Posts Tagged 'Writing'

15 Minutes of Fab!

My friend Sheila sent me a post that’s perfectly timed to coincide with a new year: “15 Magic Minutes Toward Kick-Starting Your Writing,” by Daphne Gray-Grant.

I’ve been obsessing about writing since November, when I did my first NaNoWriMo, and the idea of grabbing quarter-hour chunks of time to do something/anything on my novel makes perfect sense.

But then it occurred to me: What if I applied that concept to other areas of my life –– say, my finances (I’m perpetually behind on entering ATMs in my QuickBooks file, for instance)? The more I thought about it, the more I liked it. Besides, that’s rather how I operate at the office; everything I do there seems to be in 15-minutes segments, something an organizational consultant once chided me for (“If you’re doing more than five or six things a day, it’s no WONDER you feel overwhelmed!”). But that’s the way work goes.

So here’s my plan for 2011: I’m devoting 15 minutes a day to four key areas:

  • Spirit
  • Finances
  • Creativity (especially that first draft of my novel!)
  • Health and wellbeing

For years in my spiritual practice, those four areas have been front and center on my lists. I figure if I spend one hour a day addressing four tasks in each of those areas, I’ll have a lot to show by the end of the year.

I’ll also add the random wildcard occasionally, such as house stuff, like taking down Christmas lights or whacking shrubs in the yard.

So here’s what I did yesterday, my first day:

  • Spirit:  oh man, what DID I do on that front yesterday?!
  • Finances: I went to my bank to transfer some money
  • Creativity: I revised three pages of Chapter 17 (and somehow that 15 minutes stretched into an hour and a half!)
  • Health and wellbeing: I did steps while watching The Biggest Loser!

Here’s to 15 Minutes of Fab! Tune in for updates –– and if you want to join in, share your stories!

Writers = the Lovelorn

I stumbled upon this inspirational piece for writers via the New York Times‘s “Paper Cuts” blog:
“Advice for the lovelorn…I mean writers,” by Marisa Silver. She starts out with a list of 10 tips for the lovelorn then translates those for writers. Among the highlights:

1. Your work will bother you. It will follow you around like an annoying little brother, pinching you every so often, even when you want to be doing other things with other people.

6. The only way to write fiction that will take someone else by surprise is to let your work take you by surprise too. Get lost. Be scared. Have no idea where you’re headed.

9. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.

10. Your work will often look horrible and embarrassing.

Read the whole piece here.

I’m going to print these out and post  them over my desk at home!

And interesting side discovery: The Elegant Variation” blog itself. Worth checking out!

This item is also posted on the Writers’ League of Texas “A Brief Word” blog.

The Writing Gene

sofia-fall-2008It’s official: There’s a writing gene in my family, most recently evidenced in my nine-year-old niece, Sofia (left, decked out in finery from La Tavola, the family restaurant in Burlington, Iowa). Sof’s been writing for years, and I’d heard reports that she just can’t stop. My sister/her mother told me Sof will come home from school, announcing, “I have to get on the computer right now — I’ve got a story!”

So I emailed Sofia and asked her to send me something. Boy, did she send it:

“i did write this on book called the pastry battle to is about a girl named emily stood up to this on girl that said she was better a baking pastry then anyone in the world . and emily said she was way better then holly and then they said that on one day they will have a battle against each other . then emily went home and turned to a dumb old easy bake oven with a cold blue lightbulb . and emily’s mom taught her how to bake but she still was not good at it so on they day of the battle emily’s pastry was burt and holly’s hade egg shells in her pastry so they both lost the battle and they we friends.”

I’d say she’s got the one-graph pitch DOWN, spelling and punctuation not so much. Now, if I can just get her to send me a story she calls “Hulu Baby”!

#13: My First Trip to West Texas

Here I sit, on the porch of the Austin Street Café in Marfa, a soft easy breeze blowing napkins off tables, birds chirping, and the threesome at the next table expounding on the merits of Italian sportscars! The Presidio County Courthouse is spectacular, but I cannot find the fabled Marfa galleries and shops. Maybe it’s the Sunday sleepiness.

I fully expected to be more charmed by Marfa, but so far, Alpine scores higher on the charm scale. Nonetheless, I love being in West Texas; it’s so similar to New Mexico and even Sun Valley. The Austin Street Café’s veggie wrap with black-eyed peas and a superb tomato-basil soup –– well, those hit the mark and made the short drive worthwhile.

My whole excuse for being in West Texas is the Writers’ League’s Summer Writing Academy at Sul Ross State Continue reading ‘#13: My First Trip to West Texas’

#12: My First “Official” Agents & Editors Conference

As part of my new job as executive director of the Writers’ League of Texas, I had the pleasure of spending the weekend at the WLT’s annual Agents & Editors Conference. We had 23 literary agents, editors, publicists, and various industry professionals in town to meet with the conference 345 attendees to talk about their books and this business of publishing. But for total coolness, our keynote speaker was Sara Nelson, editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly!

Overall, the agents and editors raved about the conference — several of them said this is the best one in the country and apparently, there is much jockeying within agencies to decide who gets to come to Austin! They were also impressed with the quality of the writers and their pitches. Plus, the attendees were really happy and those I spoke with really loved it. As much as I would have liked to bask in the glory, this one belongs to my co-ED, John Pipkin (who’s “co” till his last day on June 30) and our great staff, Amanda King and Kristy Bordine. They did all of the heavy lifting, and I just came along for the last two months!

Besides the conference, there was a whole lotta partying going on. We dinner for the agents on Friday night, and I got to spend time with my pal from last year, the irrepressible Jerry Gross. Then on Saturday we had dinner at Jaime’s Spanish Village (great dinner conversation with superstar agent Kimberley Cameron and her husband, Jerry again, and the wonderful Milton Kahn) followed by bar-hopping with a whole gaggle o’ agents. We ended up at Cedar Street, where we caught Trish Murphy’s band Skyrocket (with a guest appearance by author friend Melanie Wells). Among many blackmail memories was this photo snapped by Ted Weinstein of me “knock, knock, knock[ing] on wood.” I only wish I had video of Kristy dancing with John’s tush!

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