Thursday, September 17, 2009

Reaping Rewards ... or not!

I'm into heavy rewriting and editing on Nineteen Darby Way. I'm rewriting the entire book from present tense to past tense...

Once I actually sit down and begin, I don't want to stop. The problem is that I can't seem to get myself to sit. So I've been trying to come up with something that it is and feel free to try it. My morning belongs to me, but from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. I must, absolutely must, be sitting in the office, at the desk either reading about editing and rewriting, or actually doing it. Today it worked really well ...

and then there's the reward at the end of the week...I'm not sure what it is, but I can have it only if I've logged in 12 hours of actual work. This week I don't get a reward but I'm holding out for something special next week. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, August 31, 2009


September first is tomorrow, a day that for me, feels like the first day of a new year. I stretch my imagination and I swear I can smell change. 9/1 is when I again get serious about life, writing, and following through on goals. It's time to say good bye to the carefree and warm days of summer and begin to welcome structure.

A few years ago I attended a writing conference and sat in on Sheila Bender's workshop. She talked about admonitions and then let us 'popcorn' around the room with ones we remembered from childhood. We laughed as we shared them with each other.

Below are a few of mine. I'll bet you'll recognize some. They make great writing prompts, produce wonderful stories and are fun to boot!

If Susie jumped off a bridge would you jump, too? (my personal favorite)
Get your elbows off the table.
Close your mouth when you chew.
Close the door. We can't afford to heat the outside.
Close the door. We don't live in a barn.
Stand up straight.
Don't slouch.
Don't interrupt.
Don't talk to strangers.
Wait 'til your father comes home.

Have fun. Oh, happy new year :-)

Friday, June 26, 2009

More prompts ....

The poem below, Still I Rise, by Maya Angelou has such power. I thought it would be a great piece to respond to.

Here's the challenge:

1) Read and then write your response to the entire poem.
2) Take one word from any five lines and do a twenty minute write incorporating the five words.
3) Read the poem out loud and write about the reaction you have to hearing the poem as opposed to reading it.

I hope that it would be alright with Ms. Angelou for us to use this amazing piece of poetry to help us become better artists.

I listened to her on XM radio just the other day as I drove home from Safeway--watching the sun do its morning dance and feeling its penetrating warmth through the windshield.

STILL I RISE Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise?
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

Monday, June 15, 2009

She said what? Oh, no!

I'm taking an online dialogue class through Yosemite Romance Writers. Four weeks for $25. Can't beat it. Learning about beats and tags and all sorts of things! Very fun. Their classes through the end of 2009 are posted on their website at

And, for those of you who might not have anything to do on Monday evenings in July I'm facilitating a yoga and writing class at the Danville Yoga Center, right in downtown Danville. (

The Center is awesome. When you walk down the meandering path, it's like you've walked into a slow-motion world. Lush greenery, sprawling old trees, chirping birds, and squirrels scampering by, compel you to sit and stay awhile, maybe relax on the bench at the front door, read a bit, journal, or just enjoy the view from the cozy porch.

The yoga classes are wonderful, too. They have beginning, levels 1,2,3, and meditation classes as well. Yoga is sooo good for the body, mind, and spirit.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


These days, I have a love hate relationship with writing prompts. Sometimes, I get so involved in a story, I don't want to stop. I write, I write, I write. I read it back and I think, this should really go in the trash or this should be on the back page of the New Yorker!

And then there are those days that I hop scotch from one prompt to another, totally unable to focus, unable to find direction down any rabbit hole to create something.

I talked with a friend of mine in San Diego yesterday. After I finished telling her my story she said, "I'm so glad you told me that, you make me feel normal."

So ... do you run into the same thing? Some days you're the next Jodi Picoult or Danielle Steele? Others, you've got the attention of a preschooler, but nearly the skill?

Here's a few prompts....

I almost forgot to tell you ...
I could see a shadow lurking outside the bedroom window and I...
When I turned sixteen I...
Life would be so much simpler if I could ...
They announced the name of the winner and I ...

Use these words in a 20 minute write:

physical, dictionary, action, east, collage
gab, despot, classic, prevent, burgers
include, teller, calendar, reinforce
gill, crouch, arrest, league, internal

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Is Summer Vacation Nipping at your Heels???

Can you believe that summer is almost here? It seems to me that summer is one of the more difficult times for writers to write. We're challenged by children being home from school, trying to adhere to a schedule that is now constantly changing, and the commitment to write flies out the window. But it doesn't have to. Here are a few suggestions to help keep you on track:

~Take a journal with you on vacation...make writing fun--write at the beach, in the hotel room, overlooking the ocean, while having a glass of wine in the evening
~Write before the kids get up/after they go to bed/take naps
~Go out for a cup of iced coffee and write
~Looking for a quiet place? Go to the library
~Write when the kids are on a play date
~Got an extra ten minutes? You can get a lot of writing done in ten minutes!
~Instead of browsing the internet, watching T.V., texting, or making that phone call you really don't need to make--write!

One of the things I've learned over the years is that if you wait for you muse to find its way out of its shell, you might wait forever! Go, get to it. Don't let time be the issue. Just grab a pen, paper and yourself--and write!

Here's a few prompts that might help:

I'll never...
I'm so jealous about ...
On the second day ...
It turns out that ...
It was just about ten years ago ...

Get creative, write write write! Have fun :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Book In a Week Conclusion

I finished my class, Book in a Week last week. The class was amazing.

I set an unrealistic goal of reaching 50,000 words, but life happens and there were a couple of things that I didn't want to give up like spending time with my grand children, taking them to yoga class, going to my own yoga class--those sorts of important things. Speaking of yoga, by the end of the writing week, my left arm felt the pinch of too much computer work and too few breaks. My yoga teacher, Mary Smith, at the Danville Yoga Center worked with me during class, and when I left, and for the first time in a week, I was pain free. Pain free! Yoga is amazing.

Okay, back to the class. I wrote a total of 26,000+ words--a little more than half my goal. I felt I let myself down, but 26,000 words was more than I most probably would have done if I hadn't taken the class.

Here's what I learned about myself as a writer:

~I love to procrastinate. However, if I completed my day's work knowing where I planned on beginning the next day, I found my way to the page much quicker. Otherwise it was to Starbucks for coffee, a load of laundry, a telephone call, answering emails, you know what I mean?

~Once I start writing, I don't like to stop, hence the sore arm. So, I needed to have a stern talk with my stubborn self.

~The best laid plans as they say--I had my plot figured out and by golly my characters wanted little, if anything to do with it.

~When I get out of my own way, my work is much more successful.

~A collage of pictures for the characters in my book was incredibly helpful. When I could see faces, I slipped into their heads easily.

~I am my own worst enemy! I suppose most of us are.

~Pay attention to synchronicity events--it led me where I needed to go!

The class and support from the group, not to mention April, was just as good as having your own personal coach giving a gentle nudge when needed!

April will be holding another class in early June. Here's how to contact her: