My Typical Day as a Writer


My Typical Day as a Writer
By Nancy Carty Lepri


Many people ask me, “What is your day like as a writer?”

“Good question,” I answer, for I never know what my day will be like. How I’d like it to go, and how it actually does go, is another story.

I would love nothing more than to spend the whole day in my office writing—but that’s not likely to happen.

My day usually goes like this… I get up around 9:00 a.m. and grapple with what to eat. Then I’ll sit at the kitchen table immersed in either HGTV, “Dr. Phil” or the news. That’s sure to get me off to a great start. Yeah, talk about procrastination!

Then about 10:00, I’ll make my bed and shower, determined to get to work. If I’m not doing laundry or some other mundane household chore, my husband usually wants to go out somewhere. So much for working. Make a note: If you are a beginning writer, don’t try to start this career when your husband retires. It’s not going to happen, especially if you tend to procrastinate, as I do.  

If and when I have a day where I’m not acting as a domestic goddess or running to the grocery store, I plunk myself in front of the computer with my “to do list” determined to pump out several pages. Of course, I have to check my email first, play a game of Free Cell then see what’s happening on Facebook. Did I also mention I am addicted to Bejeweled and Words with Friends?

Before I know it, it’s mid-afternoon. Have I written the tons of pages I’ve promised myself I would? Heck no! I’ve been too distracted with other things. Argh!

Usually my creative juices don’t kick in till about 3:00 p.m., and if I’m lucky enough to have the discipline and determination to not let anything prevent me from writing, I’ll go strong until it’s time to make supper. When I look at the clock, I groan…another day with nothing or next to nothing accomplished.

After supper, I head back to my computer, but by this time I’m involved with working on an edit for an author, a critique for one of my group members or writing reviews, so in a “good day” I’m lucky if I get two hours of uninterrupted writing of my own manuscript done. At 7:30, I turn off my computer then crawl into bed with a good book hoping for inspiration and ideas.

A writer’s life is a lonely one and how true that is. If I could keep myself from the many distractions that plague me, I’d be fine. Nevertheless, that’s something I need to put on my “to do list.”

Meanwhile, I keep plugging along and treasure those days when I do find several hours where I can be alone, concentrate, and actually manage to get some of my own writing done. Luckily, I started on this path several years ago, without the distractions of a 24/7 husband, and I’ve learned that the key is discipline. Discipline, desire and a thick skin are what helps one achieve this goal. Oh also, a good lock on your office door and ear plugs help too!

MAKE SOME MAGIC IN YOUR LIFE


Make a Magic Wand and Create Some Magic in Your Writing Life

This week, get creative and make a magic wand that will help your writing dreams become a reality. Many people are seeking a fairy-tale, quick fix to live a happier life. Here is your opportunity to bring a piece of that magical thinking into your own life. Visit an art supply start or your local dollar store.  

Obtain the items you would need to make two beautiful magic wands. Use your imagination and creativity to make magic wands that demonstrate your unique style and personality. You will keep one of these magic wands and give the other wand to a friend or family member along with instructions on how to use it. If you want to make a magic wand from scratch, wrap an empty paper towel holder in some glittery wrapping paper and glue a paper star to the end of it. Or you may choose to but a pre made wand at a costume shop or toy store and personalize it with your own artwork. Decorate your magic wand with paint, crayons, glitter pens or even old photographs or magazine clippings. Be gentle with yourself and resist the temptation to skip this exercise because “you are not an artist.” Give yourself permission to be messy, child like and imperfect.

Each day, spend some time holding your magic wand and imagining what wishes you would most like to be granted. Pretend as if your magic wand has real power. This exercise will help you instantly connected with a sense of joy and purpose. Be sure to write down a list of you daily wishes. Your daily list will tell you a lot about what is important to you and directly influence your writing goals. As you hold your magic wand feel how wonderful it would be if all your greatest desires manifested into physical form. Each day, spend at least five minutes imaging that your most coveted wishes have been granted. Visualize yourself on that seven city book tour or living in your new oceanfront beach house. Each day, spend a few minutes being generous and granting imaginary wishes to friends, families. You may choose to use your magic wand to end world hunger or help your daughter get into college. Lastly, spend a few moments granting positive and life transforming wishes to people that you do not like or have difficulty connecting with. For example, if your noisy, trash collecting neighbors annoy you to no end, use your magic wand to grant them a winning lottery ticket. At first, this exercise may feel forced or phony. However, with practice, you will notice that you genuinely feel more forgiving and generous in many of your relationships. Amazingly, you will also see the things you wished for showing up in your life. 

