Sweat It Out

Can’t sleep because of the heat? Get up, that’s right climb out of those sweaty sheets. Consider the uncomfortable temperature as Mother Nature’s way of nudging you to write. Now grab your laptop or notepad and pens. Find the coolest spot possible in your house or if you’re able to sneak out, head to a 24 hour diner. Grab a cold drink, pop in ear plugs and plant your butt into a chair.

Write anything. This is the ideal space to stretch and creatively warm up by complaining about the temperature. Describe the discomfort in great detail, whine as much as possible on the page. Got the grumpiness out of your system? Great! Now, let’s get to work. Open the file and work on your story. As you get into the piece and the word count rises, the level of discomfort will decrease.

By the time you have completed several pages and downed a half gallon of liquids, one of two things will have occurred. Either the weather will have cooled a bit as it is now the wee hours of the morning or you will be so tired the bed is screaming your name.

Hot nights were made for writers and night owls. Make friends with Mother Nature and write your way through the blistering heat.



Part 2: Inspiration & Insights From YALLWEST

YALLWEST was a day packed with swag (goodies provided by publishers), panels (discussing creativity, the writing process, the publishing industry, ) free pizza and inspiration.  Daniel Jose Older blew the roof off the venue with his honest and bold style on panels like “Write the Resistance” covering the topic of writing realistic characters that are standing up to injustice. Danielle Paige and Victoria Aveyard’s discussion on women who influenced their writing and on the importance of strong female characters was brilliant.  Tracey Baptiste showed her creative chops by sharing a story from her childhood, inspiring writers in attendance to dig into their own childhood for tales to re-spin.

If you are a fan of middle grade or young adult literature, you should attend YALLWEST. Writers of MG or YA need to come to this an annual event and get an infusion of creativity.



YALL What? Part 1

What do you get when you mix thousands of readers and tons of middle grade and young adult authors from all over the country? YALLFEST! This annual event connects fans with literary stars and offers panels on topics such as fantasy, research, mythology and publication of children’s literature (but that’s just a sample, stay tuned for the main course in part two)..

Arrive early and mingle with fellow writers in line. Step onto the campus of Santa Monica High School and check out swag from major publishers. Grab a schedule of events and hop into line for the events that you have tickets for.

Keynotes spotlights the humor and brilliance of authors such as Cassandra Clare and Daniel Jose Older. The fun inspirational  day had just begun.

Part 2 : Inspiration & Insight Gained From YALLWEST…….

Different~ Embrace The Poetic Or Obscure

Have you ever had an idea for a novel written in verse or a character with a obscure medical condition? Did you think it to unconventional to try? Well, dust off those ideas, it may be time to rock the page!

Middle grade or young adult novels can be amazing in lyrical form. Case in point, Crossover by Kwame Alexander. This middle grade novel is about a twelve year old basketball player who deals with sibling rivalry and a crisis that nearly brings his family to its knees. Did I mention that it  is written in brilliant, flowing lyrical format? Okay, maybe you think that Kwame’s book is a fluke. Consider  Ellen Hopkin’s young adult novels. Her poetic lines touch teens across the globe in stories of pain, addiction and drama.( Go ahead and order their books or put them on hold with the library. )

Maybe lyrical format is not your style. Okay, let’s shake the magic eight ball for another creative idea. Here’s one: rare medical condition. Perhaps you have heard about a middle grade book called Wonder or the young adult novel, Everything, Everything. They have  three thing in common: the main character is living with a physical challenge that society considers to be abnormal, they long to be out in the world and to live like everyone else, and both books have being turned into movies.

Why write in lyrical mode or have a character that suffers from a physical challenge? Lyrical is an option if poetry is your strength or if the story demands to be told in that way. And characters with physical challenges reflex the fears we all face of being hurt or rejected by society for being less than perfect. Most of all, imperfect characters remind readers that we are all the same inside and encourage them to embrace all forms of diversity.

Up to the challenge of trying to write in the above mentioned ways? Go for it.

At Last……

I owe you a third Goodie Bag Post. Here it is…

Kick-Butt Opportunities:

Wergle  Flomp Humor Poetry Contest (Deadline 4/1/17)

Mother Jones Ben Bagdikian Fellowship Program (Deadline June & December)

AWP Scholarship (Deadline 3/30/2017)

Writer-In-Residence Boston Public Library (Deadline 4/14/17)

Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grants (Submission closes 5/1/17)

The Oxford American Jeff Baskin Writers Fellowship (Deadline 3/30/2017)


Spring Into Success

As we enter a new season, there’s no better time to push forward. This post is for you if you started the year strong but have slowed in progression, never put the writing plan into first gear or you’re on the road and plan too stay the course.

Let’s  start with a simple commitment of a specific word count and a bit of research. Between today and Friday, write 500 words. Once that has been accomplished, grab a copy a copy of Writers’ Market or click around google to create a list of potential publishers (be open minded and think beyond the big  ones).

The year is still young a there is plenty of time to kick your writing plans into full gear. Pull up to the desktop, laptop or grab your preferred writing tools and let’s do this! Let’s Spring into success!

Okay~ Do It!

You are siting at home watching your favorite show when a common thought reoccurs, you can write a better episode than this one. The plot unfolding before you is obvious and has enough holes for a herd of elephants to walk through. Yes, you could definitely do better. Well, it’s time to step up to the keyboard or shut up.

Write a script for your favorite show. We are approaching television script fellowship session. Nickelodeon, and HBO are but a few options to shoot for over the next couple of months. Not interested in those options? No problem, consider television script writing as the ultimate writing exercise. Use it as a warm up  before diving into your current manuscript.

Look, it’s time to stop being a backseat writer. Stop claiming that you can do it better if you aren’t doing it at all. Step up to the keyboard and let the plot flow from your mind to the keyboard and onto your computer screen where it belongs. Do it!

Micro Is A Writers’ Best Friend

You want to slay the blank page. Your heart and soul longs to fill it with words. But in spite of this deep desire, the creation of lines proves to be a formidable challenge. No worries, this post will provide you with a mighty tool to win the battle!

Ready for the tool that changes the game? Here it is, brace yourself! The tool is “word count.” Pick a number that you can reach daily. Think micro for the first month. A reasonable word count ensures productivity and allows you to jot down sentences even on hectic days.  Stuck in line at the post office or grocery store? Make a dent in your word count. Waiting for a spouse or child at a doctor’s office? Write.

Two hundred words a day at the end of February  will equal 5,600 by the end of the month. That’s a sizable portion of written material for your novel.

This week, select your word count and start filling the page.

Armed & Ready

Feeling frustrated with your tools of the trade? Sure you have a computer, gel pens, blank journals and pads of paper, but there are other resources you are missing. If only you had a faster computer, a tablet to allow you to be mobile, or the best writers’ software, life would be more productive.

Down the line, your computer can be upgraded or replaced, a tablet can be purchased as can great software.  You are already armed with the most powerful tool necessary for a writer, the creative mind. Everyday you also receive a fresh opportunity to flex your mental muscle, harness the muse and be productive.

Grab the gel pens, blank journal or fire up the computer. There’s a world to be birthed onto the page and you are the creator.


One Writing Project On A Flash Drive

You’ve got one writing project stored on a flash drive, numerous others stored in the Cloud or on your hard drive. Time to open each one and examine them. Read the documents line by line and out loud. Now comes the hard part, brace yourself.

The challenge is to decide which one you will finish this year. I know you want to complete each project and some of you will do so. However, sometimes you have to focus on one goal, completion of one thing.

Start opening the files and get to work. I am certain that this year will succeed!