Friday, December 28, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Turning Worst Moments Into Money

"Writing is turning one's worst moments into money." - J. P. Donleavy


In case you haven't noticed, I've been through some pretty heavy trauma lately. I'm not going to air the details publicly, but let's just say it's been awful. Please don't feel sorry for me. I've lived through a lot of horrible stuff in my life and I'm still here. Which reminds me of the above quote. I heard it for the first time from author Joan Bauer a few years ago. She and I chatted about not just being survivors, but being overcomers. At the time, I was working on a project that dealt with my worst moments. I still haven't turned that project into money, but I'm hopeful that it will one day earn me a boatload of cold hard cash. The best revenge.

So what do you think? Do you hope your writing will turn your worst moments into money?

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Journal Therapy

"Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers."--Isaac Asimov 

Writers write. But sometimes life events make it hard to write. So what can a writer do? Journal. Think through the fingers. Many writers journal every day. I've been out of the habit for quite some time. I am back in the habit. 

Do you journal every day?

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Arizona Bound

Going Home
Tomorrow I hit the road and head home to Flagstaff, Arizona. Twenty-two years ago I made this same journey at this same time of year. I fell in love with this mountain town and fell in love in this mountain town. Though I return with a heavy heart, I know my beautiful alpine home will embrace me and fill me with the warmth and healing I need right now.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Make 'em Laugh

"Do you think that all children's books ought to have funny bits in them?" Miss Honey asked.
"I do," Matilda said. "Children are not so serious as grown-ups and they love to laugh."
--From Roald Dahl's Matilda

Do you agree with Miss Honey and Matilda? Should all children's books include some humor? Roald Dahl is a favorite author of mine, mainly because of the outrageous humor in his stories. I don't know about you, but I can definitely use a few "funny bits" in the books I'm reading right now. 

What are your favorite funny books?

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing--SURPRISE!

Last Sunday night I thought a transformer exploded in our backyard. I rushed to the window and saw this:

"But wait. It's not July," I mused. "What's going on?"
An amazing surprise!
I rushed to the radio so I could have music to accompany the awesome display.
And I heard Casey Kasem counting down the top hits of the week.
#12 on the list--Linda Ronstadt's Blue Bayou.
"But wait. It's not 1977," I mused. "What's going on?"

One of the things I love the most about life and writing are the unexpected surprises that arrive out of nowhere. Like a huge fireworks display in my backyard on a chilly Sunday night in November. And a radio station that flashes me back to my early childhood when I used to listen and sing along to the weekly top 40 religiously.

Has life surprised you lately? Has your story surprised you?

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Plugging into the Creative Outlet

“Find your creative outlet and plug into it. Otherwise, you may just short-circuit.”
 --Giuseppe Bianco
Has your creative writing outlet ever short-circuited? Mine has. That's when I must plug into a different outlet. From the time I was three years old, I've had a favorite creative outlet--the piano. Maybe I mentioned it before, but I composed music most of my life. The delicious feel of smooth ivory had always been my go-to outlet whenever I need an emotional release.

Two years ago I sold a much-loved piano because I believed writing children's fiction had replaced that need. BIG MISTAKE. 

Though this move to Colorado has brought me much happiness, it has also coincided with a motherlode of writing angst. The intense desire to plug into my beloved musical outlet grew more and more intense with each passing day. But I no longer had a piano. So I pouted. Then I prayed.

Last weekend an ad showed up in the local paper under FREEBIES. See the beautiful 1908 Cable & Nelson grand piano I received? Isn't she lovely? Once she settles into her new home and gets the loving care of a technician, I'll be plugged in again. Yay!

Do you writers have other creative outlets? What are they? Please share. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: First Draft Garbage

"It is perfectly okay to write garbage--as long as you edit brilliantly." - C. J. Cherryh
For all of you partaking of the insanity known as NaNoWriMo, I salute you. No one says you have to write 60,000 fabulous words, right? But you will have to edit those words some day and I wish you much success in making them as brilliant as our Colorado sunrises. 

Revising. That's what I'm working on this month. Revising a much-loved first draft that I haven't touched in six months. I spent three days working out the problems on the first page. Garbage? Yep. Most of the first chapter ended up in that pretty little silver icon on my laptop's dock. My goal is to revise this 45K novel by the end of the month. I tend to draft sparsly, so I'll most likely be adding scenes and many new words as I shuffle through this story. 

Whatever it is you're working on this month, I wish you success. 

Are your first drafts garbage?

