Motivation

What’s Zmeu with you? Or How Research Helped Me Find My Story Nitch

Okay, I know it’s a silly title but trust me on this one . . . it fits!  🙂

As many of you know (from my agony over the past month) I’ve been stuck in a rut with my story.  I’ve known about the story, actually wrote it a few years back, only to find out it just doesn’t have that certain, whatever it is a good story needs to have.

My idea for the original story came from a research session into the history of my ancestors.  My paternal grandfather came from Romania, the land of Transylvanian Alps (Carpathian Mountains), Vlad the Impaler, Bram Stoker’s- Dracula and various other mysterious stories that have been sensationalized.  But with all the fiction and history the general  populace know of, I wanted to delve deeper.

Two years ago I researched a bit into the early days of Romanian history, back before the Roman conquest, and found out about the Dacian clans who had ruled in the late B.C. to early A.D.  What I could find…
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Excuses, Excuses

The other day at the gym I told my trainer I couldn’t do a certain leg exercise because my rotator cuff was hurting. I pointed to my leg and made a sad face and everything. He sighed. “Kerri, your rotator cuff is in your shoulder, not your leg. Do the exercise.”

Oops.

We’ve all done it. Made excuses. Sometimes they are better than others. But hey, in my defense, I was an English major not a doctor! Note to self: must do more research for lies excuses. 

Brain Fried . . . Rebooting

I was thinking about a scene in one of my favorite 80’s movies, Real Genius starring Val Kilmer (for those who have seen or might remember).  The story is about a bunch of genius kids at a prep-college.  Val plays the lead who’s gone on to buck the system and is teaching the young newbie how to ‘ungeek’.  In this particular scene, in which I am referring to, it’s a montage of everyone cramming for end of the year exams. One student in particular (an extra) stands up from the study hall table and just yells.  He is just freaking out and runs from the room.  Everyone else takes a brief moment to look– at him as he has his ‘meltdown’, and returns to their studies–unfazed.

Lately, I feel like that poor kid.  It’s what I call brain overload.  Sometimes we just get to the point where everything we are focusing on just overwhelms us to the point nothing makes sense–no matter how many angles you try and approach the problem. …
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Rachel Aaron — How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day

Back in December, when I was sick and not feeling very productive, I stumbled across this wonderful blog post by Rachel Aaron, author of The Legend of Eli Monpress novels. Rachel has found a way to manage her writing goals and increase her productivity dramatically. I was so wowed by Rachel’s no-nonsense approach I asked if I could share it here. She has graciously agreed, so join us as she discusses her process of discovery and path to success.

This is a long read, but if you haven’t seen it before you’ll be glad you took the time. If you don’t have time now, please stop back when you can or go to Rachel’s blog for the original post.

And don’t forget to join us here tomorrow, when I will have the honor of interviewing the very talented Rachel Aaron.

 

How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day

When…
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Lent and the Distracted Writer

Yes, folks.  Mardi Gras is over.  Ash Wednesday is here, and the forty days of penance.  As in, fish on Fridays.  Giving up sweets.  Or soda.  Or alcohol.

Being Catholic, I’m asked to give something up for Lent every year.  One year, I gave up gossip.  Another year, I gave up saying bad things about people.  This year, I’m wondering if I should try to give up what I personally believe is one of the biggies.  It’s a real monkey on my back.

Being distracted.

I am a champion at being distracted.  I don’t like to turn off my wireless, partly because I’ve always allowed myself to believe that it can be hard to turn back on.  I love to look things up, to research, to collects tidbits of information.  I’ve studied cosmetics, perfumes and knitting with the intensity of a day trader.  Also, what if something really important comes through on my email?  What if I miss it?   I…
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What Plantar Fasciitis is Teaching Me about Writing

I have plantar fasciitis, a condition in my foot that is extremely painful. It’s an inflammation of the plantar fascia (a band of tissue) that runs underneath your foot and basically feels like someone is stabbing you repeatedly with a really hot machete. A lot of people have this condition, especially runners.

My usual way of dealing with health issues involves a lot of crying, whining and then ignoring the problem altogether. However, when I trip getting out of bed because my damn foot is so sore, even I have to admit it’s time to deal.

Interestingly, I’m finding I have similar stubbornness where my writing is concerned. What’s that? My first pass at a manuscript is NOT perfect as is? It won’t win any awards? WHAT! Break out the crying, whining and procrastination. Luckily, I have figured out some ways to deal with both my foot issue and manuscript woes.

Getting What You Wish For

Just in case you didn’t hear me shouting it from the rooftops . . .  I sold my first book!  Lori Wilde’s Indulgence line at Entangled Publishing will publish SOUTHERN COMFORT sometime in the near future (and you know I’ll let you know when!)

Even after having days to process the amazing moment of getting the call (described in detail on my blog) I still crack a crazy grin whenever I think about it. But, I quickly realized that I now had some work to do.

And, don’t get me wrong – I love every minute of the “next step” tasks. But, they did make me sit down and seriously reorganize and plan to maximize every opportunity I worked, hoped, and dreamed about.

Obviously, I need to prepare to hunker down and complete my edits when they arrive.  Turning in a quality book which will…
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Write What You Know

“Write what you know.”

Ugh.

I hate this cliche bit of writing advice. I first heard it as said to Jo March in Little Women, and then again and again as I dove into the deep, Olympic swimming pool of the writing world.

The trouble with this advice, as with all cliches, is there’s quite a bit of truth in it.

Which is so annoying.

How does one write about magical worlds and special girls with secret powers and evil queens and glittery unicorns when one lives in THIS world? I mean, look around. This world is full of dirty clothes and dirty dishes and traffic jams and bathroom scales and taxes. Taxes, for goodness sake.

Ugh. No way.

The work around this (for me) was to make my life magic. This sounds impossible, but it’s really not. What do you want your forte to be? Become the expert in…
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Productive? Prolific? Sign Me Up!

I am so happy to bring my first book review to the Waterworld Mermaids’ lagoon immediately after posting on the problem of Fear.  Being a writer who spends way too much time worrying about not writing, I am always hoping to find words of wisdom that might help me embrace my craft.

       The Productive Writer, by Sage Cohen, is one book in my arsenal.  Ms Cohen writes as both a business professional and a poet.  She believes, as she states early in her introduction, that productivity is a lifestyle choice.  I used this book extensively last winter, carrying it in my satchel and dipping into it for reading on my train rides to and from the Bronx each weekday morning.  I could dip into a chapter (“Transforming Your Realtionship with Time,” or “Writing in the Margins of a Full-Time Life”, among others) and meditate on ten or so pages.  Even if I only scanned the headings of…
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Fear

Fear is good.  It keeps you safe.  Fear keeps you from going down the wrong street, trusting the wrong people, taking risks that are bad for you.  Fear that runs amok and takes control of your life, though, keeps you from enjoying some of the most productive and marvelous moments possible:  working on your chosen craft and enjoying the fruits of your work.

Witness my inability to contribute to the Mermaid short story effort this Fall.  I was silent, unable to compose even a scrap of an idea for that wonderful festival of creativity.  Yes, I was trapped in a web of fear, a crawling, deadly hive of poisonous fear that kept my fingers frozen for weeks that stretched into months.  Why?

Because I was silly enough to trigger a word count on my Lake Effect manuscript instead of just keeping on with the writing.   Argh!  I wasn’t going to finish by my self-imposed deadline!  I’d failed!  Again!   At which point I took refuge in endless edits of material that…
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