Wed. Nov. 14, 2018: Dancing in the Kitchen & Creative Synchronicity

Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest on why word choice matters.

Heads up: Venus goes direct on Friday WHILE Mercury turns retrograde. In other words, that’ll be one messed up day. And then I’ll have to spend the next three weeks keeping my mouth shut!

30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS is up as a free download (how’s that for contradictory language?) here. Although originally geared to National Novel Writing Month, you can decide any day is “Day 1” and go for it. I’m committed to keeping it free, since Nano is free, and that was the catalyst for it.

I got the center front yard raked on Monday afternoon, before the storm started. Tuesday was nasty; I’m hoping to get all those bags of leaves (nearly 800 gallons’ worth) to the dump (excuse me, transfer station) either today or tomorrow. And then get some more raking in before Friday’s storm hits.

Steady work on DAVY JONES DHARMA, although slower than I’d like or need. I’m not sure how to step it up. I need to push harder, but right now, the tank on that project is pretty low. Truly, I’m trying to make like a hockey player and dig deeper, but I’m struggling!

Drafted about half of a short story, inspired by a conversation I had over Veteran’s Day weekend and some of my own experiences back when I did a lot of work with Vietnam vets. There’s a lot of pain in the story, but it’s in subtext, not text. That means each word has to be chosen even more carefully than in a typical short story. There’s also a twist in the last couple of lines that I hope I don’t foreshadow too directly, but I want readers to be hit with it, then go back and not feel cheated. It’s a good craft stretch for me.

Tuesday was a day onsite with a client, and today will be the same.

Looks like the Democrats picked up another Senate seat in Arizona. Maybe the gap in the Senate will be closer than predicted, even with Heitkamp and McCaskill losing.

Meanwhile, the Narcissistic Sociopath continues to be a corrupt embarrassment to the office and the country.

And California continues to burn.

Took a look at two projects I’d worked on a few years back and put aside. They’ve got a good foundation, great characters. I need to think about when I can get them back into the writing queue. They have temporary end points, so they wouldn’t drain creative energy. But I really like what I’m trying to say in them.

While doing some research for one of my projects, the song from 1984, “Obsession” by Animatron, started running through my head. I found the video and watched it — I don’t remember ever seeing it. But then, I don’t remember plenty of things from the 80s. I do remember having a lot of fun to that song and others when I lived on the West coast during that time. I’m grateful it was before the time when going out to blow off steam meant it showed up on social media. In the context of the time, I wasn’t particularly wild, but when I tell stories from those days, people around here seem to think I was. I was passionate and determined, and seized life for everything it had. I have no regrets.

Later that night, I put on the iPod and started dancing around the kitchen, just blowing off some steam. Hadn’t done that in awhile. Tessa, the older cat, looked at me, rolled her eyes (as only a feline can), and stalked out. Lucy, the newer rescue, was terrified and ran away. It was pretty funny.

I want to weave more dancing into some of my projects. I haven’t had the chance to go out dancing much here. Of course, when I worked on Broadway, we made our own dance parties regularly. Anywhere we went had potential to turn into a dance party.

In one of those weird creative synchronicity things, when I checked my Twitter feed the next morning, one of my Twitter pals had posted a video of him dancing in his kitchen. It was wonderful! Made me smile and reminded me that happiness is contagious.

He’s invited his followers to shoot videos dancing in their kitchens and will edit it together. Since I don’t do on-camera stuff, I won’t shoot one, but I’ll sure as hell enjoy watching what he compiles. He’s wildly creative, and I’m sure it will be a blast.

Back to the page.

Advertisements

Wed. Nov. 7, 2018: Post-Election

Wednesday, November 7, 2018
New Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to read about the poorly-organized event I worked with one of my clients last week.

Yesterday was a long damn day. I worked with my client, then worked on getting the 30 Tips for 30 Days book uploaded and out — only the channels aren’t accepting it, even though it’s free. I might just convert it to PDF and keep it perpetually on my own sites. There’s all this demand for free content, and now that I have something I’m willing to offer for free, I’m getting pushback.