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Clubbing for Inspiration

“You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” - Jack London
Lately I've been feeling uninspired. I've been working on various projects, but because of "recent events that shall remain nameless" my enthusiasm has waned. I keep thinking I'm going to wake up one of these mornings and feel that spark again. But as Mr. London said, I can't wait around for inspiration, I must go after it with a club. So what am I going to do? I'm going to grab that club and beat the heck out of the snide monster inside my head that's stealing my creativity and joy. I'm going to set goals. I'm going to read more books. I'm going to reach out to all of you for help. Please remind me of all the reasons I should not give up!

How do you go after inspiration with a club?

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Am I Annoying You?

"If you can't annoy somebody, there's little point in writing."--Kingsley Amis

Speaking of annoying, have you met my little green buddy Ace Hansen ? If you're daring, you'll follow him on Twitter . He'll pester you, but maybe he'll make you laugh. And yes, he truly is annoying. 

Have you written a book that has the potential to annoy people? I have. Several. And I'm proud of them. Last year I had the privilege of being at a conference with one of my favorite authors, Laurie Halse Anderson. In her keynote address, she dared us children's writers to go forth and disturb the universe. I love to write disturbing things. Shocking things. But there's a fine line between disturbing and annoying. And when we annoy, we run the risk of bombardment by huge balls of criticism. Can we handle that?

What do you think of Mr. Amis statement? Do you hope to annoy somebody with your writing? Do you dare to disturb the universe?

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: When to Send

"Manuscript: something submitted in haste and returned at leisure." - Oliver Herford
Okay, okay. I know this antelope has nothing to do with submitting manuscripts, but we saw her yesterday and DH snapped her picture and I just couldn't resist posting her here. ^_^
So the BIG question that all of us face, whether we're newbies or oldbies: when is our WIP ready to be queried, or sent to our agent, or sent to an editor, or ready to go to print? I've said it before and I'll say it again: I could revise a manuscript every day for a hundred years and still find ways to make it better. Maybe I exaggerate, a little, but seriously, that's how I feel. So when do you let it go? Mr. Herford teaches a very important lesson in his humor. We never want to send our manuscripts in haste, right? And how many of us have stories of having done just that?
***Angelina raises her hand***
So my dear writers, how do you know when your sparkly novel is ready to be sent?

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Is Your Routine Lethal?

"If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It's lethal."--Paulo Coelho
For the past couple months I've been living one great adventure after another. And I love it. For me Mr. Coelho's words are dead on. Routines kill me. 

"But what about writing routines?" you may ask.

I do believe in a good writing routine, but sometimes that writing routine can turn into a deep writing rut. Then what? I have to change the routine. Change the kind of stories I write. Change POVs. Change tense. Change where I write. Change when I write. Change something. Change keeps my writing alive. What about you?

How do you keep your routine from becoming lethal?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Great New Tool for Your Writerly Toolbox

In her first non-fiction mini-book, Denise Jaden explores the stages and outlets of grief and how to implement them into your fiction to create more interesting characters and a more engaging plot. Some topics of this book include: grieving before the loss, spiritual matters, and how grief affects different ages, personality types and gender.

"Jaden's Writing With A Heavy Heart is a must-have for any writer's craft shelf. The combination of clear guidance and practical exercises allow writers to take their manuscripts to a deeper level."
- Eileen Cook Author of Unraveling Isobel and The Almost Truth

"Writing With A Heavy Heart absolutely nails the grieving process. I love the exercises included, because, to me, they make the whole thing a tangible help in applying it to a work in progress."
- Janet Gurtler, author of If I Tell and Who I Kissed

"Writing With A Heavy Heart has a lot of really good insights on grief and suggestions on how to incorporate them to fiction."
- Lee Strauss, author of The Perception Series

"Jaden's Writing with a Heavy Heart helped me add layers to my characters who experience loss. The tools provided in this piece make it practical in my writing projects."
- Cindy Callaghan, author of Just Add Magic and Purses, Palaces and Photographic Proof
Where can you get your hands on a copy?

The paperback version is available through Amazon. (The price is $6.99)

The e-book is available for $2.99 at:

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Coping with Rejection

"Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil - but there is no way around them." - Isaac Asimov

Have any of you out there ever had to cope with rejection? If your answer is "no" I'd like to know what planet you're living on. For those of you who live on earth and have experienced rejection, you know what Mr. Asimov is talking about. Sometimes I feel like the publishing "eagles" are ripping apart my writerly "flesh". Yes. I'm being a bit overdramatic. But the pain is real. True?

