Thursday, April 29, 2010

To be a REAL Writer You Have to...

Get up in the wee hours of the morning to write. True or false?

I had high hopes when I promised my good friend and fellow writer Melissa that I would get up at 5 in the morning to write. The first time the alarm went off, I actually got out of bed, put my robe on, and made it to the top of the stairs. I looked down into the pitch-black cavern that is our downstairs at such an early hour. I turned around, stumbled back to our bedroom, and crawled back under the warm, welcoming covers. I'm no spelunker.

The next day, when the alarm went off, I didn't even get out of bed. There are plenty of other hours in the day; why do I have to write in the wee ones?

The problem is that those early morning hours are special. I can focus on what truly matters when I can be sure that no one will interupt. I can get lost in Lloyd's story, weave details, get at the emotions my characters are feeling. All the particulars that make up my life --are school lunches packed? did I rsvp for that party? -- they don't intrude so early in the morning. You may wonder how I know. Well, I've woken up a time or two at 5 a.m. with the drive, the need, to write, and it was very satisfying. So don't give up on me, Melissa. Maybe I'll become a spelunker after all.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Addiction: I'm Powerless Over...

I don't know when it started, my addiction to quotes, but sticky-notes are all over my house. I may or may not stop to read them when they catch my eye, but whenever I do, I feel uplifted and empowered, reminded of something bigger than whatever I was just thinking about (Mexican Torte for dinner again? What are the neighbors doing now?).
So I'm sure you saw this coming: here are some favorites. I'm adding where I found them in my house so I can put them back.
"Be prepared at any moment to sacrifice what you are for what you could become." (Special spot next to my computer so I'm ready for the moment!)
"Act with the authority of your 16 billion years." Joanna Macy (refrigerator)
"Don't worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive." Howard Thurman (sent by my dear friend the Rev. Susan McKeon and worked into a kitchen collage)
And finally, the quote that I keep in the front of my current manuscript and is from The Secret:  "Planet Earth and humanity need you. They need you, and that is why you are here."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Emerald Coast Writers Conference

I didn't hand in my conference evaluation sheet. I never do. I need a few days to absorb all that I've been through, because I usually feel like I've been hit by a truck after these intense weekends of learning and meeting. Other writers will certainly understand. Most of us have been wrapped in our cocoons, and just leaving the comfort of our offices and our Solitaire games is huge. Add all the overwhelming info we obtain at these events, and -- hello margarita!
So, now that a few days have passed, I'll venture to give my opinion of the Conference. It was fantastic! The hotel was gorgeous, roomy, and comfortable, and whoever ordered the weather did a great job. The very first session was a critique group that, well, I could've gone home happy, I learned so much. Suzie Townsend, Scott Hoffman, and Joyce Holland, the agents I met, were encouraging; I tried not to miss anything Kathy Carmichael and Vicki Hinze presented because they are both so awesome; and Lori Strongin's Query Letter Boot Camp will be the reason I get published, I just know it.
Now, every time the phone rings I tell my family, "That's my agent calling!"