Monday, December 30, 2013

What are your Writing Goals for 2014?

It's that time of year.

Making resolutions. Yep, you know, every year you swear you won't make any resolutions but as the year winds down, you crumble and start your list.

1. Lose weight
2. Be nicer
3. Find more time to spend with my friends
4. Spend more time with my kids
5. Start that novel

.... whoa, wait a minute there.

Start a novel? Or, maybe it's "finish your novel", or "get your novel published" or any of a combination of something to do with writing a book.

What's the problem here?


Not enough time?

No real dedicated writing space in your life?

Haven't done the research you need to do?

Or .... you tell me, what is your reason?

I'm serious, I want to know. Because, you know what? I can help you with it.

Honest and truly. I can help you with whatever your reason is for not writing or completing your writing goals.

I love to help writers. I love to help writers meet their goals. When writers meet their goals with my help it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I get a sense of pride and joy that doesn't exceed whatever I could do myself.


Because I've helped you find that great writer inside of you and helped you release it to the world. I truly believe it's a shame that great writers should be hidden away because of excuses.

So, are you having trouble meeting your writing goals?

Do you start a writing project and not finish it?

Do you need to work on the mechanics of your writing, such as grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.?

Are you looking to develop more realist characters, stronger conflict and  plot, and correct point of view?

Could you benefit from a writing coach who will provide honest and insightful feedback?

What were you answers?

Did you say "yes"?

We can work together. I can help you find out what you need to get that book finished or started or even researched.

Together we can achieve your goals.

I can provide you with exercises that will help you strengthen your technical skills.

Do you need references to magazines, websites, or books specific to your needs? I know where to find them.

Best of all, I can provide you with the ability to overcome any challenges you face that interfere with your writing progress.

Have you attempted to write and publish? Did you get minimal results? Are you now going to write for the "fun" of it now, instead of for the money? Is that your reasoning for not pursuing  success?


Do you know that you can have fun writing and be successful too?

Yep, it's true.

Just ask me and I'll point you in the direction of half-a-dozen writers off the top of my head who are hugely successful and have fun at the same time. They've made it happen, so can you.

So, let's see where to start when creating your writing goals.

First, make a list of all writing activities you want to do. That includes research, reading books about writing, and reading blogs about writing.

Don't stop until you've listed everything in your memory. Then, peruse your desk and look for all the sticky notes with reminders about things you wanted to accomplish. Find them all. Even the one under that book over on the right corner.

Got them all, now?

Now, read over your long list. Then think carefully before you do this next part.

Give each one a priority number. Every single one.

What is number one? What is number 10? What is last?

Look at numbers 1-5. Do you really want to accomplish your goals? Are you totally serious? Then, don't want anymore. E-mail me at

We'll sort through your goals and help find the ones that you need to work on and we'll find projects for you to do to complete those goals.

We also have writing challenges. Need to focus on a particular challenge? We have them all here. Don't see a challenge you'd really like to do? Suggest it to  The next time you look at the challenges page, it just might be there, with a thank you for you!

Looking forward to helping you make 2014 a successful writing year.

Image credit: kozini / 123RF Stock Photo
Image credit: convisum / 123RF Stock Photo

Friday, December 27, 2013

Friday Five Minute Exercise - Dreams

1. Set your clocks/timers for Five (5) Minutes.

2. Write about Dreams. Decipher your "visual soul", your dreams. Keep a notepad by your bed and each morning, try to record the details of your dreams as quickly as possible. Later, during your writing time, use the writing process to discover possible symbolisms. Try to analyze the visuals that surface while your soul is abundant and free.

Get into as much detail as you can for the next five minutes.

3. Ready?

4. Go.

5. Finished? Review and be amazed.

I hope you had fun. Come back next Friday for a new writing prompt.

Was this exercise helpful?

Did you succeed with this writing exercise? Was it helpful? Did you dream? Were you able to capture your dream on a notepad you kept beside the bed? What symbols did you identify? Was this exercise helpful? Did you enjoy it?

Why or Why Not?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas, my wonderful readers. I've had a wonderful year full of good posts, writing exercises and grateous comments. You have filled my heart with joy. Thank you so much for everything. 

Thank you for being there during the decision to build a writing coach business and the support I needed.  I will need your support now more then ever as I begin speaking engagements, workshops and coaching sessions. 