It also doesn’t bode well for switching over the Topic Workbooks from their current platform to the new one.

I have some good news — a Boston-based radio company is going to produce my radio drama about Kate Warne in the spring! It seems they’d tried to contact me a few weeks ago, only all the emails showed up in a lump yesterday. I sent them the full script, and we’ll go from there. As soon as I have all the details and am allowed to share them, I will. That was a bright spot yesterday.

Didn’t get much work done on either PREVENTATIVE MEASURES or DAVY JONES DHARMA. Although I did some plotting on PREVENTATIVE MEASURES. There are a few characters who will complicate my two protagonists’ journey to each other.

Most of the day and night was spent worrying about the election. I am disappointed in the results. I think there are some great new faces in the House — and even in the Senate. But how anyone could pick Ted Cruz over Beto O’Rourke shows the level of racism and stupidity there, and, as usual Florida is an embarrassment. And what happened in Georgia is criminal. But NONE of the races, in an enlightened society, should have even been close. It should have been a clean sweep throughout Congress. “Voter suppression” — which needs to be dealt with and prosecuted — isn’t enough of an excuse. The racism is far too ingrained in this country, and that has to change.

It’s about time we had some Native Americans in Congress, and I’m glad they’re women. I’m proud of New York; I’m mostly proud of MA. But it wasn’t enough.

Now that the Dems have the House back, they better take decisive action, instead of continuing to let the Repubs do whatever they want. We will not make progress being civil.

And the Repubs can still cause a lot of damage between now and January.

Frankly, I think the Dems should be quiet until they’re sworn in. Don’t signal the plans. Just state that they plan to take action. Get sworn in, and then move.

The Boston radio station, WBZ, which is supposed to be a CBS affiliate, was so right-wing partisan biased that I turned it off by nine in the morning and didn’t listen again. They’ve been more and more biased since we moved here; at this point, they don’t even pretend to have objective coverage. CBS should cut ties with them.

I’d suggest boycotting the advertisers, but the advertisers are so sleazy to begin with, there’s no one with whom I’d do business.

Didn’t sleep well; am tired and cranky this morning. Have to work with a client, then drop some stuff off at the library. Tomorrow, I will post late, because I have an early morning coffee meeting.

I need to turn my attention to my own work for the rest of the week, take a break from politics, and then get back into the fray.

But it makes the projects I’m developing in Women Write Change more relevant than ever.

So I return to the page.

Published in: on November 7, 2018 at 10:13 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 7, 2018: Post-Election  
Tags: , , ,

Fri. Nov. 2, 2018: Survival and the Beginning of Women Write Change, My Alt-Nano

Relics 4

Friday, November 2, 2018
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and mild

Busy week.

RELICS & REQUIEM is out; if you haven’t yet bought a copy, I hope you do! As I’ve said a million times, I’m very fond of Amanda and Phineas.

There’s an article about cabinets of curiosities that’s only available in the book, and the first chapter of the fourth book, GRAVE REACH, which comes out next October. That book is Lesley and Sam’s.

Monday was caught up with my mom’s health issues. Tuesday, I was back onsite with a client, and also got some decent work on DAVY JONES DHARMA. Plus, doing some interaction on the Women Write Change forum.

I also got an idea for a new novel — something I don’t need right now. But the characters are insistent, and it was sparked by something I experienced this week. I’ve been playing with it, in and around other projects. I love my two protagonists. It deals with both gun violence and the opiod crisis, which means it could fit as something that can be developed in the Women Write Change project. Along with the other stuff I’m doing there. I just feel like I need to blow off some steam with this project.

Wednesday was a crazy-making day, having to run around and do errands at 7 AM, meet my client early to load up the vehicle for Thursday’s event, work onsite, and then get home and finish the prep for the holiday.