Quantum physics tells us that when we focus daily on a desired event or object with positive feelings, it is more likely to manifest in physical reality. So go ahead and surprise yourself with the mysterious powers of your new magic wand.


Aileen McCabe-Maucher is the author of the book "The Inner Peace Diet" which was published by Penguin on December 2, 2008. She is a licensed clinical social worker/psychotherapist who has helped many people find inner peace and discover their unique life purpose. Aileen has worked for over fifteen years as a licensed psychotherapist and registered nurse providing individual and group counseling to a diverse client population. Aileen is currently writing her third book and can be reached via email at innerpeacediet@gmail.com


Click on the link below to view free samples of Aileen's books:
http://www.amazon.com/Aileen-McCabe-Maucher/e/B003IUBRLK



Tips to Writing a Good Book with Kasey Crawford Kellem


Though I have only written the five books for my Mind Over Matter Book series, I feel pretty knowledgeable about what makes a book good. I have not only read hundreds of children’s books, but I have utilized such books in instruction when I taught younger children earlier in my career. I had my own library of books in my classroom that I had inherited from a library that closed.

The books chosen by the children to borrow often intrigued me. It seemed that the more vibrant the illustrations, the more interested the child. The simpler the message, the more captivated the reader. The more creative the graphic design was for the wording, the more engaged the reader. Most importantly, I observed that a child wouldn’t even acknowledge a book if the cover wasn’t appealing! Vibrant colors and creatively fun illustrations are a good start! A catchy title is a must! A meaning that is appropriate for your readership is vital, as well.
           
The best tip I have for writing a good book is to have a purpose and an audience who would gain from that purpose. My Mind Over Matter Books were written to help teach children resiliency skills. Believe, the first of the five books, teaches children to believe in themselves and their potential. The message on each page is simple and the illustrations are quite whimsical. The purpose of the book, to teach children to Believe, is not only captured in the messages on each page, but also on the cover. The size and shape of the book allow it to free stand so to serve as a decoration on any child’s shelf, nightstand or anywhere in a child’s room. Again, the purpose of the book is being exposed even with the cover.
             
If you have a mission to write a book, put your whole self into it and don’t cut any corners. One of the most important aspects of my book was its unique size and shape, which allowed it to free stand as a decoration. A few publishers wouldn’t touch the book just because of this! Once I found my wonderful publisher, Lisa Umina with Halo Publishing International, I had to impress upon her that I would not compromise the size and shape of the book. This took a lot of extra time and work on her end to find a printer willing and able to accommodate our needs. Thankfully, she found a printer and one of the best attributes of my book is its uniqueness! I wasn’t willing to compromise what was important to me regarding my purpose for my books and I encourage you to do the same!



Kasey Crawford Kellem, a School Counselor and former Special Education Teacher, has devoted her life to helping children facing adversity be resilient. Kasey created Mind Over Matter (M.O.M.) books to teach children skills to overcome life’s challenges. She has earned a Bachelors Degree and Masters Degree in Special Education and an Educational Specialist Degree in Counseling. She is a devoted wife, stepmother, sister, daughter, friend and counselor.

You can find out more about Kasey Crawford Kellem’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/KaseyKellem.aspx. There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Kellem and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions. You will be entered into the main the Book Giveaway each time.

In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork. The hosts VS Grenier and Irene Roth chatted with Kasey Crawford Kellem about her M.O.M Books, writing, helping children to be resilient and her experiences. The show aired live February 20, 2012 at 2pm EST. You can listen/call in at (714) 242-5259. (Note: if you can’t make the show, you can listen on demand at the same link.)

To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit: http://worldofinknetwork.blogspot.com 

Doubled Preposition Trouble

Are you one of those writers who have a doubled preposition personality? I have to admit that I am, and that is why I ty to be self-conscious about them and why I self-edit.

You may not be aware that you use doubled prepositions. It took me a while to pick up on it. Just what is a doubled preposition? The best way to answer this question is to give a few examples: 1) Your character sits down on the sofa; 2) A character walks over to the house; 3) Another character looks over at the girl walking  by. Sound familiar?