I'll hope to keep up with  my regular posting and writing exercises. If I fall behind, don't hesitate to tell me what my priorities are and set me straight. 

You are why I write this blog. God bless you and thank you. 

Your Writing Coach

Monday, December 23, 2013

Do You Think You're the Only Scared Writer Out There?

Twenty-Five Years Ago:

I was the scared writer who didn't know if I had enough talent in my little finger to try and write a book.

  • I have been there with a book, not knowing if it's good enough to catch a publisher's eye.
  • I've been there with a publishing contract in my hand not knowing if I should sign or what?
  • I've been there when that first book was printed and I held it in my hands for the first time. Like holding your baby for the first time.
  • I've been there in critique classes when another writer would tell me I "wrote it wrong" or "used wrong tense" or something else equally as humiliating. How could I be writing it wrong? Then the flood of "am I not good enough" comes again.
  • I've been there during book signings when no one shows up. Once again, it hits, "Am I not good enough?"
  • The marketing is scary. It means I have to talk about myself in a positive way.
  • The selling is hard. How do I tell people about my book and hope they'll buy it? I'm not a salesperson.
  • I've been the writer who sits in a room of other writers thinking I'm the only one who is scared.

Does this sound like you?

Raise your hands. Too scared to raise your hand? I totally understand. I've been there.

I have BEEN there.

Not anymore.

That was twenty-five years ago. I am no longer that scared little writer thinking I'm the only one in the world who feels like that.

I've written books. I've had books published. Yes, with real publishers!! Publishers who I had to submit to and wait anxiously for acceptance or rejection.

I've got a rejection pile so large you can sit on it.

Yes, I've kept every single rejection letter. 

Why? Because it means I'm working my butt off trying to get my work published. It means I'm working.

I got past the "what if I'm not good enough" and I'm writing, but I think my dialogue is flat or I can't tell which Point of View I'm in. I did research. I learned. I asked other writers. 

I wanted to join a writers' group. There wasn't a writers' association  in Florida. So, what did I do? I co-founded the Florida Writers Association. I worked hard with other people to make it the best organization in Florida. It is, too. Just ask anyone.

I created writers' groups. I created critique groups. I helped other writers. The FWA motto is "Writers Helping Writers". 

Like it?

It's my mission to help other writers. I want to provide aspiring fiction writers with the tools they can use to be the best writers than they can. I know I can do it. 


Because I've been there.

And, I did it all the while fighting a debilitating disease. Bipolar Disorder. I fought against 
  • social anxiety disorder, 
  • generalized anxiety disorder, 
  • panic attacks, 
  • PTSD, 
  • and OCD. 

It never stopped me from writing. It never stopped me from succeeding. 

I did it. 

You can too.

I know, deep down in my heart, you have what it takes to be a great writer. If I can do it, anyone can. 

I wrote through hospitalizations. 

I wrote through suicide attempts. 

I wrote through depression. 

I had great writing moments during manic episodes.

I learned ways to manage the Bipolar Disorder so that I could be the best writer I knew I could. I knew it was inside. I knew I had to be the one to break out of my barriers and fight the obstacles. 

I did.

If you are a true writer, you won't let any obstacle, big or small, get in the way of writing.

I didn't. 

I can help provide you with the tools you need to be the best writer you can. 

Just write to and tell me you're ready to be the best writer you can be. We'll take it from there.

Image credit: poulcarlsen / 123RF Stock Photo

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Five Minute Exercise - Procrastination

1. Set your clocks/timers for Five (5) Minutes.

2. Write about Procrastination. Why do you defer the inevitable? Do you do it because the work is hard? Create a written time schedule to accomplish the inevitable. Do you love your life as a writer because of the freedom you have from strict schedules? If so, alternate the tasks on your schedule daily or weekly - the key is to plan, tackle, and move on to the next task.

Get into as much detail as you can for the next five minutes.

3. Ready?

4. Go.

5. Finished? Review and be amazed.

I hope you had fun. Come back next Friday for a new writing prompt.

Was this exercise helpful?

Did you succeed with this writing exercise? Was it helpful? Did you figure out why you procrastinate? Do you procrastinate?  Were you about to create a schedule with tasks? Do you like being a writer without a definitive schedule? Were you able to plan, tackle, and move on to the next task? 

Why or Why Not?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Writing Tips - Your Writer's Notebook

Have you started a Writer's Notebook?

You haven't?

Just how long have you been writing? That long, eh? And no Writer's Notebook?