As with most things we deal with in life, we have coping mechanisms. How do I cope with the pain of rejection? After I spend some time licking my wounds, I take away whatever is useful to improve my writing and let the rest arouse my fighting spirit. Rejection gives me something to prove. Encourages me to work harder. Energizes my creative spirit. Something inside of me shouts, "Take that! You'll live to regret that rejection!" 

Yes. I realize rejection is subjective. And I don't take it too personally. Nonetheless, a writer has to cope. 

How do you deal with rejection?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Most Beautiful Place: Strawberry Park Hot Springs

Last Saturday we journeyed to one of the most beautiful places I've ever experienced. Please come along with us! 
The road leading out of Steamboat Springs

Aspen-lined road into the mountains

Anticipation builds as we approach our destination

The hills are alive!

Our first glimpse of the soothing joy that awaits.

Another glimpse
Our changing cabin
Words do no justice

A place to relax
Chillin' after a soak

That's me out there

Had enough?

On the way out of Strawberry Park

The road leading back to Steamboat Springs

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Finding a New Place to Feed My Fiction Addiction

"Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future."
--Ray Bradbury 
Isn't my new library card beautiful?
Local attraction: Fish Creek Falls

One of the first things I did when I arrived here in my new home was walk over to the local library. You're all totally surprised, right? Libraries are the best. Never in my life have I left a library depressed.

I left our local library HUGELY depressed.

Let me try to be positive by saying I'll get to re-read many classic works of children's literature, if I can find them mixed in amongst all the adult fiction. Yeah. No kidding. But don't despair, this story has a happy ending.

Last Saturday a friend drove me 40 miles east to Steamboat Springs and surprised me by taking me directly to THE MOST AMAZING LIBRARY I'VE EVER EXPERIENCED!!!

I wish I'd taken pictures, but I was too much in awe of the place, which included a huge aquarium and the most amazing YA section I'd ever seen. Then the librarian gave me my own gorgeous card, even though I don't even live in the same county!

When I got home, I searched their catalog and no kidding, I found EVERY SINGLE BOOK ON MY TBR list and they were ALL AVAILABLE.

Okay, I think I should stop now before I abuse my caps lock button and someone takes it away.

Do you want to share some library love with me?

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Taking Chances

"Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good."
--William Faulkner

Right now I face some hefty decisions in my writing life. Risky decisions.

Are you a risk taker? I am.
At the same time, I don't make decisions in haste. I like to pause and imagine all the possible outcomes,  get input from my trustworthy writing partners, calculate whether or not it's wise to take a chance.
We writers face decisions every time we open our WIPs, every time we receive feedback from our critique partners, every time we query or go out on submission. Chancy decisions.
I don't know about you, but I believe I'm leaning toward Mr. Faulkner on this one. 
What do you think about taking chances? Are you willing to take risks?

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Moving On!

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Life's a journey, right? Next week I'm hopping into a moving truck and heading for a new home near the Rocky Mountains, a place I've never been before. 
Leaving dear friends behind is heart-ripping hard, but I must move on.

Like finishing a novel, I must leave behind people I love and face blank pages, pages to be filled with characters I've not yet met in a place I've only seen in my imagination. Moving on.

In this WIP of my life, I finish the chapter in the foothills of the North Cascades with satisfaction. After seven years of peaceful living in this gorgeously quiet corner of the earth, my spirit is refreshed. Still I'm ready for a scene change. As Eleanor put it--new day, new strength, new thoughts. It's time to move on.

So my fellow travelers, are you moving on? How does it feel?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Gearing Up To Get an Agent--Meet and Greet

If this is your first visit to this blog and you don't know me--WELCOME! To all others--WELCOME BACK!
I'm one of the #GUTGAA judges. My life is mostly about books--reading and writing them. Fiction addiction. I love hearing from my readers, so please let me know you've been by and come back anytime. ^_^

-Where do you write?
Mostly from bed, but occasionally I get my butt out of it and move to the couch. My favorite place to write is from the passenger seat on a road trip. No Internet. No distractions. Makes the time pass quicker. 

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
An empty spot on the bed. Wait! Who stole my husband?

-Favorite time to write?
Early morning. The earlier, the better.

-Drink of choice while writing?
Earl Grey or a latté

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
I used to write to baroque music. Now I need complete silence. Miss the music, though.

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
My latest manuscript was inspired by a TV commercial for breath mints I saw as a kid. 