Of course there is the occasional tripled preposition such as: 1) looking down below at; or 2) coming on over to.


I am sure you can see what I mean after reading these few examples, but what does it mean to you as a writer? Well, it could mean having a good story rejected by an agent or publisher. It also labels you as an amateur writer or, at best, an average writer.

There is, however, one instance where doubled or tripled prepositions are accepted and even beneficial. Dialogue! In this setting it can actually be beneficial in giving your readers an impression of the character. An impression that could, if handled properly, label your character as a simple person or an uneducated person. Through this type of dialogue, you can give personal information about your character without actually saying it.

So the next time you self-edit be sure to watch for those doubled or tripled prepositions. It could mean acceptance or rejection.

Faye M. Tollison
Author of: To Tell the Truth
Upcoming books: The Bible Murders and Sarah's Secret
www.fayemtollison.com
www.fmtoll.wordpress.com
www.fayetollison.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/fayetollison

Business Models That Make Writers Rich


My profession, graphic design, is a service based profession so I trade dollars for hours. That means if I don’t have billable hours, I don’t get a paycheck. However, some of my lowest income months are usually my busiest? I work all the time and get paid nothing for it.

How is that possible?

It is. And it still happens to many other talented designers and writers.

Is there an alternative? Of course. I know plenty of professionals who earn more than me and work the same hours if not less. The difference between us isn’t the marketing effort. The difference is in the business model.

Their business model allows for less time waste as it maximizes profit or at least keeps it steady.

In my e-book called “Writing for Profit” I am exploring some of the most profitable business models for people like us – designers, writers, authors and information marketers.

You can download a free version of it on our website www.bfsp.net

I am releasing it to my community of Writers on the Move
as a pilot project.

Any feedback on the content and graphics would be extremely valuable.

Very truly yours,

Fani



Fani Nicheva is a graphic designer and a writer who works on books, corporate & product identities, writer's brands and personal projects. Visit her work at Bigfish Smallpond Design or read her on www.aproposdezign.com


Writing -- The Daily Dozen

As promised, these final six tips complete the  Daily Dozen exercises for healthy writing.
The first six tips appeared on Writers on the Move last month.

Participles-- the -ing words

This month's warm-up starts yet again with verbs and the dreaded dangling modifiers. And I'm pretty sure every writer, no matter how experienced, has at least one somewhere in a closet or in a closeted manuscript.

Running along the road , the hotel was easy to spot.

Yes, the problem here is easy to spot as well--as easy as a hotel running down the road. The -ing word, now an adjectival form of the verb, attaches itself to the nearest subject in the sentence and hey presto! Fun all round.


But when you're in throes of involvement with your lead character working through his problems, it can be more difficult to isolate.


He thought through his options one by one. Mulling them over, the book seemed to provide the safest answer.


Still a dangling modifier--the book is not mulling over his options, but it's easy to miss this one as the subject of the previous sentence is the man doing the mulling.

Practice writing a few deliberately and you'll soon pick them out in your self-editing.


Dialogue

 Getting Into Your Character's Skins is an excellent article by Shirley Corder. Make sure each character has his or her own vocabulary and speech mannerisms. They should not all use "spiffing fun" as a favorite exclamation unless you show one character being so affected by another that he adopts the words.


This seems obvious but to make characters distinct, they should each have their own favorite, well-differentiated phrases.

Identify these from the start in your character planning.

The Missing Tip

This space is left quite deliberately. I would love you to post your vital daily writing tip in the comments box below and the best one, or ones, will be inserted here next week. 

The Warm Down--vital exercises.

Poetry--one a day

Write it but most of all read it. The compression needed to encapsulate sense and emotion is a wonderful lesson to learn and keep in mind when writing longer pieces.

Be it ten, or a hundred and ten thousand words, each one must be a necessary part of the whole. 

For short poems of the day, visit Magdalena Ball on her Poetry Mondays.

Read

All writers read, but take a chance to read out of your comfort zone to cross-fertilize ideas. Avoid the genre you write in yourself.

Try new avenues to explore new ideas. Go for the books you always told yourself you hated. If they're well written, they may well surprise you by stimulating your imagination in new ways.

 Relax 

A cop out? Not at all. Only with rest and relaxation can your mind work at optimum level. Set aside one day, or a half day if you really feel you can't afford the time, to pamper your writer's soul.


