Motivation

Love It or List It?

I am an unapologetic HGTV-slut.  I. Love. That. Channel.

It doesn’t matter what is on – I’ll watch anything – but my favorites are House Hunters and Property Virgins.  But, a new program has caught my eye and I’ll definitely be tuning in when it premieres later this month – Love It or Leave It.

The premise is that when homeowners live in a house long enough and they lose the lovin’ feeling the question pops up as to whether they renovate or move.  In this show, two real estate professionals take opposite viewpoints and try to convince the homeowner to either stay in their home or list it for sale.  I think it looks fabulous!

It also reminds me of a recent writing dilemma I had about an old, unfinished manuscript. Now, I’m a little type A (don’t snicker, those of you who know me well) and I just can’t leave things unfinished –…
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An Accountability Partner

In the course of your writing lives, I’m sure you have had a critique partner or participated in a critique group. But have you ever had an accountability partner?

Before this past August, I hadn’t. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of the concept before. (Okay, so the term, “accountability partner,” I made up. If there is a more official or creative name floating around, do let me know!)

Three months ago, fellow mermaid Kerri and I fell into an accountability relationship, and it has changed the course of my writing life. Here’s how it works:

— At the beginning of each week, Kerri and I each set a goal for the week. The goals do not have to be the same, but it’s always fun when they are. They range from word count goals (such as 1.5K words a day or once, when we were feeling really motivated, 10K words for…
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Things You Love to Hate…Pet Peeves

Yes.  I’ve got some pet peeves.  Years ago, they may have merely been classified as annoyances, but today there are things that just bug the living hell out of me.

 What have I done about my pet peeves?  Well, I’ve thrown many of them into my writing!  Don’t you?

 Come on, admit it.  Don’t you have things that you wish you could say or do, but you feel like you can’t?  But, your characters can say and do anything they want!  You can’t be held responsible for their actions.  It’s fiction!  Right?

So, if I write that one of my characters finds it annoying when someone dips their French fries in her ketchup, what’s wrong with that?  Maybe those French fry dippers will stay the hell away from my ketchup and find their own…if they read my first book.  🙂

 If I can rid the world of things hanging off rearview mirrors, that’s a campaign I can seriously get behind.  I have a friend who admitted that she has tacky…
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Do You NaNo?

Welcome to November 1st, my watery denizens. You know what that means!

Yes, in writerly circles, November 1st marks the advent of NaNoWriMo— National Novel Writing Month. In short, those who sign up (I believe you can still sign up today) pledge to attempt to write 50,000 words in the month of November.

I’m not sure why November was chosen as opposed to say, August, when there are no Holidays and people are expected to go to parties and shop for the holiday season of their choice…but that wasn’t up to me.

My handle on NaNo (as it is affectionately called) is Princess Alethea. I will also be tweeting some of my progress and writing sprints under the #NaNoWriMo hashtag.

I have participated in NaNoWriMo every year since 2005, and I have yet to get to 50,000 words. But I still participate every year, and I am still proud when I look at my word count come December 1st.

Now, there are…
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Colors of Fall

For some fall is about buying a new backpack or lunchbox, sharpening those pencils and sending your children back to school. For others fall is symbolized with tailgating and crowding into stands to cheer on your favorite football team.

While the pools have closed, fall sports have begun and school has been back in session for a few weeks now, fall did not in fact officially begin until yesterday, September 23rd.

So what does it mean the first official day of fall? Well it’s more than the beginning of a new season. It is the autumnal equinox. Equinox derives from Latin’s aquaeus meaning equal and nox meaning night, and is appropriate since this is the time of year when night and day are almost equal in length. This happens twice a year, once in the spring (March 21-22) and again in the fall (September 22-23), when the earth’s tilt is neither toward nor away from the sun.

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How Fast Do You Write?

I’ve been hearing stories in the last year about people who “write a book” in lightning fast times. Three months. Two months. Two weeks. Ten days. Seven days. To which my reaction is always: ?!!??!!

From idea to drafting to revision(s) to completion, the time it takes me to write a book is more easily measured by a unit of years. And before I heard all these stories, I thought this was completely normal. After comparing my process to other writers’, however, I would feel badly. Like something was lacking in my ability as a writer.

My husband assures me that I’ll write faster with practice. Conventional wisdom advises me to write at my own pace. But then, I realized recently, maybe it’s not one or another. Maybe, like most things in writing, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Over Labor Day weekend, my husband took the kids to his parents’,…
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Why Do I Love Dark?

Why Do I love Dark? I don’t know…

I have never killed. Murdered or slayed. There are a few swatted flies that have felt the sting of my murderous wrath. But as far as I can recall, I haven’t actually killed. Nor have I had dark, murderous thoughts (about real people), or wanted to meet a real vampire, or run around naked at night with a were-creature. Nope. For the most part I gravitate toward the normal, routine everyday activities most sensible human beings partake in – well, except for my need to obsess about certain television characters (Spike, Joe Dubois, John Crichton, Alec Hardison—and BTW, the first to name the TV shows these characters appear in – will win a prize!).

But let’s get back to my premise. What attracts me to those dark characters, plots, stories? What makes my brain fall in love with a character and then what to drag him or her through the deepest, darkest…
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You Write What?!?!?!

You know the drill. You’re having a nice conversation over dinner and your companion seems really interested that you’re a writer. He/she is even more impressed that you have finished a novel and are actively trying to publish. And then comes “the” question:

What do you write?

Romance.

The most recent time I told someone this, he literally laughed in my face. Seriously, sound came out of his mouth as he mocked me.

“Romance? Pssst.” (More laughing)

It was as if I said I take a razor blade to newborn puppies. Even though I’m really proud of what I write, I felt so embarrassed. Let’s face it, having someone laugh in your face is never a feel-good kind of moment, no matter how many glasses of wine you’ve consumed.

Leading up to this joyous encounter I had been doing pretty well with the haters. I’ve joined writing groups lately, which seems to have made a big difference in both…
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Turn that Frown Upside Down!

I’m always on the lookout for new tricks to pick me up when I’m feeling down, with life in general and writing in particular. There’s nothing like insecurity to make me unproductive as a writer, so when doubt creeps in, I do my best to quash it. Fast.

Recently, I’ve discovered two techniques I’d like to share with you.

1. Watch any episode of The Biggest Loser. Practically every other line uttered on this show can be applied to you and your writing. • Lines of motivation (“You can do anything you set your mind to do,” “Finish what you start, and finish strong”) • self-belief (“I am not nothing,” “I am a champion”) • tough love (“No one else is going to do it for you,” “Are you just going to give up?”) Pretend the trainers and contestants are speaking directly to you. It’s like receiving a two-hour pep talk (eighty…
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Job of Hotness

Can I get a Navy Seal over here to sweep me off my feet, while both protecting me and respecting my individuality as an independent woman? 

Where’s that totally ripped construction guy, who besides being able to swing heavy power tools, remains sensitive and in-touch with his emotions?

Let’s not forget about that super intellectual professor-turned-writer who happens to make geeky sweater vests seem uber-sexy.

I’ve been reading romance novels for awhile now and I think I’ve encountered just about every career path possible for the hero. Cowboy, prince, entrepreneur, teacher, chef, bounty hunter, landscape architect – they all have one thing in common: Hotness!

While I do have my favorites (FBI secret agent, veterinarian and just plain old, inexplicable super rich guy, to name a few), I have to admit that it might be more than just the profession. It’s the description. After all, you can have a bartender, or you can have a smokin’ hot Irish bartender…
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