35-Day Author Blog Challenge 2015 · Baby Steps · Book Production Stuff · Darcy By Any Other Name · Productivity Tips · Write Already!

Day 16: Sometimes even coffee can’t help!

The most challenging part of my book process is also the most basic: the writing of it. Words from my creative mind to the page–yeah, that’s the hardest. It all comes down to time, and to produce a book I cannot rely on summer breaks only. I must write during the school year. It’s either… Continue reading Day 16: Sometimes even coffee can’t help!

35-Day Author Blog Challenge 2015 · Productivity Tips · The Writing Life · Write Already!

Day 7: The Slough of Writerly Despond

Writer’s block happens. One day I will be zipping along, with ideas and words flowing. And on the next it’s like I’m Christian in the Slough of Despond, mired in the mud and stuck. What? Sometimes the cause is a life block. There isn’t much you can do when you are overwhelmed by sickness (as… Continue reading Day 7: The Slough of Writerly Despond

The Writing Life · Write Already!

Quantity, not Quality, Time with the Muse

When my sons were little, the debate over Quality Time versus Quantity Time was in full swing. The idea was this: if a parent spends meaningful time with a child, then that cancels out the need to spend large amounts of time together, right? Umm… Having worked in daycare, I already knew the answer: Quantity… Continue reading Quantity, not Quality, Time with the Muse

Life Hacks · Productivity Tips · The Writing Life · Video · Write Already!

Power to the Pomodoro!

A pomodoro timer and Darth Vadar too? Snap! (Photo Credit: mlpeixoto
A pomodoro kitchen timer AND Darth Vadar too? Snap!
Photo: mlpeixoto (Creative Commons Flickr)
“The hardest part is getting started.” That’s what my aunt, a self-made multi-millionaire, used to say. It certainly worked for her.

“The next-hardest part is staying focused.” That’s my corollary for the busy age in which we live. So many distractions (like reading this blog post), so few of them productive.

Send in the tomato! The Pomodoro (“tomato”) Technique takes its name from an Italian kitchen timer. The idea is to stay focused and working for 25 minutes without interruption–no Internet! No texting! –before taking a short break.

This technique can be especially helpful with writing. I stay at it long enough for “flow” to take over. Pomodoros also help me grade papers and tackle housework. “Twenty-five minutes won’t kill me,” I tell myself as I vacuum or mop the floor or deal with dirty dishes. Or grade another ten-page paper.

These days everyone struggles to be productive. If you’re interested in learning more about the Pomodoro Technique, I’ve linked a short video below.

An Encouraging Word · Musical Marvels · Teaching's in my DNA · The Writing Life · Write Already!

Benjamin Zander and Reducing the Impulses

Sometimes it helps to cross-train with artists from other disciplines. Today, a TED talk from conductor Benjamin Zander.

As always, he is a delight. He transforms the way we see classical music. And, I hope, the way my students see the craft of writing.

“Observe his performance of Chopin,” I tell them. As writers, what can we take away?

But first, a few quotations to ponder.

Throes of Creation by Leonid Pasternak  (Public Domain)
Throes of Creation by Leonid Pasternak

“The desire to write grows with writing.” (Desiderius Erasmus)

Get started and watch what happens.
Learn from Mikey: “Try it, you’ll like it.”

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you grow.” (E.L. Doctorow)

Writing is all about discovery.
What lurks in your creative mind?
If you don’t start writing, how will you know?

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” (Benjamin Franklin)

So don’t be stupid.
Because stupid is a choice.

“Everyone who works in the domain of fiction is a bit crazy. The problem is to render this craziness interesting.” (Fran├žois Truffant)

Guess what? If you write a boring story, it’s kind of your fault.
And Benjamin Zander would agree.

Come discover why ‘Reducing the Impulses’ is important.
How can we do the same thing with our writing?

Teaching's in my DNA · The Writing Life · Words to Live By · Write Already!

We’re in this writing thing together

I am a collector of quotations. Who better to comment on the writing life than those who have struggled through it, right? Ah, but my high school students aren’t so sure, especially at the beginning of the school year. They don’t get it. I share a quotation and get blank looks. “So what does this… Continue reading We’re in this writing thing together

The Writing Life · Write Already!

How to Write 3000 Words

This summer I have been in Turbo Writer Mode. Basically, I have July to finish my comic novel, Darcy By Any Other Name. It’s a wonderfully funny romp. But it won’t write itself. So Mondays through Wednesdays I write 3000 words a day. The rest of the week I’m also writing, but not new material.… Continue reading How to Write 3000 Words

New and Improved? · Still Alive! · Stuff and Nonsense · Write Already!

The Old, the New, the Remodeled, the Working

Something Old: One loved-to-death Kindle It’s stuck on The Hunger Games. And because I took no other books on vacation, that’s what I read on the train. Three times. Something New: A Kindle Fire HD (Displaying one of my books, of course.) Can it be that I’m an Early Adapter? My sons say I’m a… Continue reading The Old, the New, the Remodeled, the Working

Snark Monday · Words to Live By · Write Already!

O the Wit ‘o the Writing Irish

Top ‘o the morning to you! It’s both Monday and St. Patrick’s Day—what better time to share useful Irish wit regarding life and writing? You know I have to slant everything toward writing. My students roll their eyes. But they love these Irish proverbs just the same. “You’ll never plow a field by turning it… Continue reading O the Wit ‘o the Writing Irish