I picked up extra candy, and I’m glad I did, because we had more kids this year than we’ve ever had — around 30. We had two little ones early on, and I was worried they would be the only ones who showed up. But the rest came in large groups, later in the evening, much later than usual. There were some teenagers, and they seemed worried that they’d get flack for being out. But they had creative costumes and were interesting people, so I chatted with them for a bit and sent them on their way. There was also a flatbed truck, filled with about a dozen kids from toddler to about eight. The truck parked at the top of the street, and the kids went from house to house, then climbed back in and sang their way to the next street. It was adorable. And what a great idea!

I have to say, the fathers stepped up this year. I’m guessing the moms stayed home to hand out candy and the dads went out with the kids. Made me wish I’d prepped a pot of coffee or batch of hot chocolate in take-out cups for them.

Anyway, it was very cute.

And it turns out Lucy, our newish rescue cat, loves trick-or-treaters and they loved her! She wasn’t scared at all. She wanted to meet everyone. Tessa, my black cat, kept herding her away from the door.

Now that Lucy’s not afraid all the time, she’s starting to understand more and explore her freedoms. And she’s starting to understand us more when we talk to her. She and Tessa aren’t snuggling up together yet, but they’d rather be near each other than apart.

Samhain ritual was good. I kept it simple this year, and had done part of it earlier in the afternoon, and then the rest of it late at night. The next few nights are ceremonies for the dead.

Thursday was a long day. The cats got me up early. We had our morning routine, I remembered to put on the new registration sticker on the car and the new insurance cards in the glove compartment.

Then, I wrote. I worked on a new edition of 30 Tips for 30 Days, which I think I will release as a permanently free book via Draft2Digital. I need a new cover and maybe some graphics, but it could be a good tool. Since Nano is free, I wouldn’t feel right charging for anything that talked about Nano.

Thursday afternoon, I met my client, and we set up for the big event. I have to say, it was one of the worst organized events I have ever been involved with. That was not on my client – we were participating vendors. It was on the organizers.

Basically, it was set up like a trailer park yard sale. If I’d been a ticket buyer, I would have demanded my money back.

As a vendor, we were promised a designated space. Even though we bought a middle tiered slot, we were put in the back corner, facing away from the bulk of the events. We took out the ugly accoutrements they had and put up our own displays. So at least we looked good.

Our entry fee was supposed to include dinner. When I asked about when we were supposed to eat, I was told, “oh, just go to the food table whenever and bring it back to your booth.”

First of all, we can’t eat in the booth. Around clothes. Second, even if there wasn’t danger to the clothes, it’s tacky and unprofessional to be chowing down in front of customers.

So we wound up not eating.

Ticket holders were annoyed because it was advertised as serving drinks as part of the ticket (nothing about cash bar). Not only was the bar cash, but it was, literally, cash only. No cards.

The carpeting in the “ballroom” was old and dirty and disgusting. They’d set up a speaker next to us and we couldn’t hear our customers, and they couldn’t hear us. When we asked them to turn it down, they turned it up.

We weren’t asked to participate in the “fashion” show – my client is a clothing designer, how is that appropriate? They had a few box stores participating. Although, when you saw how the models clomped around and didn’t even bother to stand straight, maybe it was a blessing in disguise.

The organizers were passive aggressive. Everyone was supposed to do a raffle. Every time, in the prep weeks, I’d asked about the raffle, I was told something different. When I went to have the winner announced over the speaker system, the organizers told me that wouldn’t happen and we had to “figure out how to get people back to your booth and do it there.” WTF?

I hunted down the DJ myself and asked nicely. He was lovely, and, of course, agreed to do it.

Fortunately, we loaded out in about ten minutes as soon as it was done.

Nightmare.

Not worth our time.

Anything this particular “media group” runs around here is trash.

Not only will I not work another of these, I will advise my clients not to waste their money participating.

Home, exhausted.

Up late this morning, which means I’m behind on everything.

I’m meeting a new contact for coffee, which should be fun. I need the break. Then some more running around in the afternoon, and then writing and working on a couple of things for Women Write Change.
Took down the exterior decorations before the heavy rain started. It will take most of the weekend to put away the interior decorations and get the curtains switched out from spiderwebs to the heavy winter curtains.

Onward.

