"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." ~ William Wordsworth

The Writing Life Too

And if you're reading this, it means you're not writing.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking.
~ Mitch Albom
If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. ~ Leonard Cohen

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thought for the Day:
"What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers." Logan Pearsall Smith
A big thanks,
Steady rainfall here today in Portland. I wanted to thank again Monica Drake, Christina Katz , Adam O'Connor Rodriguez  and Emily Whitman for teaching at my first annual Making It in Tough & Changing Times  Writing Conference. Thanks also to Athena and Amy Baskin for their help and Amy Pulitzer for the fabulous cookies. Thank god I only ate a nibble. These post-conference days when I'm both exhausted and exhilarated are some of my favorites of the year.

Stay tuned for information on Summer in Words, 2012. Fifth annual to be held at the Hallmark Inn & Resort, June 15-17. I'm finalizing the line up of speakers.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Thought for the day:
I sit in the dark and wait for a little flame to appear at the end of my pencil. ~Billy Collins

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thought for the day: 
Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing to do is shovel shit from a sitting position. ~STEPHEN KING
Quick Take: Listening in
The trope of overhearing a conversation or a plot hatching as when Huck Finn overhears Injun Joe's plot to murder Widow Douglas or when Tom and Huck listen in on their funeral exists in fiction. But here's the thing: Twain was spinning tall tales and he was writing for a less-sophisticated readers back in the 1800s. Contemporary readers want realistic devices in their fictional plots. So avoid scenes where your characters listen in or overhear other conversations, especially those told at a distance. This sort of thing is usually done for the author's convenience.  And the more realistic the storyline, the more realistic the means by which you deliver it.

Keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Recommended for anyone longing to get more words on the page, better words on the page, and break into the new publishing landscape.

Last Chance
To register for Making It in Tough & Changing Times 1-day conference on January 28th
You know where to find me.

Monday, January 23, 2012

When Do You Need To Secure Permission

After I sent out my January newsletter one of my readers wrote and asked permission to use my article as an "outline" and then give it to her art students. She sent me the document she was planning to use as this "outline." Basically, she had cut and pasted my column titled True North in its entirety and then had changed a few details and words so that it was her story and not mine. I wrote back and politely told her that my column was copyrighted and her use of the whole document didn't fall under fair use. That she was welcome to quote a few lines, but that she needed to write her own blasted column. Well, to be honest, I didn't say blasted and the word I was thinking of didn't begin with B. Mostly I was baffled that she'd imagine that this sort of thing is permissible.

Copyright and fair use is difficult to explain and I don't understand all the intricacies of it. I always try to attribute everything I use here and use what's in the public domain. Again, difficult to define. Which is why this piece by Jane Friedman is so welcome. Here is the link.
Questions to ask yourself before you plot
I've been working on a memo for a client and created these questions that I thought I'd pass along. You can find them here.

Fog is thick and haunting this morning here in the Northwest.
Keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Quick Take:
Just like dandelions, adverbs grow thick roots when left undisturbed. Serious weeding is needed if you plan to get those suckers out of your manuscript.
And that’s only if you can find them.
See, for many novice writers, adverbs are like miniature Klingon warships, zipping around your manuscript with their cloaking devices activated. They hide in plain sight until an agent or editor requests a partial, and then BAM—they drop their cloak and wave their little “-ly” appendages like pirates toting skull and crossbones flags. We hates them, precious.  ~ Heather Howland