It's not a new idea. I loved it when I found it in The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. As the computer nerds say--garbage in, garbage out.



Take time to do what you love. Walk in the wild woods, visit art galleries and museums, socialize. And your writing will benefit accordingly.



 Anne Duguid is a senior content editor with MuseItUp Publishing and   her New Year's Resolution is to blog with helpful writing,editing and publishing tips at Slow and Steady Writers far more regularly than she managed in 2011.

Facebook vs AdWords

I've come to realize that promoting my book is going to require some form of paid advertisement; that's the hard reality of it. I have a FB ad that's been working particularly well for me and I'm on my way to doubling my sales this month and that's just by increasing my CPC (Cost Per Click) by an extra $0.10.

But still, I was dissatisfied and wanted to sell 10-20 books per day instead of 4-5 books per day. I kept running into these $75 Adwords coupons all over the place; so I clicked on the "coupon" which was really a sorta credit application that had to be approved. I went ahead and filled out the application (they don't ask for your s.s.) which asked some basic questions about my project. A few hours later I received a rejection letter, they didn't tell me why I was rejected but there you have it. After that I decided to set up my own account just to test the waters of Google advertising.

The process was complicated and tedious. I felt like I needed to hire a savvy ad-executive just to get me through it. It took me a couple of days to figure it out, but I was then successful with setting up the ad and all the components that came with it. The downside was I wasn't allowed to market to anyone under the age of 18; well that's my entire audience (13-17), but I proceeded anyway.

The most important part of the set-up was picking the keywords. I chose 34 relevant keywords. I was ready to go. I put in my cc information and set the date for the weekend only, between the hours of 6pm and 3am, because those are the hours teens are wasting away in front of the computer.

Now, for the grand finale, after I put in my cc information my keywords lit up with the minimum prices of CPC. My average CPC was $1.25. Kiss my butt Adwords. Some keywords were $0.40 per click but with my 34 keywords my daily budget would exceed $25 per day. I set my daily budget to only $12 per day. My FB ad runs at $1.50 per day. Needless to say I deleted my account and increased my daily budget on FB. I figured that's where teenagers go to live anyway.

Share your paid advertising stories by leaving a comment. http://vicihowardblogspot.com

Finding Time to Write Without Quitting Your Day Job


“Time stays long enough for those who use it.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

Are you struggling to find time to write?  Most writers I know have a “day job”, family, friends and lots of commitments.  They write around the corners of their lives.  Without the luxury to write full time, it is easy to get off track and run out of steam on a project.  So how do we squeeze more writing time into our life?  It requires getting organized, establishing routines and a willingness to say no.

You can increase your productivity by getting organized.  If it takes you ten minutes to figure out which is your last draft, you’ve lost valuable writing time.  A great organizational tool if you are working on a novel is the program Scrivener.  I think Scrivener’s biggest advantage is its simplicity in moving and tracking text.  Scrivener costs about $40 and they offer a 30 day free trial, so you can check it out for yourself.

Find a set time each week to write.  Schedule it into your calendar and make sure to keep this personal appointment.   There is a direct relationship between keeping this date with yourself and how much you value your writing life.  Next, look for an additional place to squeeze in the work of writing, maybe you can read, write or people watch on your lunch hour.  Do you see your character in the man behind the counter at the pannini shop?  Just adding 15 minutes a day to your writing time can catapult your writing forward.

When you want more time for your writing, it’s time to work your “no muscle”. Before you agree to be on that committee or take on a new project, take a deep breath and think about it.  Is this something you need to do?  Is it taking you away from writing or your other priorities?  What would happen if you said no?   One way to strengthen you your “no muscle” is with your phone.  Do you answer it when writing?  Just think of the time you can add to your writing minutes if you ignore your phone.

If squeezing more writing time into your life feels overwhelming, try just one of the above strategies for 21 days and you’ll be amazed in the difference it can make.  Do you have a creative strategy for eeking out extra writing time?  I’d love to hear your ideas.

Mary Jo Guglielmo is writer and intuitive life strategist.  If you want to push your writing dream forward, join her 4 week Big Dream Challenge


For more information check out  www.donorth.biz
or folllow her at:
http://theadvantagepoint.wordpress.com
http://www.helpingchidrencope.blogspot.com
http://twitter.com/do_north
http://facebook.com/DoNorth.biz

What Do You Want to Write About?