 

Published in: on November 2, 2018 at 8:56 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 2, 2018: Survival and the Beginning of Women Write Change, My Alt-Nano  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. Nov. 3,2017: Settling into New Schedules

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea available for advance purchase.

Friday, November 3, 2017
First Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Foggy and mild

I managed to get 1K written on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN yesterday morning.

I also updated 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS, the Nano cheerleading workbook. I tried to upload it to the Devon Ellington site, but Microsoft won’t let it then download when someone tries to click on it, calling it a “double escape” and citing “security” issues. Which is, of course, complete and utter crap. So it’s available on 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS.3rdEd. It is free — I hope it helps encourage those who are doing Nano.

Got some other work done as well, and then had yoga, which was bliss. I hadn’t realized how tight everything had gotten over these past two weeks. I also signed up for a crystal sound bowl meditation class on November 12 with the same teacher.

Took down the Samhain decorations, which included switching out the curtains from the black lace spiderweb curtains to the winter velour curtains.

My poor mother has another week of complicated dressing changes to go through before she gets her stitches out.

Somehow, I managed to injure my foot — blood everywhere, but I can’t find a cut. However, the toe in question is badly bruised and it’s difficult to put weight on it. Fun and games all around.

Today, I have work to do early on at one site, then three hours on site with a client, then possibly back to the first site.

My article on “Conference Follow-Up” is live at Authors Publish. I also have to prepare the clip and send it to those who allowed me to quote them in the article.

I have more client work to do this afternoon, plus finish a book for review (I want to get it out tomorrow). I have to set a couple of posts up on various blogs, and type up some material for a client.

In addition, I have to do one more pass on SAVASANA and get some other writing of my own done.

There’s a full moon meditation up on Cerridwen’s Cottage in honor of the full moon, and tomorrow, a new post will go up on Kemmyrk, that ties in.

Tomorrow, I’m going to Plymouth to support one of my clients who has a speaking engagement, and I also have to get in a lot of writing. If the weather cooperates, some yard work has to happen, too.
Never a dull moment, but that’s the way I like it.

Don’t forget! SAVASANA AT SEA is available for pre-release orders and PLAYING THE ANGLES is available for purchase.

Have a great weekend. I won’t be able to post on Monday — a post will go live on Tuesday, talking about the weekend and Monday.

Playing the Angles available now.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Published in: on November 3, 2017 at 9:00 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 3,2017: Settling into New Schedules  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. Nov. 2, 2017: Work Rhythm & Tips for Nano

Thursday, November 2, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS – a cheerleading workbook for Nano. Download 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS.3rdEd.

Tuesday was an intense day. Good, but intense. Helped me focus on certain things I want to accomplish on multiple levels in the coming year.

We only had two trick or treaters! But they were adorable. Most people on our street no longer decorate because we get so few, but I decorate for all of us, not just the trick or treaters.

I have a lot to clean up, though, from Monday’s storm. Some of it looked good for the holiday, but now it has to be cleaned up and the yard put to bed.

Yesterday, I was with a client for the bulk of the day. Got quite a bit done. Wiped out by the time I got home, though.

I’ve managed to write close to 1K in the mornings before I go to the client site, though, and this morning I wrote closer to 2K. Both on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. I’ve finished Willow’s first winter section and started on Doug’s.

I’m working on a couple of articles, and on shaping some material for another client. I’ve got another pass to do on SAVASANA AT SEA — it releases on November 15, I’m getting excited. I also have another book to read in the next couple of days to review, and edits on a review to turn around. Plus, I need to get the edits turned around for TRACKING MEDUSA.

Yesterday, the To-Do List for November was posted on the GDR site. Today, there are questions to think about for 2018.

For those of you doing Nano, I have the 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS cheerleading booklet available as a free download 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS.3rdEd I hope it helps you, and I hope you have a wonderful Nano! I tried to offer it through the website, but Microsoft claims it’s a “double escape” and won’t allow access via the website, citing “security.” Because Microsoft sucks.

 

Published in: on November 2, 2017 at 9:46 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 2, 2017: Work Rhythm & Tips for Nano  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 10: Daily Pace

“Comfortable” for me, is a steady pace of about 1500 words a day.

