A New Year

As we near the end of December, we inevitably near the end of another year.  Have you accomplished your goals for the year?  I haven’t looked at my goals for 2009 for quite some time.  Late this summer my writer’s group, the Ladies of the Gordian Knot, decided to set monthly/weekly goals as a group.

Ok, I confess.  I’m the only one setting monthly goals.  Four weeks gives me some wiggle room in case I get a new job.  Remember, jobs strike when you least expect them.  Like Christmas Eve.  Seriously.  I applied for a position late evening of 12/23 and by the morning of Christmas Eve there was an acceptance in my in-box.  Since I look forward to the occasional surprise acceptance, I prefer the flexibility of monthly goals.  Still, I do tend to aim a bit too high judging by what I don’t accomplish.

Here are some things I try to remember when setting goals:

1.  Make sure they are manageable.  Don’t decide you can write a novel in a month if you can’t get a page written a day.

2.  Make sure they are something you have control over.  You can’t control whether or not you sell a novel in 2010 but you can make sure you submit it.

3.  If your goal encompasses a habit, work on one at a time.  Remember it takes about 7 weeks to develop a habit.  It is also easiest if you focus on one at a time so don’t plan to develop 10 fabulous new writing habits in 2010.

I’m not sure yet what my goals will be.  I want to work on improving some of my work habits (putting things away as I print them, writing first/e-mail and blogging second).  But I also want to set some goals in terms of specific (why is that still on my desk) projects.  I may take a few days to noodle this over because I want my goals to suit me and how I work and think.  That way I’ll have a much better chance of success.

Keep safe and have a Happy New Year’s Eve.  I’ll see you all on Monday, January 4th.  Hopefully, I’ll have a new set of goals in hand.


A Free Writer’s Workshop

Need something to jump-start your writing in 2010?  Then check out the writer’s workshop that I’m leading on 1/16 from 10 until noon in Florissant, Missouri.

I’ll be covering topics such as finding time to write, breaking writer’s block, generating ideas and rewriting.

Just bring your coffee and a notebook and be ready to write because I plan to include at least two writing exercises.

Seating is limited so RSVP to Jessica  in the church office (314-837-8555).

Let me know if you have any questions!



Special thanks to Writing World for bringing this particular market to my attention.

A new book publisher, Dream of Things, is looking for piece to fill books on the following topics:

  • Making Waves — Stories About People Who Inspire and Motivate Us
  • The Holiday Season
  • Contest: Great Customer Service Stories
  • Stories of Forgiveness
  • Internet Dating Stories
  • Stories That Exemplify Teamwork
  • Stories About Great Teachers
  • Stories About Other Role Models
  • Stories That Exemplify Leadership
  • Awe-Inspiring Travel Stories
  • Humorous Travel Stories
  • It’s Only a Game — Lessons Learned from Playing/Coaching Sports
  • Advice You’d Like to Pass On to Others
  • Cubicle Stories — Life in the Modern Workplace
  • They are currently updating their site so I couldn’t find payment information but here is the link to information on their various projects. Take the time to look around and you’ll find examples of what they like.

    Good luck!


    A Cure for Writer’s Block

    I'm the one on the far right with the orange sled. Admission: I am not writing. My butt is not in a chair of any kind although that would have been much warmer.

    Whenever you tell writers that you have writer’s block, they share their tried and true methods for getting back to writing.  The advice offered most often is “butt in chair.”  In other words, put your butt in your chair and write.

    I may be one of the few writers who will tell you to go have some fun.  Recharge.  Live.  Do.

    Then write.

    Really.  9 times out of 10 your computer will still be there.

    Writing is one of those jobs that will be all consuming if you let it.  I thought of that recently when I read a fellow writer’s blog — I just love productive down time, she wrote.

    Hmm.  But is that really down time?  Sure, sometimes I write when I’m on vacation, but more often lately I leave my work at home.  When I got a new computer, I bought a desk top just so that I couldn’t take it with me.

    Especially if your family has time off this holiday season, take time to do other things.  You’ll be recharged and ready to write when they all go back to work or to school.   And you’ll be glad for the experiences that can now fuel your writing.


    Book Trailers

    Book trailers are a serious business now.  No longer can an author simply have their spouse video tape them reading their book out loud.  Today’s trailers involve scripts and professional video production.

    Trailers may be serious business, but even if  your book is about a serious topic doesn’t mean that your trailer has to be deadly serious.  If you have a sense of humor, let it show.  You may find yourself selling copies of your book to people who want to learn more about the person in the video.  I bet that will be the case with the trailer below.


    What I’ve Been Writing

    While writers often discuss their work on their blogs, it isn’t always easy to show our work to our reader.  Fortunately, my recent project with Education.com means that me work is on-line.

    I hope you’ll take time to check out a couple of my pieces:

    Make Fortunate Cookie Invitations

    I really enjoyed working with Education.com so I hope some of you take the time to stop by the site.  They have some awesome material.

    Goals: December, Week 3

    Last week was pretty productive in spite of everything.

    The picture book went out to the agent.  Check!

    The middle grade went to the editor.  Check!

    I obviously need to finish pulling that workshop together.  And I would like to do a bit more on four picture books.  A bit.  Not taking anything to final.

    But good luck to me because Christmas vacation started last Thursday at 4 pm.  My son tells me that he wants to write a story over break so I should be able to pull together some writing time.

    But I’ve also promised him something fun every day.  That will be amazingly good for both of us.



    How do you react when a new opportunity comes your way?   Do you shake your head and sigh when you see a market listing?

    “I only write fiction, not nonfiction.”

    “I like to read historic fiction, but it’s too much work.  I only write contemporary.”

    Maybe what you need to do to enliven your writing in 2010 is to try something completely new.   Write an essay.   Try first person if you normally write in third.  Maybe the research you did for your novel could feed into a magazine article.

    Just because you’ve never done something before, doesn’t make it impossible.  Give it a try.  A few little actions can add up to something big.  Check out the video below to see what happened when someone thought outside of the typical “performance” box.