Mark Twain’s Rules of Story Writing

  1. A tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere.
  2. The episodes in a tale shall be necessary parts of the tale, and shall help to develop it.
  3. The personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others.
  4. The personages in a tale, both dead and alive, shall exhibit a sufficient excuse for being there.
  5. When the personages of a tale deal in conversation, the talk shall sound like human talk, and be talk such as human beings would be likely to talk in the given circumstances, and have a discoverable meaning, also a discoverable purpose, and a show of relevancy, and remain in the neighborhood of the subject at hand, and be interesting to the reader, and help out the tale, and stop when the people cannot think of anything more to say.
  6. When the author describes the character of a personage in the tale, the conduct and conversation of that personage shall justify said description.
  7. When a personage talks like an illustrated, gilt-edged, tree-calf, hand-tooled, seven-dollar Friendship’s Offering in the beginning of a paragraph, he shall not talk like a negro minstrel in the end of it.
  8. Crass stupidities shall not be played upon the reader as “the craft of the woodsman, the delicate art of the forest,” by either the author or the people in the tale.
  9. The personages of a tale shall confine themselves to possibilities and let miracles alone; or, if they venture a miracle, the author must so plausibly set it forth as to make it look possible and reasonable.
  10. The author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and in their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones.
  11. The characters in a tale shall be so clearly defined that the reader can tell beforehand what each will do in a given emergency.
In addition to these large rules, there are some little ones. These require that the author shall:
  1. Say what he is proposing to say, not merely come near it.
  2. Use the right word, not its second cousin.
  3. Eschew surplusage.
  4. Not omit necessary details.
  5. Avoid slovenliness of form.
  6. Use good grammar.
  7. Employ a simple and straightforward style
Thought for the day: Noticing
"You know what I believe? I remember in college I was taking this math class, this really great math class taught by this tiny old woman. She was talking about fast Fourier transforms and she stopped midsentence and said, 'Sometimes it seems the universe wants to be noticed.' That's what I believe. I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it - or my observation of it - is temporary?" ~ John Green

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Just for fun:Handy Field Guide to Thriller Characters via Chelsea Cain
Trust me, this list is too good to be true from the ever-talented thriller author Chelsea Cain. If you haven't read her series set in Portland, you're missing a thrill ride.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Question for Writers: The legendary Etta James died today and I'm working with her songs playing in the background, giving me chills and stirring the deepest parts of me. What if we wrote the way she sang? That is, bringing in every part of us. What if we transformed all the pain, rage, angst, worry, faith, fragility, fierceness, and hope onto the page?
It's been raining, deluging, flooding around here and I'm home at my computer watching it all, working on a memo to a client. Phone just rang with cancelled dinner plans for tomorrow night--they cannot get out of their driveway since it's underwater. Like six feet of water.

    Quick Take:
      Everything a character does should not only forward the plot, but should also be designed to allow the reader to discover more about that character- -and in particular, to learn the vital elements (secrets, emotional needs, desires, inner conflict, attitudes)  that are relevant to the story.
Making It in Tough & Changing Times One-Day Writing Conference
What do Editors Want?
With the publishing world changing at a dizzying pace sometimes writers wish they owned a crystal ball or had more access to editors' thinking about the current marketplace. Here's a link to an article where British editors weigh in on the topic.
To find out what Adam O' Connor Rodriguez editor at Hawthorne Books is looking for in a query to their publishing house, join us on Saturday, January 28th for Making It in Tough & Changing Times. Contact me for information.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Update from Planet Published
Here is the livecast of LP O'Bryan's book launch in Dublin.  http://twitcasting.tv/lpobryan/movie/3478923. What a great crowd! In it he mentions how he began writing every day 12 years ago.
Planet Published
In the past year the number of writers I know who are now or are soon-to-be on Planet Published has risen dramatically. LP O'Bryan wrote to me from Ireland about a year or so ago after he read my book Bullies, Bastards, & Bitches, How to Write the Bad Guys in Fiction. I've been following his progress since then.

I remember the first day I started writing that book. I had gotten the contract from Writer's Digest in March, but I was finishing another book at the time, so I pushed the project off until May.  The morning came around that I need to start working on it and I walked into my office with such fear and worry. How the hell was I going to get across my ideas? No one had written a book about characters like the one I was proposing. I wanted readers to take risks with their protagonists, I wanted to really nail the role anti-heroes in contemporary storytelling, and talk about creating fully-drawn villains. I wanted to remind writers that all characters are vulnerable.

I was scared when I wrote the book and I stayed scared throughout writing it. The book got written,with lots of hiccups and back and forths with my great editor Kelly Nickell. She didn't like the early drafts, my logic, my organization. So there was a lot of rewriting and heart ache. But it was published and I hear from a lot of writers about how they learned from it. Back to LP O'Bryan. He writes:   

