After the Storm There’s No Time to Relax

To stretch that anchor/storm metaphor:

After the storm has passed the crew can’t take a break. First order is damage assessment and vital repairs.

Once the fires are put out, literally or metaphorically, the ship still needs sailing. A myriad little things need tidying up.

If the crew takes it easy after the storm they condemn their ship.

… more … “After the Storm There’s No Time to Relax”

Forge Ahead Unfettered

After 3 days with no posts you’re probable wondering where I am.

I am in New Mexico. Tucumcari, to be exact. Fascinating as that must be for you, the story behind it is a lesson in how balance and moving forward go hand in hand.

We knew when we moved in a year ago that the house we rented was for sale. After 3 years on the market (in a seriously “buyer’s” market) we weren’t concerned, especially as seasoned nomads.

Last Wednesday we got the message that the house sold and the new owners wanted to move in April 1st. While the landlord is only required to give 28 days notice ours made a special effort and gave us 35.

The challenge was that we were leaving on this Arizona/California trip 5 days later, and won’t be back until after the final date. … more … “Forge Ahead Unfettered”

Lost Days, Lost Time; Or, You Can’t Fill a Black Hole

I have struggled with depression my whole life. During the past 10 years it has improved immensely, especially the past few. I now consider myself a happy person, a content person. The black days which used to be the norm are now rare.

But they’re not gone.

… more … “Lost Days, Lost Time; Or, You Can’t Fill a Black Hole”

Back on the Rails

image http://www.sxc.hu/photo/796527 by Dominic Morel http://www.sxc.hu/profile/cx_edThe double-fudge-loaded cheesecake derails your healthy eating habits.

Disturbed sleep derails your writing habit.

Surprises in your schedule derail family time.

Unexpected behavior from others derails your best intentions to be the best possible version of yourself.

Time goes into stealth mode and derails your blogging routine.

Some of those seem trivial. Others are major events. Each of us would rate each of them a little differently.

… more … “Back on the Rails”

Marketing Strategy: No Budget? No Time? The One Thing I Would Do Is . . .

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1379787 by Jan Willem Geertsma http://www.sxc.hu/profile/jan-willem. . . blog.

If I had to choose one marketing strategy to fit into an incredibly busy life and didn’t cost a penny, it would be my blog.

This blog automatically feeds every post to Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In. As soon as I sort the technical details, it will automatically post to Google+ and Pinterest.

(Update #1: … more … “Marketing Strategy: No Budget? No Time? The One Thing I Would Do Is . . .”

Timer (#3 of 6 Tools to Write)

#3 in a series of 6

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/429177 by scott craig http://www.cancerbox.com/Being passionate souls, writers have a tendency to over promise, over commit and just plain try too hard.

When facing a challenging task, it’s human nature to try to swallow the elephant in one gulp. Every “getting things done” specialist in the world tells us that’s wrong — and yet we persist. If you want a jump start on eating the elephant, start with one tiny bite.

If you’re 12 years behind on your book, it’s easy to assume that it will take four hours a day for the next 10 years to catch up. And what happens is you spend four hours a day worrying about writing and zero hours a day doing it. If you missed yesterday’s post on habits and rituals, go back and read it. Then we’ll talk about why a 5-minute timer is such a great habit-building tool.

This all-or-nothing perspective makes habit-building a real challenge. … more … “Timer (#3 of 6 Tools to Write)”

Your Writing Schedule (#2 of 6 Tools to Write)

#2 in a series of 6

Every February thousands of songwriters converge on February Writing Album Month. FAWM founder Burr Settles lives by the Jack London quote which has always been part of FAWM culture: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

To many artists it seems nonsensical to sit down and intentionally crank out 14 songs in 28 days.

That’s not creativity; that’s just work. they say.

Seven years of participation taught me otherwise.

photo of office http://www.sxc.hu/photo/947942 by stephan fleet http://stephanfleet.com/

… more … “Your Writing Schedule (#2 of 6 Tools to Write)”

Your Writing Environment (#1 of 6 Tools to Write)

Revisiting this list of 6 tools to get you writing instead of whimpering in the fetal position on the closet floor.

The first, because it is largest, most evident, and the most mechanical (which means the easiest to think about and implement) is your environment.

The pervasive image of the starving artist huddled, shivering in their garret leads us, perhaps unconsciously, to believe that art is immune to environment, or even that art is created by pain and suffering.

Your rational brain knows that this is nonsense.

“Even the most abstract mind is affected by the surroundings of the body. No one is immune to the impressions that impinge on the senses from the outside. Creative individuals may seem to disregard their environment and work happily in even the most dismal surroundings . . . in reality, the spatiotemporal context in which creative persons live has consequences that often go unnoticed. The right milieu is important in more ways than one.”—Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, p. 126

A proper environment, as Csikszentmihalyi points out, adds enormously to our ability to create.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1354904 by kslyesmith http://www.sxc.hu/profile/kslyesmith

Here are a few things you should carefully inspect to ensure that they are the best you can arrange for your writing environment. Some will have a large effect. Some will have a small effect. But all will affect the comfort and ease of your creative abilities.

… more … “Your Writing Environment (#1 of 6 Tools to Write)”

Getting Ready to Prepare to Plan to Begin to Think About Writing My Next Novel

anodyneThe website said the first Jake Calcutta mystery anodyne would be released August of 2012.

Some of the delay has been life getting in the way. Some has certainly been procrastination.

The majority of it has been me driving myself to write a better book.

Through the Fog is a fun read. I’m working on (read thinking about) a sequel. But it’s not the serious mystery that will make people think I’m Chandler reborn.

… more … “Getting Ready to Prepare to Plan to Begin to Think About Writing My Next Novel”

Year-Long Workshop: Get Your Book Out of the Someday Box in 2014

was this place new when you started your novel?What if I could lead you by the hand and promise that in 2014 you’d finally finish that novel?

What’s more, what if I gave you greatly increased chances that it would be good?

Is that worth paying for?

Details to come.