Last month, my blog post was titled: Do You Want to Be a Writer? http://www.writersonthemove.com/2012/01/do-you-want-to-be-writer.html This month, I will make a few suggestions of what you could write about.


Where do ideas for writing come from? Newspapers, photographs, and your childhood are a few examples of what you could use for inspiration. If you are suffering from writers block, perhaps the following will help.


Classified ads - Try reading the help wanted and for sale ads. Are there any interesting jobs being advertised that might make a good short story? What do people want to buy? What are people selling? Can you write a story or book about why someone might be selling their personal belongings? Let your imagination explore what might happen.


I remember reading an ad from someone who was selling 1970’s teen magazines. I wondered which teen idols the seller liked from that era. Did she use her own money to buy the magazines or did she beg her mother to buy them for her at the grocery store? Did she meet any of her idols at a concert? Was she in the audience of a TV show her idols appeared on?


Advice columnists – “Dear Abby” is a very well-known advice column, published in newspapers all over the United States. This column contains a myriad of topics to explore. Take a problem that a reader needs help with and flesh out a story of what could happen to someone as the months and years go by. Was the conflict resolved satisfactorily? Did any of the parties move to a new city or state, start a family, get a new job?


A photo, print or painting - Pick a photo, print or painting and write a story about what you see. What are the people doing? Where are they? What might happen later in the day or next week? Did they go on a vacation, go out to dinner, or get married? Where could the photo been taken? Is the print or painting of a particular place or could it be anywhere? Think of the possibilities!


Your childhood - I’m taking another class. Currently, I’m writing about my childhood. At first, I thought this was going to be difficult, but the more I write, the more I remember. I’m also including links to websites to help my readers (my classmates) better understand what I am talking about, since I am writing about a world that existed decades ago.


You can probably think of other examples of where to get ideas on writing. Take a notebook and jot down a topic at the top of each page or just make a list. Start with the above suggestions and then add your own. When you have problems thinking of where to go with your writing next, refer to your notebook and maybe the creative process will begin to flow again.


Debbie A. Byrne has a B.S. in Mass Communication with a minor in History. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and is currently working on her first children’s book.

Getting Into Your Characters' Skins

How do we avoid creating cardboard characters, so that they become real people? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could just "become them" for a short time.

According to some articles I've read, all animals shed their skin, some faster than others. We humans evidently shed 1,5 million skin cells an hour, giving us a new skin surface about once every 28 days. Snakes, tarantulas, stick insects and some lizards are in more of a hurry. They climb out the old skin and walk / slither away, leaving the skin intact.

Wouldn't that be such a great gift for us as writers? Yet we can learn to do this to a degree. We can step out of our own skin and into the skin of our character. We can then talk like them, think like them and feel their emotions. The secret is to really know our characters

Take a moment and think: How much effort do you put into your conversation with your spouse, your children, your next door neighbour? Do you give any thought to the words you choose? Do you stop to wonder when you should take a breath? Do you agonise over your correct choice of words and phrases? No, you just talk. Right?

So the key to writing good dialogue is to stop trying. Stop trying to figure out what your character would say. Rather concentrate on getting to know your characters so well that you can slip into their skins. Become them. Feel their emotions. Then you will react to situations as they see them. The words they say will be natural. And when you move onto another character? As long as you really know your characters, all you need to do is to change skins, and you'll change your voice. It's that easy.

If you spend enough time getting to know your characters, you may even experience one of those exciting (and frustrating) moments when your character refuses to do what you want them to do. Or they do something you hadn't planned, causing you to change the script! Why? Because they have become real characters.

This doesn't only apply to human characters.

I once wrote a story about a time when my young dog ate poison and had to be rushed to the veterinary surgeon in the middle of the night. I described how she reacted and looked—as I saw the situation. I was pleased with the story and submitted it to first one magazine then another. Several rejections later, I read advice similar to what I've given here. I needed to try and see the whole evening's drama as if I were Sheba, our fun-loving Alsation pup. I had to look at the ordeal through her eyes, feeling what she experienced.

I stopped describing how I thought she felt. I imagined myself to be her. I looked at the events from her point of view. I began to see the confusion in "my" mind at the reactions of my human family when they tried to make me vomit. I felt the distress when they allowed a stranger to poke me with needles, then gave me away. (We had to leave her overnight on a drip at the animal hospital.)