-What's your most valuable writing tip?
Writers write!

Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to meeting as many of you as I can. Now tell me one thing: What's the best book you've read this summer? For me there are many, but I'll say IN HONOR by Jessi Kirby. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Is Your Book a Green Triangle or a Yellow Square?

Last week I suffered a bit of a shock. Normally my books are yellow squares, but for fun, I wrote a green triangle and I LOVE LOVE LOVE MY GREEN TRIANGLE! If you've read my green triangle, you know it's like nothing I've written before. All of my beta readers enjoyed the green triangle, but then I received what I perceived as a very negative reaction to the green triangle. I was shocked, crushed, needing to be peeled off the floor (where I'd melted in anguish.)

That's when I read this quote by Kristin Cashore:

"In the end -- and I mean this 100% -- what matters is what you think of your book. Don't get me wrong, this can change based on the intelligent commentary of others. Speaking personally, criticism by others has absolutely helped me to see my own books more clearly, in all their flaws. But don't forget that some of the people who express reactions to your books will actually be judging a green triangle as if it is a failed attempt at a yellow square. Those criticisms hurt, but they're not actually relevant to your process. It's safe to let them go."
--From Kristin Cashore's Blog (Advice to New Writers)

Even if you're not a new writer, I strongly recommend reading the entire article.

These wise words by an author I deeply respect helped me decide to fight for my green triangle.

Have you ever felt like your green triangle was judged as though it were a yellow square? What did you do?

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Ignorance and Confidence

"All you need is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure."
--Mark Twain
Would you bike down this?
When I set out to write my first novel, I knew nothing about the business of publishing. Ignorance was bliss. I had confidence that I would write a great story and then my book would be published. Simple.

My ignorance and confidence did not mean sure success in my case. So what exactly was Mr. Twain talking about?

What I understand now is that the more knowledge I gain about writing and publishing, the harder it is to maintain that blissful feeling of confidence. 

What does Mr. Twain's quote mean to you?

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: The Need for Affirmation

While visiting the Casa Malpais Museum in Springerville, Arizona I had the opportunity to give an impromptu concert on a 100-year-old Steinway piano. The small audience was thrilled and gushed with appreciation as I shared a few of my favorite compositions. It had been years since I'd performed my own work in public. The zealous applause gave me a glow that lasted all day, an affirmation that my music could still give others pleasure.

From New Oxford American Dictionary:

affirmation |ˌafərˈmāSHən|

1 the action or process of affirming something or being affirmed

2 emotional support or encouragement

When it comes to our creative endeavors, it seems most of us have an inherent need for affirmation.  We want to share our work and we thrive when our audience offers emotional support and encouragement. It energizes us, helps keep the creativity flowing, right?

What about when the external affirmations aren't there? When we're all alone with our work, playing for an empty room, and it doesn't seem to be going well. No one's applauding our efforts. How do we keep going?

I like to create an imaginary audience in my head. The people who are gonna LOVE this book. I write to entertain myself, but I also write for them. I listen for their applause.

How about you? Do you need affirmation? What do you do when it's not there?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Arizona Motorcycle Madness: A Photographic Journal

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it within us or we will find it not.”--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our motorcycle has a first name

View over DH's shoulder

Nothing like the open road

Mormon Lake near Flagstaff

Canyon near Payson

Outside Kingman

Self-Portrait at 75 MPH

Near Chloride

116 degrees near Hoover Dam
The sun was not my friend

But we are
So happy together
***All photos taking from my iPod as the scenery rushed by

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Something I Thought I'd Never Do

"You see, I don't know how to ride a motorcycle, actually."  --Henry Winkler
Looks fun, right?

For twenty years my motorcycle enthusiast husband dreamed of getting me out on the open road. I never shared that dream. Sounded more like a nightmare to me. But sometimes circumstances lead us to do things we thought we’d  never do.

So we flew to Vegas and picked up a bike. I got up at five Wednesday morning and we rode into the red sunrise, wind on my face, arms wrapped around the happiest man alive. Over the next seven hours I experienced the pungent smells of the Arizona desert while taking in the familiar sights through rose-colored goggles. I never knew you could taste the air at 75 mph.

The southwest is having an unusually powerful monsoon season, so while I enjoyed the scenery, I kept a weary eye on the massive white puffs building in the dark blue skies. Would we make it to the New Mexico border before those clouds burst open?

