, such as pens, notebooks, reference materials, etc. on-hand and easy-to-find is also distracting. Constant interruptions, same thing. Sometimes the disorganization alone rips away your focus from your work. It reminds you about all of the other things that need to be done; The drywall work in the master bathroom, the pantry that needs to be cleaned, and all of the paper that you need to review and file.

Writers need to make our writing time sacred, and the place where we write a sanctuary from all that is not about the work.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Return of Provacative Phrase Friday!!!

Six new Provacative Phrases, freshly culled from the first 50 pages of an October issue of last year's New Yorker:
  • Why don't we go on a...
  • I wish I were a...
  • Say, buddy, how about...
  • Technically speaking, it is beautiful.
  • I thought you might like to know...
  • Her mantra became...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Do as I say, not as I do…

Sometimes, I can be such a total tool. I have not 1, but 2 blogs and don’t keep up with either one of them… I tell everyone to write and haven’t done much of it the last couple of months, so at least for the month of February and most of March, I’m haven’t been a writer.

We are adopting another child and due to some changes in the way the country we selected processes the adoptions, we’ve been going 212 miles-per-hour on filling out forms, getting physicals from primary care physicians, specialists. Blood tests, urine screening, eyesight tests, hearing tests, and tests, tests, tests. Then there is the cleaning and organizing the house for the dreaded “home-study,” a safety inspection (to confirm that we are not keeping a 5 foot-long alligator in the bathtub) and a fire inspection (with a real, live Fire Captain from the local fire department). I had my boss complete and notarize an employment letter that certified that I am indeed employed, insured and otherwise not a deadbeat of an individual… but he then had to go to the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office to have the letter certified, and paying a $6 fee before sending it back to me. Francesco is has been extremely understanding and not many bosses would do these types of things for an employee so I am indeed fortunate.

I’ve been a chauffer, a maid, a paperwork-aholic, a tired, web-surfing idiot. And I’m tired of making excuses to myself and you. Spring is here, the Seasonal-Affective-Disorder has faded… (Note: I have not been diagnosed with this, I just kind of feel BLAH in the late winter months in general.)

I have put myself back on the writing conditioning program where I am currently doing “2-a-days,” at least two 15-minute writing practice sessions a day, plus project work. These are not unlike those scorching, mid-August, football practices to get the team back into big-game condition. My writing muscles are flabby. The callous on my pen holding finger has softened, and my carpal tunnel has never been better. So I need to get back to work.

I want you to do as I do, not do as I say you should do. I want to make you all to be proud of me…

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Muse Review: 78 Reasons Why Your Book...

Been doing a ton of reading lately and I have a lot of reviews to catch up on posting here:

78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published and 14 Reasons Why It Just Might by Pat Walsh; Penguin; (Paperback); 2005 ; 224 pages

This book was recommended by Lisa Cron of the Angela Rinaldi Agency at the Columbus Writers Conference last August, and it gives you another inside view of what editors/agents go through when getting endless manuscripts from readers and lists the reasons why the book won’t be published. Walsh’s sarcastic wit keeps the book light and entertaining while still managing to dish out some good information. You can feel the frustration and the disappointment that he, as one of the founding editors of MacAdam/Cage, went through every day when digging into the endless mountains of paper. Writers make stupid mistakes, and seem to make the same ones over and over again, and 78 Reasons, is Walsh’s attempt to tell the aspiring writers the cold hard truths of the publishing industry, but maybe we can’t HANDLE the truth such as Walsh’s reason number 38…

We do not like the truth because it is simple, we do not want the truth
because it is hard, and we do not trust the truth because it is free.
(pp. 86)

The book is an enjoyable, quick read filled with good information, but as you might imagine with 78 reasons to cover, none of them are covered in great detail. The book would definitely get a higher rating if it spent a little time discussing specific ways of fixing some of the problems by providing some writing exercises or resources, but it does not.

Here is one more enjoyable snippet from Walsh before I end this review:

Preaching stinks up the page like ripe fish and makes the editor’s and
agent’s job of rejecting a book quick and easy. Unlike most writing problems, it
cannot be fixed because the book is almost always built around the
problem. The book doesn’t make a point; the point is made into a book.

Although this book isn’t quite what I’d consider to be preachy, it teeters near the pulpit, and the 14 reasons don’t quite balance out the 78 that came before it. It is enjoyable, but not that memorable.

Rating: ** (Borrow It from the Library)

About Ratings: ***** -- Well Worth it at Full Retail Price; **** — Buy on Sale/Discounted; *** — Buy Used; ** — Borrow It from the Library; * — Waste of a Good Tree

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Topic Tuesday

  • Crave
  • Destroy each other
  • Light-pollution
  • That sounds right
  • Working on the fundamentals
  • The queen of

Friday, January 12, 2007

Provocative Phrase Friday

  • There are a few places...
  • One after another…
  • This is going to be fun…
  • I thought I was going to lose her…
  • So why wouldn’t you…
  • This is where we stay...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Two for Tuesday

Since I forgot to post the Provocative Phrases for Provocative Phrase Friday last week, I’m giving you both on one day. Try these:

Provocative Phrases:

  • When two cars collided…
  • Wanna have some fun?
  • We just want to…
  • What you learned…
  • 10% of the time…
  • Don’t you see?