"On the 10th December 2010 I attended a crime writing workshop at Harper Collins' offices in Hammersmith, west London. While I was there I met an editor. She asked to see the novel I was working on.
One year, one month and nine days later that novel is out in mass market paperback format all over the UK and Ireland. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Turkey and Greece are all expected to release the novel this year. The name of then novel is The Istanbul PuzzleIt is the first in a series of novels featuring Sean Ryan and Isabel Sharp, being published by Harper Collins. The Istanbul Puzzle starts when Sean discovers a friend and colleague has been beheaded in Istanbul." O'Bryan risked so much to get this book published, since he's a husband and father. You can read Chapter 1 here. Also, check out his whole blog, author's site, noticing how effective it is at telling his story and selling his books.
You know the drill: Keep writing, keep dreaming, and support other writer's dreams and accomplishments.  Meanwhile,  I'll keep bringing more stories and interviews from Planet Published.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Photo by Bellen Drake
 Monica Drake on Writing
A few years ago I appeared on a panel about writing with Monica Drake at Marylhurst. I remember being impressed with her approach to writing, her vast curiosity about so many aspects of the planet, and her steadfast belief in the power of words. She's the author of a novel Clown Girl, has published short stories and essays, and teaches writing at Pacific Northwest College of Arts.  She has been the recipient of an Arizona Commission on the Arts Award, the Alligator Juniper Prize in Fiction, and a Millay Colony Fellowship, and was a Tennessee Williams scholar at Sewanee Writers Workshop.

Q: I recall you mentioning that your parents were poets, that you grew up with a mimeograph machine in your household, and writers visited your home. Since many of us didn't experience that sort of background, could you please talk about this and other things that influenced you to be a writer?

A: My father, Albert Drake, grew up in the Lents area of Portland, aka "Felony Flats." It was a working-class, mostly white neighborhood, the same area that later raised Tonya Harding, among others. For reasons he can't explain, when he was about six he started keeping a journal. Nobody around him was a reader, much less a writer. The basic act of writing things down changed my father's life. It's how he made a life.Writing brought him from poverty to college, the first one in his family to go to college, at Portland State, then to grad school at the University of Oregon. He landed a great job at Michigan State, where he ran a small press, the Red Cedar Review. 

My life wouldn't be the same if my father didn't start writing. 
My parents met in grad school, and I was born into the U of O writing program. 
We did have a mimeograph machine on the front porch. We bought what's called a "clam shell" letter press in California, and drove with it back to Michigan, and later brought it back to Oregon. If you know how heavy even a small letter press is, all that hauling it back and forth starts to seem like craziness, but my family valued this kind of thing. 
My mother is also a writer, a poet and essayist. She has a number of publications, including a how-to book, Writing Poetry, that continues to sell years after initial publication. It's the kind of book writers find and love, and carry around until its tattered.
When I was a kid, they taught Poets-in-the-schools programs, and they'd take us, the three kids, along. I had more poetry workshops than any other child in Michigan. We'd work on concrete poetry as a regular habit.

These days, my father still publishes work, now as Flat Out Press, with an emphasis on automotive history. My mother, Barbara Drake, recently retired from teaching at Linfield, in McMinnville, Oregon, and is writing, too.
Q: In Clown Girl, your protagonist Nita, or Sniffles is a professional clown complete with  balloon-tying skills and pratfalls.  What was your inspiration for this story and do you ever find clowns creepy? 
Clowns, creepy?
A: Ha! Well...I suppose sometimes they are, but sometimes ordinary people are creepy too, right? 
A long time ago I worked as a clown. I didn't set out to be a clown, didn't have "the calling" necessarily, but work came along and it paid well, and one job lead to another. After serving as a clown, every job I've had ever since has drawn on clown skills. A person might not realize it, but even teaching takes performance skills, and clown work is based on risk taking. Writing is all about risk taking. It's one and the same. I hope my novel shows the parallel in creative urges, and the urge toward possibly foolish self expression in the name of being known, in the name of finding love.

Q: Since you also teach writing at PNCA, how do you balance writing, teaching, and parenthood? I believe other writers would especially be interested in how you weave small increments of writing time into a larger project. 

