I fancy myself a writer.

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NaNoWriMo logistics: How are you planning ahead?

Underwood No. 5, in the collection of The Chil...

Can you imagine attempting NaNoWriMo on this behemoth? | Underwood No. 5, in the collection of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s amazing how often logistical issues can get in the way of our writing. I, like many writers, have tried a variety of techniques in an attempt to make writing – wherever I may be – as easy as possible. Because we all know, the easier it is, the more likely we are to do it. If it seems like too much trouble to haul your ancient, seven-pound laptop along when running errands, then you probably will end up just not doing it.

Yeah, I said seven pounds. I am a starving artist, after all. Of course I don’t have an iPad!

If you were writing a novel a century ago, your choices of communication modes were probably quite limited. You basically either wrote your novel out longhand, or you tapped it out on a bulky typewriter. Did they even have portable typewriters yet a century ago? Read the rest of this page »

NaNoWriMo Writing Prompt: Rock ‘n Roll Zombie

rock n roll zombies

In case you wondered, this is the image that launched today’s NaNoWriMo writing prompt. I saw it on Facebook. I don’t know who it belongs to. If it’s yours, please let me know so I can add an attribution and throw you a link from my site.

What do you do if you want to participate in NaNoWriMo this year but you don’t know what to write and trashy romance novels just aren’t your thing? Why not try a writing prompt? I came up with one this morning that is completely different than the romance novel prompt I gave you a few days ago. If you like zombies, this one might be right up your alley! Read the rest of this page »

Creating WordPress blog posts in Microsoft Word

adorable koala

A sample picture that I attempted to add to this blog post in my Word blog post editor. It turned out that I could not even copy and paste the images from Word but had to double back and insert them from my WordPress editor.

I recently returned to blogging after a bit of a break and was surprised to find that my WordPress editor had changed in many ways that I so far do not appreciate. So this morning, I am doing a little experiment in creating blog posts using Microsoft Word. To start, I opened Word and clicked on: File –> New –> Blog Post. I am now typing this post directly into Word’s blog post editor and will test out the various functionalities to see if I like the way it publishes to my blog. (I also noticed that I have the option to open this document in Contribute, but that is an experiment for another day.)

Unfortunately, what I dislike most about the WordPress editor updates are related to how the editor interacts with my Zemanta plugin. Equally unfortunate is the fact that moving to Word will not fix this issue, as it does not appear that I can download a Zemanta Add-In for Microsoft Word. (If I am incorrect on this, would someone please inform me of how and where to obtain the Ad-In so I can get it? Please and thanks!) So, if I am going to be dependent on Zemanta for images and related content, I will likely have to add these by going into my WordPress editor and updating the post after I have published it. If you have found a way around this or know of a better way of doing this, please share in the comments below. Read the rest of this page »

Get to know your characters a little better

Yesterday we had some fun with our trashy romance novel characters. Today we will get to know them on a somewhat deeper level (okay, maybe not too deep. Just one level deeper than yesterday.)

So, you have figured out what your two main characters don’t like about each other on first impression. Now let’s think about how you can develop these two opposing characters into people who might believably come to like one another later in the novel. Maybe the slick lawyer secretly loves dogs and has a pregnant pooch back home in NYC that she’s worried sick about. Perhaps the grumpy cowboy is secretly writing a business plan that will turn his failing family ranch into an organic vegetable farm that will supply several high-brow restaurants in the nearest big city. Read the rest of this page »

NaNoWriMo pre-writing assignment #2: Get to know your characters

Yesterday, we spent a few minutes thinking up dreamy names for our characters. Today, let’s take a few minutes to get to know them better, shall we? Romance hero/heroines are typically exact opposites. Maybe he’s a rugged cowboy, and she’s the slick lawyer whose company wants to buy out his ranch and develop it into a tacky tourist trap.

Or, she could be the tough country girl, while he is a smooth-talking geologist for an oil company that is drooling over the rich natural resources hidden beneath her family’s centuries-old hog farm. If you’re into paranormal romance, he could be a vampire, while she is a werewolf. Or, like the trashy romance novel I read most recently, she could be the boring county supervisor, while he’s a daring stunt pilot. Read the rest of this page »

NaNoWriMo Trashy Romance Novel Challenge

fancy harlequin romance teaspoons

These are my fancy romance novel teaspoons. I got four free novels with each spoon!

Can it be mid-October already? NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, and I am just now getting around to thinking about it. As usual, my original plan for this year was to just skip it. But as November draws near, I find myself once again itching to see if I can knock out a novel in thirty days.

Last year, I did not. While I did manage to conquer the quest for 50,000 words, my NaNoWriMo project was not, in any way, a novel. Last year, I proved to myself that I am capable of writing 50,000 words in one month. This year, I think it’s time to step it up and write 50,000 words of an actual novel. Read the rest of this page »

I know why you’re procrastinating! Now, if I could only figure out how to stop it.

Don't shoot the dog by Karen Pryor

You should check this book out from the library and read it with me. (And no, the fact that I took a picture of a book titled, “Don’t Shoot the Dog” that is propped up on a cat tree is not at all lost on me.)

I am a strong believer in positive reinforcement. I have even talked about it here before in relation to writing. I have often wondered how I could use positive reinforcement to become a more productive writer. So, I just about jumped off the couch a few minutes ago when I stumbled upon a scientific explanation for writer’s procrastination in a book I’m reading titled, Don’t Shoot the Dog! The New Art of Teaching and Training, by Karen Pryor.

The following excerpt describes a “phenomenon that occurs on very long [reinforcement] schedules: slow starts.” According to Pryor, a subject “tends to “put off” starting for longer periods as the schedule of reinforcement gets longer.”

This is sometimes called delayed start of a long-duration behavior, and it’s a very familiar aspect of human life. On any long task, from doing the income taxes to cleaning out the garage, one can think of endless reasons for not starting now. Writing, even sometimes just the writing of a letter, is a long-duration behavior. Once it gets started, things usually roll along fairly well, but, oh! it’s so hard to make oneself sit down and begin.

In other words, the longer it takes to complete a given task and get to the reward at the end, the more likely you are to put off starting the task. And how many projects will you take on in your daily life that will take you longer to complete than writing a novel? Read the rest of this page »

By the way, I’m a huge Blues Traveler fan

I’ve been waiting to see them live since the 1990’s (when I was 3, right?) And I went to this show a couple of weeks ago. That’s it. That is the entire blog post. Well, that and the fact that I never knew the lead singer of Gin Blossoms was that hot. Even after all these years.

Blues Traveler and Gin Blossoms at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe Illinois

Read the rest of this page »

Writer’s Journal | On fighting mice and terrorism

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Noon o’clock

I suppose if I’m going to do this, I should at least attempt to write something worthwhile rather than just rambling on about whatever random nonsense crosses my mind while I’m sitting here digesting my lunch and waiting for it to be time to go back to the office.

But what to write about? It is so hard to get back into the blogging habit once you have fallen out of it. Maybe I could blog about current events. Something controversial that will attract readers who will argue with each other in the comments section.

Let’s see. Read the rest of this page »

Writer’s Journal | Monday, 10/6/14, 12:07 p.m.

Sitting in the atrium of the performing arts building today. I was hoping to find an indoor table in a sunny spot, but they’re all taken. I’m writing on my lap. Maybe I’ll try the bistro in the College of Business tomorrow, but my hopes are low. My supervisor brought me a cookie from there the other day, and it was not good.

My novel projects are going nowhere. Read the rest of this page »

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