Friday, March 28, 2014

10 Inspirational Quotes for Writers

Start your weekend writing projects with a little bit of inspiration. Happy Friday! 

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.”
—Philip Roth

“I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book.”
—Roald Dahl

“We’re past the age of heroes and hero kings. … Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it’s up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting.”
—John Updike

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
—Winston Churchill

“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure. ”
—Mark Twain

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
—Walt Disney

“Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.”
—Steve Maraboli

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”
—Bill Cosby

“Success is the child of audacity.”
—Benjamin Disraeli

“Writers are lamp posts and critics are dogs. Ask lamp posts what they think about dogs. Does the dog hurt the lamp post?”
—Paul Coelho

 Lion Image found on Pinterest:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

5 Things “Frozen” Teaches Us About Being Better Writers-And Better People

Let me preface this blog post by saying that yes, I do have children. Yes, they probably would have shanghaied me into watching “Frozen” if I hadn’t volunteered. You know what? I’m a Disney freak. I’m a 31 year old woman sitting here writing a blog wearing a Mickey Mouse hoodie. Around here, Disney’s kind of a thing.
Don’t judge me.

Any time someone has a movie they absolutely love, or a show they love, or a book they went gaga over, there’s always something they relate to. Something they feel absolutely, no questions asked, relates to their life. Frozen was no different. From Elsa and Anna and Kristoff I learned:

1)      A Little Love Goes a Long Way. People do amazingly stupid things for love. It’s what rounds them out and makes them human. If you have a character that’s too one-dimensional, give them something or someone to love. If you have a character that you just can’t develop, ask yourself what it is you love about them. If you have a character you’re trying endear to the audience but you just can’t, ask yourself what it is about them that makes them so darn lovable.

2)      No One Wants to Be Alone. That tall, dark, brooding hero thing might be sexy, but the main reason it appeals is because we know the life they’re living isn’t the life they want. Even if they don’t know it yet.

3)      Learn to Live With It, Not Fear It. Had Elsa been able to embrace her powers rather than smother them, how different would “Frozen” have been? Would we have had a story at all? In real life, it’s far better to embrace your flaws and allow them to shape you than to try and hide. The same can be said for our characters-and ourselves. Once you accept that you’re not perfect, that you’re going to make mistakes, that sometimes you’re going to struggle and get up and get knocked back down again, it becomes a lot easier to put your soul out there on that page.

4)      Everyone’s a Fixer Upper. Nobody’s perfect. And like Hans, it’s the ones that are that you need to give a nice, clear berth. So if you’re worried about your flaws, about seeming less than perfect, about writing something that someone is going to look down their nose at, do it anyway. Take the plunge. 

5)      Let It Go. No, really. Let it go. Let. It. Go. Those expectations you feel like you have to live up to? The ones that get put there by everyone but you? Let it go. Be who you’re going to be, not who you feel someone else thinks you should be. As a writer, as a person, you’re going to be happier and more creative if you embrace the person you were meant to be and let that other you go.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Not Ashamed to be a Geek

What Do YOU Geek?

There’s been a lot of debate in certain circles about the exact definition of a geek. Often in the context of how it relates to being a “dork”, which is another story altogether. There are people who take great offense to being called a geek. 

Personally, I think we all need to be geekier. Because geeks are just people who get really, really excited about something, and they don’t really care what other people have to say about it.

I live in a small town. If you haven’t been to Perry, it’s pretty much the definition of what Mayberry would look like if Rite Aid took over the local pharmacy and the soda fountain was traded up for an espresso machine at the local bookstore. Instead of spending our entire lives fighting with traffic, we get to do amazing things like go to the Farmer’s Market. We have Read Around Perry events where kids run up and down the sidewalks looking for pages that have been cut out of books and proudly displayed in store windows.

And every year, we host the Perry Chalk Festival.

At this year's Chalk Festival, our local library hosted a booth for Geek TheLibrary. A huge sign out front asked, “What Do You Geek?” Passers by grabbed gold and silver pens and scribbled all over the sign, with answers ranging from Dr. Who to classic cars to snow cones. (My daughter volunteered that one.)

The sheer volume of people who stopped by to Geek was pretty awesome, but it was the variety of answers that really shocked me. It is AMAZING how many different things people were excited about, and they weren’t afraid to step up and show it!

That, my friends, is what it means to be a geek-and as writers, we should be geeks. We NEED to be geeks. Because as writers, we spend our ENTIRE LIVES saying hey, I have this idea, and it's pretty awesome. I don’t know if you think it’s awesome. I don’t know if I can explain it in a way that’s going to convince you that it’s awesome, but I’m by-golly going to put my pen to paper and try. Because I’m a geek, and this is what I geek, and I want to share it with you.

There’s no room for shame when you’re geeking out, and that’s pretty important if you're going to write. If what you’re saying embarrasses you, you’re going to pull your punches. You’re not going to put it all out there. At the end of the day, what you’re going to be left with is a bunch of half-formed ideas begging you to set aside your fear of what other people are going to think and just geek out and give them life!

Pull out that light saber, hop on your motorcycle and allons-y!

So tell me. What do you geek???  

Image from Stock Images/

Friday, March 21, 2014

Are You Due for a Blogging Break?