A: This is hard. I've been working since I was fourteen, when I worked for the Michigan AFL-CIO on behalf of the Carter campaign when he lost to Regan. Since then, I've always had one or two or sometimes three jobs. My own creative work has been a way for me to hang on to my humanity at times when I've played a cog in the wheel, working at Burger King as a teenager, with late hours that caused me to drop out of high school. But stories I came across, like Updike's, "A&P," and Orwell's  "Down and Out in Paris and London," showed me how work could be the source of art. Later, in college, I moved into restaurant jobs, offices, traveling art auctions--anything to pay the bills. Some jobs were more fantastic than others, like interning at the Oregon Zoo, and working as a paid intern at the Smithsonian, but overall I've really never had much in the way of "time off." So I'm used to writing when I can, not to a strict schedule. I keep details and stories in mind and throw them on the page when I find time. Then I carry the pages around and return to them, making changes and adding details, ideas. Slowly, the work comes together.
Now that I'm a mom there's another aspect to the ongoing time struggle. Writing is important to me, so I fight to give it space when I can, without letting it become an added stress. 
I write late at night, and I still carry my pages with me, marking edits and ideas when I have a minute.  

Q: Can you offer any insights on finding or perhaps hearing a character's voice and then translating it to the page? 

 A:  I'm not really sure how to advise on that. For me, sometimes the voice just is apparent. The words, content and delivery appear as one character, a world view. 
As a child I was big on dolls. I know it's not cool to say that--girls like to claim they massacred their Barbies. But I played with all kinds of dolls obsessively, and I think it laid the foundation for writing. Dolls tell stories through voice and actions. When I get too serious about my work, I imagine I'm still playing dolls. It keeps it all in perspective, and grants me freedom to mess around. 

Q: What is your best advice to writers in 12 words or less?
Every sentence should set the tone, advance the plot, define the character.

Q: Sushi or pasta? 
A: Ha! That's a hard one. Sushi in the summer, pasta in the winter.

Q: What's on your night stand? 
Clutter. And a Kindle, I admit. I've got thrillers by Chelsea Cain, and I'm re-reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest right now.

Q: What's next for you?
I'm working on a novel set in Arizona, which I hope speaks back to a lot of what's going on there in terms of the environment and racial tensions. They've just banned all books by Native American and Mexican authors. That's incredibly backward. But the novel I'm writing is also a supernatural psychological thriller. Thanks for asking! 

Monica will be teaching on January 28th at Making It in Tough & Changing Times Conference Her workshop is called One Strong Sentence After Another. Here is the description: Editor Gordon Lisch  famously said that good writing is a matter of one strong sentence after another. In this craft workshop we’ll examine techniques that build muscle and cut the fat in each sentence. Participants may join at any level of experience. They’ll leave with examples and ideas to improve their own work quickly. This may be applied to any genre of literary fiction and nonfiction.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Thought for the Day:
"When I am taken by a subject, by a situation, the words tend to bubble up. Sometimes they stutter, but what you describe as the dance between thought and action is not at all conscious – it has to be a natural flow. Well, that’s not entirely true, I am so in the habit of measuring words that there is a little editor at the gates of wherever it is that the language comes out in my brain, and that little editor is kind of like a person hired to watch an assembly line of, say, beer bottles, and the bottles go rattling past him, and his job is to pick off the misshapen ones or the ones that are only half full – but it is important that he not stop the flow, if you see what I mean. So the process is not conscious, but at the same time there is a conscious witness to it who keeps the flow moving as best he can. The process has to be a natural flow. As Robert Coover said, the best stories he’s written were ones that he let happen. Or as Beckett said, about Waiting for Godot, it all happened between the hand and the page.

But as you also suggest, during the revision process, you have to take a certain control of it all – but you can take so much control that you destroy something. I’ve experienced that. You don’t want to take too much control of it – you have to let the creative impulse have its movement. You have to let it happen.

As Henry Miller said, “You have to listen when the Muse sings, or you get excommunicated.” And sometimes the Muse might sing a song you don’t want to hear. Miller, for example, talked about trying at first to resist the song of his tropics books. Like, “No, please, don’t make me write that, they’ll kill me.” But if you don’t listen, it goes dry.~ Thomas E. Kennedy

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The full scholarship for the mini conference has now been taken by a deserving writer, but a half scholarship is still available. Tell your friends.

Keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart

2012 can be your break out year 
At last, a practical one-day conference filled with just the information that you need to propel your writing career to the next level and muscle your way to publication.  We’ll cover everything from creating potent sentences and writing irresistible query letters, to writing killer openers and making it as a writer in a media-saturated world. 
Making It in Tough & Changing Times Mini Writing Conference
 January 28th
Times: 8:30-5:30
Location: Tabor Space, 5441 S.E. Belmont, Portland, OR

Keynote by Christina Katz The Prosperous Writer: Tips For Navigating The Gig Economy

Workshops: One Strong Sentence After Another, Monica Drake; Killer Openers, Jessica Morrell; Anatomy of a Scene, Jessica Morrell; Paring it Down to the Truth, Emily Whitman; What Editors Want, Adam O’Connor Rodriguez.

