One of *those* kind of writing nights…


This is one of those nights when I need to set a timer to get me going on my 500 words.

This is one of those nights when I find emptying the trash and relining the container an easy go-to instead of writing.—one of those ‘must-do’ items before I sit down.

This is one of those nights when I keep looking at the timer.

This is one of those nights when I keep editing as I go [there, I did it again…I had typed ‘mistakes’ and wanted ‘typos’ instead and then I went back and substituted ‘editing as I go’. It’s madness! Make it stop!]

This is one of those nights when I have to have some music playing in my head while I write. [Of course, the very act of opening iTunes and selecting some instrumental stuff—Dave Brubeck, in this case—is another avoidance tactic, though I hope it pays off down the line with keeping me focused.

This is one of those nights when I’m thinking ahead to the weekend when I have garage-cleaning and general decluttering on my list. Notice I didn’t mention writing. What’s wrong with that picture?

This is one of those nights when I am hyper-tempted to click on the ESPN window to check the latest Olympic results. How many smarter people have told writers like me to just plain turn off the Internet? I hate those people. I mean really, why should I tolerate anybody who has me pegged right down to the exact website I have temptingly available?

This is one of those nights when I’m glad I have ‘copy/paste’ down pat so I can keep repeating ‘This is one of those nights when’ and chalk up cheap words. But I have to say…it adds a certain rhythm to this masterpiece. ‘Rhythm’…’monotony’…tomato-tomahto.

This is one of those nights when I have more than a few topics I’m thinking of tackling, thus resulting in my taking a stab at none of them.

This is one of those nights when I’m back to the timer. One minute left in the 11 minute stint. 362 words in 10+ minutes, I’ll take it. Of course, if you’re still reading, you’re reaching through your screen to strangle me, which would be okay if you’d let me write about it for my next 500 words.

This is one of those nights when I’m glad I’ve reached 400 words and am slogging my way to 500. Aren’t we all just feeling exceedingly gratified?

This is one of those nights when I recalled that Valentines Day offered so much possible material and, once again, I dropped the ball.

This is one of those nights when I know I need to put in at least a scene, or part of a scene, in my kids book first draft.

So I guess I should be thinking about that and looking up where I left off.

This is one of those nights when it’s about time to move on with my other projects, satisfied that I’ve put in 500+ words in one sitting and pleased that I had forgotten about the 180 words I did when I got home from work. Okay, then, back to the kids book.

And this is one of those nights when I can pat myself on the back for not checking ESPN during this stint.

But first…a five-minute editing session.

Writing Tip of the Day: Moving to the bigger picture

think big painted on wall

The last two days we covered rationalizations.

But as I was slaving [slaving, I tell you] over those two posts, I noticed the living room needed a little straightening.

That’s when the ‘I’m writing.’ rationalization kicked in. A close call. I almost pulled myself out of the chair and did something productive.

It was then I realized this tennis match between reasons for writing and not writing speaks to this: Our neuroses, weirdnesses, and just plain humanness can fuel daily inspiration, development of characters and plot, and blog content for decades to come.

And trust me, our humanness never stops.

Well, okay, until that whole persistent breathing habit stops.

At that point, progress does tend to drop off a bit.

And please, don’t get me started on cryogenics.

Curation Monday–Links for Writers

Back to ‘curation’ mode…

pinterest icon

I’m not an avid user of Pinterest, but when I do sit down with it, well, it really is a gold mine of links and information.

Here are a few Pinterest-gleaned items that might interest you:

1. A Writer’s Manifesto

2. 101 Best Websites for Writers [I clicked the link which sent me to a page that offered a link to this valuable PDF.]

3. 10 Great Podcasts for Writers

4. The Super-Secret Way to Create Suspense in Your Story


Twitter Gems: January 21

I’ve been off the curation wagon lately.

twitter-rubix cube

Just wanted to share some content that might prove helpful or inspirational.

Plus, I miss the short, condensed blog posts that I started with. ;->

Have a great Sunday.


Jordan Rosenfeld @Jordanrosenfeld
If you use too much exposition, your story may feel like a lecture, and you run the risk of neglecting character development. #POV #POVBook


Jon Winokur  @AdviceToWriters
It doesn’t have to be the truth, just your vision of it, written down.
#amwriting #writerslife


Jane Friedman  @JaneFriedman
“Patience is not about waiting, but how we act when things take longer than we expect.” —Paulo Coelho


David Gaughran  @DavidGaughran
For all the people asking for an update to Let’s Get Visible, it’s here, and it’s #FREE, and it’s called Amazon Decoded: A Marketing Guide To The Kindle Store


“No matter which way you choose to publish, there are always going to be days where it’s just plain difficult.” — @thecreativepenn


Jordan Rosenfeld @Jordanrosenfeld
Commit to your writing in healthy, manageable sittings. Don’t binge, don’t starve. #WritersGuide2Persistence #amwriting


Procrastination takes over…

dog as life coach mailing label

dog lives for the day mailing labels

Seems I’m getting a little text-fatigued lately.