Blogging has become one of those social mediums that everyone's expected to take part in, especially if you're, I don't know, writing a book? Because doing even MORE writing is exactly what you want to do when your current project is sucking you dry. Here's a blog post I dug out of the archives that talks about blogging, blogger burnout, and what you can do to get your awesome blogging skills back on track. 

Bloggers, you know how it is when you write that perfect blog post. The one that makes everything come together. The one that ties up all of your funny little thoughts, adds a pretty blue bow and sends it out into the world. It’s a beautiful moment. A fabulous moment. One you swear you’ll never be able to get enough of.

So what do you do the day you realize that you’d rather kiss a mosquito than sit down and write one more stinking blog?

Goodbye inspiration. I'll miss you!

Welcome to Blogger Burnout

I can honestly say that in my mind, blogger burnout was like catching the plague. Or scaling Everest in a pair of high heels. Unlikely at best, and something that when it happened, only happened to OTHER people. I mean, really. How on earth could you ever get tired of blogging?

Personally, I’m blaming blogger burnout on the social media craze. It’s not enough to keep a blog. You have to promote it. Watch your readership grow. Suddenly, blogging’s about as much fun as doing your homework.
I can tell you exactly what point of the year homework stopped being fun when I was in school. It was usually somewhere around Day 3.

There’s a reason schools let kids out on summer vacation. And give them a full week at Christmas (as much as parents might fervently wish otherwise). And why employers have paid vacation time built into their employment plan. If you’re doing a job, day in and day out, over and over again, you’re going to start burning out. Burnout leads to decreased productivity, lower quality work, and all sorts of other nasty things no one really has time for.

We can all agree that we deserve a vacation. The question is, why do we seem to think that vacation doesn’t extend to our blog?

Symptoms of Blogger Burnout

The main symptom of blogger burnout is pretty easy to spot. You get more excited about digging out toe lint than you do about writing another blog. You suddenly develop BOSS level procrastination skills. If your fridge is shiny, your bathroom squeaks, the dog’s losing weight and you haven’t written a word in days, you could be suffering from blogger burnout.

Of course, those aren’t the only symptoms of blogger burnout. There are still people with a teeny tiny spark sitting at their keyboard plugging away, not realizing what waits for them if they don’t get that vacation. When you’re burned out, what you write simply doesn’t make you happy. It’s just verbal vomit on the page you’re going to have to clean up later. “Good enough” becomes your new motto.

Burned out bloggers discover that coming up with new blog ideas feels like pulling teeth when they used to come in a flood at all hours of the day. Your brain feels fuzzy and numb. Writing a single blog can take hours. I don’t care how many people tell me they spend all day writing a post. Unless you’re writing an essay it shouldn’t suck your entire day. If it does, it’s time to take a step back and figure out what the heck’s going on.

Time for a Break?

Whether blogging’s your passion, your hobby or your job, sooner or later you’re going to need a break. A few weeks away from your blog to stop it from rotting your brain. And make sure you have a wonderful weekend!  

Image provided by Grant Cochran/ 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Behind Every Closed Door is a Greasy Window-But On the Other Side of That Window There’s a Rainbow

How many times have you heard someone say, “When one door closes, another one opens?” Or, “When God closes a door, he opens a window?”In my personal-and highly unprofessional-opinion, that’s a bunch of blarney. If life were constantly tossing golden opportunities into our laps we’d spend our days scrambling over golden nuggets stacked all the way to the top! 

No, in my experience every time that door closes, whether you made the decision to close it or not, what you find when you turn around is a greasy window. But if you’re willing to bust out the vinegar, put in a little bit of elbow grease and get that window cleaned up, nine times out of ten there’s a rainbow waiting on the other side.If you spend all your time focusing on the grease, you’re going to miss something fantastic.

What You See Right Then? It’s Only Half the Picture

Everyone has a defining moment when that door slams shut, and the only thing we can do is close our eyes, cross our fingers and whisper, “I’m so screwed.” Hey, I’ve been there. We’ve all been there. When you realize the door you’d planned on walking through to get to the rest of your life isn’t an option anymore, the window you turn to look out of isn’t shiny. It’s streaked with disappointment. Failure. Depression. Anger. Guilt.

The view isn’t very bright right then, but you know what? That’s perfectly normal. And believe it or not, right now you’re standing at the very best time of your life. The time when you get to shed everyone else’s expectations of you and ask, “What do I really want?”  

 Sometimes, if you're clever and willing to believe, that elephant on your chest learns how to fly.

As soon as you make that decision, that window starts looking a little bit brighter. The closer you get to making that goal a reality, the clearer that window’s going to be. Small steps start to wipe away the fear, the anger, the feelings of worthlessness that coated that window in the first place. Those feelings have no business holding you back, but you’re not going to be able to let them go until you start scrubbing away at that grit.

With enough scrubbing, you’ll finally see the rainbow that was hiding on the other side. And if you happen to run into the leprechaun that was hiding there waiting for you, do a little jig for me.

Did You Have a Point?

What was that, you ask? Have I spent way too much time writing college papers, turning a very simple concept into eighteen pages of multi-syllabic nonsense? Why yes, yes I have. How did you ever guess?
Of course I had a point.

The point is, it’s worth resisting the urge to punch your neighbor in the face when she comes bearing platitudes and quiche. Because even though it doesn’t feel like it right now, she’s absolutely right. It’s going to get better, if you believe. If you’ll let it. And if you’re willing to work to make it happen.  

Image provided by maen_cg/