Panel/Q & A: Risk It To Get Published with Christina Katz, Jessica Morrell, and Adam O’Connor Rodriguez

Cost: $99 includes continental breakfast and lunch
 ALSO: A scholarship and half price scholarship are available. Please
contact me with details about your circumstances.

To register: Contact Jessica Morrell at jessicapage (at) spiritone(dot)com
Space is limited so early registration is recommended.
Payments can be made by check or through Paypal.
Mailing address is: Jessica Morrell, P.O. Box 820141, Portland, OR 97282-1141

Writers, we are a community. I work hard to support your endeavors and dreams with this blog, my website and newsletters, classes, and books. Please support me in return by telling other writers about this conference.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A new word is like a fresh seed
sewn on the ground of the discussion.

—Ludwig Wittgenstein

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Food for Thought: Kids Books are Selling ...and Selling
Here's a list  compiled of the 100 bestselling books for 2011. A few things will jump out at you--that many familiar names are included in the list; that many of the books were written years ago; and that 25% of the books are written for kids. YA is still hot for those of you who doubt. And book number 100? Goodnight Moon first written in 1947.
Quick Take: Tone
"Tone is the personal attitude writers being to their work. Just as in music a note has a specific pitch that characterizes it as a C or D sharp, so a writer's work has its own distinguishing sound as well. This sound can be joyous or self important; it can be bland, aloof, scientific, tongue-in-cheek--you name it. Inappropriate tone tends to confuse and finally to repel readers; just as a dull tone bores them, a self-righteous tone angers them...Careful writers are aware of this fact, and they mold their tone to conform to their listener's ear." ~ David L. Carroll
One space rule
Fine, clearing sky this morning and it looks like another remarkable day without rain. This winter is setting records for the lack thereof.

I've mentioned in a previous post that only space is required after each sentence. This change has come about with the use of computers replacing typewriters in the writing biz. Here's an article from  Slate that explains the reasons in more detail, such as, "A space signals a pause," says David Jury, the author of About Face: Reviving The Rules of Typography. "If you get a really big pause—a big hole—in the middle of a line, the reader pauses. And you don't want people to pause all the time. You want the text to flow."

Keep writing, keep dreaming, punctuate using logic

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Baby Steps
I believe in baby steps, especially when it comes to writing books. If you tackle the whole project head on, it's bound to be overwhelming. For more suggestions on taking baby steps go here.

Quick Take:
Avoid appending up to verbs as in hurry up, lift up,  stood up, climbed up, rose up, spoke up. Up is rarely needed as an adverb.Standing or lifting implies an upward cast...
Keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Thought for the Day:
I believe that – if you are serious about a life of writing, or indeed about any creative form of expression – that you should take on this work like a holy calling. I became a writer the way other people become monks or nuns. I made a vow to writing, very young. I became Bride-of-Writing. I was writing’s most devotional handmaiden. I built my entire life around writing. I didn’t know how else to do this. I didn’t know anyone who had ever become a writer. I had no, as they say, connections. I had no clues. I just began. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

Meet Christina Katz

Christina Katz writes, teaches and inspires writers and is such a whiz at promotions you’d be silly not pay attention to her work and work ethic. Her latest book, The Writer’s Workout 366 Tips, Tasks, & Techniques from Your Writing Career Coach has just been published by Writer’s Digest Books. It has a nice heft and paging through it you will find thought-provoking ideas and possibilities to push your writing career to the next level. I especially liked the focus on creativity and the muscle memory that happens when you work out regularly. Because writing is a workout.

I’ve been paging through it this week and have found myself needing to set it down so I can jot down new ideas---my favorite sort of reading.  You can listen to a podcast of her reading the intro here. She’s also written Get Known Before the Book Deal, and Writer Mama. Her writing career tips and parenting advice appear regularly in national, regional, and online publications.

Q: You've really found your niche in writing about and working with mothers and writers to launch their careers and navigate the new gig economy. Can you tell us how this focus came about?