As I typed out the new version of the story, I fought back tears. Although I still wrote the story from my human point of view, I now felt the heartache of Sheba. I was her, as her owner turned and walked away, leaving her with this horrid stranger who had stuck needles into her and made her violently sick. What had she done to upset her owner so much that she'd give her away? Would she ever see her owner again?

As I typed, the emotions came from within and influenced my writing. The difference was exciting. A few days later, I submitted it to Chicken Soup for the Soul:  My Dog's Life, and it was accepted. All because I slipped into Sheba's skin for a few hours.

How about you? What suggestions do you have for making your characters come alive?

SHIRLEY CORDER lives in South Africa with her husband Rob, a hyperactive budgie called Sparky, and an ever expanding family of tropical fish. Hundreds of her inspirational and life-enrichment articles have been published internationally. She is contributing author to nine books to date and her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer is due to be released in America by Revell Publishers in October.  You can contact Shirley through her writing website, her Rise and Soar site for encouraging those on the cancer journey, or follow her on Twitter

Journaling

Do you begin the day journaling before you begin writing? Is there some other ritual you perform before writing?

By doing so is one way to get the gunk out of your head and clear your mind for the writing at hand.

In addition, just getting the words down, then editing later is one way to create your story.

While journaling, interview your characters to make them real in your mind and learn more about them. If they are real to you and you know them well, so will you reader, and the reader will develop empathy for them as well as their life and trials in your story.

Empathy for characters in literature is what matters most for the read to become involved and having an experience with the story rather than just reading something to kill time.

As an author, we write for ourselves first, than we hope others will read us and get something from what we write. If we don’t write for ourselves first, then we are little less the writing whores, and writing for nothing more than the few bucks we can make.

As authors, we should stand for the craft and something in which we value what we do. Writing should not just be about making some money, but we should writing something to engage the read for the period of time they spend with us in our book, article, or any copy we write.

Before writing for the day, or whenever you write, journaling is a great way to clear your mind of the stuff that is rolling around from life and prepare yourself for the writing job at hand.

You should also have your ducks lined up for the writing task at hand and a clear direction to advance the storyline. Can the writing change along the way? Possibly, but that is what editing is for, to check the finder points, and make the story stronger in the editing of the words on the page.

Robert Medak
Freelance Writer/Editor/Reviewer/Marketer
http://rjmedak.wordpress.com

The Writing Dream




Following the writing dream sounds so simple. However, there are certain things that have to happen as you are following those dreams and all of that can be very overwhelming.  Did any of you think that all you had to do was write from your heart and a writing career would unfold?  

In my very younger days, yes I believed that if I wrote from my heart there would be a publisher who would scoop up those words and make my name a household brand in the world of children’s books. Oh how wrong I was. First of all, no one liked my words without changing many of them and sometimes changing the entire idea. And so my journey began.

The thing about writing and writing dreams is that it takes work, hard work. There is the work of learning the craft, that in and of itself can take years.  Then after learning the basics of the writing craft, there is a continuing education aspect that every writer must remember so never to loose site of honing the craft. I am finding new learning experiences with every assignment.

While learning the craft and writing material that may never find a publisher, most writers work at another job to pay the bills. While a writer must continue to write because it is in their heart, most must continue to learn new skills to keep their day job and a constant paycheck. Few are wealthy enough in the beginning to never have to balance the writing life with the paying job.

Add family to the picture and now a writer is balancing writing, working full time, and having a family together with following the dream. As a writer succeeds in this writing world, then enters marketing, speaking, promoting, blogging, and paying assignments on to the plate of the writer with a dream still not quite fullfilled.

My question for myself and other successful writers is this. How do you balance all of these aspects of working towards the writing dream without feeling overwhelmed and discouraged? How many write for paying assignments that they don’t enjoy simply to pay the bills while still trying to carve out time to write from the heart?  

The answer for most is to stay focused, stay organized, make lists, don’t take on more than you know you can do, and to keep writing. Writing from the heart is my motto on my blog, and a common thread for writers everywhere. Writing from the heart is what feeds the soul of the writer. And in the end isn’t that what is important?