Seventeen miles outside of Springerville with no shelter in sight, droplets  began to pelt my face like sharp rocks. I ducked my head and gritted my teeth. Then the fuel light came on and the battery on the GPS died. We’d come all this way to be drenched at the finish line. . . if we made it to the finish line. How cruel!

But then the rain stopped and the skies brightened. The gas fumes got us into town and the time I’d spent on google street view got us to my father-in-law's summer retreat. Sore butts aside, we’d made it in one piece, well, two pieces. Two of us. And it wasn't horrible. 

Now I’m up early and wrestling with the revision of my historical again. It feels a lot like those last seventeen miles. Close to the end, loads of trouble. So I’m ducking my head and gritting my teeth and hoping for the best.

Ever dream of taking a motorcycle road trip? Ever experience obstacles at the novel-writing finish line?

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Bloggers Beware

"Google is in an amazing position to be the target of tons of lawsuits that will set precedent for many important things for us on the Internet."--Joichi Ito

"Who gave you permission to use my picture?"

I don't know about you, but I don't want to get sued for lifting images off the Internet. After reading this blog post I have removed all images and photos from my blog that weren't taken by my most talented husband. Some of them I loved dearly since they perfectly illustrated the point of the post, but since I couldn't figure out whether or not they were copyrighted, I chose to take them down.

Any thoughts on this subject?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Winner of NEVER ENOUGH and Bonus Video--Are You Enough?

Everyone who commented on last week's blog post, please send me your mailing address to receive your signed bookmark:
The winner of Denise Jaden's NEVER ENOUGH is:

Ruth Schiffmann
email me (same address)

Now please take a few minutes and enjoy this brief video-- a collection of comments from a group of beautiful authors who are enough.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Denise Jaden's NEVER ENOUGH--Giveaway and Interview

It's time to celebrate the release of Denise Jaden's second novel! Everyone who comments on this post will win a signed bookmark and be entered to win NEVER ENOUGH. Come back next Friday and I'll announce the winner. Trust me, you want your own copy of this book. Your comment below will also enter you into a fantastic drawing for huge piles of books from Denise's Prize Vault!

I’ll start by stealing a favorite question from your own author interviews.  Tell me about your book in seven words or less:
Two sisters who don’t feel like enough.

I know you’re a huge fan of fast drafting. What are three benefits/advantages of drafting a novel in one month? Was Never Enough a product of Nanowrimo?
I have written a few novels that will never see the light of day. The biggest advantage of fast-drafting for me, is that each of these novels have only really wasted a month of my time. One other huge thing I learned from NaNoWriMo was to always move forward with my writing. In the past, I’ve gotten stuck on certain scenes and chapters, spent a long time just trying to get them right, only to delete them later because they didn’t actually further the story.

In Losing Faith and Never Enough, you’ve touched on some sensitive issues. Do you choose your ideas and subject matter or do they choose you?
Oh, they most definitely choose me. Usually an idea or character gets under my skin and just won’t let go of me until I write about it. In the case of Never Enough, I was living with a girl with a severe eating disorder for a while, and I started writing the story because I wanted to understand her better. I wanted to be a helpful force, rather than a hurtful one in her life.

You’ve confessed to me that you were a reluctant teen reader, what got you reading?
In my twenties, a friend of mine passed along a book to me, Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer, insisting that I read it. I did, and I was completely shocked that reading could be enjoyable and something I could do for FUN. I went right out and bought the sequel.

Your YA Contemporary novels introduce us to multi-dimensional, realistic characters who readers are easily able to connect with. Do they come to you fully drawn or do you use special tools to get to know your characters better?
Usually my main characters come to me fully drawn. I can hear their voices, see their quirks. I kind of feel like I live with them during the time that I’m brainstorming a book. Secondary characters, and especially parents, take more work for me. I use character interviews and different tools to really get to know them. I often write sections from a secondary character’s point of view, just to get to know him or her better.

I know you’re a writer with a rich life and a very busy schedule. What do you say to yourself when your writing/publishing schedule feels overwhelming?
Suck it up, princess. There are plenty of writers who would cut off their right arm to be in your shoes.

But on a more serious note, I had a real rotten year in my personal life last year, and it has helped me put things into perspective. While I’m thrilled to see my books hitting bookstore shelves, I definitely put more of a priority on my family now and don’t feel in such a rush to have multiple books out there.