There are many days I struggle with it; there are days I flow far past it. But my daily quota must be hit in order for the day to be a “success.”

In order to achieve my goal during this month, I have to push myself. That’s good, because it makes you stretch and grow. It’s bad, because too many days in a row past the comfort zone can wear you out.

In daily life, beyond this month, find out what you feel is a comfortable pace, and set that as your goal every day. Whether it’s pages or word count, find your personal flow. Make that your commitment to yourself — you are going to write X pages per day. And do it. If the writing is going well, keep going. If it’s a struggle, work your way through the struggle and don’t give up until you reach the goal.

Don’t set “hours”. Although “stolen time” is often necessary in our overwhelmed lives, if you say, “I’ll write for three hours today”, you may spend two hours and 55 minutes of that time staring at a blank screen and only write three words. Set a word count or a page count. If you need to “steal time” to meet it, do so. But words and page goals will serve you better than time goals.

Come Write In! Tuesdays 11-1, Thursdays 2-4, Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills, MA

Published in: on November 10, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 9: Go With the Flow of Your Novel

So, we’re into week 2 now.

Hopefully, you’ve started trusting your characters, and you can keep self-doubt at bay. It’s a case of just sit down and do as many words as you can each day. Keep moving forward.

This is the point where, in one instance, my book switched genres.

Right now, I have to let the book be what it is. I have to trust in it, and in my subconscious. Yes, ultimately, we are the god in the process – we are the creative beings who manipulate and make the decisions in our fictional worlds. But when we consciously try to control too much, we often shoot ourselves in the foot (or in our collective feet).

Letting go, going with the flow, trusting the characters isn’t about losing creative control – it’s about getting in touch with the part of your subconscious that knows what will work better than you do.

So trust it.

Come Write In! Tuesdays 11-1, Thursdays 2-4, Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills, MA

Published in: on November 9, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 9: Go With the Flow of Your Novel  
Tags: , ,

Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 8: First Week/Inspiration for the Weary

This is the one-week point. You’ve survived an entire week! Woo-hoo! Congratulations! Have I told you recently how proud I am of you? I am – very, very proud.

The second week is difficult because that’s when you tend to hit a wall. The fresh bloom of love sometimes passes in the project, and it becomes hard work. And sometimes that’s what writing is – work. You push through the tough parts until you reach another place where it flows and you get that inky high again.

Here are some of my favorite books that I read over and over again when I start having trouble putting words on the page. I don’t use any of them as the be-all and end-all, but I use bits and pieces to help fuel me:

MAKING A LITERARY LIFE by Carolyn See
ESCAPING INTO THE OPEN by Elizabeth Berg
SOMETIMES THE MAGIC WORKS by Terry Brooks
WRITE AWAY by Elizabeth George (my process is soooo different, but she has some good ideas)
THE RIGHT TO WRITE by Julia Cameron (the only one of her books I like)
THUNDER AND LIGHTNING by Natalie Goldberg (the best of her writing books, in my opinion)
Any of the Paris Review interviews edited by George Plimpton

There are plenty of other writing books worth reading, but these are the ones I go back to, time and time again, when I get tired.

Come Write In! Tuesdays 11-1, Thursdays 2-4, Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills, MA

Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 7: Competition

The only person you’re in competition with is yourself.

Publishers, agents, and editors like to pit us against each other, but, in reality, we’re all in this together. Some of us will go farther because we bothered to learn the protocols and the grammar and the business side of it. Some of us will find mentors; some of us will work hard and combine talent AND business acumen; some of us will get a lucky break AND make the most of it. But all of us are in competition with ourselves to write the best book possible in our own vision.

Sometimes that’s difficult to remember when you look around and see higher word counts from other writers on blogs or websites or Facebook or Twitter or in sprints.

Good for them.

I like to get a good daily word count in there early because I’m well aware that, at any point, I could hit a wall.