A: As a writing coach, I am a specialist, though my expertise can be more widely applied to suit a range of writer-types. So while I specialize in working with mom writers, I also serve a larger community of writers of all types and levels. Even though working with mom writers is my sweet spot, I also teach and coach folks who are not moms. Although I work primarily with nonfiction writers, much of my advice carries over for writers of other and multiple genres.

Q: In your new book, The Writer's Workout, you're advising writers to smash through all sorts of barriers and establish new habits and procedures. What has been the advice or uidance that has worked best for you in your career?

A: This is a great question. What works best for me is working with others as I grow my career and sharing the best of what I learn as I go. Teaching others inspires me. I inspire them. They inspire me. As my writing career progresses, I am always learning new and valuable (and sometimes painful) lessons about how to maintain the delicate balance of writer, teacher, speaker, blogger, trainer, lifelong student, and creative. Somehow, I’ve learned to make it work for my disposition.

Q: How do you think that writers can balance having a productive, profitable writing career and also write about topics and in genres that have meaning for them?

A: Well, in an ideal world, there would not be separation between what a writer is passionate about and what they write about. However, there’s always the danger that strong emotions will become stumbling blocks rather than bridges to inspiration. In my teaching and in my books, I coach writers to lead with and follow their gut instincts which I believe transcends mere emotion. The only way a writer can marry love and writing is to have a clear connection to their intuition on a moment-by-moment basis. If you begin with the assumption that you can combine the two, then you can. If you think you can’t, well then, by golly, you can’t.
Q: Over they years I've met so many writers who complain that they hate marketing and self-promotion. What do you say to these writers?

A: Well, first I chuckle like I’m doing right now. Yes, I’ve heard this more than a few times. By now, folks have wised up enough to know that if they say this to me, I’m not going to cluck my tongue in sympathy at their plight. I’m not a big fan of the writer as victim point-of-view.

We all have our challenges and tripping points. Our weaknesses are a lot easier to face if we also know our strengths and lean into those instead of harping on what we cannot or will not do. I’m much more interested in what the writer is going to do to grow. You don’t like marketing and self-promotion? But it comes with the job. So what’s the writer going to do about it? I have plenty of suggestions—books full of them—but if the writer is not willing, I won’t waste my breath.

Q: What is the most challenging aspect of writing for you and how do you tackle it?

A: I guess I have written long enough at this point (twelve years) and deeply enough (three books, eight classes, an ebook, and hundreds of articles) to appreciate all the aspects of the process—even running late on deadlines. I’d say my biggest challenge is that I love the immersion of writing, but the people I love are in this world not that one. I would say my biggest challenge is that I can stay in the writing world a lot longer than some folks would like me to. If I could clone myself, I would.

Q: What is your best advice to writers in 12 words or less?

A: All excuses are off. Get to work! (You know you want to.)
Q: Pasta or sushi?

A: Definitely sushi. I’m hypoglycemic.

Q: What books are on your bedside table?

A: None. I don’t have a bedside table and I am not much of a night reader. By the end of the day, I’m pretty spent. My favorite place to read for fun is at the local library while my daughter is gathering books. I grab a stack of magazines (O, Real Simple, and Living) and marvel at all the airbrushed people with all their perfect houses and expensive stuff. That’s not my life. My life is much more Wabi-Sabi. But it’s fun to fantasize.

Q: What's next for you?
A: Another great question. I tend to live in the moment. I’m not a planner in the traditional sense. The furthest ahead I tend to think is one year at a time and that’s really setting intentions more than making long-term plans. I’m not really looking to make any major life changes. My career momentum today comes from the momentum I already have. I just go with it. Every day the question is: where can I go from here? What’s coming next will let me know when it is time for me to know. My job is to stay open to whatever that may be and enjoy today.

Christina will be the keynote speaker at Making It in Tough & Changing Times Mini Writing Conference on January 28th. She’ll be speaking about The Prosperous Writer: Tips For Navigating The Gig Economy Writing well, closing sales, narrowing your focus, continuous learning, and a career-long willingness to self-promote—these are the five qualities of prosperous writers. But how will you sustain your creative productivity and juggle all of these skills at once? These are the creative productivity secrets that most writers rarely share. Myths will be busted. Truths will be bared.