At least that’s my piddly excuse for engaging in a short detour into the world of semi-useful graphics.

I figured creating these mailing labels for a colleague’s upcoming birthday was just the ticket. Jon Acuff, in his book Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done, which, no, I still haven’t finished, would label this little departure from more important projects, a ‘noble objective’.

[It just hit me…this post isn’t exactly a solid endorsement for his book, is it?]

Then again, it may just be a plaintive cry for help from someone who just can’t [or doesn’t want to] stay focused, because this book really is the real deal. It’s like he knows me. [I take that back. If he really knew me, he’d probably shake his head and see me as a lost cause.] Whatever the case, I like the book and I am learning, if not immediately applying, a lot.




Writers Horoscope January 12: Finally, something in your wheelhouse…


For today’s 500-word challenge, I’ve been asked to teach something to my thousands [okay, millions] of readers.
Let’s go with procrastination. [Note: I did only a light edit, which is, of course, completely counter to what we polished procrastinators usually do—pore and writhe in agony over word choice, missing commas [most readers wouldn’t notice, but by God, you will…]
First off, start your day with email. You would be surprised how fluent and outright wordy and, even insightful, you become with your emails when you have some more pressing creative pursuit knocking on your conscious or your subconscious. You start noticing quirks in your respondents’ writing style and yucking it up over them. You even suggest some possible fixes, almost as if you know what you’re talking about. Of course, knowing what you’re talking about is secondary to creating the aura of intelligence, experience, and wisdom. The main thing is this: You HAVE to avoid the other work that is calling out for your attention. No matter that you have built your points and premises on a firm foundation of ignorance. Just keep writing.

Okay, so your hands are about to fall off from your feverish keyboarding.

Take a break. Make sure it involves removing yourself from any temptation to listen to your nearly bound and gagged muse. I would suggest cleaning the garage. But tread lightly, bucko, because you might run across boxes of notebooks filled with half-spun tales, expertly written, that might make you think you actually have the talent to get something published. ‘Half-spun’ is the operative term here, by the way. You would risk being engulfed by guilt over never finishing anything and let’s face it, do you really want to risk all that time and energy on a project that probably won’t dig its way out of a slush pile, digital or otherwise?

So, still in the garage, I would say that grabbing a broom and clearing away cobwebs from the rafters would pretty much remove you from the dangers of the ‘creative life’.

Okay, thank god the garage is web-free [mostly]. It’s time for coffee. Now where is that Bialetti pseudo-espresso maker you hadn’t thought about until just now? It’s gotta be underneath the cast-iron skillet which, hey, you could really go for some biscuits to accompany that coffee. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you could probably just throw those biscuits together in nothing flat, but Wednesday’s food section writer [what a hack—someone who actually finishes and publishes] spouted about the appeal of sourdough biscuits and now seems about the right time to throw together a little starter. Quite an appropriate term—starter. No one ever asks, though, if there is such a thing as sourdough finisher.

Well, that little detour did nothing to satisfy the need for an accompaniment to your coffee, now did it?

And geez, that one way-up-high cobweb is still haunting you. Okay, this is simple. You’re going to defrost some of that four-month-old vanilla brandied bundt cake while you venture back to the garage and pull out the ladder to vanquish that ever-threatening cobweb.

Yep, you have everything under control. A cleaner garage, some fresh coffee a brewin’, updated correspondence, and a room temperature piece of cake.
Life is good.
And the caffeine will no doubt fire you up for round two of the day’s creative effort.
But, wait, wasn’t that your phone’s notification chime?

Writers Horoscope January 11: You’re wilting under self-imposed pressures…


Since when did your writing become so onerous?

This writer takes a step back and gets a grip.

Quote: “There was neither the time, nor the energy, to think much about writing.
And I’m fine with it.”

“You Need To Practice Being Your Future Self,” demands Fox Business.
Future self? Oh, enough already. We need more articles about how to scale down and pace ourselves more calmly today, because life is a marathon instead of a sprint.”

So, writers, even though there’s been plenty of talk about goals here, perhaps the ultimate goal is deceleration. [I just love it when I contradict myself.]

The latest from January’s 500-word challenge:

An imagined interview with author of ‘Finish’, Jon Acuff