As creator of the encouraging spring writing challenge, MARCH MADNESS, I know you believe in the importance of a supportive writing group. What are three ways  connecting with authors and writers has helped your writing career?
Only three? Yes, I’m a huge believer in having a support network! I have been talked off the ledge many times by writer friends when I was on my hundredth rejection and things looked dismal. I love getting and giving feedback on writing (critiquing someone else’s work teaches me at least as much as having my own work critiqued). Plus, I can honestly say that Losing Faith, my debut novel, would not have enjoyed the success that it has without the help of my awesome network of writers passing along the word about it. So at every stage, from drafting to querying to publishing, the support of other writers is absolutely essential to me.

What’s one question you’re dying to be asked about Never Enough?
Honestly, I feel like I’ve been asked everything under the sun about this book, but here is one of my favorite questions: Have you personally ever suffered from an eating disorder?

Have you?
Yes and no. I have definitely had unhealthy ways of looking at food and at my body over the years. For several years, I was involved with producing bodybuilding and fitness competitions with my husband, and even competing in a few fitness competitions myself. I have since come to the conclusion that I don’t think that’s a healthy lifestyle for most women. Putting your body on display to be judged is like playing with the fire of a woman’s emotions. I became extremely regimented with my diet and extremely critical of my body. If it wasn’t for the friend of mine who came into my life around that time suffering from a severe eating disorder, I have no doubt that I could have gone down that route myself.  

Thanks Angelina!
Denise Jaden's Author Website

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Coping With a Distracted Mind

"By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination."
--Christopher Columbus

For the past few weeks I've been fighting to keep focused on my writing despite a growing list of HUGE things weighing on my mind. So I did a bit of research on distractions and found this very interesting video: Multi-Tasking and the Distracted Mind . If you're interested in how the brain works and how social media affects your ability to remember things, you'll enjoy this 20 minute lively and amusing presentation.

After watching the video, I knew I needed to make some changes in my writing routine. First I must break my tweeting while writing habit. This is the one distraction I can control. Second, I need to return to my morning pages (which I learned from Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way) As for all the other things playing tug-of-war with my mind, they will hopefully resolve themselves within a few months. I must be patient.

So what do you do when a distracted mind inhibits your writing?

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Twitter Tips for the Twitterpated

Tips for beginners:

How to get started: go here to create an account

Bio: Here's an article to help you with your bio

Avatar: Choose a photo or an image to represent you. No one seems to want to follow an egg. ^_^

Don't know who to follow? Here are a couple of lists of children's writer peeps you could peruse:
Wipmadness Peeps
Peeps from Verla Kay's Blueboards
Agents and Editors

You can follow a list or follow individuals. You can create lists of your own. I use my lists when I don't have much time and I want to see the latest from the peeps I interact with the most.

Tips for the twitterpated:

#1 Before following someone, peruse their tweets to see if they're just marketing themselves or whether they're interacting with others.

#2 Use the Block button. It is your friend.

#3 Don't be afraid to reach out and @ someone. Join the conversation.

#4  Keep private information private. Use direct messages when warranted.

#5 If someone tweets something hilarious, helpful, or has good news to share, by all means, hit the retweet button.

Tips for everyone:

Be yourself
Be polite
Be helpful
Have fun!

Do you have any Twitter questions or tips? Please share and please feel free to jump in and reply to any questions or comments. ^_^

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Are You Twitterpated?

"On Twitter we get excited if someone follows us. In real life we get really scared and run away." ~Unknown
Read author Janice Hardy's excellent post about the relationship between tweets and blog posts here.

Twitterpated: Origin: 1942; first used in the movie Bambi
Thumper: Why are they acting that way?
Friend Owl: Why, don't you know? They're twitterpated.
Flower, Bambi, Thumper: Twitterpated?
Friend Owl: Yes. Nearly everybody gets twitterpated in the springtime. For example: You're walking along, minding your own business. You're looking neither to the left, nor to the right, when all of a sudden you run smack into a pretty face. Woo-woo! You begin to get weak in the knees. Your head's in a whirl. And then you feel light as a feather, and before you know it, you're walking on air. And then you know what? You're knocked for a loop, and you completely lose your head!

Sound familiar? I have to admit, I am twitterpated. But not with just one pretty face, but hundreds of them on Twitter. Sometimes it's distracting, but I find Twitter an amazing way to quickly exchange information and get help and encouragement when needed. And it's taught me to be succint. And it keeps me from getting too lonely while writing.
Next week I'm going to share a list of all my favorite Twitter tips and ask you to share yours, too. But for today I'm just going to invite all of you to join in the fun: @AngelinaCHansen

Are you Twitterpated? Would you like to share your Twitter link?