Motivation

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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The Subtraction

I am a busy person.

Yeah, yeah . . .  so are you, right?  We are all busy.  On my living-my-life list (it is so much more than just a “to do” list)  I fill many roles:   wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, band member, attorney, author, girl scout volunteer, basketball mom, mentor . . .  whew!  I really don’t know how I get it all done but, in the words of the very funny Ron White: “I’ve seen me do it!”

But, I’ve realized that while I’m trying to get it all done, there are some things I’m not doing very well.  And, really – what’s the point of that?  So, since I refuse to make resolutions, I decided to  make a change. I just didn’t know what to call it – and it seemed like something so momentous needed a name. All the biggies have a name, right?

The Apocalypse.

The Change.


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I Don’t Want To!

A couple of years ago, a friend observed me saying sternly to my toddler son, “Close your eyes. It’s time to sleep now.”

“That’s what I need!” my friend exclaimed. “Someone to order me to go to sleep.” She went on to explain she often stayed up way later than she should, checking email, surfing the Internet, updating Facebook. Her life would be much healthier — and more restful — if there was someone to command her to do the right thing.

I thought of her words over the holidays, when I had the great pleasure of spending nearly two weeks in Florida with three young children — my own two kids and my nephew. We had a fantastic time, going to Disney, building sand castles, and playing in the waves. But over the course of the two weeks, I heard a few key phrases over and over again. As I repeated…
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Setting Writing Goals–With a Little Help from My Friends

As writers we are constantly looking for ways to sit our butts down and focus on our writing.  But making the time is not always easy.  With family, work, social issues and anything else that might come along–we tend to sacrifice our writing time.  I know I’m a culprit!

Though I haven’t made any New Years resolutions this year, I am trying to be pro-active with my writing.  I may not be able to sit down for 8 hours and write every day but I can dedicate some time each day to writing.

I tried to do the NaNoWriMo this past November but with a revision, two contests I was judging (for my first time) and life happening, I couldn’t find the proper time to get motivated for a 50k goal.  I felt I cheated myself this year for not doing it even though I was working on my writing–but mostly it was revising.  It didn’t count.

Then I received an email from a friend of mine about the Ruby…
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Yes, I’m a Big Fat Failure!

I don’t think I lasted more than a day with my New Year’s Resolution, but even if I had it would have bitten the dust on Sunday night.  That was the night that damn Tebow blew my Steelers’ chance in the Playoffs.

Yep.  One of my resolutions was to stop swearing.  Although I said a few whispered swear words under my breath throughout the game, I let loose a long, and—I might add—loud string of them in those brief seconds of overtime.   Very brief seconds.

Although I read that 88% of New Year’s resolutions fail, it doesn’t make me feel a whole lot better.  I admit that my resolution was a bit half-assed anyway. 🙂  I couldn’t think of much that I wanted to change this year. 

I’m blessed to have wonderful friends and family.  I could stand to lose a few pounds, but I don’t particularly stress about it.  I could try harder to quit swearing, but then I’d have to stay off the roads. 

Instead of resolutions, I’d…
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The Reason I’m a Writer

When I was little – maybe 7 or 8 – I learned about poetry in school. Later, sitting at the counter in my Nunnie’s (grandmother) kitchen, I told her that I was going to write a poem about her. I don’t remember much about that poem. I know it was indeed about my Nunnie and that I wrote it very quickly. And I’m fairly certain I rhymed the words pink and think.  

But the big thing about this moment in my young life is that Nunnie took one look at that poem and declared that I was a writer. She thought it was truly an amazing feat of literary proportions. Think James Joyce meets Jane Austen.

Nunnie called my mom and my two aunts and informed my entire family that I was a writer. That was it. Based on this little poem, I had the talent of writing. So I…
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Season of Change

I’m an overachiever. Yep, I’m admitting it. And if you don’t believe me just ask my husband—it drives him crazy. I tend to organize and make lists, heck even my extensive movie collection is alphabetized and categorized by genre. Not kidding. My books would be too if I could talk my husband into building me more bookshelves. Maybe when the basement is finished?

Every year for the holidays I wind up making a giant list of what needs to get done, then when I accomplish it… I celebrate for about thirty-seven seconds before making another list, and then another. So in truth I probably got the important stuff done way back with the first list but then I spend my holidays killing myself to achieve more and more, and only wind up making myself crazy.

But this year was a little different, I got sick right after Thanksgiving and I’m still…
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Just Show Up

It takes a brave man to swim in the mermaid pond but I think today’s guest is up to the task. Derek Dodson has a Master of Education in professional counseling, and was a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for a number of years working with at risk kids and families. He is an accomplished musician (guitar/bass), has a number of black belts in martial arts and is knowledgeable in Chinese, Okinawan and Japanese weapons. Derek has been a college athlete, a rodeo rider, fought as a semi pro kick boxer, and even worked as a bouncer in some really bad bars when he was working his way through grad school. This has probably come in very handy as Derek is also married with four—yes, you heard me right—FOUR beautiful daughters.

And did I mention he also writes romance?

Derek has published several “forgettable articles and lots of academic crap” in his areas of interest, as well as written music and poetry. He began writing fiction a wee bit more…
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