Designing Customized Facebook Fan Pages Webinar

Writers on the Move took a workshop break in February, but we have a great webinar scheduled for March 12th. Due to popular demand, Maggie Ball is presenting a workshop on creating a FB fan page for book promotion and other promotional needs.

Here are the details:

Title: Designing Customized Facebook Fan Pages
Date: March 12, 2012
Time: 7PM, EST USA
Cost: Free
Format: PowerPoint Webinar
Handout: Pending

This webinar will not be recorded, so if you're interested you'll have to attend the live presentation.

DESCRIPTION:

Facebook is by far the top social networking site. Yes, it’s a fun way to stay in touch with all your old friends and extended family, but it’s also a fantastic way for businesses to connect with customers. For authors, it’s a particularly powerful tool, not only for encouraging sales, but for allowing your readers to interact with one another. Does your Facebook page stand out? Is it professional? A call to action for visitors? Are you attracting ‘likes?’ Creating your own custom Facebook fan page is easier than you think. Black Cow author Magdalena Ball provides the lowdown on how to create your own exciting, customised fan pages that change when visitors become fans. We’ll cover templates and self-made options, how to add multiple tabs, the best way to convert visitors to readers, and more, showing you exactly how you can make your own page as exciting as your books.

As this session will be done during the promotional tour for Black Cow, attendees are encouraged to visit Magdalena’s fan page at http://www.facebook.com/MagalenaBallAuthor and like it, as a pre-attendance exercise, as this page will be the basis for the demonstrations and familiarity will help ensure that all attendees are starting from a similar point of awareness.

For full details go to:
http://www.writersonthemove.com/p/writers-on-move-workshop.html

Or register with Maggie right now at:
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A Setting to Remember

I love an unforgettable setting. Whether I'm experiencing it, writing it or even reading about one, a good setting can create an unforgettable image that will stay with me long after. The challenge is how to write a great setting? First of all, like all great writing, it's a must to remember to use your five senses: sight, sound, taste, touch, and probably most important for setting, smell.

Setting is everything that places your reader: you need to let your reader know when the action is occurring - time of day, time of year, and era. That's not all, your reader also needs to know where in the world, or out of this world, your scene is taking place? Finally, also consider the weather as part of your setting.

Just like everything in your writing, your setting must serve a purpose. The setting either needs to work with your plot, work to create your character, or both.

"One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it," Chekhov famously said. In my novel, Rocky's Mountains, the characters are camping in the forest. When a tornado rips through the valley, they are left trapped. 

"We crawled along the edge of the rock face with branches and limbs whipping above us. Frequently Rocky would stop and I could tell he was searching for a way up and out of our tree-tunnel. The world clawed at our clothes and everything smelled of Christmas and death—pine trees and mold. Some of the needles stabbed at me, poked into my skin and were left to hang there—no time to pull them out. We struggled through mud and water. . ." Later they see trees scattered like "toothpicks" and taste blood from their injuries.

Setting can also be used to create a character. Alma's restaurant in Rocky's Mountains is a small Wyoming diner, named after the owner's greatest love - his horse. 

"A cowbell clanged as I opened the door of Alma’s cafĂ© and the intoxicating aroma of old-fashioned grilled hamburgers, homemade French fries and coffee surrounded me. According to the engraved sign over the door, the dive served food and spirits. From the stuffed two headed calf sitting high on a shelf, to the brands burned into the wood plank tables, the diner practically exuded the essence of the old west." 

After your first introduction you learn of the smell of the green stuff that comes in on the boots of the ranchers and it reminds you who frequents the place. You hear the gruffness of the owner's voice as he asks for your order. You see him spit tobacco. You know the characters belong.  

When creating a setting, work to define the space and place in such a way that your reader knows why it's mentioned.

Exercise: write about a room, restaurant, outdoor area or other place you know well. Now rewrite the setting creating an atmosphere of romance or mystery. Finally, take two completely different characters and put each of them in the space. How does each of these changes affect your setting? Give your reader not just a great story, but also a place to remember.
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D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction. She loves to tell stories of personal growth where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is the author of Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole and, Perception, her latest book dealing with the subject of death and the afterlife. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at www.djeanquarles.com

Her novels are available in electronic format here, or print format here
You can also follower her at www.djeanquarles.blogspot.com or on Facebook
Or you can just contact her at d.jeanquarles@yahoo.com