Topic Tuesday:

  • Lightning reaction
  • Me too
  • On the town
  • Reality bites
  • Golden

Monday, January 01, 2007

My Slacker Year

At the end of December I inevitably begin taking an inventory of my accomplishments for the year, and look forward to the upcoming year and this year I realized a few things:

I didn’t achieve crap. I didn’t make any formal resolutions. I didn’t put together a marketing plan for my writing projects complete with assignments, projects and tasks. I didn’t set any goals on how much income I should generate from my writing endeavors (from teaching classes, selling books and JumpStart Jars).

I didn’t complete that second book, or begin aggressively marketing the JumpStart Jars, or expand the scope of them in any significant way. I haven’t updated the website in quite some time and the blogs… Well, neither Grist for the Muse nor the 15-Minute Writer has been touched in almost two months now.

I didn’t even read a lot this year, unless you count superhero graphic novels and audio books. I haven’t been sending Grist for the Muse on time (supposedly the last Wednesday of every month or the first Wednesday of the month, depending on my whim) on a regular basis, sometimes even skipping months just because I didn’t get around to putting it together on time. I haven’t made efforts to expand my readership of it either. My email is in shambles, my address is choked with SPAM for approved loan requests, endless false bounced addresses usually advertising some penny stock that is guaranteed to take off TODAY, and I haven’t figured out how to curtail this within my web-based email account.

My master bathroom renovation, started back in July, is still not yet finished. On the third attempt to properly install vinyl floor tile, I think that I have at last succeeded, but the walls are still stripped down to drywall, and we only have a working toilet and (hopefully later today) a new working sink in the bathroom. The new shower base is propped up against the back wall of the bathroom and the shower stall walls still sit on my front porch, next to the front door. I have storage tubs of summer clothes piled up in the hallway, awaiting their trip up to the attic for storage. I have a woodstove that isn’t drawing air properly, so it is not heating our house with any sort of efficiency, and in fact seems to be generating a huge amount of creosote, making it dangerous. I haven’t changed the oil on the lawnmower for over a year. I haven’t yet taught my kids how to play Risk.

Those of you who know me well will be SHOCKED by this revelation, but it is true nevertheless. I haven’t been doing my writing practice. I probably completed less than 50 wide-ruled notebook pages of it the entire year. Yes, I am breaking the very rule that I beg all of my students to follow. Do writing practice, if not every day, at least do it five days a week. And the result of it shows… I am slow to get started with my writing, when I do it, it is harder and it takes longer to pull a decent draft out of me. I frequently forget how much I love to write and I am crankier in general because I haven’t been doing it on a regular basis. I feel guilty about it. I feel like a hypocrite. A fraud. A slacker.

I forget that I decided to help coach Isaac’s soccer team, because the man who was supposed to coach was called up to serve in Iraq. I forget that the finished bathroom will be a considerable improvement over the lime-green carpeting, the leaky, rust-stained, mustard-colored shower stall with matching toilet and sink. I forget that I can’t help that I’m a home-improvement retard who isn’t even qualified to shop for myself at Lowes. I forget that I completed an outline of, and most of a proposal for, my next book, The 15-Minute Writer: How to Achieve Your Creative Writing Dream in 15 Minutes a Day. I forgot that I finally completed the Fabulous Fiction JumpStart Jar, which has turned out to be the most popular jar of them all, but most of all… I forget to be forgiving. Not only of others, but myself as well.

For writers forgiveness is essential. You are going to have days where life is going to get in the way. You may have an urgent project at work that requires extra attention, or a friend that needs help putting in a new picture window in his atrium, or a tree that falls down in your yard that needs to be cut into pieces to haul them off. You are going to catch the flu and not feel well enough to do anything, especially write for a couple of weeks. And you may have a month, or two, or three where time just gets away from you, and you are not quite sure where it went, and you can choose to feel guilty about it, call yourself names: loser, dreamer, slacker, and you can criticize yourself, questioning your desire, your dedication, and your skills, or you can wipe the slate clean, forgive yourself, and pick up a pen and start all over again. That’s what I did yesterday. I sat down and wrote this rambling reflection of 2006, and began drafting a plan to make 2007 more focused and productive.

So if you haven’t been living up to your writing potential and still are punishing yourself for it, time to let go of it and start fresh, and what better way to start fresh with a brand new year? I’m drafting all of my resolutions right now and I will post them here when I have cleaned them up and decided which ones are realistic. One of them is to post to this blog more often and make it work, so stay tuned.


Topic Tuesday

Time to get back on track with the Topic Tuesdays... try one out!

  • Most secret
  • Whimsical
  • Meant to be
  • Tartly
  • Circumstances
  • Fire up