Ready to Write

November is National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, as promoted at That means that October has been NaNo Prep month!

For the last several years I have been participating in the writing adventure. I prepare outlines and inspiration boards. I do research and take notes. I revise my outlines. I clean my desk. I tell everyone that I love that I’ll see them again in December.

The trick of writing 50,000 words in 30 days is simply to write. Make the time—set aside a segment of every single day—and write. Write like the wind. Write as though your life (or income) depended on it. Write like nobody is reading. Write like… whatever it is that will get you motivated to write. No one will take your writing more seriously than you do. When you get real about it, others will, too.

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Make a pact with your family and friends so that they help you write, not distract you from your task. Wear a “do not disturb” hat. Send them out for a day at the park or pizza. Offer them a “walk-on” role in your novel, or at least a shout-out in the dedication. Let them know how much it means to you. Tell them what writing your story feels like.

When it comes down to the end, though, don’t stress about not making 50K by November 30. Just do your best. And if you need another week to finish, take it. The deadline is there for motivation, but even if you do reach your goal—DON”T send your novel to be published December 1st. Do your editing. Make it right, make it clean, make it beautiful. Make it a quality product that on which you’ll be proud to have your name for years to come.

Sign up and participate. You’ll be glad you did. The rewards are amazing—nothing monetary, unless you pursue it—but the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction are better than cash, anyway. Be my buddy on NaNoWriMo (Kim Black)!

Te help me with my character profiles (especially for a series of novels that I’m working on) I developed a workbook to keep everybody straight. It turned out pretty nice, so I have made it available on amazon. Have a look!

Happy writing!

Who Wants to Be a Better Writer

Click to purchase this cute card holder!In this post-modern world where everyone is encouraged to express their opinion to the universe—in 140 characters or less on occasion—we should all strive to be better at articulating our thoughts in writing.

I laugh along with everyone else at the cartoons about the Grammar Police and the proper use of “there, their, and they’re,” but why is it funny? When did poor grammar become a joke?

I recently was interviewed about a fundraising event our writers’ group is hosting. It’s sad to think that we needed a fundraiser. Why would a non-profit organization that promotes better writing not be filled to the brim with members? You can’t throw a stick without hitting a blogger.  Most people do some sort of writing every day in their job.

Whether one writes reports, articles, direct mail copy, blogs, marketing material, novels, instructional pieces, web copy, emails or even personal correspondence by hand (gasp!), it’s important to present oneself as an intelligent person.  We rely on spell-check and grammar correcting programs too much.

Being part of a group that teaches when to use “further” instead of “farther” helps to make you a better writer. It makes for better reading, too. It’s not about looking like a smarty-pants. It’s about making the reader’s experience more enjoyable or more informative, without making them get out a red pen to correct you.

When a reader decides they know more than you, they stop reading. Period. Your article, blog, instructions, or story is no longer relevant to their needs.

If you’re a writer (and you certainly are) join a writers’ group. Take a class. Learn, grow, and improve. If you’re the one who already knows it all, then join a group to help others. Please. The universe needs you.

My Life is Changing

This last year has brought change to my household. In the last twelve months I have lost a father-in-law, gained a daughter-in-law, become a published author, started booking speaking engagements, and on and on. I’m a busy gal these days.

The Music Effect

Music does this really weird thing to me. You know how in movies when you have this obsessed detective or even a stalker who has a wall or secret room covered with a jillion photographs connected to each other with a web made of about three miles-worth of brightly-colored yarn? That’s my brain on music.

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Example: After I added some music to a play list on my laptop, the song “Twistin’ the Night Away” by Sam Cooke began. I start to dance immediately. (I was also folding laundry at the time.) I did the Twist, the Fly, and the Watusi, as instructed. Suddenly I think about Gilligan’s Island, because of course, in one episode Ginger is instructing one of the other castaways in the correct form for dancing the Watusi.

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Before I finish that thought, my mind jumps to the scene in Innerspace when Martin Short’s character is drinking and dancing to the same song. I adore that movie. Fast-forward to the end of the film when the credits roll. Short is racing down the road to save Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan from the bad guys, and the song is blasting again, this time sung by Rod Stewart.

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For a quick moment I think of how much I appreciate Rod Stewart for recording older songs like that—fun and beautiful classics that deserve a new audience.

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Hopping back to “Twistin’ the Night Away,” which is only half-over at this point, I think about how smooth Sam Cooke’s voice is—even on a party song like this. What a voice he had. And how sad that a talent like his was lost in such terrible circumstances. He was killed in a hotel at the age of 33, his death ruled justifiable homicide because he was inebriated and… it’s just like a movie.

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Why haven’t they made a movie about his life? Who would play him? Denzel Washington is too old for the part. Even Hill Harper is past 33. Maybe that cute Dayo Okeniyi from Hunger Games? I wonder when the next Hunger Games movie comes out…

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Yep, all of that in a 2 minute-41 second song. While I’m dancing. And folding clothes. I told you it was weird.


That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.