Monday, November 29, 2010

Some Words of Inspiration for Writers (and others)

These keep us going:

"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." - Pablo Picasso

"It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop." – Confucius

"You have seen, but you have not observed." - Sherlock Holmes

So all I can say is patience is the art of concealing your impatience, and, as always: "If you drop a dream, it breaks." – Denise Dietz

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

This one speaks to me, loudly:

"I have lost all sense of home, having moved about so much. It means to me now -- only the place where the books are kept." -John Steinbeck

A comment that seems to pertain to the publishing industry lately:

"Change is a dragon. You can ignore it, which is futile. You can fight it,
in which case you will lose. Or you can ride it.” -- Arianne Wing on the
closing of the world-famous Imperial Dynasty restaurant in Hanford, CA;
quoted in The Hanford Sentinel, Dec. 17, 2005.

And lastly, something to think about from the world of dance:

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” -Martha Graham

What's your favorite quote? Do you have one that keeps you going?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Internet Freedom

Have you ever had those days when you know you need to write, or work, or whatever, but you just can’t seem to pull yourself away from the Internet. Maybe you’re checking your Facebook page, tweeting on Twitter, IMing with your friend from Russia, or just surfing from webpage to webpage.

Well then you’re in luck, because there’s an app for that (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Seriously, there’s a program called Freedom that you can install on your computer that will block Internet access for the amount of time you specify, up to eight hours. It’s available for both Mac and PCs.

And you can’t cheat. You can’t just turn off the program for a second and then turn it back on. Once you set it, the only way to get back to the Internet is to reboot your computer. They say they do that to discourage cheating.

The program is available for download from for ten dollars. But you know, if it makes you more productive, “Freedom might be the best 10 dollars you’ll ever spend.”

I haven’t personally tried this program, but I saw some favorable reviews out on a NaNoWriMo forum. It seems like if you’re going to try it, November just may be the month.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Backup that Novel

I hear about it every year during the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo); someone slaves away on their novel for hours a day, days a week, and weeks a month. They are right there near the finish line, the anticipation of crossing over almost too much to bear. Their fingers are a blur, their mind is awhirl, and all they can think about is completing one of the most audacious challenges known to man (who in their right mind would agree to write a novel in a month?).

And then it happens, right there in mid-stroke of the keyboard, the computer decides that for whatever reason, it can’t go on. Maybe it was because the computer couldn’t keep up with the speed at which their fingers flew across the keyboard. Maybe it was because they were always out on updating their word count. Or maybe they should have updated their computer years ago but didn’t want to give up the last working copy of Windows 95.

Whatever the reason, whatever the excuse, they didn’t back it up their NaNo-novel and now their life is filled with anguish and remorse. But this sad story doesn’t have to happen to you. It’s not too late!

Backup that novel! Do it now. Don’t wait. And do it often, maybe, dare I even say it, daily. Backups are like insurance. You never need it until you need it. But when you need it, you really need it. Don’t be that one NaNo-Novelist who is on the outside looking in on November 30th.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Formula for Romance

While I’m not an author of romance novels, and probably never will be, I have heard that there is a formula for romance novels that must be followed. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I did run across an article on the Internet called The “Secret Formula” Revealed by Stephanie Mittman (

While it doesn’t get into the details that I’d always heard rumors about, like the heroine had to be kissed by page ten, it does give seven vital ingredients for the perfect romance novel. Without going into great depth, the seven elements are: a loveable heroine, a great hero, something that throws them together, an insurmountable object to overcome, a black moment (something that, once revealed, will keep the hero and heroine apart forever), a monkey wrench, and a happy ending.

That’s it. It seems pretty simple. I know it isn’t really, but it sounds easy. So I was wondering, what are the seven vital ingredients for your genre? Horror? Mystery? Science Fiction? Fantasy? Memoir?

Have you thought about it? I haven’t. But I might now.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo Rut

Are you stuck on what to do next in your NaNoWriMo? It’s a common problem. You’re going along, writing up a storm and then bam! Suddenly, you’re stuck! What should your character do next? Where should they go?

Don’t worry. That’s the beauty of NaNoWriMo! This is your chance to experiment. Put your character in an impossible situation and see what happens. More than likely they’ll discover a way to not only get out of the situation, but create an interesting new one.

Some possible situations:

Aliens land in your character’s back yard.

Two nuns get in a bar fight and it’s up to your character to stop the fight or dive right in.

Your character catches his/her main squeeze smooching with your character’s mother.

See? Anything is possible in NaNoWriMo, and you can always go back and change the story later. For now, don’t stress and just let the impossible flow into the probable.

Have fun! Now back to the writing….

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Service to Help You Through Nanowrimo: WritebyNight

In my many web wanderings this week I came across a new service for writers that comes just in time for Nanowrimo! The service is called Write by Night and I spoke to the Owner, Justine Goldberg,  by email. Justine was extremely helpful and truly has writers' interests at heart.

Write by Night offers workshops, one-on-one instruction and consultations, and more. They have locations in Texas, Florida, and of course online. You can get the complete lowdown on their website.

For those of you in Austin, Write by Night also has free meet up times available at their headquarters where writers can go and write for hours! This is perfect for Nanowrimo write-ins. Here is the blurb from their website.

Make WriteByNight's headquarters your own personal creative space during set times throughout the week. Come to write, read, collaborate or just kick back and dream. We've got a library, writing prompts, coffee and free Wi-Fi. What more could a writer ask for?
The best part: Write Here is free and open to the public, so bring your friends.
Wednesdays, 5 - 7 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
1305 E. 6th Street, Suite 4
They also have a blog with resources for those of you (like me) who can't seem to get enough info on writing and publishing. So, check them out and make use of their writing space and best of luck during Nanowrimo!

I hope this helps some of you. Happy Writing!