Thursday, September 29, 2011


My three-year old granddaughter has been able to sing her ABC's for over a year and she now knows what sound each letter makes. She can even sound out a few words. In contrast, it's taken me two years to get through my "ABC Essentials for Writers" posts. I intended to write about one letter a week but it turned out to be more like one letter a month! But hey, at least I'm ready to graduate from blogging preschool and move into the high-tech arena of elementary- and, believe it or not, secondary-school of blogging. (Truth be told, I'm revamping my blog...all focused on what's happening with "The Stelladaur Series"...but that will be on the following post.)

Today we're learning about XYZ. "X" is for eXpect results equal to your skills, talents, efforts, determination, and perseverance. Expectation is a huge component to success in any endeavor. The key is to make sure your expectations are high enough to continually reach outside your comfort zone but not unrealistic in relation to your present strengths and weaknesses. If you're feeling overly frustrated in the writing or publishing process, ask yourself, "What do I have the power to change?" Be honest. Be objective. Let the rest go. Often determination and perseverance can make up for a lack of skill and talent. Skills (the craft of writing) can be learned. Talent is innate. But we all have some of both. Effort, determination and perseverance live at the apex of the self-expectancy continuum. Said another way, when it comes right down to it you have to make it all happen! No one is going to wave a magic wand around my busy life and give me more time to write, edit, send query letters, keep up a blog, deal with publishing decisions, promote my work, or schedule a book tour. And guess what, they won't for you either. Expect your best with the understanding that it fluctuates from day to day, and give whatever that best is to yourself. Then trust it's enough.

"Y" is for YES!!! This is the blessed word you'll be shouting when your agent or editor calls to make an offer! It will likely be accompanied by exuberant leaps in the air (or even gasping for air due to unintentional yet joyful hyperventilating), an immediate urge to send a text and facebook message to the entire world, and perhaps even a moment of silence. will happen!

"Z" is for ZANY! Make sure you do something zany-crazy every day to invite creativity. If you feel like you're in a rut, you are! Get up and go do something out of the ordinary--something you haven't done in a long while or that you've never done but have always wanted to. This will create some much needed positive energy. Writer's block comes from blocked creativity...which comes from blocked energy fields...which comes from too much emotional or physical "stuff" in our life. Be Z-A-N-Y and Zap Away Negative Yuck!

ABC to XYZ...we're done! Here's my complete alphabet for review.


A - Affirm aloud: "I am a writer!"
B - Browse your local bookstore.
C - Create something new today.
D - Delete at least one sentence from each page of your manuscript.
E - Edit...AGAIN!
F - Finish a chapter.
G - Give yourself fifteen more minutes to write.
H - Hook: If the one you've been using in your query hasn't worked yet, get a new one!
I - Imagination, Introspection, and Intrigue Invites Interesting characters.
J - Jeff Herman's Guide to book Publishers Editors, and Literary Agents: check it out!
K - Keep at it, no matter how many rejections you get.
L - LIterary Marketplace: check it out.
M - Memorize your pitch and practice it until you know it as well as you know the ABC's.
N - News: Read your local newspaper for interesting marketable writing ideas
O- Open a favorite book you haven't read in years and read it again.
P - Publisher's Weekly: subscribe today!
Q - Query letter: rewrite it again after careful research on agents.
R - Respect your agent's and editor's time...respect your own time.
S - Synopsis: condense it!
T - Trust your inner voice and write from your heart not your head.
U - Understand why you write and you will better understand yourself.
V - Viewpoint: reread your manuscript from a different viewpoint or write it from a different POV.
W - Writer's Conference: research options and sign up for one today!
X - eXpect results equal to your efforts, skill, determination, talent and perseverance.
Y - YES! The blessed word you will be shouting when your editor calls to make an offer.
Z - Zany: do something crazy everyday to invite creativity!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

W - Writer's Conferences

Choosing which writer's conferences to attend (and budgeting for it!) is sort of like trying to choose what kind of ice cream to buy at Baskin Robbins. I love 'em all! Well, most of them. I'd attend one every month if I could afford it. Many conferences are typically held in the summer, so if you've missed getting to one this season, go online now and do a search of conferences in your area and get booked for 2012. If you can afford the travel, find out where the agents and publishers who best represent your genre will be attending. I'm fortunate to live in the Northwest, basically a mecca for writers, with many conferences nearby to choose from. If you're in the Northwest, or if you're not, check out the following conferences for next year: in Seattle area and www.writeon on Whidbey Island. These are two of my favorites! Check out your local library and bookstores for guest authors, speakers, and smaller workshops. Whenever I go to a conference, I do so with an open mind, ready to absorb information like a sponge and with an attitude that there is always more to learn about craft, industry and myself.