Well, let's get down to business here and see what we can do about this lapse in your library.

Your Writer's Notebook is something totally different than your journal or diary or whatever you call the notebook you write about your feelings or thoughts.

You may even have a journal that you write in your writing ideas and tips. Good to have.

Your Writer's Notebook is probably a binder of sorts. Something that you can open and close and move papers around. You can either add separators and dividers to help organize the information you keep in it.

What is the purpose of a Writer's Notebook? Why to help support your writing, of course.

It would probably have a collection of posts, articles, and maybe even motivational quotes about how to improve your writing skills and techniques. Hey, you might even find a blog post from this blog to put in there. (No pressure, okay?)

If you're working on a writing project, it may be the first thing when you open your Writer's Notebook. That information may change as your projects do. You may have other sections based on your current project, such as Characters, Motivation, Setting, Description, Theme, Point of View, etc.

Now, I've given you an image of a binder. However, every writer is different, thus their Writer's Notebook could be different.

Heck, it might not even be a physical binder at all, but a folder on a computer with a ton of files.

Whatever suits you and your busy world. Just so long as you always have some sort of paper to write on at all times and a pen or pencil to write with. Then you can transfer the notes you've written into your notebook at the end of the day, or whenever you get a chance.

I really wasn't busting your chops here, when it comes to having a Writer's Notebook. It's something important to have to organize your projects, writing information, etc. It helps you find the information faster when you're looking for it.

Okay, so who is going to be the first to run out and get themselves a 3-ring binder and some paper?

Or, are you going to start a new folder on your computer and start moving all the various files you've been collecting through the years into it?

Whatever you do.

Do it.


You'll thank me.

Image credit: bohbeh / 123RF Stock Photo

Reference: 30 Steps to Becoming a Writer by Scott Edelstein

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Five Minute Exercise - Solitude

1. Set your clocks/timers for Five (5) Minutes.

2. Write about Solitude. As writers, we often long for the retreats in life. Write about solitude and try to concentrate on the benefits of rejuvenation and revitalization.

Get into as much detail as you can for the next five minutes.

3. Ready?

4. Go.

5. Finished? Review and be amazed.

I hope you had fun. Come back next Friday for a new writing prompt.

Was this exercise helpful?

Did you succeed with this writing exercise? Was it helpful? Did you figure out what kind of retreat you needed to revitalize and rejuvenate you and your writing? Was it near the water? In the woods? Up in the mountains near a lake? Do you enjoy being alone and writing? Do you find it more tranquil when writing in a retreat?

Why or Why Not?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Writer Turned Architect - Designing Your Perfect Workshop

Let's take off our writers' caps and put pencil behind your ear and grab a tape measurer. We are going to build us the "perfect" writers' workshop.

For better understanding, we are talking about fiction writing. Ok, now that we got that out of the way, resume.

Is there such a thing as a "Perfect Workshop?" Let's start with that, shall we?

I think so. I think if we held a consortium and asked writers of various stages in their writing career what the entities they felt needed to be in a workshop of their choice, we could build not one, or two, but many "perfect" workshops.

So, let's begin at the beginning. If you were a beginner writer (or those who aren't and can look back and say "hey, I wish someone asked me that question!") what topic or topics would you like to be taught?

What is most important to you when developing your book or writing?

  •   Characters
  •   Plot
  •   Point of View
  •   Description
  •   Dialogue
  •   Setting and Pacing
  •   Voice
  •   Theme
  •   Revision/Editing
  •   Business of Writing (remember, this can be a WHOLE other group of workshops)

Look at the list I just created above. We could create separate workshops on each topic. Don't you think?

Okay, Let's take it a bit deeper.

Of these topics, what is most important to learn? Tell me. I really want to know.

Would you like hand-outs that the instructor would actually go over with you?

Would you like hands-on writing exercises where you could be brave enough to read yours to the group and possibly receive feedback? Would you like feedback from the other members of the group? Would you like feedback from the instructor?

How many people would you feel comfortable in a workshop style setting? 5? 10? 20?

I know, some of you are raising your hands in the background. I see you. Yes, I know what you're going to ask. What about critique groups? That's a great point.

Would you be interested in a critique group? Would you want to meet with writers of various calibers and work on pieces and have them read and critiqued by others?

I know, it's a bit off the topic of workshops, but that person in the back was waving their hand so wildly I had to pick on him, or else he might have fallen off his seat.