And then I’ll have to figure out how to:
Climb over it
Burrow under it
Plow through it
Go around it
Blow it up

One of the most positive aspects you can take away from this experience, is that, for one month, you had enough self-respect for your writing to sit down every day and do something.

If you don’t respect your own writing time and writing, why would anyone else respect it either? It starts with you.

If you can take that beyond this month, you’ll have won, no matter what your final word count.

Come Write In! Tuesdays 11-1, Thursdays 2-4, Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills, MA

Published in: on November 7, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 7: Competition  
Tags: , , , , ,

Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 6: Speed

Should you write fast?

1000 words per day is not fast. It’s steady. Some days you’ll do more; some days you’ll fight to reach your goal. But 1000 words per day is a steady, sane pace that will serve you well in most situations. If you fall behind and you have a hard deadline (such as a contract), you will have to compress your process and write faster. If you don’t have a hard deadline, you can slow down, but if you slow too far down, you run into the risk of stopping the daily writing and not finishing.

Once you get it down on paper, you can rearrange it and make it pretty. It’s good to sometimes push yourself. Challenge yourself. Go beyond your self-imposed limits. And just do it.

Thousands of people ran the New York City marathon. This is a marathon of words.

But doubt definitely lingers, and, at least once a day, I think to myself, “whatever am I going to do with this big fat mess?”

Shape something out of it, once all those words are vomited out.

There never will BE time. You MAKE it.

Come Write In! Tuesdays 11-1, Thursdays 2-4, Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills, MA

Published in: on November 6, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 6: Speed  
Tags: , , , ,

Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 5: Keep Ahead of the Pace

I got some scribbling done in the notebook, and because I got ahead of myself this week, I could ease up today and not worry about a slower pace due to physical and mental fatigue.

So, whenever you have a chance to do a few pages or even more words than your daily goal, grasp it and build yourself a cushion for the days when life gets in the way.

My personal goal one year was to hit 12,500 words by today, and I passed it. I’m going to push hard again on as many days as possible this week, with a hope to hit 25,000 words by the 10th, the way I did on that particular year. Again, this is more than necessary, but it allows me to bank words. As long as you keep your minimum daily quota, you’re fine. If you’re having a good day, keep going as long as you can; if you’re having a bad day, push yourself to make the minimum.

Come Write In! Tuesdays 11-1, Thursdays 2-4, Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills, MA

Published in: on November 5, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 5: Keep Ahead of the Pace  
Tags: , , , , ,

Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 4: Discovery

The first draft is always a discovery of the creative process for me – and sometimes it has nothing to do with the current manuscript!

Notice techniques this month, both that work and don’t work for you, and see how you can apply them to your other writing.

One of the great things about the first draft is how much you learn about your characters, your plot, your setting, yourself. Even if you have a very detailed outline, discoveries will crop up. It’s part of the joy of the first draft process.

Come Write In! Tuesdays 11-1, Thursdays 2-4, Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills, MA

Published in: on November 4, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 3: Distractions

Click, click, click go the typewriter keys. Scratch, scratch, scratch goes the pen on the paper, when I’m writing away from my desk.

Somehow, we move forward.

Now, my big challenge is not to get distracted by interesting secondary characters. I like large, ensemble casts. But some pieces need to keep a tight focus. Sometimes, it doesn’t think it will work if I sprawl and then cut back.

And today’s biggest challenge was to keep the internal editor from banging down the door. Every few sentences, I kept thinking, “I’m going to have to change this.” But I kept going, because it’s the polish that the changes will add, not the basic plot and character development.

When the internal editor starts annoying me, I send her on vacation to Tahiti for the month, promising we’ll do good work together when she returns in a few months. If she bothers me during the month, I say, “Aren’t you supposed to be on a beach in Tahiti? See you later!”

Having that conversation with that other part of my psyche helps me keep the focus where it needs to be for these thirty days – on the writing.

If you get a “great idea” for something else – take a moment, jot it down, but get back to what you’re working on NOW. Don’t keep getting distracted by the shiny. Stay focused. Very often “great ideas” are only other forms of self-sabotage and procrastination. If they are truly “great”, they will still be there when you’re done with this draft.