Let's get back to workshops.

Could you describe your perfect workshop to me in the comments below?

We're not talking price, location, or anything like that. If all those outside influences were met, and we just talked about you designing the subject, what would it entail?

So, tell me, at what level do you see yourself as a writer?

  • Just beginning, no publications
  • Just finishing with first book
  • Looking to publish first book
  • first book published, how to top it with a second?
  • Advanced writer, several books under my belt, but something is missing
  • Uber Writer. I know it all. Well I thought I did, until my books stopped selling and I can't find anything else to write about

So, with your level of writing in mind, describe the perfect workshop for you in the comments below. Can you do that for me?


Image Credit: vectorart / 123RF Stock Photo

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday Five Minute Exercise - Options

1. Set your clocks/timers for Five (5) Minutes.

2. Write about Options. Write down all your options - the alternatives - the choices. Sit quietly and try to remember the dreams you had as a child. Get in touch with your soul be recurring desires and aspirations you have long forgotten. Write to discover the endless possibilities that exist for you as long as you listen to your heart. Free your mind from the restraints you have placed on yourself … write to hear -- write to understand -- write to experience -- write until you know.

Get into as much detail as you can for the next five minutes.

3. Ready?

4. Go.

5. Finished? Review and be amazed.

I hope you had fun. Come back next Friday for a new writing prompt.

Was this exercise helpful?

Did you succeed with this writing exercise? Was it helpful? Were you able to write down all your options? What about your choices? Did you remember any dreams you had as a child? Were you able to get in touch with your soul? Did you write until you understood? Experienced? Until you knew?

Why or Why Not?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Writing Tips - Ways to Begin a Story

Today's Writing Tip comes from Robie Macauley, from the book titled What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers.

There are various ways a writer can open a story. As a writer it's your job to choose the most appropriate way to being your story. How do you want your story to start? With dialogue? With a description? With a backflash? WIth a character thinking?

Let's take a look at the various choices you have.

With a Generalization
"My mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in America."
-- Amy Tan, "Two Kinds"

With a Description of a Person
"He was lifing his kneads high and putting his hand up, when I first saw him as if crossing the road through that stringing rain, he were breaking through the bead curtain of a Pernambuco bar. I knew he was going to stop me." -- V.S. Pritchett, "The Sailor"

With Narrative Summary
"An unfortunate circumstance in my life has just recalled to mind a certain Dr. Crombie and the conversations I used to hold with him when I was young. He was the school doctor until the eccentricity of his ideas became generally known." -- Graham Green, "Doctor Crombie"

With Dialogue
"Don't think about a cow," Matt Brinkley said. -- Ann Beattie, "In the White Night."

With Several Characters but no Dialogue
"During the lunch hour, the male clerks usually went out, leaving myself and three girls behind. While they ate their sandwiches and drank their tea, they chattered away thirteen to the dozen. Half their conversation I didn't understand at all, and the other half bored me to tears." -- Frank O'Connor, "Music When Soft Voices Die"

With a Setting and Only One Character
"After dinner, with its eight courses and endless conversation, Olda Mikhailovna, whose husband's birthday was being celebrated, went out into the garden. The obligation to smile and talk continuously, the stupidity of the servants, the clatter of dishes, the long intervals between courses, and the corset she had put on to conceal her pregnancy from her guests, had wearied her to the point of exhaustion." -- Anton Chekhov, "The Birthday Party"

With a Reminiscent Narrator
"I was already formally engaged, as we used to say, to the girl I was going to marry." -- Peter Taylor, "The Old Forest"

With a Child Narrator
"I don't have much work to do around the house like some girls." -- Toni Cade Bambara, "Raymond's Run"

My Establishing Point of View
First Person
"There was no exchange of body fluids on the first date, and that suited both of us just fine." -- T. Coraghessan Boyle "Modern Love"

Third Person
"The August two-a-day practice sessions were sixty-seven days away, Coach calculated." -- Mary Robison, "Coach"

A two-part exercise: First experiment with different types of openings for different stories until you feel comfortable with the technique of each. Then see how many ways there are to open one particular story you have in mind. How does the story change when the opening changes from a generalization to a line of dialogue?

To see how experimenting with several ways of opening your story can lead you to a better understanding of whose story it is, and what the focus of the story will be.

I'd like to know what you thought of it, so please leave a comment at the end.